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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Christmas Cake with White Chocolate Butter Cream

My usual Christmas cake wasn’t so usual this year because I changed the filling from white chocolate ganache to white chocolate butter cream. Even though I intended to stick to my traditional Christmas cake, I had to improvise with the cream because we travelled to Hungary for the winter holidays and I couldn’t transport my usual double cream across countries. So, I made a butter cream base and added melted white chocolate to it.

A few years ago I’ve seen a similar cake in a Hobby Craft magazine, I thought it looked very pretty. It turned out it was also very easy to make the little green fondant trees. The only problem was that I had to be careful when sticking the pretzel sticks into the trees and then into the cake because they broke too easy.

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My youngest daughter was eager to help, so she made a few little trees herself which she eat shortly after finishing them.

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Blackberry & Lemon Cake

 

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Is that time of the year again, when the blackberry bushes are in full bloom, and we pick a handful every time we step out the house, just like we do every season.
I choose to bake a plain sponge cake and fill it with blackberry cream this time. The lemons came into the picture in form of lemon syrup which I drizzled generously on top of each cake layer, and also used in the frosting. Funny how a blackberry cake turned out to be pink, but there’s no secret to it, the magic was to simmer/boil the fresh blackberries with lemon juice for a few minutes and they turned from black to beautiful red.
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When I finished this cake and my son first tasted it, he pulled all sorts of faces to me, then pushing his plate away he said “Mom, this is the most disgusting cake I ever had!” Pff…..that bold honesty put me off a little bit, and when tasting it myself I almost fell for it, but after leaving an almost untouched, full cake in the fridge over the night (which never happened before in this kitchen), the next morning our disappointment turned into amazement and now I can say that this is the kind of cake which is best to leave to rest and chill in the fridge for at least 6-8 hours before eating (must be the cream cheese!). Surprisingly the next morning this cake was wonderful, the flavours of the lemon and sweet blackberry combined and even my son’s face lit up with happiness and he finally had a slice of cake that he could enjoy.
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Ingredients
Sponge cake:
-6 eggs at room temperature, separated
-6 Tbsp granulated sugar
-6 Tbsp all purpose flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-pinch of salt
Lemon syrup:
-3/4 cup water
-1 Tbsp granulated sugar
-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 smaller lemons)
Blackberry cream:
-3 cups powdered sugar
-375 g butter at room temperature
-1 pack Mascarpone cream cheese
-300 g fresh blackberries (but take away 1 cup to place them between the cake layers)
-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
-1/2 tsp salt
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Method:
Preheat the oven. Line the bottoms of two 8″ cake pans with baking paper, no need to grease.
In the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the sugar until you get a firm, shiny peak. Now gradually add the egg yolks, one at a time and the vanilla extract.
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mix to the egg cream, but very gently and using only a large spoon until everything is combined. Evenly divide the batter into the cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the pans by sliding a thin spatula or knife around the edges then transfer to a wire rack, remove baking paper from the bottom. Let it cool completely, then cut both  cakes in two equal layers.
Blackberry cream:
Put 1 cup of blackberries with 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice in a small saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes until they go red and soft. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pushing the blackberries through with a wooden spoon until only seeds are left in the strainer. Discard seeds, and put the gained puree aside to cool down completely. There should be about 5 Tbsp puree.
In a bowl of the electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, start whipping the butter slowly with the powder sugar and salt (this is the part I hate because I just can’t do it without my kitchen ending up all dusty….). Increase speed to high and beat until white and fluffy.
Add the cream cheese, a Tbsp at a time and mix until well combined, then whipping 2-3 more minutes until fluffy again, scrapping down the bowl as needed.
Drizzle in the cooled blackberry syrup 1 Tbsp at a time then beat another minute. If you think it’s getting too soft or started to curl, then add more powder sugar and 1 Tbsp of butter.
Make the lemon syrup by combining the lemon juice with the sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove. When it gets hot and started to simmer, take it off and start drizzling the syrup directly on the cake layers. Let it cool for a few minutes before filling your cake with the cream.
After each addition of blackberry cream, put a few blackberries before stacking with another layer of cake. Finish off with generous amount of ream to the sides and lighter layer of ream on the top. I made few rosettes (which by the way are far from perfect, but just can’t seem to master this technique….. 🙂 )
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Fresh Zingy Lemon Cupcakes

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I made a full batch of lemon cupcakes yesterday, then I played a bit decorating them in different styles. For these two I chose few colorful ribbons only. Recipe for them you can find two posts behind under Lemon Ombre Heaven Cupcakes.

 

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These ones here have a smaller amount of butter cream icing and just one little sugar flower.

 

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Venetian Carnival Cupcakes

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It’s the last day of February, so these are still legitimate…..wanted to use these tiny carnival masks once more. It reminds me of Venice, and makes me wait for the summer even more than I am, because this year we want to go to Italy, not too far from Venice, the land of the carnivals.

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Recipe for these cupcakes you can find at my previous post: Lemon Ombre Heaven Cupcakes

 

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Lemon Ombre Heaven Cupcakes

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Yellow was never my favourite color, but something has changed along the way in the past few years and -even though it still isn’t my most favourite, but I started to like everything yellow.
It could be related to the weather…. I am craving the sunshine, the bright, hot summers, and since I don’t get enough of it ever since we moved to the UK, my mind must associate the yellow with sunshine, and funny, but I always find myself searching for it. I like to dress my girls in yellow dresses, my boy in yellow t-shirts, I have a cool pair of yellow sandals, which I can’t wait to put on again. Whenever we wear these things my spirit lifts me in a better mood. Yep, I am definitely a summer girl, and always will be!
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Back to food, for me lemons are also a symbol of summer and sunshine, maybe that’s why I always have some at home.
The other day I was grating fresh lemon zest into a recipe, and then I decided that my next baking has to be related to lemons. Also, it is the last day of the winter, so bring on the sunny spring!
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To make these Lemon Heaven cupcakes, I took my good old basic vanilla recipe and boosted with zesty lemons. Hm….they are exactly how I envisioned, but better.
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Ingredients:
1 cu brown sugar
125 gr butter, soft at room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Sicilian lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
1 + 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
salt
150 gr finest lemon yogurt
Butter cream:
250 gr butter, soft at room temperature
about 2 cups icing sugar (more or less, depending on your personal taste, also how stiff you want your butter cream)
2 tsp Sicilian lemon extract
Zingy Lemon cupcake filling from Dr.Oetker (from 1 tsp to 3 tsp, depending on how you like it)
yellow color paste
I also inserted from this lemon filling into the centre of my baked cupcakes, under the butter cream. It gives an amazing taste. You know what, I’m going over into the kitchen and grab one right now….hm, this cupcake is actually better the next day!
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Method:
Preheat your oven, and put the cupcake cases into the cupcake tin.
In a bowl mix the flour with the baking soda and salt. In another bowl beat the butter with the sugar, adding the eggs one at a time. Then add the vanilla and lemon extract, grate the lemon zest directly into your bowl, mix in the yogurt, finally add the flour and beat only until all combined. Divide evenly into the prepared cupcake tin, and bake for about 20-25 minutes. After baking, let them cool completely.
Beat the butter at high speed adding the icing sugar gradually, and make sure you don’t cover the whole kitchen in dust….man, I don’t like this part! The cleaning sugar dust, that is.
Add the lemon extract and yellow color paste, and mix in the preferred amount of zingy lemon filling. It gives a very nice taste. I promise.
I divided my butter cream in three parts, to make three different shades of yellow, well in fact only two, the third was left at its natural color. When piping on top of the cupcakes, I started with the darker shade.
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While photographing the other cakes, I put these on hold to wait by my daughter’s toy baskets…
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Earl Grey Cupcakes With Honey Lemon Buttercream

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Cup of tea turned into a slice of cake. Hm…..

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Surfing the net for inspiration, I came across a black tea cake. The pictures, the writing got me instantly, and I knew I had to make it happen. The recipe was haunting me for few weeks until I finally decided to give it a try.

 

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I am not a tea drinker, hence my hesitation. Needles to say, my first thing in the morning is to brew a fresh cup of coffee while I warm the milk for the kids. So, I am a coffee lover, and not for the need of caffeine, because I drink decaff most of the time, but purely for the love of the coffee, the taste. I’m not a morning person either, but that first sip of a good coffee makes it all better.

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But, let’s turn back to the tea now. As I said, I saw this cake on the net, and caught my attention immediately. I do not keep black tea at home at the moment, all we have is a few green teas, and we always have peppermint tea, because that is what I like to drink if I don’t feel well. With honey and lemon, of course. Now, that’s the other thing. Whenever I do drink tea, for any reason, it must be served with honey and lemon. With all do respect for the country I live in, I could not drink the tea with milk. It’s a definite no, no from me. Sorry, guys. But, good thing we’re all different, right? Anyways, this cake here is for you, nice tea lover people! Enjoy! I know, I did!

 

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About the recipe. I had some problems with the original recipe, specially with the given measurements, mostly the quantity of sugar used. Eventually I did use as stated, but I was right to assume that this cake will be sweet. And I mean, too sweet, for me anyway. I never put so much sugar, and even though I added fresh lemon zest to this recipe, and lemon juice in the frosting, it was still too sweet for me. So, be aware if you decide to bake it, or use less sugar. I will probably bake it again, and I will adjust the sweetness more to my personal taste. Also, if you follow me, you know that I usually don’t frost my cakes with buttercream, so there comes even more sugar. In the future I will ice this cake with a different frosting, I’m thinking a lemon cream cheese would be perfect…..Nevertheless, this cake was delicious enough to evaporate within 1,5 days from the kitchen, and I had my more than fair share of it…..me, the nonteadrinker-and-toosweetforme….. Well…..

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The tea used in the original recipe was PG black tea, I choose Earl Grey, the Decaff version, so kids could also eat without problem. The smell of this tea is really nice, and as opposed to the PG, at least I know this tastes lovely, whilst the PG I never tried, so I can’t relate to that.

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I made a three layer mini cake in my 5 inch cake pans, and I had leftover batter for 5 cupcakes.
The recipe was using grams and millilitres, but also gave the quantities in cups, which was very confusing and I found it being inaccurate, probably because not all cups measure the same amount, so I choose to only look at the grams and millilitres.

 

Ingredients:

-235 ml milk

-content of 3 tea bags

-55 gr butter at room temperature

-220 gr brown sugar (wohoo….see, told you!)

-2 eggs

-1/4 cup vegetable oil

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-zest of 1 lemon

-175 gr flour

-1+1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp salt

Honey-lemon buttercream:

-125 gr butter at room temperature

-3 Tbsp honey

-250 gr powder sugar (oh, boy, have mercy!)

-fresh lemon juice (depending on personal taste, but be careful, because adding too much liquid will result in needing more sugar to keep the buttercream in good consistency)

-pinch of salt

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven, then grease the cake pans. If you only make cupcakes, put the cupcake cases in the cupcake pan, you will have about 15 cupcakes, depending of the size.

2. Warm the milk until almost boiling, and add the tea. Cut the bags open and stir the tea powder directly into the milk. Let it cool down.

3. In a bowl beat together the butter and the sugar. (It will not get light and fluffy because not enough butter and too much sugar, but when adding the eggs, the batter will get better.)

4. Add the egg, one at a time, and beating after each addition. Beat in the oil and vanilla, too.

5. Stir in the flour mix (flour+salt+baking powder+baking soda).

6. Pour the milk and stir only until all is perfectly combined, but don’t over mix.

7. Transfer the batter in the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes. After baking, let the cakes cool before icing.

8. Beat the butter and honey until smooth and creamy, add the salt and start adding gradually the powder sugar and lemon juice. Keep on like this until you are satisfied with the taste and consistency.

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Raspberry and Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Butter Cream

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Buttercream? On my cakes? Yep, that’s right. I just had to try it, and boy, I’m ever so glad I did!

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They were absolutely delicious, especially that I mixed fresh raspberries in the buttercream and it wasn’t only yummy, but also beautiful.

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I was ready to put a little pink food colour in the cream, but to my amazement there was no need for that. So, what you see is absolutely and 100% natural flavour and colour, it’s all raspberry!

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I made these as a gift to my neighbours, a lovely family with their 4 kids.

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Well, I made few mistakes spelling their names (shame on me), but luckily, I corrected them before giving away the cupcakes, unfortunately it was too late for the photos.

My little girl as a quality supervisor 🙂

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