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Let me tell you this.

This cake is amazing!

There it is.

I needed to get this off my chest.

Ugh, I feel so much better now.

 

I love this cake because it is fresh, delicious, it has different textures in it, it is satisfying and surprising, there are berries, there is cream cheese… and this is how you can make it…

 
 

Here’s what we need.

 
 

1. First, preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).

 

2. Then separate the eggs – the yolks into one large bowl, the whites into another large bowl.

 
 

3. Add 1 3/4 cups (200 grams) confectioners’ sugar to the yolks and mix them for a couple of minutes until your batter becomes pale and smooth.

 

To tell you the truth, if I could live my life the way I really wanted, I’d have this egg-yolk-sugar mixture for lunch every day. Every single day. It’s beyond tempting and delicious for me.

I know, I am creepy.

But let’s forget it.

 
 

4. Now add the flour into your batter and give it another quick stir.

 
 

5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

 
 

6. With a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the whites into the egg-yolk mixture to loosen the batter.

 
 

7. Then fold in the remaining whites.

 
 

8. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Mist it with some vegetable oil and dust it with flour lightly.

I am using a 12 x 15 inch (30 x 38 cm) baking pan here. You can use a smaller pan if you want your cake squares to be a little taller.

 

9. Pour one half (!) of the batter into the pan and spread it evenly.

We need two cake layers for this cake, that is why the batter should be baked in two batches.

Okay, it could be baked in one go and sliced in half afterward, but I am not that daring.

You can be.

But I am not.

 
 

10. Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about 12 – 15 minutes until golden-brown.

 
 

11. Before you remove your first cake layer from the oven, lay a sheet of parchment paper on your working surface and dust it lightly with some confectioners’ sugar.

 

12. When baked, invert the cake layer onto the paper.

 
 

13. And remove the top paper.

Let cool.

 

14. Line the baking pan with parchment paper again, fill it with the remaining batter and bake it.

When baked, leave that cake layer in the baking pan and don’t remove it.

Just let it cool.

That will be the bottom layer of our cake.

Well, not ‘our’ literally, the cake will be yours only, unless you send me some.

 
 

15. Now, let’s make the yummy cream cheese filling.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and sour cream.

 
 

16. Mix until smooth.

This will take a couple of minutes.

 
 

17. Pour the heavenly filling onto the first layer.

 
 

18. And spread it.

 
 

 
 

19. Place the second layer on top of the filling.

 
 

20. Grab about 1/2 cup of your favorite jam or preserves.

 
 

21. And spread the jam over the cake layer.

This will help to moisten up the cake beautifully.

And it adds another beautiful flavor.

 
 

These are thawed mixed berries.

 
 

22. Scatter the berries over the top.

 
 

 
 

23. And finally, cook the red gelatin according to the instructions.

I used 2 packets. Each one asked for 1 cup (250 ml) of liquid. Altogether, we need 2 cups of the gelatin liquid for this cake.

Also, I used unsweetened gelatin. That is why I had to add some sugar to it.

 
 

24. Pour the cooked gelatin over the fruit.

 
 

25. And let cool completely.

 

26. Then cover the whole cake with plastic wrap, place in the fridge and let firm up for a few hours.

 
 

27. Finally, cut into squares and…

 

Enjoy!

 

(This cake makes about 30 pieces of 2.5 x 2.5 inch (6×6 cm) squares. Pretty enough to make you happy.)

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I’ve always been a big fan of ‘before and after’ comparisons.

Don’t you just like them too?

They are so much fun to look at.

 

I like all sorts of them.

Whether the couple of pictures shows a face before and after makeup, a diet result or a cat before and after bathing, I love them all.

The pictures ‘before and after photoshop‘ being my most favorite, I guess.

 

Today, without further ado, I’ve decided to show the world my bundt cake’s before and after.

Though I am not sure whether the world is prepared for such an unveiling revelation.

Anyhow, here it is…

 
 

This is the original picture that came straight out of my camera.

 
 

The cake was placed between a south-west window to the left and my homemade silver reflector to the right.

Only natural light was used.

It was raining that day so the light wasn’t exactly awesome, though.

 
 

This is the same picture, but after I’d made a few touch-ups in Photoshop.

 

Here is what I did in more detail:

1. I opened the picture in Photoshop Elements 8.

2. Then I used the Move Tool from the Tool Palette (tool icons on the left) to straighten the picture a little. I also chose the Crop Tool from the same palette to discard some unwanted edges.

3. Next, I got rid of the gray haze using a trick that I describe here.

4. I lightened some shadows. You can find a tutorial on that here.

5. After that, I pressed Ctrl-L (Command-L for Mac users) and increased brightness using levels. I achieved that by dragging the middle slider to the left.

6. And I also pressed Ctrl-U (Command-U for Mac users) and increased the color saturation by about 10 points.

7. Finally, I sharpened the picture a little. I have a tutorial on that here.

 

And that was it.

This all took me just about 5 minutes.

Oh, dear Photoshop, I love you from the bottom of my heart… up to the top of my heart.

 
 

And here are both pictures again, side by side.

 

Have a sweet week, dear friends!

 

Love,

Petra

 

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I love bundt cakes.

It seems that I tend to celebrate the arrival of each season with them.

Somehow, it always works.

 

To welcome this year’s spring and Easter, I decided to go for a wonderful, fresh and invigorating citrus flavor.

And here it is.

 

In fact, the big clever books of baking would call this cake a chiffon cake.

Chiffon cakes are light and moist cakes that use vegetable oil instead of butter. That is the main reason why these cakes do not tend to harden or dry out as traditional butter cakes might.

That is positive, I think.

 

Frankly, this cake tastes just lovely.

Plus, there’s this delicious citrus glaze that increases the whole fresh experience immensely.

Here’s how you can make it too…

 

These are the ingredients that will come in handy.

 
 

1. First, preheat the oven to 325 °F  (165 °C).

 

2. Wash one tangerine under running water thoroughly.

Pat it dry with a kitchen towel.

Then grate one tablespoon plus one teaspoon peel. We are going to need one tablespoon for the cake and the remaining teaspoon for the glaze.

 
 

Mmm.

 
 

3. Now, squeeze the juice from 4 tangerines.

And try not to drink it.

Be strong!

 
 

4. Pass the juice through a fine sieve to get rid of seeds.

Because there might be seeds.

They are naughty and tend to sneak into your juice unobserved.

 
 

5. Now prepare your dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup granulated sugar.

 
 

6. Make a well in the center.

Add the oil, egg yolks, and the tangerine peel and juice.

Whisk into the dry ingredients.

 
 

7. In another larger bowl, beat the egg whites until they just stand in stiff peaks when beaters are lifted.

 
 

8. With a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the whites into the egg-yolk mixture to loosen the batter.

Then fold in the remaining whites.

 
 

9. Brush a 6-cup (1.4 liters) bundt cake pan with some vegetable oil.

Or use your cooking/baking spray.

 

10. Then dust the pan with some flour lightly.

But be careful at this point, don’t miss a spot. The more attention you pay to this process, the easier it will be for you to remove the cake from the pan after baking.

 

Note: You can use an angel food cake pan instead, if you wish to.

 
 

10. Using a spoon or a ladle, pour the batter in the pan.

 
 

11. And bake at 325 °F (165 °C) for about 30 minutes…

 
 

… or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake…

 
 

… comes out clean.

 
 

Hello baby.

I like you.

I like you very much.

 

12. Or, in other words, remove the cake from the oven.

Let it stand on the wire rack for about 15 minutes.

Then, using a knife, carefully loosen the cake from the edges and the center of the pan.

 

13. Invert the cake on a cake stand or a plate.

 

14. Let cool completely.

 
 

15. To prepare the glaze, squeeze 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon juice from the remaining tangerines.

Start preparing the glaze just before using it.

 
 

16. In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, tangerine peel, and 2 tablespoons tangerine juice until smooth, adding the remaining teaspoon juice if necessary for good spreading consistency.

 
 

16. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, spreading it with the back of the spoon and allowing the glaze to run down the sides of your cake.

 

17. Use some colorful, happy sugar sprinkles to decorate the cake.

 

18. Let stand until the glaze is set, about 30 minutes.

 
 

And most importantly – enjoy, dear friends!

 

Love,

Petra

 

(This cake has been adapted from www.goodhousekeeping.com.)

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I love these little babies.

Surprisingly, this has been the first time I’ve ever made them myself.

 

While preparing these Chocolate Lava Cakes I learned that they are super-fun to make.

They are also surprising. That is what you find out when you dig into them.

And, with the generous amount of chocolate they contain, I’m sure they are just super seductive.

That all makes them the perfect dessert choice for Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?

 

Now, let me invite you to my kitchen and show you how I prepared my version of these adorable sweet cakes…

 
 

Here’s what we need.

Couldn’t be simpler.

 
 

1. First, preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).

 

2. Butter 4 ramekins.

I’ve used 6-ounce (180 ml) ramekins.

 

3. Then dust the ramekins with some confectioners’ sugar.

 
 

4. Now we need the eggs, sugar, coffee and salt.

 
 

5. Throw them all into one bowl and mix them for about 2 minutes.

 
 

6. Break the chocolate into pieces. Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.

 
 

7. Microwave on high in 20-second increments, stirring after each, until melted.

Let cool slightly.

And be strong!

 
 

8. Add the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk to combine.

 
 

9. Then add the flour, and whisk just until combined (do not overmix).

 
 

10. Pour the batter into prepared ramekins.

I only have two, so I had to bake in two batches.

 
 

11. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.

 
 

12. And bake for about 11 minutes.

 
 

13. These babies were baked for about 14 minutes.

Too long.

 

Although nice and tasty, they weren’t that ‘molten’ in the center.

 
 

I baked the second batch for only 10 minutes.

 
 

That was much better.

I really like the moist center.

 
 

Aah, I love this game.

 

But, if I had another chance, which I think I am going to give myself soon, I’d try baking these for exactly 11 minutes.

11 minutes would make them absolutely perfect.

 

Enjoy, dear friends!

 

(This recipe makes 4 cakes and was loosely based on Molten Mocha Cakes from http://www.delish.com.)

 

 

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When I was a kid, cakes like this one were on our table very often.

My lovely Mom used to make them.

They were filled with any fruit that was in season. And during the months of winter, Mom would use just about any canned fruit she had on hand.

So, whether you use plums, cherries or any kind of berries to make this sponge cake with fruit, you’ll be amazed by a very nice flavor it has and how surprisingly easy it is to prepare it.

 
 

Here’s what we need.

 
 

1. First, preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).

 

2. Separate the eggs placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another.

Use larger bowls.

 

3. Pour the sugar into the egg yolks and beat until thick and pale in color.

 

Try your best not to eat this all.

Oh my gosh, it’s so good.

Or is it just me?

 
 

4. Then add the butter and mix until fluffy.

 
 

5. Next, in a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add it to the egg-yolk mixture. Mix to combine.

 
 

6. Then, using a cleaned whisk attachment, whisk the whites…

 
 

…until they hold stiff peaks.

 

7. Add the whites into the egg-yolk batter.

Small lumps of egg whites in the batter are okay.

 
 

8. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and dust it lightly with flour.

 

9. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

I used a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 22 cm) baking pan. This cake will rise a lot, so if you are going for a less tall version, use a larger baking pan.

 
 

10. Spread out the batter evenly.

 
 

11. Now cut the plums into halves. Or, if you are using canned plums, drain them.

 
 

12. Evenly arrange the halved plums on top of the batter.

 
 

13. Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

 
 

14. Remove from the oven and let cool.

 

14. Then dust with a little confectioner’s sugar and cut into squares.

 
 

And most importantly, enjoy, dear friends!

 

(This cake takes about 45 minutes to prepare.)

 

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I am making loads and loads of these delicious rolls for this year’s Christmas.

There are many poppy seed addicts in our family and I’ll try my best to satisfy them all.

 

These rolls are amazing and fun to make yeast-based pastries filled with a scrumptious poppy seed filling.

If you are still looking for a nice Holiday recipe then you should definitely give these a try.

They’ll make you happy.
 
 

Here’s what we need to prepare them.
 
 

Let’s start with the dried yeast.

Dried instant yeast is an awesome thing! Your baking will always be a success if using this kind of yeast.
 
 

1. Mix the yeast, warm milk and sugar in a bowl.
 
 

2. Place the flour, salt and butter into a large bowl.

 

3. Pour in the yeast mixture.
 

4. Using your hands or an electric mixer, combine the ingredients and then knead until you form a ball. You should knead until the dough ball is no longer sticky. It should be nicely smooth and elastic.

If you think that your dough is a little too dense to work with, add a little more milk. Start with one tablespoon of milk and if that’s not enough, add some more.
 
 

This is the kind of dough that likes a lot of attention (read: kneading). I love kneading dough – it’s the most wonderful way of relax for me.

 

5. Place the dough into a bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
 
 

In the meantime, we can prepare the poppy seed filling.
 

Of course, you can replace this filling with the canned, store-bought one.

But why would you?

Okay, I may know why… it’s simpler. But still – making your own filling will be a lot more fun!
 

6. So, for the adventurous ones – grind the poppy seeds.
 
 

7. Combine the sugar with hot water. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
 
 

8. Then stir in the ground poppy seeds, lemon zest and vanilla extract.

And that’s it – your poppy seed filling is done and ready to be used.

 

9. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
 
 

10. Turn the risen dough onto a floured surface.

 

11. Using a sharp knife, divide the dough into four (4) equal parts.

 
 

12. Take one of the four parts…
 
 

13. And roll it out into a circle.

The circle should be about 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter.
 
 

14. Cut the circle into 8 equal triangles.
 
 

15. Arrange 2 teaspoons of the filling crosswise at the wider end of the triangle.
 
 

16. And roll it up, starting at the wider end.

 

17. Pinch the edges to seal.

 

18. Let the rolls rise for another 10-15 minutes.
 
 

19. Then transfer them onto the lined baking sheet.

Work in batches here.

 

20. Beat the egg lightly. Brush each roll that you’ve transferred onto the sheet with the egg mixture.
 
 

Just like this.
 
 

21. Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for 16 minutes.

Then repeat the process with the rest of the rolls.
 
 

Yum!
 
 

Double yum!

 

Enjoy, dear friends.

This is very, very good.

 

(This recipe makes 32 rolls and takes about 2 1/2 hours to prepare.)

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I am sending you warm greetings from my kitchen.

Because I luv ya!

And because the running oven makes it really, really warm in here.

 

The time before Christmas has a sweet and magical impact on me. I find myself in the kitchen even more often than usual.

Which actually means that instead of 14 hours a day I spend 20 hours here now.

Like yesterday, for example, I made 82 cookies and I don’t even know how that happened to me.

Strange.

 

Anyhow, these lovely Bowtie Cookies were one of those I made yesterday.

The dough has cream cheese in it. It remotely resembles puff pastry, but it is less layered and less fatty. And oh so delicious!

The dough is filled with jam. You wouldn’t believe how gorgeous that combination is.

Let me show you how I prepared them…
 
 

Here’s what we need.
 
 

1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes.

 
 

2. Then on low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until mixed. A crumbly mixture will form.
 
 

3. Using your hands, pat the crumbly mixture together to form a dough ball.

 

Oh, and the face – I had to. Again. It’s addictive. Sorry!
 
 

4. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

5. Now, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a square or rectangle about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick.

 

6. Cut the dough into even 2.5 x 2.5 inch (6 x 6 cm) squares.
 
 

I’ve found out that my pizza cutter works best when it comes to cutting pastry.

It’s perfectly sharp.

And pink.

I’m in love with it!
 
 

7. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square.

Use a really thick jam. There are even jam brands out there that are meant for baking. Get one of those, preferably.

Also, when I was making the first batch of these cookies I was a little too generous and placed a little more than one teaspoon of the filling in the center. And I also spread it.

 
 

I don’t recommend that.
 
 

Although the cookies looked amazing before baking, if there’s too much jam, it has a tendency to leak while baking.

 
 

In the second batch I was less generous.

 
 

And the cookies leaked less, they almost didn’t leak at all.

 

7. Back to the instructions… pull 2 opposite corners of the square into the middle, and pinch the edges together to seal.

Pinch the edges well, don’t give them a chance to open back into the square shape while baking.
 
 

8. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) apart.

 

9. Bake at 350 °F (175 °C) for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
 
 

10. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.
 

11. Dust the tops with sifted confectioner’s sugar while still warm, then let cool completely.

 

Enjoy, dear friends!

 

(This recipe was loosely adapted from Epicurious.com and makes 40 cookies.)
 

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