Posts Tagged 'decoration'

Pipe Dream #90: To Drink Tea Like Water

When people found out I was going to be in England, everyone talked about the tea.

“Oh Lauren, you’re going to have so much tea. They drink it all the time over there. And they’re teeth are discolored too. Have fun with the tea!”

And I thought, “Ok, chill out. You don’t even know anything because you have never been there, and it is probably just another one of those cultural stereotypes that has been blown up by the media.” (I am so jaded when it comes to “the media” sometimes.)

And then I got here and realized that it was true. What everyone said, I mean. People drink tea like water. Even the kids my age have 7-8 cups a day, and that is a conservative estimate. We drink tea with every meal and several times in between, typically black tea with milk and sugar if you care for it.

All I can think is, your bodies are probably not de-toxifying properly. I mean, water is supposed to get rid of all the impurities in your system, but it you’re hydrating yourselves with tea? You’re on the road to rotting innards, my friends. And I am on that road too, now that I drink that much tea.

So far, no one has died from tea-related decay here, so that is good. Kind of disappointing, actually. Wouldn’t that be a good story? And the other disappointing part of the massive tea consumption is the singular lack of tea parties. There has been one tea party. Granted, it was awesome, and we drank out of real Royal Albert teacups, but it has only happened once.

They drink so much tea that they don’t even care about it. The novelty has worn off. So where I would appreciate some novelty, they can’t be bothered.

I made my own fun, though, when I did some sugar cookies for the party. If you want the recipe, you can click here. I included a different icing recipe below, which I tried on these cookies. It was all right. I did it better the second time, but I didn’t take pictures. Ah well.



Milk Icing

Adapted from allrecipes

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup (or golden syrup)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring

Mix well and add more milk or sugar until you get the consistency you would like for dipping or painting. I used a spoon to spread too.

Merry Christkindlmarkt

Christmas in Germany has inspired me. In bakes. In design. And in photography. Merry Christmas!


Pipe Dream #76: To Be Uncommon(ly Good) – Best Carrot Cake Ever

I like carrot cake as a rule, but this carrot cake is exceptional. Whether it is baked into loaf pans or in cake pans, it always turns out delectably moist and bursting with flavor.  Plus, don’t you feel like carrot cakes are practically healthy? I mean, it is cake, but look at all that grated orange! It’s like a big Vitamin E, 10-calorie mountain in the middle of a vast, brown wasteland of everything that is bad for you. Carrots are the saving grace of carrot cake.

Moist cakes are the best cakes. I practically don’t even like angel food cake because it is too fluffily dry. Plus, I once had a bad experience using angel food cake mix to make muffins. Let the record show that pumpkin spice muffins should not taste lemon-fermented.

I whipped together some cream cheese frosting to further offset the healthy carrots. Ahem. Super simple. Beat together 8 ounces of cream cheese and 8 tablespoons of butter, then add in four cups of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla. If you want stiffer frosting, just add more powdered sugar. Bam.

And! I added star anise for décor. Pretty, eh? We didn’t actually eat that part, and I felt that there are a bunch of cooler things I could do with it in the future. So expect some anise coming up sometime. We picked of the stars, but the frosting around them had been licorice-infused. An interesting addition.

It’s winter. It’s ok to eat cream cheese frosting. Plus, the carrots.



Best Carrot Cake Ever

Adapted from

6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins (optional–I didn’t do it)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 10 inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.

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