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For My Birthday Girls: A Raspberry Rose Vanilla Cream Cake

Raspberry Rose Vanilla Birthday Cake

Two people I love are having a birthday this week and as much as I wanted to make something special for each of them, work decided to get in the way big time. Not complaining, just saying, and that’s why I am so late updating this week. Thus, I find myself asking them to share this Raspberry Rose Vanilla Cream Cake. I know they won’t mind because they already share so much. One is my wonderful mother and the other one is my (now) three year-old beautiful niece. Joyeux Anniversaire les filles!

It bugs me to say that I don’t see enough of my niece but a trip to France has not been quite feasible in the past couple of years. I do get to hear a lot about her and her personality through my mom’s reports and pictures my brother sends me. Her sister is just like me and she seems to be more like her dad. Oy! If they keep the ressemblance going, teenage years are going to suck for him big time because we were anything but pleasant to each other!!

Raspberry Rose Vanilla Birthday Cake

While I did make a batch of saffron macarons for my mother, (which we devoured for her, eheheh!) I wanted to find something they could both enjoy, albeit virtually. Not sure little C. is ready for saffron yet, although given how talented a cook my brother is, I would not be surprised!

My mother makes me think of apricots and lavender and she is as soft and delicious as a raspberry mousse tarts (Yes, my mom is delicious). My baby niece on the other hand makes me think of cream and vanilla. Soft as a rose too. A Raspberry Rose and Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake!

The cake is composed of almond dacquoise slightly enhanced with a bit of rose water and layered with layers of jelled raspberry puree and vanilla bean scented bavarian cream. I added a simple lemon glaze on top to bring forth all the flavors. While it may look complicated and time consuming it is not, I assure you. I made the dacquoise and the raspberry layers one evening and the bavarian cream and assembly the next day. The only difficult part would be to resist the bavarian cream before it actually makes it into the cake!

Raspberry Rose Vanilla Birthday Cake

A year ago: Cashew Gateau With Coffee Cardamom Mousse

Raspberry Rose Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake:

Serves 8 to 10

For the almond rose dacquoise:

1 1 /2 cups (160gr) almonds
1 cup (100gr) powdered sugar, unsifted
1/4 cup (30gr) all-purpose flour
6 egg whites
1/2 cup (100gr) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons rose water

For the raspberry layers:
2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
4 cups frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sugar

For the vanilla bavarian cream:
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons powdered gelatin, sprinkled over 1/4 cup water
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

Lemon glaze: (prepare once the cake is set)
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (15gr) water
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin sprinkled over 2 teaspoons water

Prepare the dacquoise:

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the oven.
In a food processor, pulse the almonds and the powdered sugar together until finely ground. Sift the flour over the mix and reserve. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar while whipping the egg whites on high speed until stiff. Add the almond-flour mixture to the egg whites and fold gently with a spatula. Halfway through the process, add the rose water and continue to fold until smooth. Try to keep as much air as possible.
Line two quarter sheet pans with parchment paper, coast slightly with cooking spray and divide the batter among both pans and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Let cool. Inver the pans onto a cutting board and slowly peel off the parchment paper.

Prepare the raspberry layers:
Line two quarter sheet pans with parchment paper.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and reserve.
In a large saucepan set over medium low heat, bring the raspberrries and sugar to a simmer and cook until the berries are completely thawed and reduced to a puree (smash them down with a spoon if necessary) and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the gelatin, stirring until it completely dissoved in the raspberries. Pour over the prepared sheet pans. Let cool to room temperature and then freeze until firm.

Prepare the Bavarian cream:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk and the vanilla bean (split open and scraped over the milk) to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon (as if making creme anglaise). Remove the vanilla bean. Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature.
Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base. Use immediately.

Prepare the lemon glaze:
In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the lemon juice, water and sugar to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is hot. Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatin. Stir until it is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

To assemble:
Line a 8×8 or 9×9-inch sqaure baking pan with enough plastic wrap to have about 2 inches overhanging on all sides (easier to pick up to unmold once the cake is set). By all means, use a square frame if you have one instead and build your cake directly in the frame set on a sheet pan.
Cut one of the dacquoise to fit inside the cake pan and place it at the bottom. Remove the raspberry jelly from the freezer and cut a piece to fit inside the cake pan also. Place it on top of the dacquoise layer. Pour a little less than half of the bavarian cream on top of the raspberry layer (you want to keep a little bavarian for the very top layer). Repeat with a layer of dacquoise, a layer of raspberry jelly, a little less than the other half of the bavarian cream. Use the remaining cake cut outs to form a final layer of dacquoise. Smooth the remaining bavarian cream in one thin layer on top. Refrigerate the cake until completely set, about 2 to 4 hours or overnight. Once it is firm, spread the lemon glaze on top. Place the cake back in the fridge and let it set for about 30 minutes. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. To plate, remove the cake from the pan by lifting all four corners of the plastic wrap and trim the edges.

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A Bowl Of Mush August 14, 2009 um 5:32 pm

This looks really beautiful!
I'm crazy for rose, this is so elegant and the flavors sound delicious!

Aysegul – Nysdelight August 14, 2009 um 5:33 pm

These looks sooo delicious & very pretty even to eat! Great shots!

Shauna from Piece of Cake August 14, 2009 um 5:36 pm

Ahh, this is so beautiful I feel like I'm floating after seeing the photos. Like that last part of "Gladiator" when Russell Crowe is skimming over the field. Especially bizarre since this is clearly not a cake for gladiator types.

A "lady cake" for the ages, indeed. Phenomenal work!

Anonymous August 14, 2009 um 5:36 pm

Beautiful as always!!!!

alice August 14, 2009 um 5:42 pm

These little cakes are so beautiful. I wish you lived in Seattle and had a bakery I could just eat your creations everyday.

mycookinghut August 14, 2009 um 6:05 pm

Beautifully presented!!

The Apron Dialogues August 14, 2009 um 6:07 pm

these are so beautiful! almost too pretty to eat (ALMOST)!!! I'd love to try these out…although I'm uncertain if I could pull it off!!

LizNoVeggieGirl August 14, 2009 um 6:13 pm

Happy birthday to your dear mother and niece!!!

square kitchen August 14, 2009 um 6:19 pm

That food looks stylish. You pulse the almonds in a food processor? I have to do that always, too, when I need almond powder except I visited france shortly before. Then I by some in an ordinary supermarket.

Kelsey B. August 14, 2009 um 6:24 pm

These look delicious and are photographed so beautifully! They almost look too good to eat, but I would manage somehow. 🙂

Erika August 14, 2009 um 6:26 pm

Fantastic!I can´t believe my eyes. All you make is so perfect that it seems to be impossible… For sure, I will make this for my daughter´s birthday.

Mumsy August 14, 2009 um 6:31 pm

Happy Birthday to your mom and niece. Such a lovely cake.

The Duo Dishes August 14, 2009 um 6:46 pm

As usual you've created a great dessert. Looks beautiful. And it's the perfect time to use fresh berries.

AngelaBeth August 14, 2009 um 6:52 pm

It's my birthday today too! So, I'll just pretend one of these yummy little pretties is for me! 😛

Anonymous August 14, 2009 um 6:52 pm


how long could these cakes last?

Char August 14, 2009 um 7:37 pm

so very pretty – too pretty to eat… well maybe I could force myself. LOL

Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) August 14, 2009 um 7:56 pm

I need to find some rose water!

oneordinaryday August 14, 2009 um 8:18 pm

These are positively stunning. Beautiful photos. Sorry your mom and niece won't get to eat them. But they do say we eat with our eyes first, right? I'm sure they'll love them.

Cindy August 14, 2009 um 8:57 pm

i don't think i ever wished it was my birthday more than now! so beautiful and delicate. happy birthday, twice!

Anonymous August 14, 2009 um 9:05 pm

i am feeling the need to run into the kitchen and make these now!

Rosa's Yummy Yums August 14, 2009 um 9:30 pm

So refined looking! What delicate flavors! A wonderful birthday treat!



Simones Kitchen August 14, 2009 um 9:45 pm

This looks so gorgeous Helen. And well, you might think it is not difficult but I am not sure that I would agree! Love to try though..:)

Julia @ Mélanger August 14, 2009 um 9:48 pm

What a lovely gesture! At least you can still celebrate the birthday of people you love, even if they are far away. 🙂 The cake looks so elegant and beautiful….naturally!

nicole August 14, 2009 um 10:05 pm

Oh, how feminine and elegant!

Ana Elizabeth August 14, 2009 um 10:19 pm

Hi! This is my first visit to your blog and I have to tell you, I love it! I love to cook and growing up, all I ever did were pastries and desserts. Im from Dominican Republic and my grandmother always used to make us rice pudding too! Its a staple dessert here, but we call it Arroz con Leche, just like you. =) Needless to say, Ill be returning often to gaze at your beautiful photos and surely, make a recipe or two. blessings,

Nutmeg Nanny August 14, 2009 um 11:03 pm

How beautiful! The flavors sound amazing. You mother niece are very lucky ladies:)

Madison Sanders August 14, 2009 um 11:16 pm

So beautiful! I hope they both have wonderful birthdays.

Amy I. August 14, 2009 um 11:25 pm

Helen, I don't comment often, but am a longtime admirer of your work. Just have to tell you how inspiring you are to me as a very novice baker. Your creations and your words are always so lovely and I enjoy learning something new from you with each post. Many thanks 🙂

Allison August 14, 2009 um 11:57 pm

My grandpa's 90th birthday is approaching and it is my job to make the birthday cake. Over the years he has become really fussy and eats like a tiny little bird. But he is very fond of sweet things and recently wowed us by devouring a large piece pf pavlova.
I think your recipe would be a much more refined version and I'm going to make it for him!!!

Maria August 15, 2009 um 12:03 am

Perfect dessert for a celebration!

shaz August 15, 2009 um 12:54 am

What an elegant creation for the lovely ladies in you rlife – hope they had great birthdays!

Poorni Pillai August 15, 2009 um 1:16 am

Happy birthday to your mom and niece! The cake is a work of art! Beautiful 🙂

Anonymous August 15, 2009 um 1:49 am

Beautiful pictures. I was just wondering if the flour proportions used for the almond rose dacquoise should read 1/4 cup or 930grams?

Amy J August 15, 2009 um 1:49 am

Wish I had some of this right now.

I know your bio said you give pastry classes but do you do photography classes as well?

www.DE HARINA Y DE August 15, 2009 um 4:27 am


Your baking and pictures are so inspiring. Congratulations!
I follow you from Monterrey, Mexico, Greetings!


Ali @ The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen August 15, 2009 um 4:39 am

I have no doubt that these lovely cakes are delicious but your photography is stunning!! Happy birthday to your mom and niece, I am sure they loved these. 🙂

m* August 15, 2009 um 4:47 am

This looks delicious! I also wanted to let you know that your Etsy link isn't working.

Nancy August 15, 2009 um 4:55 am

I always love to see your pictures, you inspire me to be a better pastry chef, Thanks, Nancy

Rachel August 15, 2009 um 5:00 am

How do you manage such neat perfect ;layers?

Helene August 15, 2009 um 5:02 am

m*: yes, I have been trying to fix it all evening and while it looks good on my end, it does not come out right. Need to sleep on it to figure it out!!

Heidi August 15, 2009 um 7:39 am

That is such a beautiful-looking cake, I love how the layers are so perfect!

Mowielicious August 15, 2009 um 8:03 am

Your food styling is absolute perfection and very inspiring – the lighting, compostion, colours, everything! I love it! Something to aim for with my blog =)

Sunshinemom August 15, 2009 um 9:51 am

You do sound every inch a pastry chef! Imagine conjuring images of people in terms of food:) and such nice images!

Happy birthday to the two!

Lovely pictures as always!

Maybe August 15, 2009 um 11:38 am

I must try this !!!

Jen Yu August 15, 2009 um 12:31 pm

Happy Birthday to Mom!! and to your niece 🙂 It's funny how birthdays are SUCH a big deal when you are young, and then they become less of a big deal, and then when you pass some magic number (I don't know, 70?) it becomes a big deal again! ha ha. Well, I think if anyone were lucky enough to have you in their life their birthday would indeed be something special, no? You spin magic with those mad pastry skillz, my dear. What I wouldn't give to poise a fork over one of those babies. I love that funky new dish too! xxoo

Shining Windows August 15, 2009 um 12:52 pm

perfect. your photography is wonderful here.

pigpigscorner August 15, 2009 um 1:59 pm

awwwww i just can't resist layer cakes! Such a nice birthday treat!

Heather August 15, 2009 um 2:06 pm

A beautiful Tartelette creation. I just love going through your blog – it's like an exquisite picture book.

Lori August 15, 2009 um 3:30 pm

What a lovely birthday cake.

I wish you could be around your niece and of course your whole family all the time.

Helene August 15, 2009 um 3:45 pm

Rachel: do you mean in the layering of each component or in the cutting of the cake?

Snooky doodle August 15, 2009 um 4:01 pm

Happy birthday to your mum and niece. i m sure they ll appreciate these . Delicious!!

Valérie August 15, 2009 um 4:15 pm

Splendid! The birthday girls are lucky to have you! 🙂

♥peachkins♥ August 15, 2009 um 4:46 pm

beautiful beautiful cake!

Tiffany Rieder August 15, 2009 um 6:36 pm

Hi there,
Beautiful as always! I have a styling question for you…How long will a croquembouche hold up on a set? I thought 2 days but I have been told 12 hours today. I would love your opinion.

The P & A Food Chronicles August 15, 2009 um 10:02 pm


Alexandra August 16, 2009 um 2:36 am

So pretty!
I, too was wondering about the beautifully consistant layering and cutting…

and by the way, I'm not the only one who thinks you 'float' over your compositions! 🙂

angela@spinachtiger August 16, 2009 um 2:54 am

I am not much of a sweet eater, but this took my eye, and is just up my alley. I recently learned to make the bavarian cream, so I could actually do this. Lucky mom and niece….virtually, of course, you are the lucky one who gets to eat this.

Helene August 16, 2009 um 3:35 am

Rachel & Alexandra: for the layering, there is no special tip really since the clean layers come from the fact that each element is stacked in a frame so there is very little chance to mess up. Just stack and go. It is easy to make them all nice and define since the raspberry layer is frozen, so just place it on top of the cake. For the barvarian, smooth it out with a spatula
To cut: a knife ran under hot water.

Jo August 16, 2009 um 7:05 am

Absolutel gorgeous and I do so love the flavours. Beautiful presentation and pictureas as always.

Manggy August 16, 2009 um 4:09 pm

Awesome. My laptop screen was gathering a bit of dust, but I licked it clean when I went for the pic of the cake and the gorgeous raspberries. Thanks!!!

Eléonora August 16, 2009 um 7:07 pm

On craque complètement…c'est certain qu'après le mariage de mon fils fin août, je me mets à fond à la pâtisserie…Bravo pour le nouveau look de ton site que j'apprécie et que j'ai mis dans mes liens..Une bonne semaine !!!!

ann ju August 16, 2009 um 7:24 pm

beautiful comme toujours….bise

Ozoz August 16, 2009 um 7:32 pm

Talk about pretty. My daughter just saw the piccies and said 'Mama can you scroll down so I can see the cakes'. Then she proceeded to say 'does it have the recipe?' (she's almost 6) and then finished with 'can we make it?'. Beautiful and reads delicious. Yum. Will let you know when I make it

RecipeGirl August 16, 2009 um 7:38 pm

The blog and the cakes… both look beautiful! Congrats!

Aimée August 16, 2009 um 7:41 pm

What a lovely new site! I want to hang out all day here.
Congratulations, Helen!

Engineer Baker August 16, 2009 um 8:32 pm

How absolutely lovely! Yet another flavor that I never use – rose just sounds so wonderful and light. I love the new look too, you look like you're settling into the self-hosting thing beautifully!

AtHomewithKimVallee August 16, 2009 um 8:37 pm

I want a piece! This is my type of cake.

Irina @ PastryPal August 16, 2009 um 9:26 pm

You could say some of the layers are for the mom and some of them are for the niece. 🙂 This is stunning and the flavors looks like they blend together beautifully. Layered tortes are a favorite

Andrea August 17, 2009 um 3:21 am

Oh my those look so yummy and pretty too!

Mercè August 17, 2009 um 3:23 am

Helen, Happy Birthday to your mom and niece!! These cakes look so perfect and yummy!! 🙂
Congratulations on the new look of your website! I love it! 🙂

Rachael Hutchings August 17, 2009 um 3:36 am

I LOVE the new look–it is gorgeous! Ok, I took extra precautions and had dinner BEFORE I read this post, and guess what? IT DIDN'T HELP! You still have me wanting to lick the screen! Yum! How do you get your edges so clean on your pieces? BTW, I've been thinking a lot about the topic of "inspiration" lately, and I just wanted to tell you thank you. You have been a huge source of inspiration for me over the past couple of years that I've been reading your blog.

Marc @ NoRecipes August 17, 2009 um 3:49 am

Looks fantastic, and I absolutely love the combination of rose and raspberry. I could see myself eating half the Bavarian cream straight out of the bowl.

Meeta K. Wolff August 17, 2009 um 7:01 am

what a wonderful way to wish your two girls a happy birthday! just the perfect cake helen. you are a gem!

Anonymous August 17, 2009 um 9:05 am

Happy birthday for your mother and for your niece! May they be happy for the rest of their lives!
Congrats for the new look. It is great.
The cake is gorgeous and I know it is tasty (I made something similar for New Year).

Deeba PAB August 17, 2009 um 10:30 am

Your new bloglook is beautiful Helen…ever so pretty & all TARTLETTE!Gorgeous cakes & stunning pictures…WOW!! happy birthday to your beautiful girls!

fanny August 17, 2009 um 11:10 am

Helene, these are so pretty. xx fanny

Anonymous August 17, 2009 um 1:31 pm

Could this be made a few days ahead and kept in the freezer?

Betsy August 17, 2009 um 6:32 pm

The picture was so beautiful that I had to make this yesterday. I brought it to work today (which may have been a problem – maybe it needs to be eaten immediately) and the cake layers were pretty soggy. Are there any particular tips you can offer?

I love your site and can't wait to try more of your recipes!

Helene August 17, 2009 um 6:53 pm

Betsy: not sure what you mean by soggy. The layers should set properly within 2-4 hours and be quite stiff given the amount of gelatin for each. The only thing I can think of is how long the drive to wrok was and if you left it out prior to eating.

Pei-Lin August 17, 2009 um 7:26 pm

Your styling and photography have blown me away!!!! Keep up the good work!!!

montague August 17, 2009 um 7:54 pm

a perfect summer cake…

TracyLH August 19, 2009 um 2:00 pm

Oh, I could just live in your photograhs! What an amazing talent you have for food styling, photography and, of course, for creating your wonderful treats! You are truly an inspiration!

Anonymous August 19, 2009 um 9:09 pm

These came out so lovely!

Anonymous August 19, 2009 um 9:09 pm

These came out so lovely!

JessicaLeighLaLou August 23, 2009 um 12:21 am

What a treat! I love this site.. you have such wonderful photos and recipes. 🙂

kellypea August 23, 2009 um 3:57 am

Fabulous Helen, and yes, I'd have trouble resisting that Barvarian creme before it made it on the cake. Love the "slices." So elegant….Book? Moving? Think of you often ; )

Amir Olavi August 24, 2009 um 11:33 am

I stumbled on your blog while checking my spelling with google, and just wanted to say I'm pretty much blown away. Amazing photography and beautiful food!

Katie August 24, 2009 um 3:59 pm

They look and sound divine and the presentation is stunning, as always. The perfect thing for a birthday celebration.

Keighley@thebellalife August 27, 2009 um 5:13 pm

When can I come over for dinner? Just let me know.

Lilibeth August 27, 2009 um 8:51 pm

Hi Helen,
I made this wonderful cake last night and it was delicious. However, my dacquoise ended up chewy after I cooled it. Would it have been better if I put it in the freezer while doing the bavarian cream to keep it crunchy or is the texture really supposed to be chewy because I know meringue is supposed to be crunchy, right? Thanks a lot for your help.

Helene August 27, 2009 um 9:39 pm

Lilibeth: to answer your last question: yes, meringue is crunchy but no dacquoise is not because it is not meringue. The cake is based on the addition of meringue to the batter but the almonds and flour make it a cake base. The layers are supposed to be soft as they are cake layers and not meringue layers. You could make this cake with just meringue but the bavarian would make it too moist too fast to remain crunchy. This is a traditional French cake base that we use a lot to build entremet cake with.
Hope that helps.

Lilibeth August 27, 2009 um 10:52 pm

Thank you so much Helen for explaining everything to me! I just love French pastries and I used to just buy them (very expensive here in the US) and I'm only learning how to make them now through you. I love your blog!

Ari October 17, 2009 um 9:34 pm

this is gorgeous! I will make it soon .. I love everything is french … the dacquoise I used it often at some cakes.

Jess October 20, 2009 um 3:54 am

What is the difference between powdered sugar and normal sugar? is it like icing sugar? Im planning to make this for my sis's bday 🙂

Helene October 20, 2009 um 4:08 am

Jess: yes, powdered sugar and icing sugar are the same.

Anonymous November 4, 2009 um 5:21 pm

you've got such a beautiful creations!! i never failed to visit your blogs each day. my idol and inspiration!! keep it up…

SurDin November 26, 2009 um 9:29 am


I've made this cake yesterday for my sister's birthday(funny, how everyone make it for birthdays following you). It came out really delicious but unfortunately not as beautiful because of some technical difficulties.
I also made a 3rd layer of the raspberry because it remained there and I couldn't just leave it.
I also learned here about the dacquoise. I'm already thinking how to combine it with other things.

Thank you very much.

Christopher S. January 2, 2010 um 9:14 pm

Written 01/02/2009:
I made this cake for x-mass 09' and cannot tell you how incredible it turned out. I wasn't able to plate it like you have in the picture or at all for that matter, as after running 4 hours late while making it I had to fore-go the presentation. It took me 5.5 hours to make it due to some unexpected distractions(my dog is old(hint,hint)). Anyway, the cake itself had this glazed, soft and chewy texture that blew me away. Next time I will filter the raspberry reduction to get the seeds out. They get stuck in my teeth and I hate biting down on them. I couldn't find rose water, but I did find dried rose petals, which I boiled in water and then steeped it in a french coffee filter/pot/maker or whatever and let cool in the freezer. I think that was actually better than rose water, as I could control the flavor, of which I intensified more so than most rose water you buy in the stores. I would suggest spraying some bakers spray on all parchment paper, as it was difficult peeling it away from everything I used it for. I'm actually going to make it again today. I'm going to cut the almonds and vanilla extract in half and use hazelnuts and hazelnut extract for the other half of the measurement. I think that will add a nice complexity(as if it isn't complex enough!). I will also make sure I plate it with an artistic creativity this time. Thank you so, so , SO much for this recipe! I really don't like cakes unless there are unique flavors involved and care is taken to ensure moistness and a light, but rich flavor spectrum. I RARELY add others recipes to my culinary arsenal, but this is one I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Some of your other recipes sound intriguing too. We share very similar tastes it seems. Again, thank you very much.

Christopher S.

the domestic mama April 11, 2011 um 5:38 pm

This was it! This was the recipe I was speaking of Sat night… I was mistaken with the strawberries, I think in my head I was going to use them. I'm glad it's still here! I'm going to attempt it very soon!

Marisa September 5, 2012 um 8:19 am

Hoy me encontré con tu blog y he visto cosas muy bonitas. Un abrazo fuerte.

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