LADING

{leap day} a tradition and an owl

Sometimes I find myself wishing for extra hours in a day, probably you do too. And yet, I rarely thought of February 29th as extra time, time given to tick some more things off the list. Well, things have changed this year, since I managed to finish my February owl today. Yeeeey!

But before I share my owl with you, I have another lovely thing I want to put out there: today is sisters’ day. Seems that there is an official sisters’ day first Sunday of August, but mine and my sister’s is today. Twelve years ago, to this date, we decided to celebrate sisters’ day every leap year, on February 29th. And so we did. We buy presents for each other, or spend a day together in the city. Today, I cooked my February owl for her. It was nice, even if I was somewhat under the weather due to some not so fresh things I ate out of my poor fridge.

Without further ado, here is then my February owl.

You might recognize this owl from the www. I looked around for the recipe, which, funny enough, I didn’t find, so I decided to improvise. Here is how things went.

For the cake, I used a delicious and easy recipe of lemon pound cake from Table for two. Thanks, Julie, just in time 🙂

In a large bowl, mix together 270g flour, 200g sugar, 3/4 tsp baking powder and zest from two lemons.

In a cup, lightly beat 3 eggs, add 4 tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp lemon extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract.

Add 200g softened butter over the flour mixture and use a mixer to combine them just right. Add the egg mixture over the flour and beat another 1-2 minutes, until the batter is well mixed.

Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake in a preheated oven, over low to medium heat. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer on a wire rack and let cool.

For the dark chocolate cream, I sized down and adapted a recipe from Once upon a chef.

Combine 100g sugar, 25g cornstarch and 1/4 salt in a saucepan. In a large cup, beat together 2 egg yolks and 400ml milk. Pour the milk over the sugar in a slow stream, stirring until smooth.

Put the sauce pan over medium fire and keep stirring until the mixture starts to bubble and thickens (10 mins or so). Set the fire to low and stir for another minute.

Take the sauce pan off the fire, add 25g softened butter, 80g semisweet chocolate and 40g dark chocolate, chopped, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Stir continually until butter and chocolate melt completely and the cream is smooth and nice.

Pour in a bowl, cover with a cloth and set aside in the fridge to cool.

For the white chocolate cream, I found a tasty recipe over at Donal Skehan’s.

Melt 100g white chocolate in a sauce pan, over simmering water. Set aside to cool for 10 mins.

In a bowl, mix together 110g cream cheese ad 60g softened butter until smooth and soft. Add the melted chocolate, and sift over 110g icing sugar. Mix some more, until fluffy and smooth. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

And now for the fun part – creating the owl. I cut the cake in a rather strange owl form. I know, it lacks ears, but well, I was scared to cut too deep. Then, I used a thin knife to cut the cake in two and filled the cake with dark chocolate cream. I placed the top over the chocolate layer and gave the owl its face with dark chocolate cream for the upper body, white chocolate cream for the belly, round butter biscuits for the eyes, one almond for its nose and almond flakes for the feathers.

Sister says it’s yummy. I enjoyed the process and went back to my rice for the day. Hope to have some left until tomorrow.

How did you spend leap day?

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