It was a wonderful day – sunny, hot, the birds singing, kids playing outside. One of those Sundays we are looking forward to during the long winter months. I packed my gym bag, locked my apartment door and … Continue reading
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?
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 🙂
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:
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 tbsp sugar
optionally 1 package vanilla sugar
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
- beat the egg whites with the sugar and vanilla sugar
- add the egg yolks
- add the flour and baking powder and quickly mix everything together
- 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
- whip the heavy cream until stiff
- set aside
- in a huge bowl mix the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, lemon and san apart or gelatin
- melt the chocolate
- when the chocolate is cooled down, add it to the cheese
- with a spoon combine with the whipped cream
- 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.
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.
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 🙂
It’s absolutely my favorite time of the year. I wake up in the morning, sunshine pushing through the little slits of the shades, illuminating the room and encouraging my senses to wake up and seize the day. The shades open … Continue reading
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 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:
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 🙂
It’s Christmas time. Lights and music everywhere. Sparkling children’s eyes in front of the store windows, where stuffed animals go skiing or bake cookies. The trees are decorated with colorful ornaments and blinking lights. The streets smell like cinnamon and wine. It is a busy time. A chilly time. A special time. We remember friends, we didn’t see for a long time, send them a Christmas card or a message on the phone, hoping to see them again, before this year ends. I feel like this time is so very different from the rest of the year. I feel like people are nicer, even though busier than usual. Maybe it is because we have been taught that this is a peaceful time and we live what we have been told as kids. Maybe it is because we are looking forward to those couple of days and in our minds we are already there, despite of what the calendar says. Maybe it is just illusion and we are simply more patient towards each other. Or maybe.. it is just me, thinking that people are different. Whatever it is, Christmas time is sure a little magical. The lights, the smells, the music put us into a mood, as if we escaped into a different world. And in this different world, Christmas miracles are sure possible. Small ones usually.. hidden ones.. very subtle ones. We need to look closely and recognize them as such. We need to be able to embrace the possibility that miracles can happen, so they would show. Last but not least, we might need to redefine the meaning of miracles. It can be the rain that starts right after you got home, dry and clean. It might be the friend’s call, the moment you start to feel alone. It might be the book about how to fix your bike, falling from the shelf, after realizing that your lights are broken and you have no idea how to fix it. It can be your little niece, who just surprises you with a very smart comment 🙂 . All those things are everyday miracles, we just need to see them. My Christmas miracle happened this week. Two weeks before I was working at the check outs of my store, when I realized that my ring is missing. It must have fallen into one of my customer’s shopping bags. I was hoping, whoever took it home, would soon find it and bring it back. I told my mom to please go to church and pray for this ring to get back to me. It was very important for me and with my parents being very religious, I was just asking for any help I could possibly get. I promised to myself that if I would get it back, I would donate money. I felt a little like Frodo.. missing my precious ring (It is the right time, isn’t it? With the next Hobbit coming up…) A week later I gave up hope that this ring would ever show up. This is when my coworker, wearing a big smile on her face,told me about a phone call she had earlier that day. The customer who found this ring called the store and said she would return it in the following days. Now, I am wearing the ring on another finger.. just to make sure I wouldn’t lose it again 😉 Anyway, whatever helped to bring the ring back, it is a miracle for me. I am very thankful to the woman who bothered coming back to the store to return what I missed… and I really missed it. I searched the finger for the ring every now and then, just to realize that it is missing. Thanks to a very good person, my mom’s prayers and maybe my promise, I have something back, that is so close to my heart 🙂
Talking about my mom, she is the reason I could try a new recipe again. Actually, the recipe is just made up, but I wanted to try something new and was glad that she and a friend of our family came to visit. I spent the entire sunday in the kitchen, preparing cake pops (I am a proud owner of a cake pop machine now 😉 ), candy and cake. I will post pictures and recipes for cake pops some other time.. I still need to figure out the best recipe. Today I would like to share with you the cake I made. I used a basic sponge cake (since I don’t have an oven, I baked it at a friend’s place a couple of days earlier and put it into the refrigerator) and cut it in three layers. On the first layer I put apricots on the outer edge and mixed berries in the middle.
For the cream, I used the following:
1 package (200g) vegan heavy cream (it is sweeter and lighter than the usual one)
1 package vanilla sugar
300 – 500g soy yoghurt
1-2 packages gelatine (depending on the consistency of the yoghurt and how much yoghurt you are using)
1. prepare the gelatine following the instructions on the package
2. whip the cream with the vanilla sugar
3. in another bowl mix the yoghurt with the sugar
4. heat the gelatine until fluid. Add a tablespoon of the yoghurt to the gelatine and mix it. Pour the gelatine into the rest of the yoghurt.
5. add the cream
6. let rest in the fridge until it starts to thicken
I used only 300g of yoghurt and 75g sugar, because I had a small cake. I still needed a little more than one package of gelatine, just to give you an idea. If you want to make it entirely vegan, use a vegan sponge cake and agar-agar instead of gelatine. I just didn’t need to do this, because my guests were not vegan, but I wanted to try out the mixture with the vegan cream. I put the cream on top of the fruits and covered it with another layer of cake, which I prepared the same way as the bottom one. On top of the third layer, I just spread the rest of the cream. On the sides and to smooth out the top, I used another vegan whip cream.
Both my guests had two pieces and took all the rest home. Because the cake did not contain any dairy, I was happy to join my guests and tried one piece. I can say: approved!
I hope you encounter small and big Christmas miracles. If not, bake something good and just take in the smell of a cake in the oven.. isn’t that just miraculous?
I am sooooo sorry.. It took forever to sit down and start a new post. Things are busy these days and my life changed a little again. I took a “small” job and am working part-time now.. though I am there more hours than planned. I moved into a new apartment in my good old Hannover and I started a new project, which requires a lot of time.
Now, the worst part of all those new things…. I am living in an apartment … w…i…t…h…o…u…t..an…..o….v….e….n!!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine??????? How did I get myself into this? seriously, sometimes I am soooo desperate to bake.. I don’t know how long I can stand that state. I am here only temporary, meaning for four or five month only. What will happen afterwards, I don’t know, but I know that I will check the kitchen for an oven, before I move in 😉
So, here you have the main reason for my absence. I will try some new things, like “baking without baking” or “baking in the microwave” and try to post more often. And of course, every time I go to see my mom, there will be a cake as well.
Last week there was a holiday in the area my mom lives. I took a day off and went to her place on friday night, right after work. My mom bought all the ingredients for a cake, so I could start right upon arrival. I decided for a cake with fruit and cream cheese. My family is a huge fan of both. Somehow they don’t really like buttercream or plain cream cakes. There always has to be some fruit somewhere. I had the choice between peaches, mandarin oranges, and cherries. For some reason, I wanted a red color for this cake.. I felt like red 😉 – so I went for the cherries. I did not have a certain picture of that cake in mind, as I usually do. This cake was not well planned. It is somewhat difficult to plan accurately, without any recipes around. The look of the cake was about to be a surprise even for me. Anyhow, since the filling was something our family knows and likes, I wanted to try at least a new recipe for the cake. Many times I read about the favorite cake from tortentante.blogspot.de. It is a great website, with many tutorials and tips. The author of this site recommends an egg liqueur cake for all theme cakes. It is more stable than a sponge cake and does not fall apart that easily. There is another cake frequently recommended – the wonder cake – but after my first attempt to somehow keep this one in shape, I gave up. Time for a new recipe. The egg liqueur cake turned out just great! It was very even on the surface, so that I didn’t even have to cut the top and the taste of the liqueur vanished completely during the baking process. I will sure follow “tortentante’s” path and use this cake for my theme cakes in the future. It really is not falling apart and the taste is great. Ok, I will stop talking about it.. here is the recipe:
2 packages vanilla sugar
250 gr. powdered sugar
1/8 l vegetable oil (I used coconut oil to add some nice coconut flavor)
1/4 l egg liqueur
250 gr. flour
1 package baking powder (I would recommend a little less.. the taste of baking powder got through a little)
1. in a small bowl mix the flour with the baking powder and set aside
2. mix the eggs with the powdered sugar and the vanilla sugar on high-speed until light and fluffy. The batter should be almost white
3. add the vegetable oil, egg liqueur and flour mixture
If you were asked to build a time machine, how would you start? What tools would you ask for and how would this time machine look like? Would you build a rocket shaped machine? Would you build a chair with a weird looking hat, connected with a million wires to the chair? Would it make people look like they are just getting an electric shock, while going back to the past or peeking into their future? And would they disappear from the presence or would their bodies still be here, while their minds explore past events and places? How would these travelers get back?
Why I ask all these questions? I don’t know. It crossed my mind and I was wondering, who was the first to come up with the idea of time machines. The idea of traveling through times fascinates movie makers and kids. Just recently I heard about a time machine in a museum (which showed the past of the place this museum is located) and it made me think about the fascination this idea provokes. And I realized that we all have our time machines. Our eyes, noses and mouths. Sure, we cannot travel into the future, but a little journey into our pasts is always possible. All we need is a trigger. It can be a scent, a sound or a flavor. The last couple of days my personal little time machines were used frequently. I watched a movie, which I used to watch with my siblings quite often when we were kids. Only a day later I stumbled across a really old animation movie, I used to love as a kid (Ever heard of “the brave little toaster”?). I needed to tell my sister about this and we started to recall the movie, realizing that we still remember, though we didn’t watch this movie for 20 years. Good old times. A couple of days later, a friend of mine pulled out a game with a set of cards, which are used in the Austrian area and mostly known in the eastern part of Europe. I knew the cards, just forgot how to play.. this game got pushed to the very back of my mind. Now, 25 years later, I learned how to play this game again 🙂 Only a few days later, I went to a second hand store and discovered a beautiful old wooden box. I opened it and found a card game, my dad and I used to play. I had to get it.
It is funny how movies, games, flavors, or scents can take you years back. When this happens I always feel happy and I like to share it with the people around me. It is nice to add other people to our memories. In ten years I will have more memories that I connect with these things, new people that I remember sharing things with. We grow and get older and our experience makes us more aware of what we loved and cherished in the past. It is up to us to enrich these memories with new ones.
I traveled my past a lot lately. Maybe it is just summer that makes me remember my childhood so much. Not long ago I was talking about how much I love to go strawberry picking, which also reminds me of my childhood. I love the fresh strawberry flavor and strawberry cake with jello reminds me of the way my mom used to make cake when I was little. The season is over, but summer is still here and if you happen to have a craving for strawberries, but not a lot of time or patience to make a complicated cake, I have a recipe for you, that is easy, fast and which makes me dwell in memories. It’s rich strawberry flavor in combination with marzipan is the right cake for those who love sweet and fresh 🙂 A memory of my mom’s cake enriched with the new marzipan cream flavor:
Strawberry Cake with Marzipan Cream
for the cake:
150 g sugar
150 g grounded almonds
for the marzipan cream:
400 g heavy cream
1 package vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
50 g powdered sugar
for the topping:
300 g strawberries
1 package red jello
40 g almonds (for decoration)
1. whisk sugar and eggs until fluffy
2. add almonds and mix until well blended
3. pour batter into pan and bake for 25 minutes at 180°C / 360°F
4. for the marzipan cream, puree marzipan with 200g heavy cream until smooth
5. whip the rest of the heavy cream with the vanilla sugar
6. sift the powdered sugar and add to the cream, along with the marzipan mix
7. (in summer or high temperatures, you might want to add some gelatine.. approx. 2 leaves)
8. put the strawberries onto the cooled cake
9. prepare the jello as directed on package and pour it on top of the strawberries
10. decorate sides with almonds (you can roast them in a non-greased pan)
11. let cool and enjoy the ride 😉
It seems weird that the cake only needs three ingredients and I doubted it works, when reading this recipe for the first time, but it really works 🙂 It’s delicious!
Enjoy your little journeys to the past and don’t forget to share them with the people around you. Memories are more enjoyable and you can keep them up when enriching them with new life. They last longer and will accompany you in the future. Hence, let’s sit down in our little time machine and be surprised where we go next.
Goal!!! GOAAAAAAAL!!!!! GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!!
Just practicing 😉
I get black-red-gold inside every two years. European Cup and World Cup are my favorite times. I love getting together with my friends and watch the games or go out into a bar full of foreign people and get excited with them. It is an amazing feeling, to be among a group of hundreds of people, yelling until my body hurts. The best World Cup of course was the one in 2006 in Germany. Thousands of people from all over the world came together here in Hannover to celebrate this event. Sure, there were some problems and riots, but in most cases these people only wanted to enjoy the games and celebrate together.Those weeks are always special and my heart is close to a heart attack almost every day.. even closer when Germany plays. I am never as patriotic as during those games 😉
I don’t need to mention that I like to bake for this occasion, right?
When I was living in the US I made German brownies for my non-German friends during the 2010 World Cup.. well, this somehow convinced them to root for Germany with me 😉 hihi
Four years later, back in Germany – another World Cup, another batch of German brownies (the recipe for the cake pops in the picture will follow soon):
315 g chocolate
215 g butter
175 g flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
300 g sugar
120 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. preheat oven to 175°C
2. in a large bowl melt chocolate and butter in hot water
3. in another bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder
4. whisk into chocolate both sugars. Remove from heat and whisk in 3 eggs completely, then whisk in the other 2 eggs, along with the vanilla extract
5. sprinkle flour mixture over the top and using a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix! There might be just a trace of flour in places.
6. Scrape into a 9×13 inch pan
7. Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached
For the black stripe of the flag I used dark chocolate and black food coloring; icing and red/yellow food coloring for the other two stripes.
I’m glad Germany’s flag is so easy.. to my American friends: have fun decorating 😉
I am sooooooo looking forward to the game tomorrow!!! I hope we will score another four goals 🙂 Ok.. maybe three will do it, too 😉
Enjoy the World Cup guys and yell as much as you can.. we will remain silent for the next two years..
Time flies.. it is June! Already! People are planning their summer vacations, working in their yards to make them pretty or planning a wedding.. yes, somehow it seems as if this is what summer is about. Getting married, go on … Continue reading