TBL: Orange Cake

Due to various circumstances and my own laziness I haven’t managed to try out a recipe in February. Actually I only made one cake beginning of February, back in my old kitchen for a friends birthday. The next day I boxed all my kitchen appliances and moved them in the basement of the new place. They are stuck down there ever since. This week finally my work surface for the kitchen arrived, it is a large and very heavy piece of handpicked slate. Anyhow, we are making baby steps towards a finished house, there is still a lot of bits and pieces to be done and craftspeople are often unreliable or hard to get hold of. Sometimes I believe I’d rather get an audience with the pope than an appointment with some of those craftspeople. But I will quit the whining and tell you something about a very fabulous place I have explored during our last visit in Dublin in November. After a stroll in Iveagh Gardens, one of the hidden gems of the City, we needed a sweet treat to brighten up the grey, rainy day. I stumbled over this place on Twitter that I was dying to try, even though it looked like an office building in the pictures. We made our way through the backstreet and he gave me this „are you sure we are on the right track“ kind of look. I have to admit I was a little weirded out by the street too, but then we took a turn in to one of the most beautiful courtyards I have ever seen. They have very pretty mosaics with everyday items on the walls and a bunch of private corners. The place is really small, maximum 8 to 10 tables, but very warm and welcoming, so is the staff. As the front completely consists of glass we could easily see that it was very busy. The lad behind the counter waved us in and kindly informed us that they’ll have some spot for us in a couple of minutes if we want to wait outside. Wait? Outside? In the cold? This place better be good, I thought to myself. I gave him a smile, nodded and  just a few seconds later we were equipped with the menu and some hot-water bottles in one of the snugly corners in the courtyard. The Orange Cake was sold out (boohoo), so the waitress recommended „an absolute lovely Victoria Sponge“ and I went for the mixed cake platter that had a little piece of everything on top. All very delicious! Being good marketeers they had their own book right on the cash desk, so I had no other choice as to inspect and buy it. It is rather small but offers a good range of recipes and it looks just fab with its cool graphics. After cashing out we took the other entry point to the courtyard, through a paper craft shop. How cool is that? If I only hadn’t spend all of my shopping budget…

I have yet tried the Orange Cake only but it was one of the best cakes I ever made. It is very moist and so fluffy I’m gonna die. You only need 7 ingredients and it can be varied very easily. This time I am not going to share the recipe, I can just recommend to buy the book: http://www.thecakecafe.ie/

Patisserie Course recap

For my birthday last summer I got a giftcard for a Patisserie course with L’Art Sucré and was very excited. Too bad I had to wait until now but it was totally worth it.

We made a wonderful desert, Tarte au citron and I learned that my grandmas pie crust recipe sucks. Florian Köller said something that made me think: Baking is just Chemistry and anyone is capable of making a cake that tastes good when you stick to the recipe, but to make perfect fantastic cakes you need to pay attention to all the details.

  • only the best ingredients guarantee the perfect taste (e.g. piemontese hazelnuts, Ceylon cinnamon, real vanilla)
  • only use french butter (because it is the best in the world… I have my doubts there…)
  • I need a digital thermometer
  • it is essential to use butter and eggs at room temperature
  • patience is a very valuable and necessary asset for patissiers and bakers
  • creaming is better than sablage for perfect results (and that’s why my pie crust recipe stinks) and strictly no hands!
  • when beating with an electric mixer don’t overspeed to blend all ingredients (I was told exactly the opposite at Das Cupcakes cupcake course where Ewa Feix stated that you should use a little 5 sec highspeed blending in the end)
  • to make a silky smooth meringue only beat at low speed (Kitchen Aid maximum 4)
  • the professional Version of the Kitchen Aid is so much better
  • bringing taste into ice cream is VERY easy if you cook the milk-cream-mixture with the flavour and let it brew for 10 minutes
  • Patisserie is all about planning and there is no witchcraft involved
  • making a Patisserie worthy tarte au citron takes a lot of a) time b) expert knowledge and c) patience (and I mean a whole lot)
  • I now know why a tiny tartelet costs 6 bugs…
  • And if you do take notes be sure to note down every little bit

Schabake-aton

My boyfriend asked me, if I can cater his farewell party with sweet and salty baked goods – the perks of a hobby baker as girlfriend 😉

So I took a day off and so did my best friend who deserves a million Thank Yous for being such a great friend, investing her freetime and being such a good help in the kitchen. To bake for over 40 people is very challenging in many ways. Not only the number of guests should guide your thoughts but also day and time play an important role. You never know if the people like more sweet or more salty stuff, whatever you do it’s going to be wrong any way… So don’t panic and make wise choices. Everyone has all-time favourites and standard recipes, stick to those and don’t experiment on such days.

We deciced to go for this:

  • Donauwelle (Donau waves, a German cake classic with cherries, cream and chocoalte)
  • Muffins (with chocolate splits and double chocolate)
  • Amerikaner (Americans, a German coffee time classic)
  • Brownie Bites
  • Mini Quiches
  • and we improvised some Cheese-Amaranth-sticks

We baked  more than half a day in order to finish up everything but it was totally worth it and we had a blast. In the end, the Quiches were gone in almost no time, the Donau waves were a fast seller and half of the brownies and muffins were left over.  Luckily I have some colleagues that had to work late anyway and were very happy about the left overs.

Cupcake Class by Das Cupcake

Last weekend I took my first Cupcake Class at Genussakademie in Frankfurt. It was held by Ewa Feix who is a professional Cupcake Konditor and sells gorgeous Cupcakes in Frankfurt.

My friend sent me the link to the booking some weeks ago and asked me if I want to go. Hell yeah, why not?  Especially when it comes to Cupcakes I think I can still learn a lot! Decorating Cupcakes is an art itself and you know all these little bits and pieces of professional advice enhance your skills over time. So I booked the class and went there with my friend who discovered her love to baking just recently (I hope it was my good influence *hehe*).

After a glass of champagne and checking out the other participants, Ewa Feix welcomed us very warmly and shared some of her secrets with us. I must say I was a little dissapointed that we only made one type of cupcakes. But they were as delicious as they were pretty. Never ever made so good looking ones! Continue reading »

Holiday Recap

I spent my christmas holidays with friends in Goa. We were invited for a friends wedding at his wifes home. The wedding was beautiful and the family was very warm and welcoming. The best thing about it is, that we had the chance to experience some real goan family life and got to taste genuine, traditional, homemade foods and sweets. By the way: Thanks to the family for having us and welcoming us so warmly!

But let’s get to the sweets… As it was christmas, there were a lot of christmas treats and sweets to explore, all homemade.

  1. Plum Fruit Cake
  2. Dose – diamond shape (made from chana)
  3. Dodol (made of coconut rice & jaggery)
  4. Stollen
  5. Kormola (made of white flour, eggs, milk & sugar)
  6. Bebinca
  7. Banana chips
  8. Neurios ( pastry made of white flour and stuffing made of coconut diff. Dry fruit, nuts, semolina & sugar)

 

 

 

I had to try everything of course. My favourites are the Neurios, they taste like my coco macroons stuffed into pastry dough. Hopefully my new friend will teach me at least some of the stuff next winter.

The Cupcake Massacre

I wanted to make some sweet treats for my friends birthday party in September. As she is a huge peanut butter fan, I was looking for an adequate recipe to fulfill her wish. As I scored with my version of the Irish car bomb cupcakes at her last party I searched for a peanut buttery alternative on the same blog (which is one of my favourites anyway). And there they were, Dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, I fell for them at first glance.

I took a day off from work to enjoy a whole day of baking fun. I went shopping for ingredients, got out my measures, arranged everything on my kitchen counter and started my baking day. I started to follow the recipes instructions, but using my simmering pan with thermometer and not letting the temperature of the chocolate mixture rise to more than 50°C (which is a good tip that I learned at a praline course I took because like that the chocolate won’t get burned). I prepared the dough, transferred it into my muffin pan and into the hot oven.

I don’t know what exactly happened to the cupcakes in the oven but instead of rising at least a little in height, they only rose in width.
I cooled them for some time before trying to remove them from the muffin pan but the tops broke and most of the cupcakes came out in crumbles. I could save at least 4 cupcakes from breaking but when I got them out of the pan, the paper cups remained in the pan. It was a complete massacre of chocolatety cupcake crumbles and paper cups…
I first blamed the recipe and tried to figure out what to do instead. I suspect my oven to be the point of failure because afterwards, baking another cake at the same temperature, it took twice the baking time for the cake to finish plus the spare cupcakes with a proved and tested recipe were pretty much the same…

I wanted to make some additional Cake Pops anyway so the crumbles were a good thing to start with. So I made the peanutbutter frosting from the recipe and mixed my cupcake crumbles with half of the frosting to get a moist Cake Pop basis. They were amazing!

Cakepops are a fantastic possibility to cover up baking fails. They are ridicoulously easy to make, any flavour can be added and they can be styled from thrifty to fancy. All you need is some time, especially for cooling and different icings or decorations. But they look very good on a buffet and have a perfekt bite size.

Getting started

I had this idea to start a baking blog for quite a while but was lacking the the energy to really go for it. Some weeks ago I got up earlier as usual to make some fresh muffins for my colleague and while preparing I thought to myself that today is the day. So here goes my new baking blog. I started on another blog platform but now decided to move to my own webspace.
I really love baking, although it is hard work and takes quite some time, I always love to amaze everyone around me with my creations. Plus I really have a sweet tooth and love to eat things that I made with my own hands. It is one of the nicest hobbies and everyone appreciates the results 🙂

I intend to post my favourite recipes, report my experiences with new recipes and share successes and failures. I decided to write in English although not a native speaker so please ignore my mistakes 😉