A late easter note.

Like every holiday Easter has come and gone in what seemed the blink of an eye. I’ve been quite busy the week before easter, baking cupcakes and cakes, tinkering on surprise eggs for my oldest nephew and making bread to be consecrated at the Easter service. My absolute favourite this Easter were those cute little bunny cupcakes you see above. I came across the idea at Created by Diane and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Finally I chose this really yummy vanilla cupcake recipe and topped them with mascarpone mixed with vanilla and sugar. They tasted really excellent and everybody loved those cheeky little bunny bums .

Another thing I really couldn’t wait to make this Easter was a traditional paschal lamb cake, or in this case paschal rabbit. In Austria these soft, white, sugary cakes are baked especially for the days around easter. In my family they usally just were topped with some icing sugar and mostly ate for breakfast. Since this tradition had stopped now for some years I was eager to revive it. I found this quite lovely recipe on the web and coated the bunnies with a mixture of egg whites and icing sugar. Topped with some sugar flowers they really looked lovely I think. And they also tasted really good.

Last but not least I made this easter surprise eggs for my oldest nephew. As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I really fell in love with the idea by not martha to disguise easter eggs as chocolate filled surprise eggs. You sould really take some time to make those, keeping in mind, that they need some time to harden at each step. But just stick to the instructions over at not martha’s and you’ll be really fine!

 

Doctor stitching who?

Some presents need somewhat longer in the making than others… and some really need too long. I started this Doctor Who crossstitch cussion for my dear sweetheart last fall, determined to finish it till Christmas. Sadly I couldn’t achieve that goal and had to give him a half finished David Tennant Doctor as well as missing nineth and tenth Doctor under the Christmas tree. And it took me, including some procrastinating I have to admit, until today to finish it. But here it finally is and I think it’s awesome!

I’m quite hooked on crossstitching, admiring the neat projects that you can find around the web for some time now. With some patience patterns can be found everywhere on the web, but I collected some of my favourites over at pinterest. And if you don’t want to get stuck in a project like this for over half a year like me – there are some people out there who really know about cool crossstitching and might serve to some of your handmade needs: Check out lovely Mrs. x&x facebook page – I saw many of her designs now and she’s a real cross-pro!

Easter egg picks.

I’m working on some things at the moment, but none of them is ready to be shown on this blog yet. So, in the meantime and to break my resent silence and just because there is so much lovely stuff all over the net right now: My favourite DIY easter egg picks.

Message in a egg – I found the first one some while ago and I think it’s the perfect combination of the always beloved fortune cookies and easter eggs. Write your secret easter message on a small piece of paper and hide it inside a beautiful coloured egg for your loved ones. Find a deatailed how-to on oh! craft.

Chocolate easter surprise eggs – This is my absolute favourite! The idea is just too awesome and I really can’t wait to make some chocolate surprise eggs of my own soon! I always loved, and honestly still do, chocolate surprise eggs but I never could think of any easy way to make them at home. So check out this neat instructions over at not martha and surprise your folks big time!

Silhouette easter eggs – They are around the web for some time and I remember wanting to make some of those last year. I hope to find the time this year because, honestly, they just look adorable, don’t they? Find instructions at Le Papier Studio.

Tattoo easter eggs – Temporary tattoo easter eggs were always the high achievers goal in my family. After we had dyed lots and lots of beautiful colourful eggs my father used to dig out all the leftover easter egg tattoos and the most talented and trustworthy easter egg dyer was appointed to carefully put this fragile pictures on the eggs. It always was a nerve-racking task for the chosen one as well as for the rest of the family who was carefully watching the procedure and giving lots of good advice. As you might imagine, this mostly ended in a minor controversy, leaving the tattoo delegate offended in his skills and the rest of us with the silent plan to get nominated next year and to show everybody how it’s really done! This is always one of my brightest memories when I think back on my childhood days and easter and so temporary tattoos for easter eggs always hold some kind of fascination for me. The one on the picture above are really beautiful as well and a clear improvement to the very infantil designs of the 80’s and 90’s. So maybe I will choose myself this year trustworthy and show everybody how to make real lovely tattoo easter eggs!

For more crafty ideas go over to my pinterest board.

Lemon & strawberry-chocolate cupcakes.

For my birthday I made these lemon and strawberry-chocolate cupcakes. They turned out quite delicious so I just want to share the recipes with you:

Lemon Cupcakes
for about 12

  • 250 g butter at room temperature
  • 200 g sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 big organic lemons
  • 250 g flour
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 100 g icing sugar

Mix the butter and sugar until creamy. Add one egg after the other and keep mixing. Add the grated lemon peel. Combine the flour with the baking powder and the salt.  Stir into the egg and butter.

Divide evenly into cupcake cups and bake for about 25 minutes at 180° C.

Mix the juice of the lemons with the icing sugar and brush the warm cupcakes with it. Let them cool.

The icing:

  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 20 g icing sugar
  • 1 organic lemon

Mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar, the grated lemon peel and the juice of the lemon. Decorate your cupcakes with it.

Strawberry-chocolate cupcakes
for about 12

I found this recipe at the Curvy Carrot’s blog, but adjusted it a little for my needs. It also showed, that the dough wasn’t quite sufficient for 24 cupcakes, as mentioned in Curvy Carrots blog – I could make about 14 normal sized cupcakes with it.

  • 9 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk

I also used one of my all time favourite icings using basically just cream cheese and mix in some kind of flavour. I wanted to combine the chocolate cupcakes with a little strawberry so I used:

  • 400 g cream cheese
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons strawberry jam

Just mix everything together and decorate your cupcakes with it. Enjoy! :)

The galley cake.

Finally, after one week in bed due to a bad influenzal infection I’m back and blogging. And because I promised friends on facebook I would post the recipes for the cakes and pies I’m making, here is the how-to for my nephews’ 7th birthday cake – a roman galley, as everything roman is really exciting at the moment.

The cake dough

First of all you need cake dough that’s quite compact and therefore easy to cut in every shape you like. My mother gave me this great recipe for a nut cake with chocolate flakes.  The following ingredients are sufficient for a round cake pan, 26 cm ( 10.2 inches) in diameter. For the galley I used one and a half times the ingredients and a rectangular cake pan about 27 x 36 cm (10.6 x 14.2 inches).  Just decide before making the cake how big you want it to be and choose the right cake pan for your needs.

250 g (1 cup) butter (room temperature)
10 eggs
300 g (10.5 ounces) icing sugar
2 packages of vanilla sugar
1 package of baking powder
140 g (4.9 ounces) flour
200 g (7 ounces) grounded walnuts
125 g (1/2 cup) chocolate flakes, i.e. Bensdorp

  • Preheat your oven to 160°C when using hot air or 180°C when using top-/bottom-heat.
  • Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl, set aside.
  • Seperate the eggs and whisk the egg whites with one third of the sugar till you get a stiff mass. Set a aside.
  • Combine the butter, the rest of the sugar and the vanilla sugar and mix until you get a creamy texture. Add the egg yolks one after the other and whisk till the mass looks foamy. Add the nuts and chocolate flakes to the egg yolk batter.
  • Add the flour and one half of the beaten egg whites and stir in slowly
  • Add the rest of the egg whites and mix in very slowly with a wooden spon. The dough should stay very airy and fluffy so don’t use too much pressure.
  • Pour it into the bake pan (lined with baking paper) and bake for about 1 hour. Check with a knitting needle or wooden spit if the cake is ready.
  • Let cool in cake pan.

Put the galley together

After the cake is cool it’s time to cut out the galley shape. When making cakes or sweeties I had to learn that keeping it as simple as possible is mostly the best way for getting a good and lovely looking result. I always tend to overdo it and add too much details, but this will mostly lead to one odd looking strange cake. So – here is a short graphic of how I cut the shape of the galley:

For the cream filling I used a classical chocolate recipe:

100 ml cream
75 g  butter
190 g dark chocolate

Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Heat the cream and butter with little temperature until butter is melted. Add the chocolate and also let melt. Stir until the mass is smooth and shiny. Let cool and put into the fridge to cool down completely. Whisk up with your mixer until you get a fluffy mass.

After assembling the pieces of the galley using the chocolate cream, I coated the whole cake with apricot jam. You can use any other flavour you like, but I find apricot goes very well with chocolate cake. The jam provides a smooth surface for the chocolate icing that follows next. I used 2 cups of ready-to-use icing that you only have to put into hot water to melt (i.e. Manner).

Before the icing is dry garnish your galley. I used edable paper and cut it into shapes with a scissor, shortbread biscuits, Smarties and some sprinkles.

The sea and beach

Because I had quite some cake left I decided to create some sort of water and beach around the galley. I came across cake-pops some while ago and was keen to try it some time, so this was the perfect occasion. At Bakerella’s website you will find lots and lots of inspiring recipes and ideas for cake pops and I just used her recipe which you can find here. I used white and milk chocolate for the icing of the little balls and coloured the white chocolate with some blue gel food colour. You will get the best result if you just roll the balls in the chocolate with a fork and put them on baking paper for drying. You also might not need as much icing sugar as specified in Bakerella’s recipe – the balls turned out quite sweet and heavy.

Okay – I guess that’s it! I hope this is in any way helpful and not too confusing. Writing down this recipe turned out to be quite a challenge I must say. But I tried my best… :) I would be very happy about some feedback, please feel free to comment on this! :)

Eat a rainbow.

These days the internet is filled with recipes and photos of this lovely rainbow cakes and I couldn’t wait for an occaison to try it myself. So finally, my nephews 16th birthday gave me the perfect excuse to create something a little bit spacy – so here is the rainbow cake he got! The original is made with lots of white cream but I had to camouflage it as a chocolate cake – so this is my version with lots of apricot jam and chocolate icing. For the original recipe go to the Whisk Kid blog.

And here is my recipe for a 26 centimeter baking pan and with jam instead of white cream:

339 g butter, room temperature
699 g sugar
7,5 egg whites
3 tsp vanilla
562 g flour
6 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups of milk
1 glass apricot jam
2 cups of chocolate icing

Preheat the oven to 175°C and follow the other instructions on Whisk Kid’s blog! Don’t worry for a moment, this recipe is marvellous! And for  a little bit more inspiration, see many other possibilities for rainbow cakes on foodgawker!

Chocolate Crisps.

It’s this time of the year again – and I prepare for my lovely partner in crime’s birthday celebration. In fact, his birthday was in august, but the big celebration with all the family and lots of food and everything is a little bit late this year, due to scheduling problems.

However – for some days now I’ve been thinking about a fun theme for the party and of course the food. And last night I made some crispy chocolate lovelies for the goodie-bags. I was inspired by Sweetapolita’s recipe but I must admit, they didn’t come out quite as perfectly as in the original. For starters I decided to use milk-chocolate for the base layer – not a good idea, as milk-chocolate isn’t as firm and crisp as dark chocolate, and when you break it into pieces you dont get smooth edges. So mine don’t look so beautiful as Sweetapolita’s I fear. On the other hand, I decided to add a layer of sprinkles on the ground milk-chocolate layer, so they really feel crispy in your moth, which kind of makes up a little bit for the shape.

I’m also not completly happy with my sprinkles on the top – I tend to overdue it with decoration. But however, I hope they will look okay in their little goodie-bags… so more about my chocolate journey later!

So here’s the final achievement – now that the little chocolate crisps are in their goodie-bags, I’m quite pleased with the result. But look for yourself:

And this is what the birthday table and cake looked like: