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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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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Summer Lemon Hummingbird Cake with Grape Compote Filling

Say hello to Carrot Cake’s friend, Hummingbird Cake πŸ™‚ (version two as a matter of fact, after the wintery version one)

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It was the first thing I baked when I got home for the holidays; being in a kitchen not too small and not too big was incredible! It took three steps to get the fridge, as opposed to the ten or zero I am used to.

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It’s decorated with a big long string of lemon zest, kaffir lime leaves and some fresh pansies. Also I used up some old grapes for the filling (‘waste not, want not’).

 

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And lemon cream cheese frosting; that was a mandatory. It seems there is something about cream cheese frosting….

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It’s a wonderful summer cake πŸ™‚

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I hope you are having a wonderful time even if you aren’t able to eat on the lawn thanks to the weather at the moment!

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Here is the recipe!

Lemon Hummingbird Cake with Grape Filling and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
Cake:
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup desicated coconut
1 cup olive oil
425g crushed pineapple, drained
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Lemon juice (of two lemons)
6 small bananas or 4 medium, ashed
Filling:
1 cup red grapes
Frosting:
75g butter
100g cream cheese
Lemon zest and juice
1 cup icing sugar
To Decorate:
Lemon Zest
Pansies
Kaffir Lime Leaves

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line two 18cm diameter cake tins.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, lemon zest and coconut until combined. In another bowl, mix the olive oil, pineapple, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and bananas. Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry until combined. The mixture will be very thick, don’t worry! Divide between the two tins, spread out evenly and bake for about 50 minutes, until golden and a skewer comes with only a few crumbs sticking when inserted. Cool in the tins.

Meanwhile, make the grape filling. In a small saucepan, add the grapes and cover with water generously. Over low heat, cook until juicy and popped, squishing occasionally. When the juice has reduced and there is not much left, pour into a bowl and cool.

For the frosting, mix the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. It will be difficult to start with but then soften up. Mix in as much lemon juice and zest as desired (I used one only!) and the icing sugar. Beat until smooth.

To assemble, pick which layer you want to be the bottom. Place on the plate and spread about 1/3 of the frosting on top, followed by the grape filling. Place the top layer on top and then spread on the rest of the frosting. Decorate with the lemon rind, pansies and kaffir lime leaves. Serve!

Makes Β a big cake with about 14 servings at least. Keeps, iced, extra well πŸ™‚

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Mini Spiced Chocolate Berry Cake for Two (Or Three or One!)

image There is never too little time for birthday cake! Or too few people! This one fits nicely on a saucer and feeds two people more than adequately. It also provided 78% of your daily cuteness and 57.6% of your daily smiles. image It’s also spiced-chocolate flavour, with some delicious tart blackberry jam and mint leaves to decorate πŸ™‚ image Note: I found the jam a little sweet, so maybe use a coulis or a berry reduction πŸ™‚ Mini Spiced Chocolate Berry Cake for Two Ingredients: Mini Cake: 75g butter 2 Tbsp white sugar 1 egg 3/4 tsp baking powder 2 tsp cocoa 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup flour 3 tsp milk Frosting: 2 Tbsp softened butter Vanilla extract 4-6 Tbsp icing sugar 2 tsp milk To decorate and fill: Jam of your choice Mint leaves Walnuts Cinnamon to dust Instructions: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and pale. Mix in the egg (don’t worry if it curdles…..!) until combined, this could take a while. Mix in the baking powder, cocoa and cinnamon, followed by the flour and milk. If the mixture still seems a little thick and not very light, add a bit more milk. Spread the batter onto the baking tray in three circles roughly the same size. They will spread so leave some space. Bake for 12 minutes, until the centres spring back when lightly touched. Cool on the trays. When you are ready to assemble, make the frosting. Beat the butter, vanilla and some icing sugar until creamy and light, then add more icing sugar and milk until you have your desired fluffy and delicious consistency! Using a circle cutter of some sort (I used a tin!), cut the three cakes into rounds. Place the bottom layer on a plate, spread on 1/3 of the frosting, followed by some jam. Then place another layer on top and repeat. For the top layer, I iced and decorated it separately before placing it on top so I didn’t squish the cake. Spread on the remaining frosting and arrange the walnuts, jam dots and mint leaves around the edges. Place on top and dust with cinnamon. Done! You could easily do this quite a few hours before, and then present it later. IMG_1975IMG_1973 image image

Cinnamon and Orange plus White Chocolate ‘Piggy’ Birthday Cakes {100th Post!}

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Here are my birthday cakes! My uncle celebrates his birthday on the same day as me, hence my ‘excuse’ for not being able to choose between two flavours πŸ™‚ Do you share a birthday with a family member? So many people tell me that they share their birthdays with uncles!
He said that the decoration I put on the piped butter cream looks like little piggy faces, here is a close up:

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And here is the gorgeous crown of nut brittle on the cinnamon cake. I have a thing of giving cakes crowns because I think they look glorious. I’ve done it on my carrot cake, my blackberry-banana cake, my (square) banana-chocolate-caramel cake, also on my sunburst tarts!

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And this brittle is super easy to make, you just pour caramel onto the nuts and within minutes it is set and ready to go! It was a very last minute idea……

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These cute wee beauty was a white chocolate mud cake, with raspberry coulis filling and white chocolate buttercream.

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And then there is the older sister, slightly more down to earth and less superficial,Β and who probably has a couple of kids and is raising them in a house just outside the city, so that they can play on a swing in the summer and go swimming at the beach.
Oh, it’s a cinnamon orange cake with cream cheese frosting and filling and nut brittle.

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I have to admit that I didn’t BAKE them myself as I was on my way back from Wellington to Christchurch, I just iced and decorated them πŸ™‚ I’m getting the recipes that my friends used so I will update them soon!

To make the White Chocolate ‘Piggy’ Cake:
Double this cake recipe to make two layers:

Β Chelsea White Chocolate Mud Cake

Then fill the two cakes with any red/pink jam you choose.

Top with your favourite buttercream. Pipe some blobs around the edge, and decorate with candy ‘snouts’ and ‘eye’s πŸ˜‰

To make a Nut Brittle Crown:
In a saucepan, gently heat 1 cup sugar in a saucepan.

On a greaseproof mat, sprinkle out some mixed nuts.

Keep heating the sugar, not stirring but swirling occasionally, until it turns to an amber coloured caramel. Pour over the nuts and leave to set.

Break up into shards and stick into the frosting on the edge of your cake!

 

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Enjoy everyone πŸ™‚

 

Easy Lemon and Blueberry Birthday Cake (August Birthday Cake #3)

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Just a quick recipe this one πŸ™‚ A toned down version of the flavour combo in this cake here. It’s super lemony and super delicious, as well as super easy….! Enjoy, more birthday cakes to come……!

 

Lemon and Blueberry Birthday Cake
Cake:
175g flour
2 tsp baking powder
115g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
Β½ tsp lemon oil
Zest and juice of two lemons
Syrup:
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Blueberry Compote:
250g frozen blueberries
Frosting:
75g butter
130g icing sugar
100g lemon curd
Dash of milk

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 20cm diameter cake tin.
Mix together the flour and baking powder, then add the butter, sugar, lemon oil and lemon zest and juice. Mix gently until just combined and transfer into the cake tin. Spread evenly and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tin.

Meanwhile, make the berry compote. Chuck the blueberries in a pan and boil gently until nice and thick. You should be able to make lines in the sauce in the bottom of the saucepan with your spatula. Cool completely.

When ready to assemble, make the frosting. Soften the butter and whip with the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon curd and continue beating. Add a bit of milk if the mixture becomes too thick to mix well.

Cut the cake in half horizontally. Spread about a quarter of the frosting on the bottom layer and spread a bit of the compote on the frosting. Place on the top layer of the cake and spread the rest of the frosting on nicely. Using a teaspoon, arrange the rest of the compote around the edges of the cake and serve.

Makes about 10 slices, the cake itself can be made the day before.

Easy Chocolate and Blueberry Birthday Cake (August Birthday Cake #2!)

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Admittedly this was from a while back, but why not use the whole month to celebrate the wonderful food that is birthday cake! I don’t know if you have a favourite thing to bake, but birthday cake is mine πŸ™‚

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Baking just does that, it makes you smile on the inside. While you’re baking AND eating your creations! Of course we do have the odd moment of testing (making macarons the other day -_-) but we still hang in there πŸ™‚
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In the background there, you can see a lovely cheesecake a friend of mine made (she forgot to put the sugar in but I think it tasted perfect! Don’t you love it when things work out?
For some reason I always seem to make different cakes of the same flavour, so I have another more impressive blueberry-chocolate cake to post sometime soon πŸ™‚ In the mean time, here is the recipe!

Easy Blueberry and Chocolate Birthday Cake
Ingredients:
Cake:
300g flour
200g sugar
2 tsp baking soda
40g cocoa
150mls natural oil
3 Tbsp white vinegar
400mls water
Frosting/Filling:
120g frozen blueberries
85g butter
250g icing sugar
To top:
150g dark chocolate

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two 20 cm diameter cake tins.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and cocoa together. Make a well and pour in the oil and vinegar. Then pour in the water, making a big mess and mix until smooth. Pour one half into each tin and bake for 25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tins for about half an hour then unmould and cool on wire racks (you could cool completely in the tin if you can’t be bothered).

Meanwhile, to get the coulis done, put the berries into a saucepan and simmer for about half an hour until thick, juicy and cooked through. Chill completely then whiz then up in a blender or pass then through a fine sieve.

For the frosting, soften the butter and whip, then add the sugar in a bit at a time. Beat until thick and soft, then add the blueberry mixture a little at a time, until you have the right shade/ flavour. Any that is leftover can be used to fill the cake.

To assemble, place the bottom layer of the cake onto the serving plate. Spread half the frosting onto it and also spread any leftover coulis on top. Place in the final layer and slather on the rest of that delicious frosting. Yum!

To serve as I did, melt the chocolate and pour it on top. Now is the time to put in some candles if you are presenting it as a birthday cake, otherwise just dig in.

Makes enough for about 12 people, and I’m sorry but I don’t know how longs it lasts as it only was around for ten minutes after the candles were blown out.

I can tell you however that the cakes uniced last well for a few days and you can easily frost/fill the cake up to 12 hours in advance!

Until next time πŸ™‚

Sami xx

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