Friday, October 14, 2011


Before moving to Latvia I had never seen quince, much less ever tasted one or anything made from them. Upon marrying my husband I soon learned that he liked using quince to make a delicious syrup which he would then use to make a refreshing drink, served either hot or cold.

Making quince syrup has now become a yearly necessity in our home and since we don't have enough of our own we were blessed to have some kind friends who shared theirs with us.

The making of quince syrup is a bit time consuming, but it is well worth it and really very simple.

To begin with you need to find some quince, I would say you need at least 2-3 lbs. But more would be better if you want to make enough syrup to last through the winter. Also you do not need to work them all in one day as it is a rather time consuming job.

Halve and remove seeds. They have a lot of little black seeds which seem to fly everywhere by the time all the cutting is done.

Slice or put through Kitchen Aid slicing machine (my friend did that).

Cover completely with sugar. We used at least 1 1/2 kilo for this batch. It is very important not to use too littlesugar otherwise the quince will spoil. Better to over do it so they quince will keep properly.

Cover and let sit for several days, stirring several times a day. The goal is for the sugar to completely dissolve, when this has happened you will know the quince is ready. It will look like a thick syrup and there will be no grains of sugar on the bottom of the bowl.

When the quince has released its juice and this wonderfully fragrant syrup has developed you are now ready to put this into sterilized jars. It may then be stored in a cool place and used as desired. We keep ours in the basement. There is no need for a water bath.

Another option is to drain the syrup off and put it into sterilized jars and to dehydrate the fruit- thus resulting in a wonderful candied quince treat. 

To use simply add apx. 1 T+/- (to taste) to a cup of water- hot or cold and enjoy. We love this refreshing drink and so does everyone who visits us. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding Cake with Two Kids

Today I began making the wedding cake I have to make for Saturday. I have been preparing all week little by little to make this process as smooth as possible. This is the first wedding cake order I have accepted in three years. The first I will have made with two children. . . yikes!

I have been mostly worried about tiring myself out, as full days in the kitchen leave me with an achy back. I began this day on my knees and jumped right in after breakfast.

Much to my amazement my kids are playing VERY peacefully together, and they are staying out of the kitchen so far- unheard of! Wow! Thank you Lord of watching out for me and making the beginning of this day smooth so far :) It is now 9:00 a.m :)

13:47 The morning didn't progress as smoothly as I would have liked due to an unplanned trip to the store. All my lists and trips to the store somehow left me with no milk and therefore only one cake baked. After returning home my kids were ready for a snack and they were then much more emotional and grouchy. Oh dear. Somehow I got the 6 layers of cake made and baked and lunch made. I turned on cartoons (which is only a special occasion thing in our house) and hoped that would keep them busy. It worked for a while, but when it was time to eat and I turned it off we had a 3 year old fit on our hands. YUCK. So now the kids are fed and in bed. Though D is still not asleep- he doesn't nap every day anymore.I am off to make fillings now.

Whilst the kids napped I got a lot done. I made my cherry filling and the cream fillings. So ends the first day.

Day 2:

Morning: Now comes the time of putting together the cake. However, my kids have not been in the best of moods and by 9:30 a.m I was feeling rather stressed and desperate. My husband encouraged me by phone to stop and give the kids some moments of my undivided attention. We read 4 books and then I was able to finish filling the cakes. I realized the biggest problem was that they weren't "allowed" to taste what I was making and doing. Once I started leveling the cake and had leftovers they were both happy. Not to mention that I had left over cream filling and cherry filling which they both loved!

The afternoon had a few bumps along the way because of a trip to the store ended in the frosting flopping due to mixing two different brands of butter. I had to run to the church to choose flowers for the cake. And my husband saved the day by getting more butter. Finally about 20:00 I was able to finish frosting the cakes and get to the decorating.

I had chosen to cover the cakes with marzipan. Originally I had been daunted by this idea since I had never used marzipan and didn't know how costly that would be. However, after watching this link and some other very good videos on marzipan I was ready to try my hand at it.

I stopped decorating at 22:00, my back was killing me and I was ready to head to bed. I was pleased with the results of the cake and even though simple it looked stunning with the fresh flowers. 
Saturday we headed off to the reception area about 10:00. We wanted to deliver the cake in one piece and get home again to prepare for the wedding. The drive to the camp seemed to take about 30 minutes, and the last part of the drive was HORRIBLE. It was a very bumpy dirty road- which we later discovered is not the main entrance and seldom used.

We got the cake settled, fixed and put together. There were already lots of good comments and I was eager to have it be completely decked out so people could see the end result. But since there were several hours to wait I put the flowers in water and we headed home.

Amelija's godmother had agreed to stay with them for the day and we had the whole day to ourselves. The wedding was nice!

We headed to the reception early to get the cake finished. It was a great success, not only being very lovely but VERY delicious. It was a black forest type cake. Chocolate cake, with cherry filling, a cream filling and delicious swiss buttercream over that, entirely covered in marzipan. It was scrumptious!