White Chocolate Birthday Cake

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This was a white chocolate cake that I made for my daughter’s friend, Susie. She turned 10 and asked for a white chocolate cake. As it’s one of my favourite cakes, I was happy to do it, in fact I will make a white chocolate cake for my daughter’s birthday later this month, too.
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Ingredients
4 large eggs, separated
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
For the filling
600 ml double cream
200 g white chocolate (I used Lindt white chocolate from Lindor -the best!)
Method
You need to prepare the filling cream one day ahead, but at least 6-8 hour before assembling the cake.
Warm the double cream in a pan and stir in the white chocolate until fully melted. Set aside to cool, then place it in the fridge for overnight.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt, then add the sugar and beat until you get a firm, shiny consistency. Add the vanilla and yolks one by one, beating a little after each addition. Now put down the mixer, and using a large plastic or wooden spoon, fold in the flour, but gently until it’s all combined.
Pour the batter in the baking pan. I used four disposable, paper baking cases, and divided the batter evenly. This way I got four even cake sheets and I didn’t need to cut afterward.
When the cake has cooled, I beat the white chocolate cream and filled the cake.
To decorate this cake, I made a little bunting from paper flowers and fabric.
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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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Blueberries and White Chocolate Chips Cupcakes with Pink Meringue Kisses

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My daughter and her friend baked blueberry-chocolate chips muffins on Thursday, and I put aside a few. They took care of the rest, meaning they decorated them and eat most of them. They did a very good job, and the muffins were delicious. The best part of all was that they genuinely had lots of fun in the kitchen!

 

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I had two egg whites in the fridge from the previous day so I thought I will use them to make meringue kisses. I don’t remember ever making them before, and there sure is room for improvement. They cracked, and I need to be more careful next time, although I’m not sure why it happened. But, they look adorable nonetheless, and tasted wonderful, so it’s not all that bad after all.
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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
100 g white chocolate chips
-200 g fresh blueberries
Frosting:
-300 ml whipped double cream
-2 egg whites
-150 g white caster sugar
-pink food colour
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.
Add the chocolate chips and blueberries and stir until it’s all incorporated.
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.
Whip the egg whites adding the sugar above a pan of hot boiling water. This way the sugar will dissolve quickly and you get a shiny, smooth mixture. Transfer into a piping bag, cut the end (about the size of a 5 pence) then pipe the egg cream on a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Bake until it’s dry and comes off easily from the paper.
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Espresso Chocolate Cake

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This is a white chocolate cream cake with the taste of coffee. If you love chocolate and you love coffee, then what could be better then a chocolate that tastes like coffee? A chocolate cake which tastes like coffee, maybe…? Right. You came to the right place.
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I brought this delicious espresso chocolate from Hungary thinking that I will not just eat it, but bake a light sponge cake then fill it with espresso ganache. I was very pleased with it, and the family appreciated it above expectations, even the kids (because we all know how kids approach coffee….) .
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Ingredients:
5 large eggs, separated
5 Tbs flour
5 Tbs white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt
(I put a few drops of yellow food colour to get this yellow sponge – optional)
Filling:
600 ml double cream
150 g espresso white chocolate
Decoration:
whipped double cream and food colour of your choice
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Method:
You need to prepare the filling for this cake one day before baking and decorating.
Warm up 600 ml double cream in a sauce pan, add the espresso chocolate broken into small pieces. Don’t boil it, just keep on the stove stirring continuously until the chocolate has melted completed.
Next day:
Preheat your oven. In a large bowl start whipping the egg whites with a pinch of salt adding the sugar. Whip until you get a firm consistency.
Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks one at a time, whipping a few seconds after each one.
Add the flour (first mix with the baking powder) carefully. Don’t use the electric mixer anymore, just a large spoon to combine the egg mixture with the flour. Once ready, divide the batter equally in 4 baking pans, or large paper baking cases, like I did. This way I didn’t have to cut layers after baking, because I had them all four ready made.
I baked two layers first for about 20 minutes, then the other two. Let your cake cool completely.
To cover this cake, I divided double cream in five portions and coloured them each individually. I started applying the top layer first, the yellow, then went to the bottom and put the dark purple, followed by light purple, blue, green, and finally more yellow. Then I carefully blended the colours here and there. No need to be too accurate here, be creative, even a little messy and you’ll get a lovely, ombre or rainbow coloured unique looking cake.
This cake is light, is creamy, it tastes like coffee with cream, it’s perfect, and I couldn’t ask for more!
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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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Matcha Green Tea and Coconut Cream Cheese Cake

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This was my second cake to take to our “cake tasting meeting” I mentioned in my previous post (White Truffle Chocolate Cake). Although we were only supposed to bring one cake each, I made two, and this Matcha cake was my  +1 simply because I wanted the girls to taste it.

I think of this cake as unusual, unconventional, nontraditional, and weird even, but lovely at the same time. I like it, and I was very curious how other would comment on it and wanted to see the overall reviews. There were a few “hm…, and oh, that’s interesting…, and hm….hmmm very smooth…, and even disgust from someone else. Fair enough. I think you either love it, or hate it. Me?  I love it, and will make it again for sure!

 

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First time I made this Matcha cheesecake back in January  (Matcha Green Tea Mini Cheesecakes with Double Chocolate Oreos and Coconut Cream Cheese). This time instead of individual mini cheesecakes, I made one large for the girls. I used the same recipe, but now I used normal size chocolate Oreos with chocolate cream filling.

 

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Ingredients: 

-200 gr double chocolate oreos
-50 gr melted butter
-500 gr Mascarpone cream cheese
-thick coconut cream (I used the Natco coconut milk, and I only used the thick cream from the upper half of the can, so I didn’t mixed it)
-200 ml double cream
-powder sugar (maybe 2 Tbsp, but depends on your personal taste- my cake was not very sweet)
-1 Tbsp Matcha powder
crushed Oreos (optional, but I wanted to have a “dirty” effect, and also the Oreo crumbs tasted good in the cream)
Method:
1. Crush the Oreos, with the filling left in them, then mix it with the melted butter.
2. Divide evenly in the cheesecake pan, then press down firmly. Put in the fridge for about 1 hour.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the Mascarpone with powder sugar, matcha powder, coconut cream and double cream. Finally stir in the Oreo crumbs.
4. Divide evenly on top of the firm biscuit base, smooth the top, then put back in the fridge for overnight.
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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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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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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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