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.
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 next cake was a small cake order I received. Well, small was the operative word until a last minute change of heart moved it closer into regular cake territory. This customer had recently moved to Aus with her husband and was celebrating her husbands birthday for the first time here together. She said she wanted something special, a homemade ‘Aussie’ cake.
We went over a few ideas and settled on a simple naked sponge with a smattering of chocolate ganache.
A quick little post this week to show you guys a cake I made for a 5th birthday. The brief was for a TMNT cake with just the little heads poking through the manhole. The other request was to not make the cake too sweet. I was honestly more nervous about this part than anything. You can’t simply cut out the sugar without changing the texture of the cake, and then there’s all that icing!
I decided to drop the sugar amount by about 15% and substituted half the caster sugar with raw sugar. They wanted a red velvet cake so I used an oil-based blended recipe like this one to give me more flexibility with the sugar amount.
Spring is undoubtedly my favourite time of the year. It would be enough that the weather is generally just perfect so much of the time. But the way the entire landscape transforms into an array of colourful blooms is just the icing on the proverbial cake. Its all the motivation I need to get out into the garden and start working.
The house my partner and I recently moved into has two large magnolia trees in the garden. As someone who is pretty passionate about having a predominantly Australian native garden I had considered replacing them. But the first spring they bloomed was all the convincing I needed to let them stay. They couple of weeks of colour the bring is more than worth it. This year when it came time for them to bloom I was inspired to use it in a cake somehow.
“Don’t go to too much trouble.” These were the instructions handed to me when it came time to make a Father’s Day cake. Dark chocolate, light, fruity, and not too much trouble. I’ve never liked easy. But my favourite thing about mousse cakes is that they look a lot more complex than the actually are. The same can be said for mirror glaze. Most of this cake just involves pouring things on other things, but it looks like so much more than that.
The renovations at my rental are finally coming toward an end. I’ve spent much of it being without a kitchen or a computer or much of any of my belongings really. Half of my house is still in boxes, and with full time work spare time is definitely at a minimum. Which has meant I’ve been doing little to no cooking most nights, let alone anything fancy. I’ve definitely been missing it, and missing having usable space. But we’re slowly reclaiming the house and getting everything into some semblance of order. I have some usable spaces now, and no more yellow benches and green walls — massive yay! I’m definitely going to try to spend more time in my [new — more yay!] kitchen and in turn make more time for sharing it with you guys.
Speaking of work, though, over the last few months we’ve had a number of people being shifted to new locations or moving on to other things. We’ve celebrated last days with sadness and, of course, with cake. I’m fairly sure I’m getting a ‘the cake lady’ reputation now. A few weeks ago I made a ferrero rocher cake and had a pile of biscuit crumbs and hazelnuts that needed to be used up. The easiest thing to use a pile of biscuit crumbs on is definitely cheesecake (if not truffles), and the hazelnut definitely leant itself to another favourite: nutella.
The fact that it’s endlessly simple definitely helped in the decision making process. You don’t even need to bother with gelatine for this one!
The owners of my rental decided it was time to renovate. After a few decades of wear and tear by its various inhabitants, they probably figured it what cheaper than maintaining it when things break down. While it’s exciting, it also means I have to move out without actually moving out. First on this hit list was the kitchen, so everything went into boxes. Food. Utensils. Pots. Pans. Platters. Cups. The lot of it had to be gone. We were assured it would take a week, so we didn’t think it would be too bad. A few months later they called us to say they’d start work. Sigh.
You guys might know from all the stuff you’ve seen me cook that I have a ridiculous amount of things in my kitchen. And you ain’t seen the half of it. Being without them all, and at times a kitchen has been a nightmare. But it’ll definitely be worth it in the end (and I can say bye to the gross yellow bench-tops that have appeared in all my blog photos since the beginning — ew!). But there’s definitely been little to no cooking during the process.
So in the interim I’ll show you this little cake I made for Cameron’s birthday.
Cam’s a big Lakers fan. I kinda am too, mostly because when I was a kid I decided I loved purple and gold together so they were the team for me. I’ve always been much more of an AFL fan than an NBA fan, mostly cause following a sport conducted on the other side of the planet is too much effort for me. Not so for Cameron, who [I leaned quickly after we met] passionately follows the sport at least as much as, if not more than, AFL. Through him I came to love the Lakers more. Now we play the NBA 2k Sports games on the Wii/PS4 and spend even more time with the Lakers. At least I do. Cam likes choosing a different team every time, whereas I always choose the ’91 Lakers. Magic Johnson is absolutely my favourite player of all time, and going by the posters all over Cam’s bedroom he’s definitely his favourite as well. So when it was time for Cam to celebrate his 32nd birthday, we both thought it would definitely be fitting if the Mr. 32 himself graced the cake.