Moon ice-cream cake

I usually take great pleasure in baking birthday cakes for my kids. However I made Lukas birthday a little differently this year as it was made entirely out of ice-cream! This might be odd for some, but in my childhood ice-cream cake was normal. Besides, don’t you find that kids tend to eat the icing of the cake first? With ice-cream cake the whole cake gets eaten by your little party guests. Trust me! Ice-cream cake is the best! You can thank me later ūüėČ

This ice-cream is super easy to make. I chose this recipe as it does not need churning therefore it can just be frozen in a dome shaped dish. I used a metal mixing bowl, but I would recommend a silicone dome shaped baking mould.

MOON ICE-CREAM CAKE

  • 1l whipping or double cream
  • 2 cans condensed milk (784g)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence (optional)
  • black food colouring (as needed)

1. Whip the cream and add the rest of ingredients into the bowl.

2. Mix to combine, add more of food colouring if necessary.

3. Transfer the mix into the mould if using. Otherwise freeze it in the bowl overnight.

4. To remove the cake out of silicone mould should be easy. But if you froze it in a metal bowl there is a trick you can use for safe removal. Put the bowl upside down and place damp hot cloths on top. Keep swapping cloths for freshly heated ones till ice-cream comes out. With this method the cake came out not in the best shape, but considering it is meant to be a moon like I decided the wobbly lines give an authentic character to it.

Once tidied up, decorated with some authentic craters ūüėČ , and with space themed candles I think it turned out pretty well!

Another good reason why this cake is good to make for birthdays is because it can be prepped weeks before and decorated with very little to be impressive.

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Spring-inspired celebration cake

Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipeI always wanted to try and bake a cake using sweet peas, but I never had an opportunity. Sweet peas is such as spring vegetable and no one in our family have a birthday in a spring. Eventually I decided to just go for it for Tomas birthday. It almost feels like a spring now! Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipe SWEET PEA CAKE WITH BEETROOT FROSTING adopted from Veggie Desserts
(for the cake)

  • 180g sweet peas, steamed or boiled
  • 130g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest and a drizzle of juice
  • 165g flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt

(for the frosting)

  • 250g soft cheese
  • 70g icing sugar (plus some more for later stage)
  • 1-2 tsp beetroot powder
  • 1tsp other type of natural frosting such as turmeric, matcha etc (optional)

1. Puree the sweet peas in the food processor and set aside
2. Cream the butter with sugar either in the large bowl with the wooden spoon or in the mixer.Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipe 3. Add the rest of the ingredients (including sweet pea puree) into the butter cream and mix again to combine. Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipe 4. Bake the cakes in the 15cm (6inch) tins in 180C preheated oven for about 20 min. Alternatively you can bake these in the sheet tray and use a large cookie cutter to cut out the rounds. I ended up cutting off the crust as I wanted bright green colour to show through the frosting.Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipe5. Meanwhile make the frosting. Using the whisk, mix the soft-cheese with sifted icing sugar.
6. To assemble spread a little of the frosting between the layers of the completely cooled cakes and sandwich together. Cover the cake with some more frosting reserving a little for later. Using palette knife gently scrape of the icing creating that naked cake look.Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipe 7. Split the remaining frosting into 2 or more bowls, unless you only want to dye it in one colour. I personally would have had only one colour (pink) now when I tried the multicolour. Add the beetroot powder (or other natural colour) and more icing sugar till the frosting reaches the right consistency. It needs to be stiff in order to keep its shape.Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipe 8. Pipe the frosting on the cake using a piping bag and large round nozzle.Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipe 9. Decorate the cake with wild flowers and herbs. It is amazing what you can find in the garden or in the park. These daisies are actually edible and were growing on my lawn.Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipe Spring-inspired celebration cake (with sweet peas) recipeHappy spring waiting everyone!
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Salted chocolate apples

Salted chocolate applesNormally I only share a recipe after a lot of testing and tasting and often with a bit of modification to improve it.¬†¬†This time however I made these apples for Hallowe’en and it was such a hit that I did not even get a chance to taste them! I am sure they tasted lovely though. So here we go; apples that are good for any autumnal celebration (did someone mention Bonfire night?)
Now let me share more about my feeling re Hallowe’en. I still dislike it even though I was more involved this year. I think I mentioned before I dislike this celebration mostly due to tacky decorations and creepy dress ups (It does not seem so bad in USA, but here in the UK kids dress up in grotesque costumes). I even wrote a post in the past on how to survive halloween! But beside all these reasons my real real reason for disliking halloween is the fact that it celebrates fear and a spiritual realm that does exist. I am not going further with this and try to argue. Instead I want to explain why I am involved more this year. My prime reason is to get to know my neighbours and to experience Hallowe’en a bit from a broader perspective so decide what if anything I should do with my kids next year.Salted chocolate apples¬†SALTED CHOCOLATE APPLES

  • 12-17 small eating apples
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 200g white chocolate (optional)
  • sea salt
  • descanted coconut (if using white chocolate)
  • sticks (can be reused ice lolly sticks, tree branch bits or even skewers perhaps?)

Salted chocolate apples 1. First arrange apples on the baking paper. Insert sticks so you are able to hold onto them when applying chocolate.Salted chocolate apples2. Melt the chocolate either carefully heating it in the microwave or over a pot of hot water.
3. Swirl the apple into chocolate so it gets evenly coated. Drizzle some more chocolate of different type on the sides for a pretty look. Don’t forget to salt it ;-).
4. Let the apples set in the fridge.Salted chocolate applesI found that white chocolate does not go back to solid state very quickly. Once applied, white chocolate would just slide off the apple. I think it is important to either wait till the chocolate starts thickening or roll the apple (with chocolate on it) in some descanted coconut so it holds everything together. The apples decorated this ways look as pretty as other apples I think :-).Salted chocolate applesHope you feel inspired
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Aeroplane themed birthday cake

Aeroplane themed birthday cakeSo here it is, my vision became a reality. This year I made Lukas birthday cake aeroplane themed which he really enjoyed. I have been dreaming about this cake for ages (not really I practically copied the idea from here). The only thing I wanted to do differently is to try and dye the frosting with natural dyes….
But as you may know the colour blue is hard to find in nature! I know i know, the sky is blue, but you can’t exactly put that in the icing. With a bit of research and friends recommendation I went with butterfly pea tea that is sort of blue. You see I had fun with experimenting and realised that butterfly pea tea changes colour according to the ph of the liquid you mix it into. With a bit of lemon it turns to a burgundy violet and with milk it turns into bluish sky blue. Although this might sound easy, the blue that I get from mixing the tea with milk is not concentrated enough for what is needed when you try to dye large amounts of frosting. I ended up using it in¬†soft cheese frosting¬†and it turned out a little more lilac then sky blue. Shall we imagine that the planes are flying over a sunset sky?Aeroplane themed birthday cake¬†BLUEBERRY YOGURT CAKE WITH BUTTERFLY PEA FROSTING
(for the cake)

  • 3 eggs
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 450g greek yogurt
  • 180g rapeseed or olive oil
  • 300g ground almond
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 2 handful blueberries

(for the meringue)

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • few drops of lemon
  • pinch of salt

(for the frosting)

  • 600g soft cheese
  • icing sugar to taste, sifted
  • butterfly pea tea, brewed in little water

(for the “aeroplanes”)

  • cocktail sticks
  • wafers in the finger form

1. To make the cake beat the eggs with sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix again to combine.¬†Pour equal amount of cake mixture into two lined baking tins. Bake in 180C oven for 40-45min.Aeroplane themed birthday cake¬†2. Meanwhile prepare the meringues for baking. Baking these will take few hours on the low heat once the cake is baked presuming you don’t have two ovens. Mix the egg whites with drop of lemon, salt and half of icing sugar. Start whisking the mixture while gradually adding the rest of icing sugar. In the past I struggled to make meringues and later I realised that all it needs a little patience. It takes really long time to achieve stiffly whisked egg whites, so bear with it till you can see the results. Don’t worry you can’t over mix it ;-)! Pipe the meringues on the baking sheet into cloud shapes using large round nozzle or no nozzle at all. Bake in C60 preheated oven for 3-4h. I find the longer the baking the whiter the meringues!Aeroplane themed birthday cake with merengue clouds ¬†3. To make the frosting whisk soft cheese with icing sugar (I like it less sweet so I don’t add much). Gradually mix in the butterfly pea tea till you like the shade.¬†Aeroplane themed birthday cake¬†4. For the plane, cut the wafer finger into aeroplane body shape and small triangle for the fin. Glue the plane using icing sugar and water mixture. Use the cocktail sicks to hold the plane together.Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake5. To assemble the cake apply the frosting starting from the top and working your way to the bottom. Arrange the “the clouds” and “the planes” as closer to serving as you can. Sadly, the meringue have a tendency to go soggy.Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake¬†I especially liked the cake. Although it was difficult to apply the frosting due to it being crumbly and moist, I feel it was worth it!Aeroplane themed birthday cakeHope you enjoy it!
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Herb infused jams

Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipeI know I know you might think that I am obsessed with blackberries (which is true). But how can you resist when these berries are so plump and lush right now? We just loooove picking them as we go for a walk!
Last year when I was cooking through Little Paris Kitchen book I found this recipe for the cherry compote. Not just any cherry compote, it was infused with basil and tasted amaaaaazing! This is why when I was thinking to make blackberry jam I decided to take similar approach and matched it with rosemary. It was as flavoursome as that compote I made last year ;-).
So if you are jamming this autumn, I really recommend trying out and adding herbs to your preserves. Sugar really bring out the flavour of it I think. Here are few suggestions if you like:

  • cherry and basil
  • blueberry and mint
  • raspberry and cardamom
  • apricots and lavender
  • strawberry and lemon thyme

These are just few examples, but you can experiment with any herbs. Here is blackberry and rosemary for starters ;-).Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe BLACKBERRY AND ROSEMARY JAM
makes 2 jars

  • 1kg blackberries
  • 300g sugar (we used icing sugar as it dissolves quicker, but any other sugar will do)
  • bunch of rosemary

Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 1. Place all the ingredients in a pot and simmer uncovered for 30 min or so.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 2. Stir occasionally while cooking to help dissolve the sugar.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 3. Remove the rosemary stalks (as much as you can) before spooning it into ready sterilised jars.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipeI enjoy it mostly with toast but there are plenty of other uses as well.
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Bake-with-kids yogurt cake

Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipeEver since reading Bringing up bebe and French kids eat everything I got the notion that the kids and I could bake things one day. Maybe even experiment with different flavours and help them grow to love food. This sounded like a fairy tale when we were going through terrible-twos and all Lukas would eat was pasta or toast. Thankfully this was just a phase! Things are changing dramatically as we speak. So hang in there if you are struggling with the toddler fussiness, it will all pass ;-).
I mean Lukas still don’t eat salad, but he will occasionally ask me if he could taste something from my plate (such as beetroot or even smoked salmon). And you know I like my food colourful and flavoursome. I really hope that one day this passion will pass onto him.
So when we went blackberry picking last week I thought why not introduce him to baking. Lukas, like any other kids likes cakes and baking goes nicely with blackberry. I suddenly thought I could try the yogurt cake that I read french kids like to make. Blackberries on top does make it lovely!Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe This recipe uses yogurt containers (150ml) as a measuring device. A bit simpler to understand for little helpers.
BAKE-WITH-KIDS YOGURT CAKE

  • 2 x containers (300g) natural yogurt (full fat preferably)
  • 2 x eggs
  • 2 x containers sugar (270g) (although I preferred adding just one)
  • 4.5 x containers¬† plain flour (360g) (we used almond flour for gluten free version)
  • 1 x container (120g) vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • berries or chocolate chips for the filling (optional but nice!)
  • extra yogurt or creme fraiche for serving (optional)

Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe¬†1. Measure all ingredients into the bowl. It is very important to clean and dry the containers after emptying them as I find that other ingredients stick to any lingering yogurt and therefore don’t come out fully when measuring. The first time we baked this cake it came out too gooey due to not enough of flour as you could imagine. When making it a second time I realised it was due to wrong amounts.
2. Mix mix mix! Lukas favourite part ;-).Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe3. Spoon out the cake mixture into the baking tin. I like using silicone type as it needs no greasing.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe4. Arrange berries or chocolate chips on top. Press them in so they sink a bit.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe¬†5. Bake for 35-40min in 180C preheated oven. Check with toothpick if it is baked thoroughly before removing the cake out of the oven.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipeEnjoy baking ūüėČ
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Kids art Easter biscuits

Kids art Easter cookies diyHands up who is really really looking forward to Easter! We do! Me and kids are in Devon with the grandparents already and we are pretty much ready here (its easy when you are not hosting).
Me and Lukas has been drawing and painting lots recently so I initially thought we will do good old Lithuanian tradition and paint some eggs, but then I decided against it when I thought of shortbread biscuits… hmmm! I thought if I make the biscuits into egg shape then it will be like painting eggs but on the flat surface rather than the round surface (a little less messy I thought). Plus, I thought this is a very good opportunity to try out more of natural food colouring :-).Kids art Easter cookies DIYKIDS ART EASTER BISCUITS
(for biscuits)

  • 240g butter, softened
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 500g flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 4tbsp milk

(for the “paint”)

  • 4tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • water
  • 1tsp beetroot powder for pink
  • 1/2tsp turmeric powder for yellow
  • 1tsp matcha powder for green

1. Place all the biscuits ingredients into the mixer and switch it on for few min till everything turns into nice soft dough. At this point you can wrap the dough and place it in the fridge for the next day or freezer for whenever you need it in the future.
2. Flour the surface and the rolling pin and roll the dough about 7 mm thick. Using biscuit cutter or a cup/glass cut the circles in the dough. Once the circles are out of the dough roll it once more again (only one way) to make an oval shape.
Kids art Easter biscuits DIY 3. You can involve your kid at this point. Lukas was treating the dough as he would the play-dough.
4. Place all the dough shapes into lined baking tray and bake them in C200 preheated oven for 10min.Kids art Easter biscuits DIY¬†5. Meanwhile make the “paint”! gradually add water into the icing sugar until you are happy with the consistency. Split the icing into four cups so you can make up few different colours. Add each colouring to the separate cup and mix.¬†Kids art Easter biscuits DIY¬†5. Initially I showed Lukas how to brush the “paint” onto biscuits…Kids art Easter biscuits DIY¬†but soon after he realised it is so much more fun to drizzle and splatter the paint over the biscuits. I totally agree, these remind me of Jackson Pollock paintings.Kids art Easter biscuits DIY Kids art Easter biscuits DIY Kids art Easter biscuits DIYHave a very lovely Easter everyone xx
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Natural frosting birthday cake

Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling Few weeks ago we celebrated Tomas birthday, which is why I baked the cake. Anyone who knows me I like the cakes with minimum frosting, made with natural ingredients and most of all I like good flavours. This cake ticks all the boxes for me!!
When I was thinking of Tomas birthday party theme I was thinking of something cheerful, exciting and bold (exactly how I would imagine Tomas when he grows up). This is why I thought bright yellow frosting on the cake would be ideal. But what natural colouring could I use for a bright yellow? I did not need to think for too long, I suddenly remembered the power of turmeric that is vibrant with not much taste to it. The flavour of the cake followed of course. I thought what goes better with turmeric then other spices such as cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. I was completely right, when testing the cake I realised everything just work really well together. I used plum jam to neutralise the taste of richness which also turned out a very good choice.
Hope I got you seduced to try to bake this cake yourself. You will find the recipe below ;-).Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling HONEY SPICED CAKE WITH TURMERIC FROSTING AND PLUM JAM FILLING
(for the cake)

  • 200g butter
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 170g honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 260ml milk
  • 325g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 3tsp mixed spice
  • finelly grated zest of 2 oranges

(for the frosting)

  • 150g softened butter
  • 150g soft cheese
  • 150g icing sugar, plus a bit more for white frosting
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 jar plum jam

1. Over the hob melt the butter together with sugars and honey till everything is incorporated and the sugar is dissolved.
2. Add the rest of the cake ingredients and mix again to combine everything well.Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 3. Split the cake mixture into two ready tins (same size, springform are the best). Bake in 150C preheated oven for 1h and 15min.Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 4. Sandwich the cake with some plum jam. My tip is to put the cake upside down so the top is completely flat (really felpful when you do frosting).Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 5. To make the frosting place all the ingredients except turmeric into the mixer and let it run for few minutes. Put few table spoons of frosting aside for the white frosting. Add turmeric and let the mixer do its job one more time.  Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 6. Next job is to apply the frosting. I always add almost all the frosting on top to begin with and then push it down gently to the sides and then I work with frosting palette knife to the top again (I make the frosting thin for a reason so it flows easily). Once the base frosting is done I recommend to place the cake into the fridge so it sets.Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 7. Meanwhile add more icing sugar to the frosting left on the side. Continue adding the sugar till you are satisfied with the stiffness of the cream. Transfer white frosting into the piping bag with large round nozzle attached. Carefully pipe your decorations on the cake.Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 8. Finally decorate with any cake toppers. I used water balloons to make these mini balloon cake toppers which made the cake look very fun like I expected :-).Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling Hope you like it too!!
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Breakfast banana bread

Breakfast banana bread recipeI am not going to lie, last week was a bit difficult. Coming back from holidays straight to real word is overwhelming! And we are going for another holiday again next week so not sure how I am going to cope to do this all over again. One thing is certain, I am trying to prepare as much as I can for it. Last week I had a meltdown when I find out we have no bananas left for breakfast. This is why this time round I am making banana bread to put in the freezer just in case so I can toast it if I am in banana emergency again (sounds funny, but it was seriously an emergency because banana is a very important staple in our house). I made this banana with porridge oats and replaced sugar with honey, so it is sort of healthier than regular banana bread. It’s not like I am giving cake to kids for their most important meal!
BREAKFAST BANANA BREAD

  • 160g honey
  • 100g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 500g ripe bananas (4-6 bananas) + 1 for the decoration
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder

1. in the blender or food processor cream butter with honey then add eggs and yogurt and whizz once again.Breakfast banana bread recipe2. Add remaining ingredients, including pealed bananas and turn the food processor on to make a smooth banana bread mixture.¬†Breakfast banana bread recipe¬†3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin. Top it with sliced banana and bake it in preheated 180C oven till it is baked through.Breakfast banana bread recipe¬†4. Don’t slice baked banana bread while it is still hot like me here. It wont cut well as it is a very very moist banana bread. Once it’s cool it can be eaten straight away or frozen ready sliced.Breakfast banana bread recipeHope January is treating you well!
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Croissants with poppy seed filling

Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe ¬†In Lithuania we are big on poppy seed, especially when it comes to Christmas. This is why I feel that these croissants filled with poppy seed goodness is very appropriate for this season. I have been wanting to make this hundred leaves cake¬†to begin with (It’s so traditional in Lithuania like fruit cake in England), but I felt it was too time consuming. This is when this croissant idea came around! You see the dough of hundred leaves cake is kind of similar to croissant dough so I decided to incorporate it with the shop bought dough. Everything went swimmingly well and the rest is history.
CROISSANTS WITH POPPY SEED FILLING
makes 6

  • 100g poppy seed
  • 50g raisins
  • 1tbsp honey (optional)
  • uncooked croissant dough ( I used Jus-Rol brand as it seem the only one available in the shops)
  • 1 egg, whisked for egg wash

1. Place poppy seeds and raisins into the bowl and pour over boiling water over it. Let it sit for an hour or so till it is well soaked and doubled in size.
2. Using the blender whizz poppy seeds and raisins till it becomes like a paste. Add honey if needed for the sweetness, otherwise it is quite sweet from the raisins.Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe  3. Roll out the dough and cut into triangles. Spoon some poppy seed mixture into each triangle and wrap it using the corners. Place croissants parcels into lined baking tray and brush it with egg wash. Bake the croissants in preheated 180C oven for 10-15min.Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Happy Christmas waiting!
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