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Further Fortieth Food

Here are two pictures of the other goodies mentioned in my birthday post. Thanks to my aunt for remembering to take photos! 20130922_11401720130922_114043

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40th Birthday Cake from Miette

So I turned 40 this month. Cake was needed! I baked myself the Lemon Debutante Cake from the Miette cookbook. It was a hot milk sponge layered with home made lemon curd, lemon syrup and European buttercream. I was really pleased with the outcome as the sponge was a new recipe to me as was the buttercream. I went with a yellow theme and also made baked cheesecakes with a salted caramel sauce in yellow cupcake wrappers, Swig sugar cookies with yellow sour cream icing, yellow glazed baby doughnuts from Sprinkle Bakes and a non-yellow chocolate tray bake from the Pink Whisk. The day was a slight sugar rush for all involved, however the baking was a real joy for me. Happy Birthday me!

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German Cheesecake

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Another birthday! It is my husband’s birthday today and I have baked him his all-time favourite … German Cheesecake. This is a vanilla cheesecake without a base or crust that you will find all over Germany in bakeries. I translated my recipe from a great baking book I brought home with me in 1994 and have been baking this cake ever since. I even bake it in Germany where my in-laws often request it! The original recipe calls for 750g of quark, however this baker’s cheese has only become readily available in Queensland in the last few years. To conquer this problem I have experimented with smooth cottage cheese, ricotta and sour cream. Sour cream is the definite winner and I still use it even though I can buy (hugely expensive!) quark at the supermarket now. If you enjoy the pure, slightly acid cream cheese taste of a true cheesecake then this is one for you to try! It is also gluten-free as 1/2 cup of corn starch is all that is needed to get the right consistency. It is not the most beautiful cake you will ever behold, but the flavour is so good no one will care! The recipe is featured in the “Recipes” category in the blog.

German Cheesecake A Slice of Heaven Missing Bits

Cappuccino Pavlova

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The cappuccino pavlova entered our lives via “Nigellissima” and has established itself as a firm favourite. Essentially it is a standard pavlova recipe with coffee powder added to it and no fruit topping. It is easy and delicious, even for those who aren’t huge coffee lovers! Nigella Lawson’s recipe calls for instant espresso powder. The only coffee “powder” I could find was International Roast … yep, grotty old International Roast. Which I now always have a tin of in the pantry because it is amazing in this pav as well as the no-churn coffee ice cream recipe from the same book! A number of pav-lovin’ family members have said that they now prefer this to the traditional one! The texture is brilliant (crispy, chewy AND marshmallowy) and the flavour is just like a mild, creamy cappuccino from the best of coffee shops. It is a surprisingly impressive and sophisticated dinner party dessert.

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Chocolate Guiness Birthday Cake

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The other birthday cake I made was simpler, but for my buddy who would walk a mile for cream cheese frosting, a girl after my own heart! My Dad found a recipe for jelly shots made with cocoa and Guiness with an Irish Cream layer on top and turned up with the appropriate beverages for us to have a crack at it. It sounds great, however trust us, it’s not! Wow, what a dud! That left me with five cans of Guiness to use up. Two were passed on to my Aunt for her famed Guiness pies and the other two were left on my pantry floor.

Nigella to the rescue! Her Chocolate Guiness Cake features in her Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame chapter in “Feast.” It is an absolute winner in terms of texture, taste, simplicity and longevity! She likens it to unspiced gingerbread and I think this is a great description. It stores brilliantly if you can get people to keep their mitts off it of course! Everyone who has tasted it has fallen in love with it. One tip – you need to use full-fat cream cheese in the icing to get the best effect… I am sure Nigella would approve!

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Ombre hombres!

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I have made a few birthday cakes this year for friends. One inspired by another blogger and one by Nigella Lawson along with my Dad who happened to leave me with a six-pack of Guiness in a failed jelly shot experiment! The first cake was inspired by the Apartment 2B blog which will give you excellent decorating instructions for the pink ombre buttercream – ombre seems to be all the rage at the moment! 

http://apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/ill-bake-you-cake.html

I used a favourite marble cake recipe from taste.com.au which has yoghurt in it to keep it moist despite the firm consistency. I was pleased with the icing effect as a first attempt and my friend was happy to have a special birthday cake for her 60th, win-win.

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Custom Printed Sugar Cookies

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My school was participating in an event to advertise itself to international students, schools and tour companies and my colleague volunteered me to make something cute, sweet and uniquely “ours” to hand out at our booth. Blue and brown are our school colours and it was suggested that a blue macaron with a chocolate filling would work. However, I wanted something that really said “Harristown” to the people who ate it.

I made chocolate sugar cookies following the recipe from my “Sprinkle Bakes” cookbook. This is a wonderful recipe if you want a dough to hold its shape and not distort in the oven. I cut out and stamped each cookie with a German cookie cutter that I bought last trip – each cookie had the school’s name on it and they were a big hit! They were really tasty and no problem to transport due to their firmness. Other schools wanted to know the company name to order their own and I was quite chuffed about that!

If you are looking for a great cookie to cut, stamp or decorate then I recommend a visit to the Sprinkle Bakes blog for the sugar cookie recipe – you will probably want to buy the book too! I know I did! If you are looking for a cutter that does all this, then pop on to  Amazon.de and have a look at the range of cutters available in Germany.

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