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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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 😉

the question of the egg and the hen

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Easter is coming up and some people cannot wait until they sit down with their families and eat the biggest breakfast of the year. For some people this is because they just looooove this breakfast for its huge amount of different dishes. For some people, because the breakfast takes almost the whole day and for others.. simply because they are craving something they didn’t eat for the last 40 days. I am talking about religious people, who still keep the tradition of abstinence… or people who do this, although they are not religioius, but simply try to live healthier. The time line of 40 days somehow makes it easier. I belong to all of these groups. I LOVE breakfast! My favorite meal of the day and I like the huge variety of things on easter morning …and that there is no lunch 😉 Just breakfast! Yummy! Plus, it is really the end of those 40 days, which means I can start to eat things I resigned for the last couple of weeks.. this year: gummy bears. I can eat a whole package a day.. I wanted to eat healthier, so I decided to replace them. By different kinds of nuts, raisins, fruits etc. Ok, I gained weight during that time, which is like doubled punishment, but I am hoping to do something good for my body anyway. I am also not eating chocolate.. well I try 😉 and cut on all other sweets. But that is just me and it doesn’t mean that my friends do the same. When we met for a movie night a couple of days ago, I wanted to bake something to bring along. Well.. I was not only lacking gummy bears in my tummy, but also eggs in my fridge. A good vegan recipe had to be found and thanks to the internet I found a good one. I chose a basic vegan muffin recipe, which I can modify the way I want.
(http://veg-mag.blogspot.de/2012/06/vegane-muffins-grundrezept.html)

250g flour
150-200ml soy milk
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
50ml vegetable oil
100g sugar
salt

1. mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl
2. add oil and milk
3. add whatever you like 😉 fruits, raisins, almonds, vanilla flavor, other flavors… be creative
4. bake 20 minutes at 200°C

I added ground almonds. The batter was a little too thick, so I added a little more milk. Whatever you add, make sure the texture of the batter is not too thick or too watery.. just right.. you know what I mean 😉 Also, for one third of the batter I added some cocoa and put one tbsp of the dark batter on top of the light. I thought that the dough would not really rise, due to the lacking eggs, but it did… yes, it SURE did!!!!!! I was totally shocked when I took out these huge muffins 🙂 There was not much frosting needed, but I made some anyway.
I like to make Martha Stewart’s frosting. Look it up at her homepage:

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (use margarine for the vegan version)
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Just mix all ingredients in a bowl 🙂 I also add some melted dark chocolate to get a chocolate frosting. I am not really picky about the amount of the ingredients.. I just try to have a nice texture and taste.. Try out what is best for you.

I melted a little more chocolate and sprinkled it on top of the muffins and decorated each with an almond.

I really like that recipe, because it is so easy, fast and leaves a lot of room for creativity.. AND it really IS delicious. Many vegan cupcake recipes turn out to be too dry or stick to the paper.. but this one is really perfect. So, if you happen to have an empty fridge and only a couple of ingredients in your cabinet, but really crave for something sweet.. This is it!

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field hockey cupcake field

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I know it is close to Christmas and I should post something really christmasy.. well, looking outside the window I feel like fall is never ending. At least I am not freezing 24/7 😉 That’s a plus 🙂

So,  I am baking since a week for Christmas, but today I wanted to share something that I made by the end of November (just didn’t get to post it, yet). It will be a short post anyway, because there is not much to tell about the process.. It is pretty easy, so if you don’t have more than one day to prepare, go ahead with this one.

Remember my disaster-soccer-cake? I had another request from the same person, but this time the theme was field hockey. Additionally, the request changed to cupcakes instead of a cake (hmm… no wonder 😉 ). Three weeks before the due date I started to prepare the fondant and look for inspirations. I was about to leave for the US and the day I was going to come back would be the last to prepare the cupcakes, so all needed to be well planned.When I came back from my vacation, me and my jetlag started to bake chocolate cupcakes with field hockey decoration.

The cupcake recipe you find in one of my previous posts. For the hockey sticks and balls I used gumpaste, which I partly dyed brown and red. The balls I embossed a little with small dots, to make them look like hockey balls. The grass I made out of powdered sugar, some lemon juice and coconut.. very yummy and I always use this for grass, cause it is so easy. I used some chocolate ganache underneath the green fondant cover, to even out the surface.

For the name of the Birthday girl, I baked vanilla cookies and covered them in the colors of her team. When I covered them, I attached a stick to the back of the cookies, while the chocolate was still melted. Next time I would bake the stick into the cookies right away.  I let it dry and put two letters into one cupcake. With that I had ten hockey stick cupcakes (as many as requested.. one for each member of the team) and two extra for the name. They fitted perfectly into a white box that I got from a drug store (they had some other stuff in there before, but they gave me the empty box when I asked for it 🙂 ). I put some red paper inside to follow the color theme of her team. Ready to go 🙂

As far as I know, my friend and her daughter were happy about the outcome and this time I was happy, too.

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To make this post just a little christmasy… many people thought these are candy canes. Take it as a christmas idea then and make the entire sticks in white and red and there you go: Christmas cupcakes 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

little treats for the weekend

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You guys already know that I like to bake for friends and family and would take (almost) every opportunity to try a new recipe (or an old one that is almost forgotten). And when it is friday afternoon and a friend is coming over after a week full of stressfull work, it is even more fun to treat that friend with some sweets. Like yesterday 🙂

A few weeks ago I was strolling through some stores (mostly home and decorating stuff ;)) and I found those adorable little cups… on sale 🙂 YEY! Seriously, could I possibly have turned my back on these little cups when they were actually begging me with their little red price tags to take them home?? Of course, I had to adopt them and they found a new home in my cupboard waiting for their first mission.. which happened to be yesterday 🙂

I am not a big fan of greasy food and so I never use butter or oil for my pans, but waxed paper. With these cups it is a little tricky, but I still insisted on not making them greasy, so I cut little squares and put them inside before starting with the batter. It actually looked really nice with the paper ( you don’t see it on the picture, cause I took it out after baking.. next time I might let it in. It adds a decorative touch to it).

And here is the recipe for the cakes in the cups:
2 eggs
160ml milk
75g melted butter
225g flour
175g sugar
1Tbs baking powder
1/2Tsp salt
8Tbs jam

1. Preheat oven to 200°C / 390°F
2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add milk and butter. Whisk until well blended.
3. Add sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until dry ingredients are moist.
4. Put one Tbs batter in each cup.
5. Put one Tsp jam on top.
6. Cover the jam with rest of batter.
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
8. Let cool completely.
9. For topping use.. whatever you like – frosting, melted chocolate, nothing… I used powdered sugar and lemon juice..for me the best topping on a cake like this 🙂

I usually don’t eat all the stuff I am baking.. but I try once in a while and I can say that these are good 🙂 Try them and let me know!
Btw. I think my little cups did a great job on their first try 😉
Oh, of course you can use this recipe for standard cupcake pans as well 🙂

A weekend treat wouldn’t be a real weekend treat with only one cake.. where is the choice? 😉 The second treat you see on the picture are great and delicious meringues. Yummy 🙂 Like I said, I usually don’t eat all I am baking…but here I have to say (blush) ….. they are almost all gone. I love the chewy center..and how they melt inside my mouth…I didn’t have those for such a long time that I forgot how good they are! And SO easy to make! I should stop writing about them, cause I am about to go to the kitchen and eat the rest of them 😉 If you don’t like (basically) pure sugar with egg white.. don’t even try. But if you do….

100g sugar
2 egg whites
salt
a few drops lemon juice or vanilla

1. Beat the egg whites approx. 1min
2. Add sugar and mix until the mixture is stiff and a little glossy
3. With an icing bag put small “roses” on a baking tray (don’t forget the waxed paper 😉 )
4. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 100°C / 215°F to 150°C /300°F (it depends a lot on your oven and how you like them. I left them in the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 125°C. They are a little golden and chewy in the middle, just the way I like them. You might need to adjust it a little for your own taste.. Just try it 🙂 )

So, my stomach is happy and full of sugar 😉 I think this is a good start of a weekend.

I hope you guys enjoy your weekend.. wherever you are. Have some tasty days 🙂