Chocolate Honeycomb Birthday Cake

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I do still exist! So does my baking πŸ™‚ and this time I have a funny story. When I was walking to work with this cake in a box to assemble later, I had the honeycomb in a plastic container on top of the box. It was 6am, pitch black, wind in a full blown gale. And what did I do? I walked past the windiest place I know in my city.

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And proceeded to watch as the box of honeycomb blew from my reach and onto the ground 5 metres away. After a split second of hope when the box didn’t open, it blew another metre and burst into a glorious explosion of caramelised sugar shards and that was that. The box and honeycomb blew into the distance and I could only laugh at my stupidity.

Two weeks ago I woke up and my first thought was ‘oh my gosh, I have a baking blog!’

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Yes, I forgot, completely 😦 I’m sure we all do that from time to time. Like we forget the keys or our passwords to how many ever accounts we seem to accumulate!

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Anyway, this cake was made as one of my first proper cake orders in a while for a ‘crunchie bar’ lover. It’s chocolate cake filled with honey buttercream (was meant to be filled with honey comb too but sadly my second batch hadn’t set when I was assembling) and topped with hokey pokey squiggles cookies, and honey comb and chocolate shards.
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I couldn’t find my nice piping tip a ziplock bag had to do. Any way, it turned out to be a very large cake indeed, with added height thanks to the toppings. Here’s roughly how to make it:

Chocolate Honeycomb Birthday Cake
Make 1.5 times this chocolate cake recipe here, making three layers
Make a batch of this honey comb
For the butter cream, whip 150g softened butter, 3 cups icing sugar, 3 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp (or more if needed) milk until light and super fluffy.

To assemble, spread butter cream on top of all the layers and stack them, then pipe some leftover buttercream around the top and arrange hokey pokey squiggles, honey comb shards and chocolate shards around the top. Voila! Makes a big cake….

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Pretzel Honey Cake

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“No one has ever made me a birthday cake before!”

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So this cake happened. Birthday cake is one of my favourite things in the world. Birthday cake deprivation is an issue close to my heart (although don’t worry, I am only half-serious in saying that, the world has bigger issues….).

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The guy who said this to me was from Germany, so I thought that maybe a vanilla and honey cake would be nice…. however somehow I put a tad too much baking soda into the ‘pretzel’ layers and it tasted like pretzels! I would attribute this to the ‘soda’ flavour that the caustic soda coating on pretzels gives them….

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The flavours work really nice together and the cake is nice and fluffy πŸ™‚ I made it a square because that was the only baking tin we had in our flat at the time….

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Anyway, here is the recipe πŸ™‚

Pretzel Birthday Cake
Cinnamon Layer:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1&1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/8 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1&1/2 cups water
Honey Layer:
3 tsp lemon juice
1 egg
3 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour
Icing:
100g butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line/grease three 20x20cm square tins (or you can use round tins if you prefer). You can start with either the pretzel or honey layers.

For the pretzel cakes:
Mix together the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Divide between two of the tins and bake for 15 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tin for about 20 mins then tip out into a wire rack to cool completely.

For honey layer:
Mix together the wet ingredients then add the dry and mix until combined. Repeat baking and cooling instructions from above.

When the layers are cool, you can choose to trim the edges like I did or just leave them.

For the frosting soften the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add half the icing sugar and the milk and vanilla essence, then the rest of the icing sugar. Keep beating until you have a gloriously fluffy frosting.

Spread the icing between the layers and stack on top of them.

 

 


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Coconut, Lime and Crabapple Cake {DF and GF}

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Birthday season has begun my friends! Happy early or belated birthday (whichever is closer) to any of you wonderful people reading this. If you have some photos of your birthday cake, please comment πŸ˜€
This means layer cakes and more layer cakes. Previous efforts include carrot cake, caramel cake, chocolate cake (white and milk), orange and cinnamon… the list goes on πŸ™‚

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These photos were snapped at work before the cake was cut and devoured πŸ™‚

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If you haven’t used coconut flour before, then try it out! You can probably make it at home too. It’s nut free, gluten free…. and it absorbs liquid like no flour I know. It tastes great too πŸ™‚

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Coconut and lime go amazing together, and nana gave me some home made jam from home grown crab apples. Amazing! Rose jelly, quince or pretty much any red-fruit jam would go well too.

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Coconut, Lime and Crabapple Cake {DF and GF}
Ingredients:
Make two circle cakes using this recipe. Make it using vegetable oil so it’s dairy free!
Add 2 tsp lime zest to the mix.
Also:
150g dairy free spread/butter replacer
400g icing sugar
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup crabapple jam
And:
Coconut flakes
Lime Zest

Instructions:
Whip the butter-replacer until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar a bit at a time, and the lime zest. Add a little dairy free milk if too thick. Whip until light and fluffy. Spread a layer on top of the bottom layer and fill with jam. Β Place on the top layer and spread on another layer of frosting. Whip a few teaspoons of jam into the rest of the frosting and pipe the pink frosting in rosettes. Decorate with lime zest and coconut.

Makes 1 cake which feeds about 12 people (well at least). You can make it the day before, as the cake keeps the moisture very well!

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Rose Syrup and Lemon Layer Cake

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It would appear that the angular shape of this cake matches the photos! I have none from an angled perspective, so I will leave you to imagine it, or even make the cake πŸ™‚ Even though there are a few elements, it’s actually all pretty simple and there are no fancy ingredients except for the rose syrup (bought accidentally for margaritas). You can even leave out the syrup or maybe use rose water.


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It’s actually quite light and fluffy, I tried to embrace my inner Japanese-patissier. Then I ruined that a little with the traditional buttercream, but hey, life is a work in progress.

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Lemon and Rose Syrup Layer Cake
Ingredients:
Sponge Cake:
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Frosting:
30g butter
1 cup icing sugar
Pinch of lemon zest, some lemon juice
Rose Cream Filling:
1/8 c cream
1 tbsp rose syrup
To decorate:
More syrup
Lemon Slices

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line a 20x20cm tin with baking paper.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until very light and pale. Sift the flour and baking powder on top and fold in very gently. When just combined, pour into the tin and bake for about 12 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool in the tin.

When cool, make the frosting. Beat the softened butter, icing sugar, lemon zest and about 2 tsp lemon juice until light and fluffy, adding a dash of milk if the icing is too thick.

Now whisk the cream and rose syrup until stiff, but not over beaten. We don’t want any butter now….

Unmold the cake and cut into three even layer, long rectangles. On top of two of the layers, spread on a thin layer of lemon frosting. On the last one, spread on the rose cream. Stack them, so that the rose layer in the middle. Pipe the remaining lemon frosting onto the top of the cake in whatever way you like, I did rows of dots. Arrange lemon slices on top and some dots of rose syrup if you like.

Makes 1x20cm long cake, which you can bake the day before and assemble on the day.

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{Vegan} Papaya Mini-Cakes

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What to do with those tinned fruits that you just can’t seem to use? In New Zealand, tinned papaya isn’t something you come by often… a bit like tinned water chestnuts and button mushrooms. They stray from canned peaches territory!

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It was full summer when I made these cuties. Sadly, it is not longer summer but I managed to finally write out the recipe properly! They bring back memories of sunshine that hasn’t been seen in a while πŸ™‚

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They are really nice as an afternoon treat, or they would go amazingly with just a plain vanilla ice cream. Superb in fact. Plus they look cute πŸ™‚

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Anyway, I hope all your baking adventures are going well! We are heading into birthday cake season, and mine started with a dairy and gluten free coconut, lime and crabapple cake for a good friend of mine. Recipe to come! Enjoy your week everyone πŸ™‚

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{Vegan} Papaya Cakes
Ingredients:
Cake:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
210g tinned papaya
1 Tbsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp water
Icing:
2 Tbsp dairy free spread
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To decorate:
Chopped fruit
Edible flower petals

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 20×20 cm diameter square cake tin.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and coconut. Drain the papaya, save a chunk for decorate and puree the rest. Add to the dry ingredients along with the vinegar, oil and 1/2 cup water. Whisk until smooth. If the mixture is a little thick (it shouldn’t be very thick like a butter cake batter, it should be thicker than pancakes though) then add some of the extra water. Pour into the tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tin.

Unmold the cake and cut into circles. I used about 6cm diameter rounds to make mine! Beat together the icing ingredients until light and fluffy. Spread a thin layer of icing on the tops of the cakes. Place the rest in a piping bag and pipe a cut wee ring of dots around the top of the cakes as a crowning glory. Stack them on top of each other and decorate with the fruit and petals. I sprinkled mine with some more coconut too.

Makes about 7 little cakes, and lasts well for two days after making.

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Lemon Meringue Layer Cake

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This cake was vegan before I slathered it with Italian meringue and stuffed it with Lemon Curd. Thankfully you can now easily make vegan meringue at home, so everyone can enjoy the delights of a lemon-meringue concoction πŸ™‚

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It was tart, sweet, with a rich crumb and… I couldn’t think of a joke to do with the ‘tart, sweet and rich’ comment so perhaps you will have to imagine your own, I’m a little tired today πŸ˜€

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I tried to do an ombre effect in the icing but I didn’t have food colouring and only used some leftover curd. It just thinned out the icing so it wasn’t very successful, so hopefully I will have another opportunity to try it again πŸ™‚

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It makes a damn big cake, so maybe half the recipe if you are baking for the sake of it πŸ™‚

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Lemon Meringue Gateau
Ingredients:
Cake:
3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp vinegar
6 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups water
Curd:
1 1/3 cups lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Italian Meringue:
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
3 egg whites

Instructions:
We begin with the lemon curd filling! Over low heat, mix the sugar and lemon juice until dissolved. When it has reduced slightly, mix in the egg yolks and lemon zest, and continue to stir over low heat until thickened further. When the curd coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line (or a smiley face!) without the curd filling it back in. Pour into a bowl or container and cool completely, then chill in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease two 20cm diameter cake tins.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and lemon zest until combined. Make a well in the centre and pour in the lemon juice, vinegar and oil. Pour the water on top and whisk or mix until there are no lumps left. Pour, divided as evenly as possible, into the tins and bake for about 25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tins.

Before you make the icing, you need to have everything ready! Cut the cakes into two layers and spread some lemon curd in between. Place the bottom layer on your cake serving plate or stand.

For the meringue, place your egg whites in a super clean bowl, either separate or as part of your mixer. Now in a saucepan, gently heat the sugar and water until 118 degrees Celsius, making sure there are no sugar crystals on the sides. When almost at the right temperature, start to whisk the egg whites until frothy. When the sugar syrup is ready to go, beat the egg whites on high and incorporate the sugar syrup in a thin stream at the side of the bowl. Continue to whip on high for a few more minutes until cooled. On top of the first layer of cake, spread a layer of meringue and place the other layer on top.

Working quickly, dump most of the meringue frosting on the top of the cake and start to spread it down the sides of the cake. I added a little bit of lemon curd to the rest of the frosting and spread it down the bottom of the cake, giving a bit of an ombre effect. This is optional, and for a more intense effect, use food colouring. Otherwise, the frosting becomes too liquid-y.

Leave to set and serve! It’s best eaten on the day it’s made, because the frosting can become sticky. Makes a large cake.

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Honey Tea Cakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Flaked Almonds

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What happens when you have 10kg of honey that’s too grainy and bitter to use for smoothies?
You try to use it up…. in as many ways as possible. Hence, honey tea cake time πŸ™‚ I gave them cute little crowns of flaked almonds because, well… it’s cute. And delicious!

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This is a melt and mix style of recipe, which makes six pretty large individual cakes. They didn’t even last until the next day, so I’m not sure if they are just as delicious the next day, but keep them in an airtight container and they should be fine πŸ™‚

Honey Tea Cakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Flaked Almonds
Ingredients:
Cakes:
150g butter
370g honey
3 eggs
245g flour
2 tsp baking powder
Frosting:
30g butter, softened
60g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:
Melt the butter and honey over very low heat until the butter is melted. Leave to cool for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease a 6-hole Texas-muffin pan.

Beat the eggs lightly and mix into the butter and honey mixture, followed by the flour and baking powder. Mix until combined and pour into the tray. Bake for 35 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the tins for a bit and then unmold and cool completely.

To frost, beat the frosting ingredients together until light and fluffy. Spread on top of the cakes and arrange the the flaked almonds around the edges.

Makes 6.

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Mini Vegan Walnut & Banana Cakes with Cinnamon Frosting

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I did some baking to use up some bananas. Again πŸ™‚
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These little cuties are small-batch, vegan, and delicious. They are even layered. Layered cakes are cute. My vegan-month is progressing interestingly, I cheated once so far…. when we went to lunch. Scrambled eggs were cheapest and also very delicious. I’m sorry.

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But hey! Ignore my cheating and indulge yourself instead πŸ˜€

Vegan Mini Banana Cakes with Cinnamon Frosting
Ingredients:
Cakes:
1 banana
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 baking powder
Cinnamon
2/3 cup flour
A couple chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp vegan milk
Icing:
1 TbspΒ vegan spread
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp vegan milk
Cinnamon
Walnuts to decorate

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease three 7cm-diameter ring molds and place on a greased tray.

Mash the banana into the brown sugar and oil, them mix in the baking soda and baking powder, as well as cinnamon. As little or as much as you like. Mix in the flour and walnuts gently then add the milk a little at a time to add moisture. Don’t over mix. Dip the bottom of the molds into the batter so they stick to the tray. Spoon evenly into to the ring molds and bake for about 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 mins, un-stick the bottoms and cool completely in the rings.

For the icing, mix together the icing ingredients. Again, cinnamon to taste. Un-mold the cakes and cut each into three layers. Spread some icing between each layer and on top. Decorate with walnuts.

Makes three cute wee cakes which are just as delicious the next day!


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Banana-Blueberry Cakes with Avocado Frosting

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Avocado is a superfood. Blueberries are a superfood. Banana and apple have always been drilled into us as part of a healthy diet. The result? Not so guilty pleasure! And it looks pretty too πŸ™‚

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If you haven’t made many mini cakes, I would recommend you try it! It’s quite easy to get hooked, I already made some carrot and boysenberry ones previously. All you need to so is bake one sheet cake and cut afterwards. You end up with some off cuts but they never seem to go to waste πŸ˜‰

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For once I went to town on the picture-taking. I hope they give a good idea of how I piped the frosting etc.

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Some of you may have worked with stevia before and be quite familiar with it. If you haven’t, and don’t have any in your wonderful kitchen haven, then you can use some honey and/or icing sugar to sweeten the avocado frosting.

 

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Aren’t edible flowers amazing, may I add……? Thumbs up nature. I also made some smaller ones without the flowers:

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They were just as delicious but they just have another look.

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Now that I have spammed you, I shall get onto the recipe!

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Blueberry-Banana Mini Cakes with Avocado Frosting
Ingredients:
Banana-Apple Cake:
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 small banana, mashed
1 apple, grated finely
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
Avocado frosting:
1 avocado
Dash lemon juice
1 tsp stevia (ground leaf), or to taste
To decorate:
1 small punnet blueberries (only a handful really)
Edible flowers
Desiccated coconut

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 20cm square cake tin.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl, mix the egg, banana, apple and vegetable oil. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and add the water a bit at a time until you have a thick but pourable batter. Pour into the tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out pretty much clean when inserted into the middle. Leave the cake to cool.

Take out of the tin and cut into the desired shapes you have in mind. As you can see, I make three larger cakes (about 10cm diameter and four little ones (about 4cm diameter).

Make the frosting; either use a little blender to blend the avocado, lemon juice and stevia or pass the avocado through a sieve until there are no lumps, and then add the lemon juice and stevia. Mix until combined. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag or plastic bag and snip the corner (Note: I found it best to have all the pieces of cake arranged on a tray and to ice each one, then decorate and decide which to put as the top/bottom after).

Now arrange the blueberries as the filling (on the larger cakes) and on top, followed by the edible flowers and sprinkle with the coconut. Place the top layers on the bottom layers and plate up if you are serving to a group. Or maybe you just want to impress yourself, go ahead!

Enjoy. Please. The frosting isn’t as good the next day, but the cake lasts amazingly, it’s just as good on the 3rd day as the 1st. I blame the fruity goodness.


H
ave a good week everyone πŸ™‚

 

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Fresh Strawberry Loaf

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If only strawberries were in season all year….

Thankfully there is room and time for cake no matter what time of the year it is.

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This is the final result of a punnet of almost-mushy strawberries. Enjoyed with Greek yogurt and peach compote!
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Plus this was all done in a mini-blender. Only measuring involved, no manual mixing!


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Enjoy everyone πŸ™‚

Strawberry Loaf Cake
Ingredients:
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup wheat flour

Instructions:
Grease a 10x20cm loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a mini blender, whizz up the strawberries to a pulp. Then add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until JUST combined. Pour into the tin and bake for 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool for about 10 minutes then take out of the tin and enjoy warm or cold. Or even toasted!