Mosaic Cake and Longing for a Beach Life…

When June rolled around, we used to get excited about leaving Istanbul’s crowded streets behind and spending our long summer vacation at my grandparents’ beach house. I used to pack my bags very heavy and we adjourned to a five hour ferry journey across Marmara Sea which would take us from Istanbul to Bandirma, a small (not so much now) town on the south side of Marmara.

Going to the summer home was always a refreshing feeling that brought a lightness in my walk and in my world view.  Istanbul, the school, always-on-the-go lifestyle used to fade quickly with the promise of a slow paced summer: sleep-ins, long breakfasts, spontaneous cook-outs,  laying on the beach for hours with no care… dried salt on my face, sand all over my room, reaching for one more ice cold Coke, taking long walks at night, getting icecream, sitting on the beach around a fire, playing cards.

And the best part was to be able to hear the sound of the waves when I laid in my bed at night. Sometimes slow, barely there “hush” sound of the sea, sometimes hurried, mixed with the rain drops, or wind.

I miss those days so much. But more than that, I am  deeply missing the life on the beach. A couple day long get-aways to the beach don’t do a justice to the careless beach living I have been longing for.

So what to do to bring that feeling back to Rock Hill, SC? In one of my such desperate moments, I made this cake. This cake is a memory from those days. It was a staple in our 5 o’clock tea get-togethers on our balcony. It is not your typical, pretty cake though. It is rough around the edges. It comes together effortlessly and does not require baking. It is assembled, and served chilled – perfect for hot summer afternoons, together with a glass of tea. It helps to balance the heat.The original recipe called for eggs but I skipped it knowing that this will be sitting in the fridge for more than a day before we finish it. It still held together nicely. As the cake sits, tea biscuit pieces get softer.

I know just eating the cake won’t magically take me back to the beach. That is why I need to subscribe to the Coastal Living magazine so that I can thumb through the pages while listening to the “wave” sound on my alarm clock and eating this cake. Hope everyone can live where they dream about, one day.

Mosaic Cake

  • 1 package of Leibniz tea biscuts (7 oz)
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cacao
  • 3/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (small pieces)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons – should be softened at room temperature very well but not melted, when you push your finger in it, it should be able to penetrate through the stick)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons ricotta (leveled –   too much of it might make it harder to stick together)
  • Strawberries to garnish

1. In a big mixing bowl, break the tea biscuits in very small pieces with your hands. If you have big pieces, it will be difficult to cut through the cake. The size about 1/4 of an inch should be fine. These pieces look like mosaic pieces when you cut the cake.

2. Add powdered sugar, cacao and chocolate chips or pieces, stir to combine.

3. Add softened butter, vanilla and ricotta to the dry ingredients, and make it a dough with one hand while the other hand is securing the mixing bowl in place. Work everything together, combine.

4. Tear a big size of plastic wrap. Spread it over the counter.

5. With your hands, transfer the dough in the middle of the plastic wrap, shape it into a foot-long log, and give it a triangular shape (like a triangular prism).

6. Wrap with the plastic wrap, chill several hours before serving.

7. Garnish with strawberries, strawberry puree or chocolate sauce based on your liking.


  1. by Lana
    11:30 pm
    Apr 7, 2012

    My dear Ilke, you can always come and visit me here in SoCal! I can smell the ocean from my apartment:) I remember those lazy days spent on the beach as well, even though we went to the Adriatic Sea, rather than the Sea of Marmara. We were the lucky ones, as many of my American friends do not have those memories:)
    And the cake looks familiar, not to mention the Petit Beurre cookies! We did not call it the Mosaic cake, but Cassato:) So many similarities!
    My invitation stands whenever you have the time off:)

  2. by Ilke
    12:08 am
    Apr 8, 2012

    Thanks Lana, I might take you up on that! :)
    Beth, hope it turns out good, yes, perfect recipe for kids to get their hands dirty :) Make sure you level the tablespoons of ricotta so that you dont put extra in it, otherwise makes it runny. I should probably go back and add this to the instructions.

  3. by Beth Pollhammer
    11:38 pm
    Apr 7, 2012

    I am going to make this. My family will love it. We love chocolate in all forms. This sounds like something the little ones would love to make.

  4. by Valentina
    12:33 am
    Apr 8, 2012

    Laying on the beach for hours with no care sounds so luxurious and decadent!!! Just like the looks so this cake. I love it.

  5. by Angie@Angie's Recipes
    2:49 pm
    Apr 8, 2012

    Love this mosaic cake…a very unique recipe.
    I enjoy taking a walk along the beach, but lying on the beach for hours…not sure about that for me. Can’t stand the heat..

  6. by Shelley
    10:18 pm
    Apr 9, 2012

    I grew up in a beach town and I too, get nostalgic for the old days. Now when I go home, it’s such a whirl of activity and seeing everyone that I rarely stop and enjoy a day at the beach. I should correct that next visit. You cake sounds terrific! Here’s hoping you get to squeeze in a beach trip soon. Until then, Coastal Living is lovely to peruse…

  7. by Mrs Ergül
    12:15 am
    Apr 11, 2012

    Now, I will be happy if we live in a place with fresh local produce. Singapore is a small island and most of its land masses have been delegated to building skyscrapers to make money out of exorbitant rentals.

    Those summers you spent growing up sounds about right!!

  8. by Ebru
    5:22 pm
    Apr 12, 2012

    My very favorite, beloved mosaic cake. Cannot imagine my childhood without it:)And those sunny, beach days (sigh…) Seattle weather makes it hard to even dream a sunny day but I am lucky that I can take my two kids to my parents’ summer house in Ayvalik every year. And of course there is always at least two logs of mosaic cake in the fridge in summer.
    I have never tried this with ricotta. I use butter, milk, chocalate, orange peel, pistachoes (or mixed unsalted nuts).
    I will try yours the next time. Thanks!

  9. by Ilke
    6:12 pm
    Apr 12, 2012

    Ebru, how lucky we were,right? Ayvalik and Cunda are my favorites!
    I have to try your version soon because you cant go wrong with orange zest and pistachios!

  10. by rebecca
    8:30 pm
    Apr 12, 2012

    love this cake and wow what amazing summers

  11. by Jessie
    8:32 pm
    Apr 12, 2012

    I have never tried a cake like this. I’m pretty sure I’d love it because tea biscuits are one of my favorite desserts. So fun!

  12. by Thyme (Sarah)
    9:27 am
    Apr 13, 2012

    What a lovely story. I read so many blogs where missing one’s homeland is often solved by baking and cooking childhood dishes. I enjoyed reading about the summer island off of Istanbul, the five hour ferry ride and this delicious looking tea cake.

  13. by Susan
    3:31 pm
    Apr 22, 2012

    Another wonderful cake that I can’t wait to try making myself, Ilke! I had been hoping to see a Subscribe by Email link on your blog but happily found the RSS link at the bottom of your page :)

  14. by Ilke
    6:55 pm
    Apr 22, 2012

    Thanks Susan! We should get the email link on top of the page or at least to the side bar sometime soon. Let me know how it turns out :)

  15. by Anesa
    3:29 pm
    Apr 30, 2012

    My Serbian grandmother used to have a triangular mold my grandpa made her to use just for this cake… used to love making it with her as a kid and to this day such cake reminds me of my maternal grandmother. Thanks for sharing!

  16. by Ilke
    3:30 pm
    Apr 30, 2012

    Oh that is so sweet, Anesa… A mold for this one would definitely help the process :)

  17. by Terra
    11:21 pm
    May 15, 2012

    Oh YUM! I love that you also included ricotta in the recipe. The cake looks unique, and wonderful:-) I need to find those delicious cookies now:-) Hugs, Terra

  18. by Malka
    12:47 am
    Feb 23, 2014

    Merhaba Ilke ricota yerine ne coyunabilir ?

  19. by Ilke
    1:53 pm
    Feb 23, 2014

    Ricotta yerine tuzu cok az olan lor peyniri gibi bir peynir kullanabilirsin. Ya da bulundugun yerde lor yoksa gene biraz kuru kivamda olan (krem peynir vs gibi olmayan) tuzu cok az olan peynirleri deneyebilirsin. Kolay gelsin.

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