Lemon Curd Birthday Cake

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Lemon is one of my most favorite flavor in a cake, so I was very excited to make this, but then this wasn’t my cake to eat, but my friend’s Karen. I searched for a good lemon curd recipe, and the one I eventually made was truly up to my expectations.
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I tried a few variations, like mixing the white chocolate cream with some lemon curd, then just a layer of pure curd, and even lemon curd topped with the white chocolate cream. All good, but my favourite was the last variation when I spread a layer of lemon curd on the cake and then a layer of white chocolate on top of that. The sourness of the lemon meeting the sweet white chocolate cream (not overly sweet) was Heaven. For me, that is.
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Ingredients:
-8 eggs, separated
-8 Tbsp flour
-8 Tbsp sugar
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-300  ml double cream for the white chocolate ganache
-100 g white chocolate
-coral pink and white fondant
-edible silver foil
-edible silver beads
-paper flowers
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Lemon Curd:
-3/4 cup caster sugar
-1/4 cup cornstarch
-1 cup water
-2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
-2 Tbsp butter
-1 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Combine sugar, cornstarch and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil (3-4 minutes). Boil, stirring, for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat.
Spoon about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into a small bowl with egg yolks and stir quickly until combined. Continue stirring, while pouring the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
Return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, until the curd is thickened and lemon colored (1-2 min). Remove from heat and stir in the butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Let the lemon curd cool, then press plastic wrap onto the surface, this will prevent a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate. Makes 1 1/4 cups
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Make the Cake:
Prepare the ganache one day ahead of the cake. Warm 300 ml double cream in a pan adding 100 g of chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts, don’t let it boil. Let it cool down, then place it in the fridge and leave to chill over night.
To bake the cake, separate the eggs first. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar until you get stiff peaks. Add one egg yolk at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
In another bowl, combine the flour with the salt and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg cream, mix on the lowest speed or fold in only with a large spoon, don’t break the cream.
Line your cake pans with baking paper before pouring in the batter. I used disposable paper baking cases to avoid the cutting step before filling the cake. This way you have all your cake layers even, and I like to have as many layers as possible. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool completely.
I used 4 cake dowels and a little cake board in between the 2 tiers when stacking the two cakes.
I covered the cake with white fondant as a first step, then I decorated the bottom part with lots of coral flowers. I used three different shapes of flower cutters.  On the top half of the cake I applied edible silver foil and decorated with some more edible silver beads. I finished off with coral and white paper flowers bought from Hobby Craft.
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Donuts and Pyjamas Birthday Party

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My oldest daughter turned 11 and although we established last year that she will not have a birthday party this year, somehow we ended up inviting her 4 closest friends for a sleepover party. I knew that a sleepover involves more than just a birthday party, and the girls are together for an evening, night and morning, which comes with lots of noise (LOTS of it!) and mess and turning the house upside down, BUT I am so glad I said yes, because it turned out that sleepover party with THIS age girls is NOT trouble, it is actually a lot of FUN! My daughter loved it, her friends loved it, and I loved it too!
We first thought of pancakes and pyjamas, but after I acknowledged that I am no good in pancakes (the American style that is, because I am pretty good in making the French style crepes…), I came up with donuts instead. Much better for a party, I must say. I bought lots of delicious Krispy Kreme donuts (2 dozens…. yeah, told you!), plus more jam donuts, ring donuts and mini donuts. I baked sugar cookies, some in the shape of donuts and iced them to resemble real donuts. The cake was chocolate cake and I made three donuts from fondant to go on the top. My daughter was delighted.
I decorated plain white paper cups with sharpies to match the theme, and printed a donut banner to hang above the party table.
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My daughter prepared a few activities, and the girls were excited to play along. They first played “Spin the bottle” with a set of neon nail paints, The end result was interesting and unique for all of them.
After this they played “Truth of Dare” and “would you rather”. They had a few good laughs during this. They also played music from the computer and danced a lot in the meantime.
We ordered pizza for dinner, then prepared a big mattress on the living room floor. They watched 2-3 movies till very late (or very early in the morning…). For the ultimate home-movie experience, we used the projector on the surface of a whole wall, they absolutely loved it!
I left the girls at 3 am in the morning and went to bed, thinking that surely I can take a picture of them still sleeping around 8 in the morning, but much to my amazement they woke up even earlier than me, so the morning photo in bed didn’t happen.
We only cut the cake after breakfast, because they were so full the night before.
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Chocolate cake:
Ingredients:

5 Tbsp flour
5 Tbsp brown sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp salt
Fondant, to decorate
Cream:
600 double cream
200 g white chocolate
50 g milk chocolate (chopped)
Method:
Note: you need to prepare the filling cream for this cake one day ahead. Warm the double cream in a pan on the stove and stir in the white chocolate broken into pieces. Stir until melts, don’t let the cream boil! When the chocolate is melted, place it on a cool surface to cool, then put it in the fridge for the whole night to chill, but at least 6 hours.
In a large bowl beat the egg whites with the sugar and salt on high speed until you get a shiny and firm consistency. You can hold the bowl upside down and the cream will stay put, that’s the hardness you want to achieve.
Gradually, add the egg yolks one at a time, adjust the mixer to medium speed while beating. Add the vanilla extract, too.
Mix the flour with the cocoa powder, you might need to sift if it has big lumps.
Using only a large spoon, adding one spoon at a time, carefully fold in the flour mixture in the egg cream in a way that it doesn’t brake it. Using the electrical mixer is not recommended at this stage anymore.
I baked 5 separate layers in large paper baking cases. I love using it because it is the right size ( 7 inches in diameter) and it saves me from cutting the cake into layers after baking. Also, it will bake much faster and evenly.
In another bowl, whip the white chocolate cream until you get a smooth, but not too hard consistency. It is hard to describe where to stop beating, your cream should be lightly firm, but not very stiff.
Fill the cake, and before placing the next layer of cake on top of the cream, sprinkle with the chopped milk chocolate first.
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Karen’s Triple Chocolate Cake

 

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I was thinking what name should I give to this beauty. I made it for my friend Karen who just got married, and although this wasn’t her wedding cake, I wanted it to look and fit to the special occasion.
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I baked a simple sponge and filled it with three different chocolate ganache creams, dark, milk and white, and I covered the whole cake with white chocolate cream before I decorated it with the fondant ruffles.
Ingredients:
-8 eggs, separated
-8 Tbsp flour
-8 Tbsp sugar
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-300 + 300 +300 ml double cream for the dark, milk and white chocolate ganache
-100 g dark chocolate
-100 g milk chocolate
-100 g white chocolate
-champagne colored fondant icing
Method
Prepare the ganache one day ahead of the cake. Warm 300 ml double cream in a pan adding 100 g of chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts, don’t let it boil. Let it cool down, then place it in the fridge and leave to chill over night. Do the same with the other two chocolates and portions of double cream.
To bake the cake, separate the eggs first. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar until you get stiff peaks. Add one egg yolk at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
In another bowl, combine the flour with the salt and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg cream, mix on the lowest speed or fold in only with a large spoon, don’t break the cream.
Line your cake pans with baking paper before pouring in the batter. I used disposable paper baking cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I baked my cake in three rounds. Let it cool completely.
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To fill and assemble the cake, I used 4 cake dowels and a little cake board in between the 2 tiers. I filled it with dark and milk chocolate cream, switching after each layer, and covered the whole cake with white chocolate.
I covered the cake with champagne colored fondant, then I decorated it with more fondant stripes for the ruffles. Finished off with real roses.
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Rainbow Mini Cheesecakes for Easter

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Happy Easter to you all!

Here I bring you mini heart shaped rainbow cheesecakes, which may not have all the colors of the rainbow, but this didn’t stop my kids grabbing the spoon. They loved it!
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In terms of flavors I made it simple, all layers were plain vanilla, although I originally planned to add different flavors to different layers. Eventually I opted to leave it plain vanilla, and since it was meant for the kids, it was the perfect choice. I often experience that my kids love simple flavors, but of course they go crazy for something visually over the top.
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To make these, it is important to use individual silicone moulds and freezing, and gel food colors. I only made 5 because I only had 5 moulds, so this recipe didn’t need much.
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Ingredients:
-digestive biscuits (about 125 g)
-15 g melted butter
-1 pack of Mascarpone cream cheese
-300 ml double cream
-2-3 Tbsp powder sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-gel food colors
Method:
Crush the biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic bag. Mix it with the melted butter. Divide evenly in the mini moulds, smooth the top with a spoon, and place it in the fridge for an hour to set hard.
In the meantime, in a large bowl whip the cream cheese with the sugar, vanilla and double cream. Divide in 4 separate bowls, or as many as many layers of colors you want your cheesecake to have. Add the gel colors and mix well. Put each batch of cream in separate piping bags then start with the first color. Before piping the second layer, smooth the first layer evenly with a spoon, then keep on adding each layer the same way. When finished with the last layer of cream, place them on a tray and put it in the freezer. I left them there over night, but I assume a couple of hours are plenty enough. As long as the cream cheese gets hard as ice cream, you can remove from the freezer and turn the cakes out from the moulds.
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Vietnamese Ice Coffee Cupcakes

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Here we go with the coffee again. What can I say, I LOVE coffee, but you probably know that already. This time though, I searched for a different recipe for a change, and this is how I found a site called The Scran Line. I was blown away instantly of the gorgeous cakes and cupcakes and I just knew I have to give it a go! I might just try a few cupcake recipes from that site, adding my own personal touch to it, of course, because they all look soooooo gooooood!
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If you want to make this too, here is the recipe, and Nick also has a YouTube channel. I am warning you though, that once you open that, you will not want to close it again……
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Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

 

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Red hearts, chocolate hearts, roses and raspberries. These would be the keywords to describe my Valentines Cupcakes I made this weekend. So light, so creamy, so dreamy….. I only made a few though, and apparently not enough, because the family was demanding for more.

M y little daughter helped me making the red roses from sugar paste, she made one just by herself after watching me closely. Like mother like daughter! She definitely takes after me, but to be fair, my older daughter loves crafting just the same.
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To make these beauties, I baked feather-light raspberry cupcakes and frosted with cream cheese icing. Really, really yummy! I wanted my cake to be red-and-white, like really popping red and bright white, but I just learned a lesson, which I kinda knew already, that you can not bake WHITE cake. Not in a natural way, anyway. I put white sugar instead of brown (and if you know me, you know that I use brown sugar like 99% of the time), and I put white food color in the batter (like a lot), and I baked on very low heat, and for a shorter amount of time, and my cake were still not white enough. And they never will be, I will just have to except it. I used some white food color in the icing too, and that actually worked, so at least the topping was nice and bright white.
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Ingredients:
125 gr unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup white caster sugar
1+1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup whole milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
300 gr fresh raspberries
pinch of salt
For the icing:
250 gr Mascarpone cream cheese
300 ml double cream
powder sugar, depending on your personal taste (I only used 1/2 cup)
white food color, optional
Method:
Preheat your oven. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt and baking powder. Divide the baking cases in the baking pan.
In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla, mix well, then add in the flour mixture and the milk. Mix on low speed only until everything is incorporated. Throw in the raspberries and fold using only a large spoon. I didn’t want to crush the raspberries, so I mixed it very gently and only for few seconds.
Divide the batter evenly in the cupcake pan using an ice cream scoop only 3/4 way. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, then remove from the oven and let them cool a little before you transfer the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
In a bowl, cream the cream cheese with the powder sugar gradually adding the double cream too. If you have more raspberries, you can add some to the icing, it will make it pink and will taste very good!
P.S..I am very excited to announce that now I have my own App  which you can find on Play Store under the name Beautiful Cakes on your phone. I would appreciate any comments on this, weather you could find it easy or not and of course what do you think about it. I will probably come back to this post and edit this section should I have to change anything in the App (…well, that would be my husband, he designed the app and made it work…). Thank you!
Here’s the link:
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Frozen Winter Forest Cake – my traditional Christmas Chocolate Truffle Cake

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This Christmas I made once again my traditional Christmas cake, which is a chocolate truffle heaven! We just loved this one so much after I made it for the first time few years ago, that I kept on with it every Christmas ever since. The only difference I make is the decoration and presentation each year.

 

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Ingredients:

1 cup water
5 Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2,5 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 little natural yogurt (without any flavour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
200 gr butter (unsalted)
1 tsp almond extract (this time I actually put 2 tsp and I loved the more intense almond taste)
juice squeezed from 1/4 orange
100 gr good quality dark chocolate roughly chopped
salt
Ganache cream:
600 ml double cream
150 g white chocolate +150 g to decorate the cake
You need to prepare the cream on the previous day of baking. In order to do this you need to pour the double cream into a pan, put it on the stove. Chop 150 g white  chocolate in small pieces and stir in the cream until its melted. Make sure it’s not boiling, it only needs to get warm enough until the chocolate melts in. When it’s done, put it aside to cool completely, then put it in the fridge for the night or at least 6 hours.
Method:
Preheat your oven. Put the water, cocoa powder and butter in a pan and stirring it, bring it to boil on the stove, then put it aside to cool down.
Mix the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Stir in the water with the butter and chocolate, add the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, orange juice, yogurt, and finally the chopped chocolate. Stir everything just only until all is combined.
Grease and line (the bottoms only) the tins with baking paper. Lately I like to use 4-5 large, disposable paper baking cases, because this way I can bake each layer separately, and there is no need to cut before filling. I love it! My cases are roughly 6-7″  diameter at the base, I divided the batter into 5 layers, so my cake ended up nice and tall, just how I like it.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes. Take it out from the oven then leave to cool in the tins completely before filling your cake.
With an electric mixer beat the white chocolate cream and fill the cake. I put generous amount of cream on each layer, and I covered the cake with the remaining filling, just enough to keep the white chocolate pieces stacked to the sides.
Melt 150 g white chocolate, then spread it thinly and evenly on kitchen foil. Put it in the freezer on a flat surface for 10-15 minutes until completely hardens back again. Take it out from the freezer and brake the chocolate in strips. It doesn’t have to be even, because this way will look more like sharp ice which is the whole idea behind it, kind of a frozen winter forest…
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Baumkuchen -German Tree Cake

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Hi, and Happy New Year to all of YOU! I am starting this year with a German cake, which I came across few weeks ago. Although this is a cake usually made around Christmas, I left the baking to the new year, simply because we had enough to eat sweet and salty as well, and thought it would be a nice start to 2018. I loved making this! It needs a special equipment, which only professional bakeries have, but I found an adapted version to make it at home. I need to say up front that I have never tasted this cake before, or seen it either, so eating it I couldn’t decide whether it was how it’s supposed to be, but it was good nonetheless. And the bonus is that my kids liked it too, even though this recipe calls for Rum. But it also calls for marzipan, cinnamon, chocolate…..so, what’s there NOT to like, right?

 

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Funny thing that when I first saw this recipe, I didn’t pay too much attention to it, then I clicked away and forgot the name of it. Except for the German part. So, when weeks later I decided I want to make it, I had some trouble finding it again. I searched Google for “Buchen Kuchen”, which was completely wrong, but after some time and deeper digging I finally got the name right and found the lost recipe again. Of course it wasn’t Buchen Kuchen, but Baumkuchen, or German Tree Cake instead.

 

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Ingredients:
-200 g butter, room temperature
-150 g caster sugar
-150 g golden marzipan, cut into small pieces
-8 eggs, separated
-250 ml double cream
-60 ml dark Rum
-1+ half tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-140 g self raising flour
-100 g cornflour
-salt
Glaze:
-100 g dark chocolate
-150 ml double cream
-2 Tbsp dark Rum
-15 g butter
-sprinkle candies to decorate
Method:
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the marzipan and whisk into the butter mixture. Add the egg yolks and whisk in. Add the double cream, dark Rum, ground cinnamon, vanilla and a pinch of salt and whisk to make a smooth batter.
Sift in the flour and cornflour until everything incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then fold into the batter by first taking a large spoonful of egg white and beating it in, to loosen, then folding in the rest gently, a spoonful at a time, trying not to knock out all the air.
Butter the base and central spindle of a 25cm round, flat-bottomed ring pan. Put two large spoonfuls of batter into the pan and spread out with a silicon pastry brush, or a spatula, into a very thin layer. You shouldn’t be able to see the base of the pan through the batter.
Bake under a hot grill for about 3-5 minutes until the top of the batter turns golden-brown. The cooking time will depend on many factors, such as how hot the grill is and how far the pan is from the grill, so watch carefully. Once the first layer is done you’ll have a good idea on timings for the rest. When the top is golden brown, carefully remove from the grill and put another two spoonfuls of batter on top. Spread them out in the same way, making sure that all the cake below is covered but keep the layers thin. Bake again, in the same way, and continue until all the batter is used. I got 13 layers this way, although this depends on the size of the pan and thickness of the batter. As the number of layers increases, the top of the cake will get nearer the grill and will cook faster, so watch very carefully towards the end.
Once finished, slide a knife round the edge of the pan to prevent sticking, and leave the cake in the pan to cool.
Remove the cooled cake from the pan and invert onto a cooling rack, putting foil or baking parchment underneath to catch drips later. I have seen several versions of decoration for this cake, mostly with only chocolate, I decided to make it colorful with the sprinkles.
Heat the chocolate, syrup, cream, Rum and butter in a saucepan until melted together into a smooth, glossy sauce. Pour the glaze over the top and sides of the cooled cake and leave to set. Drizzle with the sprinkles to decorate and leave to set.
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