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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Christmas Tree Cupcakes

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December and Advent is upon us and to keep up the spirit, we made these simple Christmas Tree cupcakes on the weekend. I see all over social media that lots of people have put their Christmas trees already. We haven’t yet, but in a week or so we will do the same, especially that my youngest one is very anxious and inpatient about it.

 

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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
Frosting:
-600 ml whipped double cream
-150 g white chocolate
-green food colour
-sprinkles
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.
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.
Note:
You need to prepare the cream on the previous day of baking. In order to do this you need to pour the cream into a pan, put it on the stove. Brake the 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. When it’s time to decorate just whip the cream. I separated in half and I tinted one half with green food colour. 

 

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This is a very easy cupcake recipe, perfect for a cosy afternoon bake with the kids. I frosted them with white and green coloured white chocolate cream, and we add the sugar baubles one by one to look like a decorated Christmas tree. My daughter was a bit disappointed that we didn’t put more sugar on them, so I let her decorate a few where there were no requirements, and as you imagine, she kinda poured half a bottle of sprinkles on top of each cupcake.
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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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Fairy Gingerbread House

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This is my gingerbread house.

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It’s the second time that I venture myself in doing a gingerbread house ……and there might be a good few years until I get myself into doing one again. Why? Because it’s not as simple and straightforward as it seems, at least not for me, I will admit.

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I was searching for a good recipe with good reviews and feedbacks and I thought I found the right one, but in the end it prove me wrong. It didn’t work for me. I mean, don’t get me wrong it is delicious, tasted very good, but it’s way too soft to hold a house. And, let me tell you my friend, you need a hard base to build a house, whilst my gingerbread recipe was soft and I did struggle a lot. A whole lot, and I even had to ask my husband to help. Eventually, we put the house together, but I happily said yes to the kids when they asked permission to get inside with their hands to demolish it for eating.

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Well, at least it was delicious 🙂 And, let’s not forget, that I loved, LOVED decorating it with fondant, all the pretty little details, to make an enchanted Fairy House opposed to a regular candy gingerbread house.

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White Truffle Chocolate Cake

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Made this beauty for a girls night out the other week, where we gathered to taste lots of delicious cakes and especially to enjoy each other’s company. We had about 10 different cakes to taste on that evening, and Boy, was I full the next day?! Anyway, I say it worth every crumb!
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This is actually my favourite chocolate cake recipe that I reproduce every Christmas for the past few years, so basically I can say is our traditional Christmas desert. My Mom never makes a cake like this for Christmas. She usually makes a few different tray bakes, and bite size cookies, and of course the very traditional Beigli (in two flavours: walnuts and poppy seeds) which is the most popular Hungarian pastry for Christmas.
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This cake though, became my very own tradition, and I hope that one day my kids will talk about it to their friends and children with a smile on their faces and referring to it as The Traditional Christmas Cake of Mom.
Ah, well, Christmas is not even here, yet, look at me talking all about it! We will be travelling to Europe again, to see family and friends over the winter holidays, so I might not even be able to bake this cake this year, although in previous years I managed to do it even though I don’t feel very comfortable baking in another kitchen other then my own. Will see, will see….
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Here’s the recipe for you.
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 heavy cream
150 gr white chocolate
You need to prepare the cream on the previous day of baking. In order to do this you need to pour the cream into a pan, put it on the stove. Chop the 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. I used 3 separate tins, each of 9″ (23 cm) large, so at the end there was no need to cut any layers.
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 whit the remaining filling, but I wanted to have a rustic half naked cake, so I scraped off any excess to achieve this vintage look. Finally I decorated it with roses from my garden.
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Christmas Tree Cupcakes for the Preschool Christmas Party

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“Last Christmas I gave you my heart…….” No, but I gave away more than 40 mini cupcakes for my daughter’s preschool Christmas party.
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I enjoyed making the little green pine trees from Wilton candy melts, even the kids jumped in to make some for themselves in the end.
For this occasion I baked a box of Carrot Cupcakes, I wanted to try the taste for a while. Not too bad, but doesn’t come even close to my carrot cupcakes recipe. I sprinkled coconut shred on top of the icing for the snowy effect.
My little Darling at her very first Christmas Party 🙂
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Christmas Angel Cake – White Truffle Chocolate Cake

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After I made this truffle cake for last Christmas and seeing how everybody in the family loved it, I decided to bake it this year again. In fact, I decided to keep this a new family tradition, so I will go on and make it every Christmas from now on.

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This is a rich chocolate cake filled with white chocolate cream. I didn’t cover it with fondant, I like it all natural, naked, rustic. The small, feather light wooden angels are from Hobby Craft, but I crafted a little. I add a layer of white lace on the wooden angels. I glued it to the body but let the wings fly so it looks more 3 dimensional.

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Santa Claus Cupcakes

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…or should I say Santa’s Hat Cupcakes, because you don’t see much of Santa except for his hat.

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I made these for a children’s party. We could call it a pre-Christmas Party, but in fact we gathered to nurture a Hungarian tradition which is that on 6th of December Santa (Mikulas, as we call him) visit the children during the night and he leaves a little treat behind. In order to get something you have to clean and polish your shoes, boots and put them in the window. And be a good girl or a good boy all year, of course 🙂

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These are basic vanilla cupcakes filled with little jam inside and frosted with whipped cream coloured and flavoured with strawberry icing sugar (only 2-3 Tbsp, a whole pack would be killer sweet). I placed my fondant Santa hats and sprinkled with edible snowflakes.

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My daughter also made a special Santa hat, that I want to share with you, I think it’s very cute 🙂

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Christmas Sugar Cookies – Name Tag Cookies

I had to repost this, as there was a problem with my initial Christmas Cookies post…

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When you live with a 6 year old girl in the house -who by the way loves everything PINK, you don’t realize that slowly but definitely pink will start spreading all over the place…Yep, that’s what happens if you are not aware. Needles to say it happened with us too, and everywhere you look, there is something pink. Is it a coincidence that this year the main Christmas Look is also pink in our house? Noooo….there you go, that’s how I made pink/blue/silver Christmas Cookies, and not red, which is a classical Christmas colour.

The recipe to bake these cookies I found at www.KarensCookies.net

 

She made a list of her favourite sugar cookies, and I chose this one, called White Chocolate Sugar Cookies. Have no idea how the other cookie recipes work , but this one is pretty good and I am happy with my choice. It is delicious, easy to make, and they don’t brake, yet they are light and nice! I don’t have a history of making sugar cookies, in fact this is my second attempt of all. I did decorate biscuits before, but this time I really wanted cookies made from scratch. Originally I planed to decorate them with Royal Icing, but since I am not using Royal Icing a lot, I don’t have a routine using it, and definitely didn’t have the time to start experimenting now. So, I went for the easy way, which for me is working with fondant.

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I had some Tiffany Parcel Blue fondant (sounds posh, doesn’t it?) and I was happy to use it, although I found the blue a little to dark in the end. I think the cookies would have looked more airy, more subtle with lighter blue, and I guess I could have mix the blue fondant with white to lighten the colour, but at 3 am in the morning I just couldn’t find the motivation. So Tiffany Parcel Blue it is!

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The names on the name tag cookies are my family 🙂 I attached a ribbon to each name tag, which by the way was not too easy, because I cut and baked and covered the cookies with fondant without having made a little hole for the ribbon. Yeah…please think ahead next time… 🙂

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Anyway, since these cookies are good quality, and having the fondant glued from the previous evening, they have softened just right to be able to pierce a little hole in the corner. Also, I was super careful and slow doing it, but I succeeded and none of them broke!

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We will share these with the family, we spend Christmas in Hungary, I hope the cookies will make it on the long journey 🙂
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Here is the recipe for you, I just copy/paste it…
White Chocolate Sugar Cookies

    2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    ¼ tsp. salt
    ½ cup butter, softened
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    6 oz. white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate and set aside. In small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt (so they’re well combined) and set aside.In large mixer bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy. Blend in egg and vanilla extract. Beat in melted white chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture until soft dough forms. Shape dough in ball; flatten to 3/4″ thickness. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 15 minutes* until firm.On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness. Bake until edges are golden. Let stand 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely.*Note: You MUST be able to roll and cut the dough after the 15 minute refrigeration time, or it will set up too much and won’t roll out well. This dough is a dream to work with. You’ll love it.

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