Ofcourse for our december photo and styling challenge it was pretty obvious to me what the theme should be… December is THE month for anything festive and sparkly! As coincidence would have it I am also hosting the December Monthly Mingle too and to avoid too many things running at the same time it seemed the perfect opportunity to combine the two into one fabulous fun event. Well. Technically they’re still two so you don’t have to follow the photography challenge rules If you don’t want to or the MM ones if you don’t want to. I’m flexible!
So to start with the MM. The theme is Christmas cakes in all it’s glorious bounty. It could be your favorite recipe for a beautiful stollen, a Christmas bundt cake like the one I made here or any other Christmassy cake. Use your imagination and go wild! When entering make sure you mention MM in the photo title when sending it into the Linky Tools.
Then in addition to that, if you want to also participate in the December photography challenge your photo needs to be festive and sparkly. Show of your most beautiful Christmas fairy lights, candle holders or Christmas baubles. Make it look sparkly and make it look like Christmas. At this time of year that has got to be an easy one right?
Now when’s shooting sparkly objects or when shooting things with different light temperature it might be tricky getting your white balance correct. If you look at my photos you see that the fairy lights are yellowish which is fine but you still want that cake to be white and not yellow, so it’s tricky to get it right. Remember that shooting with different light sources will likely get you into trouble at some point. I used both daylight and the fairy lights so I had to make sure that those were somewhat balanced together but even I struggled a bit to get it right. Shooting in raw will help you but if you exposure carefully and keep checking your white balance you can certainly shoot in jpeg too.
Just a few tips lined up for you:
1. Make sure that your candles or fairy lights or whatever other light source you use will not be too strong. It will quickly overblow the natural light available.
2. Check your white balance and if you’re comfortable shooting in raw, go for that option rather then jpeg.
3. When shooting in jpeg, make sure that you check your color temperature. If need be go back to your computer in between and check exposure and color there if you’re not sure how your LCD screen on camera is behaving.
4. Watch for reflections. Christmas baubles are a nightmare to shoot in terms of reflections. There is a reason why I love the frosted ones!
5. Things start to sparkle when hit by light. Keep that in mind when you’re shooting and maybe have trouble getting that festive mood.
Christmas bundt cake
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 50-60 min
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
- 100 gr chestnut flour
- 100 gr spelt flour
- 300 gr all purpose flour
- 250 gr sugar
- 250 gr butter, melted
- 250 gr egg
- 250 ml buttermilk
- 180 gr cranberry juice
- 70 gr chestnut puree
- 16 gr baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground kardamom
- 1 tsp cloves
- 105 gr dried cranberries
- 60 gr chopped walnuts
For the lemon icing:
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 250 gr icing sugar
- Preaheat your oven to 180 C. Grease a bundt tin very well with butter and dust with flour. Tap out the excess flours.
- Combine all the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, spices, salt ) into a large bowl and mix them together well.
- Combine all your wet ingredients (cranberry juice, chestnut puree, buttermilk, eggs) into a bowl (except the butter) and combine these well too.
- Combine your wet and dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon into well combined. Don't overbeat at this point.
- Once all mixed ad your melted butter in and also stir in the cranberries and walnuts. Again, stir to just combine.
- You will find that the batter is just a tiny bit too much but perfect for making a few small bundt ones on the side! Remember when baking that the mini bundts require considerable less time!
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 50-60 min or until a wooden skewer comes out fairly clean. Don't let it get too dry. For the mini's you'll need roughly 20 mins. Turn out onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely before applying the icing.
- To make the icing combine the icing sugar and the lemon into a bowl. Don't put all the lemonjuice in at once as you really don't need that much and depending on how juicy your lemons are you could have too much. Just keep stirring until the icing has the right consistency and apply immediately.
- Let the cake dry before cutting.
Recipe by Simone van den Berg
For the inspiration board I went a little overboard (you might wonder what a squirrel has to do with Christmas cakes…) as I saw so many pretty images so the pintrestboard has also some less sparkly images in there but they’re all wintery and Christmassy…
Now for the rules….
THEME FOR DECEMBER; CHRISTMAS CAKES & SPARKLY and FESTIVE
- Create a setting where it’s clear that your in a festive mood. Make it shine and sparkle! The dish you create needs to be something sweet for Christmas, but that’s a fairly broad range I would say. Cakes, Bundtcakes, bread, cookies, marshmallows…too much to choose from!
- If you do not celebrate Christmas but you do celebrate Hanukkah or have another festive event, feel free to still submit! That’s totally fine too!
- Use whatever props you have at your disposal
- Pick whatever recipe you think will work with this theme as long as it falls within the Christmas theme
- Post before the deadline of December 31st.
- Enter your link through the Linky Tool shown below and make sure to link back to this post in your blog entry
- If you do not have a blog you can still enter your photo for the challenge, as long as you make sure we can view your photo online somewhere
- Once you have entered please send me an email at
Junglefrog with the name of your blog, your own name, the link to your post and your entry photo in the size of 500 px wide max.
- Entries will be for both the Monthly Mingle as well as the Photography Challenge. If you don’t want to enter for both make sure you put MM in front of the subject line under your photo when entering.
Our judging panel consists of the lovely and talented ladies mentioned below and we will do our very best to post the end result of the challenge the first or second of the next month. No guarantees though!
Meeta from What’s for lunch Honey
Jenn from Jenncuisine
Kay from kayotickitchen