Bailey's Tiramisu Cake

So the other day at work, two colleagues and I invited our department to a little birthday celebration (I know, the celebrations won't end. And I wasn't even that fond of becoming a year older.), so I had to bake my...third birthday cake. (It's the last one, though, I swear.) I was a little undecided on what I wanted to do, but in the end I got "nudged" to do the tiramisu cake (the original recipe is from "Sugar & Everything Nice", but I've adapted it quite a lot to my taste over time). I've made that cake a few times before and it's usually gone within a few hours, no matter how many or few people are around to eat it. I count that as a win. If you don't like Bailey's, of course you can substitute that with whatever liqueur you like (or leave it out at all and use only hazelnut syrup instead), but I'm not a big fan of Amaretto or Kahlua, so I usually exchange these for Bailey's in every recipe I come across one of them. In this case I used hazelnut Bailey's, because I wanted the cake to have a bit of a nutty flavor and added some praline spread to one of my layers for the same reason (see tip at the end of the recipe).

Bailey's Tiramisu Cake

For the cake:
360g all-purpose flour
120g cornstarch
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
300g softened butter
300g sugar
6 large eggs
2 large egg yolk
3 tsp vanilla extract
360ml buttermilk

For the Espresso Syrup:
2 tbs instant espresso powder
2 tbs boiling water
120ml water
75g sugar
2 tbs Bailey’s

For the filling:
250g mascarpone
200g sour cream
200ml whipped cream
150g powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs Bailey’s
2 tbs hazelnut syrup (optional)
50-100g grated milk chocolate


1. Sift together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. Beat the butter until it’s creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes.

3. Add first one egg at a time, then an egg yolk at a time, beating the batter about a minute after each addition.

4. Add the vanilla extract.

5. At medium speed, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in 5 parts, starting and ending with the flour mix.

6. Divide the batter between two spring pans (26 to 28cm) and bake at 175°C for about 30 minutes.

7. Let the cakes cool completely, then cut each of them into two layers of the same height, giving you a total of four layers.

Espresso Syrup:

1. Dissolve the espresso powder with 2 tbs of boiling water.

2. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.

3. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Bailey’s and 2 tbs of the espresso. (Keep the rest of the espresso, we’re going to need it later on!)


1. Put the mascarpone, sour cream, vanilla extract, Bailey’s and hazelnut syrup in a bowl and whisk until well combined.

2. Sift the powdered sugar over the mix and whisk again until combined.

3. Whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold into the mascarpone-mix.

4. Transfer about 300g of the mix to separate bowl and add some of the leftover espresso syrup to taste (and some hazelnut syrup if you want). This will be our frosting.

Assembling the Cake:

1. Soak the bottom layer of the cake with espresso syrup (just sprinkle it on with a tablespoon or brush). The cake should be fairly dense, so don’t be timid (like I always am because I’m afraid the cake is going to turn into mush), it can take quite a bit of syrup before it actually soaks through.

2. Spread some of the mascarpone mix on top (about 1 to 2cm thick) and sprinkle some grated chocolate on top.

3. Repeat with cake layer two and three. Then put the last layer on top without soaking it in syrup.

4. If you have any filling left after you’re done filling the cake, just mix it in with the frosting.

5. Frost the outside of the cake with a large spatula.

6. Decorate however you like (I used chocolate coffee beans around the sides and grated chocolate on the top).

7. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight if you want the flavor to really set in.

Tip: If you want your cake to have that little bit of extra chocolate or hazelnut flavor, you can also spread a thin layer of nutella or praline spread onto the inner two layers of cake before adding the mascarpone mix.

♥ Nicole


Multivitamin Cake (gluten-free)

A few weeks ago, a colleague from work had her birthday and since I’ve realized that generally people aren’t as addicted to sugar as I am, I wanted to make something for her that wasn’t as sweet as my usual stuff. So I unearthed this recipe, which I hadn’t made in years. At first I thought I had written down the recipe wrong, because there was no flour in it, but then I realized: it’s just gluten-free! Added bonus, really, as there are some people at work who always miss out on cake because they’re allergic. I tweaked the recipe a little to add a little more “whomp” to it….and liked it so much that I made it again for my own birthday a few weeks later (I told you I celebrated twice because of…reasons). So if you’re looking for something not too sweet and gluten-free but still totally delicious – you’ve come to the right place.

You can decorate this however you want. You probably wouldn’t have realized the two cakes I made were the same until you cut them (which was mostly because I screwed up my piping on the first cake and had to, yes, improvise), so feel free to try whatever you want on that. The first cake I made wasn’t decorated at all around the sides, because I had to transport it to work and I like to that in a spring pan, so I concentrated on (and screwed up) the top. Since my birthday cake wasn’t going anywhere, though, I concentrated more on the sides. The original recipe calls for a layer of cream and some advocaat (which is basically spiked eggnog, just nastier) to be sprinkled over the top, but I hate that stuff, so I never do it. I could go for the eggnog version, though, if you make it around Christmas.

And another note: The cake recipe is supposed to be for a 28cm spring pan, but to be quite honest: I usually take 1.5 times the recipe if I use a large spring pan to give it a little more height. You don’t need to double the filling, though.

Multivitamin Cake (gluten-free)

For the cake:
200g almond meal
100g white sugar
100g chocolate chips
80g butter
5 eggs
1 tsp baking powder (make sure it’s gluten free if you want the recipe to stay gluten free)
1 tbsp rum (optional)

For the filling:
about 100-150g canned mandarins (one small can should suffice; don’t use fresh ones)
500g quark
100g sugar
200g whipped cream
2 p. (about 15g) vanilla sugar (alternatively: ½ tsp vanilla extract)

For the topping:
½ l multivitamin juice (if you can’t get any: take orange, passionfruit or mango juice)
100g whipped cream
1-2 ripe bananas
3 p. (about 45g) white clear glaze (for the Germans: Tortenguss; if you can’t get that, use 1 p. = 15g or 6 sheets of gelatin)
1-2 tsp lemon juice

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.

2. Line the bottom of a spring pan with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.

3. Divide the egg whites from the yolks and whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, adding about 20g of sugar while you whip.

4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and slowly add the egg yolks, sugar, baking powder, almond meal, chocolate chips and rum, beating the batter well after each addition.

5. Fold the egg whites into the batter.

6. Bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

7. Let it cool completely before cutting it into two layers.

8. Whip the cream, adding the vanilla sugar as you go. Set aside. (If you use vanilla extract, don’t add it to the cream, add it in the next step to the quark.)

9. Mix the quark and sugar until it’s well combined. Fold in the whipped cream.

10. Drain the mandarins and dry them as best as possible using some paper towels. Then fold them into the quark mix.

Please use a cake ring for these next parts:

11. Spread the quark mix onto the bottom layer of the cake and put the second layer on top.

12. Cut the banana(s) into equally thick slices (about ½ cm) and sprinkle some lemon juice on top. Arrange them evenly on the top layer of the cake (leave about 1-2 cm space on the outer edge).

13. Put the juice in a pot and add the clear glaze. Bring to a boil, constantly stirring the mixture. (If you use gelatin: heat up the juice, but don’t let it come to a boil. Take it off the stove and add the gelatin. Stir until dissolved.)

14. Pour the juice on top of the bananas. (This is why it’s important to use a cake ring.)

15. Let the juice cool down a little, then put the cake into the fridge until the juice has thickened.

16. Decorate however you like!

♥ Nicole


Chocolate Raspberry Cake (a.k.a. the botched Kinderriegel Cake)

So last week…or the week before…no idea anymore…I celebrated my birthday for the second time (not that I’m still at an age where your birthday is something you look forward to) and I wanted to make one of my all-time favorite cakes: a Kinderriegel Gateau. You know Kinderriegel? Milk chocolate bars with a milk center? Heavenly. And the cake seriously tastes just like the bars. Love it.

But knowing me, you all know what comes next: Right. Didn’t work out the way I planned it, because for some reason, my chocolate cream curdled. Which it has never done before. Sometimes I really wish I knew more about how baking worked so I actually knew why this stuff keeps happening to me so I can avoid it in the future.

Anyway. So, I had to improvise (really, this blog should be called “A study in improvisation” or something). Fortunately, I still had some stuff at home to make a raspberry cake out of the chocolate cake and that one at least turned out rather yummy if I’m allowed to say so myself.

Raspberry Chocolate Cake (with a hint of Kinderriegel)

For the cake:
150g all-purpose flour
150g white sugar
150g butter
1 p. vanilla sugar (if you don’t have any, use ½ tsp vanilla extract)
100g melted chocolate (in this case: Kinderriegel if you have access to them)
6 eggs
2 tbsp. dutch cocoa
2 tbsp. baking powder

For the raspberry filling:
400g sour cream
500g quark
100ml whipped cream
100g white sugar
3p. vanilla sugar
3-4 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
gelatin (6 to 8 sheets or 1 p. of gelatin powder)

For the decoration:
a few raspberries
about 100-140g of melted (milk) chocolate (5-7 Kinderriegel)

1. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until it’s light and fluffy. Slowly add half of the sugar, the vanilla sugar, melted chocolate and cocoa and mix well after each addition.

2. Add two whole eggs and four egg yolks.

3. Mix the flour and baking powder and add slowly.

4. Whip the egg whites to a stiff peak, slowly adding in the rest of the sugar, and fold into the batter.

5. Line a spring pan (28cm) with baking paper on the bottom and use some cooking spray or butter to grease the sides lightly. Pour in the batter.

6. Bake on 180°C for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

7. Let the cake cool for half an hour, then cut it into two layers.

8. Beat the cream to stiff peaks.

9. Put your raspberries through a food processor, leaving a few aside for decoration (I used frozen raspberries, so of course I had to thaw them first). I don’t mind eating raspberry seeds, so I didn’t do anything else, but if you don’t want the seeds in your cake or are looking for a smoother finish when frosting the cake, strain the raspberries through a sieve after puréeing them.

10. If you don’t have gelatin that works on cold liquids, warm up your raspberries (in a microwave or on the stove) and add the gelatin, stirring constantly until it’s completely incorporated. If your gelatin works on cold liquids, you can stir it in without having to warm up the raspberries.

11. Beat the quark and sour cream with an electric mixer, adding the sugar and vanilla sugar while beating.

12. Add the raspberries to the quark and beat until well incorporated.

13. Fold in the cream (if you had to warm up your raspberries, wait until the mix has cooled down a little).

14. Spread about 2/3 of the cream onto the bottom layer of the cake and put the second layer on top. Use the rest of the filling to frost the outside of the cake. If you feel like your filling isn’t firm enough to frost the cake immediately, put the cake into the fridge for an hour or two before you start frosting.

15. Put the cake into the fridge for a couple of hours so the filling and frosting can set properly.

16. Melt the chocolate, but let it cool down until it starts to thicken again before pouring it over the cake. Use an angled spatula to even it out if necessary.

17. Decorate with some raspberries or whatever else you like.

♥ Nicole


Pleated Skirt (no. 2)

So, another pleated skirt. Did I mention I'm kinda obsessed with them lately? This one was my second try...and kind of my first as well. I saw this great velvet needlecord online that looked so great, I was already imagining etui dresses in my future. However, when it got here...well, it kind of looked more like the upholstery of a fairly ugly couch. So. Definitely not dress material. However, since I already had it, I needed to to something with it. Hence: skirt.

My first try turned out great. The pleats looked great, the waistband got a little thick, but I could have lived with that and the fabric actually didn't look too bad once you saw the finished product. However, one of the pleats always draped differently than all the other ones. At first, I didn't really think anything of it, but when I put the skirt on my dress form before putting the zipper in, I realized what had happened. My one big mistake. Apparently, I had mixed up one of my markings and one pleat was only half as deep as the others. Which is why it draped so differently. Even though it's not even that obvious, the minute I knew about it, I knew I would never wear the skirt. So I didn't even finish it, but started over.

My second big mistake. Because for some reason, I didn't drape the pleats at an angle, as I had done with the first skirt. And which was what had made the skirt look so nice in the first place (it gave it a really nice A-line). And since I hadn't really tried in on before I finished it (well, I knew all the measurements from my first attempt), I only realized when I put it on (after I was finished with it) that the beautiful A-line skirt I had planned on actually clings to my thighs and doesn't look anything like attempt number one.

*insert defeated sigh*

So I guess that's gonna be another skirt I won't be wearing anytime soon.

You know, for once I would actually like to sew something and not have to talk about the 20 mistakes I made that ruined the whole thing.

If I ask for some talent for my birthday, you think I'll get it?


Pleated Skirt

So over the past few weeks I've kind of been a bit obsessed with pleated skirts and dresses. This one was actually my second (...or rather, third) attempt at one (you're gonna see attempt number 1-slash-2 sometime this month) and it was actually supposed to become a dress (which explains why it has a 10cm wide waistband now...), but me being me I just started without a real game plan and when it came to figuring out a top I kind of failed. But the way-too-wide waistband (which was actually supposed to be a bridge between the skirt and the top) was already halfway attached and I was too lazy to start over so it stayed on.

Anyway. I had accidentally figured out the exact width my pleats needed to be so that they would match up perfectly in the back (really, complete accident, because I didn't measure a d**n thing before I started) and I was so proud of myself and imagined how perfect it would look and how you wouldn't be able to see the zipper........and I should have realized things are never that easy when I am involved. So of course, I completely messed it up. Big time. Again.

When I complained about my lack of sewing talent to a friend the other day, she said "I don't think sewing involves talent. It's mostly practice." Well, I don't quite believe that, but in moments like these, it's a nice sentiment at least.

I guess I'll just never wear it with anything tucked into it...lol (And by the way, the hem isn't as lopsided as it looks on the picture! It's actually quite straight.) But overall, I like this pleat thingie. Definitely gonna make a similar one again.

In other news: I actually managed to finish the second Peony dress. Jersey needle and silk thread did the trick. Either I'm completely cross-eyed, though, or it turned out kind of asymmetrical. Knowing me, it's the latter. I think I'm actually gonna throw a party if I ever finish something I deem up to standard...lol

Got the pattern for Sewaholic's Cambie dress this week as well and I'm planning on making it out of dark red satin and black lace. Let's see how many mental breakdown's that project is gonna involve...


Colette's Peony Dress

I'm slowly awakening from my Christmas food coma and seeing as now I probably have to lose a gazillion pounds, baking's out of the question for a little while. But since the past week was actually the first week this year that I was on vacation from all my jobs at the same time, I thought I'd use the time to dust off my sewing machine and practice my (still pretty basic) sewing skills a little.

My fabric box was overflowing anyway, since I had bought at least 15 or 20 different kinds of fabric over the past 9 months or so, each with a specific project in mind at the time....that I had completely forgotten about by the time I opened the box a week ago. The only thing I remembered was that I wanted to finally sew Colette Pattern's Peony dress and I actually even remembered the fabric I had wanted to use for that. So that's what I did.

For my standards, I think it turned out pretty okay. I had some trouble with the instructions (they do some stuff a bit differently than I'm used to doing them, e.g. attach sleeves, and trying it out their way didn't work too well for me unfortunately), but I kind of prevailed at last. There are a few problems here and there (the gathering on the skirt and the sleeves isn't even for example, the fabric puckers between the darts on the bodice), but as I said - for something made by me, it's surprisingly wearable (I'm gonna show you a couple of skirts I've also sewn this week in the next few days where this is very, very different). For some reason, the neckline turned out very high for me, though, which always looks a little bit weird now since the fabric keeps bunching up around the top now. No idea what I did wrong there. But still: something I can live with.

What you can't see on the pictures is how beautiful that fabric actually is. It is extremely light and airy and has a very subtle shimmer to it that looks so pretty in the right light. Unfortunately, it was pretty grey and dark out when I took the pictures, so please excuse the horrible quality.

I'm planning on using the pattern again to make the dress with short sleeves and I have already cut out the fabric for it, however, my sewing machine seems to hate it and eats it the moment I put my foot on the pedal. So yeah, I guess I'm gonna try again with a different needle and yarn, because it'd be a shame to have that beautiful fabric just sitting there gathering dust now.


The 12 days of Christmas...y food: Day 12 - Gingerbread Tiramisu

Hallelujah. I made it to day 12 before Christmas Eve. Never thought that would happen. Heh. Looks like I should set myself goals more often.

A couple of years ago I did some advanced job training and at the facility where they held our seminars, they served us gingerbread tiramisu for dessert one day. And the first thing I thought was "Why haven't I thought of that before?" And really, why hadn't I? Anyway. The tiramisu they served there tasted okay, but I thought I could improve on it a little. Namely, by adding copious amounts of alcohol. And other stuff. Plus, I like my tiramisu a little lighter, so I don't use eggs and I don't like to just use mascarpone, so I usually mix it with quark. If you can't get quark where you live - don't worry, it tastes fine with just mascarpone and cream as well. Just substitute the quark for mascarpone and cream (1:1).

This is going to be my Christmas dessert, by the way (On all three days. Because as usual, I made way, way too much for one person to eat.) So looking back at what I used for the recipe I'd say you're looking at either three very, very big desserts (that I'm gonna have problems finishing after a roast) or six desserts that'll be slightly easier to finish.

Gingerbread Tiramisu

about 10 pieces of gingerbread (and by gingerbread, I actually mean German "Lebkuchen", the normal chocolate covered kind without wafers)
1 cup of freshly brewed, but slightly cooled down coffee
200g mascarpone
200g quark
100g whipped cream
50g sugar
2 p. vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

about 100-150ml Bailey's (I used the hazelnut flavored Bailey's)
about 50ml hazelnut syrup
cocoa powder or chocolate shavings for decoration

1. Whip the cream with one package of vanilla sugar. (If you use vanilla extract, don't add it to the cream.)

2. Put the mascarpone, quark, sugar, 1 package of vanilla sugar (or alternatively, the vanilla extract), about 100ml of Bailey's and a couple of tablespoons of the hazelnut syrup in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer until well combined (the Bailey's and hazelnut syrup is really to taste - you like it stronger, put in more, you like your flavor very subtle - put in a little less).

3. Fold in the whipped cream.

4. Cut the Lebkuchen into smallish pieces (mine were about 3 to 4cm).

5. Mix the coffee with Bailey's and hazelnut syrup to taste.

6. Start layering the different components into glasses or dessert bowls, starting with a layer of Lebkuchen. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of coffee over the Lebkuchen - just enough to soak it. Add a layer of mascarpone cream. Start over. Depending on the size of your glasses and how thick you make each layer, you should get about two to three layers of each into a glass.

7. Top with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

Enjoy and happy holidays!
♥ Nicole