I’ve been absent again for a while. On 2nd christmasday I got a bad fever, I really couldn’t do anything but stay in bed. Not the way you imagine spending Christmas. In the following 6 weeks I had the flu twice more, felt drained of energy and had several colds. I blame it on the weather: spring is needed! Sun is needed! That’ll give my health a boost. I also blame it on a flu virus which lingers for 6 to 8 weeks, I probably had that variant. I also blame it on low resistance, due to a loooong winter, and lack of sleep. Slowly I was getting more energy again, those 2 days of spring in ..when was it, february? really helped me “survive”. It was needed. Now, I feel spring is near, but it’s not yet here. My health is better now, my sleep is better. My daughter is sleeping on the same room as my son since about 3 weeks ago, (since 18th of March). After a weekend at my parents place, where we slept in one room (partner, kids and me), he asked the followin monday, when he went to bed, if Freya could sleep in his room too. Now I make it look like he literally asked this, but he’s not even 2 yet, he can’t make sentences. He can point to the upper bed of the double bed, and say: “Aya?” “Aya!”. So we asked, should we get Freya? He nods. We put her in the upper bed, and he is happy and dives into his own bed. From that night on she sleeps there every night, and sinve a few nights ago she sleeps through the night till morning. She used to wake up after 03:00 for a while, but that is over now, despite her cold. Poor girl. Been having a cold on and off since christmas, that hinders her sleep.
Last weeks have been busy as well, computer has been barely on at home, but now, while waiting for a cake to cooldown, there is time for an update.
Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating my sons 2nd birthday.
As I didn’t see a childrenscake I liked in the (online) stores, I decided to make one myself. My son doesn’t like whipped cream that much, and most bought childrenscakes are cream cakes (slagroomtaarten). I wanted more fruit.
Wednesday morning I also received a message that one of my dearest friend has had a severe burnout. She lives too far away to visit frequently. We’ve been very close, but due to the distance our lives are less intertwined. The bond is still strong, but the details of daily life are not shared on a daily or weekly base anymore. It was hard for me to hear she is ill, as I felt so totally helpless. And guilty that I do not invest enough time in my friendships. I am not a good friend, I am usually not the one who picks up the phone to dial someone. I try to improve, try to send out more mails, send an unexpected card, or even call, but soon I revert to my own day to day life and neglect my social contacts. So, to stop myself from worrying to much while there was nothing I could do, (except write a long e-mail to her partner, and have a card ready for her) I focused again T’s his birthday.
I found this webshop & forum and spend a few hours browsing through, finally ordering a print and several baking ingredients and materials. The print is from a slightly different shop, but I should have read the small prints better: They would ship it the same day if ordered before 14:00. So I thought, jay! then it will be here on friday, just in time! But, the mail has a delivery time of up to 3 workdays…. it will probably arrive monday.
Yesterday evening I made a first cake, a tulband [turban]. During mixing I thought of my friend. Not only due to the bad news, but also because I think I’ve always done that. As I keep remembering how enthousiast she once was about a cake she made with a drill. The mixer was broken, and she and her bf wanted cake. So they carefully put the garde (mixing-utensil) into a drill, and carefully mixed the batter. I remember how delighted whe was about it, how “lyrisch”. The batter was smooth, shining, soft… She almost considered using a drill every time for making batter. The cake was delicious. (Though I can’t remember if I had any of it). Thinking of that always brings a smile to my face!
Back to the recipy, banana whimsical bakehouse cake (site is in Dutch). It required brown sugar which I didn’t have enough of, so I used palmsugar instead. I always do that. Meticuti..meticulo…Precisely following instructions up to one point where I start adventuring and adding my own touch. Just like yesterday. I kind of forgot that palmsugar is salty of itself. So I added the required amount of salt according to the original recipe. Although the structure of the cake is excellent and the look is great, the taste is just a little bit too salty. Not very very salty, I didn’t quite notice it the first bite. But after the 2nd or 3rd bite I had enough, not exactly the taste I had in mind. Behold the cake with gula jawa instead of bruine basterdsuiker. Maybe with a less salt it might be tastier. Now I save it for my parents to taste on sunday, to see if they (well if my mom) thinks it could be a good cake with less salt. Palm sugar is a natural sugar and healthier then the normal suger. Oh, in case you’re wondering: I used the gula jawa with the bamboo strip around it, it’s a sort of disk. Took a lot of mixing (and before that some chopping) to get it to be absorbed by tehe batter well enough. I had greased the baking form with a spray and then sprinkled flour in it, as I am used to do. Well putting flour in it is, the spray is new, usually I used butter. (Only today I read that isn’t really necessary).
So today I got the baking ingredients and materials, and just now, after my yoga class, started working on the cake. I’ve received a cakeform with christmas and decided to use it. (stapeltaart bakblik / bakvorm van de Xenos of van cookandco.nl).
This is the one:
Usually a stacked cake is made by placing circles on top of eachother, not in this way. But I got it as a present so wanted to use it. Carefully I followd instructions for the chocolate biscuit mix. As well as I could. I made some adjustments.
450 gr mix, 5 eggs (which weighed about 290 gr), 105 ml water. Baked it about an hour I think. I had set the alarm on 10 minutes several times, but at 30 minutes it looked like it was baking too fast so turned the heat down. (From 150 on a hot air oven to 145degrees). And 5 minutes later it felt still very not yet done, so I decided to go ahead and have some fun with the punchers and marsepein I had. I kept checking the cake, and decided it was done eventually. How long it had been in the oven? eeeh….several times 10 minutes plus several times a couple of minutes? My guess is about 50 minutes. Mostly at 150 degrees, a bit lower, and then a bit higher. I’m not good at experimenting. Good experimenters write down what they do so they can reproduce it. I always think I will remember what I’ve done. Fast forward 5 minutes and I’ve forgotten the amounts and time allready. Probably because I know I won’t stick to them next time. I’ll be experimenting again.
Mixing the stuff. Hm… doesn’t look like much. Ooooh it’s getting bigger! The eggs are getting fluffier! Look how it shines! ooooh it rises more. Eh. Wait, stop! that doesn’t fit in my mixerbowl anymore, my mixer (on a standard) is about to drown! That is easily fixed, remove the mixer from the standard and do the last bit with the mixer in hand. It looks good. It tastes good. I hated making cakes while I was pregnant, as I wasn’t allowed to taste the batter, (raw eggs) and I love to taste the batter. (Also a reason why I decided baking is not a hobby I should pursue. 1 – I like the batter too much. 2 – I’d be eating probably the largest amount of what I bake, because it is always too much, so we are left with half a cake. What happens to it? It ends up in my partners tummy. And mine. Mostly mine I must admit. So, it should not be a hobby of mine. But making cakes is fun!
Anyway. Marsepein. Tobias doesn’t really like it, so for the cover of the cake I had ordered fondant, hopefully he likes that. He isn’t much into sweet stuff (yet). I’ll add lots of fruit to the cake. Punching out the shapes was fun, yet how do I remove the excess castingsugar? Oh well, just make it wet a bit. Hmm. Now my marzipan was a bit wet. How do I dry it? Not in the fridge, it will “sweat” in there, so out on the kitchencounter. Apparantly, you can use casting sugar to make it more dry. But then it will have this dull look of the casting sugar, and as I’ve been creative with (edible) glitter gel on it allready, and thus can’t rub on the marzipan. Oh well, it’s a childrens cake. He’ll love it no matter how it looks, as long as we present it like it’s very important and special.
The cake is cooling down now. Tomorrow I’ll see about cutting it straight, filling it and putting fondant on top of it. Furthermore I have stuff to put against the sides (edible confetti) and fruit: bananas, raspberries, strawberries and mandarins (though i didn’t intend to use those). Oh and I got forest fruit jam and strawberry jam, to put in as filling between the layers. What layers? It’s one piece! Well maybe I’ll cut it. Or maybe it fails and I need to make a new one and then I make it the way my mommy told me, so two seperate
cakes with filling between them.
I’ll go and make a picture of the cake as it is now. I’ll be right back.
Oooh I can almost make a mushroom cake out of it. A Shi-take mushroom cake. Shi-take because it’s a very flat mushroom cake, and the shi-takes always look so flat and thin.
As it’s late, I can’t be bothered to clean my kitchen properly before taking the pictures, or to crop the photo’s. It’s the counter of a mom of 2 young kids who was a bit nervous about baking and the party tomorrow. I bet, secretly, a lot of counters look like this, only people make it look like a moviecounter or a kitchenshowroomcountertop right before they take pictures :P. Anyway, pictures!
It didn’t rise smoothly along the edges, but that is due to the oven still being to hot initially. Or maybe I shouldn’t have put it on air heating, but should have put it on conventional heating… hmmm…
You can see a crack in the top, that indicates the oven was too hot. The outsides were baking faster then the inside. 150 degrees Celsius in a hete lucht oven (hot air oven). And I had a bowl of water underneath it (seems that prevents burning of the crust?)
Oh, you can see a small portion of my home made play-dough in the background, I’ve been keeping it in the fridge but I think that isn’t necessary.
Now a small overview of several of my purchases at de leukste taarten shop.nl (The site is available in Dutch and English) and several items I allready had or which I had purchased in a regular supermarket as yesterday I got nervous about the delivery not making it today.
This is my workspace before I collected the items onto a tray. Elephant in dutch is olifant, and my son says “owa”. I forgot how he pronounces giraffe. Train is trein in dutch (“ein” according to my son). I didn’t use the lego cookie cutter yet, I have tried using it before on cookie dough but it doesn’t work very well. Maybe it will work better on marzipan or fondant? Next to it is red foofcoloring from the toko (asian store). My lesson learned: don’t pour it out of the bottle onto your food. Put it in teacup, or even better, use a toothpick to get some color out and swipe the toothpick on the food. I wanted a drop, got a whole teaspoon. The original colour of the marzipan was white, green, pink, and I wanted it to be more red instead of pink. So I colored some pink marzipan, but because I used too much coloring I mixed in the remaining white and green as well. (I didn’t use all marzipan, the leftover you see in the back isn’t used). I had allready punched out an elephant an giraffe in pink.
There’s foodink on the tray as well, in the brown bottle. You can use it on foodstamps to, what do you guess, stamp food! I have lots of stamps, but no foodstamps. Wondering if it will work on (well cleaned) regular stamps or foam stamps as well? hmmm. Too much to try out, too little time! The little punches in the front (3 white things) are starpunches. You can see several punched out stars in the little box. It’s so fun to use! I had to restrain myself to not keep punching. After all, I have to put the fondant on the cake first, and then think of a layout. I bet most people do that before they start baking, but I only start with a general idea, a set of colours and a set of possible items to use. I do it like that with other crafts as well, and usually it turns out ok. I like to be surprised by myself, wondering what I’ll cook up next ;).
The cars in the middle are candles. He loves cars. (Not only the movie Cars, but all other cars as well.) And trains. And Bambi. (Namni, or Nani). And excavators. Firetrucks.
Oh the intended print I had ordered to go on top of the cake is this one:
It will be hard to position this print, but I intended to cover it with some cream around the edges so it wouldn’t be very obvious if it would be off centre.
Oops. I just realized, (at 1:45 in the night), that we haven’t put up the eh, forgot the english name, slingers in dutch… you know, the flags/garlands/banners. Bunting! That’s it… now off to do that and then hop into bed!