Tonight was the ‘night before birthday party’ cake creation time!
Earlier in the afternoon I made a basic butter cake, one that I had made before and knew I could easily shape into the required walkie-talkie shape.
Even so I was a little daunted, concerned that in the end the cake would just look like a big black blob of icing. But the rolled black fondant worked a treat, together with a few embellishments. I added hand grips on the side made out of small sausages of extra fondant, a speaker/mic made out of an extra layer of fondant studded with holes made with a fine skewer, buttons above the speaker made with simple smarties, and a ‘screen’ created using some black and white fondant combined to create a grey icing. For the antenna I simply rolled a piece of fondant into the approximate shape and then cut an angled end for the top. I then squared off the roll to make it look as realistic as possible.
And the best thing is the cake got the thumbs up from the birthday boy. It was just what he was imagining! Phew! Sometimes I think my kids have expectations that way out weigh my abilities!
I have found the most deliciously dense little cake recipe, served coated in cinnamon sugar. The best part is they freeze well, and are really quite versatile…read on!
Cinnamon Sugar-Coated Maple Apple Cakes
from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 44
2.5 cups (375g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup (175g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup
6 red apples, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the flour and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs and apple and mix well to combine. Spoon into 12 well-greased one cup-capacity (250ml) Bundt tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Turn out immediately. Place the extra cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Coat the cakes in sugar and cool. Makes 12.
Now for the explanation on their versatility. I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago for the Dessert Tasting plate at our Dinner Party. The Cinnamon Sugar-Coated Maple Apple Cakes shared the plate with Lemon Posset, Passionfruit Cheesecake Slice with Raspberry Coulis, Lemon Sorbet and Vanilla Wafers.
But…I’ve also had a little stash in the freezer that I pop into the kids lunch boxes or warm up and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar to enjoy with a cup of tea. This is a recipe well worth trying.
Birthday cake number two was unveiled today…
And, when it was cut…what an impact it made.
I found this amazing cake on Anna Spiro’s gorgeous design blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things. It was originally posted on Count It All Joy, where you can find very detailed step-by-step instructions on how to make this. This was not a hard cake to make but it took me a whole lot longer than I was expecting! I guess the sheer size of this meant a whole lot of cooking and a whole lot of icing. In hindsight I simply didn’t allocate enough time. I cooked the cakes yesterday when I had an hour before I had to leave for a party. It took an hour and a half from start to last cake being cooked. Opps…a little late for the party. Then again this morning when I was icing the cake I didn’t anticipate that it would take close to an hour to make the icing, sandwich each layer together, then finish the whole cake with a crumb coat followed by a final layer of icing. But the results and the ‘ahhhh!’ when the cake was cut made it all worth while. Hamish loved the gorgeous rainbow layers.
I only ever post the recipes that I’ve made and really loved, so I’m sure you’re used to reading me say ‘this was really delicious’, or ‘super easy and super tasty’. But…please believe me…this Pear & Almond Upside Down Cake is one to try. It is absolutely delicious!
Pear & Almond Upside Down Cake
based on recipe from taste.com.au
- 180g brown sugar
- 270g unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ripe pears (such as beurre bosc), peeled, cored, cut into 2cm-thick slices
- 300g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 80g almond meal
- 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 180°C (not fan-forced).
- Grease and line base of a 26cm cake pan with baking paper. I only had a 20cm cake pan, so my cake was a slightly different shape.
- Sprinkle brown sugar over base.
- Melt 100g butter and pour over brown sugar.
- Top with overlapping pear slices.
- Place remaining butter and caster sugar in bowl of electric mixer, beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and spices, fold into egg mixture with almond meal.
- Stir in buttermilk. (If you don’t have buttermilk you can easily make it by mixing 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and leaving it to sit for five minutes before using). Mix to form a smooth batter. Carefully spread over pears.
- Place pan on a baking tray, cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Cover loosely with foil if cake begins to brown too quickly. Remove and cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around sides of pan and carefully invert onto a plate.
The original recipe suggests serving this with cream, but I served it warm with a rich vanilla ice-cream and it was just perfect.
In honour of Pink Ribbon Day today, and my dear friend Rachel popping over for morning tea, I whipped up a batch of Pretty Sour-cream Cupcakes. That’s actually the name of the recipe, as opposed to a description of how I thought they looked. But they did indeed look quite pretty and they tasted great – if I do say so myself!
And, I got to use my brand new cake dome. Isn’t it gorgeous! I picked it up at Peter Baker Finch over the weekend.
If you aren’t, or haven’t already attended a Pink Ribbon event you can donate money and purchase some really lovely pink things via the Pink Ribbon Shop website.
A few weeks back my Mum gave me a hand written recipe book that used to belong to my grandmother (in the guise of an old school exercise book).
In there I found a recipe for a date loaf, including a little note to highlight that it was ‘good’!
I had heard my Mum talk about this date loaf that my Nan would often make for her and her brother and sister to enjoy after school.
Infact, I even had in my baking tin collection the loaf tin, the metal ‘lid’ and rock that my grandmother used to make the perfect flat date loaf.
I simply had to give the recipe a go. It was very simple and tastes quite delicious. Being the sentimental gal that I am I enjoyed it with a cup of tea using the cup, saucer and plate that was my Nan’s.
Best wishes to my gorgeous sister, Sharon, on her birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day! Enjoy the cake.
Classic Chocolate Cake
from Marie Claire Kitchen
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 23cm springform tin (I used a silicon bundt pan). Beat 250g softened unsalted butter and 225g caster sugar in a mixing bowl. Add 3 lightly beaten eggs, 125ml milk and 1 tsp natural vanilla extract. Stir to combine and then fold in 4 tblsp dark cocoa powder, 70g ground almond and 150g self-raising flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Turn out the cake onto a wire rack to cool. When the cake has cooled, transfer it to a serving plate and drizzle with chocolate icing. Serves 10.
Melt 200g dark eating chocolate with 150ml cream in a small saucepan over low heat. When the chocolate and cream have combined to form a smooth sauce, remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the icing is just warm, drizzle it over the cake.
I simply couldn’t resist buying this mini bundt cake pan when I saw it on the weekend. I have a full sized version that I use all the time.
Today I tested it out with Jill Dupleix’s Chocolate Cup Cake recipe, from Totally Simple Food. I was a little nervous that the cakes would stick to the gorgeous detail in the base of each pan. I sprayed the pans with a little oil before using my Pancake Pen to fill them with the cake batter.
The end result was delicious and quite cute.
Today we went to visit my friend Nan, and her friend Danielle. Between us there were six kids so I decided to make a cake that was a favourite when I was a child – a Neapolitan Cake.
This recipe is from the July 2010 edition of Masterchef magazine, but is also available online. I changed it slightly and divided the batter into three to make a more traditional marble – pink, chocolate and vanilla. Yum. Just add a few tablespoons of cocoa to the batter to create the chocolate batter.
Spoon the three batters into the cake pan & swirl with a skewer
The finished product
My family loves fruit cake. I always make one at Christmas, and then once or twice during the year. I have one recipe that I use every time – it’s delicious and always works out perfectly. But – I found a recipe in ‘Totally Simple Food’ for Little Fruit Cakes, so thought I’d try it out. They are basically mini fruit cakes cooked in a muffin pan. The recipe is sooooo simple and they taste very good.
The recipe calls for sultanas and raisins but I used what I had on hand: sultanas, craisins, dried apricots, glace cherries and goji berries.