It’s nearly that time of year again. Now, Cam and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s, especially because our anniversary is 2 days later. But I do love the excuse to bake to a theme. Last year I made a set of cookie embossers in the style of Love Hearts, known elsewhere as Sweet Hearts or Conversation Hearts. The embossers are still available for purchase here.
Last year I made cookies with them. This year I decided to switch it up by using them to make little cupcake toppers instead!
This week is a cake I made for a young boy celebrating his 8th birthday. The initial brief was for a replica of the cake on the cover of Marshmello’s Light It Up single. As we discussed it, though, their’s son’s love for Minecraft came up and I was asked to incorporate the TNT, and then some other Minecraft elements. It evolved into the original cake pixelated into the Minecraft style.
To compliment the cake I 3D modelled and printed a Minecraft cake topper. I’ve since made them available to purchase on my Etsy store. So if you need one customised for yourself or a loved one, pick it up here.
Inside the cake was a little different. It needed to be not only a rainbow banana cake, but dairy free and low sugar. It’s a request I get often enough when catering for young birthday parties due to an idea that all the sugary foods send the kids a little hyper. [A little science trivia for you: it’s the excitement of the event that sends the little ones so loopy. Both sugar and food colouring have no effect on hyperactive behaviour!] It’s also steeped in concern for maintaining a healthier diet at a young age, too.
The issue when it comes to baking is that sugar is an important part of the leavening process in dry flour mixes. Simply cutting out the sugar can make for one flat cake! Combining that with dairy-free is a challenge, but one I’m used to. So for this one I adjusted my favourite vegan cake recipe to get the right results.
Butterscotch is one of my absolute favourite flavours. Drizzle a good butterscotch sauce on practically any pudding and I’m there. But outside of puddings, it’s almost unheard of in cake form here. In fact, the first time I heard of it was quite some years ago when an Indian family commissioned a cake from me and requested it for the flavour. They told me that back home it was quite the common flavour and fairly standard in most bakeries. I remember the sweet aroma that filled my kitchen as it baked. I was so jealous that I couldn’t taste this one and swore I’d make it again for myself soon.
Here we are quite some years later and I’m finally making one!
Last post I mentioned those kind of posts where I’m mostly just showing you guys what I’ve been up to. This is one of those! When my cousin announced his first born’s first birthday party, I leapt at the chance to make the birthday cake. The proud parents had settled on a jungle-themed party. Not only is it a lot of fun to make a cake along with a theme, but hell yeah jungle theme! Any excuse to make a lion out of fondant. I used elements in the invitations and party decorations to inform the final design for the cake.
Along with making the cake I got to have some fun designing a personalised 3D printed cake topper along with it. I’m now offering this customisable design for sale in my Etsy store.
The bottom tier of the cake was made using my absolute favourite white chocolate mudcake recipe, and the top using my favourite chocolate mudcake recipe. Both recipes were also used for this cake and can be found there. Both cakes were also coated with the whipped chocolate ganache recipe seen there.
Something I’ve been working on alongside all the gaming props I’ve been 3D modelling are tools to help me in the kitchen. I started with cookie cutters and have been having a lot of fun putting them to use in a variety of ways, from the cookies themselves to using them in cake decorating. I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach it from a blogging perspective though. Sure, sometimes I’ll make a post just to show you guys a new cake I’ve done or something, but for cookies there’s always a recipe. And when it gets to actually cutting the dough it seemed a bit unfair to suddenly say “uh, now freehand cut out this thing I made myself a cookie cutter for”. So going forward I’m going to provide them for purchase from my Etsy store. You absolutely can freehand it if you prefer. But at least now if you want to replicate exactly how I did it, the option is there!
Of course I have to start with the pikachu cookies. Long time readers know my entire childhood was Nintendo. Not much has changed in my adulthood, including that Pokemon obsession. Only now with Pokemon Go I’ve finally been able to drag my fiance into it as well. He never really had the patience for the main games, but the mobile outdoorsey element of it has gotten him right on board. When Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee came out I was absolutely thrilled for this merger of two worlds: the main series of games combined with the more casual element of Pokemon Go. In the weeks leading up to it I made a bunch of Pokemon-themed baked goods in celebration. So yeah. For anyone who remembers when that was released, this post is a long time coming.
When you bake as much as I do, you have regular recipes you whip out for special occasions. Of course, I always ask for preferences among the group, but the answer is almost always ‘chocolate’. Chocolate is the ultimate crowd-pleaser, but there’s chocolate cakes and then there’s this. This is the fudgiest, richest mudcake I’ve ever had. It’s the kind of mudcake that makes me disappointed in other mudcakes. So when an occasion demands chocolate, oh boy do we bring the chocolate.
The best part is this cake is flourless, or gluten free. The cake itself is dairy free. This time I made a chocolate ganache for the top, but I’ve definitely used dairy free fudge recipes for the icing instead. I’ve even served it with no icing at all, cause this cake is delicious enough that it doesn’t need it. That makes it super versatile for occasions where you might need to cater for a range of dietary requirements.
This is a little recipe I turn to often when I’m looking for a dessert everyone can eat. I’ve shared a similar mousse before that I used in this Easter Cake, but this is a little version without the setting agent you can whip up in a hurry. Especially if you are serving this to someone who is vegetarian and don’t have the time to be trying to find agar-agar.
Now, while this recipe is great for handling dietary requirements, its also a great recipe if you’re looking for a healthier alternative. It is texturally different from standard chocolate mousse; without the whipped egg whites its going to be denser. But avocado does a wonderful job of bringing that light, creamy texture to the mousse. And no, it doesn’t taste like avocado!