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…

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…

Home-made Strawberry Jam

I have to admit to not having had a desire to make jam before. It requires a lot more fresh fruit than my heart, or my budget, can take. I kinda feel like I'd rather just eat the fruit. Perhaps this has got to do with the fact that I'm not a great fan of jam. We never had it in the house growing up. It's only my boyfriend's love of this breakfast condiment that has me trying and slowly acquiring a taste for it. But with all that said, I'd never had home made jam before.

This growing season, Australian farmers had a great yield. But due to all the supermarkets refusing to lower their prices to meet increased supply, they left them as normal and demand remained the same [and many farmers ended up having to throw away perfectly good fruit they couldn't sell]. It's one good reason why I don't get my fruit at the supermarket, instead I prefer to support local fruit shops. My local fruit shop was happy to adjust their prices, and in return we had a summer of budget fruit. They were constantly having sales to move large amounts of stock, but my jaw almost hit the floor when I saw them selling trays of 15 x 250g punnets of strawberries for $8. When I returned two weeks later and found 18 punnets for $5 I almost fainted. A far cry from the $3 a punnet the supermarkets were still selling them for.

Strawberries are one of my absolute favourite fruits, so I had no qualms using up over 8 kilos of them over the month. They featured in desserts and on them. We ate them with a fruit platter or with chocolate sauce for a bit of a treat. We had weeks of fresh strawberry smoothies or an occasional thick shake.

It also gave me chance to finally see what all this fuss over home made jam was about.

I have to admit to being a convert…

12 Days of Christmas :: 5 Golden Wreath Cookies

I couldn’t go past the fifth day of Christmas without making rings of some sort. Cookie wreaths seemed like the perfect option, but which recipe? I was tempted to make some piped shortbread, but after having made some Christmas shortbread already this year, it had to be something a bit different.

These Italian lemon biscuits were the perfect alternative.

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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 …

Cook Book Challenge: Week 30

This week is the final installment of the Cook Book Challenge taken from this mini-series (because I am a genius and did #10 weeks ago). Next week we shall return to your regularly-sized version. 

Gary Mehigan is another well-known Melbourne chef. He was well known before becoming a judge on MasterChef, but since has become a household name. He began his cheffing career in London before moving to Melbourne and opening a plethora of award-winning restaurants. This book is named after, and full of, my favourite types of eats: comfort food. It's particularly comforting during this cooler part of the year. Choosing a recipe was almost impossible.

Winter, or any time, warmers…