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Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

“One star in the sky leads sailors home.
A butterfly can start a hurricane.
A grain of sand begets a landslide.
You are important, and the universe is empty without you.
Believe me.”

—Abigail Cicero

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

After a thorough routing from my finals, and a great lack of sleep and bruised tailbone ego, I have made it to spring break.

How lucky!  How blessed and grateful I am!
For I am in Playa del Carmen, México, with my mama.
It is 86 degrees F and we must take breaks from the all-powerful sun to ensure that we do not get fried to little frico crisps like parmesan cheese.  As greedy as I am for the sun, I must remind myself not to sit and bake for too too long.

Taking breaks from the sun.
How different from in grey Chicago…

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I’ve been eating heaping tons of fresh fruit (all the sweet pineapple! all the sour guavas! all the fuschia prickly pears!) and enjoying every bite of their sun-infused tropical flavors before I have to head back to cold, fruit-barren, snowy Chicago.
Uchhhhh.

Someone sitting next to me at the pool today kindly informed me that it snowed 4 inches + flurries in the last few days back home.  The thought of having to slog through that to classes again makes me weepy and whiny.
Do I really have to leave the luxury of Mexico to go back?!

(I can already hear my daddy’s resolute “Yes.”)

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

If you want to infuse wherever you are with a little sunshine, try out one (or a few, or all…) of these bright, summery recipes that I’ve been eyeing:

Pineapple sangria from Jessica—can I have a poolboy please please get me one of these, stat?!

Banana buttermilk bread from Beth—beautiful as always! (Wow, that alliteration.)

Chocolate passionfruit cupcakes (my favorite combination!) from Laura.  Cake is always the best way to celebrate, and congratulations are in order for her!

Key lime pie.  Probably my favorite kind of pie, and this cream-cheesy one looks especially delicious.  Bless you, Zoe.

And if you want to be transported to Méx sans fruit, try Sam’s droolworthy pepita/honey/orange caramels or Kylie’s chocolate and cinnamon donut muffins.
Either way, make extra 4 me plz.

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Do you think me lazy for posting lists two posts in a row?
Then you thought right, friend.
Between finals and vacation, I’m checked out.
Link love lists it is!

At least the last one was more about clothing and cosmetics, and this one is all about food.

#dealwitit

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Anyways, to add another item that you could make to take your tastebuds away to the tropics…

These adorable cupcakes double coconut vanilla.
The coconut flavor is super subtle, with just a tiny, non-offensive hint playing in the foreground of each bite.

The cake itself is supremely soft and moist, thanks to the coconut oil infused batter—the crumb is tight and each bite is meltingly tender.  You could toss in 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, unsweetened or sweetened, to up the coconuttiness.

The frosting, piled high in great swirly mountains, is very fluffy and very buttery, with a hint of coconut murmuring through it.  Vanilla and cream and a pinch of salt claim the loudest notes, but the coconut oil woven through plays off them in a delicate balance that becomes addictive after the first taste.
More is more, here.  Trust me.

I added a fresh strawberry for a bright note, but topping these off with another fruit or a shower of toasted coconut or lashings of ganache, white or dark, would be equally wondrous.
The subtlety of these cupcakes goes with anything.

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Anyways, I’m off to edit GoPro videos (yes!!  I got one!! And we love it!) and then to slather myself in aloe and then climb into a soft, fluffy, hotel bed.
Hopefully I will have soft, fluffy dreams about cupcakes with clouds of coconut frosting.

Hasta pronto! x

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Double Coconut Vanilla Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

ingredients:
for the cakes:
175 grams (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) flour
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
70 grams (5 tablespoons) butter, soft
45 grams (3 tablespoons) coconut oil, solid
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
120 mL (1/2 cup) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

for the frosting:
180 grams (12 tablespoons) butter, soft
30 grams (2 tablespoons) coconut oil, solid
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
500 grams (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
60 mL (4 tablespoons) heavy cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

directions:
First, make the cakes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with liners.
Whisk flour and baking powder together.
Place butter and coconut oil and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 2 minutes.
Stream in the sugar and beat on high for 5 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add in each of the eggs.
Beat on high for 5 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add in the milk and vanilla.
Mix until partially mixed in, then add the flour mixture.
Beat on high for 30 seconds, until fully homogeneous.
Scoop in 1/3 cup portions into the muffin tin.
Bake for 18 minutes, until fluffy and a tester comes out with just a few crumbs.
Allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting: beat butter, coconut oil, and salt together for 10 minutes, until super fluffy and light.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and sift in the powdered sugar.
Mix in halfway, then stream in the heavy cream.
Beat on high for 1 more minute.
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes as desired, and top with toasted coconut or fresh fruit!

Pure Comfort

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

“What’s comin’ will come
and we’ll meet it when it does.”

—Hagrid

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Because peanut butter is like a big hug.
And because I need a big hug (it’s finals, oh yes it is).

My brain is too fried to tell you about the hell that are finals here at good old UChicago.

Instead, I’m going to share with you some things I’ve been loving lately; things that are so nice they wrap me up in a big hug all on their own.

First of all, these soft silk camisoles from J. Crew. I have three of them, and wear them under sweaters or blazers with pants or skirts or whatever I so please.
Ridiculously versatile, unbelievably soft and well-made.
Love them.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Secondly, I purchased these konjac face sponges from Sephora on a whim, because they intrigued me, and because I never feel like washing with just my fingers gets my face completely clean after a long night.
They’re magical—they puff up and become soft and supple, and they are gentle but effective at removing dirt and grime.

Speaking of clean and fresh, my Pinterest “Space Inspiration” board is leaving me with white-washed dreams, full of greenery and subway tile.  I could get lost in any of those homes.

This butternut mac and “tease” is all I want in my life.
It looks so, so good—like WOW.

I’ve been making baked sweet potato fries as a quick meal lately—a bunch of sweet potato, cut super thin and rolled in lots and lots of coconut or olive oil with a heavy sprinkling of salt, tossed onto a foil lined baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes at 450.
After you’re done, turn the oven to 350 and bake kale chips while you eat your sweet potatoes.
Double yum!

And since today’s recipe involves PB, I have to link to Mandy’s jaw dropping sticky rice balls in green tea—stuffed with runny peanut butter!  Now I’m craving sticky tang-yuan, too.
(Or mochi.  We had killer mochi ice cream at Sunda the other day.  I could live off of mochi, no lie.)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Anyways, for the peanut butter sweets included in this post:
These cookies are really tiny little cakelets—like whoopie pies, but eensy-meensy.
Each little cookie sandwich is a soft and fluffy dream.
The base is a rich, chocolate butter cake with a fine crumb and the perfect amount of dark cocoa flavor—there’s just enough of it surrounding the cloud of peanut butter frosting to make you take another bite, and then another cookie.
The combination of chocolate and peanut butter is timeless—talk about a comfort combo.
There’s plenty of salty-sweet action going on in these cookies, and a they strike the perfect balance between fluffy rich cake and fluffier, salty-sweet frosting.

Plus, I love that they’re only two-bites big.
It gives you an excuse to eat 5.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Some notes:

I used an oversized French pastry tip to get the starburst pattern on my frosting dollops.
This is by far my favorite pastry tip right now—you’ll see it in action on some cupcakes very soon!

I got my cookies to be perfectly even by using a small round cookie cutter to trim the edges of each cookie as it emerged from the oven.  You don’t need to do so if you don’t want to—just match up your cookies by approximate size and wonkiness.

The peanut butter frosting has a nearly equal ratio of butter to PB—you need to whip this mixture up wildly in order for it to be totally fluffy and amazing, so just set a timer and let your mixer do the work.  And don’t forget the salt!

The consistency of the frosting, due to all that PB, is really dependent on what type of peanut butter you use.  Be ready to add in an extra few tablespoons of powdered sugar or heavy cream, since your PB might be runnier or thicker than mine was.
(Oh, and if you use natural peanut butter?  Please don’t forget to stir, or you’ll have an oily mess on your hands!)

I need to go finish writing a paper and begin studying for Genetics, so wish me luck and send me positive vibrations and brainwaves.
I’ll pay you back in cupcakes next week.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Mini Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies
cookie portion adapted from Saveur
makes 24 cookie sandwiches

ingredients:
for the cakes:
8 tablespoons butter, very soft
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk

for the peanut butter frosting:
6 tablespoons butter, very soft
5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups (or as needed) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cream

directions:
Make the cookies: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
Add in the sugar and beat for 2 more minutes.
Add in the egg and vanilla and beat for 4 full minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the cocoa powder.
Beat on high speed for 30 seconds.
Scrape the bowl; add in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda; only stir until half combined.
With the mixer running on low, stream in the milk.
Once fully incorporated, beat on high speed for 15 seconds to ensure homogeneity.
Scoop out portions of the batter with a 2 teaspoon (or whatever size you want) scoop.
Make sure to leave plenty of room between cookies.
Bake for 11 minutes.
Immediately after removing from oven, use a small round cookie cutter to clean up the sides if you desire.
Allow to cool while you make the frosting.
To make the frosting, place butter and peanut butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 5 minutes (set a timer!).
Sift in the powdered sugar, add the cream, and stir slowly until fully incorporated.
If the icing is too runny (the consistency is dependent on your peanut butter), add in up to 3/4 cup more powdered sugar.
If it is too stiff, add in up to 3 more tablespoons of cream.
To frost the cookies, flip half over onto their backs and, using a pastry bag filled with the peanut butter frosting or just a butter knife, dollop a generous amount of frosting on each cookie.
Place the top cookie on the sandwich and enjoy!

An Occasion

Dairy-free Lemon and Champagne Pound Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

“In his blue gardens,
men and girls came and went like moths
among the whisperings
and the champagne
and the stars.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 3

Dairy-free Lemon and Champagne Pound Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

“Every Friday
five crates of oranges and lemons
arrived from a fruiterer in New York—
every Monday
these same oranges and lemons
left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 3

Dairy-free Lemon and Champagne Pound Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Gosh, it seems like ages ago now, but Valentine’s day was only a month ago.
(I know, I know, we’re already gearing up for the next holiday, but this cake is from February, so deal with it.)

It’s warm here, and the shiverings of winter seem far away, now that we’re enjoying balmy 50 degree weather.
50 degrees!  Hallelujah.

You can see (dead) grass and hopeful little snow drops poking their dainty white petals out of the grey brown earth.
I heard a bird the other day singing its heart out, beak wide open and chest puffed up (exactly how I look while singing in the shower).  Shocking how we take birdsong for granted.

My daddy just visited me and brightened the gray skies.
We had dinner at Sunda (amazing! really amazing! those brussels sprouts… omg…) on Friday, Indian takeout from a Nepalese/Indian place on Saturday (having those leftovers for lunch today, yum.  Naan. Naaaan.), and an absolutely exquisite meal on Sunday at the Green Zebra, which is hands down one of Chicago’s best restaurants.  
We agreed that we have never had a bad dish from Green Zebra, in all the times we’ve been.
In fact, the food has only gotten better. (Cannot highly recommend enough! Get there if you can!)

Dairy-free Lemon and Champagne Pound Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

In two weeks time, I’ll be in Mexico with my mama.
I am so excited! We’re going to have lots of mother-daughter time on the beach and spa (hint. hint.) and possibly hike a bit!  We are going to read ALL THE BOOKS.

I’m thinking of buying a GoPro for the trip/just to have (read: cute sorority videos!)—I’ve been looking at the (discontinued) Hero 3+ Black edition, but it’s pricy ($300-$400 with a monopod and SD card added).
Have any of you loved your experiences with GoPros?
Have you found them worth the money?
Heeeellllppp. I really really really really want one, but I want to feel like my purchase is justified.

Dairy-free Lemon and Champagne Pound Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

So why did I start this post with Great Gatsby and champagne and Valentine’s day?

Because at the end of Valentine’s day, after having split a bottle of very, very nice champagne, N and I fell asleep and I awoke to find I had an oxymoron come true mournfully sitting on my counter—leftover champagne.
I needed to do something delicious with the leftover Veuve other than letting it sadly fizzle out before pouring it down the drain, so I made a cake that N could partake in, too.

Dairy-free lemon and champagne pound cake, with a dense, tight crumb delightfully laced with bright lemon and fruity champagne.
This cake had the best pound cake texture I have ever tasted or seen or cut in my life.  So smooth and dense.
It’s topped with a boozy champagne and lemon glaze, as well as a thick, drippy vanilla glaze that’s sweet and salty all at once.

It’s quick and easy to make, and makes for perfect afternoon slices with tea.  It’s a cake made for noshing—thin slice after thin slice.
The glazes are finger-licking good, and there’s nothing quite like the mouthfeel of a good pound cake, toothsome and dense.

Dairy-free Lemon and Champagne Pound Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Dairy-Free Lemon and Champagne Pound Cake
makes 1 10-cup bundt cake

for the cake:
225 grams (16 tablespoons) Earth Balance buttery sticks or other dairy-free margarine
400 grams (2 cups) sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon (about 45 mL=3 tablespoons)
360 grams (3 cups) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup champagne (I used Veuve Cliquot, but the quality is not of great importance here)

for the lemon-champagne glaze:
juice of 1 lemon (45 mL=3 tablespoons)
30 mL (2 tablespoons) champagne
tiny pinch salt
125 grams (1 cup) (or as needed) powdered sugar, sifted

for the vanilla icing:
3-4 tablespoons almond milk or coconut cream (or heavy cream, if not dairy-free)
125 grams (1 cup) (or as needed) powdered sugar, sifted
pinch salt
splash vanilla extract

directions:
Make the cake: grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan very well and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat margarine on high speed for 3 minutes until very fluffy.
Add the sugar and salt and beat for another full 3 minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add in the eggs one at a time while the mixer is running; after all are added, increase speed and beat for 5 full minutes.
Add in the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix slightly.
Dump the flour on top of the batter and the baking powder and baking soda on top of the flour.
Begin to mix slowly; after the flour is halfway worked in, begin adding the champagne in a steady stream.
Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds, or until just homogeneous.
Scrape the bowl and mix for 15 more seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
To make the lemon-champagne glaze, whisk lemon juice, champagne, and salt together, then sift the powdered sugar over while whisking vigorously to prevent lumps.
Add more powdered sugar if the glaze is too thin, then pour over the cake, being sure to cover the entire surface.
To make the vanilla glaze, whisk milk/cream, vanilla, and salt together, then sift the powdered sugar over.
If the glaze is too thin, again add more powdered sugar (and maybe a small pinch of salt).
Spread/pour the vanilla glaze over the lemon/champagne glaze and allow to set before cutting cake.

B.I.G.

Funfetti cake with chocolate caramel buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

“Birthdays was the worst days,
now we sip champagne when we thirsty…”

Juicy, Biggie Smalls

Funfetti cake with chocolate caramel buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy belated to the BEST BIG EVER!
Guys, it was Hana’s 21st birthday this past week (what! I know. I am a child) and we had too much a lot of fun!
When people ask me why I love my sorority so much, I immediately think of Hana.
Honestly, our friendship has been a really important part of my year.  I can’t imagine being in Theta without her.
She is the perfect big and impressively puts up with me being her spawn—I am so grateful.

Speaking of Theta, THANK YOU to all who donated or raised awareness for CASA.
Mr. University was yesterday and it was a raging success.
WE RAISED $46,000 for CASA, which means we absolutely smashed our original goal of $25,000.
I am so happy and so so thankful to all of our donors.
It was a ton of work but there’s no better feeling than working hard and having a success that will truly make a difference for a great cause like CASA.

Funfetti cake with chocolate caramel buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

 For Hana’s birthday, despite having just made 200 cupcakes (lol), I just had to make her a cake for the dinner we had with her close friends.

I chose a funfetti base, with lots and lots of sprinkles; it’s dense with a tight crumb and a light vanilla flavor.
The cake was frosted with silky chocolate-caramel buttercream, with a hit of salt and cocoa.
Finally, I had to finish the cake with tons of sprinkles, because a 21st birthday calls for fun and sprinkles=fun. Duh.

This was a perfect little 2-layer 6-inch cake, but would scale very well; I really like this vanilla cake recipe and it may just be my new go-to.  The only way to know for sure is more testing.
And more eating.  What a burden that will be!

Funfetti cake with chocolate caramel buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Mini Funfetti Cake with Choco-Caramel Frosting
makes 1 2-layer 6-inch cake
cake portion adapted from Sweetapolita

ingredients:
for the cake:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, soft
200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
2 eggs
45 mL (3 tablespoons) heavy cream
60 mL (5 tablespoons) water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175 grams (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) flour
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sprinkles of choice

for the frosting:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, soft
pinch of kosher salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons caramel sauce (I used this recipe)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream

to finish:
lots and lots of sprinkles

directions:
Make the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour 2 6-inch pans.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 2 minutes.
Add in the sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
Add in the eggs and beat for 4 full minutes.
Stir the heavy cream, water, and vanilla extract together.
Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Add the wet and dry ingredients to the batter, starting and ending with dry.
Scrape the bowl and beat on high for 30 seconds to ensure homogeneity.
Very carefully stir in the sprinkles, being sure not to swirl too much (the colors will bleed).
Portion out the batter into prepared pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place the butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
While mixing, stream in the chocolate and then the caramel sauce; beat for 2 more minutes.
Add in the powdered sugar slowly while beating, then stream in the heavy cream and beat on high speed for 1 more minute.
Fill and frost the sides of the cake only.
Place a ton of sprinkles in a dish and roll the cake in the sprinkles, using the top and bottom to roll it around.
Then, frost the top (carefully) and pat sprinkles all over it.
Stick candles in it and enjoy!

CASA x Theta!

CASA Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

 The mission of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused or neglected child can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive.

CASA Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Why on earth, you might ask, would a single girl, in the middle of midterm season, undertake the making of 200 cupcakes for a seemingly random Thursday night event?

I’ll tell you: because I love my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.
It’s the sisterhood that I never had growing up as the only girl in my family.  It’s the best friends I could have ever asked for, and the most steady, supportive sounding board I could have imagined.

I’ll tell you why else: because I love our philanthropy, CASA.
Having grown up in such a steady, loving family, I cannot fathom what it’s like to experience truly being alone; to not have a rock to cling to in hard times; to have to fend for yourself before you’re all grown up.

CASA Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Court Appointed Special Advocates provides mentors and advocates for at-risk, underprivileged children in the court system.

Volunteers become a child’s anchor as they are thrown into the milieu of the foster system.
CASA helps kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to thrive and flourish with an adult’s love and guidance.
If you’re curious, read more about CASA and the work they’re doing for underprivileged children here.

Seriously, guys—how important and special is that?

Theta’s goal this year is to raise $25,000 for CASA of Cooke County.  The pre-event tonight is a fun way to raise awareness and garner attention to our fantastic philanthropy.

CASA Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Making cupcakes, logically, is one of the best ways I could think of to help with tonight’s pre-event.
200 cupcakes doesn’t seem like so many when you’re doing it to raise money for a good cause.

The flavors pictured here are:
vanilla sprinkle
chocolate nutella
salted caramel
red velvet

I donated 2 cakes to the raffle prizes, so tonight, two people will win the cakes of their dreams!

CASA Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

If you’re interested in donating (even 1 dollar makes a huge difference, but don’t feel pressured), the link is here:
Donate to Theta x CASA!

CASA Cupcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I used this recipe for chocolate cupcakes and this recipe for nutella buttercream.
This recipe for red velvet cupcakes (I winged the cream cheese frosting).
And finally, this recipe for the vanilla and funfetti cupcakes.
Caramel from here.

xx

Left Footed

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

 Left foot, right foot, breathe.

-Pat Summit

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

Midterm season.  Run.
Trip, clumsy, with leaden feet and wearied mind.
Make it through with 3 hours of sleep and 37 pages of painstaking notes.  Promise yourself a nap, forget to take one.
(Did you even remember to take your vitamins? Tsk.)

Lose—at the end of the simultaneously hellish and fabulous weekend—your last assignment, nearly finished (one question left!) to the perilous brink of Autosave in Word.
Redo the four page lab, tears in your eyes and hate in your heart, and fall into bed—alas— at 2 am.

Monday: forget how to function; forget how to swim; forget how to run and jump and write your name.
Remember, and breathe; remember, and breathe.

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche
I am currently embarking on an (insane) journey to get 200 cupcakes made and delivered to a philanthropy pre-event that my sorority is hosting this Thursday.

I baked 100+ today.  Tomorrow will be the rest and frosting.

I’ve never seen this many cupcakes before in my life.  It’s pretty intense over here guys—I have no space in my kitchen—and the cupcake towers have gone vertical and are only climbing.
From Alexa: “it’s like Japan!”

Wait. Did I just hear a crash coming from my kitchen?!
(I kid.  Cupcake Tokyo will live to see another morning.)

Lots of delicious flavors—nutella, funfetti, red velvet, caramel, etc. so if you’re from UChicago and reading this, come to the pre-event on Thursday and eat one for free!!

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

So, I’m keeping this brief here because I am tired and need to read the ever-engaging textbook from my Genetics class.

These little buttery cookies are a perfect rendition of a classic shortbread.  They’re dipped in chocolate and pecans to make them extra special, but to be honest, they don’t really need it.
The rich dough needs little accompaniment: it’s a beloved classic for a reason, friends.

Still, it is awfully, terribly hard to resist a buttery, slightly crumbly cookie dipped in deep, dark chocolate with a smattering of crunchy pecans.

I brought these to a superbowl party (not exactly football fare, but whatever) and they were gone within 10 minutes.
Always a good sign.

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

Even though I’ve shared this quote before, it’s one of my favorites:

“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.”

—Tyler Knott Gregson

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread | La Pêche Fraîche

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread
makes 30 cookies

ingredients:
3 cups (360 grams) flour
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250 grams) butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
vanilla sugar, optional
4 ounces melted dark chocolate
chopped nuts, optional

directions:
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high for 3 minutes.
Add the sugar and salt and beat for 3 more minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg; beat for 5 more minutes.
Add the vanilla extract and the flour and slowly mix until homogeneous.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4-1/2 an inch and cut out desired shapes; press the tops in a little vanilla sugar if desired.
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and into the freezer.
Freeze for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, then bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
Allow cookies to cool completely, then dip half of each cookie in melted dark chocolate.
Top with nuts while the chocolate is still wet, then place in the fridge for 5 minutes to set.

Softie

Lofthouse Cookie Clones | La Pêche Fraîche

In the end, these things matter most:
how well did you love, how fully did you live, how deeply did you learn to let go?

-Siddhartha Gautama

Lofthouse Cookie Clones | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here, this sweet little photo story about capturing life’s little moments on film is a perfect way to start your day.
“People are just lost in their own world when they’re kissing.”

Or, in the vein of the links I shared in my last post, here’s the app for the 36 questions to fall in love.  Brilliant.

Lofthouse Cookie Clones | La Pêche Fraîche

I wasn’t going to share these here, but they turned out so darn fluffy and cute that I had to pull out my camera and snap a few shots.

Plus, they’re pink.
To share them right after Valentine’s would be a shame.
So are these cookies, pink and fluffy and heart-winning, on Valentine’s morning.
Still have time to bake for your sweetie?  Make these, they’re fast and buttery and therefore universally loved.

Lofthouse Cookie Clones | La Pêche Fraîche

These Lofthouse-like cookies are buttery and rich, with slightly crispy edges and soft, fluffy centers; they’re topped with a veritable cloud of thick frosting and a smattering of sprinkles.
The cookie itself is soft vanilla, and it is topped with the creamiest, dreamiest pink American buttercream frosting–the epitome of soft and vanilla!
A light hand of sprinkles finishes them off.
These are classic and simple and delicious.

Lofthouse Cookie Clones | La Pêche Fraîche

Sending love, bisous, and positive vibrations to all my readers every day, but especially today.

xx

Lofthouse Cookie Clones | La Pêche Fraîche

Lofthouse Cookie Clones
cookies portion adapted from Cooking Classy
makes 15-16 large cookies

ingredients:
300 grams (2 1/2 cups) flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
170 grams (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, soft
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

for the frosting:
225 grams (1 cup) butter, soft
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
drop red food coloring
sprinkles, optional, for decorating

directions:
Make the cookies: whisk flour, cornstarch, and baking powder together; set aside.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed until very soft, pale, and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add in the sugar and salt and beat for 3 more minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the egg and egg white; beat for a full 4 minutes, streaming the vanilla in while mixing.
Scrape the bowl and beat on high speed for 30 seconds to ensure homogeneity.
Add in the flour mixture all at once, then mix on very low speed, increasing the speed as the mixture becomes cohesive.
Once the batter is thick and homogeneous, stop mixing.
Scoop out 1/3 cup size scoops with an ice cream scoop; place on parchment lined sheets.
Using a glass dipped in flour, very lightly press down on the cookies to flatten.
Chill the cookies for at least 15 minutes in your freezer, or 30 minutes in your fridge.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake each sheet of cookies for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly on the sheet and completely on a rack.
To make the frosting, place the soft butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat on high speed for 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin slowly adding the powdered sugar while mixing on low speed.
Once the sugar is all mixed in, stream in half of the heavy cream and the food coloring.
If it reaches a fluffy, smooth consistency with half of the cream, stop.
If not, stream in the rest of the cream and beat on high speed until incorporated.
Frost the cookies very generously, finishing with sprinkles.

Red, Red

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

“I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day!

Here is another cake to add to your to-make-for-loved-ones list.
Other cakes I can think of for V-day:

this most recent chocolate covered strawberry delight
this red-berry strewn cake, accompanied by my favorite poem
these pink and red cakelets, fluffy and elegant
or, for a chocolate fix,
these sexy, whole-wheat (didn’t think those could go together? Think again.) brownies with glossy ganache
or, for a French dessert fix,
these petites Madeleines, soaked in tart lemon syrup, sticky and dense and delectable.

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Things that have moved me lately (laugh, cry, feel, and love, love love):

How to fall in love with anyone.
/How to fall out of love with anyone. (lol)

This beautiful, heartwrenching photo story about a couple who both have cancer.  Beautiful.

These terrible valentines.  #6.

This adorable duo.  The tiniest kitten and his best doggie friend.  True love and friendship.

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Food I’ve been drooling over lately:

Ohhhh, these scrambled eggs. These are love on a plate and if I woke up to these with fresh squeezed orange juice and hot, toasted, crispy baguette I would be the happiest girl alive (too bad N doesn’t read my blog, this is a gimme).

While I maintain that pie is always love, this pie is extra.
Salty/sweet/floral depending on your honey.
From Four and Twenty Blackbirds, so you know it’s good.
(+added bonus of pie tips!)

Churros. You can never go wrong with churros.
Sam, won’t you come live with me please?!

This is the most lovely heart shaped bundt cake in the world; and I am the world’s biggest sucker for lemon glaze.

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

This cake is a 1950s dream.
Red velvet, creamy white frosting, dark chocolate malt balls.
It’s the kind of cake you would see in a diner or, if Kerri Russell ever made cakes, one that she would whip up.

Red velvet, in all its dyed and bright glory, is worth the few teaspoons of red No.5 that you will ingest.
Beet cakes will never be red velvet.
I love you, I love beets, and I’m sorry, but they won’t be.
When I want a traditional cake, I want it made right.

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

So that’s what we’re doing here.
Making it the right way.

The red velvet cake is adapted from Magnolia (you know it’s going to be good!), and is lusciously moist, with a fine crumb and a distinctive, slightly cocoa-y, buttermilk tangy flavor.
The frosting is a fluffy cloud of cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream, not overly sweet and firm enough to pipe, with a balance of the buttery flavor of a traditional European buttercream and the very necessary and traditional American cream cheese frosting, without which red velvet would not be the same.
The cake is dolled up with lashings of dark chocolate ganache and dark chocolate malt balls, toasty and sweet, and a shower of powdered sugar to finish.

Each thick slice is a little piece of cake heaven, with the traditional flavors of red velvet, made better with extra butter and a touch of chocolate (totally necessary for Lover’s day, right!?).

It really is red velvet in all its glory!

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

A few notes about this recipe:
You could top this cake with sprinkles or truffles or really nothing at all, the frosting alone is a statement.

If you’re not 100% absolutely confident in meringue buttercreams, do not make this one.  It is tricky.  Start with a non-cream cheese meringue buttercream first (like this beautiful pink one), or make a cream cheese frosting like Rosie’s or a cooked milk frosting like Pioneer Woman’s).

ACV or white vinegar will work in the recipe.
Make sure to chill your cake before pouring hot ganache over it.
Set a timer for beating your eggs/butter (I usually underestimate the time it takes to fully cream butter and sugar).

Red food coloring: I use Americolor.  I know it incorporates seamlessly and it gives me great color with a small amount.
That being said, you could use liquid (you’ll need more, maybe ~2 tablespoons) or Wilton (I’ve had plenty of success with their red food coloring, but it comes in small tubs so I’ve a huge bottle of Americolor now).
Cocoa: don’t use extra dark cocoa, as it might tint your cake darker than you’d like.

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

“The sexiest thing in the world is being really smart.
And thoughtful.
And being generous.
Everything else is crap.”

—Ashton Kutcher

Red velvet cake with cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Dolled-Up Red Velvet Cake
makes 1 6-inch layer cake
cake portion adapted from Baking in Pyjamas

ingredients:
for the red velvet cake:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
30 grams cocoa powder
333 grams (1 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup) sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons red gel food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
240 grams (1 3/4 cups) flour
240 mL (1 cup) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

for the cream cheese Italian meringue buttercream:
3 egg whites
125 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
pinch salt
3 tablespoons water
2 sticks of butter, soft but still cool and cubed
225 grams (8 ounces, 1 block) cream cheese
225 grams (2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted

for the ganache:
140 grams (10 tablespoons) butter
60 grams (1/4 cup) half-and-half
pinch salt
200 grams dark chocolate, chopped finely

to assemble:
malt balls
powdered sugar

directions:
Make the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour 3 6-inch pans.
Beat butter until soft and light, about 3 minutes if already softened.
Add in the cocoa powder, salt, and sugar and beat for 3 full minutes; the mixture should be glossy and very fluffy.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the eggs, food coloring, and vanilla extract.
Beat for 5 full minutes; the mixture should have tripled in size.
Scrape the bowl and dump the flour on top of the butter.
Place the baking soda over the flour.
Mix the buttercream and vinegar together.
Start mixing the flour into the batter at a very low speed; simultaneously, start drizzling in the buttermilk.
Once all is incorporated, beat on high speed for 20 seconds to ensure homogeneity.
Portion out the batter equally into your 3 pans and bake for 20-22 minutes, until springy to the touch and a tester comes out nearly clean.
Allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the cream cheese meringue buttercream: whip cream cheese until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Scrape into another bowl and set aside (leave at room temp!).
Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Place the sugar, water, and salt into a small pot over medium heat.
Begin to whip the whites as you heat the sugar syrup; once it reaches 240 degrees F, your whites should be nearly stiff peaks.
At 242-245 degrees F, slowly and carefully drizzle the sugar syrup into the whipping egg whites.
Beat until nearly body temp; add in the slightly soft butter 1 cube at a time.
Continue to whip (even if it looks curdled!) until the buttercream comes together and makes a whapping sound against the bowl.
Scrape the whipped cream cheese into the buttercream and add in 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar.
Slowly mix the icing, increasing once it is nearly homogeneous.
Don’t beat too much.
Place in fridge for 5 minutes if needed to slightly firm up.
To frost the cake, do a crumb coat then freeze.
Apply the rest of the frosting, then freeze again.
Use a knife dipped in hot water and then dried off to smooth the icing perfectly, then chill until you drizzle the ganache.
To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl.
Heat the butter and half and half until boiling, then pour over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, whip with a whisk until the ganache is glossy and shiny.
Pour over the edges of the cake.
Pipe little stars on the edge of a cake, then top with a malt ball and a shower of powdered sugar.

Trending

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

“As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts
Oh, the warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms
Was it love or fear of the cold that led us through the night?
For every kiss your beauty trumped my doubt.”

—Mumford and Sons, Winter Winds

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Current mood: ecstatic.
Reasons: Game of Thrones Season 5 trailer was released.
The Game of Thrones Season 5 trailer was released two days ago and I have watched it 19 and a half times.
Despite the half foot of snow that smothered Chicago on Sunday and the reading and pset sitting in my “to-do” pile, I am very, very happy.

(I just watched episode 2 of season 1 for, incidentally, the 19th time…  Am I obsessed yet?  Yes.)

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

If you’re anywhere on Pinterest or instagram (hey, you! Go follow me. The link in under that picture –> over there), you know about the naked cake boom that has been taking over weddings, pastry, and the food-blogosphere.
They’re trending.
#nakedcake

What is a naked cake?  It’s a cake whose layers show through the (minimal) frosting.  They’re often topped with berries or flowers, and they are so so so pretty as big tiered towers.

Here, check out this beautiful board of cakes.  OMg.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

I thought a ~naked~ cake would be perfect for Valentine’s day.
Did I just say that?  Oh, God.  I was joking.
(My dearest father is cringing somewhere.  Sorry family.)

This is the first one I made.
I learned some lessons along the way.

First, choose a sturdy cake.  You don’t want a ton of crumbs.
Second, also use a thick, sturdy frosting.  You want it to hold up even in a fairly thin layer.
Third, berries always look amazing on top of a cake.  And they would be delicious inside of the cake, provided that you don’t have a roommate who is averse to fruit.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

The cake base for this cake is my absolute go-to chocolate cake; it’s a recipe I’ve been working on and modifying slightly as time progresses. It’s perfectly moist and finely-crumbed while staying sturdy and not falling apart.
It slices like a marvel and is deeply chocolaty with a hint of balancing salt and a firm bite.

The frosting is a traditional American buttercream with a twist: a touch of goat cheese gives it creamy tang, with an earthiness that pairs well with cocoa.  A touch of cream keeps it soft and spreadable, and a shower of powdered sugar plays the foil to the deep, damp cake.

The chocolate covered strawberries on top make the cake extra special, and seriously…
Who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries?! 
They make pretty much anything that much better.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

For my first naked cake, I’m pleased with how it turned out.
Soon, I want to try a vanilla cake so I can frost it even more sparsely (less worry about dark crumbs).

Also, after I just wrote that, I realized I have made one naked cake before: this rouge-fruited beauty.

Anyways, in keeping with the February spirit aka oh-god-it’s-almost-Valentine’s-day panic, I’m leaving you with this cake.
It’s got chocolate, and cheese, and chocolate-covered strawberries; it’s naked and surprising; it will win over any Valentine whom you desire*.
*results may vary

xx

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Chocolate Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting (and Chocolate Covered Strawberries)
makes 1 6-inch 3-layer cake

ingredients:
for the chocolate cake:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

for the goat cheese frosting:
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, soft
3 ounces soft goat cheese, warmed to room temp
1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar, to taste
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream

for the chocolate drizzled/covered strawberries:
8 ounces strawberries, smaller is better
3 ounces dark chocolate
(sliced strawberries, optional, for between the layers)

directions:
Make the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter and flour 3 6-inch round pans.
Whisk the oil, sugar, salt, and egg together vigorously until lighter in color and fully homogeneous.
Whisk the cocoa powder and vanilla extract into the hot water, then slowly stream it into the sugar mixture while whisking quickly.
Dump the flour on top of the batter and the baking soda on top of the flour.
Gently beat/stir to incorporate all of the flour evenly.
Portion batter out into prepared pans (you may have a little extra).
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the tops are springy and a tester comes out nearly clean.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: beat the butter on high speed for 5 minutes, until super fluffy and light.
Beat in the goat cheese and salt until completely homogenized.
Sift the confectioner’s sugar over the butter and cheese and slowly stir to combine; increase speed until completely mixed in and the frosting is fluffy.
Pour in cream 1 tablespoon at a time while whipping at high speed until the frosting is a pipeable consistency.
To frost the cake, place 1/3-1/2 cup frosting between each of the layers, then use the remaining frosting to crumb coat/frost the outside and top of the naked cake (optional: layer sliced strawberries over the frosting between the layers).
To make the chocolate covered strawberries, melt the chocolate over low heat, either over a bain marie or in a microwave.
When 3/4 of the way melted, whisk vigorously until the rest of the chocolate is melted and is shiny and smooth.
Dip or drizzle the strawberries as desired (do this over a piece of parchment paper).
Allow to cool and harden completely, then top the cake with the strawberries.

Fit For A Queen

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Love, whose month is ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair,
Playing in the wanton air:
Through the velvet leaves the wind,
All unseen can passage find;
That the lover, sick to death,
Wish’d himself the heaven’s breath.

–Shakespeare, Love’s Labour Lost, Act IV, scene 3

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Oh, I know, this month is never May.
It’s snowy and windy and cold instead.
(It’s not even snowing that much here in Chicago.  For you poor folks on the east coast, I’ll keep quiet.
My advice—find a good movie or book and a cup of hot cocoa or soup and curl up for the day.
Snow storm or not, that’s what I wish I was doing…)

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

These cute little cakes are miniature prinsesstårta.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, princess cakes are Swedish pastries, traditionally favored by princesses.

These are like traditional prinsesstårta, only mini: a simple round of soft vanilla sponge is spread with a layer of tart raspberry jam and then a heaping dome of barely sweetened whipped cream hides away a single raspberry in the center.
The creamy little snowball is topped with pink marzipan, sweet and fragrant with almonds, and a dusting of powdered sugar atop another perfect berry.

They’re really, really delightful.
Light and not too sweet (and thus a very European dessert), with the floral almond contrasting wonderfully to the raspberry, with vanilla and cream playing (very important) supporting roles.
They taste very much like shortbread or shortcake to me, with the combination of fruit and cream.

I definitely recommend giving these a try—the assembly is really not difficult, and the final product looks like it came out of the pastry case of a little Swedish pâtisserie.

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Mini pink prinsesstårta with ruby red raspberries would be perfect for a light Valentine’s day dessert.
If you are really, really kind and love your S.O. very much, you might be able to split one cake.
But you should really each plan on having two one.
Trust me.

There will be more sweets for your sweetie gracing this page soon, because once I’m out of the weeds of 4th week (Two science midterms in 4 days. Ouch.), I fully intend on getting lost in some butter, flour, and sugar to soothe my ego, which will most certainly be aching.

For more inspiration, check out some of last year’s V-day treats:

strawberry pocky cake
grapefruit possets
mendiants

Pee. Ess. check out Molly’s gorgeous mini princess cakes!
(How can anyone not just adore her and her blog? Ugh so much mooshy blog love.)

Mini Raspberry Princess Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Mini Raspberry Prinsesstårta (Princess Cakes)
sponge portion adapted from Poires au Chocolat

ingredients:
for the sponge:
80 grams flour
30 grams cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of fine sea salt
3 eggs
25 mL cold water
120 grams sugar

to assemble:
480 mL (2 cups) heavy (double) cream, cold
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup raspberry jam
15 raspberries
200 grams marzipan, tinted however you like
powdered sugar

directions:
Make the sponge: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease, line with parchment paper, and lightly flour an 11×15 inch jelly roll pan.
Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and sea salt together.
Separate eggs and place whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Whisk the egg yolks with the cold water and sugar for 4 minutes (until pale and fluffier), then sprinkle the flour mixture over and gently fold in until mostly combined (some pockets of flour should be present).
Begin to whip the egg whites with the whisk attachment; whip until they reach stiff peaks.
Fold the egg whites in, gently, to the egg yolk mixture.
Fold until the flour pockets are gone and the egg whites are all incorporated homogeneously.
Do not over-fold.
Spread the batter all over the jelly-roll pan.
Bake for 12 minutes, until golden and springy in the middle.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.
Cut 2-3 inch rounds while still somewhat warm; discard/snack on scraps.
Allow the rounds to cool before assembling.
To assemble, first roll the marzipan out very thinly and cut rounds that are approximately 2 inches larger in diameter than the sponge cake rounds.
Spread a small amount of raspberry jam onto the cakes, then place a raspberry in the center.
Heap up whipped cream on the cake, shaping it with a mini offset spatula into a dome shape.
Drape marzipan over the cake and smooth, folding wrinkles to look uniform.
Repeat with all the rounds.
Top each with a second raspberry and a dusting of powder sugar.
Serve slightly chilled, with strong tea.