I have moved

Dear Reader
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. I have moved on and my new blog is now called:

Please come and visit me there.
See you soon,



Daring Bakers Challenge June

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

When I saw this cake first I wasn't really sure what to make of it. It looks a tad too old school for my taste but then curiosity got the better of me, and I am glad I made it. I used marzipan to wrap around and it's delicious.
The Battenberg cake is based on German-style of cake making and traditionally includes marzipan (love marzipan)
and apricot jam. The cake was first made to celebrate the wedding of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter,
Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine and was named after her husband, Prince Louis of Battenberg.

The cake itself is like a pound cake with extra almond in it and that gives it its beautiful nutty flavour.
I blended almonds in their skin as that brings out more flavour but also means the cake will not
be as light as with blanched almonds.

Instead of pink/red food colouring I used 50g mashed raspberries to enhance flavour and texture.
The batter was quite dry and therefore I added a bit more milk which worked fine.
Since I had still vanilla buttercream left from the Bratz cake I made a day earlier I cheated and used this.
It was just enough and I was happy not to waste any leftovers.

I would also recommend to beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. I think that will give
a much better texture.

Such a cute little cake which is more like a petit fours than a cake really.

Traditional Battenberg:
Servings: +- 8
¾ cup (1½ sticks) 175gm / 6 oz Unsalted Butter, softened; cut in cubes
¾ cup / 175gm / 6 oz Caster Sugar
1¼ cups / 175gm / 6 oz Self-Raising Flour
3 Large Eggs, room temp
½ cup / 65gm/ 2 1/3 oz Ground Almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice) I used 75g of ground almonds
3/4 tsp / 3½ gm Baking Powder
½ tsp / 2½ ml Vanilla Extract
I also added 6 tablespoons milk
1/4 tsp (1¼ ml) Almond Extract - didn't use
Red Food Colouring, paste, liquid or gel - I used 50g mashed raspberries instead
To Finish
1/3 cup (80 ml) 100gm /3 ½ oz Apricot Jam - I used leftover vanilla buttercream
1 cup / 225gm / 8 oz Marzipan, natural or yellow
1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/160°C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4
2. Grease an 8”/20cm square baking tin with butter
3. Line the tin with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with the parchment (or foil)
- Tip: See photos or watch video above for detailed instructions
4. OR Prepare Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring
5. Whisk together the dry ingredients then combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth
6. Spoon half the mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin
7. Add a few drops of red food liquid/gel/paste to the remaining batter, stir until the colour is thoroughly distributed, add more colour if needed
8. Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the prepared baking tin
9. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner
10. Bake for 25-30mins until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean (it should shrink away from the sides of the pan)
11. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack
12. Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife
13. Cut each coloured sponge in half lengthways so that you are left with four long strips of sponge
14. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible
15. Gently heat the apricot jam and pass through a small sieve
16. Brush warmed jam onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern (one yellow next to one pink. On top of that, one pink next to one yellow)
- Tip: See photos for detailed instructions
17. Dust a large flat surface with icing sugar then roll the marzipan in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake
18. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam
19. Place the cake on the marzipan, jam side down
- Tip: Either in the middle or to the one side of the marzipan
20. Brush the remaining three sides with jam
21. Press the marzipan around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in the one corner, or will be underneath the cake once turned over
- Tip: If you put the sponge to the one side of the marzipan, I found it easiest to "roll" the sponge over and over onto the marzipan instead of lifting the marzipan up onto the sponge
22. Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with a knife, you can also crimp the top corners with your fingers to decorate
23. Neaten the ends of the cake and remove excess marzipan by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern.


Bratz cake

Just finished this Bratz cake for a girl's 6th birthday party. The Bratz is not so different to Barbies but a bit less princessy and rather funky. Apart from their awful shoe choices I quite like the idea of a more contemporary fashion doll. Rock chick versus Cinderella anyone?

The tin for the cake was a bit too small so I baked another 22cm cake to put underneath to cater for more people. Since the Bratz has a much larger head and eyes it doesn't look too awkward having a bigger body now. It actually looked quite elegant with the longer body. Nothing wrong with being long and tall.  However my daughter noticed the big bum right away;-)

That's how I've done it: You'll need a Dolly Varden or similar shaped tin and a 22cm in diameter round cake tin to bake the cakes. In this instance I didn't bake the cake but here are some tips on how to best bake the cake).
You then need approx. 2 kg of ready-to-roll fondant icing and approx. 500 g chocolate icing, cachous. I used white, black, blue and purple icing already dyed from essential ingredients.
They are around $17 per 1 kg, quite pricey but the colours are very funky. You can also just get white and dye them with food colouring yourself. Be warned thought, the more colour you put in the stickier the fondant becomes.

Invert the cake and trim the base to ensure it sits flat. Brush away crumbs. Use a palette knife to spread the top of the round cake with a thick layer of chocolate butter icing and position the body cake on top. Cut along the edges so it looks like a cone again. With the palette knife spread a thin layer of butter icing around it (crumb coating) and let set in the fridge.

Apply a second thick layer of butter icing to the cake and smooth then put back into fridge. Roll out the purple fondant icing until 3 mm think and cover the cake board, cut along the edges to get a smooth finish.

Now is the time which for me is always a bit nerve wrecking. You have to move the cake from the working board to the covered board and to place the cake in the right spot. I use a big and sturdy palette knife to lift the cake up and over to the main board. Smooth and trim icing if necessary.

Roll out white icing to 2 mm thick and cut in a shape of a large triangle. Roll out black icing and cut uneven stripe and shapes and stick onto white triangle to create an animal print (at least, that's what I tried). Stick onto cake.
Roll out blue icing to 3mm thick so it fits around the cake and drape back over the white/black icing. Carefully trim icing at the bottom.

Insert the doll into the centre of the cake and make the bodice dress part. If you don't have the half-doll topper you can use any barbie with cling-wrapped legs. You then have to cut a wider hole to fit the torso into the cake (it's a bit of an operation really- but don't tell anyone).

Now comes the really fun part. Roll out any leftover icing to style the doll with any attire you can think of. The top of the dress, hand gloves, capes, belts, bracelets, you name it. Most often I make those cakes for little girl's birthday parties so sparkles, sprinkles and cachous are always involved ;-).


The Grounds in Sydney

There is something new and very hip right now in Alexandria - The Grounds!  It's a cafe, but actually a little more than that. It's a coffee roaster (of course) as well as nursery, or is it just a garden. There's a not so hidden Secret Bar and it seems soon a stone pizza oven in the garden.

We only had toast and jam but from looking around at others people's orders everything edible comes served on a chunky wooden board. The lemonade arrived in a mason jar with handle (very trendy at weddings too) and the lights hanging from the beams are also masons jars. The sun was shining and after a few days of heavy rain it was the perfect day to hang out at The Grounds and enjoy a nice coffee and fresh sourdough toast.