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Birthday cake

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Silent Sunday


What do you get someone who has a sweet tooth for their 90th birthday? A giant chocolate cake, that’s what!

Martin’s pop turned the big nine-oh last weekend and to celebrate family and friends gathered from across the globe (all the way from Canada!). I needed a cake that would serve the crowd and knock the socks off as well, so I turned to my new favourite baking book – Baked In America. Those David’s really know what they’re doing.

I had a tough choice narrowing which layer cake recipe to make and finally decided on Coke Layers. Coca-cola and chocolate? You can’t get more indulgent, really…

So here goes, my adventure in a triple layer chocolate indulgence.

To get started, I melted butter with coca-cola in a bowl over simmering water.

Butter and cola

Then added three types of chocolate – plain, milk and super dark 81% chocolate. Seriously chocolatey… oh yeah… and marshmallows. (I think I gained 10 lbs just writing that sentence.)

Chocolate and marshmallow

Once the chocolate, butter, cola and marshmallows were all melty and gooey, I let it cool to room temperature and sorted the dry ingredients. Oh yeah, there’s more chocolate.

Dry ingredients

Once the chocolate, butter, marshmallow and cola mixture cooled, I added it to the eggs and sugar. It’s key to let a hot chocolate mixture cool to room temp, otherwise you’ll get scrambled chocolate eggs… yuck.

4 bowl process

This mixture makes 3x 9 inch layers.

Fresh from the oven

As recommended, I used a chocolate fudge frosting, which combines sour cream and melted chocolate.

ready for frosting

frosting in progress

And voila! A frosted triple layer chocolate cake!


ready for celebration

Pop loved the cake, as did everyone at the party. He had a few helpers to blow out the candles.

make a wish

Happy birthday, Pop! Here’s to 90 great years and more to come…



Today is a very special day, it’s my dad’s birthday. Not only is it his birthday, his favourite football team – the 49ers – are playing in the Conference Championships.
I’m sad that I can’t be there to celebrate his birthday (and the game), so here’s to you, Dad… Happy Birthday! Oh, and go ‘Niners!


January has been a very busy month for birthdays and I’ve been busy baking cakes.

Cake batter

I kicked off the month with my husband’s birthday back on the 8th. Mini G decided Martin should have carrot cake and since I just got the Primrose Baking Book, G and I tested their recipe.

Carrot cake carrots

I left out the raisins and most of the cinnamon as Mini G is not a fan, but even without these, the cake was fabulous. It would be even better with raisins and the proper amount of cinnamon. I also topped it with an orange icing rather than cream cheese frosting, which made a very nice substitute.

Carrot bundt cake

A few days later, we celebrated Martin’s dad’s birthday. He’s a classic sort of guy, so I wanted to make a classic british cake. I wanted a challenge, so I went for the Battenburg and looked to my trusty Leith’s Baking Bible for guidance.

battenburg construction

The sponge itself is very simple to make. I split the batter in half and used Sugarflair ‘Claret’ paste to create the pink colour for the sponge. Then came the difficult bit… making 4 equal square lengths. I managed to cut the cake as close to equal as possible and slathered in between each length with apricot jam. Next up, the marzipan outer layer.

The key to this bit is to roll out the marzipan as thin as possible, but not too thin so it tears. I wrapped the cake as tightly as I could and voila! Battenburg cake!

Battenburg serving up

I’m glad I baked this, I’m glad it came out well, but I can’t see making it again anytime soon.

Tea time cake

A sassy little lady I know turned 10 yesterday. She loves chocolate and rabbits, so I created a cake with both.

Chocolate cake

The chocolate sponge was from Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake (It really is a foolproof chocolate sponge for any occasion) and I used Nigella’s All Purpose Chocolate Icing from How to be a Domestic Goddess.

chocolate icing

purple royal icing

To create the purple rabbits, I used regular ready to roll white royal icing and kneaded in some ‘Violet’ Sugarflair colour paste. Then rolled it out on baking parchment and cut out the rabbit shapes with a cookie cutter.

rabbit shapes

And here’s the finished cake… Happy Birthday, Biba!

Biba's cake

Mini G’s Poppy’s birthday was on the 20th and although I did not bake this cake, it needed to be featured. MIL made a chocolate Guinness cake from Nigella’s Feast book and it was divine. So much for my diet!

Guinness cake

Happy birthday to all of the Dad’s and to new friends! Let them eat cake!


Five years ago, Martin was making our favourite meal of grilled chicken tacos* while I watched Mission Impossible reruns on the TV. I heard a pop from inside my belly and our lives were never the same.

baba grizzlin

Watching him grow over the past five years has been an incredible journey. He gets more and more clever each day. Sometimes it’s my own mission impossible and I can’t keep up!

Clever boy

So, today is a very special day. My baby grizzlin is no longer ‘baby grizzlin’, he’s ‘boy grizzlin’ turning five. Happy birthday, Grady Joe!

Birthday boy

Lego Ninjago birthday boy

Lemon cake with marshmallow frosting

Tonight, we celebrate with hot dogs (sausages), chicken nuggets and lemon cake with marshmallow frosting!

Also, happy birthday to my Papa Joe, whom I miss very very much. Since they share the same birthday, I made sure they shared the name.


*Martin did get to have the chicken tacos in the end since I was sent back home, but I never did find out what happened at the end of that episode of Mission Impossible… 🙂

Birthday Cheese Cake

For more Silent Sunday treats – head to Mocha Beanie Mummy

Silent Sunday

Punch Communications celebrated its 8th birthday this month. In honour of the occasion, I made 18 cupcakes (one for each member of the Punch team) in the theme of the number 8 and what better way than the 8 ball?

Cupcake prep

Cakes at the ready

This one was definitely a challenge. What was I thinking? Black frosting! I’ve heard it was a difficult one to achieve, but I thought with Black Extra colour i’d be ok. I nearly wasn’t ok. I’m glad I did a test batch before attempting the real thing. My first attempt came out a washed out grey. Then I read up on black frosting and learned that you shouldn’t start from white. Start from a dark colour, like brown/chocolate. Or if you are making vanilla, add your darkest colours first – blues, purples, greens… whatever… this minimises the chances of it going completely grey.

chocolate for frosting

With this in mind, I started with my standard vanilla cupcake in black cases. I then made a chocolate buttercream as a base for the frosting. I added a small dollop of purple Sugarflair paste to the chocolate frosting mixture and few medium sized dollops of black extra.

black is black

The colour ended up a gunmetal grey, which worried me a bit. But then I remembered the advice from the baking guru at the local Cookshop, the Sugarflair colours go darker over time. Thankfully, they did!

18 8balls

After frosting the cakes with the black base, I added a marshmallow circle and then drew an “8” on each cake.

8 Ball

And voila! An 8 Ball cupcake.

Happy birthday, Punch!

in situ

And the cupcakes are back. This time in giant form.

My colleague, Keredy asked me to make her husband a giant cupcake. I’d never made a giant one before, so I gladly accepted this challenge. Thankfully, I practiced first because the first one came out a bit small, like didn’t even fill the cake mould small.

As cupcakes are all the rage these days, giant ones are just as popular. You see these moulds in bakeshops, online, etc. The one downside is that these are manufactured in the US. The recipes that come with them are US based, ie it says to use a box of cake mix. I don’t know about you, but using a box of cake mix is cheating. How hard is it really to measure flour, baking powder, etc, etc?

Giant Cupcake phase 1

Like I said, thankfully I practiced. You definitely have to double the recipe. For Iain’s cake, I referred to my standard chocolate cupcake recipe from Primrose Bakery. Those ladies got it going on. (I can’t wait for their baking cookbook to hit the shelves… my b’day is coming up people… hint hint!) And yes, I doubled the recipe. This one is perfect for chocolate cakes of any kind. The egg whites create a mousse-like texture.

Frosting the giant cupcake

I haven’t yet found the absolutely perfect marshmallow topping recipe, but the one from Nigella Lawson’s Autumnal Birthday Cake is nearly there. From the ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess‘ cookbook, her original recipe calls for maple syrup, but I just substituted it with golden syrup for the standard vanilla marshmallow flavour. Gently cooking/whisking the egg whites and cream of tartar over a low heat helps set the marshmallow frosting so you don’t end up with a drippy or goopy frosting.

giant cupcake

I can’t wait to give the giant cupcake another go… Maybe I’ll make one for myself on my birthday.

Part 2 of the Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner 20th Anniversary edition continues, this time with one of my favorite things to bake – Cupcakes!

Annabel Animal Cupcakes

This cupcake recipe is a bit different to the one I normally use, but it works well for decorating.

Getting ingredients ready

The cake is not too dense and Annabel’s recipe uses lemon zest, which is a nice addition. She recommends 2 tsp, but zest is hard to measure so I would use the zest of one small lemon or ½ of a large lemon.


Popular with the kids

The cakes come out flat on top, which makes it easy to spread icing sugar glaze and add candied treats to create animal faces.

fresh out of the oven

This style of cupcake decorating is not my forte and was quite a challenge. Getting the icing sugar consistency just so took a while and a lot of extra icing sugar, but I got there in the end.

Pig Cupcakes

Mini G’s favourite was the pig, so that’s what I did. I think he looks one cool cochon.

Happy child

Mini G seems to agree too!

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