March 20th marks not only the beginning of Spring, it is also Macaron Day and I am honoured that today’s recipe is featured on my favourite blog and one & only fandom: Der Kuchenbäcker. The frequent readers may know that I already sang a hymn or two on him, all others are duly invited to check him out.
Macaron Day or Jour du Macaron was initiated 2005 by Pierre Hermé, the godfather of Macarons and Patissiers around the world sell Macarons on this day to fundraise for local charities. I like the concept but unfortunately there is no Patisserie around that takes part. Instead I want to bake some easter cookies again to donate them for a local group here in my town that meets every Sunday to help homeless and other people in need. It’s not just about supplying the people with food and warm beverages, it is also a communication plattform and a meeting point for people in need. None of the people organising it gets paid, everything they give out is donated and they organise via a facebook group. I have been there a few times, mostly to bring some clothes or cake, and stayed there for a while to watch and listen to the people. Most of them have been through a lot and it always reminds me of how small my own problems are. I am very thankful that those people have somewhere to go, normal people to talk to that don’t judge and give them back at least a bit of their dignity. It reminds me of how important it is to give back and to change the perspective on your own live from time to time.
Burger Macarons on Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen 2016
But let’s get back to Macarons, because that’s what you came here for, right? I intended to host a Macaron session at Foodbloggercamp in Reutlingen because I think sharing ones knowledge is also a way of giving back. Even though I am not a master myself, a barcamp is a good plattfrom to share what I know and exchange with others. When preparing my session a bit I stumbled over a Macaron inspiration book I bought and wanted to bring to show how diversely decoration of Macarons can be. I don’t like the recipes in there but the decoration ideas are truly great. Thinking about last years cam in Reultingen to be very meaty and since I found my sister-in-meat in last years burger session, I felt I had to burger again. So I spontaneously decided to pack some sesame seeds and a packet of fresh mint I still had at home to pimp my Macarons to be Macaron burgers. Talking about my session at Foodbloggercamp, I still don’t feel good about the chaotic session I held. I really want to apologise to all attendees and thank you for your patience. I can do better than this, I hope you guys at least learned something and if you have any questions just drop me a line! Some special thanks go to Diana, for spontaneously co-hosting the session and sharing her experience, Jana & Isabel for jumping in to help me finish the Macarons, Natalie, for being super flexible and letting me block ‘her’ kitchen throughout most of her Session and Gyöngyi for putting me back together after I was really upset about my chaotic session.
What I have learned about hosting a session on the barcamp:
It’s a barcamp, so expect the unexpected!
Plan more time! After Berlin I thought doing one recipe in 45 minutes with proper preparation would be a walk in the park. Well… it wasn’t!
Team up and ask for help! Taking care of hot sugar syrup while talking is a bit of a gamble. Even though I had a spontaneous co-host, I suck at delegating, the sugar syrup got too hot and lumped which resulted in a very hard meringue mass that comes out flaky and makes ugly Macarons.
Bring a handout! It’s not the recipe, it’s all the little tips and tricks you have to share from your experience that attendees want. 45 minutes pass so fast and it’s just one of 6-8 sessions a day, so a handout helps to remember what you have shared. It also is a good preparation for the host, cause it makes you think about what you want to share in your session.
Go easy on yourself! It isn’t just you in your kitchen at home all on your own, so don’t expect perfection. This is a tough one for me because I always strive for perfection, especially with Macarons. In my session I talked about how to make perfect Macarons every time and then I deliver lumpy and bumpy Macarons?! Though ugly the Macarons tasted superb, the flavour combination was amazing and the attendees learned a bit too (at least I hope).
After the manflu stroke back and got me out of order for more than a week, I am back on deck and can share some more basic cupcake magic with you. Everyone has a few go-to recipes, some basic stuff that can be used for all sorts of magics with only a few alterations. It’s all about flavours and presentation, mix and match your favourite cupcakes, spice them up with some fruit or flavour and top off with a frosting of your choice. If you’re feeling fancy, you can go all wild with decorations and if you’re not, just spread the frosting with a knife. Whatever you do, you are the boss and you can do anything you like! Continue reading »
I know, I promised German posts and I am very eager to start but there are some technical hurdles that I need to tackle first. I am on it, just you wait and see. But let’s talk cake! It was a friends 30th birthday and I offered to bring cake for her party. As I know she does not like Fondant at all and loves chocolate, I was looking for a pretty but not to posh design with chocolate, that fits a garden party with kids. I’ve seen this Kitkat cake many times before on blogs and Pinterest and thought it would make a brilliant fit. But just plain cake with decoration was not enough as a real birthday present. So I decided to lift it up a little with hiding a message in the cake. Also a thing that I have seen before, liked the idea a lot but never tried myself. I am always suspicious with trying new stuff for special occasions as I had bad luck with that in the past, so I decided to do a test cake. The test cake results were not as good as I hoped them to be but helped me figure what to do different on the real cake. I bought another set of cutters that was larger and therefore better visible in the cake slice (and to prevent floating numbers as happened in the test cake) and added more baking time for the large cake (as the test cake was slightly underdone in the center).
I must say, the hardest part was the wait. You can’t come to a party with an already cut cake, especially when it is the present. So I had to wait until the birthday girl cut the cake to find out if my plan worked out and the numbers remained in place. You can imagine how happy I was when the first 2 slices she pulled out were absolutely PERFECT with a clear number in the center. Well I jumped through the garden like a small kid on Christmas day on a sugar rush… All the guests were amazed by the filling and only 1 person guessed what kind of magic is needed to create the effect. The magic unveiled… Continue reading »
Recently a friend of mine asked me if I could make some cake and cookies for her sons birthday. As it was a Knight-themed party and included a treasure hunt on the woods, it had to be sugar cookue coins and a castle-cake, easy to transport, suitable for kids and outdoors on a hot day. I started to look for inspirations and found a lot of cool looking stuff, but most of these cakes were neither transportable not suitable for kids. Plus I had to chose something I’d be able to do with a sore leg. After a lot of thinking it came down to the simplest solution: A square cake cut out as a 2D-castle. Zebra cake with sugar icing should do the trick.
This cake is rather simple to make but has a stunning zebra-stripe effect, that makes sassy and unique. It tastes so good, is very moist but solid enough to cut it into shape. I’ve been doing a lot of those zebra cakes in my baking life, it was actually the first cake that I ever made all on my own. It is my mothers swiss-army-knife cake, suitable for every shape or occasion you can imagine, from Easter lambs over giant car-shaped birthday cakes to cake reindeers. I associate darn good memories with this cake though I haven’t been making it very often since I moved out of my Mums house. It’s the star at every Kiddie Party and even amazes grown ups. But shhhhh don’t tell them it is this easy! Continue reading »
I don’t know why but I like to surprise colleagues on their last day with baked goods.
One of my favourite colleagues had his last day on Friday and as he didn’t tell anyone yet what kind of job he’s going to do afterwards, we all kept guessing. My last guess was that he’ll be running the Empire so I thought he might need a Deathstar.
I found this How-To Video on youtube and decided to make a Chocolate Fudge Cake and decorate it.
For the Chocolate Cake:
(If you want to sandwich them together like I did, you will need to make the recipe twice Continue reading »