Orasella’s Super simple chocolate cake with Mascarpone cream

I’m of the opinion that everyone should have a dessert on hand that looks like you spent hours slaving over a hot oven. That way, when your friends ooh and aah over it, you can tell them it came out of a box and delight on the surprise on their face. If you don’t have such a recipe, I’ll share mine, and promise I won’t tell anyone it came out of box…unless you want me to.

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This is a deliciously delicate cake. You can make the chocolate cake ahead of time, but, make sure and put the mascarpone cream and cherries on the cake within a few hours of serving for the most visual impact.

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Make your favorite boxed chocolate cake. I especially like a dark chocolate cake mix, if you can find it in your grocery store. You’ll need to fill two cake rounds with the cake batter. For the cake above, we used a six inch round, but, feel free to use what you have on hand. Let cake cool to room temperature before putting on the frosting.

MASCARPONE CREAM

8 oz mascarpone cheese chilled
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the mascarpone in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and start beating on medium speed. While beating, add the vanilla followed by the confectioners sugar. Scrape sides and continue beating until light and fluffy. Be sure not to over mix as it will cause the frosting to curdle.

With the mixer running on high speed, slowly add the whipping cream until frosting is light and fluffy. Again, be sure not to over mix.

ORASELLA MARASCHINO CHERRIES

1 jar Orasella Maraschino Cherries

Spread the mascarpone frosting on the first layer of cooled chocolate cake decorating with a half a jar of Orasella cherries that you have de-stemmed. Make sure to put some on the inside of the cake as well. Add the second layer of chocolate cake and, again, decorate the top of the cake with mascarpone frosting and the remaining cherries. Just before serving, drizzle some Orasella cherry syrup over the cake. You can reduce the syrup slightly over medium heat on the stove for a thicker syrupy look, if desired. Cheers!


Black Manhattan

We enjoy happy hour every night at our home. I’m a working mom, but, I still admire a time when things were simpler and slower paced. I make an effort to cook, preferably with Dean Martin in the background, a cocktail in hand and one ready to gift to my husband as he walks in the door…don’t worry, friends, that’s where the fairy tale ends :)

I appreciate recipes that don’t require so much fuss because my meals have gotten simpler as my schedule has become more complex. And, this recipe, a black manhattan, is a particular favorite because it strikes a balance between delicious and incredibly simple. So, yes, you can enjoy it every night, regardless of how busy you get.

Cheer friends,
Anne

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Black Manhattan

Thanks to Brad Thomas Parsons for crafting this recipe and for David Lebowitz for introducing me to it.
Makes 2 cocktails.

4 ounces bourbon
2 ounces amaro - Averna is delicious
4 generous dashes orange bitters
2 Orasella Maraschino Cherries

Pour the bourbon, amaro and bitters into a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and serve in a martini or rocks glass. Orasella cherry to garnish.


Coconut Rose Tea Cocktail

This cocktail is the perfect fusion of dual traditions - Mother’s Day and Cinco de Mayo - just a week apart. Coconut milk is steeped in honey and rose tea (Mother’s Day). Then added to Mexican Mezcal – a slightly smoky spirit made from the same plant Tequila is made from – agave. What results from this intersection is a cocktail that tastes like a margarita hugged a Mother’s Day tea. If you don’t believe me, just ask your Mom.

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Cocktail

1.5 oz Mezcal – Vida Espadin is an affordable choice
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz orange liqueur (Cointreau, curaçao or a high quality triple sec)
1 oz Rose infused Coconut Milk*
1 teaspoon residual syrup from a jar of Orasella Maraschino Cherries

Place in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake until well combined.

Salt Rim and Garnish

Himalayan pink or kosher salt
Orasella Maraschino Cherry
Lime, for rubbing on glass and slice for garnish

Rub a lime wedge on the edge of a rocks glass and press into the salt for a perfect rim. Strain shaken cocktail ingredients into glass. Garnish with an Orasella cherry and a lime slice.

*Rose Infused Coconut Milk

1 can (12 oz) of unsweetened, full fat coconut milk

3 tea bags of rose tea (like Tulsi Sweet Rose available at Met Market, PCC and Whole Foods)

2 Tbs honey

Heat ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-low heat until well dissolved and heated through. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Taste as you go and pull out the bags once they have a strong rose flavor. Pour into a non-reactive container and seal tightly. Cool before using. It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


cherry Mascarpone cheesecake

Our first year at Orasella, we produced just a handful of quart jars, all lovingly crafted by hand. This initial batch found a home at some of the best restaurants in Seattle where we were constantly delighted by the creative ways they were put to use. We discovered, through working with these talented chefs, that our cherries pair incredibly well with all manner of soft cheese – from goat to house made ricotta.


We know you’ve probably tasted the New York style cream cheese based cheesecake, but, did you know there’s a whole suite of soft cheese cheesecakes to explore? Orasella’s version is made with mascarpone which, in addition to being Italian (swoon), has a slightly tangier flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of our cherries. Buon appetito!

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Chocolate Wafer Crust

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
One 9-ounce package chocolate wafer cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Wrap exterior of pan (including base) in a double layer of extra wide foil. This is so the water won’t creep in when you cook the filling. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place crushed wafer cookies and 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl; stir until well combined. Pour melted butter over cookie mixture and mix until evenly moistened. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake until crust is set, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Decrease oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Filling

2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature

Using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

Topping

1 jar Orasella cherries

To serve, cut a piece of cheesecake and serve topped with Orasella cherries and a drizzle of the remaining syrup in the jar. For a more professional look, reduce syrup by half in a pan over medium heat.


midnight by the fire pit

Cherry coke brings about memories of childhood, hot summer days and playing Marco Polo with the 6 new friends you just met at the community pool. This evolved version gives the classic cherry coke just enough of an upgrade to have you pining for the grown up version of the same scenario, hot summer days around a fire pit swapping stories with six of your best friends. Cheers to the onset of warmer weather.

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1.5 oz Silver Rum
.25 oz Fernet Branca
.5 oz Cola syrup reduction*
.25 oz Orasella Cherry syrup
Club soda to top

Vigorously shake rum, Fernet Branca, cola syrup and Orasella cherry syrup over ice in a cocktail shaker until foam forms on top. Strain into a collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with a lemon slice and an Orasella cherry. 

*Cola Syrup Reduction

12 oz can of Natural Cola
.25 cup raw sugar

Heat over medium heat, stirring often until well-incorporated and reduced by half. Pour into a non reactive jar and keep in the fridge up to 4 weeks. 


3-Ingredient White chocolate cardamom Mousse topped with Orasella Syrup

Wondering what to do with your leftover Orasella syrup? Make this three-ingredient recipe that’s sure to impress with minimal effort. The cardamom and white chocolate pair perfectly with our cherry flavored syrup.

 
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1 1/4c heavy cream
10 cardamom pods, crushed
7 ounces white chocolate broken into chunks
Orasella syrup to top

Bring the cream just to the boil with the cardamom pods, then set aside to infuse for 15 minutes. Melt white chocolate gently in a double boiler over barely simmering water.

Place melted chocolate into an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Strain in the cream into the bowl of the electric mixer with the melted chocolate. Beat until the consistency of whipped cream. Spoon into pots, cover and chill for 4 hrs, or up to 2 days, until cold and set. Top with reserved Orasella syrup.


Don’t Call Me Sherry

This sweet little cocktail makes its way to our website just in time for the culmination of citrus season. It’s the perfect balance of fruit and port that will have you reaching for an additional pour. If you have leftover blood orange cordial, try serving it over ice with a generous pour of club soda to top.

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Makes 2 servings

2 oz Tawny Port
1.5 oz Blood Orange Cordial*
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz Cherry Heering

Lightly shake over ice and strain into a snifter glass or coupe. Garnish with a dried orange slice and Orasella cherry.

*Blood Orange Cordial
2 lbs (approx 6) blood oranges
2 lemons
32 oz orange juice
2 cups sugar
5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

Peel zest off of the blood oranges and lemons, avoiding the white pith and add to a large non-reactive container. Juice the zested fruit and combine with the orange juice, sugar, cardamom pods and ginger in a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved and reduce to approximately half the volume. Consume within a week.