I am back.. back with my blog and back home. It is funny how fast time flies. I left Germany three months ago and it feels like yesterday. The day I had to leave the US was so hard for me. I enjoyed the last couple of weeks a lot and did not really want to leave the sun that was warming my back so vigorously, the gentle breeze that filled my lungs with ocean breeze, and the numerous trees that were about to glow in all the different colors, that only New England’s fall can offer. The thing that I did not want to leave the most though was.. solid ground. Every time I have to board a plane, I am telling myself that I am calm and relaxed and that this is soooooo great. People love to fly! It is safe and very relaxing. Yes, I love flying. Smile 🙂 Truth is.. my heart, my stomach, and my nerve cords do NOT agree with the relaxed smiling picture my brain is trying to fake. A couple of days before the flight, I am like a chicken running around, trying to find the hole in the fence to escape. When the day arrives, the chicken looks like a ball of feathers after two pots of strong coffee… a pregnant chicken. Running around, crying for no reason and yelling at everybody who dares to enter the room. This is the usual pre-flight agenda 😉 You get my point.. I am not the best customer for airlines. But.. sometimes I need to take a flight and then I just hope that at least I will be able to see a couple of good movies and have a decent meal (in 50% of the cases, I don’t.. ordering special meals is always a 50/50 chance game).
Once I get a little more relaxed, I like to see new airports. It is interesting. My favorite so far is in Amsterdam. Paris is the worst. Last time I spent more than two hours looking for my terminal and I still don’t really understand why I had to leave the airport through one door and enter through another to get to my gate.. of course going through security again. I was looking for the camera team following me, because I was sure this is some kind of TV show : “the funny traveler”. I did not want to take part in that show, but I think I did. While I was looking for my terminal (pretty sure I wouldn’t make it despite of the four hours layover) I found myself on the parking lot (!!!!), standing in front of two pillars, with one having a sign with an arrow to the desired terminal to the left side and the other one having an arrow to this terminal to the right side. My body gave up holding my head up.
This time I chose Madrid as my layover. Well.. it is sure better, but somehow I feel like I am lacking the humor airport planners have. When the signs stop.. did I arrive? Or can I go in any direction and I will always reach my gate? It was much, much better than Paris though.
The most interesting thing about the different airports though are the… restrooms. I know, this is weird, but did you ever realize how different they are? The US for example usually has restrooms with a little gap between the doors. If you really wanted, you could peak inside. In Madrid the restrooms were “normal” for German standards, but the air freshener they used smelled like candy. I won’t go any deeper into this topic, but let me tell you.. it is interesting to see 😉
Anyway, after leaving the plane and rolling my suitcase through the airport, I always encounter a feeling of total relaxation. I am alive, a little deaf, and my feet are walking underneath the clouds. My world is back. And this time I had one more reason to be pleased. I was back in the country where I actually was able to bake and make tasty pastries. I couldn’t wait. I was trying to invite myself to somebody’s home, so I would have a reason to bake 😉 Several of my family members celebrated their birthdays, so I thought I could combine that. My sister happened to be my victim.
I made a couple petit fours and realized that I would like to do a little more. I really wanted to make a cake with some nice decoration. Because my sister just got an owl statue for her yard, which she adored, I thought that owls might be the right choice for her. I know that owls are everywhere these days, but she started to like them quite some time ago (maybe because they are supposed to be the brains among animals.. she is a brainiac). I still had some fondant left in the fridge and so the decision was made easily: fondant cake with three colorful owls sitting on the top. Because it was sunday and I did not have many ingredients available, I decided for a sponge cake filled with a strawberry cream. I usually don’t use the ready made creams, that need to be mixed with milk only, but this one was an exception – the stores were closed and I had only this one night. I mixed the vanilla cream with frozen strawberries to make it more fruity, filled the cake and covered it with a simple buttercream (butter mixed with powdered sugar and some vanilla extract). I made the owls out of gum paste, which is very easy and fast – just form a small ball and press down in the middle. Form the ears and wings. With different sized circles make the eyes. Form a spout and small feet and glue everything to the body. It is super fast! The next day I covered the cake with the fondant and put some leaves and branches on top and some small flowers at the bottom, to cover the edge. Speedy Cake is ready 🙂 Unfortunately, the buttercream turned out to be very soft, so that one owl kept sinking and sinking. I think I prefer ganache.. But the birthday girl was happy and that is most important 🙂
So, if you need a fast cake that is easy to decorate, I sure recommend this one.