Earth Structural Layer Cake

A little while ago, my sister approached me with an idea. She’s doing an education degree, and her and her friends had to give a series of lessons on the geological sciences to a class of primary school kids. One of their lessons involved teaching the kids about the structure of the Earth. One of her friends came up with the idea of presenting a model of the Earth made out of cake. So my sister asked me if I could make a spherical cake with all the layers of the Earth inside it.

I told her I couldn’t do it. “How do you get a sphere inside a sphere inside a sphere?” I recall saying. “Oh yeah,” she replied, realising what it would involve.

I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about it. I don’t admit defeat. Ever. But especially not with cake. Nothing is impossible is pretty much my baking motto, so to say this cake was impossible left me feeling weird. There had to be a way. A way that didn’t involve carving or crumbing the cake. I kept mulling it over until I had a breakthrough.

It finally arrived…

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Spicy Rose Cupcakes

With Mother's Day just around the corner it's a time for making all things pretty and elegant. The first thing that comes to mind for this occasion is roses. The rose has been used as a symbol in most societies throughout human history. And it's little wonder. It's a beautiful, and varied, flower. Qualities that make them a lovely way to say thanks this Mother's Day.

The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose…

12 Days of Christmas :: 6 Bauble Cakes

The single most exciting part of Christmas for me is decorating the tree. Most of November consists of me waiting for any sign that's it's appropriate to bring the tree out. This year our neighbours put up their Christmas lights really early, and that was all I needed. I eagrly grabbed the tree and set about my favourite task.

No one else in my family is really into any artistic hobbies or creatively inclined, so even when I was quite young they were more than happy to let me decorate the tree. To everyone else, it seemed like a chore. It eventually became my 'thing' at Christmas. As a kid I'd become easily bothered if people tried to 'help', because it would inevitably result in them putting decorations in places that were just aesthetically horrible. These days, my boyfriend always helps me decorate the tree. While he jokes about how pedantic I am about it and teases me about my decorating 'rules', he shares the same creativity and an eye for detail that comes with his love for artistic hobbies. He's just a pedantic as me, and the only person I trust to help me with this onerous task. It was really evident this year when we were finding places for the last handful of baubles. My sister suggested a place for him to put the one in his hand and he replied with, "No, you can't put it there. There's another bauble of the same size and colour right there." That's my boy!

As I grew up, every year I'd have a different theme. Out decorations were a haphazard collection of brand new assortments of baubles alongside ratty old ones from the 80s. I'd pick and choose colours every year, with one of my favourites being red and gold. These days, my tree is always blue and silver. I've built up quite the collection of blue and silver decorations now, a collection large enough to fit the ridiculously over-sized Christmas tree. While blue and silver is my chosen poison these days, I miss the red and gold a little. I almost have no red and gold baubles left any more, so it was with immense joy that I returned to one of my favourite colour schemes with these edible versions.

Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…

Orange and Poppy Seed Cupcakes

During my thesis-induced baking hiatus, I did have a moment of weakness. I was missing baking a little too much, and so I returned to the kitchen to bake a quick treat. I told my desk buddies I’d bring in some cupcakes to help them through the last moments of Masters. Stress levels were so high in the office during those last few weeks that the tinest of morale boosts were received with thrice the usual enthusiasm, so really, it was for a good cause. It was also a good excuse to get away from the computer chair that was numbing my limbs and the computer screen that was ruining my eyes.

Excuses, excuses. A baking hiatus was never really going to last anyway…

Recipe +3 …

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

There are some things you never get too old to enjoy. The Cookie Monster is definitely pretty high up on that list. Be it nostalgia or just a love for the kooky blue guy, everyone seems to love him.

These cupcakes were a commission from my sister for her friend's birthday. My sister had been almost begging me for months to make these for her friend, but I kept saying it would depend on my research commitments as to whether I would have time. When my trapping schedule got delayed by a week, I found the time to fill the order, much to my sister's excitement.

There are a thousand versions of this guy in cupcake form. This is mine. 

C is for Cookie…

Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cakes

Last week while I was grocery shopping I was heading down my favourite aisle (baking!) when I passed a giant wall of Oreos at the end of the aisle. They were on sale for $1 each. Score. I'm sure normal peoples first thought would have been, "Yum, Oreos". Mine was, "Yay, cupcakes!" I grabbed a box of the strawberry ones and chucked them in the trolley.

It took me a while to decide on what I wanted to do. My initial thought had been cupcakes, perhaps buttercakes baked with fresh strawberries inside. But in the end I went for something a little different.

First you twist it…

Cherry Ladybirds and Honey Bees…

Yesterday was the Zoology Department's Annual Bake-off. It's a fundraiser run by the social club every year and attracts quite a list of bakers. I'm not sure how long it's been going for as I've only been a post-grad since last year, but my impression is that it's usually a free-for-all. Last year I made the Dragon's Lair Cake for it and walked away with both Judge's and People's Choice awards. But this year the theme was limited to cupcakes and cookies. 

It took me ages to think of something different to make. Eventually I came up with this idea for the bees, and everything fell into place from there.

Heaps of pictures of the cupcakes and chatter about the winners under the cut…