2016 Layered Cake

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It’s almost the end of 2015 – can anyone actually believe how fast this year has gone by, how much has happened and what’s to come? It’s been an incredible year – I’ve learned so much about myself, went through challenges of my own, achieved several of my goals, met many new people that I feel so blessed to have in my life and travelled to new countries. With the year ending, always come the new resolutions. I used to not believe in new years resolutions – in the end, I feel that if you want something you need to start working for it immediately and not push it to the next year, the upcoming monday or even tomorrow. Unless you have real reasons, there is no need to push back anything you want to achieve.

I think the new year does give some opportunities to set new goals for the year ahead. At work we need to set our own goals we want to achieve during the upcoming year and it’s the perfect way to learn to set goals that are actually achievable and reachable within one year. So the past days I’ve been thinking of what the year has given me so far, what I did not manage (and why) and what I want to move forward with next year. Nex to continuing my studies and keeping the same grade level, I want to manage my time a little more wisely. Spend more time with the people I love, use some of the weekends to make long weekend trips and discover new cities. I’ve also been stuck in a somewhat comfortable routine in regards to my cooking – I find a good recipe and stick to it, sometimes for weeks afterwards. This year I want to try more recipes from all over the world, adjust them for my own allergies and discover new spices. Since I have an Indian supermarket around the corner supplying me with all kinds of herbs and spices, there really is no reason not to try some of them.

One of my kitchen highlights actually happened this past weekend when I made my first fondant cake. I’ve basically wanted to do one for the whole year but never got the chance. I’ve always been on the go, did not find the right occassions, was too busy or too lazy at other times or simply did not want to make it for myself (given that I would have to eat it myself afterwards). This holiday was the perfect time as the family was here, New Years coming up and all reasons matched for me to try myself with a fondant cake. It’s far from looking perfect (I always admire those amazing wedding and other celebration cakes made out of fondant and sugar paste) but it surely boosted my self-esteem in regards to baking. I cannot wait to make another one! So of course I will share the recipe with you. The cake itself is not too sweet, which I like – though the fondant on top does give a little more sweetness to it. The rasberry-butter cream is, well, buttery – a little fruity but not too much either. I actually stole the recipe from here (in German), though adjusted it to make it gluten (GL) and lactose free (LF), as well as a little easier, for me to eat as well. Before I start the recipe, for those not interested or those not reading it all, I wish you all a HAPPY & HEALTHY START INTO THE NEW YEAR with lots of love and luck to come!

What you need for the cake

3 eggs
130g sugar
180g GL flour
40g GL cacao
12g GF backing powder
130g oil (I used peanut oil)
1 pack vanilla sugar
150g LF milk
a hint of salt

What you need for the rasberry-butter-cream

3 egg whites
250g LF butter
175g rasberries (or any other berry – can be frozen, though let it sit at room temperature before)
175g sugar (I used brown sugar)

What you need for decorations

fondant (I used pre-rolled-out white fondant)
sugar paste for letters & numbers (I used black sugar paste)

What to do

1) heat up the oven to 180°C and separately grease your round baking pan with butter (I used a 18cm diameter one)
2) Start by mixing all liquids, the eggs and sugar until you have a sugary paste
3) add all other ingredients for the dough and mix it well for a couple of minutes
4) the dough will seem a little liquidy, though that is perfect – now fill it into the backing pan and place it into the oven
5) after 45 min the cake should have risen and be done, now take it out and let it cool fully
6) After about 20 min you can cut the cake into three approximately same height pieces for you to later layer up again
7) Whilst the 3 pieces are further cooling, start the rasberry-butter cream
8) Place the egg whites and sugar into a bowl and place it into a water bath
9) stir the eggs until all the sugar has disappeared – you can check using your fingers whether you feel any sugar (though this shouldn’t take longer than 10 min)
10) once the sugar is melted, let it cool down before you whip it – it should become a more or less stiff white mixture, though it won’t be as stiff as cream would get
11) add the sugar and whip it again until you have your buttery-cream – now add the rasberries and repeat
12) once you have your cream, you can place it on the first layer, add the second cake piece, another layer of cream, and the third one piece – for each layer use about ¼ of the cream you made
13) the rest of the rasberry-butter cream should now be used to cover the whole cake
14) once you covered everything, roll out the fondant (if it is not pre-rolled-out) and carefully place it over the cake
15) if you have never done it before, I recommend watching a short youtube video about covering a fondant cake – it really helps! Now you can go all out with decorations – I used the black sugar paste to cut out 2016 and make a bow for the side of the cake

Now you can

1) serve the cake immediately, or
2) let it sit in the fridge – I did to let the sugar paste harden and kept it in over night

The cake should be good up to 3 days after making it, though it surely did not last that long here. My family and I each had a piece the next day and finished about half of the cake. The other half went to one of my working colleagues and his family, whom only live a couple of minutes away. That way I made sure we all had our treat though wouldn’t roll into New Years through gaining any weight :)

With that, again, I wish you all the best for the New Year, a fantastic start into it (mine will thankfully be calm this year), and that all your 2016 resolutions will be reached! xo

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Swedish Confectionery: Chokladbollar

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Ever since I was little, I had this thing for Scandinavians – be it their food, their decoration, interior design in general, or clothing – and of course their warm and welcoming character. Back in the days we used to have International Food Days at our school, and since I’ve been to international schools, there were quite a few foods to display. I remember running from one food stand to another and trying to buy as much as possible – the sweets at the American stand were one of my favorites too (ah, the love for fruit-roll-ups!). All money that was collected was given to charity (as far as I can remember), so my parents were willing to spend a little extra here and there. I remember the Swedish stand always had their Chokladbollar that one of the moms made and I could never get enough of them – despite me not liking the taste of coffee when I was young. They were too good. Now with the Christmas holidays coming up, there is no better excuse for making more sweets. They are perfect for when you have guests over for a coffee or tea, and want a little something to serve along the side. Because of the perfect size, everyone can portion how much they want to eat (though I am never able to control myself!). This recipe makes about 25 Chokladbollar.

What you need

150g butter (at room temperature)
30g raw cacao 
130g glutenfree small oats
200g brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold, fresh coffee (I used decaffeinated coffee)
120g coconut flakes

What to do

1) mix all ingredients, except for the coconut flakes, in a large bowl
2) place the coconut flakes on a large plate for you to roll the confectionary in
3) Take out about one medium tablespoon of your Chokladbollar mixture and start forming a ball with it using your hands
4) Once you got the form, let it roll through the coconut flakes, roll it again in your hands, and add another layer of flakes
5) repeat steps 3 to 4 until the mixture is finished
6) Place the Chokladbollar in a fridge for about 20 minutes before serving for them to keep the form

Now you can

1) keep it in the fridge (who would?) for about 5 days
2) serve it with hot coffee, tea or a warm chocoalte
3) freeze them for a later use

As you can see this is about one of the easiest recipes ever and one simply cannot ruin it. Now, because they are so simple, I am always afraid of actually making them too often to later indulge into these calorie-bites by myself. Nevertheless, it’s a great treat to keep in the fridge or freezer to pull out when you have friends coming over on a spontaneous note.

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Mini Morning Apple Pancakes

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Mini Morning Apple Pancakes, Mini Morning Apple Pancakes, Mini Morning Apple Pancakes… Now, try reading that out loud three or more times, I swear it’s a tongue-twister to me – I’ve tried it and failed over and over again! What surely didn’t fail are the pancakes themselves, which I recently made on my favourite lazy Sunday mornings. Seriously, how amazing is it to sleep-in and get a heart-warming, delicious breakfast? It’s probably my favourite routine every weekend. With it being autumn, there are kilos and kilos of apples everywhere to buy for a nickle and a dime. I love it. Completely love it. There are about a million receipes to try out this season, and, quite frankly, it’s my favourite of the year (or do I say that about every season?).

I remember loving pancakes already as a kid. My mom would make them at least once a month, if not twice, for dinner. We would have the healthy pancakes first, filled with seasonal vegetables and sometimes meat, and were allowed to have one dessert pancake with cinnamon & sugar or nutella afterwards. I would always try to eat as many dessert-pancakes as possible, suddenly being super hungry again. Which reminds me, I should do that sometime soon again and share a recipe with you. What do you think?

This recipe makes around 8 mini-pancakes, so it is the perfect portion for two. Unless, of course, you are super hungry and want all for yourself. Naturally, you can also eat them when they cooled down some later hour and not share any. And, with it being no surprise, they are of course free of gluten and lactose.

What you need

2 eggs
200g glutenfree flour
50ml water
200ml milk
100g sugar (50g sugar and 1 tbs agave syrup also works)
1 pack vanilla-sugar
1 apple
coconut oil / or any oil of choice
powdered sugar (for decoration purposes if wanted)

What to do

1) separate the eggs and beat the egg whites until frothy (almost stiff)
2) add all other ingredients (excluding the egg yolk) into a bowl and mix it well
3) gently mix the beat egg whites under the mixture
4) cut the apple into slices
5) heat some coconut oil in a (small) pan and fill it with your pancake-mixture
6) prior to flipping the pancake, add a few slices of apple on top
7) flip the pancake and let it sit for another minute or two

Voila, now you can

1) serve it for you and your loved onces / or just yourself (no need to be ashamed!)
2) store them in the fridge for later
3) sprinkle them with powdered sugar (always looks great!) and serve them with some homemade jam – I had them with my apple-pumkin jam :-)
4) pack them in a lunch-bag for the kids to take to school – what a great snack!

As always – I hope you enjoy the recipe and of coures, I would be more than happy to see your creations and versions of it!

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Cinnamon Rolls; Heaven at home

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I’ve always loved these Cinnamon Rolls, especially at Starbucks. Back when I was a little younger, I’d want to go to Starbucks with friends only to get one of these cinnamon rolls – heated up- with a cold iced-chai latte next to it. Last week I had a dinner at my house with guests and decided to make a dessert that everyone, especially me, loves: freshly baked cinnamon rolls. I worked with american measurements, so this time with cups and teaspoons. To measure these, I used measuring spoons I recently bought on amazon. Today I want to share with you this super easy to-do recipe.

Ingredients for the dough:

– 4-5 cups flour
– 2 packages dry yeast (4,5 teaspoons)
– 1 teaspoon salt
– ¾ cup milk
– ½ cup water
– ½ cup melted butter
– ½ cup sugar
– 1 egg

Ingredients for the filling:

– room-temperature butter
– ½ cup of brown sugar
– 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Ingredients for the topping:

– 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
– 1 tablespoon butter
– ⅛ teaspoon vanilla
– 2-3 teaspoons hot water

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Now lets start the actual baking – it’s so much easier than I would’ve exptected it to be.

Mix 1 ¾ cups of flour with the yeast and salt. Heat up the milk, butter and water in a bowl and add the sugar to it. Now mix the melted with the flour and yeast mixture. Next add the egg and anotehr ½ cup of flour and beat the dough some more. Now add enough flour until you have a soft dough (around 1-2 cups). Knead the dough for a few minutes until its soft and well, doughy. Cover up the bowl and let it rest for atleast 20 minutes. I let it rest for about 30 minutes.

Once the dough has risen and is ready, roll it out until you have a large rectangle. The dough should be around ¼ inches high.

Now cover the rectangle with butter that was is at room-temperature. I simply used my fingers to rub the butter on top – it doesn’t need to be too thick. Simply to get the next mixture sticking to it. Now mix up the cinnamon and sugar and spread it equally over the buttered rectangle. Once you are done, roll up the rectange until you have a large roll. Cut the roll up to achieve around 12 pieces, looking like the above ones (I had around 15 pieces).

The oven needs to be heated up to 375°F. Put the cinnamon rolls into the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the cinnamon rolls, as they rise faster than expected. Once they have a golden-brown color, take them out and let them cool for a few minutes. While letting cinnamon rolls cool down, start the topping to glaze them afterwards. For the topping simply mix all ingredients up – basically, it’s pure sugar. Let it drizzle over the, still warm, cinnamon rolls, serve it to your guests or snuggle up on the sofa and indulge. Voila – you’ve got the perfect home-made cinnamon rolls.

Let me know what you think about the recipe – I really hope you enjoy them!

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