Slovakian Poppy Seed, Apple and Raisin Bread

Slovakian Poppy Seed Bread slices

Slovakian Poppy Seed, Apple and Raisin Bread

A recent article prompted our rediscovery of some traditional Eastern European pastries such as this Slovakian poppy seed bread. It is distinguished by a generous swirl of poppy seed filling running throughout the sweet dough. Baked in a tube or Bundt pan, the bread makes an impressive centerpiece at a family meal or Easter, when it is traditionally served.

Slovakian Poppy Seed, Apple and Raisin Bread

 

 

 

Strawberry Almond Cream Cake

Strawberry Almond Cream Cake
For National Almond Day, we’re thinking about this luscious Strawberry Almond Cream Cake. In such northeastern cities as Hartford and Boston, Italian bakeries win lifetime customers with their rum-soaked cream cakes. These cakes are made with spongecake layered with whipped cream and fruit. Some bakeries fill the layers with fruit and custard. Others pile the fruit on top and soak the cake with a vanilla-, citrus- and spirits-perfumed syrup.

We’ve made our version of this specialty with an extra-moist almond paste spongecake. Our tip is to beat the almond paste with the sugar until it lightens into a sandy texture. This helps ensure a lump-free batter. We use this technique in many cookie and cake batters we make with almond paste. And to keep the cakes moist, cool them on powdered-sugar-dusted parchment or waxed paper. Once cooled and well wrapped, they keep well for several days in the refrigerator or in the freezer for a month or so.

Bright, ripe strawberries top this cake but blueberries, raspberries or slices of ripe peaches would be delicious. And a layer of lemon curd would make an idea filling. For a complete change of taste, fill and frost the cake with dark chocolate or coffee buttercream. But remember, if using whipped cream, just be sure to fill and top the cake close to serving before the fluffy cream deflates.

Strawberry Almond Cream Cake Recipe

Chocolate Almond Heart Cake

Valentine Chocolate Almond Heart Cakes

For Valentine’s Day, our favorite moist almond cake makes just the right impression. Bake this dark chocolate version in a heart-shaped pan.  The cake needs no embellishment. But for a holiday like Valentine’s Day, you may want to gussie it up. Decorate it simply with powdered sugar and marzipan hearts.

Or go one step further. Glaze it with rich dark chocolate made using our Love’n Bake Chocolate Schmear. And make marzipan roses using the step-by-step instructions here.

Chocolate Almond Heart Cake

 

 

Sweet Maria’s Chocolate Almond Cookies

Sweet Maria’s Chocolate Almond Cookies caught our eye. They are a basically an Italian macaroon made with cocoa powder dipped in sliced almonds before baking.  (They remind us of our Double Chocolate Almond Macaroons and our Jam-Filled Almond Cloud Cookies.)

What a happy surprise to hear the Baker, Maria Sanchez, describe what she looks for in quality almond paste.  And the she recommends American Almond.  Thank you Chef.

You can see the recipe and watch Pastry Chef Maria Sanchez make her Chocolate Almond Cookies in this video.