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  1. Tuesday, April 1

    Pretty Food: Brie Phyllo Torte with Fresh Raspberries

    Years ago my friend Liz hosted a cheese party at her home. If you showed up with a bottle of wine, she gave you a plate of cheese! Okay, so it was actually a little fancier and more involved than that. She had gone to who knows how many cheese shops and gathered who knows how many cheeses and had them set up at different tables, organized by strength. Have you ever been to a cheese tasting? It’s really fun! You start with the mildest cheeses and work your way up. And you JUST EAT THE CHEESE. Leave the bread and crackers at home, this experience is about really tasting the cheeses, appreciating the nuanced differences of each type. It was a delicious, educational and fun night that obviously left an impression on me and changed the way I looked at cheese.

    brie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynard

    There truly is an art to cheese, one that I am woefully uneducated about but also very much appreciate. Nate lived in Paris for a few years back in the day, so we have a bias towards French cheeses. When I had the chance to work on a post for Président, trying out one of their recipes and sharing it with you, I jumped. We love brie and camembert and love to buy Président when we indulge!

    brie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynard

    A few years ago, Nate and I went to Paris together. We ate so many wonderful foods, including cheese of course! As I was looking through Paris photos this morning to include in this post, I laughed when I discovered the very first photo I took in Paris was of a small round of Président camembert we bought on our first day in that marvelous city! No wonder that’s the cheese I always buy – we can enjoy a bit of France right here in California!

    Président Cheese in Paris from @janemaynard

    By the way, les crèmeries are to Paris what Dunkin’ Donuts are to Boston. I couldn’t believe how many cheese shops there were, and they all looked like this. No wonder the French have mastered the art of cheese.

    crèmerie in paris from @janemaynard

    The recipe I am sharing with you today comes from Président’s website, where you can find all kinds of easy gourmet recipes. I chose this particular recipe because it not only sounded delicious but it was downright pretty. This beautiful torte would be perfect to serve at any party, but a cheese party would be especially lovely. It can serve as a nice alternative to the straight-up cheese tasting but still fit into the theme of the evening. Also, even though the torte might look intimidating to make, it actually is quite easy to throw together. You can totally impress without the stress!

    brie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynardparchment paper strip for brie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynardbrie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynardbrie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynardbrie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynardbrie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynardbrie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynardbrie phyllo torte with raspberries from @janemaynard

    Also, this food looked gorgeous at every step of the cooking process. Sorry for all the pictures, but I just couldn’t help myself.

    (>> Find out more…)


  2. Wednesday, April 7

    White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

    A few months ago, my friend Rachel’s babysitter, Maria, made a cake for Rachel’s birthday. I couldn’t stay for the whole party, so Rachel sent me home with a generous amount of cake (that’s a good friend, eh?). The cake was white, the frosting was white…I knew it would be good, but I wasn’t that excited since there was no chocolate involved. Then we ate the cake. Oh. My. Goodness. It was wonderful, and the frosting was amazing…and completely mysterious. We couldn’t quite figure out what it was made of.  As soon as we finished our cake, I emailed Rachel asking her to beg Maria for the recipe.

    raspberry white chocolate cake web

    Thankfully Maria likes to share. Below is the recipe for the most wonderful White Chocolate Raspberry Cake this side of anywhere. I hope you love it as much as I do. (Sorry, no picture of a cut slice…we had friends over that night to enjoy this cake with us and the whole thing was gone by the end of the evening, no joke!)

    P.S. – I will have a follow-up cake recipe tomorrow. You won’t want to miss that one either.

    White Chocolate Raspberry Cake
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 3 oz White chocolate; chopped
    • ¾ cup Milk; divided
    • 1¾ cup All-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp Baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon Salt
    • ⅓ cup Butter; at room temperature
    • 1 cup Granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Raspberry Extract
    • 4 Eggs
    • White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting {Recipe Follows}
    • ⅛ tsp Red Food Color
    • 1 cup Raspberries
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round baking pans.
    2. Melt white chocolate with about half of the milk in a small, heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate starts to melt. Remove from heat; stir until smooth. Stir in remaining milk. Let cool.
    3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until soft and smooth. Add sugar and raspberry extract; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well-combined. Alternately add flour mixture and white chocolate mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
    4. Jane Note: Several people have commented that their cake did not rise when using this recipe. This recipe has worked for me and for the woman who gave me the recipe, as well as for other commenters. Cakes are sensitive in terms of the mixing process and, when not mixed properly, can collapse when cooking. Butter and sugar should be well mixed, eggs semi-mixed, and flour barely mixed at all. I would recommend the following technique when mixing in the ingredients in the above paragraph. Beat the butter for 30 seconds alone on medium-high speed. Add sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating for 3 minutes between each addition, at medium-high speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed for 30 seconds after each egg. When adding the flour and chocolate mixtures (alternating as directed), beat on low speed and mix until just combined. Beat for 10-20 seconds at medium-high speed at the end for one final mix. Following this technique should increase the chances that your cake will NOT collapse in the oven.
    5. Spread batter in pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely.
    6. Stir food color into ⅔ cup of the frosting until well blended (I actually didn't do this part...I just kept all the icing white, mostly because I didn't read the recipe carefully 😉 ). Place 1 cake layer on serving plate. Spread with the tinted frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting. Top with raspberries just before serving. Store cake in the refrigerator.

    White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 6 oz white chocolate (melt as directed on package, then cool 5 mins)
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • ¼ cup butter (softened)
    • 2 tsp raspberry extract (I'm thinking of leaving this out sometime to use with other cakes/rolls/etc)
    • 2 cup confectioners sugar
    Instructions
    1. Beat cream cheese and buter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium (I used my KitchenAid) until well blended. Add cooled white chocolate and raspberry extract. Mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy (I let the KitchenAid go for several minutes and the frosting truly got light and fluffy).