Ola Rokita

Hi! I am Ola and I want to share with you my simple baking recipes that can change your life and how you feel.
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Fruit Yeast Cake

Ola Rokita22 August 2020Comments (2)

Fruit yeast cake

 

Making a fruit yeast cake can be an excellent way to use up your leftover fruit or berries before they go bad. Simply cut up some strawberries and mix them with blueberries or raspberries.

The sweet and slightly sour taste of berries, mixed with a fluffy and delicate yeast cake, makes this a perfect combination.

Fruit yeast cake means summer to me

This fruit yeast cake recipe makes me think of summer. As a child, I would often devour it with a warm cup of milk after a swim in the Mazurian lakes on summer evenings.

Even today, when I eat fruit yeast cake, I pour myself a cup of milk or make a “bawarka”, which is warm tea with a hint of milk, to accompany my indulgence.

Top it with a crunch!

I enjoy making this recipe with an extra crunch. The perfect way to combine the juicy fruit and soft texture of the cake is to top it off with a lightly sweet crumble.

I like to make mine with brown sugar because it adds a hint of caramel and compliments the sour taste of berries perfectly.

Sweet or not too sweet

Some people also like to coat their fruit yeast cakes with a sugar glaze on top of the crumble, but I find that the glaze adds too much sweetness. I prefer desserts that are not overwhelmingly sweet. By adding too much sugar, many of the other delicate flavors disappear.

I like giving presence to all the different flavors in my recipes rather than a single one. Retaining balance in baking is important to allow for a symphony of flavors to compliment each other and produce a pleasing taste for your taste buds. Plus, why add the extra calories when a small quantity of sugar goes a long way.

My favorite flour for making Fruit Yeast Cakes

For yeast cakes, I always use wheat flour from Poland, type 550. It has a good amount of protein and enough gluten to make the cake extra fluffy.

Also, since this is a traditional Polish recipe, I like using the same type of flour my grandmother used, and make it as authentic as possible. If you don’t have access to Polish flour, all-purpose wheat flour will work as well.

 

Fruit Yeast Cake - Dough

Ingredients

  • cups wheat flour Polish Type 550
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6 tbsp cane or white sugar
  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk
  • tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp salt

Instructions

  1. In a pot, combine milk, eggs, egg yolk, and sugar using a whisk while warming the contents over a low heat until the ingredients reach lukewarm temperature.

    mix eggs with milk and sugar
  2. Remove from the stove top, make sure the mixture is not too hot, and add the yeast. Whisk it all together and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

    add yeast
  3. In the meantime, using a bowl from a stand mixer, combine the flour, vanilla, and salt. Mix the ingredients with a spoon.

  4. Pour the combined liquid ingredients into the bowl with the flour, and mix all the ingredients together with a spoon.

    add flour
  5. Using a dough hook, knead the dough for about 5 - 8 minutes, or until the dough starts pealing off the walls of the bowl.

    kneading dough
  6. When the dough is being kneaded, in a small pot, melt the butter over a low heat. Make sure not to burn it. Let the melted butter cool off for a few minutes.

    melted butter
  7. While the dough continues to knead, slowly pour in the melted butter.

  8. Continue kneading until the butter is absorbed into the dough.

  9. Once the dough is well kneaded, the consistency is elastic, and the outside has a slight sheen, cover the dough with a clean dish towel and let it rest for 45 - 60 minutes.

    dough ready to rest
  10. As the dough is resting, prepare the fruit and the crumble (see recipes below on how to prepare the fruit and the crumble.)

  11. Once the dough has rested enough, and doubled in size, take it out of the bowl, pour it into a baking pan (size 9" x 13" inches or 23 x 33 cm) lined with parchment paper, and spread it evenly, using your hands.

    spread the dough
  12. Cover the surface of the dough with the prepared berries.

    cover the cake with berries
  13. Using your hands, sprinkle the crumble on top of the fruit evenly.

    cover the cake with crumble
  14. Cover the yeast cake with a clean dish cloth and let it rest for at least an hour.

  15. Preheat the oven to 330° - 350° Fahrenheit, or 165° - 180° Celsius maximum.

    let the cake rest
  16. Bake the cake for 35 - 45 minutes, depending on your oven's temperature.

    baked fruit yeast cake
  17. Check if your cake is browning enough. If after 35 minutes the edges still look pale, bake it for additional 10 minutes or until the juice of the fruit stsrts bubbling on the surface.

 

Fruit for Yeast Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups blueberries

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the strawberries and blueberries.

  2. Using a sharp knife, cut up the strawberries in small chunks and combine them with the blueberries.

  3. You can add a tablespoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of lemon juice to the fruit if the strawberries and the blueberries are a bit tart or not very sweet.

 

Berries and yeast cake

 

Crumble

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp wheat flour Polish type 500 "Krupczatka"
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. In a cup or bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter.

    butter flour and sugar
  2. Using your hands, firmly press the ingredients together, until the texture becomes flaky.

    crumble
  3. Pressing the tips of your fingers, spread the crumble on top of the fruit covered yeast cake.

 

cover the cake with crumble

 

Pita Bread

Ola Rokita17 August 2020Comments (0)

Pita Bread

 

Pita bread has many applications. You can pair it with dips, make a sandwich out of it, or eat it with a cup of soup. I like to toast my pita and munch on it with salads. The possibilities are endless.

Cut Pita

Simple and popular snack with the kids

The other advantage of pita bread is that it’s easy to make. You don’t need any fancy ingredients, and you can bake it in a flash.

It only takes about 3-5 minutes to bake pita at high heat once the dough is ready.

Many delicious ways to enjoy pita bread

My kids can’t get enough of this type of bread either. They love snacking on pita and dipping it in hummus or Lebneh cheese. A type of kefir cream cheese that has a slightly tart taste.

Toasting pita and then spreading some avocado on top, makes it a perfect avocado toast and a healthy snack.

Bring the flavor of the Mediterranean home

If you have friends coming over, you can make this simple pita recipe and serve it with a side of olive oil mixed with garlic and herbs.

Or, mix quarter of a cup of olive oil, with a quarter teaspoon of salt, and half a teaspoon of fresh rosemary. You’ll think you’re sitting by the Mediterranean sea as you enjoy your pita dipped in this flavor-infused olive oil.

Adding some Greek feta cheese to go with your pita makes this a delicious appetizer that’s hard to resist.

Start with the right type of flour

To make my pita bread, I use wheat flour from Poland, type 550. From time to time I also use wheat flour from Italy, type “00”. Both flours work perfectly fine. If you can’t get your hands on European flour, all-purpose will work as well.

You can also substitute half the portion of flour with whole wheat flour to make your pita bread healthier and more nutritious.

 

Pita Bread

Ingredients

  • 5 cups wheat flour (Polish type 550)
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, or a stand mixer bowl, using a whisk mix water, two tablespoons of flour, sugar, and yeast together.

  2. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let it sit on the kitchen counter for 20-25 minutes.

    sponge
  3. After the starting mixture rests, add the remaining flour and salt.

    add flour to the dough
  4. Knead the dough using your hands or a stand mixer equipped with a hook until the dough starts pealing off the walls of the bowl.

    dough
  5. Once the dough starts becoming elastic and peals off the walls of the bowl, add olive oil.

  6. Continue kneading the dough for about 5 - 7 minutes, or until the oil is well absorbed into the dough.

  7. Let the dough rest on the kitchen counter for about one hour and a half, covered with a plastic wrap.

    Expanded
  8. Once rested, divide the dough into 6 or 8 smaller balls.

    dough balls
  9. If you have pizza stone for your oven, prepare two or three sheets of parchment paper, about 18" x 12" (46 cm x 30 cm) in size, and place them on your kitchen counter, or a flat surface.

    This is for placing your rolled out pita breads. If you don't have pizza stone, use baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

  10. Using a pin roller, roll each ball into a flat and thin circle and then lay each one on the parchment paper sheet.

    roll out the dough
  11. Preheat the oven to 450° - 475° Fahrenheit or 235° - 250° Celsius.

  12. Let your pitas rest for 30 - 45 minutes, covered with a clean dish cloth.

    pita dough
  13. Once the pitas had a chance to rest and "puff out", using a pizza peel, gently transfer them to the preheated oven. Place them directly on the pizza stone along with the parchment paper. If you don't have a pizza stone, use baking sheets instead.

    rested dough on pizza peel
  14. Bake for 3-4 minutes. Then, using tongs, flip the pita breads to the other side, and bake for additional 2 minutes.

  15. Remove the baked pita breads from the oven, wrap them in a clean dish cloth and place them in a bread basket to cool off for 10 - 15 minutes. By covering them and trapping the heat, the pita bread will remain soft and easy to tear. If you don't cover your freshly baked pitas, they might become a bit crunchy. Either way, they're delicious!

    pita bread

Coconut Cookies

Ola Rokita02 August 2020Comments (0)

coconut cookies

 

These coconut cookies are very quick to make. They have a refreshing and delicious flavor that pairs beautifully with a cup of summer tea.

I’m a big fan of coconut, so these crispy cookies are the perfect flavor anytime I crave something sweet and nutty.

Enhance the flavor

To enhance the flavor, I add coconut or vanilla greek yoghurt. But if you prefer a more tart flavor or less of the coconut taste, you can use sour cream instead. I also add lemon zest and sometimes a tea spoon of lemon juice to give my cookies that tropical flavor.

If you want to go extreme, once your cookies are baked, dip them in melted semi-sweet chocolate. You’ll be addicted.

Best flour for coconut cookies

Whenever I bake cookies, my favorite flour to use is wheat Polish flour “Krupczatka” type 500. It’s a coarsely milled flour so it helps make the cookies airier and crispier. You may also use all-purpose flour instead, if you don’t have access to flour from Poland,

If you’re trying to avoid gluten, you can replace the wheat flour with half a cup of potato flour and half a cup of rice flour. I also recommend using almond flour. It changes the flavor a bit, but the cookies still turn our perfectly delicious.

 

Coconut Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wheat flour Polish "Krupczatka", type 500, or All-Purpose
  • 1 cup thinly shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup greek yoghurt (plain, vanilla, or coconut)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 6 tbsp powdered sugar
  • tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit or 180° Celsius.

  2. In a medium bowl, add the shredded coconut and yoghurt together, and then mix them with a spoon.

    coconut and yoghurt
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and continue mixing.

    egg and vanilla
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, butter, and powdered sugar together using your hand. You can either work with butter that's at room temperature, or one directly taken from the fridge, but it's easier to work with butter that's at room temperature.

    butter, sugar, and flour
  5. Once the flour, butter and powdered sugar are thoroughly combined, add all the ingredients together.

    combined flour with butter
  6. Continue mixing with your hand until all the ingredients are well combined into a solid cookie-dough ball.

    cookie dough
  7. Prepare a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

  8. Take about a tablespoon of the cookie dough. Roll it into a ball and then as you place it onto the cookie sheet, press it with your palm into a flat circle.

    making cookies
  9. Apply the same process for each cookie.

    ready to bake cookies
  10. Bake your cookies for about 22-25 minutes.

  11. Cool them off for about 15-20 minutes and enjoy with a cup of tea or milk.

Chocolate Muffins

Ola Rokita26 July 2020Comments (0)

Chocolate Muffins

These chocolate muffins are addictive. Crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside, with melted chocolate chips oozing out of the cake. I double the chocolate chips and cocoa powder portions for this recipe to make these chocolate muffins super decadent. The kids love them too because they think they’re eating chocolate cake.

Less effort, better results

I like how little effort this recipe requires and how delicious the muffins turn out. You don’t need a stand or hand mixer. Simple whisk does the trick. In fact I noticed that the less I mix the ingredients, the better the muffins turn out.

Sweet and slightly tart

Always combine the wet ingredients together and add the dry ingredients at the very end. I also add brown sugar to add a gentle caramel-like taste, but you can choose to only use cane sugar. Instead of just milk, I add greek yogurt to add a slight tart flavor, it compliments and balances the rich chocolate flavor nicely. But if you prefer, you can use whole milk instead.

Choose the right flour to enhance this recipe

My favorite flour to use for this recipe is Polish “Tortowa” wheat flour, type 450. If you prefer to make the muffins even more crispier, use half a portion of “Krupczatka” wheat Polish flour type 500 and half a portion of “Tortowa” flour. The two flours create a perfect fluffy center and crisp texture on the outside. If you don’t have Polish flour on hand, all-purpose flour will do as well.

Muffin baking, a fun family activity

To make the experience of baking these chocolate muffins memorable, employ your kids to give you a hand. The key tasks, mixing and whisking, are ones that most kids enjoy. I found that my children love the task of combining the chocolate chips and cocoa, and mixing the rich batter with a spatula.

Happy baking!

 

Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour (Polish type 500 or U.S. All-Purpose)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup greek yogurt
  • cup milk (whole or 2%)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • tbsp hot water
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. In a small pot, melt the butter over low heat. Avoid burning it.

    butter
  2. Set the melted butter aside to cool off.

    melted butter
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit or 180° Celsius.

  4. In the meantime, using a whisk, mix the eggs, water, brown sugar, and cane sugar together.

    sugar and eggs
  5. Mix in the salt and whisk some more.

    mix
  6. Add vanilla, nutmeg, and lemon zest, and continue whisking the ingredients.

    vanilla and mixed eggs
  7. While mixing the wet ingredients together, slowly pour in the melted butter.

    add melted butter
  8. Add yoghurt and milk, and give it a stir.

    add yoghurt
  9. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and using a spoon, mix them well together.

    flour and baking powder
  10. Add the cocoa powder, and continue mixing.

    add cocoa powder
  11. Combine the wet and dry ingredients by slowly adding the mixed flour with cocoa powder to the earlier mixed wet ingredients while gently stirring.

    Muffin batter
  12. Add the chocolate chips and combine them with the muffin batter.

    chocolate chips
  13. You can leave about ¼ cup of chocolate chips to place on top of the muffins.

  14. Line a muffin pan with baking paper cups.

    muffin pan
  15. Pour about two scoops of the muffin batter into each cup. Just slightly beneath the rim, and sprinkle the extra chocolate chips on top.

  16. Bake for about 22 - 25 minutes.

    baked muffins

chocolate cake

I call this recipe divine chocolate mousse cake because it oozes with chocolate. It’s moist, creamy and extremely satisfying. One slice, and all my chocolate cravings disappear.

***

This cake recipe is made out of two parts:

  1. Basic Vanilla Spongecake or Italian Ladyfingers
  2. Rich Chocolate Mousse

It’s all in the chocolate mousse

To make this chocolate mousse cake recipe, you need a very rich and chocolaty mousse. To achieve this wonderfully creamy mousse, you’ll need fresh mascarpone, a creamy and very rich Italian cream cheese and the right cocoa powder.

My favorite is cocoa powder is from Ghana because it has a rich chocolate taste. It’s very dense and dark, and made with one of the highest quality of cocoa beans.

But, there are plenty of other good options for cocoa powder. My recommendation is that you choose the organic kind for best and healthiest results. Avoid using one that’s already sweetened.

Egg yolks also play an important role in this recipe, and I use six egg yolks minimum per 500 grams or about 18 oz of mascarpone cheese. It makes the mousse extremely rich and creamy. In fact, sometimes I just eat the mousse on its own, without the cake part because it’s so delicious.

 

chocolate mousse cake

Go easy on the sugar

Although many similar recipes call for at least one cup of sugar, I cut my sugar portion in half when making the chocolate mousse. It’s healthier and cuts away the empty calories you don’t need. The taste is still divine and very satisfying without the sugary overload.

Let the chocolate mousse
cake soak overnight

To help bring out the intense chocolate flavor of my mousse cake, I make it the day before serving. The extra time in the fridge allows the spongecake, or ladyfingers, to fully absorb the chocolate mousse and the chocolate milk used for soaking the cake part, creating a perfectly moist and chocolaty dessert.

 

chocolate mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 7-8 tbsp sugar (you can also use honey as a healthier option)
  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese (500 grams or about 18 oz)
  • 5-6 tbsp cocoa powder (from Ghana or organic)
  • 1 tbsp lemon or orange juice

Instructions

  1. Using a hand mixer with a whisk, beat the egg yolks with sugar until fluffy.

    beaten egg yolks
  2. Add lemon or orange juice and beat for another minute or so.

  3. Add half the portion of the mascarpone and continue beating the mixture until well combined and creamy.

    Adding mascarpone
  4. Add the remaining portion of the mascarpone cheese and continue beating until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

  5. Using a spoon, slowly add the cocoa powder as you continue mixing the creamy mixture.

    Adding cocoa powder
  6. Beat the mousse for another 3-5 minutes, until you obtain a stiff and creamy consistency.

    mixing in cocoa powder

creamy chocolate mousse cake

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 whole spongecake or 36 (300 grams) Ladyfingers
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6 cups chocolate mousse

Instructions

  1. Warm up the milk and add cocoa powder and sugar.

  2. Mix it together and boil the cocoa mixture. Set it aside for 20 minutes to cool.

    chocolate milk
  3. Take your pre-made spongecake and slice it in half.

    spongecake sliced in half
  4. (You can also use ladyfingers if you don't have a spongecake made.)

    soaked lady fingers
  5. Have a cake pan ready. You can either use the same cake pan you used for baking your spongecake, or if you're using ladyfingers, use a rectangular glass container for easier layout.

    chocolate soaking
  6. Soak the spongecake or the ladyfingers in the earlier prepared chocolate milk.

    soaked cake
  7. Using a wide spatula, take half of the mousse portion and spread it on the soaked portion of the spongecake (ladyfingers).

    adding chocolate mousse
  8. Soak the other half of the spongecake with cocoa and place it on top. If you're using ladyfingers, soak them and line them up on top.

    chocolate cake
  9. Take the remaining portion of the mousse and spread it on top.

    spread chocolate mousse
  10. Cover it with aluminum foil and refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before serving. For best results, leave it in the fridge overnight.