I had another friend’s birthday this week! My good friend that used to be my baking buddy at work until she left earlier this year. I’m the sole baker at work now and it makes me a bit sad. I wanted to make something special seeing as she was one of my favourite people at work and we are still good friends. So I came up with the idea of cupcakes that look like little sundaes! I took them with me to our little breakfast meet up in Cottesloe. Needless to say post-breakfast dessert should be a thing all the time…
I felt like doing just sundae cupcakes wasn’t special enough, so I covered some fresh cherries in glitter. It worked a treat! I originally got the idea when I was in Liverpool earlier this year, at a cupcakery called Custom Cupcake Co. I was worried it wouldn’t stick, but it was super easy to brush on. I think the condensation on the cherries was enough for the glitter to stick. Hooray!
The waffle baskets are store-bought. I baked some vegan cupcakes in the regular way (recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), took them out of the cupcake papers, and topped with frosting made with copha, icing sugar, margarine, vanilla essence and soy milk. I then topped the cupcake with melted dark chocolate, chopped nuts, sprinkles, and of course a glitter cherry. I was careful not to put the cupcake into a waffle basket until the last minute, to prevent the waffle basket from going all soft.
Pretty cupcake glittering in the morning sun 🙂
One of my work friends turned 30 last week, so I wanted to bake him a cake. I went with another friend’s suggestion of a Turkish Delight cake, even though I’ve never made Turkish Delight before. I was then faced with the challenge of making it gelatin-free as we have vegetarians at my workplace. I like to try cater to as many people as possible, because it must suck to have to miss out all the time. This is the reason why many of my cakes are vegan and/or dairy free, especially cakes I take into work, as one of my bosses is allergic to dairy.
So, vegan/vegetarian Turkish Delight! I followed a recipe that I found on taste.com.au, replacing the gelatin with a Queens food product called gel-it-in, a plant-based substitute for gelatin. It worked really well, but I did panic because the recipe made it sound like it should have been runnier than it was. So I added more water, and I think it made the ‘jelly’ susceptible to melting a lot. It still stayed solid when cold, but kept sweating a lot. I think next time I try this I will stick to the allotted liquid amount and see if it makes a difference! It might just be the way plant-based jelly is…
I didn’t really know how to best incorporate the Turkish Delight into a cake, so I kind of just plonked it on the top with some pistachios and slivered almonds. That worked well enough. I also made a layer of icing using water, cocoa, icing sugar and margarine to kind of try and fix everything into place.
I also made a sandwich train!!! Before my friends’ birthday we’d been on a field trip together where we stayed at a cattle station. There was a really cute vintage book called 50 Great Sandwiches, one of which was a sandwich shaped like a train. I actually kind of regret not stealing that book, haha!
The train had alternating carriages of ham and cheese, or cucumber sandwiches. My favourite part is the beetroot iron ore, hehe!
I have actually written and rewritten this about a million times and each time it’s felt like I’ve gotten too personal and into too much detail. I baked this cake for my friend who is going through a rough time. I almost didn’t post pictures of this cake up, but the whole reason I wanted to start this blog was to keep a record of all the different sorts of baking and techniques I’ve attempted, and I did try a bunch of different shit on this cake that definitely needs some tweaking for next time.
So I’m going to avoid the back story and focus on the cake, because I don’t want to make a soppy story out of a struggle that isn’t my own.
I’ve mentioned before that one of my favourite cake-related Instagram accounts is Katherine Sabbath. I’ve also recently discovered one called Unbirthday Bakery which does the most incredible looking cakes. I used those two accounts as my inspiration for this, al beit a real amateurish version.
I also tried dip-dyeing merigues in a mixture of food colouring and vodka to water it down and get a watercolour kind of effect. I’d read online that vodka is a better choice over water (hah) because it theoretically evaporates off and doesn’t leave a sticky mess. Well, it worked… eventually. The meringues still went kind of soggy and just didn’t look nice, but they did eventually dry. I let my boyfriend eat those. Ha! I ended up using plain white meringues for the actual cake.
The cake itself was a disaster. I tried a different recipe which just fell apart; tiering the cake was a nightmare and it ended up being lopsided as hell. I also tried that drippy royal icing look that looks really awesome… but botched it by making it too runny. Here is a side picture to demonstrate:
It was a big learning curve, and I have definitely learnt a lot for next time! My friend appreciated it which is all I wanted out of it. Hopefully the next time I bake her a cake it won’t look like such a hot mess.
Earlier this year I went to England and one of my favourite stores (I did a lot of shopping) was a homewares chain called Lakeland. I bought a lot of ridiculous things from there, including some Star Wars chocolate moulds.
I’ve had a crazy field season with work and have been back and forth to the Pilbara region here in WA for the last couple of months. My last trip of the season was scheduled for this week, and I was super sad because I was going to miss out on Star Wars Day, aka the only real excuse to use the ridiculous chocolate moulds, haha. But then my trip got postponed due to a late cyclone in the area flooding the roadways! And so I was able to make some (crappily executed) cupcakes!
Blurry photo but you get the idea. I even painted the C3POs gold, haha. Pretty pleased with myself!
Over the last few months we’ve been planning a ’90s themed birthday party for my friend Ali. My job was to bake the cake. I wanted to emulate something from my childhood, and eventually landed on the idea of a giant piece of fairy bread. I think I originally saw the idea for a fairy bread cake over at the Raspberri Cupcakes blog. So clever!
I also wanted the cake to be able to be eaten by everyone at the party. This meant gluten-free for my coeliac friend, and dairy-free for my friend who is a strict vegetarian for ethical reasons. To that end, I used this almond cake recipe by London Bakes, guest blogging for My Darling Lemon Thyme, using a 22cm square tin instead of a round one. I’ve been following Emma from MDLT on social media for a little while now, she’s a great ex-Kiwi turned fellow Perth blogger/foodie with awesome recipes! I want to get her cook book!
Anyway, back to cake. The frosting is my go-to dairy-free/vegan concoction of Copha, margarine and icing sugar, with a little bit of water to thin it out. And topped with A LOT of sprinkles. Like, a lot.
The cake was a raging success at the party! The surprise was also a success, although I think we scared the living bajeezus out of Ali.
Cake cut into traditional fairy bread-style triangles!
Cake and actual fairy bread size comparison.
Enjoying some cake on a Spice Girls plate! I think Scary Spice is enjoying the cake too. 😉