Winter Forest Christmas Cake

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Christmas should be white. Pronto. You may argue with me, especially if you grew up in Australia or other warm part of the World, but for so many others including myself Christmas should be snowy white. It used to be in my childhood, and I feel sorry every year that my kids don’t experience the same magic.
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I made this white cake with glittery Christmas trees thinking of that magical white Christmas. I wanted to bring the magic on the table, to my work colleagues table, because I made this cake for them.
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The trees I made of Mikado sticks and chocolate candy melts with sprinkles and glitter, all edible of course.
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The Nightmare Before Christmas Oreo-Pops

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This year for Halloween we are going in circles around Oreos and apparently Jack Skellington, too. What can I say, Oreos are simply good, and Jack Skellington looks good too. Don’t you think? This was my boy’s choice to dress up to this year and I helped him with the make up, he looks pretty awesome, doesn’t he?
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These, easy to make cake pops are basically double Oreos coated in white chocolate bought from the store. I only double coated in white icing to be able to draw faces on them because edible pens don’t work on chocolate surface. Well, the ones I have don’t. After this, I inserted a wooden skewer in each of them and tied a black ribbon around the “neck”. And Voila!
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Last year I made similar sugar cookies, which were very delicious, and much more work considering that I baked them, but if you are looking for something easy, fast and no-mess, then these Oreo Pops are right for you.
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Melting Witches Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes for Halloween

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Right. Bow down, witches, it’s Halloween again! I made luxurious mini cheesecakes for you, because you know….everything I brew, I brew it for you!
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Do you like Halloween? Because I love it, it’s one of my favourite season of the year. I love the dressing up, the atmosphere, the kids anticipation of going trick or treating. My kids love it too, obviously. The only thing I don’t like about it, it’s the full buckets of junk sweets they collect each year. I will admit that once home, I check their buckets and keep only the selected sweets, and throw away the junk. And they’re still left with plenty to chew, much more than I like, but what can we do, that’s part of Halloween too, right?
But not all sweets are junk. These mini chocolate cheesecakes are definitely not junk. The have all the goodness in them you can imagine. Best quality of chocolate, best vanilla extract, creamy Mascarpone cream cheese, and Oreos. Still in doubt? You really shouldn’t be. I know you want them……so go for it!
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Ingredients:
500 g Mascarpone cream cheese
300 ml double cream
100 ml finest quality dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 packs of  Oreo biscuits ( I used 1 pack original, and 1 pack brownie Oreos)
50 g butter (melted)
100 g white chocolate
600 ml double cream
green food colouring
Method:
Prepare the white chocolate cream. This is actually the green cream topping you see on the cake, under the witch hat. Warm 600 ml double cream in a pan and add the white chocolate stirring until fully melted. Don’t let it reach to boil. Set aside to cool, then place it in the fridge for the night.
Crush the Oreos in a food processor, leaving aside half as many biscuits as the number of mini cheesecakes you are making. Take them apart carefully, without breaking them. These will be the bottom of the witches hats. For the top, you can use Kisses chocolates, or like in my case, I used crisps dipped in melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with glitter.
Add the melted butter to the crushed biscuits until fully combined. Scoop evenly in the mini cheesecake pan. Don’t forget to grease the wholes first.
Tap down the crumbs to an even flatness, and place the cheesecake pan in the fridge to set for an hour.
In the meantime prepare the cream cheese. Melt the dark chocolate and add to the Mascarpone cream cheese and stir. Gradually add the 300 double cream stirring until you get a nice and smooth consistency. It doesn’t have to be very hard. Stirr in the vanilla extract too. You may add powder sugar if you need, I didn’t because we don’t like it overly sweet.
Put the cream in a piping bag and divide evenly on top of the Oreo crumbs. With a teaspoon smooth the surface till flat. I left it like this for a night, and only piped the green/white chocolate cream on top the next day, which has to set overnight in the fridge as well.
Next day, whip the white chocolate cream adding a few drops of green food colouring until you get the desired shade of green. I wish mine were more vibrant, but I guess that the brand I used isn’t the best.
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Monster Cake

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My boy had his birthday in August, he has waited patiently ever since for a cake. We are never home in the summer, that’s why he doesn’t have a home made birthday cake on his special day.

 

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Since we’re approaching Halloween, I thought a monster cake is welcome, especially if it’s so easy to make and requires no baking. I could do it in no time even though I have my little one home all week with chicken pox……
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Ingredients:
Oreo cookies
600 ml double cream
100 gr white chocolate
Black food colouring gel
White fondant
2 edible eyes
Method:
Warm the double cream and melt in the white chocolate. Set aside to cool, then place it in the fridge for overnight or at least 6 hours.
Tint the chocolate cream with black gel colour. Whip the cream and set aside.
Place the first layer of oreos on a cake plate, then add a layer of chocolate cream. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you are making a monster, remember?
Build your cake as tall as you wish, if you are making a smaller diameter monster, your cake will be taller as a result.
To make the eyes, just remove one side of an oreo cookie and use the sides with the white cream on, placing an edible eye on them.
Roll out a small amount of white fondant and cut little triangle shapes. Arrange them on your cake to form teeth and claws.

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A very rainbowy rainbow birthday party

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My little one turned 5 and we threw her a small party at home with just a handful of her closest little friends.
The weather isn’t the greatest these days, but fortunately the rain missed us, so we could be inside and outside as well. We planned to have the party table inside, and the craft station outside.
With some adult and big sisters help they made rainbow wands from wooden sticks, colored star shape felt and rainbow ribbons. I cut everything ahead, so they only had to chose their stars and assemble the wands with the glue gun.
I also prepared each girl a cotton bag which I decorated with a rainbow drawing, and I personalized them by drawing their names on each bag. I left their names uncolored in purpose, so that they could finish it with the colores they chose. We used fabric markers, so they are permanent and hopefully will last for a long time.
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I made pizza for them with rainbow colored vegetables, but they were so focused on the sweets and candies, that they hardly touched it. There was also 6 kind of fruits, arranged by the colors of the rainbow, like strawberries, peach, pineapple, green grapes, blueberries and red grapes.
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I found the giant rainbow Marshmallows about a month ago in a shop, and bought a few packs of Jelly beans and a few boxes of Smarties. It was fun arranging them by colors.
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I decorated the paper cups with Sharpies.
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These are plain biscuits from the store and I applied rainbow fondant on top of them.
Vanilla cupcakes with milk chocolate chips and rainbow buttercream.
I filled these biscuits with the same rainbow colored butterceram.
These are Smarties chocolate eggs from Easter. I had to hide them really well to keep them safe from the kids till now….

 

The cake was a big success. It was very humble and simple from the outside, but when I cut throw it, the girls shrieked with joy seeing the rainbow inside the cake. I snapped a photo of the cake before I covered it with the icing.

 

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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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