Snowflake Cookies & German Cheesecake

This time last year, my boyfriend and I were moving into our very first flat together (exciting times!). I left New Zealand around mid November and we moved in on December 1st...so today a year ago we were probably trying to set up the kitchen (well mostly my boyfriend and some of our great, and far more talented friends). As soon as the oven was installed, I started baking (obviously), which I remember being the greatest thing ever...until I realised that I now also had to CLEAN my very own kitchen ;-)

Anyway...once we had somewhat settled in (read: had a sofa, a bed, and a small table), my family came over for a little housewarming party on an Advent Sunday. It is kind of a  tradition in my family that we come together for cakes and coffee on at least two of the four Sundays before Christmas. It is always so cozy and just a nice family time during this busy season.


I made a big batch of sugar cookies, using three different snowflake cookie cutters, so I ended up with small, middle-sized and big snowflakes, which were also great for stacking. For the icing I used baby pink and baby blue icing colours, and topped the cookies with pieces of raspberries and icing sugar. For the stacked ones, I mixed icing sugar with a bit of warm water and seedless raspberry jam, to 'glue' them together.

However the star of Sunday cakes is ALWAYS the cheesecake. This is a family recipe, and when I was little there was absolutely no event in my family without this cake. The recipe has been handed down for generations and I actually asked my Mum if I am allowed to share it on the blog- so you are in for a treat (see recipe card at the end of the post). This was only the second time that I made it and it literally took me hours, because I wanted it to taste (nearly) as good as the one that my grandmother and aunt make (since they were coming over). My Mum actually makes a round version of the cake- but I am sure I will share that at some point as well :-) As you can see in the picture, I didn't quite have enough of the topping, ideally the entire cake would be covered...but oh well...


Since tangerines are in season this time of the year and are just so yummy with cheesecakes, I put some pieces onto the cake as decorations.

Here is the entire spread of our little Advent housewarming party. My boyfriend is a huge Donut lover, so we got some crazy (but yummy) flavors and cut them in half. During the holiday season, I also keep a pretty vase in the living room, which I fill with chocolates, cookies etc., so everyone can help themselves ( I might have also inherited an irrational fear of anyone leaving me house hungry ;-) And of course Candy Canes as decorations...these have probably become my favourite Christmas decorations and if you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I already stocked up for this year's holiday season :-)

Have a lovely day and happy Christmas- baking, everyone!

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Festive (Birthday) Cakes



Hi everyone and happy mid-week!
Remember how I said in my last post that things will start to get festive around here soon?
Well, how about now?! ;-)
I absolutely love Christmas and especially the time leading up to the actual holiday, because everyone tends to be in such a cheery mood, lights are everywhere, the Christmas markets will start soon and it is also that time of year where family and friends come together for parties and (in our case) cake.
A lot of my family's birthdays are in November, in fact, it is my grandmother's birthday today (Happy Birthday, Oma!), so I thought I will share two festive cakes with you, which sort of hint at the season but are not entirely Christmas-loaded yet.

                        
I made this simple chocolate cake for my grandfather's birthday (also in November) last year. The cake tasted amazing but just looked a bit boring and not very festive at all. So I took some (clean) rose lace fabric, placed it over the cake and sprinkled icing sugar over it. Then, carefully remove the fabric and you will be left with a beautiful pattern like this. So simple, yet super effective. The texture and white color of the icing sugar remind me of snow, which is obviously very fitting to the season, without being directly Christmas- related.
I think I made this cake for my grandmother already two years ago and again, the idea was to make something festive without it screaming "Christmas", as the focus was on her birthday after all.

The inside was a red velvet cake with a white chocolate coating and crispy chocolate balls on top. The sides were covered with cacao powder. I really like this star cake pan, isn't the shape just adorable?


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For more inspiration, I made a list of my five favorite pre-Christmas cakes, which would be perfect for any celebration or party during the festive season. I love how they subtly convey that festive mood, without going overboard. You could top them off with a candle and they would be perfect for a birthday around this time of the year as well :-)

Happy baking and celebrating!
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Fall baking...Nutella-Apple Cupcakes

Hi everyone, I hope you had a great start into this new week.
I cannot believe we are already so close to the holiday season and I promise that it will get quite festive around here soon! Also, I have A LOT to share with you guys- so watch this space!

But today, I wanted to share some cupcakes, which I find rather autumnal looking...I think because the little candy apples remind me of the Oktoberfest :-)
Anyway, if you saw my Halloween post, you would have already seen a variation of these apple-bites...so in this post I am sharing the original trial (and fail) with you...


I think I saw these mini candy-apples first on Pinterest (where else would you see that kinda stuff really...) and thought that they would be perfect to top cupcakes with. So I melted some chewy caramel candies, cut out little apple-bites with a melon scooper from a big apple and coated them with the melted caramel. I then cut cake pop sticks in half, tied pretty ribbons around them and also added a little sugar heart before the caramel hardened. So far, so good. I ended up with 24 super- cute and pretty looking mini caramel apples, which I popped into the fridge to put onto the cupcakes the next morning.


Well, this is what I pulled out of the fridge the next morning...not so cute anymore, huh?
What an epic fail! So I quickly had to think of another topper for my cupcakes, as these were for the birthday of a co-worker and therefore needed to come to work with me...


Luckily, I had a few apples left and with the helping hands of my boyfriend (who jumped in when he saw the panic in my eyes), we scooped out a few more apple-bites. While he cut new sticks, I melted some Nutella and tried my best to make the coating look somewhat pretty- but heart sprinkles always help with that ;-) While I decorated the other cupcakes I popped the Nutell apples into the fridge to harden.


I also had some Amarettini at home, which I have used on a butter cream cake before and that was a total hit, so I decided to go with these. And heart sprinkles- duh.
I also poured the leftover Nutella onto the cupcakes, making some lines- I actually really like that look- and Nutella and Amarettini go great together- so yum!


I think the hit of the show however were these Happy Birthday chocolates, which my Mum sent me recently. How cool are these? And they instantly make a plain cupcake look amazing!


Despite the limited time, the Nutella apple-bites hardened pretty quickly ...and they tasted absolutely delicious!


Of course, I took my cupcake stand to work again and because of the presentation people actually thought these were from a bakery...one co-worker even asked me how much I had paid to hire the stand ;-) They were super yummy- the butter cream on top of the chocolate dough paired with the Nutella and cookies went great together and they looked so cute and pretty. I actually like this a lot better now than if all of them would have had apples on them...maybe it was a good thing that my caramel apples did not work our after all ;-)


Happy fall baking, erveryone!

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Celebrating...Halloween: Chocolate Cupcakes and Apple- bites

Hi everyone...I hope you had a great week so far and have recovered from the spooky Halloween weekend. We went to a Halloween-themed housewarming party Friday night, which was a lot of fun.
For parties, I feel like anything that you can just grab off the table without needing a plate or fork is a winner, so I went for cupcakes and these really yummy apple-bites, which everyone seemed to love! 



Fall baking...S'mores Cookies




















Hi everyone and happy weekend!
With the weather getting colder and colder, I thought it was about time to share some autumnal baking with you. But before we get into the cookies, let's talk about this great season and all the beautiful colors it brings with it! I have been loving to go on walks and hear the leaves crunch beneath my rainboots, so I thought I will share some snapshots of fall expressions with you, as well as instructions on how to make the perfect fall cookies, which you can then enjoy while you sip your hot chocolate and sit in front of the fireplace (or the heater, in my case)...

These (perfect fall) cookies are actually S'mores cookies- yes your read that right! All the yummy goodness of a freshly roasted marshmallow, melted chocolate and graham crackers- combined into one delicious cookie, which you don't even need a campfire for...

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