Reign in Mud Slayer Cake 

One of my favourite people in the world recently moved back to Perth after living in Melbourne for about five years. I wanted to make him an awesome cake to welcome him home, and came up with this Slayer cake. Since Tom is lactose intolerant I made it completely dairy free. I used a Mississippi mud cake recipe (found here), and substituted the butter for margarine.

I made a chocolate ganache by melting 200g of dark chocolate, taking off the heat to cool a bit, then adding about a quarter of a cup of full fat coconut cream. I was worried it might curdle or something, but it was actually super nice and glossy!

Aww yiss.

To decorate, I made a really quick icing out of icing sugar and margarine, and piped it out into the star shape. I think the cake was still a bit warm, which is why the icing looks a bit… suspect. Anyway. I then rolled out some red fondant, cut out the letters, and laid them onto the cake. I had the letters pre-arranged on the base of the cake tin that I baked the cake, so that I knew they would fit.

This cake was honestly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made, I think I ended up eating more of the cake than anyone else! It went great with the boxed wine that was also gifted 😉

Ant Birthday Cake for Ollie

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Work has been so busy lately that I’ve not been able to invest in blogging or even much baking! This is from early April but with fieldwork and office work and face painting and regular life nonsense, I’ve not had a chance until now to bring myself to sit and write this up. Anyway. Last month, my friend from work asked me to make the birthday cake for her son’s second birthday. As you might expect from the son of a freshwater biologist, it was a bug themed birthday, and the request was for no dairy and as little sugar as possible. I decided to try a beetroot and avocado vegan cake recipe by Bunny Kitchen, using a mix of maple syrup, rice malt syrup and agave nectar for the sweetener.

Since I knew I’d be slathering this with frosting, I halved the amount of sweetener in the cake recipe. I also used wholemeal flour, which combined with the lack of sweetener, turned the cake a bit more ‘bready’, which I’m not sure I liked. You could also taste the avocado a lot more, so I wouldn’t recommend reducing the amount of sweetener unless you’re frosting it like I did.

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The cake was flipping huge! The abdomen was made up of two 20cm cakes, the thorax was an 18cm cake, and the head a 10cm cake. I boiled 2kg of beetroot for it, and had to go to a specialty cake store for a cake board and box big enough! The frosting is margarine and icing sugar with a bit of cacao, the antennae and legs are licorice straps, and the eyes are halved Oreos with M&M pupils. I also covered the body with chocolate sprinkles, which along with the M&Ms are the only non-vegan element to this cake.

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Easily the most daunting part of this cake was getting it down two flights of stairs from my apartment to my car, and driving it to the party without crushing anything! Overall I’m really pleased with how it turned out, even if the cake kinda tasted more like bread than cake. Yay bugs!

Vegan Gingersnap Cookie Sandwiches

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It was my friend Anton’s birthday, but because of the long weekend and my own birthday, I didn’t really have time to make him a cake. Anton loves tea and biscuits, and one of his favourite biscuits are ginger snaps. I was in Melbourne a couple of months ago, and treated myself to a copy of Isa Chandra’s Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. There is a wonderful recipe in there for mollasses gingersnap cookies, which I recommend.

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Ever one to needlessly overcomplicate things despite being time restrained, I decided cookies weren’t birthday-ish enough and had to turn them into cookie sandwiches! I made a brown sugar cinnamon filling using the following:

1/2 block of copha, cubed
1/2 cup of dairy-free margarine (I used Sunburst, which is vegan AND palm oil free)
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1. Zap the copha in the microwave until half-melted. You want the leftover solid bit to be soft enough to blend, but still solid – this can be tricky and is hard to explain. Beat the softened copha until there’s no solid little chunks and it’s basically a smooth paste. If you don’t do this at this step, the chunks pretty much don’t come out and it’s a bad time.
2. Add the brown sugar and cream with the still-warm copha until dissolved. Add margarine and cinnamon and beat until combined.
3. Add icing sugar a cup at a time, and beat until combined. Add milk. If texture is too thin or thick, add icing sugar or small amounts of milk depending on the texture you want.
4. Pipe into your cookies and sandwich with another cookie.

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Aw yiss.

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!

Vegetarian Turkish Delight Cake + Sandwich Train

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

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The train had alternating carriages of ham and cheese, or cucumber sandwiches. My favourite part is the beetroot iron ore, hehe!

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Giant Fairy Bread Almond Cake {dairy and gluten free}

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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.

Sorry Ali.

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Cake cut into traditional fairy bread-style triangles!

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Cake and actual fairy bread size comparison.

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Enjoying some cake on a Spice Girls plate! I think Scary Spice is enjoying the cake too. 😉

Ollie’s First Birthday: A Bug’s Life

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This weekend I helped one of my bosses out by baking for her son’s first birthday! The theme was bugs (for our love of entomology).

Because there were lots of young children, the request was to put as little sugar as possible in the cake. So I decided to make a banana cake as bananas are naturally quite sweet, and halved the sugar in the recipe I used. The icing and fondant was obviously chock full of sugar, but could be easily scraped off before being fed to little ones. My boss is also allergic to dairy, so this cake is completely dairy-free! I used coconut cream instead.

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This was my first time ever covering a cake in fondant. I am pretty pleased with the result, even though it’s not perfect. You can see where I botched up the top of the head, haha.

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I actually forgot the wings until I showed my sister a pic and she pointed it out. I am a terrible entomologist.

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I also made little chocolate cupcakes on the day! They were meant to look like little terrariums. Again, completely dairy-free. I used crushed Oreos for the ‘dirt’, and stuck gummy bug lollies into each cake. I also added frosting ‘grass’ and Nerds as ‘pebbles’. Unfortunately this is probably the best photo I have of those…

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I also hired my sister to make bug balloons! And I even did some face painting on the day. I am the complete party planner! 😉