Schlagwort-Archive: baking

Number Cake

Of course I had to bake for the first children’s birthday of 2016. And what would be better for this occasion than a simple rectangular cake with a colorful number surprise? The recipe is all over the internet, for example here or here, and the idea is easy: you bake a colorful cake, cut out the desired number or any other shape, and again bake it into an uncolored cake. Voilà – you got a surprise cake!

I still have Wilton food colors from my rainbow cake, so I only needed to get a cookie cutter with a number shape. I used the number one, so I could cut out several numbers from each slice of cake. Still, there is a lot of leftover cake.

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Of course you can use the remaining cake to make cake pops. But after a few failures, I have to say that I hate cake pops! So I made muffins from the colorful rest and decorated them with some leftover numbers.

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Since this cake not only has to bake two times, but also needs to cool completely in between, I had some time left. Furthermore, I also had leftover frosting from my baby cake. So I also made some confettilicious cupcakes. Maybe they are a little less suited for small children, but delicious for grownups.

Happy first birthday, J.!

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Pastel Baby Cake

Ever since I got the Sweetapolita bake book, I wanted to make one of the delicious sprinkly cakes out of it. I decided early for the pastel vanilla birthday cake. This cake is pastel pink and blue, so what better occasion could there be than a baby shower?

My friend will have a baby girl, so I switched the colors and made the cake pastel pink with a blue border. Also, I made the cake flour myself by this recipe and used whipping cream instead of heavy cream, as you cannot buy these ingredients here in Germany. For the coloring, I used Wilton’s red red and royal blue.

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I made the vanilla bakery frosting some days in advance and was really pleased with its consistency. It has a really nice and smooth texture. However, it is also really sweet, and by this I mean you can hear the sugar crunch between your teeth. The frosting is then put between four cake layers together with cookie dough pieces and sprinkles, creating a really high cake (the online recipe has three, but the book features a four-layer version).

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In the end, I even had to make more frosting – I guess I just used too much for the crumb coating, as I am lacking practice in the cake frosting department. Nevertheless, the cake looked nice in the end. Still, it was way too sugary for our taste – I like sweet stuff, but this was even too much for me. But for its great looks, I certainly will make this cake again, only with a few changes I already have in mind.

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Pear Poppy Seed Cake

Once again, I made a cake for a birthday. This time, it should be something without whipped cream, but rather with fruit and a little lighter. At the current temperatures here in Germany, you might not know it, but it is actually winter. So I decided for a cake with pears. I did not want to exchange the whipped cream with butter cream or something similarly fat, so I made a pear poppy seed cake. The recipe (in German) is once again from Dr. Oetker.

The recipe asks for a ring cake, and many times, my attempts to get the cake out of the baking pan destroyed it completely. Hence, I used my silicone baking pan this time. If you let the cake cool completely before turning it out, you get a beautiful ring cake, even without greasing the form. At the time being, I am a huge fan of silicone baking pans.

The cake is decorated with white chocolate and more poppy seeds, creating a nice effect. I hope it was tasty!

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Christmas time is cookie time

1 kg butter, 18 eggs, 2 kg flour, 600 g nuts… No, this is not our monthly shopping list, but simply the ingredients for one round of Christmas cookie baking. Last year, I discovered black and white cookies, and besides them, I also baked chocolate butter cookies and bear claws. On another day, a friend helped to make also almond biscuits and nut comfit.

Of course, we do not eat all of this in our little household (even though we tried). There are enough occasions in December, for instance Christmas parties, where self-made cookies are welcome. Also, I like to give away cookie bags for Christmas – especially this year, where I have no fixed income.

So, happy St. Nicholas‘ day!

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Gingerbread House 2015 (with recipe)

It is our family tradition to bake a gingerbread house every year. Since my own daughter is still a little small for sweets, I made one for my nephews this year. Additionally, we made another one for our colleagues.

The recipe that I use comes from some magazine of the 50’s or 60’s. I copied it from my grandmother and share it with you – together with tips from granny and me. 😉


Ingredients

  • 1 jar of honey
  • 250 grams sugar
  • 250 grams biskin (basically vegetable fat)
  • 1 kilogram flour
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 sachet gingerbread spice (or abount 10 grams cinnamon, 10 grams cardamom, 5 grams clove)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 sachet baking powder
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 kilogram powdered sugar
  • sweets for decorating
  •  
  • baking sheets
  • 12 – 15 long needles

Required time: about 3 – 4 hours over two days.


Preparing the gingerbread

Heat the honey with sugar and fat until shortly before boiling and let it cool. Sift the flour together with cocoa powder and spices and mix it with the honey mass, spoon by spoon. Add the eggs and the baking powder, knead to a smooth dough and allow to rest for about half an hour.

I am always amazed that you actually use a block of fat, a full jar of honey, and a complete kilogram of flour. And that 50 grams of cocoa powder are actually enough to color the whole thing brown. Kneading the flour in this dough has been too much for my hand mixers several times, so I had to do it manually. It helps to add an egg whenever the dough gets too hard.

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Baking the house parts

Roll the dough until it is about 1,5 cm high and cut the house parts (2 walls of 23 x 9,5 cm, 2 roof parts of 17 x 28 cm, 2 gables of 10 x 15 cm). Bake in the pre-heated oven at 200° for 15 – 20 minutes and let the parts cool on a grid. If the house parts get deformed during baking, you can trim them as long as they are hot.

For the house parts it is reasonable to cut templates from baking sheets. This way, you always have the right sizes and there is no need to measure the dough. Of course the gables are not rectangular but pentagonal, and you should cut a door in one of them before baking. Deformed parts can also be trimmed using the patterns, but this really has to be done directly after baking. If the gingerbread is already cold, it will break. If the templates reel because of the heat, you can fixate them using needles.

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Decorating the house parts

Whisk the egg whites until they are really stiff and mix in the sifted powdered sugar. Apply this sugar icing onto the cold house parts and decorate them with the sweets.

You will need about half of the icing later to glue the house together. You can keep it in the fridge overnight and stir it the next day, or you just make half of the icing now and the other half tomorrow. In case you ask – no, one kilogram of powdered sugar is not too much, because the icing really needs to work as a glue. Feel free to take large amounts of icing, otherwise you might risk that the sweets fall off when you put the house together. When you are done decorating, you can rest for the first day, because the house parts have to dry overnight. If you try to arrange them too early, everything will fall apart.

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Assembling the house

Before assembling the house, the sweets have to be touch dry. Slather the icing on the corners of the house from the inside and the outside, put the walls together and let them dry for one hour. Now coat the gables and the upper part of the walls with icing and put the roof parts on top. Dust the house with a thick layer of powdered sugar to let it appear covered in show.

Put icing on the parts, glue them together, and let dry – sounds easy. But I remember countless times how the walls fell together, the roof slid down, or the whole thing just did not stand at all. So here comes granny’s professional hint: use some long needles to pin the parts together. It is essential to remember how many needles you used and where they are to avoid surprises! And you should pin the needles on the lower ends of the walls, because you will not be able to remove them from the upper end once the roof is up. Additionally, you can support the roof ends with glasses or anything of the right height. Again, don’t save on the icing! During assembly, I always think the house will never be stable, but if you take enough icing, you can remove the glasses and needles after about 24 hours and it will stick dead certain.

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When you are done, don’t eat the house directly, but let it rest for a while. The gingerbread is quite soft after baking and hardens slowly afterwards. But if you keep it in a cookie tin after „slaughtering“ the house, it softens again and stays fresh forever. In our family, it is a tradition to bake the house in November and slaughter it on three king’s day on January 6.

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Beer Bread

Since the oat bread was really delicious, I decided to bake more bread from my feast of ice and fire cookbook. The nice thing about these recipes is that the breads are all really easy and made with dry yeast – neither fresh yeast nor leaven required.

For the beer bread, one bottle of dark beer (I used Köstritzer) is mixed with different types of flour. I took a mixture of what we had around – wheat flour type 405 and 550, oat flour, and even some corn flour. This resulted in a quite light bread, but of course one could take rye or wholemeal flour for a darker one. With a 500 ml bottle of beer, one ends up with a good amount of dough – enough for three loaves. For reference, here the dough directly after kneading, after one hour, and another couple of hours:

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So, here I was with quite some dough. I decided to make two round and one rectangular bread, because I believe I know that rectangular bread stays fresh for a longer time. Which was not really necessary in the end, because we ate all three loaves in no time.

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We had really delicious, fresh bread without much work, so I also made the white bread from the same book (the sliced one in the pictures), which is also very good.

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Cookie Monster Muffins

This weekend, we were invited to a 30th birthday surprise party. Well, „invited“ seems to be the wrong word, since the presentee didn’t know about the party. Hence, the buffet was organized by the guests, and everybody brought something.

For me, this was a perfect opportunity to try another recipe from my fun food books. This time, we made the cookie monster muffins, which are also on the book cover – for a reason.

The blue „fur“ consists of colored coconut flakes, which are glued to the muffins with colored sugar icing. The amount of sugar also adds a nice crust to the muffins, which are filled with chocolate chips and taste delicious.

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Oat Bread

My dear friend Dr. S. is back in Germany and moved to a place directly around the corner. So I gave bread and salt to her for her new appartment. As a house wife and mother, I have time to bake bread myself. I decided to make the oat bread with dates and apples from the feast of ice and fire cookbook.

The recipe makes two loaves, so one remained at our place. It did not last for long though, as it often is the case with fresh bread.

The oat bread uses yeast and takes only little more than two hours to make. And it is really delicious!

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Crocodiles, Sheep, and Mice

Recently, we had another reason to celebrate, and I got a lot of gifts. Yay! Among other great things, there was the Sweetapolita Bakebook and both volumes of Fun Food. I love it! Hopefully there will be some occasions in the next time to make some fancy cakes. Fortunately, I do not have to wait for a special day to make some fun food – it’s good for buffets, childrens‘ parties, and for every day.

Yesterday, we had crocodile: one out of cucumber and another one from meat loaf. Today, we had cauliflower sheep and potato mice. I guess we will have a lot of fun eating in the next time…

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Desperate Housewife

Sometimes I can be a real great housewife. For example when I go to work in the morning, come home and feed my three month old while my boyfriend goes grocery shopping for me, I then bake three types of muffins, in the meantime go shopping again because something is missing, I then go to the gym, and afterwards make another tarte.

Yes, it was my birthday. 🙂

In the end, we had vegan chocolate cherry muffins, not-so-vegan berry crumble muffins, sugar and salt free apple banana oat muffins for my nine month old guest of honor, and a lemon tarte. And I fell into my bed like I was half dead. But then I could celebrate the next day with my guests and a lot of cake.

Happy birthday to me!

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