Monday, September 22, 2014

Ollie's Baby Dedication


A few weeks ago my husband  had the honour of officiating a Dedication service for our niece's beautiful baby boy, Ollie. This was extra special for us because our niece was the flower girl at our wedding 21 years ago. The dedication service took place under the stunning autumn  trees near the quaint country church where my niece was married. 
It is quite extraordinary watching the years fly by so fast, with a new generation of babies taking centre stage in our family. And what beautiful babies they are! 

Using the invitation card as inspiration, I chose grey, white and cornflower blue as the colour scheme, with a touch of chevron on the gumpaste elephant. The unfrilled ruffles were  more suitable for a baby boy, while adding texture to the cake. I found these gorgeous wooden letters which fit perfectly on the cake stand, and made a lovely gift for the proud parents. 

Again, the photos are not as good as I would like, as my camera is still out of action and I am unable to set up and style the shoot.....but still, you can see the cake and take a glimpse of this very special occasion.










Congratulations! 

XX




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cake Bling




Well...that was intense! 

This past month has consolidated my long held oppinion that our big life is just plain crazy!  I hardly know where to start. I spent two weeks in bed sick as a dog....not a nice way to get a break!! Thankfully my angel mother came to the rescue and stopped the family ship from sinking. She is a whizz around our home. All of the washing gets done, folded AND put away....no mean feat when I have about three loads a day. She defrosted our freezer, cleaned out my disastrous Tupperware drawer, washed all of the bed sheets AND blankets....feed our brood, cleaned up, washed up, played cards with the kids every night and had our home ship shape in no time! She is very efficient. 
I wish I was more like her. 

Somewhere in there, two of our little Lambs also got sick...more vomiting, bed washing and care. 
In between the blur of nausea, I took two of our bigger Lambs to a Taekwondo tournament four hours up the coast. We also did a day trip to a major city in the next state, took the whole family back over the mountains seven hours away to give the kids a taste of country life at an Agricultural fair, had a steady flow of in house visitors and baked six dozen cupcakes!
 Phew...

 


Miraculously, I actually managed to create a couple of extra special sugar treats. They were not, however, without their own set of stresses.
 Cake failure. I hate it. 

This sparkly cake was made for a friend's daughter who was turning 11 and  having a fun filled day of dress ups, makeup and movies with her friends. My own 11 year old daughter spent hours making these cute little dress cupcake toppers. They had to be just so....must be white to match the birthday girl's dress. No tulle because she doesn't like tulle and it is not a princess party Mum!...We compromised on the strapless dress part, as the birthday girl does not like that style...but we were seriously running out of time! In the end, 
I think they looked pretty sweet. 


I need to apologise for the terrible quality of these photos. I literally had less than half an hour to set them up and photograph them....and  then my camera decided to DIE after the first 5 photos!!! 
Can you imagine my distress!? I couldn't believe it. 
SO, these flawed attempts from my phone are seriously not blog worthy.

The cake and cupcakes were travelling four hours away, with our daughter..(more dramas)...and to my utter horror, they were to be transported in the back of a ute! A UTE. 
Mental note to self: don't ever...ever...ever think cakes will survive in the back of a ute even if they are well padded and secured in an esky!!! Arrgh!! 
Upon arrival, my daughter couldn't wait to tell me how all  of the cupcakes got jumbled about and completely mooshed up beyond recognition.....aahhh! 
I felt sick.

Thankfully, the cake survived with minimal damage to the top, which was easily hidden by the cupcake mirror stand. 





So friends, it has been quite a month. 
First thing on my to do list is to get my camera fixed. I feel almost naked without it...and have to intentionally calm myself whenever I remember it is not working! 

So much to bake...so much to style....what am I to do without my camera?

Did I mention that I have four birthdays in the next three weeks? Ohh that camera must get fixed. 

Meanwhile, I will distract myself by planning some very special parties for my birthday  Lambs.



Enjoy!

XXX

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chunky chocolate peanut butter cake


This rustic cake appeals to the Bohemian in all of us.  It's rough, rugged appearance disguises a delicious, moist Chocolate pumpkin cake slapped together with crunchy peanut butter frosting.
 I used my  favourite
which transferred well into three 6 inch round cake tins. I made a little extra frosting so I could lavish it wildly all over the outside of the cake, before pouring dark chocolate ganache over the top.  
Way too much fun for one cake! x



















Enjoy!

XXX




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Vintage cake stand




What's not to love about my new vintage cake stand? It is made of tin, with beautiful  pastel colours and a definite retro 'housewifey' look about it! 

 Seriously loving the styling potential. 

Welcome to the cake stand collection, little tin treasure. 











Enjoy! 

XXX

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Black forest Bourbon cupcake recipe



Black forest bourbon cupcakes....the name itself sounds enticing. These delicious wintery desserts are sure to put a fire in your belly and a zing on your taste buds! I adapted this recipe from  bestfriendsforfrosting.com , using my own standard chocolate cupcake recipe and tweaking the frosting a bit. I love the idea of using  alcohol in my cupcakes, as they enhance the flavour significantly. What makes these cupcakes extra special is the homemade cherry and bourbon jam filling tucked away in the middle. YUMO! 








Black Forest Bourbon Cupcake recipe

Chocolate cupcakes

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Line two muffin trays with cupcake papers. 


Ingredients

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup warm water 

2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi carb soda
1 cup 100% pure cocoa (Woolworths Home brand)


Method

1. Using a hand whisk, combine eggs, oil, vanilla.
2. Add sour cream,water with coffee and bourbon.
3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb soda. Add cocoa. Mix until combined.
4. Pour wet mix into dry mix and carefully hand whisk together until well combined.
5.Scoop mixture into prepared papers.
6.Bake for 18-20 minutes or until firm to touch. 
Cool on a wire stand. 




Bourbon cherry filling

450g tin pitted cherries
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon

1. Blend cherries with juices until completely smooth. 
2. Place in a saucepan on medium heat, bringing puree and sugar to simmer. Cook until mixture is reduced to half. Stir often.
3. Reduce heat to low. Cook until the mixture is like jam
('jelly' for Americans), stirring often.*
4. Stir in bourbon and leave to cool completely.  

* Note: This step takes a reeeeally long time! Like around an hour and a half!! Could have been me, but this took way longer than I expected. Not wanting it to burn, I stayed with it and listened to two of my children read from the kitchen! In the end it eventually looked a bit like jam, so I just took it off the heat and let it cool. Worked out fine. There may be an easier way, but I don't know it yet. 



Once the jam has cooled, carefully cut a 1 inch hole in the top of  each cupcake and fill with  a teaspoon of cherry bourbon jam. Reserve 2-4 tablespoons of jam to put into the frosting.

 Replace the lids and decorate with cherry icing.




Vanilla cherry frosting

125g butter, softened
125g cream cheese, cold
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons cherry jam
Approx 2-3 cups icing (powdered)sugar
Dashings of cream
Red food gel paste if desired.

Method

1.In an electric mixer, beat butter on high until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add cream cheese and continue to beat until light and fluffy. 

2. Turn mixer down to low and add icing sugar, a little at a time. Add cream as needed, a few tablespoons at a time.

3. Add cherry filling. Continue to add icing sugar until frosting reaches the desired consistency.

4. Add red food colouring if desired. For the best results, I always add Wilton Icing Whitener to my frosting before adding colour.  By removing the cream colour of the butter,it gives you a crisp white palette to ensure a better colour.

5. Decorate as desired. 

Recipe make approx 18 cupcakes.   


















Enjoy!

XXX