Garfield Birthday Cake

This year, I asked my husband to choose what he would like for his birthday. He wanted a cat cake. Later he told me, he thought I was just going to get the cat cake from the Japanese bakeries around here. I, instead, had decided it was going to be a Garfield cake. His request also was no fondant.

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The hardest thing was deciding how I will make a 3D garfield.
There is no shortage of cake pans on EBay but I did not want to buy a pan and not use it again. I have a bit of a storage issue.
After searching for days, I found a website that gives carving instructions but it’s in Korean. I was lucky, it has step by step pictures.
I had decided in the beginning that the cake will be Jaffa. Orange flavoured chocolate cake. Initially I wanted the inside to be chocolate and the buttercream to be orange but birthday boy did not like that idea. I started searching and found a very delicious Jaffa marble buttercake. Oh that marbling.

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I made double the recipe to get 2 x 9″ square cakes. Somewhere, on the internet, I had read, it is easier to carve a cake if it has been cooled in the fridge. There is less crumbs as well.

The cake was covered in white chocolate ganache which I tinted orange. The ratio I used was 3:1 so by weight 1290g white chocolate to 430g thickened cream. (Not millilitres but grams)
Here are pictures from 2 square cakes to a Garfield cake.

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2 square cakes with just a touch of ganache to keep them together.

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The template was made using 2 circles joined by a curve on either side. I placed the template diagonally so I could use the tips on either ends as ears. The cutoff sides came in handy making the front paws and the tail.

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I carved the hind legs as part of the main cake.

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First coat to seal the crumbs

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2nd coat. I put the cake in the fridge for about 10minutes after the 1st coat to cool it quickly. The ganache for 2nd coat was almost runny but the cold cake was hardening it quickly.

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The brown markings was painted on with melted dark chocolate.

Checkerboard Cake

I had bought Wilton’s checkerboard cake pan kit on sale from a kitchen warehouse in July. Since then, my older daughter had decided, we were going to make one of the ideas shown on the box for the next few occasions. I chose Celebration Confetti for my baby’s 1st birthday.

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I did not want to use fondant so I used Betty Crocker’s Delux Vanilla Frosting. The decorations, the little spots and the twirls, are marshmallow fondant. The spots could easily have been substituted with M&M’s or Smarties.
The inside of the cake is pink and yellow checkerboard.

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The checkerboard design was not perfect. If I had to do it again and I had time, I might try the traditional way. The frosting was overly sweet but little children don’t mind 🙂

Little Mermaid Birthday Cake

So Little M turned 5 this year and had been asking for a princess cake since her last birthday. After her Dora cake disaster (cake was bought raw in the center), I was not going to buy the cake.
She picked Little Mermaid as her princess and decided she wanted “under the sea” version.

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I wasn’t feeling confident enough to make the figurines so they are plastic toys made by Mattel.

I did, however make the coral, leaves and flowers. The cake itself is my usual butter cake. It is easy and, so far, not failed me.
The sea was supposed to be blue but I wanted it a darker colour where sea witch Ursula is. Similar to skinner blend method in polymer clay. I must not have watched enough YouTube because my fondant became too narrow to use on the whole cake. I was running out of fondant so I just mixed both blue together and got this greyish looking blue. Which looks alright I suppose.

For the decorations, I used Sugar Creations work as an inspiration. I used the back of chopsticks to make those flat pink corals and folded purple ones on the front tip of the chopsticks. For the yellow cheese like ones, I had seen a video where a lady made coral rock. She used drinking straw to make the holes then use a bunch of toothpicks tied together to stamp all over it to give it texture.

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The decorations were made a few weeks in advance. Made with marshmallow fondant, they weren’t stiff and just perfect for the kids to pick those first and eat them.

Even before the candle was lit, the kids attacked the cake.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake

I have been on a baking break for the duration of Lent.
This was my last bake and Oh! What a way to finish off.

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The recipe and picture was shared on Facebook by a friend and I immediately wanted to try it. I searched for the original post and found it at Recipe Girl.

The recipe uses American measurements so I had to change some to Australian but otherwise, I did not make any other changes.

The cake was delicious. The cheesecake in between the baked cake cut the richness of the cheesecake.

A lot of comments on Facebook were about the amount of red colour. If commercially produced colour is not your cup of tea then use 1/4 cup of beetroot juice.

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We shared half the cake at work 🙂

Christmas Cooking – Creamy Fudge

It’s been a while and I have a lot if catching up to do. My eldest has started school and life has become very busy.

Anyway, here is one of the goodies in our Christmas bag this year. We make/ bake things to give. Past years, we have been baking some nice but time consuming cookies. So for Christmas 2013, I wanted it quick but still yummy.

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Recipe curtesy of December 2013 Better Home and Garden Australia issue.
This is in Australian measurement so I have converted it in ounces in ( ). Our Tbsp is 4 tsp while American one is 3tsp so I have added the extra that is needed in ( ).

1 cup (8.8 oz) firmly packed brown sugar
395g can (13.9 oz) sweetened condensed milk
100g (3.5 oz) butter chopped
1/4 cup (2.2 oz) maple syrup
2 Tbsp ( 2tbsp + 2tsp) liquid glucose (corn syrup)
200g (7 oz) good quality white chocolate roughly chopped.

1. Grease a 19cm (7.8 in) square cake tin with cooking oil spray and line with baking paper. Put sugar, condensed milk, butter, maple syrup and liquid glucose in a deep saucepan over medium low heat. Stir for 8 minutes or until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to boil. Continue stirring for 15 minutes or until mixture turns a rich caramel colour.

2. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. Pour fudge into prepared tin and spread evenly. Set aside to cool for 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Remove fudge from tin and remove baking paper. Cut into square pieces and Serve, or arrange in a gift box, tying a few pieces with coloured ribbon.

Note: I used dark brown sugar. It has a stronger flavour.
In Australia, the pure maple syrup we get are the pancake grades but my Mom brought us 2 different grades. The darker the grade, the more maple flavour you will get so I think the darkest is grade B. I used Grade A medium Amber.

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I made a second batch and made a marble one. So half the mix had dark chocolate and half the mix had white chocolate.

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Nerds Rainbow Cake

Rainbow Cake

Rainbow Cake

I had been seeing a lot of these rainbow cakes and wanted to try it.

So here is my attempt, Nerds Rainbow Cake.

The cake mixture is my white chocolate mud cake. If I would have to bake it again, I would use a lighter cake, like a sponge maybe. Mud cake is heavy and if there are so many layers of cake, then you’d need something lighter. I did try to make each layer thinner as I did not want a very high cake. Rainbow does have 7 colours but I don’t know how to make indigo.

Cake Slice

Cake Slice

I think I made triple the batch that I usually make, then used a weighing machine to divide the mixture in 6 bowls And added icing gel to the bowls. I then used my Wilton checker board kit pans (there are 3 x 9″ pans in the kit) to bake the cakes.

The frosting is classic butter cream that was left over from the white forest cake in July.

My husband had bought a pack of mix nerds which my daughter and I separated into individuals colours before putting them on the cake.

Half of this went with us to church the next day.

Nerds Decoration

Nerds Decoration

Paleo Cafe, Cairns

Paleo Cafe, Cairns

Paleo Cafe, Cairns

We visited Cairns, Australia for our annual holidays this year. In the northern tropics of the state of Queensland, it was nice and warm during what is typically winter in southern Queensland. We all were walking around in shorts and t-shirts. Our must have thing during this holiday was gelato. There was a shop on almost every street.

Beside our hotel we also found this little gem. Paleo Cafe. The best thing was that they had gluten free. I’m not into healthy clean living, I eat what I crave and that’s normally cake, but my Mom is gluten intolerant and we had such a hard time eating out in Brisbane during her visit. When I saw this cafe, beside a French patisserie and across a Swiss cake shop, I was surprised.
Brisbane has a larger population but we don’t have a dedicated cafe like this here. Hmmmm…