Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tiptoe Through the Lemon Sugar Tulip Cakes & A Visit to Keukenhof

Ever since I saw THIS fabulous Fight Club cake covered with poured fondant Ali over at Three Baking Sheets to the Wind created, I wanted to try the method myself.

As usual, tulips are everywhere in the spring, especially here in our little corner of Germany. We are located two hours from Lisse, Holland, home of the famous Keukenhof gardens. 

With 4.5 million tulips in 100 varieties,  It's not tulip mania there, it's tulip insanity.

Speaking of tulip mania, did you know in the 1600s tulip bulbs were worth more than gold in Holland?

These are the same people who put a tax on the length of curtains hanging in windows. I'm just sayin'. I have to keep it friendly here since the Dutch border is only two kilometers away from my living room sofa. Hi neighbors! (waving)

 A few years ago I visited the gardens. The overcast weather could not surpress the riot of colors. The gardens are truly something special. Here I am standing on top of a windmill. That strip of red behind me is a field of tulips.

I would love to blame the state of my hair on the motion of the windmill but it was standing still at the time.

Here is another view from the windmill.

Here's the obligatory picture of a windmill in a post about Holland:

The varieties of tulips are incredible at Keukenhof. Many of them also had super sexy names like Flaming Parrot, Arabian Mystery, Queen of the Night and Blueberry Ripple.

The garden was originally the herb and vegetable garden for the royal palace. The name Keukenhof means Kitchen yard.

The blooming season at Keukenhof is short, from mid March until mid April. But it's glorious.

It seemed every year I would miss it because I was out of town or working. This is why I tortured my husband one spring into driving me to see tulip fields closer to home. 

The strip of yellow behind Dr. B is a tulip field

Even if one can't make it to the gardens, just viewing acres of them on either side of the road is amazing. I took these pictures from the car.

So I had tulips on my mind for a post theme and was rummaging around in the pantry looking for my tulip cookie cutter and spied this:

I thought to make tulip cakes with poured fondant.

Lemme first say it took me two batches to get it right. There is a technique to pouring the icing, of which I found out I have none but I started to get into the groove after destroying several cakes. The process can be a real mess.

On the second pass I organized myself way better and thinned out the fondant a bit so it went a bit smoother. Literally.

I had organic lemons, lemon extract and lemon sugar on hand so that's what I went with for the cake part.

And then of course, I glittered them. Mostly to hide the flaws in the icing.

The cake itself is a winner. I was very happy the way these turned out in the taste department but they could look a bit nicer. Less lumpy and lopsided.

Lemon Sugar Tulip Cakes
For the Cake:

  • 1+1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup lemon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease cakelet molds.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Beat butter and sugar together until creamy.
  • Add egg and then egg yolk. Blend thoroughly.
  • Add extracts and lemon juice.
  • Alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk until everything is blended.
  • Pour into molds and bake for 20 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Wat 10 minutes, un-mold the cakes, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Makes 8 cakelets

For the Poured Fondant Icing:

Like Ali, I used King Arthur Flour's recipe and directions. The only change I made was instead of using  1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, I used 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract.

To decorate the cakes I brushed the edges with simply syrup and dusted them with colored sugar.

So these are my tulip cakes.

The End.


  1. I love them!!!!!!!!! So cute!!!!!!!!!!! You're so talented! I love everything you post!

  2. The tulips are gorgeous! Both the real ones in your photos and your little cakes! This is the kind of spring I need in my life.

  3. Gorgeous little cakes! My husband ancestors are from Holland. We would love to visit the tulips one day.

  4. Having spent 14 years living in Ottawa Canada, I spent every Spring visiting and enjoying the Tulip Festival there. In 1945 the Dutch Royal Family gifted Canada with 100,000 tulip bulbs as a *Thank You* for sheltering Princess Juliana and her daughters for three years during the Second World War. Ottawa's first official Tulip Festival took place in 1953. Your photographs of Keukenhof Gardens are stunning and I can only imagine how breathtaking it is to view in person. Your tulip cakes are beautiful and I'm sure, as delicious as they look.

  5. Well I just made the mistake of looking at your site with my 3 year-old daughter next to me. No surprise she wants EVERYTHING on here, especially these tulip cakes. Your photos, funnily enough, remind me of the tulip fields north of Seattle in La Conner. The tulip festival is going there right now. I think somewhere there's a nice picture of me sitting in a field surrounded by them and, unlike you, my hair was perfect. Ha! ;-)

  6. Lora, your tulip cakes look incredible! The colored sugar is such a perfect sweet touch.

    I'm envious of all of your travels but this one is making me particularly green. Amazing.

  7. Wow, that is so beautiful. You are a lucky, lovely life to be surrounded by things like that! And those experiences inspire you in the kitchen as it seems. Tulip cakes all around!

  8. Those fondant tulips look amazing!

  9. Those flower photos are friggin' amazing!

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