Poptart Drip Cake

One of my absolute best pals turned 30 last month and I really wanted to make her a special cake for her big day. I’ve been looking at these over the top drip-styled cakes on social media, and I knew this was what I wanted to do. Ness loves candy and cereal, and especially poptarts, so when I was trying to think of the things I wanted to use to top the cake with, it seemed like the perfect choice.

The cake itself was a vanilla buttercake covered in buttercream frosting. The drip was a white chocolate ganache, made by combining 100 mL of simmering double cream with 100 g of white chocolate, then coloured using “lipstick pink” chocolate colouring. I think I was expecting more of a neon pink, but it was still an awesome colour all the same. I then decorated with the poptarts, some lollipops, Fruit Tingles, and other assorted candy. 

And sprinkles, obviously.

I also commissioned my friend who runs Poppy Mae Design to custom design a card for her! It looks faded here but it is actually holographic and just reflecting strangely. It was so cute and I highly recommend for any calligraphy-style prints or cards you may need!

For her birthday we went out for breakfast and then had post-breakfast dessert! It was such a lovely day and I’m super glad the cake turned out exactly how I envisioned it!

Cookies and Cream Cake Bars

About a month ago it was my friend Jess’s birthday. Jess has recently had her second child, and needless to say with two boys under the age of three it has sounded like a very sleepless experience! I’d been meaning to drop off some meals and stuff to help her out but hadn’t gotten around to it, so by the time her birthday came around I thought it’d be a good idea then to make her and her partner some dinner and cake so they could relax for the night (or as best as you can under those sorts of circumstances).

Lately I’ve been really admiring cake decorating styles that use multiple textures and interesting ways of topping cakes. I recently bought some silicone cake moulds in the shape of bars from Kmart, so decided to try them out and see how they went (also a low-key way of reducing paper waste from cupcake wrappers!). Since Jess is allergic to dairy, I decided to make these completely vegan. I used a vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and added some crushed Oreo biscuits (I scraped off the icing from the Oreos and used it in the frosting for the cakes – no wastage!). 

Getting the cakes bars out of the moulds was an interesting experience – I have now learnt that you should let them cool a bit before getting them out so they don’t completely break apart, haha. The frosting is a combination of Nuttelex and icing sugar – I put about a quarter of the mix in a separate bowl and dyed it pink, and mixed crushed Oreo biscuit in the remaining frosting. I then experimented with a couple different piping nozzles to get the different textures, then dusted leftover Oreo dust over the icing, and topped with a mini Oreo (be careful as apparently not all the different Oreo flavours are vegan – I checked the ingredients of the mini ones and they seemed to be okay).

Myself, our friend Ness had afternoon tea with Jess for her birthday and enjoyed scoffing these down – although I think Jess’s two year old may have enjoyed his share of sugar a little too much! Probably a good thing I also dropped off a healthy chickpea tahini salad for dinner, haha.

 

Poppy’s Under the Sea Cake

(Photo by Danni Chau)

I still have glitter and icing sugar stuck in my carpet, but I’m not even mad, because I got to live vicariously through a three year-old and make the cake of my dreams. Yes it’s true, The Little Mermaid is still my favourite movie. Yes, I am nearly 28 years old. Is this a problem? Is a singing Jamaican crab not the best character Disney ever came up with? Well?!

(Although I have to admit, the line “darling, it’s better, down where it’s wetter” takes on quite a different meaning when you’re an adult. Dat Sebastian, smooth operator).

So anyhow, Poppy, being the deadset legend of a three year old that she is, wanted to be a mermaid and have an under the sea party. And who are we to say no? Especially with my predisposition for all things aquatic. And shiny. And cake. As usual, Poppy’s mum Danni had a vision (i.e. scrolled through some cool pics on Instagram), and it was up to me to execute the idea (or fail, failure was a distinct possibility). And make it vegan, if possible. This took a bit of planning, including emailing to make sure food colouring etc. was vegan (Wilton food colouring is entirely vegan, FYI. Also, they’re really nice and really prompt with email replies. 10/10 service).

Next was deciding how to decorate. Danni and I threw around a whole bunch of ideas, including chocolate coral, and elaborate chocolate seahorses and other sea creatures. Eventually, due to budget and time restraints, we settled with fondant shells made with silicone moulds and store-bought vegan fondant. Turns out vegan fondant is super soft, so I had to add a lot of icing sugar so it would pop out the mould smoothly. Another pro tip is to dust the inside of the mould with icing sugar as well so it’s less sticky (but not too much as it makes the outside look kinda chalky – fine for seashells, not so much other things I imagine).

(Photo by Stacey Blood)

The inspiration for the decoration style was from Unbirthday Bakery, who you need to look up on Instagram. Right now. Then drool forever. Their piping is so clever, and some of it makes me think of little barnacles, which I tried to emulate here. I should also take a moment here to give a big shout out to Cake Tinz n Thingz in Balcatta. Their staff are SUPER friendly and went out of their way not only to Google E-numbers on food colouring and fondant to see if they were vegan, but also to find me the right piping nozzles I needed to pull this cake off. Seriously, the best. Go see them and spend all your monies there (and buy me stuff while you’re at it. Cheers).

Here’s a close-up of the detail. I can post pictures of this cake forever. I am that stoked on it.

Oh, and the inside?

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (Photo by Stacey Blood).

The cake flavour is a vanilla number (recipe here). I was a bit hesitant to use olive oil in a vanilla cake, since the flavour can be quite strong, but the icing masked it most of the time and even complemented it quite well (if you got the ratio of icing to cake right. Which is to say, lots of cake with even more icing). The icing is just margarine (I used Nuttelex) with icing sugar and vanilla essence (and a bit of soy milk to thin it out when needed). Nuttelex has a BUTTERY version now which is A+ delish and imitates buttercream pretty closely when used in this manner. SO GOOD.

(Photo by Stacey Blood)

The birthday mermaid was super stoked. Who wouldn’t be impressed with a cake twice the flippin’ size of their face?! I should mention that I didn’t intend to make the cake this big originally. It just kind of happened. Basically I accidentally made a gigantic cake, because a smaller cake did not meet my stringent Under the Sea criteria. I sent a pic to Danni being like “…so this happened” and she was like “wtf, man”.

Have I mentioned that Under the Sea theme is very important to me?

Look, I even dressed up at this thing (photo by Jesse Roberts). Actually no, what am I saying, this is like my everyday fucking wear. Just call me Ocean Girl. Ironically, totally crap swimmer. Not to mention I’m a FRESHwater biologist. Whatever, close enough. There’s freshwater mermaids, right?

This kid is the real star though. Look at her! Her Bà Ngôai made the entire costume from scratch (except her headband, which I made)! This shit is so lit I can’t even deal. I’m so grateful to be able to do awesome cake-related favours for my friends. And also being able to live out my mermaid dreams. Thanks for the party Poppy! Until next year!

(We have aready agreed on a smaller cake for her 4th birthday).

Mudcake!

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I’ve been working really hard on my smooth cake frosting. I have a long way to go I think but I’ve been taking every opportunity I can to practice.

This is a mudcake I made for a friend’s birthday. The last mudcake I did was really dry and I’ve been trying to figure out why – I baked this one at a lower temp and it didn’t crack or dry out as much, so I’m thinking the oven temp must be off. I’ve also started doing this trick where you wrap a damp tea towel in alfoil and wrap that around the cake tin to keep the sides moist. I have a few charred tea towels as a result!

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I’m really enjoying sprinkles and looking into getting a few fancy mixes from somewhere like Sweetapolita! There are some really amazing colour combinations and I want all of them, but at $12-20 AUD they’re pretty expensive. Hopefully one day I can justify it.

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Also taking every opportunity I can to show off this new cake stand! I won it on Instagram from La Luna in Inglewood, here in Perth. It was a joint prize as part of the cake I won from Sugar and Nice. How pretty is it? Excited to now have a few different cake stands to play around with now!

Birthday Pinata Cake

Back in November a bunch of us threw a surprise Mexican dinner for one of Nick’s bandmates. I volunteered to make the cake, and in keeping with the theme decided to make a margerita-flavoured pinata cake, complete with pinata candy filling.

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The cake itself wasn’t super pretty; I’m still working on my icing skills. But I think it’s definitely improved! There is tequila and lime in both the cake and the cream cheese frosting. Packed a punch while baking in the oven, that’s  for sure!

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Tiny vodka surprise

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All filled up with lolly goodness!

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All covered up and none the wiser 😉

We had dinner at Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant in Mount Lawley, which has big fishbowl cocktails and massive servings of food. Josh was really chuffed by the cake I think, so I’m pretty pleased with the result 🙂

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Nick’s Birthday Cake

I’ve been really slow with updating, which is a hallmark to my tendency to put things off as long as physically possible. I have no excuse, I’m just the worst.

Anyway, Nick’s birthday was back in November, and his cake was essentially just a vessel for a pile of chocolate. My boy loves chocolate, and who can blame him! So this time, a cookies and cream cheesecake number with some of the best of the $1 chocolate bar special at Woolworths had to offer.

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Also some strawberries for like, nutrition, or something.

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Stylistically, I was going for the chaotic whimsy of the team at Unbirthday Bakery (check ’em out on Instagram). Their cakes just look so insane and amazing, and they have a strict no fondant policy which I admire because fondant is gross. I myself try to avoid as much as possible (but am also not very good at that). I’m also not very good at piling chocolate together in as artful or skilful a way as they do, but they’re professionals so whatever.

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And that is how to give your loved one a trip to the dentist for their birthday.

Georgette’s 1st Birthday

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This is out of chronological order, but probably to be expected when you don’t update in months. Anyway, my niece turned one at the end of June, and to celebrate I made her a cake for her birthday! My brother and sister-in-law live in Melbourne,  but they flew over to WA and we all celebrated G’s birthday in my hometown at my parent’s house. At the time G was fructose, dairy and gluten intolerant, so I made a low sugar dairy and gluten free banana cake topped with a dark chocolate and coconut milk ganache.

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The cake itself was a bit dry which was a bummer, but G loved it. 🙂

Also sorry for the low def pictures following, I got these from my SIL by text and the compression killed the photos 😦

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How cute is this kid though, strong contender for my favourite human ever!