about love

 

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When I was in school our German literature teacher made us read one of his favorite books. A book that was not mandatory for all classes, like “Faust” or “Effi Briest” (one of my favorites btw.). I am still not sure why he made us read it. It was about some woman who was a translator. Or maybe this was not even the main character..  I don’t quite remember. There was a love story involved and one simple, little thing that was said about love just stuck with me and is often making me think until today. “Love is always one-sided. There is always somebody who starts to love and convinces the other person to love back. And the first person will always love more and deeper.” Is that true? Is this what love is about? Convincing the other person that being together is the right thing to do? It might sound a little harsh, but I think that there is some truth in it. Even if both people have feelings from the start – the famous love at first sight maybe – one person always needs to make the first move and show interest.

However, I don’t fully agree with the second part of the thesis. Just because one person started, doesn’t mean the second person will never reach the same level or even higher level of love. Life is unpredictable and we simply don’t know what will happen. Person number one might realize, after just a few weeks, that the feelings start to fade. Or he/she never gets any further than what has been there in the beginning, while person number two  keeps developing deeper and deeper feelings.

So yes, I agree.. somebody always makes the start and invites the other one for the roller coaster called love, but I believe that while taking the ride it can go both ways.. either part can decide to get out at some point or both will keep sitting and enjoying the ride until the wheels stop turning. And if the latter decision is taken and it is made official, one important thing you will need.. is a cake.

A few weeks ago I received a call with those wonderful news that my sister decided to keep it rolling and she would get married.. within the next two weeks. She needed a cake and asked me to make it. Since there were not many instructions, I had no idea what I should make. Two weeks are not really enough time to go crazy. The wedding was small, only the closest family members, so a one tier cake would be enough (the big wedding about to follow.. ). Finally she expressed her wishes that she would like to have flowers on her cake -Lillies and Callas. I have never made those, so this has been quite a challenge. I started a week earlier and needed the whole week for try and error until I finally found a lilly good enough to decorate the cake with. The callas were easier. On top of that I made little white flowers that I would add.

I will have to practice even more for the big cake, but there is enough time left, so I am positive.

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I made a pound cake as the base and because the bride wanted buttercream instead of fondant, I made swiss meringue buttercream with some lemon flavor as one filling and to cover. The second buttercream was a light raspberry-cream-cheese buttercream with a hint of white chocolate.

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

  • 6 egg whites
  • 200 g sugar
  • 360 g butter (or 180 crisco and 180 butter to get it more white)
  • citric acid powder
  1. In a bowl, put into a water bath, whisk the egg whites and the sugar and heat it up until it reaches 60 °C or until very hot to touch
  2. remove from heat and whisk with an electric mixer
  3. add butter gradually and whisk until smooth
  4. add citric acid

RASPBERRY BUTTER CREAM

  • 250g butter
  • 125g cream cheese
  • 125g raspberries / raspberry puree
  • 200-250g confectioners sugar
  • 100-150g white chocolate
  1. whisk the butter until smooth and creamy
  2. add the confectioners sugar
  3. add cream cheese and raspberry puree
  4. melt chocolate and let cool
  5. add chocolate to the buttercream and whisk until smooth

 

 

I put some raspberries onto the first layer of cake and covered it with the raspberry cream. The second layer I covered with the swiss meringue. The third again with raspberries and cream and finally I covered the entire cake with the remaining swiss meringue.

At the sides I used edible lace and used fondant and sugar pearls for the edges.

Because the flowers are put on wire, I used straws that I put into the cake first before adding the flowers.

The cake didn’t even last five minutes :D, but I hope the couple was satisfied.

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Sommermärchen – summer fairy-tale

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So many reasons to be thankful and happy.. so many reasons to wake up with a smile on our faces.. so many reasons to laugh, dance and celebrate. It is summer, the sun is shining, most of us live in a peaceful country, many are on vacation, friends are getting married or bring a little human being into this world..

AND we won the world cup. I am still in shock! We were waiting for this to happen for the last 24 years – often enough close to the final, close to holding the cup in “our” hands, close to jump up and down singing songs with a hundred foreign people wearing “Deutschland” Jerseys, yet not so foreign after all, cause at the end we all shared the dream of being world champions for the next four years. Friends in our black-red-golden hearts. The world cup is over and it was wonderful. Thank you Germany for this great team and for the last couple of weeks.

Yes, there are many more things I could say thank you for. Like my mom, who is always trying to help and was a huge help when I started my biggest baking project. Talking about summer and weddings and all that.. remember I mentioned the wedding I was baking for a few weeks ago? I said I would post the pictures as soon as I get the photos from the bride. Thinking about it makes me smile, but I know that during those days back in may, I was exhausted, tired and a wreck. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every minute of this project, simply because it was mine. There is a huge difference in doing something you love to complete exhaustion and doing something you hate.. which exhausts you faster anyway. People around me said, I should never do a project like this again, but at the same time many realized that I was happy at the end. It is the result that counts and that makes the way there enjoyable.

When my friend asked me whether I would like to bake for her wedding, I was honored and frightened at the same time. When she told me what she had in mind.. nope.. that didn’t help to take away my fears. With sparkling eyes she announced that there would be no traditional cake. Instead she raved about the cake pops I made when I left the company I was working for. A cake pop wedding cake was her desired unconventional wedding treat. A challenge. I made cake pops, I made cakes.. but combined is a different story. Along with the “cake” I would make three different kinds of cupcakes and hope that this amount would be enough for all the guests.

For the cake we agreed on Styrofoam dummies as a base. We ordered them on amazon, but you can get them on any cake website. We ordered three different sizes, each layer planned for one cake pop flavor. I made enough fondant to cover all of the three layers, because I did not want to leave it with its ugly Styrofoam surface. On top of that I also planned a small chocolate cake for the top, so the bridal couple would have something to cut.. it would be a little difficult to do that with a tiny cake pop 😉 Because both of them are huge chocolate fans, the upper cake had to be chocolate. I made my usual chocolate cake with my pudding butter cream filling. For the cake pop layers, I made the three kinds posted in this post – vanilla, chocolate, lemon. Of course there also had to be chocolate cupcakes, along with lemon ones and peach ones, to cover the fruity flavors (recipe for the peach ones will follow. The other ones are already posted here).

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A week before the actual date I started to prepare the decoration. Because the bride likes peonies, this was the flower of choice. Not an easy one and I never tried it before, but I think they came out ok (considering that I did not have the cutters and was just improvising a little with cutters I had from making Christmas cookies, I think they came out really good 😉 ). I used a lot of gum paste and eventually started to use Styrofoam balls for the center, in order to use less gum paste (one of those balls can make a whole flower, so it is kind of waste, especially since nobody is going to eat it anyway). Additional little flowers were made for the cupcakes and cake pops. Two days before the wedding, my helping hand – mom – arrived. With tons of flour, sugar, butter, four packages of eggs, around 20 packages of chocolate and many ingredients more we made 240 cake pops, rolled them, covered them with chocolate and decorated them. It took us two full days and nights, until the cake pops were ready to go.

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The wedding day arrived and we were eager to finish the cake. Styrofoam sounds easy, but trust me: it is not! Sticking the cake pops inside turned out to be a little tricky. We tried, but the cake pops are very fragile and easy to smash. With a screwdriver we estimated the positions of the cake pops and made holes into the lowest Styrofoam cake. We thought we sorted it out, but after the second or third cake pop, we realized we have been wrong on most of the positions. We had to make all the holes before sticking the cake pops in, because it took a lot of effort and shaking and moving, which would smash the cake pops. A few trials and a perforated Styrofoam cake later, the lowest layer was cake popped 😉 The two upper layers were not much easier. It took us quite a while to fill the three layers with cake pops and some of them were smashed, so if you ever plan to make a cake like this, plan enough time and enough spare cake pops. With some fondant we made a pearl border for the edges of each layer, put the chocolate cake on top and decorated the cake with the peonies. It sounds like a quick and easy peasy kind of cake.. well.. it is not 😉 After days and nights of work, my mom and I delivered the cake at the wedding, decorated the cupcakes (I decided to do it right there, so I would not have to worry about temperature or transport of the cupcakes) and were happy to see the smiling faces of the bridal couple and all the guests.

Although I was tired, my heart was filled with joy. When I listen to my mom telling people about these couple of days, I smile, hearing her say: ” We didn’t sleep, we worked day and night and we were so tired, but then you see those two smile at you and you see how happy they are about what we did and all is forgotten”. I could not say it better.

Thank you Maria and Tim for this challenge and your trust in me.