Cleaning up

After Christmas, there is always a clean up job to do. Ornaments to put away, floors to vacuum clean of pine needles and scraps of ribbon and wrapping paper, the little village to be carefully nestled back into a box… and photos and recipes to post. It’s true! There has been a dearth of photos and recipes around here lately, despite the massive amount of baking and crafting and visiting that happened over the holidays, so now I’m going to start the new year off by looking backwards to a few good moments of the last one. There will be several blog posts coming, but to start it off on the sweetest note, I thought I would start with this:

Snowflake Cake

It’s a Snowflake Cake, and a very yummy cake too! To make a snowflake cake of your own, start with your favourite chocolate cake recipe, bake it in a bundt pan and frost it with a simple chocolate buttercream frosting. The snowflakes themselves are white chocolate, melted and piped into little asterisk shapes on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, then thrown in the fridge to set up. I use old milk bags for piping bags. I just cut off the top, wash them well and let dry, then fill a third full with chocolate wafers or chocolate chips and toss the whole thing in the microwave on half power until the chocolate is melted. Then snip off one of the bottom corners of the bag and voila! A piping bag of melted chocolate just right for making little snowflakes.

Snowflake cake closeup

My piping skills are not great, not like the talented bakers who made these snowflakes (scroll down a bit, you’ll see them. Aren’t they beautiful?), but I can make a passable snowflake. Sort of. Mostly. Okay, it’s an asterisk, and somewhat lumpy bumpy at that, but hey, they’re made of chocolate. That’s got to count for something, right? If (like me) you don’t like the shaky, lumpy top side of the flakes, never fear! Just put that side against the icing on the cake and you’ll have a zillion perfectly flat snowflakes.

I thought the cake turned out cute enough to eat. So did these little boys and girls:

Gingerbread cookies

I don’t know which part of making gingerbread people is the best — measuring ingredients? Rolling out the dough? Watching their little bellies puff up slightly as they bake? Mixing the icing? Choosing the colours? Piping them with the handy-dandy accordion-style pipe bags that are easy for little hands to use? Offering a tray full of cookies to your family on Christmas day, announcing “I made them! I decorated that one and that one and that one!”  with joy and pride and just a touch of shyness?

Oh…. wait… I’ve got it! Eating them! That’s the best part!

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