cake14This combination outgrew my expectations! First I was afraid the cake would be too sweet, and then I was afraid that I messed up the measurements for the chocolate bottom because I was basically going with a hunch. But most of all I was just afraid that cheese and peanut butter are flavors that don’t go together well. I was wrong again!
This is definitely one of the heaviest cakes I made in a while. And I don’t only mean heavy in calories but once you lift the platter you will know what I mean.
I have used white farmer’s cheese from the Polish store (it’s packed in cute little buckets). But you can replace it with cream cheese. When it comes to cheesecake I still prefer to use the farmer’s cheese just like my mom would.
It’s best for the cheesecake to rest in the fridge overnight before you serve it (or at least 6 hours).
The night before I prepared the base, cheese filling and baked it and the following day I finished the glaze and whipped cream. More »

babka3At this time of the year my family in Poland would have been almost finished with preparing all the traditional savory and sweet dishes for big Sunday dinner. My family has been always pretty strict about following the rules of Lent and when my sister and I were little kids we always couldn’t wait until Sunday. All the delicious smells coming out of the kitchen were just making our stomachs growl with anticipation, and we knew we were not allowed to touch them yet. To tell you the truth, back then the dreaded Lent soup that we had to eat for breakfast on Sunday before we could jump onto delicious cakes, sausage and pates, seems a little less dreadful when I’m grown up. I actually miss that taste of soup whose main base was the leaven (fermented rye flour in water with garlic and spices) and all the blessed basket ingredients like sausage, egg, bacon, vinegar, horseradish and some spices. This year because of our move from Montreal to Washington DC and continued unpacking I didn’t have a lot of time to get ready for the Easter feast. But there is one cake that is indispensable part of Easter and doesn’t require almost any work. It will definitely be part of our dinner table at my husband’s family house. And if for any reason you wonder why I call it Boom Babka… it got christened by a friend who was surprised how I made it few years ago unnoticed while preparing the rest of the dinner. It literally takes few minutes to pound the cake and it comes out of the oven in the twinkling of an eye while you are preparing the other dishes. More »

done17It’s been a while since I posted something sweet and chocolaty so this recipe is for cupcakes that are filled and covered with chocolate from the top to bottom. I made them in a small cupcake form so whenever you eat one you will feel less guilty about the calories and sugar rush. Those tiny cupcakes just make a perfect teaser for your sweet tooth. They are not overwhelming and provide the ultimate amount of chocolate that we all sometimes need.
When I first saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen I thought it was insane and a little too much of chocolate in chocolate. I know it sounds wrong and there is no such thing as too much chocolate… but I’m not a huge fan of super sweet stuff and the amount of chocolate just looked humongous. However, you should try making it and judge for yourself. I definitely am a big fan of this recipe and will confess that these cupcakes have some adequate amount of sweetness and chocolate. More »

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Doughnuts are the most popular treat for Fat Thursday. I think they taste best on the day of frying. They become a little heavier on the following days. This is the recipe that my mom has always used, however I had to replace the fresh yeast with instant yeast. It’s pretty hard to find fresh yeast anywhere in the U.S. or Canada except for some Polish delis. I also had to cut the amount of ingredients because my mother’s original recipe delivers 30 doughnuts. The traditional filling is a rosehip jam but if you can’t find that in your neighborhood grocery, you can use a strawberry or plum jelly. The truth is you can fill it with chocolate, caramel and vanilla pastry or any other jelly you like. Some recipes recommend filling the doughnuts before frying and just making sure they are sealed well, but I prefer to do it afterwards. This way I know none of the filling will leak out and the doughnuts will fry evenly. The white stripe around the doughnut proves that the dough is light and fluffy and that you kneaded it well. It has nothing to do with the amount of oil in the Dutch oven. More »

faworkiThey may be called differently in different parts of Poland but they will always be the same delicious golden crispy deep fried bowties. Poles celebrate Fat Thursday instead of Fat Tuesday as in other countries. And of course Fat Thursday is the last Thursday before the beginning of Lent.  On Fat Thursday, we make various carnival treats, and faworki is one of them. This is the day when you put away all diets and need to eat at least one doughnut (a recipe that I will post soon) or a few pieces of faworki.
My grandmother would always use lard for frying.  In the past, lard was more accessible than oil so many traditional recipes still ask for it. I don’t really like the little scent that stays with the dough when I use lard, so I prefer to use canola oil. But feel free to try it the other way. More »