Saturday, November 14, 2009

noah's ark

Is it normal to have motherly feelings toward a cake you just made? As a friend was leaving with the Noah's ark cake I made for her daughter's first birthday I felt like a mum parting with her child for the first time (not that I have any idea what that feels like, but I think I just caught a glimpse!)

"Did you pack your socks?"

"Don't forget to change your underwear, and if anyone bullies you, call me!"

"...I love you!"

Since my sugarpie (emphasis on sugar) walked out the door, I've had my phone right next to me waiting for it to ring. I feel like an empty-nester.

Something tells me this is not normal. Somebody help!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I like to think I have a green thumb and a sweet tooth.

This is the best way to combine the two. You get to lick your fingers while you work the soil, it's perfect! When I saw these on Pioneer Woman's blog I just had to make them. Here's how it's done.
Cupcakes sitting on the bottom. I popped these in the freezer to get nice and cold.

Stick a straw into the middle of the cupcake, and then scoop your favorite ice-cream and press it down into the pot nice and firm.

Now just simply finish it off with some top soil (crushed Oreo cookies), and a flower, which you'll stick inside the straw.

And then sit back and enjoy the look of horror on your friends' faces as you proceed to enjoy your potted plant by the mouthful.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

not to be trifled with

If I had known how easy it was to make trifle I might have understood why it seemed to be a staple at all those potlucks in my years growing up. Now that I'm the one being asked to bring plates to potlucks I realize that to choose not to make trifle is like saying, "Sorry, I'd rather go and climb a big rock than sit back, put my feet up, and maybe even hop in the hot tub." You simply can't turn it down.

Sorry kids. You have a lifetime of trifle up ahead.

Here's how easy it is to hop in the tub: you'll need 1 angel food cake (please buy it from the store!), 1 pint of whipping cream (okay, if you want a walk in the park you can get the canned whip), custard (this is the only part you have to make, recipe below), and some chopped up fruit.

Slice the angel food cake into three layers. Layer the trifle with cake on the bottom, custard, whipped cream, and fruit. Keep layering until you reach the top of the bowl (using a glass bowl lets you see the layered effect). It's that simple!

Custard recipe:

Whisk 4 egg yolks, 1 quarter cup of sugar, 1 tablepoon of cornstarch, Vanilla essence, 1/2 cup of cream and 3/4 cup of milk. Mix together and cook on low heat until it thickens. Do not boil. Stir it until it is thick. When cooked put some plastic wrap on top of custard so that it touches the custard and it will stop it forming a skin. Cool in fridge.

(thanks to Toni Castlehow for the custard recipe!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

cream scones

You have to try these. I came across this Joy of Baking recipe and have not looked back. I have also not looked down, for fear it has affected my scale. But oh boy are these worth every ounce!

Sunday, May 31, 2009



Say g'day to Dino. I helped make him for a friend's boys' birthday party and what a lot of fun it was! You can find the step-by-step instructions for making him here but structurally, the cake basically consists of two 9-inch rounds, cut into the shapes below:

cutout cake

Since two 9-inch rounds probably wouldn't feed all the 45 guest who were coming, we decided to make some cupcakes as well.

cake and cupcakes

Okay Dino, say cheese! (Or whatever it is that cute dinosaur cakes say when they have their picture taken).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

cupcakes only a mother could love

Well, that's probably not true, I love them! Aren't they adorable?

We made these in kids club on Sunday. I should probably mention that our class is made up of five boys. I think this one is my favorite: that is one serious cupcake. Fit for a mom. Who likes black. A ninja mom.
I just love hanging out with these boys. They make me smile. Hope all you moms out there had a great mothers day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

smitten with rhubarb

rhubarb coffee cake

If you haven't yet baked with rhubarb here's a recipe that will have you running out to get some the moment it is in season every year from here on forth. Rhubarb is only available two months out of the year, so if you're thinking of using some this year you better elbow your way down that veggie aisle as soon as you can because it'll go quick! I discovered this recipe through Pioneer Woman, who recently hosted Smitten Kitchen for a baking session on her lovely ranch where they made some of SK's Big Crumb Cake. I gave it a go and will definitely be making this again. I doubled the recipe because I didn't think 6-8 pieces would last very long and I'm glad I did as it was a huge hit.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter fun!

I had the best time on Saturday putting together an afternoon of decorating (...and eating!) cupcakes for Easter with the women and kids at church. What I loved the most was seeing the creativity that comes from having a bunch of people all with different ideas and talents in one room. The women got their hands dirty with some spring gardens, thanks to a great link I found on Woman's Day. The kids were wishing veggies always tasted that good!

I thought the kids would quickly get bored and eat up the cupcakes in five seconds but they got right into decorating and made the most precious Easter baskets. Thanks to a post by Bakerella I got the idea to use Sour Punch straws as the handles for the baskets which worked perfectly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"lots of chocolate for me to eat..."

I found this delicious Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe over at Epicurious and have made it twice already in two weeks! As a chocoholic, this cake definitely meets my criteria for good chocolatey taste but the best thing about it is how easy it is to make, everything mixed in one bowl and popped in the oven. Here's the low down:

4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

2. Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.

3. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.

4. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate. Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.) (Recipe courtesy of

Sunday, March 8, 2009

cupcakes and pirates

-- I figured that's what it would take to keep the attention of five boisterous boys in my kids club class this morning. Never mind that this was a Sunday school and here I was encouraging them to draw their best skull and cross bones... but they didn't need much encouragement, it was a pretty gnarly line-up:
With some equally gnarly pirate grins to boot!
Of course, the best part was getting to frost and eat their checkers at the end :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

chocolate coconut clusters

I was inspired by my blogger friend at wee treats by tammy and decided to give these a try. They reminded me a lot of Romany Creams, a childhood favorite of mine in South Africa, which I have long wondered how to make, so I set to work. Once they came out the oven and surpassed an initial taste test or three, I used chocolate buttercream icing to stick some of them together. But even though my husband gave me the thumbs up it wasn't quite what I had remembered as a child. And then it dawned on me... melted chocolate, of course! That's what they used to stick the Romany Creams together. I can't wait to try that out!

Here's the recipe from Tammy's blog, which I encourage you to check out, for both baking and cooking inspiration -- she has some great easy dinner ideas which I've also been glad to find.

Chocolate Coconut Clusters (adapted from the old Edmonds cook book)

75g butter
75g sugar
1 egg
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 c coconut
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp milk

· Cream the sugar and butter and then beat in the egg.
· Stir in the dry ingredients and lastly the milk.
· Roll into balls and flatten with a fork.
· Bake at 180c (350F) for 15 minutes.
Once cold join together with chocolate butter cream icing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

6 out of fourteen...

Sounds like a bad test score, but at least this one had a delicious result :) I was inspired by Bakerella's fourteen-layer cake and couldn't resist using up the rest of a batch of batter to make a mini version of it. I tried to go for the fourteen layers but I suppose being mini sized it couldn't handle the height so I just went as high as it would let me go without feeling like it was about to tip over.

Being an experiment I tried doing the layers two ways, though I wish I had kept to just one way, upon opening up the cake later. In any event, it was a very fun and tasty experiment and I can't wait to try it again!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

be my cupcake valentine

Yay for long weekends and for Valentine's Day! I was finally able to do some baking this weekend and boy have I missed it. I shared the love, with some Valentine's cupcakes for the moms at Toddler Corner on Friday. To my surprise it was not the moms but the tots who fell head over heels in love with them and were able to each fit a whole cupcake, icing and all, inside their tiny little tummies!

Friday, January 2, 2009

new year cake balls

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this candy-coating. I made these for a New Year's Eve dinner with friends and I was pretty happy with how they turned out. The candy coating came out smoother by resting the cake ball on a teaspoon, and with another spoon pouring the melted chocolate on top. Tapping the teaspoon on the side of a bowl, the candy became coated evenly on all sides. I ended up coating the last few balls in cocoa because I ran out of time, but I think I like the contrast.