Watercolour Cake

I’m not sure if I’ve chosen the right name for this cake, but the soft shades of rippled buttercream icing gently blending from one colour to the next remind me of a lovely watercolour painting.

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It was my middle daughters birthday recently, and I looked at way too many photos of beautiful cakes. Then I made the even worse mistake of showing the pictures to the birthday girl. It was a miracle we could decide on what sort of cake to attempt!

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We decorated the top with Rafaello chocolates, and some scrumptious looking (and tasting!) blueberry macarons I bought at our local Farmers Market that morning. We had a go at making pretty chocolate shards, which worked out quite well, but most certainly did not like hanging out next to eleven lit candles as we sang ‘Happy Birthday’!

I piped some extra buttercream icing on top to add a bit of interest, and to hold the decorations in place. Icing makes an excellent glue! And the final touch was some large and small white nonpareils sprinkled around for good measure.

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I like tall cakes for celebrations, so this one was made up of three  8″ cakes layered with different colours of buttercream icing. I wish I had taken a photo of the inside, it looked so pretty and matched the outer colours, with violet on the bottom layer, electric blue in the middle, and teal between the top two layers of chocolate cake.

Time to get your ghoul on!

I hadn’t been to Ikea for such a long time, and thought I’d pop along to grab the new catalogue (and maybe some meatballs!). I had to make sure I got home in time to pick up the kids from school, so I was trying to make it a fairly quick lap through the maze.

There was one thing that grabbed my attention in the kitchen section though. They had Halloween stuff and I must confess I got a little excited! I grabbed some cute napkins, paper plates, cups and cupcake liners. They also had metal tea light holders, and don’t forget the pumpkin and bat food label or place name holders. Could definitely use those for my daughters’ halloween themed birthday party this year!

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Same, Same, but Different!

Strange title I know! But I’ve just baked and decorated a cake for a 14-year-old girls birthday party, and wanted to share a couple of photos. It’s similar to a couple of cakes I’ve shown you in the past. But I thought I’d still share, cos I’m generous like that! 😉

There were a few guidelines that I was given. Firstly it should be two tiers. That made me a little nervous. A few years ago when Hubs turned forty I baked him a special birthday cake. Not two tiers mind you. No. For some reason I decided to attempt a four tier cake, and a Topsy Turvy style cake to boot! The problem was I had to be at my daughters’ dance concert for most of the day leading up to the party in the evening, so it had to be completely constructed the night before. End result? One formerly impressive cake leaning against the wall. Oh well. We had a laugh and called it the ‘Drunken Sailor’ cake!

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Since then the only multi-tiered cakes I’ve been brave enough to attempt were the Paris cake for my eldest daughter last year, and the Harry Potter cake the year before that. But the castle on top of the Harry Potter cake didn’t get added until the last minute. And as for the Paris cake, I added so many straws to the bottom tier to hold up the top there was no way it was going anywhere! (by the way, I used wooden dowels for the Drunken Sailor cake so I’m not sure what went wrong there! I guess the centre of gravity was out – I must have been thrown by all those weird angles!)

This time I used plastic lollypop sticks trimmed to match the height of the bottom cake, just because they were still out from making the marshmallow pops! My fingers were firmly crossed that the cake stayed put for the 24 hours leading up to the party!

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The birthday girl had also asked for the cake to be covered with rows of alternating pink and white marshmallows. That would have been pretty, but it was just like the cake one of her friends recently had. I sent her a photo of the pink ruffle cake I’d made for my niece and she decided to go with that.

Saturday was set aside for baking, constructing and decorating. I decided to hide a surprise inside the top tier! I made it a checkerboard design, which is the other ‘same’ from the title! I’ve done a photo tutorial on this design of cake before, but thought I’d take some more photos to see if I could do a better job!

Here are the main steps for making a checkerboard surprise inside cake.

  1. Bake two different coloured cakes
  2. Trim tops flat
  3. Cut cakes in half to create two discs of each colour
  4. Use round cutters to cut discs into rings (this was a six inch diameter cake, and I used the smooth end not the scalloped end!)
  5. Use a knife to cut all the way through if cutter won’t go deep enoughpink cake1
  6. Separate the rings
  7. Reconstruct the discs using alternating colours
  8. Layer the discs with a thin layer of icing between (otherwise the cake will fall apart into cubes when you cut into it – I learnt that the hard way!)
  9. Crumb coat and refrigerate
  10. Decoratepink cake2

I only ended up using three of the four layers of cake for the top tier. I think it would have looked a little out of proportion with any more height on the top. My kids and their cousins agreed and offered to eat the remaining layer! I really appreciated their input and help! 😛

The entire cake got the buttercream ruffle treatment, which I carried into the centre of the top tier. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the top of the bottom tier, so left it flat. It looked a little messy though, so I did some ‘shells’ around the edge. Talk about a close call. I only had a tablespoon or two of icing left by the time I finished. Thank goodness. I’d been in the kitchen pretty much the whole day and couldn’t face the prospect of making another batch!

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The cake was finished off with a diamante “S” on top, and some glittery star shaped candles around the bottom. And most importantly, the it didn’t collapse before the party. Yay!

 

Marshmallow Pops

This week I’ve been busy helping out with the preparations for a 14th birthday party. A pink and white gathering of forty teenage girls! Now those are some pretty brave parents, especially as they’re having the party at home! And on a winters evening too!mmpop1

Luckily for me I was only in charge of marshmallow pops and the birthday cake. I decorated the pops earlier in the week as I figured there was nothing that would go off before the party!

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I couldn’t get hold of the extra large marshmallows from the U.S. so had to settle for Pascals marshmallows. They’re a lot smaller, but taste great! I threaded three onto each lollypop stick then dipped them in melted white chocolate to completely cover them. Some I left white, and others I tinted pink. The white ended up being a little see-through, so maybe I’ll double coat them next time! I avoided candy melts this time as I’ve found them a bit difficult to work with in the past.

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Once the chocolate was dry I drizzled random stripes of either white or pink chocolate over the whole pop, and then dipped most of them into sprinkles or coloured sugar. Some of them I left plain. I’m pretty happy with the end results, and they were well received when I dropped them off! Hopefully the party guests liked them too!

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They’re so much quicker and easier to make than cake pops. No baking or shaping. No falling off the stick into your bowl of melted chocolate (mostly!). So why not give them a try for your next kids party!