2016 Layered Cake

It’s almost the end of 2015 – can anyone actually believe how fast this year has gone by, how much has happened and what’s to come? It’s been an incredible year – I’ve learned so much about myself, went through challenges of my own, achieved several of my goals, met many new people that I feel so blessed to have in my life and travelled to new countries. With the year ending, always come the new resolutions. I used to not believe in new years resolutions – in the end, I feel that if you want something you need to start working for it immediately and not push it to the next year, the upcoming monday or even tomorrow. Unless you have real reasons, there is no need to push back anything you want to achieve.

I think the new year does give some opportunities to set new goals for the year ahead. At work we need to set our own goals we want to achieve during the upcoming year and it’s the perfect way to learn to set goals that are actually achievable and reachable within one year. So the past days I’ve been thinking of what the year has given me so far, what I did not manage (and why) and what I want to move forward with next year. Nex to continuing my studies and keeping the same grade level, I want to manage my time a little more wisely. Spend more time with the people I love, use some of the weekends to make long weekend trips and discover new cities. I’ve also been stuck in a somewhat comfortable routine in regards to my cooking – I find a good recipe and stick to it, sometimes for weeks afterwards. This year I want to try more recipes from all over the world, adjust them for my own allergies and discover new spices. Since I have an Indian supermarket around the corner supplying me with all kinds of herbs and spices, there really is no reason not to try some of them.

One of my kitchen highlights actually happened this past weekend when I made my first fondant cake. I’ve basically wanted to do one for the whole year but never got the chance. I’ve always been on the go, did not find the right occassions, was too busy or too lazy at other times or simply did not want to make it for myself (given that I would have to eat it myself afterwards). This holiday was the perfect time as the family was here, New Years coming up and all reasons matched for me to try myself with a fondant cake. It’s far from looking perfect (I always admire those amazing wedding and other celebration cakes made out of fondant and sugar paste) but it surely boosted my self-esteem in regards to baking. I cannot wait to make another one! So of course I will share the recipe with you. The cake itself is not too sweet, which I like – though the fondant on top does give a little more sweetness to it. The rasberry-butter cream is, well, buttery – a little fruity but not too much either. I actually stole the recipe from here (in German), though adjusted it to make it gluten (GL) and lactose free (LF), as well as a little easier, for me to eat as well. Before I start the recipe, for those not interested or those not reading it all, I wish you all a HAPPY & HEALTHY START INTO THE NEW YEAR with lots of love and luck to come!

What you need for the cake

3 eggs
130g sugar
180g GL flour
40g GL cacao
12g GF backing powder
130g oil (I used peanut oil)
1 pack vanilla sugar
150g LF milk
a hint of salt

What you need for the rasberry-butter-cream

3 egg whites
250g LF butter
175g rasberries (or any other berry – can be frozen, though let it sit at room temperature before)
175g sugar (I used brown sugar)

What you need for decorations

fondant (I used pre-rolled-out white fondant)
sugar paste for letters & numbers (I used black sugar paste)

What to do

1) heat up the oven to 180°C and separately grease your round baking pan with butter (I used a 18cm diameter one)
2) Start by mixing all liquids, the eggs and sugar until you have a sugary paste
3) add all other ingredients for the dough and mix it well for a couple of minutes
4) the dough will seem a little liquidy, though that is perfect – now fill it into the backing pan and place it into the oven
5) after 45 min the cake should have risen and be done, now take it out and let it cool fully
6) After about 20 min you can cut the cake into three approximately same height pieces for you to later layer up again
7) Whilst the 3 pieces are further cooling, start the rasberry-butter cream
8) Place the egg whites and sugar into a bowl and place it into a water bath
9) stir the eggs until all the sugar has disappeared – you can check using your fingers whether you feel any sugar (though this shouldn’t take longer than 10 min)
10) once the sugar is melted, let it cool down before you whip it – it should become a more or less stiff white mixture, though it won’t be as stiff as cream would get
11) add the sugar and whip it again until you have your buttery-cream – now add the rasberries and repeat
12) once you have your cream, you can place it on the first layer, add the second cake piece, another layer of cream, and the third one piece – for each layer use about ¼ of the cream you made
13) the rest of the rasberry-butter cream should now be used to cover the whole cake
14) once you covered everything, roll out the fondant (if it is not pre-rolled-out) and carefully place it over the cake
15) if you have never done it before, I recommend watching a short youtube video about covering a fondant cake – it really helps! Now you can go all out with decorations – I used the black sugar paste to cut out 2016 and make a bow for the side of the cake

Now you can

1) serve the cake immediately, or
2) let it sit in the fridge – I did to let the sugar paste harden and kept it in over night

The cake should be good up to 3 days after making it, though it surely did not last that long here. My family and I each had a piece the next day and finished about half of the cake. The other half went to one of my working colleagues and his family, whom only live a couple of minutes away. That way I made sure we all had our treat though wouldn’t roll into New Years through gaining any weight :)

With that, again, I wish you all the best for the New Year, a fantastic start into it (mine will thankfully be calm this year), and that all your 2016 resolutions will be reached! xo

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas loves! I hope that everyone had a lovely start into the holidays so far and is enjoying the time with loved ones, family and friends. This time of the year is one of my absolute favorites – it’s all about spending the time together with the family, spendng cozy nights in and having good food. Growing up in European countries, I am used to celebrating especially on Christmas Eve, the night of the 24th. It was all about enjoying the family yesterday for us, unpacking presents and filling out stomachs with lots of food.

It is first year that the family (mom, dad, sis and dog) are spending Christmas at my place in Zurich – and I love it. Seriously, we might need to repeat that next year. The years before were amazing too, of course – with lots of family around (aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents). However, this year we decided to make it small and cuddly. It was amazing. For dinner I made potatoe-maroni puree, added beef filets on top (meat done by dad), topped with glazed apples, differently colored carots and lots of onions made in a red wine sauce. The dessert, hours later – cause we were all too full from the main dish – was berry crumble with vanilla ice cream for the rest. The recipe was amazing, so I shall surely make that again, photograph it and blog about it. Right now though, I cannot see any more food heavy food. Tonight will thankfully be more or less back normal with a lovely mushroom risotto my mom will be making. Tomorrow is Thai evening with chicken and yellow curry – one of my favorite dishes currently.

I will also show you some of the presents in the next few posts coming up. I love them all! What did you get – how did you spend your holiday? Wishing you all a continuing lovely holiday, lots of love, health and happiness! xo

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Weekend Plans

Finally Thursday! Not only is it Thursday, but it is the first free night for me in a really long time. I finished my uni course last night and now have vacation for the next three weeks – so nice. However, I’ve gotten so used to studying every single night after coming home from work, I almost feel like I have nothing to do anymore. Doesn’t that sound sad? Well, I’ve decided to do what I do best – being in the kitchen. I will be making some more cookies tonight, preparing a bunch for the weekend when the family arrives on Sunday and to have a stack for the Christmas days. Because, let’s be honest, it ain’t no Christmas without the right amount of cookies, right? Good thing I don’t have to eat them all by myself.

Tomorrow is another exciting day. Not only is it Friday and close to the weekend again (I cannot wait to sleep in), but tomorrow my Christmas tree is arriving! I ordered it as it is my first time celebrating at my own place with the family. And quite frankly, I am too lazy (let’s admit it, I am too weak) to carry a Christmas tree by myself home. Its taller than me, which really gets me most excited. I bought all the decorations for it last year in sale (yep, so smart) and am really looking forward to getting the Christmas mood more into the apartment. I just really hope I have everything, and enough of everything. The good thing is that it is not too last minute and I still have a couple of days to organize anything I might be missing after all.

Tomorrow night I will be seeing a friend, might even go out after that and then repeat all that Saturday night (at least the club part). This weekend is the last one before the holiday season really kicks in and all parties and events seem to have fallen on the same weekend – not surprisingly though. So it will be one more busy weekend, then I can officially relax a little more. I’ll try to update you a little more in the upcoming days since I officially (should) have more time – so stay tuned. xo

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St Paul’s Cathedral

Hi loves! I still have quite a few London shots, which I remember promising to show you. Funnily enough, I just landed in Hamburg about 2 hours ago – so in a different city once again. I love Hamburg. Having lived here through my bachelor studies I know the city all too well, though, I still manage to discover something new every time. I came to visit some family as well as friends – it’s so great being finally able to catch up again face-to-face and not over the phone.

I did not bring my camera to Hamburg this time – and I regret it already. However, you can always follow me on Instagram or snapchat to get in between updates (you’ll find me as laurananette on insta and stylephantom on snapchat). Nevertheless, I will make sure to capture anything on my iPhone if needed. Otherwise this will be a pretty relaxed and laid back weekend I hope. It’s of course always a little hectic seeing everyone, but at the same time I didn’t pressure myself into any strict calendar appointments. Sunday I’ll be flying back around noon so that I still have half the day to relax and maybe even get a short nap in – I feel so old saying this.

Back to London for now. My hotel was right across from the St Paul’s Cathedral – it’s already breathtaking when you look at it at day. The cathedral is a huge piece of art in regards to its architecture and style. At night, it similarly breath-taking with lights shining upon it. It looks even more massive with the contrast and play of shadows and streams of light coming through!

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Christmas Wishlist

Happy second advent loves! It’s only two more weekends, two more candles, and then Christmas is right around the corner. I’ll be honest I am a little stressed this year with presents, and its seems I am not the only one. Family and friends have been asking me what I want for Christmas, and quite frankly – I cannot think of anything proper. There are a lot of things I see when I am on the go, a lot of things that would be nice to have, but really are not needed, or of course, there are the things that look amazing and you really do kind of want them, but they are too expensive to request them as a gift. That is exactly my position. My goal this weekend was to pick out some items, in no particular order of what I like best to least, but in different price categories with most of them in the rather affordable staple. I noticed that I love myself some nice watches and sunglasses – have you seen this color from the Dior glasses yet? Ahhh – I want them. And the watch, which is almost always sold out (typical, when you want something!). The boots and iphone case are actually found on one of my favorite websites (BestSecret.com), for which you need to be a member to shop. You only become a member through an invitation as far as I know – but do drop me a short note with your email if you want to be added! Another item that is really high on my (personal) list is the BeoPlay speakers – listening to music is like kissing the soul on the right spot. I always have music on when I am in the apartment and what I would love now is a speaker that I can take with me from room to room (let’s not forget I cannot have a huge bass station in one room and kill the neighbors by putting it too loud). The links with the items is right here:

ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN ELEVEN

What are you asking for this holiday? Or even better, what are you gifting? I really need to stock up on some more presents, otherwise the tree will look a little empty this year. For now however, I wish you all a great Sunday. xo

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ps. the first photo is not my own and found here.