Mille Feuilles / Custard Slices

These have been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl! I have fond memories of mouthfuls of creamy pastry cream and sweet crunchy slices of pastry. So, naturally, I want to share this pastry recipe with you!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 rolls of store bought Puff Pastry (if you’d prefer, you can make your own too)
  • 600ml milk
  • 100g white sugar
  • 50g corn starch
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 50g butter

The pastry cream makes about 1 litre, but you can also halve the ingredients if you want less.

HOW TO MAKE MILLE FEUILLES / CUSTARD SLICES

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. Place your puff pastry, with baking paper underneath, on a baking tray and cut into even sized rectangles. Now, place another piece of baking paper on top, followed by another baking tray so that the tray sits on top of the pastry to act as a weight. This is so that the pastry doesn’t puff up, but instead, it bakes flat.

3. Bake your pastry for 30 minutes or until golden brown. You can check it around 20 minutes.

4. Next, get started on your pastry cream. To a saucepan, add the milk and vanilla seeds/extract and bring it to the boil. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and corn starch together until light in color and smooth (about 1 minute). Once the milk has reached a boil, add a third of the heated milk to the egg mixture and whisk quickly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Once it is well combined, add it back into the milk and whisk continuously over a medium heat.

5. This mixture will start to thicken, so keep stirring to avoid it burning or sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for a minute or two until very thick. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly before adding the butter (3 minutes). Add the butter a little at a time while whisking until all the butter is incorporated and the pastry cream turns glossy and creamy.

6. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl and cover with plastic film, let the film touch the pastry cream so that it doesn’t form a skin. (It can keep for 3 days like this in the refrigerator).

7. Once the pastry is cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool completely.

8. After the pastry cream has cooled, give it a quick whisk and transfer into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Now, you can start assembling your mille feuilles!

9. You have full creative free reign here, so you can choose how many layers you’d like and how you want to pipe your pastry cream in between each layer. I prefer to pipe blobs of pastry cream in a row of 3 and cover each layer like this. For the top layer, I sprinkled it with icing sugar using a sieve to give a clean, clump-free look.

I really hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I do!

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Ermine Buttercream (Cooked Flour Frosting)

Learn how to make cooked flour frosting with this easy to follow tutorial. This vanilla ermine frosting is so velvety that it melts in your mouth! You can easily make this at home in your own kitchen by following along with this video tutorial.



If you find American buttercream too sweet and are looking for something with a velvety, melt in your mouth texture, then you really have to try this Vanilla ermine (also known as cooked flour) buttercream. This recipe is specifically for vanilla, but you can of course add any flavor to it. You need very few ingredients and equipment to make this recipe at home.

WHAT MAKES COOKED FLOUR FROSTING DIFFERENT TO AMERICAN BUTTERCREAM?

With ermine buttercream, some ingredients, such as, the flour, sugar, salt & milk are quickly cooked in a small pot and allowed to cool which then forms a pudding like mixture and is added to the butter to form the ermine frosting/buttercream.

With american buttercream, you simply mix the butter with some powdered sugar, milk & vanilla extract to create the frosting. It is quicker to make this version, but it is much sweeter and not as velvety as the cooked flour frosting. But both frostings are great to frost cakes, cupcakes or use as a macaron filling. Both frostings can also be flavored however you like.

Here is the link to my Delicious Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr3As…

Ingredients:

  • 30g (¼ cup) all purpose flour
  • 150g (¾ cup) white sugar
  • 250g (1 cup) milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 225g (1 cup) unsalted, softened butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

This recipe makes 2 cups of frosting, which is enough to cover 2 x 9-inch cakes. You can leave this frosting out at room temperature for about 6 hours, but it is best to refrigerate the frosting if you are in a very warm climate. You can refrigerate any leftover frosting for around 1 week.

Top Tips for making Macarons

If you’re thinking about making macarons, then you are in the right place, because these are my top tips for making great macarons every time. If you follow these tips, you won’t go wrong. The first time you make macarons will of course be a little stressful, but the reward of successfully making these delicate, sweet meringue shells is a great feeling!! And you will get hooked! (don’t say i didn’t warn you!!)

Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour at least 3 times because you want to get rid of any bigger lumps so that your macaron shells are as smooth as possible.

Use your eggs at room temperature. Egg whites seem to whip up better when they are not cold. You can separate your eggs when they’re cold and then leave them out at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Before adding the egg whites to your mixing bowl, wipe the bowl and mixing attachments with some vinegar to make sure it is clean. This is because egg whites shouldn’t come into contact with anything oily otherwise they might not whip up like they should.

If you’re using the french meringue method to make your macarons, add either a teaspoon of vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar to make your meringue more stable.

When adding in sugar to meringue, add it slowly and mix well between each addition, this is because you don’t want to deflate all the air you are whipping in to the egg whites.

If you use the Italian Meringue method to make your macaron shells, then you need a thermometer. Invest in one and you will use it for a long time, but if you don’t have a thermometer it’s pretty difficult to get the sugar syrup right without one.

Invest in a digital scale! You can use this for all of your baking, not only macarons and today most recipes are in gram measurements, because it is more accurate as cup measurements can really vary from person to person.

If you want to add coloring to the meringue, it is best to use gel or powder food coloring and the best time to add it is once your meringue is at medium peaks. This is because liquid food coloring can change the consistency of the batter.

For both french and italian meringue method macarons, your meringue should be whipped to stiff peaks to give you the most stable meringue possible.

When mixing your meringue with the dry ingredients, you don’t have to be too careful. You want to actually press the batter onto the side of the bowl. This is called ”macaronage” and is the process of actually deflating the meringue slightly while mixing together. This is what will give you full macaron shells and not make them hollow. You can watch how I do this in my 2 macaron video tutorials below.

Italian Meringue Method

French Meringue Method

Be careful to not under mix or over mix your macaron batter. This takes practice and patience, but once you know what you are looking for, it gets easier every time you make macarons. You want the batter to be thick enough to not run all over the place, but thin enough to pipe into a circle and so that it settles into a neat little disc with no peaks or bumps on top.

And don’t forget to tap your trays once you have piped all your macarons. This releases any air bubbles and you can use a skewer or tooth pick to pop them.

The last tip is to let your macaron shells sit out at room temperature to form a dry skin before baking. Some people don’t do this, but I prefer it. This can take anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour. If it seems as if they are not drying, you can open your oven and put the fan on (without any temperature) so that the air from the oven helps them to for the skin on top. , They are ready for baking when you can run your finger along the tops and is completely dry and mat.

I really hope that you find these tips useful, because they make the process of baking macarons a whole lot easier! Macarons are always intimidating for beginners and yes they might not be amazing the first time (or they just might be – beginners luck!!), but I encourage anyone wanting to try them to just go for it! You have everything you need to give them a go – this list, my recipes and video tutorials to walk you through the process!

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram when you make your macarons – https://www.instagram.com/bakewithgen/?hl=en

FLUFFY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Everyone needs a good Chocolate Cake Recipe that they turn to when needed. This is mine and I love it because there is no fuss when making this recipe. This recipe is exactly the same as a Vanilla Cake Recipe, but all you need to do is change out some of the cake flour for cocoa powder. So you have 2 recipes in 1! A lot of chocolate cakes use oil, water or coffee, but this one is so simple, you won’t need to go looking for another chocolate cake recipe.

This recipe makes two 20cm/8 inch cakes.

If you’re a beginner baker, you might want to check out my List of 10 essential baking tools for beginners.

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2 cups (300g) Cake Flour (add 2 teaspoons baking powder if your cake flour doesn’t have it added already)
  • ¾ cup (30g) Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup (226g) Butter, unsalted & soft
  • 1 ½ cups (300g) White Sugar
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) Milk, room temperature

How to Make an easy Chocolate Cake Recipe

This Chocolate Cake cannot be any easier to make! Start by measuring out your ingredients (remember to take your butter out the fridge a while before to let it come to room temperature), grease your cake tins and preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.

TIP! You can use butter to grease your cake pans and then sprinkle flour around the pans so that the cakes don’t stick to the bottom!

Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl for about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and mix to combine.

Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix until just combined. Try not to mix the cake batter too much, only until you no longer see any dry ingredients.

TIP! Remember to scrape down the bowl between mixing!

Then add half of the milk, mix until combined and repeat with the remaining milk. Using a spatula, give the cake batter a final mix, making sure that all the ingredients have been well combined. Divide the batter evenly between 2 cake tins and bake for 30-40 minutes. Cakes are ready when a toothpick comes out clean.

When your cakes are done, remove them from the oven and leave them in their tins for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Now is a great time to make the frosting and only assemble when the cakes are totally cooled down.

TIP! You can add a delicious berry jam in between the cake layers to cut through the sweetness of all the chocolate! Berries and chocolate go great together!

INGREDIENTS For the Frosting:

  • 2 cups (500g) Powdered Sugar
  • 250g unsalted Butter at room temperature (you can add a pinch of salt if you find american buttercream on the sweet side)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Milk/Cream
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder (taste it after adding 1 or 2 to see if you are happy with the taste)

How to make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat your butter for about 5 minutes until very light and fluffy
  • Gradually add the icing sugar
  • Add the milk + vanilla extract
  • Beat for another 5 min until all combined and you are happy with the texture (you can add more or less milk but don’t add too much as it will make piping difficult)
  • Add your cocoa powder, mix and taste

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10 Essential Baking Tools for beginners that you need in your kitchen!

If you have recently found your love for baking and want to explore the world of baking more then this list of essential baking equipment for beginners is perfect for you. If you are not sure what equipment or tools you need to make a variety of delicious baked goods and are perhaps feeling overwhelmed by all the choices available then read on to find out what I use in my kitchen and I recommend! There are a lot of tools that are great to have when baking, but it isn’t necessary to spend tons of money if you’re just starting out.

These are my Top 10 baking tools that I can’t do without in my kitchen.

Food Scale – I learnt this very early on in my baking journey. A lot of recipes use gram measurements as they are more accurate, especially if you dream about making French Macarons one day. I highly recommend a digital scale as it is so much more accurate to weigh your ingredients than to only use cup measurements. A scale also makes baking quicker and easier as you can place one mixing bowl on top and keep adding the ingredients, without having to use separate bowls and making a great big mess! You definitely don’t need a fancy one and any brand digital scale will do, such as this one here.


Mixer – this can be a handheld electric beater or a stand mixer, but I promise you that your arms will thank me! These mixers are a life saver when it comes to recipes that require beating or whisking of ingredients for up to 5 to 10 minutes. A simple buttercream, for example, needs a lot of beating and is impossible to make correctly without an electric mixer. You can start with a less expensive, store brand mixer and when you have the confidence and experience, you can upgrade to a fancier machine. It is really not necessary to have the best machine when you are first starting out. I personally started out with a cheap electric mixer from a local store and recently upgraded to a beautiful Kenwood KMix. These machines are fantastic as you can make so many things with it, from cupcakes to bread.


Baking tins – This includes cake tins, loaf tins and muffin tins and can also be personal choice, but I have found that metal baking tins are the best type to use and to save money right from the start, don’t bother buying silicone baking tins. Silicone molds are great for recipes that require refrigeration, but I don’t enjoy using them for oven baked goods. There isn’t a big price difference between silicone and metal tins, but if you decide to buy silicone first, I can assure you that you will end up going for the metal tins after a while. They conduct heat much better and last longer. I love these metal cake tins, this loaf tin and these cupcake/muffin tins for cakes, banana bread and muffin recipes.


Spatulas – I have quite the collection of spatulas in my kitchen and they range from not very expensive to a bit more expensive. As with the mixers, you can start off with some very basic spatula’s and as you bake more and more, you can discover what type of spatula you prefer. Such as, wooden handle or plastic, large spatula or smaller, firmer or softer. There are many out there so it’s great to try out a few as you go and then stick to the ones you like best. I recommend a medium to firm silicone spatula such as these Wilton Spatula’s.

Whisks – you can pick up a whisk anywhere, but personally I don’t like the ones that collect water in the handle when washed, because there are spaces around the metal where the water can get in and they eventually rust or while you are whisking ingredients the water is trickling out and spoiling your dishes. I also like having 2 different ones, so a normal metal one and a silicone one for those pots that you don’t want to scratch. This metal OXO Whisk and silicone OXO Whisk is my favorite here.

Mixing bowls – these are another very personal choice, but again I recommend having a variety, such as different materials and sizes. I really like having about 2 small glass and 2 small metal bowls and then 1 large glass and 1 large metal bowl. This should be enough for most recipes. I use these stainless steel mixing bowls and these glass bowls available on amazon.

Sieve – If you’re into baking cakes, cupcakes and making frostings, then you definitely need a sieve. There are many to choose from, but I prefer to stick to one kind and that is the metal sieve with metal handle. The ones that you have to pull the handle to turn the arms at the bottom are a huge waste of time. The ingredients get stuck in the bottom and eventually blocks the little arms from doing their job, so don’t even bother with these. This set of sieves is all you need and they come in 3 sizes and are really affordable.

Measuring Cups & spoons – these are one essential that you definitely cannot go without! There are so, so many different ones to choose from, but I would suggest a matching set that are durable and will last. Such as these cups and these spoons. Plain and simple, yet long lasting.

Baking paper – I think I use baking (parchment) paper for almost everything that I bake. From cakes, to bread, to cookies, you need a couple of rolls of these in your kitchen. I usually buy some from the store or you can get some Baking Paper here on amazon.


Piping bags & tips – I saved the best for last!! I cannot go without some disposable piping bags and piping tips in my kitchen. I am still collecting piping tips and they’re always exciting to play around with and find which ones you like best, but I started with this Wilton’s Piping Kit for beginners to get going and built up a collection from there.

I really hope that you find this article helpful and that you enjoy your baking journey with all these exciting tools!

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VANILLA CAKE

A delicate, sponge cake that can be made to suit your taste buds! Add vanilla or another flavoring and top with any frosting of your choice! This really is a universal recipe that you can bake anytime and for any occasion.

SOFT AND DELICIOUS CINNAMON ROLLS

If you’re looking for an easy, soft and fluffy dough recipe, look no further! I have it right here for you! This dough recipe can be made in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and doesn’t need to be kneaded. You can make cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls or bread out of this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • For the dough:
    • 600g Flour (Type65)
    • 10g Active Dry Yeast
    • 10g Salt
    • 50g White Sugar
    • 200g Butter (unsalted & softened)
    • 200g Milk
    • 2 Eggs
  • For the filling:
    • 150g Butter (unsalted & softened)
    • 250g Brown Sugar
    • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • For the glaze:
    • 1½ cups Powdered (icing) Sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Butter (soft)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 4 tablespoons Milk

HOW TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS FROM SCRATCH

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the milk, eggs, yeast, flour, salt, sugar and butter. Using the dough hook, mix all the ingredients together on a low speed. Once all the ingredients are combined, turn the speed up to medium and allow the dough to mix for about 8-10 minutes. The dough should come aside cleanly from the side of the bowl once it is ready.

Transfer the dough to a large, clean mixing bowl that is coated with a little flour and cover with cling film or clean tea towel. Allow your dough to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once it has doubled in size, lightly flour your surface and roll the dough out into a large rectangular shape. The dough should measure about 30cm x 42cm.

For the filling mix the butter, sugar and cinnamon together with an electric mixer or a whisk and spread it onto the dough. Starting with the longer side, roll the dough by slowly pushing the dough forward onto itself and in the end, you should end up with a long, log type dough roll. Using a sharp knife or a pastry scraper, divide the dough into either 12 large or 24 small even rolls.

Place the dough rolls evenly into a baking tray, leaving some space in between each roll and allow to rise again for 20-30 minutes. At this stage you can preheat your oven to 190°C/370°F. Prepare the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk until you have a pouring liquid consistency.

Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes (depending on their size), but you will know that they are ready once the tops have turned a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and pour over the prepared glaze while they are hot.

LEMON MERINGUE PIE

A quick and easy version of a traditional Lemon Meringue Pie, this recipe uses condensed milk and a biscuit base for a tasty, yet effortless tart!

HOW TO MAKE A LEMON MERINGUE PIE (TART)

  • 200g Graham Crackers/Tea Biscuits
  • 100g Melted Butter
  • 1 can (385g) Condensed Milk
  • 3 Medium sized Lemons (½ cup lemon juice) Keep 1 teaspoon of lemon juice aside for the meringue
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150ml (about ½ cup) White sugar

For the biscuit base: Finely chop the biscuits and mix together with the melted butter. Place the biscuit mixture into a baking tart dish and press it down and around the sides. Put it in the fridge to chill while you make the filling. You can now preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.

For the filling: In a mixing bowl, add the condensed milk, lemon juice and egg yolks. Add the lemon juice gradually and mix well. Pour this mixture into your prepared biscuit base. Bake for 10 minutes, while you prepare the meringue topping.

For the Meringue: Place your egg whites into a mixing bowl and begin beating them on medium speed. Add your lemon juice and continue beating. Start gradually adding the sugar a little at a time and mix well after each addition. Your meringue is ready when it looks glossy and you have soft peaks.

Once the filling has baked for 10 minutes, remove it from the oven and immediately add the meringue on top. (You can watch the video to see how I achieve the peaks on the meringue). Turn the oven temperature down to 150°C/300°F and bake the meringue for 20-30 minutes or until your meringue hardens and turns a golden brown. Allow it to cool completely before serving.

PAVLOVA

If you’ve never heard of or made Pavlova, it is basically a beautiful, glossy French Meringue that is baked in the oven at low heat and dries out on the outside to form a crispy shell, but stays chewy on the inside. It is then filled with whipped cream and fresh fruits of your choice! Acidic or more sour/bitter fruits are usually used, as it balances out the sweetness of the meringue and makes for a delicious, fresh Summer Dessert!

I know you’re ready to get baking, so here is the recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • Egg whites of 4 eggs
  • 250g White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon White Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Fresh Cream (about 220-250ml)
  • Fresh Fruits

That’s it!! You probably have all these ingredients in your pantry or kitchen cupboards at any time, so why not give this recipe a try!

HOW TO MAKE PAVLOVA

So, there is a ‘normal’ pavlova, which is when you use all of the meringue mixture to form a big round bowl-like shape and you place the cream and fruit inside, but I much prefer making individual pavlova’s, also known as Pavlova Nests, so that each person can have their own little dessert to enjoy all by themselves!

Pre heat the oven to 150°C/300°F and prepare your baking tray by lining it with baking paper.

Start by separating your egg whites and place them into a mixing bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer. You can use a hand mixer or stand mixer to achieve this recipe.

Start beating the egg whites until they become frothy and add a teaspoon of white vinegar and continue beating until they reach ‘soft peak’ stage. Gradually add the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time and mix for about 30 seconds before adding more of the sugar. Repeat this until all the sugar has been added. The meringue should be at ‘stiff peaks’ now.

Add the cornflour and vanilla extract and beat again until they are quite a stiff consistency.

To form the nests, use two tablespoons to transfer the meringue to the baking tray and press down with the back of the spoon to form a hollow in the centre.

Bake for 1 hour or until it is dry to touch, then turn the oven off and let the meringues cool down completely in the oven. This lets them dry out and become really crispy on the outside. The centre will stay ‘chewy’. It is also normal for them to crack, it’s all about the rustic look here!

While the meringue bakes, prepare your whipped cream, you can add as much as you like, but try to balance out the fruit and cream ratio. I used 220ml of cream for 4 pavlova’s. Cut up your fruit and once the meringues have completely cooled, you can put everything together.

Place your meringue on the plate it will be served on, spoon some cream on top and place your fresh fruit on top of the cream.

This recipe is so easy, but your guests will be wowed every time! It’s a simple dessert with a big impact, not only on your guests, but on your taste buds too!!

MILK TART – MELKTERT

Milk Tart, or as it is traditionally called in South Africa, Melktert (in Afrikaans), is a typical dessert and most, if not all South Africans know this sweet, custard dessert.

Melktert (/ˈmɛlktɛrt/Afrikaans for milk tart) is a South African dessert consisting of a sweet pastry crust containing a custard filling made from milkfloursugar and eggs. The ratio of milk to eggs is higher than in a traditional Portuguese custard tart or Chinese egg tart, resulting in a lighter texture and a stronger milk flavour. The dessert originated among settlers at the Dutch Cape Colony in the 17th century, and is believed to have developed from the Dutch mattentaart, a cheesecake-like dessert. Some recipes require that the custard be baked in the crust, while others call for the custard to be prepared in advance, and then placed in the crust before serving. Cinnamon is often sprinkled over its surface, and the milk used for the custard may also be infused with a cinnamon stick before preparation. Melktert may either be served chilled or at room temperature. – Information from WIKIPEDIA

INGREDIENTS

  • For the Pastry:
    • 28g (2 tablespoons) Butter, cold
    • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
    • 1 Egg
    • 3/4 cup Self-Raising Flour
    • Pinch of Salt
  • For the Filling:
    • 2 cups Milk
    • 2 Eggs (separated)
    • ½ cup White Sugar
    • ¼ cup Cake Flour
    • ¼ cup Corn Flour (Maïzena)
    • Pinch of Salt
    • 28g (2 tablespoons) Butter
    • 5ml (1 teaspoon) Vanilla Extract
    • Ground Cinnamon

HOW TO MAKE MILK TART (MELKTERT)

Preheat your oven to 180°C/355°F and grease a 24cm tart dish with some non-stick spray or butter.

How to make the pastry: Using either a food processor or an electric mixer, add all the ingredients for the pastry and mix until it forms a crumb texture. Transfer the dough mixture to the tart dish and press it in to cover the surface. Place it in the fridge to chill while preparing the filling.

How to make the filling: Heat the milk in a pot (don’t boil it). In a mixing bowl, beat/whisk the yolks and sugar until light and creamy and then add the flours and salt.

This mixture will be thick, but add a few tablespoons of the heated milk to it and mix together. Pour this mixture back into the heated milk and bring to the boil. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract.

In a clean bowl, add the egg whites and using a whisk or electric beater, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold them gently into the custard mixture and pour this mixture into your prepared tart dish.

Generously sprinkle the top with the ground cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven once baked and allow to cool outside (not in the fridge). Once completely cooled, you can place it in the fridge.