Neapolitan Anniversary Cake

It’s Nick and I’s three year anniversary today! So I decided to make a neapolitan cake – a flavour for each year we’ve been together. 🙂

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To make each component of the cake, I made a double batch of vanilla butter cake, then divided the batter into thirds. I left one third plain, added cocoa powder to another, and strawberry liqueur/pink food dye to the third, then baked each layer individually. I did the same with a double batch of buttercream frosting.

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In retrospect, I think I should’ve done three batches of frosting, there was just a little less than I would’ve liked. Because it’s incredibly hot and humid the icing kept melting the more I worked with it, but overall I think it worked out awesomely!

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Yum!

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Lemon Sherbet Buttercake

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Don’t be fooled by the lack of height, this cake is really delicious.

So I made a rookie error that I feel I’m entitled to make as a rookie baker (…right? Right?!), which is to add baking soda to plain (all-purpose) flour and expect it to come up like self-raising flour.

Nope.

(The internet has since informed me that it’s baking powder and not soda that makes the magic happen. The lesson here is to not be too lazy to go to the shops to get more flour.)

Anyway, what did work is my frosting, which I’m super pleased about. It’s basically butter cream mixed with a little dollop of lemon butter, and the result is a tingly lemon fizz delight, much akin to sherbet.

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I should really call this thing a shortcake. Get it? Ha ha.

Anyway, I used some basic recipes from Women’s Day. I recommend following the recipe to avoid the same grief I experienced.

Basic Buttercake

125g butter (softened)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160 fanforced. Line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper.
2. Beat butter, extract and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in flour and milk in two batches. Spread mixture evenly into tin and bake for about 40 mins or until cooked. Cool on a wire rack.

Lemon Butter Cream

125g butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp lemon butter (or more to taste)

1. Beat butter until creamy and pale.
2. Gradually beat in half the icing sugar,  then the milk, then the rest of the sugar. Stir or beat in the lemon butter, adding more depending on how lemony you want it to be.

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Jellybean Rainbow Cake

So one of my baking resolutions for 2014 is to bake more full sized cakes and practice frosting them properly! (My other baking resolution is to successfully make macarons).

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Anyway, this is a cake for my friend Shamini who is moving to Melbourne. It’s vaguely inspired by the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans from the Harry Potter series, and also by rainbows (fitting because Shamini and I are big HP fans, and she was one of my first openly gay friends). The cake itself is just a simple chocolate cake recipe from Women’s Day; the frosting is Betty Crocker brand.

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As you can see I’m a novice cake froster, but I did manage to do okay at the sides, I thought. That’s until I started prematurely adding jellybeans before allowing the frosting to set, causing miniature jellybean frosting avalanches.

Stupid gravity.

Overall though I’m pretty pleased with the results! It’s fun and colourful, just like my friend. I hope she likes it!

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Coconut Banana Bread

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Every now and then I am overwhelmed by the amount of ripening fruit in my inventory, which causes me to do what I like to call ‘panic baking’ – the goal of which obviously is to extend the life of the fruit that might otherwise get thrown in the bin. I don’t like wasting food.

Anyway, so I panic-baked some spotty brown bananas into banana bread. And it was awesome.

This is a delicious, no-nonsense, I-haven’t-been-paid-yet-and-am-running-out-of-food breakfast that has been desperately scraped delightfully put together with love. It’s dairy free too (I had no butter)! I haven’t made banana bread before so this was a great experiment and I’m glad it worked out.

I’m clearly very confident with my baking.

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1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 cup coconut milk/cream
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
3 small overripe bananas (mashed)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to about 160°C and line a loaf tin with baking paper (or lightly grease a loaf tin, whichever you prefer).

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium size bowl, leaving a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. Pour the wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix until just combined (don’t over mix your bread. I forget why. Just don’t do it).

3. Dump your mix into the loaf tin and bake for about 50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when you poke it. I checked after about 30 mins then subsequently every 10 mins until it was done.

4. When it’s finished, take it out of the oven and leave in the tin for about 5 mins, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely (or eat while still warm).

Obviously this has been made with things I just happened to have lying around, but I’m sure it’d be great with stuff like walnuts or seeds added to it for extra texture/nutritional benefits. I think next time I will try make it vegan and omit the eggs too; as a first time banana bread baker I was worried how it’d turn out without eggs to bind it all together.

All in all I’m very happy with how it turned out, was really delicious toasted for breakfast this morning.

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(Sorry for the less than appetising breakfast pic, this is what happens when you eat breakfast at work). Sigh.