Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gingerbread House

T'was the night before Christmas, and there are treats all through the house. There's plum pudding awaiting, ham glazing and last but not least there is a snowy gingerbread house with tasty gingerbread men.

Making a gingerbread house is not a last minute project. You need at least a full morning or afternoon up your sleeve to allow time for making the dough, baking, decorating, constructing and the final finishing touches.

I used the recipe and instructions from the December 2011 issue of Australian Good Taste magazine. The templates can be printed out on card, covered in aluminium foil and then placed directly on the dough and cut around with a large knife.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Festive Rum Balls

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The tree and decorations are up, the shops are crowded and I've started playing Christmas carols on my days off. Yep, I'm one of those people. I like Christmas! With my gift shopping complete and Christmas lunch menu planned, I can sit back and start on the fun stuff.

Rum balls are not only delicious, they can make a fabulous gift for family and friends. Simply pop them in clear bags, jars, or chinese boxes tied with ribbon, or place in mini cupcake or truffle cases and a gift box tied with ribbon.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cute As Birthday Cakes

Now that we're well into the silly season, my next post will be Christmas themed, I promise. But for today I wanted to share with you some last minute cakes I whipped up last weekend for the mother-in-laws birthday. Mothers are special creatures and as such must be appreciated and their birthdays celebrated with cake. The idea of someone not having cake on their birthday is just appalling to me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Frangipani Wedding Cupcake Tower

On a beautiful tropical Saturday afternoon just over a week ago, a friend of mine tied the knot in the Whitsundays. It was a fantastic location for such a lovely ceremony which included their 2 gorgeous girls in formalising their commitment to each other. The bride looked amazing in her white dress and just a tad nervous as she walked down the aisle to her awaiting beau. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lemon Poppy Engagement Cupcakes

 I had such a great time last weekend. After all the planning and organising, my engagement party went off without a hitch. I wanted to put together a cupcake tower for dessert, instead of the more formal cake option. Cupcakes are just so easy to pick out your own and devour without the need for a plate or spoon. Lemon poppy was the new trial flavour accompanied by the already well appreciated divine carrot cupcakes topped with yummy cream cheese frosting. The recipe was taken from the fabulous Bella Cupcakes blog, and it is deliciously moist, so much so that these really do not require frosting at all.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pick Me Up Tiramisu

Want a delicious dessert pick me up? You can't go past the Italian tiramisu. There are many variations on this recipe now such as berry, mango and chocolate, but the original coffee flavour is still the favourite. Espresso would be fabulous for the real caffeine addicts, but I find this version caters for most tastes as it isn't too strong.

This was a busy week with Halloween Monday, then Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. I took the easy route and handed out chocolate to the trick-or-treating neighbourhood kids. My favourite were 2 little vampire brothers - too cute! Melbourne Cup was spent at work with a sweep and a delicious lunch complete with nibblies, main and dessert. This was my contribution.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding Cupcake Trial

Weddings. I love weddings. I'm at that age where my friends are starting to get married and I enjoy being there to celebrate it with them and shed a little happy tear at the ceremony and speeches. Now that I am newly engaged, I have entered the circle of married or to be married. And I like it. I can now freely talk about weddings in public, read wedding magazines and attend wedding expos without the slightest turn of a head.

Next month I have the greatest pleasure of baking and decorating a friend's wedding cupcake tower. I am nervous, but excited. Yes, you might have guessed, this is my FIRST EVER wedding cake/cupcakes. The bride is going to look absolutely stunning, and I am hopeful that my cakes will measure up the same way.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Greek and Italian Experience

This was my most memorable Greek meal. I enjoyed it in Athens on a 39°C day in August after a  morning spent exploring the Acropolis and the New Acropolis museum. In the full sun. At 2pm in the afternoon, we were starving and disgustingly hot. We found refuge at a decidedly Greek looking restaurant under an awning trying to locate the faintest wisp of a breeze. The breeze wasn't quite there but the food was satisfying.

 This was my appetizer of eggplant croquet, dolmade coated in cream sauce and a zucchini ball. The eggplant croquet won out in both taste and texture. Boy, don't the Europeans know how to prepare eggplant. Soft,  melt in your mouth and seasoned perfectly. My main was moussaka, delicious, but extremely difficult to photograph capturing the beauty of...brown!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

French Follies

 I am feeling re-energized, happy and excited about food, baking and blogging. I have returned to the lovely country I call home equipped with new insights and adventures from overseas. I have over-indulged and satiated my hunger on Greek, French, Swiss and Italian food. I should be sick at the mere thought of gelato or ice-cream having eaten it once ( sometimes twice ) a day for a whole month. But...I am not. Shamefully, I could eat a whole tub of Baskin Robins ice-cream without my stomach making the slightest protest.

Alas, holidays are over, I am back to work, and I have not consumed any ice-cream since setting foot on Australian soil. I want to share with you some of the delicious food I managed to remember to photograph before stuffing it in my mouth.

The country of romance, and the setting in which I got engaged!!! I loved Paris to bits and also explored the enchanting Loire Valley chateau's on a trusty push bike. The bread and pastry in France is THE BEST, and I will forever now be disappointed with other offerings. The French are not rude (in my experience). Greet them in their own language (it's not hard) and they will help you with whatever you need.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Raspberry Swirl Baked Cheesecake

My little blog has in this last week reached its first milestone of 1000 views...Woot!

This is a week for milestones it seems then. I'm headed off today on my first ever venture over the oceans to a distant far-away land (i.e. Europe).  Even the plane flights and airports conjure up excitement and anticipation, however I'm sure that the novelty will wear off at some point over the 37 hour transit time. Yes, I did just calculate that.

On to the topic of baking, my last baking before my holiday was done last Friday when I baked cheesecake for "cake day" at work. Yes, you heard right...cake day. I was instantly excited upon seeing the notice about said cake day which was devised to celebrate all the August birthdays on one calorie filled celebratory day. Fantastic idea! I'm a big fan of cream cheese and baked cheesecake is my fave cheesecake type. Not a traditional birthday cake I know, however it is still cheese "cake" and delicious might I add.

This is my last post before my overseas adventures, so there may be some blog silence over the next month. However I'm hoping to have a few updates on my food travels depending on internet availability :-)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lime Cupcakes

I have realised that I am now a blogger...and Australian. So I decided to join the Australian Food Bloggers ring. Makes sense right? I just didn't count on one of those little "word verification" thingy's to stop internet spam foiling my plans. Obviously I am not a human being capable of working out which bloody letters are in the diagram even after putting my glasses on and trying more than 5 times! At this point I'm a little annoyed, and promptly decide to give up on being in this bloggers ring.

I have since however found the Foodies blog roll, which received a big tick in my books as it has heaps of fantastic food blogs that I can easily spend hours procrastinating by trolling through all that wonderful food porn. So all is now good in the world with a coffee and a citrusy-light lime cupcake  ♥

Monday, August 1, 2011

Divine Carrot Cupcakes

 Just last weekend I got a brand new camera and as soon as it was finished with its first charge, I had to spend some (or a lot) of time, having a play around with it. You see, I'm going overseas in just a couple of weeks, and the old camera was playing up just a bit too frequently for my liking. An example involves me standing in front of the 12 Apostles in Victoria, with the camera not working until it's been turned on and off again 10 times. I just cannot have this happen to me whilst in Europe.

My new camera is the Nikon coolpix S9100 which is a compact ultra zoom camera - apparently. Well, I'm really excited about taking this new toy overseas to capture some moments and memories of the adventure. I equally enjoy looking back through baking photos and the memories they're linked to. Some are linked to events, such as a brother's birthday, but others are linked to memories of the food itself and how good it tasted. When I look at the photos of these carrot cupcakes, I most definitely relate it back to how good they tasted and my mouth starts salivating craving one.

I looked at a few different recipes and in the end based mine on a carrot cake recipe with a few slight tweaks. I reduced the raising agent, increased the walnuts but finely chopped them up and also added crushed pineapple as I wanted the moisture without the flavour. And boy were these moist - I ate one 3 days after baking and it was still just as good as freshly baked. Also the carrot was grated using a microplane grater and this makes for a nice soft texture in the cake, although any grater will do. I'm so happy with how this recipe turned out that it will be my go-to carrot cake and cupcake recipe from now on.

The directions for decorating these cupcakes are in my previous post - Pretty in Blue Cupcakes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pretty In Blue Cupcakes

 Blogging is a very new hobby for me. It started from a love of baking, which then turned into a love of decorating, then photographing and finally recording my triumphs and losses in writing. Each time I decide to bake, a lot of thought goes into the flavour of cake to make, and how to decorate it. These can be two very separate things, or they can be tied together. This time I feel the decorating and the cake flavour baked are distinct, so they have been divided up. I am so happy with how these cupcakes turned out in both flavour and presentation, and they are my favourite so far.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chocolate Brownies

 These are moist chocolate brownies with deliciously caramelised white chocolate bits. So most people will only need a small piece, while others with sweet tooths will gobble down multiple pieces all at once they're so good.

I'd love to try these with some macadamias as well as I usually love the white chocolate and macadamia combo. I also like to think this recipe is a little fool proof as I changed the tin size and slightly overcooked the brownies, and they still came out delicious once I cut off the outside edge. Btw I ate the entire outside edge as although it looked overcooked and dry, it tasted fantastic and crunchy. So don't throw it out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Brother's Chocolate Cake

A brother's birthday is a very important event. I have 3 brothers, and they are all special to me in different ways. My youngest brother recently turned 13 and to celebrate we held a family dinner ending with a slice (or two) of birthday cake after blowing out the candles.

I made devil's food cake filled and frosted with a chocolate Italian meringue buttercream. The light and not too sweet buttercream pairs well with the rich chocolate cake and I was very happy with the look on the birthday boys face when he saw his cake.

The cake itself was easy to make and although the frosting is a little more involved than a regular buttercream, the taste is worth it. The decorations on the cake were easy but very effective, and I would love to make more cakes just like this one again and again.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Australia's Biggest Morning Tea


Cancer has affected all of our lives in some way, and one way in which we can help is to raise money for the Australian Cancer Council. And what better way to do that than to host a Biggest Morning Tea. I'll bring cupcakes of course!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

White Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes

These are really good...and I'm very serious about cake. The combination of sweet white chocolate and tart raspberries balances well to produce an extremely yummy cupcake. These little cakes were made for no particular reason aside from a need to bake and a need to eat cupcakes!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

23rd Madhatter Creation

Cocktails, Canapés and Cake. Sounds good...doesn't it? I celebrated my birthday recently and while the nibblies might not have been quite sophisticated enough to be called canapés, they certainly hit the spot.

While some might think it strange to make your own birthday cake, I on the other hand, find it a fantastic opportunity to do something that I wouldn't attempt if it were for someone else. This cake goes by many names - madhatter, topsy-turvy, wonky and whimsical. And it is by no means something you can whip up in an afternoon.

The bottom tier is chocolate mud cake with homemade raspberry filling and the middle and top tier are caramel mud cake with caramel ganache.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Caramel Mud Cake (and cupcakes)

Oh my...Yummmmm

I have been wanting to try baking a caramel mud cake for so long and this is the end result. I baked a cake for an upcoming project and some extra cupcakes, however I'm a klutz and the cake was almost cooked when I decided it would be fun to drop the oven tray and watch the cake flip over and splat on the floor. Oh yes I'm talented at this I now believe as it's the second time this has happened. And No I didn't take a photo of the mess - but don't worry there's always next time. It was however a blessing in disguise as the first time round I forgot to substitute brown for castor sugar and I think this would really make for a stronger caramel flavour.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Crème Brûlée Cupcakes

These cupcakes are inspired by the caramel and custard flavour of crème brûlée. They are delicious cakes, however a little too mild in flavour for my liking. I would like more of a custard flavour, and I might do a little bit of experimenting with the recipe next time - such as adding some custard powder to the cake batter, and some nestlé caramel top and fill to the frosting.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blue Ice Cake

Cake decorating is a hobby in which I am constantly learning new things. I enjoy trying new techniques for the first time, and even if it doesn't work out perfect, I know I'll get better at it with practice. I made this cake for my Mum's birthday late last year and it involved lots of firsts as it was my first tiered cake and my first time making wired and beaded decorations. The cake design is from the book Cakes to Inspire and Desire by Lindy Smith which I am able to borrow from my local library (very handy!). It gives great detail on how to make the decorations and even a beginner like me was able to pull it off.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dragonfly Cupcakes

Yummy! Dragonfly cupcakes - they are such a pretty design and I had to put my own stamp on them by using a blue and purple colour scheme. You can get purple dragonfly's can't you?

These delicious morsels were made up of devils food cupcakes, topped with chocolate ganache, then covered with fondant discs and decorations. The cute little antennae are made out of bean vermicelli noodles so they're edible. They're just sooo cute. And I suppose the bows are cute too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

I have never been much of a biscuit lover. I mean, they're OK, but just a little bit too dry for my liking. But I started to realise today that this may be changing. In the last couple of months I have found myself scoffing down delicious shortbread, a friend's choc chunk cookies and only last night I got into some Oreos. They're delicious, and what better to use when baking some cookies and cream cupcakes than Oreos.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Baby cupcakes dressed in animal suits

So for my first post I'm showing some cupcakes that I made to take to work for a baby shower morning tea, hence the theme I chose. Now I received as a present late last year the fantastic new Planet Cake Cupcakes book by Paris Cutler which this design comes from. I so wanted to make the santa's crew cupcakes in December, but did not have the time to spare...I'm hoping that with lots of time to plan I will achieve it this year :-) 

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