cream or chocolate

We have to make decisions. Every day. Blue jeans or black pants? Cereal or bread? Car or bike? Coffee or tea? Gym or couch? Movie or favorite TV show?

Little decisions, that we don’t even recognize as such as they simply happen. Which book should I read next? Which ice cream flavor should I buy? Do I need this new pair of shoes?

Can you decide? Can you always make a choice and simply be happy with it?

Let’s see..

What would you choose? Chocolate or Cream&Berries?

Did you go for chocolate?

You can find the recipe of the cake here. I filled and covered it with a simple dark chocolate ganache.

The cream and berries is your choice?

Here is how you make it

INGREDIENTS

for the cake: 

200gr butter
170gr sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
3 eggs
200gr flour
1 Tsp baking powder
salt

for the filling:
600gr mixed berries (frozen or fresh) - or more if you want to use smoothie for your pudding
1.5 pckg vanilla pudding
350ml water or juice (or smoothie - which I used)
1 Tbs sugar
600 ml heavy cream
3 pckg cream stiffener
2 pckg vanilla sugar

topping: 
cookies
lemon juice
powdered sugar

1. for the cake beat butter with sugar and vanilla sugar until fluffy
2. add eggs one by one
3. mix flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and add to the butter mixture
4. bake 20-25 minutes
5. for the filling heat up 300ml water, juice or smoothie
6. mix the pudding powder and sugar with the remaining water and add to the heated water
7. cook until you get a pudding texture
8. let cool and add the berries
9. cover the cake with the pudding
10. whisk the heavy cream until stiff
11. cover the berries with whipped cream
12. cover with cookies
13. for the icing, mix lemon juice with powdered sugar until smooth and thick
14. cover the cookies with the icing and let it cool over night

Hope you made the right choice. If not.. tomorrow is another day 🙂

out of control

 

A couple of days ago, I took my usual way home after work. It was a long day and even though I enjoy my work and especially enjoy the company of my colleagues, this was one of the days I left work in a bad mood. I did not achieve the goals I set for myself and fought an inner silent fight with myself, thinking about what I should have done better. I just wanted to go home, do some yoga or pilates, curl up in a blanket and forget about this day, preparing myself for a better one to follow.

This was also one of the days the train was full enough to not get a seat – (of course ;). So I made myself comfortable, standing pressed to a wall and trying to just relax. Two tipsy or half drunken guys were sitting not too far away from me, sipping their beer. Lucky me, I understand more than one language and I heard familiar sounds, though a little unclear 😉 The men spoke a passionate Polish, swearing every other word and discussing a very important matter – that is at least how it seemed. I don’t know what they were talking about. One of them kept saying “They won’t kick you out man! They won’t! They can’t”. The other one was just listening, grunting from time to time. After a couple of stops the talking guy went silent and drifted into sleep, his head lowering, coming closer and closer to the beer bottle, which headed towards the ground simultaneously. The train stopped and the silent guy looked up. Slightly panicked, he hit his friend. The train moved again. The silent guy cried out: “Man! Don’t sleep! I don’t know where we should get out! Was the stop something with Friedrich or something?”. His friend lifted his head and waved his hand: “Man! Don’t worry! I have everything under control! Two more stops. Two more. I have everything under control!”. The next stop was announced. The talking guy jump up, crying out: “Man! Don’t sleep! We have to get out!”

It made my day and I went home smiling. So much about having everything under control. Maybe we don’t have to have everything under control as long as we make it out of the train in time. As long as we see our mistakes soon enough.

IMG_2367

A few days later a good friend of mine came to visit. She is vegan and if you read my blog frequently you know I like to bake vegan if I get the chance. I knew her even before she decided to go vegan and I remembered, she used to love brownies. Therefore, I picked a chocolate cake. However, because it was her birthday a couple of days before and for this occasion brownies seemed too simple. A cake with cream was a more appropriate choice. I made a chocolate cake with a vegan cream, which had a slight coconut flavor. Not too dominant. To add a fruity touch (I feel like cream cakes without fruit are too heavy), I added two layers of wild mixed berried. Usually I would mix them with a little powdered sugar to make them less sour (this is what is recommended in most recipes I have read so far), but I felt like the chocolate cake and the cream and sweet fruit would be way too sweet. The sour berries would balance it out. Now, here comes the “i have everything under control” part into play. Sugar seemed to have left my mind that day. I made the batter and when I filled the pan and tried the batter, I realized I forgot the sugar. Back into the bowl and adding the sugar.

After the cake was ready and I thought about the ingredients I used for the cream, again I realized: forgot the sugar. For some reason though this was just right. I am glad I did not add it. Because soy yogurt often is sweeter than normal yogurt, I did not even realize that I forgot to add the sugar when eating.

It turned out really good and pretty well balanced. I also forgot to add the avocado, which was supposed to make it more creamy. Well, next time I will and I will also let you know how it tastes and how the texture is.

 

Here is the recipe for this easy, yet very yummy vegan birthday cake:

 

Vegan chocolate cake:

1 cup flour

½ cup cornstarch

3 Tbsp cocoa

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup lukewarm water

 

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Add vinegar, vanilla extract and vegetable oil
  3. Mix with mixer or spatula until blended
  4. Pour water all over
  5. Mix well
  6. Bake for 45-60 min (it might be less or even more.. depends on the oven and the amount of cake you are making)

 

I doubled the ingredients for this cake.

 

For the yogurt cream:

(Frankly, the cream is so super easy that you don’t need a recipe really.. Try and find out what you like. There is no right or wrong)

 

300 gr soy coconut yogurt

200 ml vegan whip cream

5-6 Tbs San Apart (vegan stabilizer for cream)

1-2 packages vanilla sugar

(some sugar if you like it sweeter)

  1. Whip the cream
  2. Add the yogurt, stabilizer and sugars
  3. Mix well

 

I cut the cake into three layers and put some berries on top of the two lower ones, covered them with 1/4 of the cream each and put the last layer on top. Finally I covered the cake with the remaining cream, cut “Happy Birthday” out of colored marzipan and decorated the cake with edible confetti. Done 🙂

IMG_2400

 

I lost a little bit of control over the ingredients, but it is ok. It turned out well balanced and yummy. I left the train just on time 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

time to celebrate bloggie

IMG_2131 IMG_2138 IMG_2147

I can’t believe it is two years ago that I decided to sit down and write about my attempts to create something special with the help of flour, sugar, eggs, butter and a looooot of fondant. For two years I was trying to get better with each cake. For two years I have been kneading fondant, reading other blogs, collecting tips, trying new things, trashing a couple things, succeeding, and failing. My first attempt to make a two tier cake with a topper was not really appealing – well, that at least is my opinion when I look at it today. I made a teddy bear, some butterflies and covered the cakes with marzipan. Which didn’t work as well as I hoped. The marzipan had many, many cracked spots and looked rather unfinished. A lot of practice followed and I think I am getting better. My best cake so far was the princess castle I made for my niece two years ago. It was my biggest challenge and I am still a little proud ;). Cakes for different occasions waited in line after that. Birthdays for my loved ones, holidays, family reunions. Not all of them had a theme, thus not every cake posted was a one week progress, spent with my head lowered for hours, trying to create 100 pieces of decoration. Many of these cakes are worth sharing for their taste. The decorations are usually simple, but nevertheless somewhat appealing to the eye. I am trying. If it wasn’t for the internet and all those wonderful people, sharing their expertise, I would have been lost and would have never achieved the stage I am at right now. Still very far from perfect, but motivated to learn and get better and in my opinion a huge deal further down the baking road that I have been when the first word hit this blogging site 🙂

Happy Birthday to you, little blog 🙂

Starting with a bear.. what will it end with? The next cake is in progress.. the first one, you see here:

Magda's 1stbday

The butterfly in the background is also handmade. It is still hanging on the wall, filled with cards and other little things owned by my nieces. As far as I know the bear is also kept somewhere.

Do you happen to have something to celebrate today? If so, I can recommend the cake I made for my sister’s birthday. I showed you the cake in my last post and promised to post the recipe soon. It is a very light blackberry cake with yogurt and cream cheese. Easy to make and absolutely refreshing. I made the cake twice already, so I have some pictures where you can see the cake a little better. Even without the “Olaf” decorations, the cake can look very nice. I made some sponge cake as the base and made the cream without a recipe. It worked quite well, so I am pretty sure there are many variations you can try. I wrote it down for you though. Here is the recipe:

SPONGE CAKE BASIC RECIPE (for approx. ⌀20-24cm pan):

4 eggs

4 tbsp sugar

optionally 1 package vanilla sugar

4 tbsp flour

1 tsp baking powder

  1.  beat the egg whites with the sugar and vanilla sugar
  2.  add the egg  yolks
  3.  add the flour and baking powder and quickly mix everything together
  4.  bake for 25-30 minutes at 180°C

BLUEBERRY CREAM FILLING:

200 ml heavy cream

500 gr cream cheese

125-150 gr plain jogurt

2 Tbsp sugar (you can use a little more if you like it sweeter)

optional 1 package vanilla sugar (I used it the second time. It came out very nice)

1/2 lemon – you can use either only the juice or both juice and zest

4-5 Tbsp San Apart (this is a stabilizer for whipped cream, which also works with the cream I made. It is available in Germany only, as far as I know. If you can’t get your hands on something like this use gelatin. 8-10 leaves should do it)

100 gr white chocolate

blueberries

  1. whip the heavy cream until stiff
  2. set aside
  3. in a huge bowl mix the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, lemon and san apart or gelatin
  4. melt the chocolate
  5. when the chocolate is cooled down, add it to the cheese
  6. with a spoon combine with the whipped cream
  7. rinse the blueberries and either add it to the cream or use the whole berries to spread them onto the cake and cover with the cream. Both works 🙂

The cream stabilizer makes the mixture very creamy and the chocolate adds some firmness, so it wouldn’t just float from the cake.

IMG_2147

For the cake you see on the pictures I pureed some blueberries and spread it on top of the first layer of the cream. I covered it with a second layer of sponge cake and cream and put the remaining blueberries on top. I also grated some white chocolate and sprinkled it on top. I like to make the decorations according to the ingredients of the cream, that is why I added the white chocolate. If you decide to do something similar and just put the berries on top make sure to serve the cake soon. The berries will bleed and make the cream a little unappealing.

IMG_2134

I hope you enjoy your weekend. Celebrate whatever you can celebrate today and if there is nothing you can think of, celebrate with me and my blog 🙂

Cheers!

IMG_2148

now and forever

IMG_1259

 IMG_1273  

Do you know those days when you get back home from work and you really, really need something sweet?? And there is nothing that can satisfy your taste buds?? No matter what you eat, you find yourself still searching the cabinets and drawers, while chewing the last bite of a granola bar.. Sometimes you will not find whatever your body is craving in your kitchen. Sometimes it needs to be something you simply need to make or bake. Usually that is the worst thing that can happen in those moments… “Baking something? But I need that nooooow and I can’t stare at the oven for 30 minutes until the cake is out.” Guess what? I found something that might help..At least it helped me through moments like these 😉 Like today.. and a few weeks before … and before that… and… 😉 I got home from work, paced around the kitchen cabinets and fridge, ate some snacks and still found myself craving for something else. I pulled out my cake pop maker (I didn’t post anything about it for some time..did you realize? 😉 ) and made one of my favorite little round treats.

After buying my cake pop maker I was looking for good recipes and you guys know how much I was trying out stuff.. which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. The usual cake pops take some time to make.. not so much the pops themselves, but more the coating and decorating. I was looking for something fast and easy that could be made for craving tummies… NOW.

I came across a really nice website: http://amyshealthybaking.com/ and found the following recipe (which I will copy into this post, but please visit the site.. it’s great and the pictures are really nice too) The donut holes are fast, easy and ooooooooh sooooooooo delicious. You NEED to try that recipe if you have a cake pop maker.. or get one now 😉

I also tried a vegan version, because I did not have an egg at home today. I substituted the egg with a tbsp citric acid and 1 tsp baking soda. Vinegar of course works too.. but I did not have that either 😉

donut holes pops

(http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2014/09/25/baked-snickerdoodle-donut-holes/)

3/4 c (94g) flour
3/4 tsp (3g) baking powder
3/4 tsp (3g) ground cinnamon
1/4tsp (1.5g) salt
1 tbsp (14g) butter, melted
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp (5mL) vanilla extract
1/4 tsp (1mL) butter extract ( I never used that.. just the vanilla, so you can leave it out)
1/4 c + 1/2c (144g) sugar
1/4 c + 3 tbsp (105mL) nonfat milk
  1. Preheat an electric cake pop maker.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, and extracts.
  4. Stir in ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ cup of milk.
  5. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
  6. When the cake pop maker is hot, fill each cavity all the way full with batter.
  7. Close the lid and bake for 3-4 minutes, or until the tops are lightly firm to the touch.
  8. Immediately turn out onto a wire rack to cool, and repeat with the remaining batter.
  9. Combine the remaining ½ cup of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pour the remaining milk into a separate small bowl. Once cool, dip each donut hole in the milk and shake off the excess. Roll around in the cinnamon sugar until coated. Place back on the wire rack until ready to serve

Like I said, I made the vegan version today. I added some more sugar to the batter – 1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup. It happened accidentally.. I added all the sugar at once and then realized it should have been only 1/4 cups. I took some of the sugar out and left approximately 1/2 cups in the bowl. It was not too sweet and I really liked the donut holes. It got a little fruity character because of the citric acid and the sugar made it not too sour. So you might want to go along with adding a little more sugar than suggested to balance the citric acid, if you decide for the vegan version.

I also tried a version without cinnamon.. in case you don’t like cinnamon, you can add vanilla sugar instead in the batter and later for the dipping. It’s delicous as well 😉

Btw. if you ever have problems cleaning your cake pop maker, try the following: Boil some water and fill the cavities. A sponge will suck out the water with the grease and dirt. It always works for me. You can also add some dish liquid to the water. This way you will get rid of all the remains.

Well..I hope that my tummy won’t crave more treats tomorrow, because as embarrassing as it is… almost all of the donut holes are gone. Just a few are left.. so I won’t feel too guilty 😉

IMG_1279IMG_1269

winter wonderland

IMG_2471

IMG_2468

I promised I would post a cake with a full recipe.. with a filling and decoration and all. Tadaaaaa.. here it is 😉 Ok, it is some time ago that I made this cake.. like a month, but it is still up to date, I think. With snow and snowstorms everywhere, it feels like winter just got here and will stay for a while. Isn’t it like this every year? People say that “this time we didn’t have a real winter” and I always think: “it is only january.. just wait.. winter didn’t even really start”. Often enough snow comes in January and not before.. winters are long.. a little too long, if you ask me. First it’s grey and grey and rainy and then gray… it is depressing. Then it changes… into another shade of grey. In January, it gets colder, people start to complain and then….the first snowflakes tickle our noses and we forget that it is actually cold and wet outside. Winter finally makes sense, when the world turns white and the nights are not so dark anymore, but illuminated by the brightest fields of white and soft snow. I don’t like winter.. at least not the grey days, but when the first snow falls, I feel so peaceful. Have you ever walked through a busy town after the first snow? Somehow, the noise seems to vanish. It is covered by the silence of falling snowflakes. They fall in silence and place themselves in silence. It is like another world. I remember that I experienced this silence and peace while I was living in vienna. I recall the feeling when I got out of the subway and went through the streets to my apartment. I never experienced this silence, peacefulness and calmness in this town and it just transferred into every fiber of my body. I felt calm, peaceful and just happy. Weird, right? I love it 🙂

Unfortunately, Christmas is usually not blessed with snow-covered streets. It is more often one of the grey days (maybe this is the only positive thing about those short days.. at least, it gets dark early, so we don’t have to see the grey 😉 ) Christmas 2014 was way too warm for winter and rainy as well.. :/ I was supposed to work until Christmas Eve, but got sick and stayed at home until the 23rd. When I arrived at my mom’s place (where we celebrated Christmas), I did not have much time for preparations for a cake. I made some cake pops for Christmas Eve and was supposed to make a cake for the second day of Christmas, when the rest of the family would come over. The type of the cake I found weeks before on my several trips through the baking sites on the internet 😉 So, it was clear, I would make a “Spekulatius” cake – a cake with the traditional Christmas Almond cookies (I love them 🙂 ) The recipe sounded great, so I wanted to try it. I used only the filling, though, because I like to take my own sponge cake recipe, for I am sure it always works.

For the decoration.. well, like I said, I did not have much time and also no plan at all. I would do it spontaneously. After the cake was done, I decided to go for a winter wonderland. I whipped some cream (I used a light cream mix, that you only add milk to.. we did not have heavy cream and the stores were closed, so I used what we had, but you can just use whip cream or butter cream) and covered the cake with it. I did not smooth it out on the top, to make it look more real and piped a small snowman. For the trees, I colored some cream with food coloring and decorated the trees with some sprinkles. For the river I used some blue crystal sprinkles.
It is a fast and easy way to bring some winter wonderland onto your table 🙂 I really liked it, although it was not as perfect, as I wanted it to be. Well.. next time 🙂

And here is the recipe:

As I said before I used my own recipe for the sponge cake, which I used for so many others before.

I used it with

6 eggs

6 tbsp sugar

6 tbsp flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder.

I always use this one, cause it is easy to remember – 1-1-1-1/4 – and never fails to perform well 😉 In a shorter post I will post this one individually, because it is a basic recipe that can be used with so many fillings. Easy and fast to make and simply a recipe you need to have available quickly when needed 😉

and this is how to prepare it:
1. beat the egg whites with the sugar and vanilla sugar

2. add the egg  yolks

3. add the flour and baking powder and quickly mix everything together

4. bake for 25-30 minutes at 180°C. Let cool

 

filling of the white spekulatius cake:

(http://www.chefkoch.de/rezepte/668651168858023/Weisse-Spekulatiustorte.html)

500 g raspberries

125 g sugar

2 packages vanilla sugar

100 g spekulatius cookies (a traditional almond christmas cookie with spices)

1 tbsp lemon juice

6 leaves gelatin 

500 g mascarpone

500 g cream cheese

1/2 tsp cinnamon

some cold water

400 g heavy cream

 

1. if you are using frozen raspberries, defrost in a strainer

2. For the filling crumble the cookies and set aside

3. purée the raspberries with 25 g sugar and the lemon juice 

4. prepare the gelatin as directed on package – most likely you will need to resolve it in some water, let sit for a few minutes and heat it up after it gets hard. Once it is fluid again, pour 3 tbs of the raspberry purée into the gelatin, mix it and pour the gelatine into the remaining raspberry purée.

5. let cool for approx. 5 minutes until it starts to thicken.

6. cut the cake into three layers and put a cake ring around it for support. 

7. pour the raspberry purée on top of the first layer and let cool for approx. one hour

8. mix the mascarpone, cream cheese, cinnamon, 100 g sugar and 1 package of vanilla sugar

9. add cookie crumbs

10. spread half of the cream on top of the raspberry purée and cover with second layer of cake. Spread remaining cream on top and cover with last layer. Let cool

11. whip heavy cream with one package of vanilla sugar and decorate cake

If you want you can use white chocolate for the cake as well. It is used in the original recipe, but it is only used for the decoration and since my cake didn’t need it, I did not mention it in the ingredients list.

Go out and build a snowman if you have the chance.. and if not, build one on your cake 🙂

IMG_1099

IMG_2459

IMG_1090