Girly Dinosaur 4th Birthday Party

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Dinosaur party for my little girl? Hell, yeah!

Kind of a last minute idea, kind of easy, and a lot of fun! Didn’t need much preparation, which was essential this time, since we just bought our new house (literally got the keys 2 days prior the party), and we are in the middle of moving.

 

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Before my daughter’s birthday, I organized another event at her preschool. We made a Fairies and Elves party as a fundraising event, that needed much more prep work, but then it was a party to host a larger number of kids. With so much going on lately, I haven’t really baked anything for us, hence the lack of posts. And another reason for not baking is that my husband is gluten intolerant, and we just found out several weeks ago, so ever since then I haven’t really baked anything. I definitely need to try out gluten free baking soon, but first things first, we are moving! Yaaaay!

 

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So,  as I said, we just got the keys of our house on Friday, and we hold ourselves back for another week or so before we get all of our stuff over to the new house, which luckily is only two streets away from the old house. In the meantime we have had one more last birthday party in the old house, and once everyone went home, I grabbed the fist cardboard box and started packing 🙂
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I am so glad we went for the dinosaur theme! Nothing was decided for quite a long time, because my daughter kept changing her mind like five times a day! Kid you not! Even regarding to have a party or not to have a party. She was messing with me, I’m telling you that 🙂 Mum, I dont’ want a party! … Yes, I want a party! … Mum, I don’t want any of my friends to come here! … Ok, I want only two of my friends, and plus her, plus him, and this and that to come….but actually I won’t have a party at all! ….She was very picky about who to invite, or who not to invite, and eventually we settled with 9 of her friends to make a round 10 with her included. In the end there were a lot more children, because some of them came accompanied with older siblings instead of parents, and my older kids were there too, and also my older daughter’s friend spent the day with us spontaneously.
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I must say I am not a fan of large parties. My kind of birthday parties are 6-8-10 children top, including the birthday girl or boy, and I already call this a big party. This is how I like it,  small, private, to know everybody by name, to interact with everyone, to be able to offer a cup of coffee or tea, and chat with our guests etc. I like to make a birthday party special and memorable, something different, and for me a smaller group of kids and parents are more manageable opposed to a classroom size crowd where is physically impossible to talk to everyone and to be a good host and be present everywhere. And my kids like it this way, too.

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When we first talked about her having a birthday party, she was still doing ballet, so I started planning a ballet party, but one day she decided she won’t go to ballet classes anymore, which also meant ballet party was off the list.
However….did you notice that some of the dinosaurs are wearing tutu skirts? 🙂 This is how I combined a bit of ballet into the roaring Jurassic world! Perfect fit I’d say, isn’t it?
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To make the food labels I used the Picasa software.
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I made different coloured tutu skirts for a few dinosaurs (which we borrowed from our preschool, as we only have 6-7 dinosaurs at home) and I used some other little Barbie accessories to dress them up, like sunglasses, headset, guitar, little photo camera, etc.
For the desert table I carved a watermelon to look like a dinosaur head. Never done this before so I am pleased with the result, looked good on the table.
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I made simple vanilla cupcakes with raspberry cream frosting and decorated them with dinosaur cupcake toppers bought online.
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Recently I discovered these savoury crisps, which we served as Unicorn horns at my older daughter’s Unicorn Party few weeks ago, and now they did the job brilliantly as dinosaur teeth.
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We also served little dinosaur shaped ham&cheese sandwiches. I love this cutter, as very little bread and filling is wasted. You can cut two dinosaurs with one cut, and the two of them uses up almost all of a large sandwich, so no waste there.
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These are dark chocolate pudding with two layers of brownies in between. I had the little plastic cups left from store bought deserts. I put some hard sugar candy stones on top, which my son thought were real stones.
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I also bought Kinder Surprise eggs, unwrapped them, but shortly after putting them on the table they started to melt, so I quickly shoved them in the fridge before the party guests arrived.
Do you think I forgot about them and never gave any to the children? Make your guess……Right! 🙂
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I wrapped and labeled chocolate eggs as dinosaur eggs. Good thing that they’re not selling these only for Easter 🙂
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My favourite from the table were the sugar cookies, which we made together with my little daughter few days prior to the party. We used one of the big dinosaurs to imprint his footsteps into the cookie dough. We had fun doing them and the cookies were delicious.
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The cake was very simple, White Chocolate Cream cake. This is our “to go” cake for the kids birthdays lately, they love it and ask for it again, and again, and again!
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We served green Kubu (pears, kiwi and banana drink), although they were not too keen on drinking it 🙂
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For the party bags I ordered plain white paper bags online, then decorated them with cute little dinosaurs which I found and printed myself, and cushioned the bags with  rainbow colored tissue paper.
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We set up a dinosaur dig area for them to search for fossils. I bought a set of 12 little dinosaur skeletons and hid them in the sand pit. They had to dig them up and clean them with brushes. They loved this!

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The older girls applied dinosaur tattoos on the little ones.

 

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Another fun activity was to eat little donuts off a string without touching them with hands.

 

 

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We also had frozen dinosaur eggs which I made by inserting little dinosaurs in water balloons, filled with water, then put them in the freezer. We then poured warm water over the eggs to discover the dinosaurs when the ice was gradually melting off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After everyone went home late afternoon, my little 4 year old (who’s birthday was actually on the day of her party) stayed out and played on her own at the sand pit for a good 20-30 minutes. After all the excitement she needed some time alone to cool off, process everything and take it all in….Happy Birthday my sweet Darling!

 

 

 

 

Magical Unicorn Party

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10 years old!

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I feel like I need an intro here, like I need to explain the whole Unicorn Party thing for my 10 year old daughter. I feel this because last year she had a “Taylor Swift” Birthday Party , which sounds more grown up, and it looks like we have had a step back this year. Looking back to the last year, I see lot of growing up in every aspect of life. She is definitely not a little girl anymore, and the fact that she is so tall, doesn’t help either 🙂 But, I wanted for her to have one more, (probably the last) childish birthday party, with all that comes with it. Oh, and she wanted the same thing, too!

 

 

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You would think they are too old for stuff like this. Like Unicorns and magic, and all the glitter and shine, but the truth is they’re not. Really NOT! Let me tell you, that these 10 year old girls LOVED all the glitter and shine and Unicorns and magic 🙂 They loved their little soft unicorns they got to build themselves and named, because, in case you didn’t know everybody has a Unicorn name, even you, my friend 🙂 They named their little Unicorns as follows: Sassy Happy-Feet, Happy Floating-Bubbles, Dashing Sugar-Socks, Sassy Tickled-Pink and Sunshine Happy-Feet.
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They started with watching an old movie called Legend, which features a couple of “real” Unicorns and Tom Cruise is the main star  (hello! I said Tom Cruise!!), but eventually they got bored with it, which I don’t blame them for, because the film was not the typical Hollywood Best of…(although it may have been back in 1985, I wouldn’t know…), and Tom Cruise was just a kid basically. Anyway, let’s just say that the movie was not the hit of the party, but the Unicorns looked real and beautiful, nonetheless.
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The girls sat down afterwards and stuffed their own Unicorns and chose their names and their Unicorn Magic Powder. They loved this and they had lots of fun doing it.
They applied jeans tattoos on their denim shorts, back and front pockets, they loved these, too. Well, of course, they were Unicorn tattoos in rainbow colors after all, what’s not to like there, right?
I spray painted white plastic unicorns in gold and glued them on jar lids, then filled the jars with candy. The mini bottles are made of glass, we put the labels on and filled with glitter, ehm…I mean Unicorn Magic, of course.
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They had a little fun outside running and jumping with the gold and pink confetti balloons before they got back to the dessert table for cake. During the whole party, they also got a laptop near them and they played their favourite music on You Tube, so there was some dancing, too.
We served rainbow pizza, Unicorn horn pastry filled with vegetable salad, sandwiches, Unicorn chocolate bark, white chocolate cake, donuts coated in chocolate melts and sprinkles, sugar cookies in shape of unicorns and magic wands (ah, those skinny unicorn legs were a pain to make…), cupcakes, etc…
The wooden sign which I placed outside to greet the party guests I made myself few weeks ago. I found this treasure lying in a ditch not far from the house about a year ago, and now I had the chance to do a makeover. I painted in rainbow colors and wrote the message ” Dance with Fairies, Ride a Unicorn, Swim with Mermaids, Chase Rainbows”.
Also, I bought the brown paper mache Unicorn head from Hobby Craft weeks ago, and I worked on it in secret, while my daughter was at school and hid it in the loft until her birthday.
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White Chocolate Birthday Cake

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This was a white chocolate cake that I made for my daughter’s friend, Susie. She turned 10 and asked for a white chocolate cake. As it’s one of my favourite cakes, I was happy to do it, in fact I will make a white chocolate cake for my daughter’s birthday later this month, too.
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Ingredients
4 large eggs, separated
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
For the filling
600 ml double cream
200 g white chocolate (I used Lindt white chocolate from Lindor -the best!)
Method
You need to prepare the filling cream one day ahead, but at least 6-8 hour before assembling the cake.
Warm the double cream in a pan and stir in the white chocolate until fully melted. Set aside to cool, then place it in the fridge for overnight.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt, then add the sugar and beat until you get a firm, shiny consistency. Add the vanilla and yolks one by one, beating a little after each addition. Now put down the mixer, and using a large plastic or wooden spoon, fold in the flour, but gently until it’s all combined.
Pour the batter in the baking pan. I used four disposable, paper baking cases, and divided the batter evenly. This way I got four even cake sheets and I didn’t need to cut afterward.
When the cake has cooled, I beat the white chocolate cream and filled the cake.
To decorate this cake, I made a little bunting from paper flowers and fabric.
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Ombre Violet Cake with Wild Blueberry Buttercream for Mothers Day

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Violet or purple? Purple or violet???  I had to look up to see the difference in definition, but couldn’t say that I know better. I think the colour of my cake is violet though, as seems that purple is more red-ish, so I go for violet, but correct me if I’m wrong.

 

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I made this tiny cake using violet food colour. I baked the three layers separately, and tinted the batter in different proportions to get the ombre effect. First, I thought that the darker shade would be too dark, it looked more black at some point, and only when I cut into it I started to relax seeing the nice, deep violet colour, and it was not black.

 

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The cake is not a sponge cake, is my yummy vanilla cake recipe with French butter and vanilla extract, only this time I used white sugar instead of brown, because I wanted to have a light coloured batter which can be tinted to the desired colour.

 

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I made buttercream this time, which is also not my usual cake filling, but I wanted different. I mixed Wild Blueberry jam in my buttercream to add flavour, but I applied a layer of jam on top of each cake layer, too -which, Hello! -it really isn’t my style of making cake, but as I said, I wanted different 🙂

 

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Small Caramel Chocolate Cake

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Made this small, 5″ cake for my birthday, just enough for my family to make it vanish instantly after Sunday lunch.

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Chocolate and cream is my ideal cake filling, light and creamy, and can be so versatile if used different chocolates each time. This time I bought Lindor caramel chocolates from Lindt. Very subtle and silky, whipped in double cream and filled in a light vanilla sponge cake. Just perfect, and I got my husband’s absolute approval, too.

 

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Persian Love Cake for Valentine’s Day

 

 

I have been looking for inspiration for something special for Valentine’s day, although this particular day doesn’t mean too much for us. It is a custom which we were not familiar with where we grew up, and only appeared later in our life, therefor there is nothing too special about it for us. But! It is a very good opportunity for baking something a little more special, more glamorous. I have been searching for something new, something different, and came across several time with the Persian Love Cake, but the more cakes, the more varieties on the same subject, and different interpretations each time. Which one to chose, which one is the authentic recipe, I’ll never know. I chose to follow (more or less…) a recipe from Twigg Studios blog, and the looks (the layout of the cake and decoration idea) from The Hungry Australian, and that’s how my version of the Persian Love Cake came to life.
Apparently, there is also a love story behind this cake, although searching a bit deeper I found out, that none of it is true, and that Persian people don’t know anything about it.
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Ingredients:
250 ml plain yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
6 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
2 and 1/4 cup ground almond
6 cardamom pods
2 Tbsp rose water
6 Tbsp chopped pistachios
pinch of saffron strands
100 ml almond milk
zest from 1 lemon
Icing:
150 ml double cream
50 g white chocolate
Syrup:
zest and juice of one lemon
100 g caster sugar
2 cardamom pods
1/2 cup water
Decoration:
food grade dry rosebuds
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Method:
Preheat the oven.
Peel the cardamon pods open and remove the seeds, crush with a pestle and mortar. Add the saffron strands to the milk and warm in the microwave. In another bowl beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy, then stir in the yogurt. Add the ground almonds and baking powder, then add the ground cardamom, lemon zest and chopped pistachios. Add the rosewater to the milk and saffron mixture and stir into the cake batter.
I didn’t have rose water at home, so I put a few dry rosebuds in a cup and poured half cup of boiling hot water on them and left covered for about 10 minutes. It smelled wonderful, but with a much lighter rose taste, which I personally prefer better than the strong rose water.
Pour the cake mixture in the previously greased bundt cake form. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.
While still in the oven, make the syrup.Put the lemon juice,the zest, sugar, water and cardamom pods in a pan and simmer until thickens a little.
When your cake is baked, make holes all over and pour the syrup on to the warm cake spoon by spoon.
Warm the double cream in a pan and melt in the chocolate. Let it cool for several hours in the fridge before you beat up lightly, so the consistency is still flowing but thick. If you want, you can leave the ganache out completely, or you can make butter cream instead if you prefer.
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Blueberries and White Chocolate Chips Cupcakes with Pink Meringue Kisses

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My daughter and her friend baked blueberry-chocolate chips muffins on Thursday, and I put aside a few. They took care of the rest, meaning they decorated them and eat most of them. They did a very good job, and the muffins were delicious. The best part of all was that they genuinely had lots of fun in the kitchen!

 

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I had two egg whites in the fridge from the previous day so I thought I will use them to make meringue kisses. I don’t remember ever making them before, and there sure is room for improvement. They cracked, and I need to be more careful next time, although I’m not sure why it happened. But, they look adorable nonetheless, and tasted wonderful, so it’s not all that bad after all.
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Ingredients:
-125 g butter, softened at room temperature
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1+1/3 cup flour
-1/3 cup milk
-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-pinch of salt
-2 teaspoon baking powder
100 g white chocolate chips
-200 g fresh blueberries
Frosting:
-300 ml whipped double cream
-2 egg whites
-150 g white caster sugar
-pink food colour
Method:
Preheat the oven. Line your cupcake pan with the cases.
In a bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the vanilla, flour and milk, and beat with the electric mixer until combined, but be careful do not over-mix, because it will become dry and sort of a bread.
Add the chocolate chips and blueberries and stir until it’s all incorporated.
Use an ice cream scoop and divide the mixture evenly in your cupcake cases,  fill them only 3/4.
Bake them for around 20 minutes, half way through you can turn your tray in the oven, but don’t open the oven in the first 10 minutes of baking, this is important!
Take them out from the oven, and you can leave the cupcakes in the pan for about 5 minutes before you transfer them on a wire rack.
Whip the egg whites adding the sugar above a pan of hot boiling water. This way the sugar will dissolve quickly and you get a shiny, smooth mixture. Transfer into a piping bag, cut the end (about the size of a 5 pence) then pipe the egg cream on a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Bake until it’s dry and comes off easily from the paper.
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Espresso Chocolate Cake

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This is a white chocolate cream cake with the taste of coffee. If you love chocolate and you love coffee, then what could be better then a chocolate that tastes like coffee? A chocolate cake which tastes like coffee, maybe…? Right. You came to the right place.
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I brought this delicious espresso chocolate from Hungary thinking that I will not just eat it, but bake a light sponge cake then fill it with espresso ganache. I was very pleased with it, and the family appreciated it above expectations, even the kids (because we all know how kids approach coffee….) .
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Ingredients:
5 large eggs, separated
5 Tbs flour
5 Tbs white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt
(I put a few drops of yellow food colour to get this yellow sponge – optional)
Filling:
600 ml double cream
150 g espresso white chocolate
Decoration:
whipped double cream and food colour of your choice
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Method:
You need to prepare the filling for this cake one day before baking and decorating.
Warm up 600 ml double cream in a sauce pan, add the espresso chocolate broken into small pieces. Don’t boil it, just keep on the stove stirring continuously until the chocolate has melted completed.
Next day:
Preheat your oven. In a large bowl start whipping the egg whites with a pinch of salt adding the sugar. Whip until you get a firm consistency.
Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks one at a time, whipping a few seconds after each one.
Add the flour (first mix with the baking powder) carefully. Don’t use the electric mixer anymore, just a large spoon to combine the egg mixture with the flour. Once ready, divide the batter equally in 4 baking pans, or large paper baking cases, like I did. This way I didn’t have to cut layers after baking, because I had them all four ready made.
I baked two layers first for about 20 minutes, then the other two. Let your cake cool completely.
To cover this cake, I divided double cream in five portions and coloured them each individually. I started applying the top layer first, the yellow, then went to the bottom and put the dark purple, followed by light purple, blue, green, and finally more yellow. Then I carefully blended the colours here and there. No need to be too accurate here, be creative, even a little messy and you’ll get a lovely, ombre or rainbow coloured unique looking cake.
This cake is light, is creamy, it tastes like coffee with cream, it’s perfect, and I couldn’t ask for more!
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