A very rainbowy rainbow birthday party

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My little one turned 5 and we threw her a small party at home with just a handful of her closest little friends.
The weather isn’t the greatest these days, but fortunately the rain missed us, so we could be inside and outside as well. We planned to have the party table inside, and the craft station outside.
With some adult and big sisters help they made rainbow wands from wooden sticks, colored star shape felt and rainbow ribbons. I cut everything ahead, so they only had to chose their stars and assemble the wands with the glue gun.
I also prepared each girl a cotton bag which I decorated with a rainbow drawing, and I personalized them by drawing their names on each bag. I left their names uncolored in purpose, so that they could finish it with the colores they chose. We used fabric markers, so they are permanent and hopefully will last for a long time.
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I made pizza for them with rainbow colored vegetables, but they were so focused on the sweets and candies, that they hardly touched it. There was also 6 kind of fruits, arranged by the colors of the rainbow, like strawberries, peach, pineapple, green grapes, blueberries and red grapes.
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I found the giant rainbow Marshmallows about a month ago in a shop, and bought a few packs of Jelly beans and a few boxes of Smarties. It was fun arranging them by colors.
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I decorated the paper cups with Sharpies.
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These are plain biscuits from the store and I applied rainbow fondant on top of them.
Vanilla cupcakes with milk chocolate chips and rainbow buttercream.
I filled these biscuits with the same rainbow colored butterceram.
These are Smarties chocolate eggs from Easter. I had to hide them really well to keep them safe from the kids till now….

 

The cake was a big success. It was very humble and simple from the outside, but when I cut throw it, the girls shrieked with joy seeing the rainbow inside the cake. I snapped a photo of the cake before I covered it with the icing.

 

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Lemon Curd Birthday Cake

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Lemon is one of my most favorite flavor in a cake, so I was very excited to make this, but then this wasn’t my cake to eat, but my friend’s Karen. I searched for a good lemon curd recipe, and the one I eventually made was truly up to my expectations.
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I tried a few variations, like mixing the white chocolate cream with some lemon curd, then just a layer of pure curd, and even lemon curd topped with the white chocolate cream. All good, but my favourite was the last variation when I spread a layer of lemon curd on the cake and then a layer of white chocolate on top of that. The sourness of the lemon meeting the sweet white chocolate cream (not overly sweet) was Heaven. For me, that is.
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Ingredients:
-8 eggs, separated
-8 Tbsp flour
-8 Tbsp sugar
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-300  ml double cream for the white chocolate ganache
-100 g white chocolate
-coral pink and white fondant
-edible silver foil
-edible silver beads
-paper flowers
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Lemon Curd:
-3/4 cup caster sugar
-1/4 cup cornstarch
-1 cup water
-2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
-2 Tbsp butter
-1 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Combine sugar, cornstarch and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil (3-4 minutes). Boil, stirring, for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat.
Spoon about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into a small bowl with egg yolks and stir quickly until combined. Continue stirring, while pouring the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
Return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, until the curd is thickened and lemon colored (1-2 min). Remove from heat and stir in the butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Let the lemon curd cool, then press plastic wrap onto the surface, this will prevent a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate. Makes 1 1/4 cups
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Make the Cake:
Prepare the ganache one day ahead of the cake. Warm 300 ml double cream in a pan adding 100 g of chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts, don’t let it boil. Let it cool down, then place it in the fridge and leave to chill over night.
To bake the cake, separate the eggs first. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar until you get stiff peaks. Add one egg yolk at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
In another bowl, combine the flour with the salt and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg cream, mix on the lowest speed or fold in only with a large spoon, don’t break the cream.
Line your cake pans with baking paper before pouring in the batter. I used disposable paper baking cases to avoid the cutting step before filling the cake. This way you have all your cake layers even, and I like to have as many layers as possible. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool completely.
I used 4 cake dowels and a little cake board in between the 2 tiers when stacking the two cakes.
I covered the cake with white fondant as a first step, then I decorated the bottom part with lots of coral flowers. I used three different shapes of flower cutters.  On the top half of the cake I applied edible silver foil and decorated with some more edible silver beads. I finished off with coral and white paper flowers bought from Hobby Craft.
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Donuts and Pyjamas Birthday Party

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My oldest daughter turned 11 and although we established last year that she will not have a birthday party this year, somehow we ended up inviting her 4 closest friends for a sleepover party. I knew that a sleepover involves more than just a birthday party, and the girls are together for an evening, night and morning, which comes with lots of noise (LOTS of it!) and mess and turning the house upside down, BUT I am so glad I said yes, because it turned out that sleepover party with THIS age girls is NOT trouble, it is actually a lot of FUN! My daughter loved it, her friends loved it, and I loved it too!
We first thought of pancakes and pyjamas, but after I acknowledged that I am no good in pancakes (the American style that is, because I am pretty good in making the French style crepes…), I came up with donuts instead. Much better for a party, I must say. I bought lots of delicious Krispy Kreme donuts (2 dozens…. yeah, told you!), plus more jam donuts, ring donuts and mini donuts. I baked sugar cookies, some in the shape of donuts and iced them to resemble real donuts. The cake was chocolate cake and I made three donuts from fondant to go on the top. My daughter was delighted.
I decorated plain white paper cups with sharpies to match the theme, and printed a donut banner to hang above the party table.
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My daughter prepared a few activities, and the girls were excited to play along. They first played “Spin the bottle” with a set of neon nail paints, The end result was interesting and unique for all of them.
After this they played “Truth of Dare” and “would you rather”. They had a few good laughs during this. They also played music from the computer and danced a lot in the meantime.
We ordered pizza for dinner, then prepared a big mattress on the living room floor. They watched 2-3 movies till very late (or very early in the morning…). For the ultimate home-movie experience, we used the projector on the surface of a whole wall, they absolutely loved it!
I left the girls at 3 am in the morning and went to bed, thinking that surely I can take a picture of them still sleeping around 8 in the morning, but much to my amazement they woke up even earlier than me, so the morning photo in bed didn’t happen.
We only cut the cake after breakfast, because they were so full the night before.
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Chocolate cake:
Ingredients:

5 Tbsp flour
5 Tbsp brown sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp salt
Fondant, to decorate
Cream:
600 double cream
200 g white chocolate
50 g milk chocolate (chopped)
Method:
Note: you need to prepare the filling cream for this cake one day ahead. Warm the double cream in a pan on the stove and stir in the white chocolate broken into pieces. Stir until melts, don’t let the cream boil! When the chocolate is melted, place it on a cool surface to cool, then put it in the fridge for the whole night to chill, but at least 6 hours.
In a large bowl beat the egg whites with the sugar and salt on high speed until you get a shiny and firm consistency. You can hold the bowl upside down and the cream will stay put, that’s the hardness you want to achieve.
Gradually, add the egg yolks one at a time, adjust the mixer to medium speed while beating. Add the vanilla extract, too.
Mix the flour with the cocoa powder, you might need to sift if it has big lumps.
Using only a large spoon, adding one spoon at a time, carefully fold in the flour mixture in the egg cream in a way that it doesn’t brake it. Using the electrical mixer is not recommended at this stage anymore.
I baked 5 separate layers in large paper baking cases. I love using it because it is the right size ( 7 inches in diameter) and it saves me from cutting the cake into layers after baking. Also, it will bake much faster and evenly.
In another bowl, whip the white chocolate cream until you get a smooth, but not too hard consistency. It is hard to describe where to stop beating, your cream should be lightly firm, but not very stiff.
Fill the cake, and before placing the next layer of cake on top of the cream, sprinkle with the chopped milk chocolate first.
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Karen’s Triple Chocolate Cake

 

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I was thinking what name should I give to this beauty. I made it for my friend Karen who just got married, and although this wasn’t her wedding cake, I wanted it to look and fit to the special occasion.
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I baked a simple sponge and filled it with three different chocolate ganache creams, dark, milk and white, and I covered the whole cake with white chocolate cream before I decorated it with the fondant ruffles.
Ingredients:
-8 eggs, separated
-8 Tbsp flour
-8 Tbsp sugar
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-300 + 300 +300 ml double cream for the dark, milk and white chocolate ganache
-100 g dark chocolate
-100 g milk chocolate
-100 g white chocolate
-champagne colored fondant icing
Method
Prepare the ganache one day ahead of the cake. Warm 300 ml double cream in a pan adding 100 g of chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts, don’t let it boil. Let it cool down, then place it in the fridge and leave to chill over night. Do the same with the other two chocolates and portions of double cream.
To bake the cake, separate the eggs first. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar until you get stiff peaks. Add one egg yolk at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
In another bowl, combine the flour with the salt and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg cream, mix on the lowest speed or fold in only with a large spoon, don’t break the cream.
Line your cake pans with baking paper before pouring in the batter. I used disposable paper baking cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I baked my cake in three rounds. Let it cool completely.
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To fill and assemble the cake, I used 4 cake dowels and a little cake board in between the 2 tiers. I filled it with dark and milk chocolate cream, switching after each layer, and covered the whole cake with white chocolate.
I covered the cake with champagne colored fondant, then I decorated it with more fondant stripes for the ruffles. Finished off with real roses.
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Fairy House Cake

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I mentioned in my previous post that we had a Fairy and Elves party at the preschool end of May, but haven’t had the chance to share my Fairy Log Cake on the blog earlier. You know, with the house moving, and all the refurbishing and decorating work going on ever since….it’s taking longer than anticipated unfortunately, but we’re getting there slowly but surely.

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This is a 6 layer chocolate ganche cake covered on the sides with chocolate flakes. I did order chocolate flavour fondant originally, but eventually changed my mind and used the flakes and I’m so pleased I did!
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The rest of the decoration I made from fondant, like fairy door, mushrooms, stones in front of the door, the flowers on the top of the log.
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The children loved it, it fitted perfectly at the Fairies and Elves party, as well as the giant paper flowers, which were also made by me.
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Girly Dinosaur 4th Birthday Party

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Dinosaur party for my little girl? Hell, yeah!

Kind of a last minute idea, kind of easy, and a lot of fun! Didn’t need much preparation, which was essential this time, since we just bought our new house (literally got the keys 2 days prior the party), and we are in the middle of moving.

 

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Before my daughter’s birthday, I organized another event at her preschool. We made a Fairies and Elves party as a fundraising event, that needed much more prep work, but then it was a party to host a larger number of kids. With so much going on lately, I haven’t really baked anything for us, hence the lack of posts. And another reason for not baking is that my husband is gluten intolerant, and we just found out several weeks ago, so ever since then I haven’t really baked anything. I definitely need to try out gluten free baking soon, but first things first, we are moving! Yaaaay!

 

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So,  as I said, we just got the keys of our house on Friday, and we hold ourselves back for another week or so before we get all of our stuff over to the new house, which luckily is only two streets away from the old house. In the meantime we have had one more last birthday party in the old house, and once everyone went home, I grabbed the fist cardboard box and started packing 🙂
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I am so glad we went for the dinosaur theme! Nothing was decided for quite a long time, because my daughter kept changing her mind like five times a day! Kid you not! Even regarding to have a party or not to have a party. She was messing with me, I’m telling you that 🙂 Mum, I dont’ want a party! … Yes, I want a party! … Mum, I don’t want any of my friends to come here! … Ok, I want only two of my friends, and plus her, plus him, and this and that to come….but actually I won’t have a party at all! ….She was very picky about who to invite, or who not to invite, and eventually we settled with 9 of her friends to make a round 10 with her included. In the end there were a lot more children, because some of them came accompanied with older siblings instead of parents, and my older kids were there too, and also my older daughter’s friend spent the day with us spontaneously.
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I must say I am not a fan of large parties. My kind of birthday parties are 6-8-10 children top, including the birthday girl or boy, and I already call this a big party. This is how I like it,  small, private, to know everybody by name, to interact with everyone, to be able to offer a cup of coffee or tea, and chat with our guests etc. I like to make a birthday party special and memorable, something different, and for me a smaller group of kids and parents are more manageable opposed to a classroom size crowd where is physically impossible to talk to everyone and to be a good host and be present everywhere. And my kids like it this way, too.

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When we first talked about her having a birthday party, she was still doing ballet, so I started planning a ballet party, but one day she decided she won’t go to ballet classes anymore, which also meant ballet party was off the list.
However….did you notice that some of the dinosaurs are wearing tutu skirts? 🙂 This is how I combined a bit of ballet into the roaring Jurassic world! Perfect fit I’d say, isn’t it?
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To make the food labels I used the Picasa software.
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I made different coloured tutu skirts for a few dinosaurs (which we borrowed from our preschool, as we only have 6-7 dinosaurs at home) and I used some other little Barbie accessories to dress them up, like sunglasses, headset, guitar, little photo camera, etc.
For the desert table I carved a watermelon to look like a dinosaur head. Never done this before so I am pleased with the result, looked good on the table.
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I made simple vanilla cupcakes with raspberry cream frosting and decorated them with dinosaur cupcake toppers bought online.
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Recently I discovered these savoury crisps, which we served as Unicorn horns at my older daughter’s Unicorn Party few weeks ago, and now they did the job brilliantly as dinosaur teeth.
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We also served little dinosaur shaped ham&cheese sandwiches. I love this cutter, as very little bread and filling is wasted. You can cut two dinosaurs with one cut, and the two of them uses up almost all of a large sandwich, so no waste there.
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These are dark chocolate pudding with two layers of brownies in between. I had the little plastic cups left from store bought deserts. I put some hard sugar candy stones on top, which my son thought were real stones.
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I also bought Kinder Surprise eggs, unwrapped them, but shortly after putting them on the table they started to melt, so I quickly shoved them in the fridge before the party guests arrived.
Do you think I forgot about them and never gave any to the children? Make your guess……Right! 🙂
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I wrapped and labeled chocolate eggs as dinosaur eggs. Good thing that they’re not selling these only for Easter 🙂
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My favourite from the table were the sugar cookies, which we made together with my little daughter few days prior to the party. We used one of the big dinosaurs to imprint his footsteps into the cookie dough. We had fun doing them and the cookies were delicious.
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The cake was very simple, White Chocolate Cream cake. This is our “to go” cake for the kids birthdays lately, they love it and ask for it again, and again, and again!
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We served green Kubu (pears, kiwi and banana drink), although they were not too keen on drinking it 🙂
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For the party bags I ordered plain white paper bags online, then decorated them with cute little dinosaurs which I found and printed myself, and cushioned the bags with  rainbow colored tissue paper.
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We set up a dinosaur dig area for them to search for fossils. I bought a set of 12 little dinosaur skeletons and hid them in the sand pit. They had to dig them up and clean them with brushes. They loved this!

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The older girls applied dinosaur tattoos on the little ones.

 

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Another fun activity was to eat little donuts off a string without touching them with hands.

 

 

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We also had frozen dinosaur eggs which I made by inserting little dinosaurs in water balloons, filled with water, then put them in the freezer. We then poured warm water over the eggs to discover the dinosaurs when the ice was gradually melting off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After everyone went home late afternoon, my little 4 year old (who’s birthday was actually on the day of her party) stayed out and played on her own at the sand pit for a good 20-30 minutes. After all the excitement she needed some time alone to cool off, process everything and take it all in….Happy Birthday my sweet Darling!

 

 

 

 

Magical Unicorn Party

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10 years old!

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I feel like I need an intro here, like I need to explain the whole Unicorn Party thing for my 10 year old daughter. I feel this because last year she had a “Taylor Swift” Birthday Party , which sounds more grown up, and it looks like we have had a step back this year. Looking back to the last year, I see lot of growing up in every aspect of life. She is definitely not a little girl anymore, and the fact that she is so tall, doesn’t help either 🙂 But, I wanted for her to have one more, (probably the last) childish birthday party, with all that comes with it. Oh, and she wanted the same thing, too!

 

 

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You would think they are too old for stuff like this. Like Unicorns and magic, and all the glitter and shine, but the truth is they’re not. Really NOT! Let me tell you, that these 10 year old girls LOVED all the glitter and shine and Unicorns and magic 🙂 They loved their little soft unicorns they got to build themselves and named, because, in case you didn’t know everybody has a Unicorn name, even you, my friend 🙂 They named their little Unicorns as follows: Sassy Happy-Feet, Happy Floating-Bubbles, Dashing Sugar-Socks, Sassy Tickled-Pink and Sunshine Happy-Feet.
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They started with watching an old movie called Legend, which features a couple of “real” Unicorns and Tom Cruise is the main star  (hello! I said Tom Cruise!!), but eventually they got bored with it, which I don’t blame them for, because the film was not the typical Hollywood Best of…(although it may have been back in 1985, I wouldn’t know…), and Tom Cruise was just a kid basically. Anyway, let’s just say that the movie was not the hit of the party, but the Unicorns looked real and beautiful, nonetheless.
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The girls sat down afterwards and stuffed their own Unicorns and chose their names and their Unicorn Magic Powder. They loved this and they had lots of fun doing it.
They applied jeans tattoos on their denim shorts, back and front pockets, they loved these, too. Well, of course, they were Unicorn tattoos in rainbow colors after all, what’s not to like there, right?
I spray painted white plastic unicorns in gold and glued them on jar lids, then filled the jars with candy. The mini bottles are made of glass, we put the labels on and filled with glitter, ehm…I mean Unicorn Magic, of course.
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They had a little fun outside running and jumping with the gold and pink confetti balloons before they got back to the dessert table for cake. During the whole party, they also got a laptop near them and they played their favourite music on You Tube, so there was some dancing, too.
We served rainbow pizza, Unicorn horn pastry filled with vegetable salad, sandwiches, Unicorn chocolate bark, white chocolate cake, donuts coated in chocolate melts and sprinkles, sugar cookies in shape of unicorns and magic wands (ah, those skinny unicorn legs were a pain to make…), cupcakes, etc…
The wooden sign which I placed outside to greet the party guests I made myself few weeks ago. I found this treasure lying in a ditch not far from the house about a year ago, and now I had the chance to do a makeover. I painted in rainbow colors and wrote the message ” Dance with Fairies, Ride a Unicorn, Swim with Mermaids, Chase Rainbows”.
Also, I bought the brown paper mache Unicorn head from Hobby Craft weeks ago, and I worked on it in secret, while my daughter was at school and hid it in the loft until her birthday.
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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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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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