Thursday, November 13, 2008


I LOVE the holidays. Love love love. 

There are so many birthdays, so many holidays, days off, excuses to make and eat baked goods galore. One of my very favorite baked goods is still a mystery to me. 

(just imagine it drizzled with a sugar glaze, that's how it will be served tomorrow)

My father always obsessed about Krantz. A Polish pastry he had as a child. My Mom procured the recipe (from my Dad's mother, I believe), and handed it on to me when I decided I'd make it a few years back for Daddy for Christmas morning breakfast. Since then I've decided that it shall be a tradition. I also brought this bread over to Dan's family dinner for Christmas, and was told that it will be expected from now on! This year I'm going to bring it to two separate potlucks at work - partly because I want to expose the world to it's wonderfulness, and partly because I have a Polish co-worker, and I want to share the love.

I've done some (admittedly half-hearted) Googles on Krantz, and really not made much progress on what it exactly is. A Polish/German braided or knotted egg bread. Often includes poppy seeds - however, none of the recipies (as few as there are) that I have found have looked anything like our family's Krantz. It's buttery, it's eggy, it's got nuts and cinnamon and sugar and poppy seeds, it's doughy and flakey, rich and light, sweet and decadent. 

Thing is, this recipe is quite unique on it's own. It's descriptive, yet leaves out many details. It's the sort of recipe that should be learned at Grandmother's side, measurements done by feel and eye, kneading just so to get the dough texture just right. Problem is, all I have to go on is my Father's description of the pastry he grew up with, and this curtly written recipe.

And so, it's never ended up the same, I'm always experimenting with the leeway the recipe gives me. And so far, it's never ended up anything but irresistible

Sadly for you, I will not share the recipe - I feel it should remain a family secret. So you'll just have to come over to my place around Christmas time and hope we haven't eaten it all! 

Crayon Cake

While she was learning her colours, Des would default everything to green if she didn't know what the color was, hence the green crayon! Des painted the Pooh Bear colouring page with dyed royal icing. 

The cake itself was Green Velvet (read: Red Velvet, but.. green!) and baked in a large can. I must say, I do not recommend baking cakes in tin cans - the heat distribution is all wrong and ends up producing not-so-leavened cakes. The tip was baked in an aluminum disposable pan which I molded into the shape I wanted. Again, not suggested - that part of the cake was a solid mass.
Somehow, the part of the cake served was actually good, lucky me!  
While I was assembling before the party, there was a big moment of "I can't do this. This sucks. $*@()!! Daaaann.. is it too late to go pick up some cakes from the store?" Dan, being excellent, promptly went out and procured some cakes. While he was gone I started to get very angry with myself for giving up and decided that there was no way Des's birthday cake would be from a store! Not after I've come so far!
So I finished it! BWAHAHAHAHA.. yeeeah...

Also, I made blue peanut butter ice cream and red mint fudge ice cream to be served with it - obviously a colour theme! I also wouldn't really suggest the heavily dyed ice cream...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The yard has been blessed!

Maybe it really won't die this time! Des and I were out planting out rosemary and heather plants in the *new* backyard, when, as I leveled out the last of the soil, the heavens opened and rain poured down!
I'd take that as a sign. And, water was saved! All good.

In other news.. Des was working on her cake pan. I gave her some thinned icing and a paintbrush, and let her colour in the Pooh Bear background I made earlier this week.

Go Diego Go!

Here he is! 

He's a shortbread-ish vanilla cake filled with sliced strawberries and Swiss Buttercream. 
It took eons to do the buttercream colours for Diego - he was one of those Wilton pans with specific colouring directions. I think it was around 12 different colours - meaning 12 little bowls of buttercream individually dyed. Pain-in-the-butt. 
Anyway. He's hanging from a fondant vine with some accenting leaves - Baby jaguar is in the corner, made of colorfill, as is the entire background done on the back of a large plastic serving tray. I think I really like the diea of doing cake boards this way.. adds another dimention to decorate and develop the cake's environment

Monday, November 3, 2008

Corn Starch - wierd, useful

Here's that piece you saw yesterday, with the airbrushing and detailing. Not entirely what I wanted, but better than I thought I would get.. it was still wet when I took the photo, hence the shine.

So on a whim, I mixed the dye and water for the airbrush with corn starch, to make it thicker and hopefully cover better - and it really really did! It didn't pool on top of the surface nearly as much, and seemed much easier to control in general. 

Also note the frosting butterfly in the corner! I have a jaguar to go with it, it's drying now... this is all for the Diego cake, apparently the jaguar is a main character in the show (I've never seen it, this is what google image searching has taught me)

Weird stuff, corn starch.

(I love love love to mix it with water and just play with it)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time, Capes, Cakes, Grass, and Goodbye

I gained an hour today (did you?), and oh boy is it awesome. It's only 7 pm!! OMG!
Love it.

Halloween was wonderfully fun. We all dressed up and had a good time. Trick or Treating was adorable, not to mention the capes! Oh the capes.. I can't wait until Erin gets her pictures up, because she has the ones of Brianna and Des together.

My Mom made the green dress, and I made the cape and aprons. It all came together so very well, I'm thrilled. And according to Erin, when she presented Brianna with her cape, Liam, in dismay asked "Where's my cape surprise??" - so another cape will be started soon, I'm sure!

I am currently working on both Des's cake, and a co-worker's daughter's cake. One is due Saturday, and one due Sunday - so already I'm busy-busy! A sneak peak that will make little sense, I'm sure... lots of outlining, airbrushing .. and of course actual cake to work on.

Dan and I have been wanting to get something decent going on in our backyard, and finally got going today. We were just going to clear ground and put down bricks - but when Dan went out to get a new rake - he came back with rolls of sod and bags of dirt, so now there's grass! Here's hoping it lives this time !!!!

Finally, this morning, after a rather drawn out period of looking not-so-well, Hitler departed. He was about 7. RIP Hitler.

Get your ass out and vote this Tuesday!

I hate politics.

I'll just remind you that whatever you do or do not vote for or against might effect someone's life. Think about your vote, and make sure that you do vote.

Please. It's important.

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