Because I tend to bake something at least once a week (and on a bad week – or a good week, depends on how you look at it! – I might bake three or even four different things) there have to be people to actually eat the things I make. My parents’ sweet tooth isn’t that developed and my brother is just one man (one man with a big appetite, but still only one man). That’s why a lot of it gets shipped off to my neighbors. They seem to like what I make (either that or they’re too nice to tell me otherwise) and when their daughter gave birth to their second grandchild they asked me if I could bake some stuff for the baby shower/christening. “Sure!” I said, trying not to seem too excited. Play it cool, Aline.
I asked them what they’d like and they pretty much gave me free reign. My neighbor said the baby’s daddy really liked the Walnut and Coffee gateau I made, and that it’d be nice if I made the Rhubarb Buckle again. So that’s what I did. I also made mini!merveilleux, cupcakes, brownies and shortbread cookies. It took me a couple of days to bake and decorate everything, but at the end of the road I was super proud of everything – and this ended up being my first paid job. The praise I got afterwards was amazing, my neighbor kept telling me how good everything was – and her daughter came by as well with the cutest Thank You card. An awesome experience all around.
I made the merveilleux first. They’re pretty easy to make, it just takes a while because the meringue have to bake forever. First you have to make (mini) meringue. I always do it the Italian way (they use syrup instead of sugar) because these meringue are firmer and glossier. Once you’ve baked your meringue you’re gonna whip some cream and pipe that up on one meringue, and then top it off with another meringue. Freeze this so you can easily handle the small treats. Use more whipped cream to cover the sides and top of the merveilleux and then cover with chocolate flakes. (I make these by using a peeler on a bar of chocolate – make sure your hands are cold, this could be a messy job!) Once covered freeze again. You can top it off with more whipped cream and a cherry!
Dark chocolate brownies with nuts (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts). While I don’t personally really like nuts I think they worked in these brownies. I was trying to figure out how to “present” these brownie-bits and remembered this baking-paper and bow method I saw somewhere once, and thought it was really cute :) it took a while to finish all the brownies but it was worth it!
Shortbread cookies are super easy to make and super yummy! They get better after you leave them in the fridge a couple of days (the butter flavor gets more intense) so this was the perfect thing to make a couple of days beforehand so I wouldn’t have too much last-minute stress!
The rhubarb buckle came out beautifully – and this time without any stupid mistakes on my end. (Last time I added the crumble layer before baking it without for a while first. Oops! I noticed my error before I put it in the oven, but didn’t succeed in getting all the crumble back off because the rhubarb juices had made everything sticky.) This wasn’t very easy to present in a super nice either, because they’re pretty big and rustic pieces. But I think flavor-wise this definitely was a winner.
I love this 24-cupcakes carrier.
Of course there had to be cupcakes! 16 vanilla ones and 16 chocolate ones. I baked them in a simple white cupcake paper, but then put them in these cute flower pattern ones I bought in London the week before. I thought they were perfect for a baby shower. I added white chocolate icing to the vanilla ones and chocolate icing to the chocolate ones. I made fondant baby feet to put on top but I forgot to take a picture, which I am definitely kicking myself over right now because they were really beautiful :( oh well, I’ll pay better attention next time!
This time around I used the smaller cake tin (the size that was adviced in the recipe.) This time I was able to get a three-layer one so it was smaller, but a lot cuter! That’s why I decided to make two of them. I was really proud of them – these are so much fun to make because it’s so fulfilling to decorate them when they come out so pretty and cute!
I used the leftover cupcakes and coffee butter cream to make these cupcakes. My brother’s girlfriend is a coffee-nut so she took them home with her.