Nostalgia – Time travelling to the past

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I got a few vintage crochet lace mats and doilies from my mother which she got from my grandmother, which she got from my great grandmother, who made them…..yeah, we’re talking about old stuff here, very old! And beautiful 🙂

 

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When I saw them, I knew I have to use them as a background for a batch of shabby chick cupcakes. I’m not all into this vintage design, but sometimes it feels good and relaxing to go through old black & white family photos, remembering our dear relatives who were around when we were kids, and those who we never met but we were told countless stories about.

 

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Here is my great grandmother, standing in a white dress on the right of the framed photo. She died before I was born at the age of 82. She was 16 when she posed for this photograph….I never knew her, but I know she was the mother of my dear grandfather, and I LOVED her, and I treasure her photograph, which is in fact my absolute favourite of all the old family photos we have. The photo was taken in 1906, and every time I look at it, makes me wonder about that particular day….what was she thinking, how did she spent the rest of her day, how was she feeling, did she ever imagined that one day her photo will end up in her great granddaughter’s wall who she will never meet, but will think the world of her nonetheless….

 

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No recipe here today guys. I only baked these for the sake of remembering and reflecting on the old times.

Very therapeutic 🙂

 

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Rain Cupcakes

 

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Rain, rain, go away,

Come again another day,

Little Johnny wants to play,
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again.
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No, I don’t wish for all the rain we are having to go to Spain, because I love Spanish people and I absolutely love, love Spain, but I do wish for all the rain that we are having to just go away for good!
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So, this is my protest against nature, and this is how I object against all the rain. Now there, I said it!  Let’s see what happens. Oh, but wait….it HAS stopped raining, the magic spell works, people!
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Now, bring on the snow, I hear it’s winter after all!
These are leftover chocolate cupcakes from a previous batch (kept in the freezer), and I made the clouds from white sugarpaste and sprinkled silver sugar sprinkles on them. I frosted the cupcakes with vanilla flavoured double cream. I used a very small piping tip to make the small, pointy finish, although not very visible, then sprinkled some more silver on them.
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Tamara’s Coral, Yellow and Green 1st Birthday Party

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My inspiration for this came from a little dress that I bought for my daughter when I was still pregnant with her. I didn’t want a pink princess birthday for her, but more colourful and summery. Coral is a beautiful colour, but I must admit that it is extremely hard to put together a party choosing coral as a leading theme! What is coral like? Is it a shade of pink, or a shade of red, or a mix of red and yellow, or simply just faded red???  Hard to find any accessories (to keep the party cheep, that is) so I made a compromise and used pinks here and there, as well as oranges and reds. The overall outcome was pretty and suited my little girl just fine!

We had our Hungarian friends coming over with their children, all slightly older than my baby, but young enough to enjoy themselves. We had no party activities of any sort, just free play, and they could do whatever they wished to do. Looking through the mess and the battlefield of toys spread all over the living room, I think they have had a great time 🙂

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I made this tree based on a display tree which I saw in Hobby Craft. The one I saw was made of rubber plastic, mine is real and I cut it from a bush, stack it in wet sand and painted it all over with white spray. I decorated it with paper flowers and few butterflies and hanged 12 small, framed photos of my baby starting from birth up to 12 months.

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The giant Number 1 I made from polyfoam and covered with spotty tissue paper.

I served sweet Rose to my lady friends, and to keep it cool I placed the bottles in a bucket filled with my special rose ice cubes. I picked small wild rose buds from the bushes next to our house and freezed them in water to make these cute and girly ice cubes.

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The Birthday table:

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Not everything was on the table when my husband took the photos. We had lots of Nachos with three kind of dips, also I made tuna spread in small pastry shells, and we had Crostini baguettes with Feta cheese cream and cherry tomato salsa on top. This is a delicious recipe that I saw once on Food Network made by one of my favourite TV chefs Ina Garten.

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These Number 1 biscuits are my favourite in spite of not being easy to make them. I had no cookie cutter to start with……Was looking on eBay to buy, but the only one I found was ÂŁ45 from Germany, but no way I would pay that much for a cookie cutter. It doesn’t even make sens to be THAT expensive! So, I had to figure out something, and I just remembered that I had a Christmas tree cookie cutter…… It took me a little while but eventually I managed to mould it with a tool and I transformed the tree into a number 1! Wasn’t exactly perfectly shaped but I loved it anyway and in the end my Number 1 cookies were just fine and imperfect in a pretty funny way 🙂

Now, before Christmas I might just remould it back to a tree, ha-ha!

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I made two kind of cupcakes, a batch of vanilla cakes with fresh blueberries and white chocolate chips frosted with white chocolate cream.

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The other cupcakes were rich chocolate with caramel chocolate cream frosting and also few with the white chocolate cream.

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Simple vanilla cake pops,…

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… and lots of sweets for the kids!

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The birthday cake is a delicious chocolate cake with many layers.

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Strawberry cheese cakes as party favours plus a party bag with a home made Peg Doll for each kid. My Mum and I made the Peg Dolls from outgrown body suits of Tamara’s.

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I think they came out very cute, don’t you?

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And here’s my darling party-girl 🙂

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I also made her a little Smash Cake which she could “play” with a little before eating on her actual birthday.

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Ha-ha, she went for the yellow fondant rose on top!

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Happy Birthday to my sweet little Darling Tamara!

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Maria’s Christening Cake

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I made this cake as a gift for a 2 months old little girl called Maria. She is the daughter of our friends, and we were invited to her christening in Cambridge on Easter Sunday. (By the way, no cakes and cupcakes made for this Easter, because I literally had no time to do anything else surrounded with my 3 kids…. 🙂 ) 

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I baked two round cakes of two different sizes and stacked them on top of each other. I used an old sponge cake recipe, using only 8 eggs + 8 full table spoon of plain flour + 8 full spoon of brown sugar, and that’s it for the cake.

 

 

 

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To make the filling I made a white chocolate ganache using 600 ml of double cream + 300 g of white chocolate + pink gel colour.

 

 

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I covered the cake first with a layer of delicious almond marzipan then finally with white fondant.

 

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I made the butterfly on top from royal icing with the technique called Australian Lace. 

 

Lemon Drizzle Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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….and I’m back from summer holiday at last 🙂

Not that I’m complaining or anything because we were in Hungary for a month and we had hot summer days, the way I like it, which means very hot! 🙂 But now we are back home and I baked today.

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I made Lemon Drizzle cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Yammm…. I found a very good recipe on the net which used juice of half of a lemon for drizzling, but I put 1 extra lemon so it was much more intense but with the sweet buttercream on top it turned out perfect! The perfect combination of lemon and sugar.

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In two weeks I will be making more lemon cupcakes for someone and I think this recipe has earned to be repeated.

Butterfly Birthday Cake

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In my last post I talked about my daughter’s 6th birthday and posted lots of photos about the birthday table, including her Birthday Cake. Yet, I come back now with her Birthday Cake because I just feel that it deserves to have an individual post on its own. I just loved it THAT much 🙂

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I made a simple sponge following my Hungarian recipe which is perfect for this type of cakes and it’s as easy as can be.
Ingredients:
-5 large eggs
-5 tablespoon of flour
-5 tablespoon of sugar
-pinch of salt 

Whip the egg whites with the sugar on high speed of your electric mixer until stiff, then add the egg yolks one at a time on the lowest speed. Finally add the flour, gently folding in with a spoon or a spatula. Pour the cake mixture in your cake tin and bake it at about 200 C for about 1 hour. Let it cool completely before cutting the layers.

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To fill this cake I made a white chocolate ganache cream. This you can make it by melting the white chocolate into warm double cream. I used 600 ml double cream and 300 gr of white chocolate. When it cooled down completely I put it in the fridge overnight before whipping it and filling the cake. So this step must be done at least 1 day prior to decorating and eating the cake.

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After I filled my cake, I covered it with a thin layer of the ganache cream, then I put a layer of rolled marzipan. If you have time you can put the cake at this stage in the fridge for a while to set. I didn’t had time for this, so I applied the final layer which was the white fondant. Then I started working on the grass stripes. Now that was the most time consuming with this cake (well, If I don’t count working on the big rose and the Australian lace butterflies, but I’ve made them in advance the previous days), because I cut and glued each stripe of grass individually.

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When making the rose I used more shades of pink fondant. Started with the biggest petals made from the lightest pink, and went towards the middle of the flower using gradually darker pinks. To be honest with you this was my second rose, the first one didn’t survived….. I truly believe it’s got to do with the quality of the fondant. I think to make such a flower I would’ve need a special fondant called sugar flower gum paste or something, which I don’t have! So I am very happy that I could make it anyway from my regular sugar paste fondant.

After I put the rose on the cake I sprinkled a little pink edible glitter on it, and that was it.

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Ok, I honestly don’t understand why my ingredients are not showing…..so there it is once again:

 

-5 large eggs

-5 tablespoon of flour

-5 tablespoon of sugar

-pinch of salt

Szonja’s 6th Birthday: Butterflies and Pink Roses…

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I am ever so happy to post my big girl’s Birthday table, she turned 6 on 30 of April. We celebrated on 4th of May, small party but with lot of style 🙂

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I made everything and enjoyed it so much! She asked for Butterfly theme this year, so that’s exactly what she got. I found it easy to fulfill her wish because there are so many bits and bobs you can add to a table to make it pretty, girlie, flowery and of course PINK. I chose light green to compliment the pink, so the main colour of the table was pink and green and lots of different size butterflies and roses.

Since my unborn baby keeps me awake most of the nights with all the wriggling and tummy kicking I had plenty of time to plan and to make all the decorations and the food.

There were cake pops, macaroons, cupcakes, decorated biscuits, sandwiches, nachos with salsa dip, crisps, fruits, vegetables, and of course the Birthday Cake. For drink I served apple juice and non alcoholic strawberry champagne for the kids, non alcoholic beer for me since I’m pregnant, and cocktails for our adult friends.

The party was not so much of a party really, but more like a play-date for my daughter with her two best friends and her little brother, so they were only 4 kids, which was very relaxing for me especially that their Mums were invited too and I had the chance to have a nice, chatty afternoon accompanied with drinks and food.

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I made these pompoms from tissue paper and hanged them above the birthday table.

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Bottom tier has marshmallows and brownies, in the middle I put little milk chocolates. I took the original Easter themed wrapping off and made new wraps from doilies and decorated them with green butterfly stickers.

On the upper tier I put my macaroons….Ahh, those macaroons! It was my first time ever to make macaroons and I honestly believe it was my last time, too. Too much disappointment with these. There were few that came out nice, and I used those, but there were far too many which were a disaster and had to throw it out.

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Beautiful roses which I think were so beautiful because they were over a week old! Honestly. I used jam jars as vases and sliced up 4 small limes and put it in the water to add some green to the pink. Also I decorated the flowers with paper butterflies.

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Cupcakes. These are plain vanilla cakes but I cored them and filled with raspberry sauce then frosted with white chocolate ganache cream. I put just a little of green colouring to the cream then topped with two different kind of fondant roses that I made previously.Image

These are simple digestive biscuits but sandwiched them together with Nutella and covered with fondant. I really loved making the personalized fondant decorations for these biscuits and my daughter was also delighted!

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Cake pops, lots of cake pops…. As usual I made them from left over cakes kept in the freezer. I made three kind of cake pops. Plain vanilla, then cake pops with chestnut puree and finally same with chestnut puree but with added rum for the adults. Image

I used salsa jars and decorated with doilies and foam roses to present some of the cake pops.

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These are ham and cheese sandwiches and of course I cut them with a butterfly shaped cookie cutter.Image

I don’t even remember what kind of jars are these (although I think it’s Sacla sauce…), but I was looking for something that can be used as a cup. Kids loved it and loved the straws with butterflies on them, too.

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These mini jars originally kept salmon paste and I transformed them to put the little candles which ended on the cake eventually.Image

Plastic, disposable champagne glasses. They looked so pretty with the added decorations and we all loved to drink the pink, non alcoholic champagne from it 🙂Image

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And finally the birthday cake. I have to tell you this was my favourite of all. I am very proud of this. The flower on top was a nightmare to make, I had to throw out the first one, and then the second was ok, but I just learned that regular fondant or sugar paste it’s just not suitable to make a flower like this. Next time I will need flower gum paste or whatever it is called but I think that is something more specific for this purpose. Image

I made the butterflies from royal icing and used a piping technique called Australian lace.

The green grass took me ages to make, little piece by piece, but it worth the trouble.

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It was a white chocolate cake filled with white chocolate ganache cream.Image

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My birthday girl and I 🙂

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Us…Image

Finally I show you the birthday invitation which I edited with Picassa. It looked like this before I finalized with the text message about the party.

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Brush Embroidery Cookies

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As I mentioned in my previous post (Australian Lace Butterfly Cupcakes) I had lots of left over royal icing from making the lace butterflies the other day. Didn’t want to throw it out, or should I say not all anyway, because after painting these biscuits I still had a lot left. It was my first time to make royal icing, next time I will probably know that one egg and less sugar is more than enough for a small project…

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I had Digestive Biscuits in my cupboard so there was no need to actually bake this time. I covered few with 3 different shades of pink fondant and using a small PME piping tip (nr 2) I started to pipe on the fondant then with a fine paint brush I finished the design.

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My photo version, but I couldn’t apply my watermark on this one, that’s only available on my husband computer.

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Australian Lace Butterfly Cupcakes

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My daughter’s birthday is coming in April and we talked about having a butterfly themed birthday for her. This is how I came across a youtube video about how to make Australian Lace butterflies piped from Royal Icing. Very beautiful and very easy!

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I made these cupcakes for a farewell party of my son’s preschool teacher. She was also my daughter’s teacher and she will be very much missed and thought I make her something special as a thank you gift.

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For this occasion I baked my so loved chocolate cake recipe and for the frosting I made pink ganache cream from double cream and pink strawberry flavored chocolate buttons.
Sadly I must admit that my cupcakes didn’t come out as usually. I really don’t know why…..or maybe because this time I only made a half batch using half of the quantity of everything. Could this be the reason it didn’t come out as good as always? That’s just too bad especially that I was confident with this recipe and expected the best, and never failed with it before.
To pipe the butterflies I made Royal Icing from 2 egg whites and 500 gr of icing sugar and juice squeezed from half of lemon. To be honest I ended up with a large amount of royal icing, far more than I needed (that’s why you will find cookies decorated with left over royal icing using brush embroidery in my next post 🙂 .
Before I was a total virgin when it comes to royal icing, this was my first attempt. It is easy to make it, I used my electric mixer fitted with a stand. I let it make the hard work for about 30-40 minutes or so, my only task was to add the sugar with a spoon for time to time. Easy but messy! My kitchen was covered with sugar dust after this in spite of being careful. But all in all it was worth the trouble, my butterflies were fine, delicate and not one has broken, so I was pleased in the end.
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My husband shoots the photos for me but sometimes I make few photos too 🙂
This is a good close up from a lace butterfly.
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The cupcakes are ready to be delivered 🙂
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