happy seeds

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I wanted to stop talking about the weather, but really….it is simply AMAZING the last couple of days. I wouldn’t mind having sunshine and 20°C in Germany all year long. People smile more, are friendly and relaxed. Who doesn’t like that??
Smelling fresh cut grass, enjoying the green shades of the trees and grass and the colorful variety of flowers everywhere… seeing the sparkly water of our river and the listen to the birds singing, while the wind plays with my hair. Seriously.. what is better than that? I love the very first days of spring/summer. Finally, I can just walk around outside and listen to the sounds of nature, instead of being afraid that I will end up without hands, feet or ears if I don’t get into a warm place within five minutes. Me running from one warm place to the other happens with every weather which temperature is below 20°C. Maybe that is why I like to bake.. it is always warm around the oven 🙂
So, while my heart took in all the colors, smells and sounds of spring, I was thinking about what to bake to celebrate this day. Isn’t it the time for red poppies? It is sooooo beautiful to pass a whole bunch of these and see its rich color.
Well.. poppy seed it is 🙂 I cooked some poppy seed, added a little lemon juice and vanilla sugar and mixed it with the batter of the vegan cupcakes I posted some time ago. I took a lot of poppy seeds, cause I had them at home and needed to use it up, but if you just want to have a hint of it in your cupcake, reduce the amount. It is a little unstable, when using too much and your cupcakes can break easily. Just play with it and find the right amount for you. And don’t forget that poppy seeds are drugs 😉 Maybe this is the reason I am happy today…..;)
I used the silicone pan for “mini-Gugelhupfe”. While still warm, I glazed the Gugelhupfs with a mix of powdered sugar and lemon juice. Some of the Gugelhupfs I covered with green colored marzipan. The remaining ones I left with the glaze. For the decoration I used red colored marzipan for red poppies and used some crumps of the dough as the flower center.
Very easy and fast! Enjoy the summer.. or spring.. just enjoy 🙂

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busy bees = beesy

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Birthdays are.. a big deal for some people. No big deal for others. Just another day for many. A day that tells you to start living your life for those who are unhappy. A day to celebrate your life for optimists. An occasion to invite and see friends for social people. An opportunity to bake for those like me. A special day you can look forward, cause everyone will make this day special, for kids. A day you can blow out your candles a million times and forget the guests, who want to eat the cake, for the even smaller ones.. like my little niece. She turned 2 this week and of course I really wanted to make a cake for her. After the castle cake for her sister a few months ago, I had a hard time thinking about making something equally exciting. My sister in law gave me the tip that she likes Maya the Bee.. as it happened my present was a Maya the Bee Bowling Set (adorable!!!!!), so that was a great fit 🙂

I went on an inspiration hunt right away. The thing with me and my ideas is that I change my ideas a million times to the very last moment. Sometimes it is good, cause not everything turns out the way we plan it at the beginning, but sometimes it is really hard, if you need to buy all the stuff and cannot stick to one plan. Anyway.. I didn’t really find what I was looking for on the internet, so I just made a mental picture of my idea and kind of stayed with it until….the day I started modeling the figurines with gum paste. I decided that instead of just putting them on top of the third and second layer of the cake, I wanted them to “do” something. So, Maya got the responsibility to present the number two. Willy – the other bee- is taking care of my niece’s name and Flip.. well… he was a little too unstable to have a task (I think he is just the coordinator in this scene). He would simply look cute and complete the Maya the Bee crew. The three characters were a lot of work. I think it took me 11 hours until all of them were more or less sitting, standing and not falling apart. I printed some pictures from the internet in order to be as close to the original as possible. The next day I made the cakes (one with a buttermilk-lemon-rasberry filling, one with an egg liqueur filling and one with a chocolate buttercream-pudding filling – of course, the kids did not have the second filling. They are not big fans of cream cakes anyway). For the decoration I took out all the fondant cutters I had.. different kinds of flowers, leaves and butterflies. With several colors of fondant I created the basis for a flower meadow.  I covered all cakes with ganache and green fondant (which I made a couple of days before). I left the cakes to chill and started to decorate the day of the party. To have more space to decorate (the figurines were big and I made a lot of flowers) I put the two big cakes next to each other and the small cake on top of one. Btw. the two lower cakes turned out to be the same size, although I did not have two equal pans. I used a method to avoid that the fondant touches the filling (the fondant would melt). For that you need to cut the edges of the cake and put it on top of the first layer (inside a cake ring). If you have two or three layers, you need to cut the border accordingly. Also, of course the border is a little too long, so you can shorten it. There are pictures of the process on Tortentante.de, where I found this method. It really works and when you make one border thicker than the other, you can adjust the size of the cakes a little. Additionally, my smaller cake got a little more ganache, so that at the end both cakes came out almost twin like.. almost, because I made one of them smaller in height. I used two eggs less in the batter and less cream filling. With that I achieved a slight difference, which makes it a little less boring and gives Flip some support when he leans against the higher cake.
With edible glue me and my sister decorated the cake with Maya and her friends, butterflies and flowers. At the bottom of each cake we made a border out of colorful candy. To cover the tray I sprinkled grated green fondant in different shades.

It was a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. We put two candles onto the cake, which my niece loved 😉 She didn’t really care about the rest.. haha.. well.. she is two, so she won’t remember, but there are a million pics, which will remind her and I hope she will like it 🙂
I will post the recipe for the lemon-rasberry and chocolate cake soon, so if you are interested, please follow 😉

Hope you have a great and not too beesy week ahead!

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coco goes nuts with coconut

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Like I said in my last post, Easter is coming.. closer and closer.. almost there. Time to think about Easter cakes, cupcakes and other pastries 🙂 Did I mention that I like Easter? Oh, yes.. I did.. but I really need to repeat that, because I don’t only love the yummy breakfast, but also the opportunity to make a huge mess in the kitchen with flour, sugar and all the ingredients one needs for the traditional Easter pastries. I didn’t start to bake, yet, but I thought I might share one recipe that I made twice last year – Easter Coconut Cupcakes with mascarpone filling. I made them for my colleagues at work and when I realized how fast they were gone I made another batch for my family for Easter sunday. With some “coconut-grass” and chcocolate eggs these cupcakes are a delicious and decorative treat for your Easter breakfast table:

for the cupcakes:
175 g soft butter
225 g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
125 ml natural yoghurt
175 g desiccated coconut

for the filling:
200 g mascarpone (or sour cream)
50 g desiccated coconut

for the topping:
desiccated coconut
powdered sugar
lemon juice
green food coloring
chocolate or sugar eggs

1. preheat oven to 200°C / ~400°F
2. beat butter and sugar until fluffy and light
3. add eggs and vanilla extract
4. mix flour and baking powder in seperate bowl.
5.  along with the yoghurt, sift the flour mixture into the butter mixture
6. add coconut and mix until just blended
7. fill a cupcake pan with the batter and bake for 15-20 minutes
8. let cool completely
9. for the filling, mix the mascarpone with the coconut in a small bowl (I used cream cheese)
10. cut a little lid off from each cupcake and make a small hole
11. fill the cupcakes with a teaspoon of the filling
12. replace the lids
13. for the topping mix powdered sugar with lemon juice and food coloring until smooth. (The texture should be a little more watery than the usual glazing. The coconut will add some thickness to it)
14. add coconut and mix well until everything is green and smooth
15. place little coconut-nests on each cupcake and decorate with chcocolate or sugar eggs

Like I said, these cupcakes didn’t last long, so I assume they must be good 😉 I hope you enjoy your Easter treats.
Make sure to find all eggs.. Don’t miss any.. unless you want a smelly yard (if you hate your neighbors, for example 😉 )
In any case enjoy the holidays! I sure will.. with baking, baking, baking 🙂 You will hear from me soon 😉