Warning: Cake Ahead! -I caught a flying Witch on my cake today…

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Despite the warning signs, this careless flying Witch smashed into my carrot cake….Bang! Kids loved it 🙂
I saw a similar cake on Pinterest and that gave me the idea. It is more fun than spooky, which I liked.
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I baked a four layer carrot cake with lots of hearty spices and roasted pecan nuts, and filled with simple white chocolate ganache. I like different variation of creams with my carrot cake, this time I just made the kids favourite, the white chocolate.  The recipe for the carrot cake you can find here, and the recipe for the white chocolate ganache is here  Easter Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and the recipe for the white chocolate ganache is here White Chocolate Birthday Cake
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At the background of the cake I framed a photo of the kids taken a couple of weeks ago to celebrate this season. They had no make-up on, I played with an editing software to make it fit for Halloween.
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Summer Holiday Caramel Apple Cupcakes

 

 

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Those who know me well, know that my most loved season is summer, and that if I could, I would live in a warm climate and very, very close to the beach. Ok, who am I kidding here, right ON the beach would be perfect! All day, every day!
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Well, I’m not that lucky, but I’m lucky enough that I get to spend a nice summer holiday every year on the beach with the family, which I’m living for the rest of the year 🙂 Every September, when we’re back to school, I already start planning where are we going next summer, and for us this is even more special because my son (all men in the family, in fact: son, husband, brothers, father, grandfather, great grandfather and uncles!!!) -was born in August, and we are timing our annual beach holidays on his birthday. So, when you think of it, he is the real lucky guy here, because ever since he was born he spent each of his birthdays (7 so far) on a family holiday, usually by a pool or the sea, AND to top all this, he has had his birthdays in 7 different countries, a new country for each birthday so far!
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So, to cut a long story short, I made these cupcakes remembering our lovely holiday in Croatia this year. The tiny flip-flops and umbrellas were non edible additions to the cupcakes, but the white seashells are. These are apple and vanilla cupcakes with caramel cream cheese icing. Caramel apples are so typical for the fall season, but looking at the decoration I used I still feel the ocean breeze, and the warm sun on my skin.
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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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Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese And Marzipan Fruits

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I think that carrot cake is a good choice at any time of the year, a good old all-year-round cake in fact, but especially around Ester and Thanks Giving, if you ask me.
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I made a different recipe on Easter, and now this, although we don’t do Thanks Giving here in the UK.
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The colors of the cake, the toasted pecan nuts, the scented cinnamon and the marzipan fruit decorations used, lifted this ordinary carrot cake on a whole new level. Just wonderful!
The cute marzipan fruits are from Budapest, I bought them back in the summer. My kids loved them and of course had to fight over who gets the peach, the strawberry, the pears, etc…
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Ingredients:
-1 and 1/2 cup flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
– pinch of salt
– 1 tsp mixed spices (with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger…)
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 nutmeg freshly grated
– 3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 and 1/2 cup grated carrots
– 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecan nuts
Cream Cheese frosting
-250 gr Mascarpone cream cheese (1 packs)
-1 pack Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Style Icing
-fresh lemon juice (as much as you like, I used almost a whole lemon)
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Method
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter and cut out baking paper on the bottom.
Spread the chopped pecan nuts on a baking tray and put it in the hot oven, stirring and turning them frequently so they don’t burn.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, melted butter, yogurt and vanilla. I don’t use the electric mixer at all when I make carrot cake,  only a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
For the cream cheese frosting, I mixed the Betty Crocker icing with the Mascarpone and lemon juice.
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Jam and Walnut Rolls

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Today I bring you another desert, which was a summer favourite in our family, specially amongst my kids. It has lots of nuts and jam and lemon zest. Ah, such a lovely combination of flavours, and also smells wonderful! I have to bake this weekly now, my kids are hooked up and addicted to this 🙂

 

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I usually buy ready rolled puff pastry sheets for this. One package (320 g) yells 12 little rolls, but in our kitchen this is gone in less than 5 minutes, so I make two usually, because…you know, I want to eat, too 🙂  You can bake it loose on a baking sheet or put the rolls in the muffin pan as I did here, but usually I just cut up the rolls and place them loose on the baking sheet. Either way is fine.
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Ingredients:
-1 pack Puff Pastry sheet
-200 g apricot jam (you can make this with any other jam, but we like it best with apricot)
-100 g ground walnuts
-2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
-zest of 1 lemon
Method:
Preheat your oven to 180 C.
Mix the sugar with the walnuts and lemon zest.
Open the puff sheet and spread the jam evenly. The more, the better. Sprinkle the walnut mixture evenly on top. Again, the more the better 🙂
Carefully start to roll up as tight as possible, then cut 12 even rolls with a sharp knife.
Arrange them in the muffin pan or baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.
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Even thou you will want to eat them straight away (because you will), let it cool down because the jam can be really, really hot and will burn you. Trust me, I’ve been there, I’ve done that…
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Walnut Cream Cheese Cake

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I had three layers of thin walnut cake in my freezer, and all I did now was whip a pack of Mascarpone cream cheese with double cream and few tablespoon of ground walnuts and sugar. Oh, and some vanilla extract to make it even better 🙂
This cake was gone by the evening…
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Ingredients for the filling:
250 g pack of Mascarpone cream cheese
600 ml double cream
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
5-6 Tbsp mixture of ground walnuts and brown sugar
I actually might have put more than that, because I wanted lots of walnuts in the cream, but everyone can adjust the quantity to fit their personal preference.
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Ingredients for the cake:
-2 2/3 cups flour
-2 cups brown sugar
-1 tsp Mixed spices
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp sea salt
-4 large eggs
-1 cup coconut oil, melted
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 cups freshly grated carrots
-1 cup chopped nuts
-1/2 cup yogurt
This quantity will result in a pretty big cake, with thicker layers than mine here. So, if you want thin layers then you should use only half of the ingredients. I had mine baked weeks ago, and when assembling my cake back then I had to cut of the excess since it would have been much thicker then I wanted for that particularly cake. I freezed those cutoffs, and now only took them out and made a filling.
Method:
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter or greasing spray. I used giant paper cases.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, vanilla. I actually never use my electric mixer when I make carrot cake, instead I only use a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
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Easter Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

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I waited for this cake with great anticipation. Because I love, love, love carrot cakes!

Before, I baked carrot cakes in form of cupcakes many times, but this time I wanted one, big cake. I used a different recipe, not my usual, because I wasn’t sure that my cupcake recipe would yield the desired amount for a cake.

 

my son made the chicken basket at his art class in school

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I baked three separate layers in giant paper baking cases, of 18 cm diameter each. I think 18 cm is my favourite size for a cake, not too small and not too large, just perfect.

 

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This recipe I found on –aspicyperspective– site and, although I made few little changes (simply because I didn’t have quite everything at home, so I improvised and used substitutes here and there), I might try the original recipe at another time.

 

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before I put the chocolate eggs on top

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Ingredients
-2 2/3 cups flour
-2 cups brown sugar
-1 tsp Mixed spices
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp sea salt
-4 large eggs
-1 cup coconut oil, melted
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 cups freshly grated carrots
-1 cup chopped pecan nuts
-1/2 cup yogurt
Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting
-750 gr Mascarpone cream cheese (3 packs)
-vanilla extract
-ground cinnamon (as much as you wish)
-1 pack Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Style Icing (I had one of these at home and I used it more to experiment, and also because I didn’t want to use icing sugar and butter)
-salt (I found the icing way too sweet for my liking, so I put salt to take away some of the sweetness)

 

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Method
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter or greasing spray. I used giant paper cases, so I didn’t do any of those.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, vanilla. I actually never use my electric mixer when I make carrot cake, instead I only use a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
For the cream cheese frosting, I mixed the Betty Crocker icing with the 3 packs of Mascarpone and salt.

 

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Spicy Pear & Marzipan Cupcakes with Caramel Cream

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I wanted to make apple cupcakes, but then I thought why not bake something with pears instead, it would be a fresh change as I never made cupcakes with pears before. I searched for recipes, finally I found three out there which I liked, but none was 100% what I had in mind, so I came up with my own version. The only thing in common was the use of pears. Some were using spices, some used marzipan, and others used caramel. I combined them all and here I am.
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On Sweetapolita site I saw those tiny marzipan pears, and I decided I would make them too. Just love them!
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Ingredients:
-1 and 1/2 cup flour
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-4 large eggs
-2 pears diced in small cubes
-200 gr soft marzipan
-250 gr butter at room temperature
-1/3 cup milk
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp mixed spice
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp almond extract
-freshly grated nutmeg
-salt
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Icing:
-600 ml double cream
-100 gr white chocolate
-4 Tbsp canned Caramel
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Method:
This recipe yield 24 cupcakes. I only made 12 cupcakes and I baked a 3 layer 5″ cake of the remaining batter. Will freeze and use some other time.
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The double cream has to be warmed up on the stove the previous day. Put the chocolate in the warm cream and stir until fully melted. Make sure the cream doesn’t reach boiling temperature, just warm enough to melt the chocolate. Let it cool down, add the caramel then put away in the fridge over night.
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Preheat the oven, line the cupcake pan with the paper cases.
Dice the pears in small cubes and mix with the spices, then put aside. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter and sugar and add gradually the marzipan. Add the eggs, one by one, beating after each addition.
Add the flour and the milk, and carefully mix until all combined. Finally stir in the pears.
Scoop the batter in the cupcake holes. I always use an ice cream scoop to do this. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Beat the caramel chocolate cream and frost the cupcakes after they have cooled.
I made little pears from golden marzipan and brushed them with golden sugar dust.
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Almond Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese

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I wanted something delicate, something feminine, something pink.

 

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Almond and raspberry seemed a good choice. I searched for recipes, but I didn’t find anything that I imagined, so I ended up improvising.

 

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The final result was good, and my cupcakes turned out the way I wanted. They remind me of the Frangipanes  and the Almond Fingers we used to buy in Belgium. And they even crumble the same way, too 🙂

 

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I haven’t used lot of sugar, I usually don’t make my cakes too sweet anyway. The fresh raspberries from the icing adds an interesting tone to this cake, and is definitely different then the usual sugar from the top of the Belgian Frangipane.

 

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Ingredients:
-1 cup flour
-1 cup ground almond
-2 egg whites
-125 gr unsalted butter, room temperature
-3/4 cup caster sugar
-1Tbsp almond extract
-1tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/3 cup almond milk, or regular milk
-pinch of salt
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-200 gr fresh raspberries
-1 or 2 Tbsp powder sugar
-250 gr Mascarpone cream cheese
-300 ml Madagascan Vanilla Double cream, or just plain double cream + vanilla extract
Method:
Preheat your oven, line the cupcake pan with the cupcake cases.
In a bowl mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
In another bowl whisk the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg whites, the vanilla and almond extract and beat a little more.
Add the flour and almond mixture to the batter and pour in the milk. Stir until all is incorporated.
Divide the batter into the cupcakes tin, and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool down before icing.
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Blend the raspberries in a small blender together with the powder sugar. You can put 1 or 2, or as much or less sugar as you wish. The complete icing cream will be less sweet after beating the fruit puree together with the cream cheese and double cream.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese gradually adding the raspberry puree and the double cream. If you want a stronger pink, you can use pink colouring gel paste.
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I wanted my cakes to be as white as possible, and it actually was during mixing, but they were the same brownish colour after I got them out from the oven. Makes me wonder how is that possible to see really white cakes on the Internet….there must be some kind of trick to it, they look almost unnatural, unbaked…
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