Freitag, 20. Februar 2015

American sweet table

Your reactions to my last post truly overwhelmed me: 
Many thanks for your kind words and for being happy for me! 

I myself was surprised about the effect and power one single decision on my part can have on the lives of other people – how it liberates them, encourages them and inspires them. 
It is of no importance, whether this means the nudge to dream a dream, the courage to rediscover an old dream or to take actual steps already that you hadn’t dared to take before. 

I know that many of you started dreaming and thinking big immediately after reading the post – and this is the only way we can also LIVE big.  
I know that inside of many heads boundaries were pushed, familiar things were scrutinized and a good few ways of thinking were challenged. 

Shall I tell you one thing: 
This fact fills me with more happiness than my actual trip (sounds a little unbelievable, but it’s true). 

I would love to write an extensive inspirational post on this subject right now – but to keep it brief for today one reader’s comment will cover it; one that summarizes the spirit of the whole affair in the most accurate way for me:  

"Even, if you yourself cannot drop everything and fly out to California (or anywhere else) this very instant, the thought takes hold like a small seed: everything is possible. 
I just have to make it possible.  
Simple as that."

It wasn’t and isn’t about a move to California – I experience the same happiness wherever I am, whether this is Buxtehude or San Francisco, changing residence does not do anything to me. 

It is exactly this little seed. 
And most of you took it precisely this way. 

However, we all should be full admiration for Eva instead, who takes 5 kids to 4 different schools in the morning – and all of them on time! 
(my children attend other schools than hers, and neither do both of them attend the same school together). 

This makes Eva my personal hero of the year. 

Neither the children nor I will return to our present place of residence, as soon we have left here – we will move to a new city, so their departure for California was at the same time a farewell from their school friends.  

I prepared a small dessert table for this occasion: with chocolate cupcakes, a stars & stripes cake, vanilla yogurt with berries, and hot dogs (served in little wooden boats) for the evening! 

I baked a whole pile of star-shaped cookies and embellished the cake, cupcakes and the give-away boxes with them. 

America cookies:

1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 sticks and 1 ½ Tbsp butter
3 cups flour
1 egg
zest of one lemon 

Quickly knead everything together to form a dough, place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. 
Roll out, cut out cookies and bake at approx. 350°, until edges are slightly golden – depending on your oven and the thickness of the cookies this will take about 8-15 minutes. 
Let cool and decorate with lemon sugar frosting, if desired. 

You will find the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes HERE.
Instead of frosting I cut out a fondant circle with the help of a wine glass, placed it on top of the cupcake and added a cookie. 

America cake

Ingredients and instructions are for ONE layer of cake – which means you have to repeat the procedure and multiply the ingredients according to the desired height of your finished cake. 

My cake only had 2 layers. 

Cake layer:

8 egg yolks
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar
a heaped ½ cup flour
2.5 Tbsp corn starch

Whisk egg yolks and half of the sugar until frothy. 
Whisk egg whites with the rest of the sugar until stiff peaks form, fold into egg yolk mixture (by hand, not with an electric mixer). 

Mix flour and corn starch well, sift over the egg mixture and fold in. 

Preheat oven to 425° (regular oven, not convection). 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, add the dough and smooth it out.   

Bake for approx. 8-12 minutes, until dough is golden brown.  
Remove from oven and let cool briefly. 

Trick to remove cake layer: 

Take two clean dish towels, dampen one with cold water. 

Spread out second towel and sprinkle with granulated sugar, carefully turn sponge cake upside down onto the towel. 
Now place the damp towel on top of the parchment paper, leave it in place for 2-3 minutes, then slowly pull off the paper from the top – that way it will separate from the cake much more easily. 
Finally cover the cake layer with the damp towel so that it does not dry out. 


2 cups whipping cream
1 bag frozen raspberries 
confectioner’s sugar (amount according to taste, I always add it little by little) 

Whip cream and confectioner’s sugar, add the frozen raspberries, spread filling on cake layer.
Cover with the second cake layer. 

Now it’s getting a little tricky: 
You can leave the cake as is and just distribute the stars & stripes cookies on top, or else, if you want to achieve a perfect shape and an all-over coating of chocolate frosting use a rectangular cake ring. 
Adjust the ring to the size of the finished cake and cut the cake layers according to this size. 
Usually small margins will remain – PLEASE do not throw them away, but line the sides of the cake ring with them. 
It will look like this: 

Set up cake ring – insert (cut-to-size) cake layer – line sides of the ring with cake rims – spread filling over cake layer (if you did a good job lining it, no whipped cream will touch the ring! It will touch only the cake!) – place second cut-to-size cake layer. 

Cover the whole thing with one or two small cutting boards, weigh them down (e.g. with a casserole) and put it into the refrigerator over night. 
You will have a perfectly rectangular shape the next morning, that can easily be covered in chocolate frosting. 

Chocolate ganache:

You can prepare the frosting with regular or bittersweet chocolate, depending on your taste. 

21 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 ¼ cups whipping cream

Briefly bring the cream to a boil in a small pot, add the chopped chocolate (see HERE) to the hot cream. 
Let sit for a moment so that the chocolate has time to melt, then stir very well. 
Next mix everything with an electric mixer, so the ingredients come together nicely. 
Let cool over night (preferably not in the refrigerator, it is a little too cold – if this is the only option, remove from refrigerator 1-2 hours before using it). 

Cover the cake in the chocolate mixture the following day; I cut off small amounts with the help of two small spoons and smooth everything out with a big knife. 

You will need star-shaped cookies for the decoration and rectangular cookies in white/red – I just added them loosely to the top of the cake, which makes cutting it easier. 

Sources of supply:

cake stands, 
fondant in white+red,
straws with stars, 
white gift boxes, 
wooden boats for hot dogs,  
cupcake wrappers:
everything via Blueboxtree

Quick info: I ordered these cupcake wrappers, tore one of them apart and used it as a template for the dark blue ones made of craft paper.  

star-shaped cookie cutters in 3 sizes:  Amazon
rectangular cookie cutter in 3 sizes: Amazon
cake ring, rectangular: Amazon

I always use this type of food coloring, because a pinch is enough to achieve an intensive color hue in the icing. 
For the very dark colors like the blue and the red, however, you will need at least 1/3 of the jar, depending on the amount of cookies. 


Yesterday I spoke with the kids on the phone for the first time. 

Me: "Noelle, our lives are exactly equally strong and happy – no matter, where we are.” 
Noelle: "I know. Only some of us have warmer weather than others!” 


This post was translated by Eva Ginnell.

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