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    Joel's rainbow cake!!

    A couple of weeks ago my son decided he wanted to make a cake "for daddy". Problem was we were about to walk out the door to go to pre-school. So after a firm promise that we would make one that afternoon, it was happy days again!

    I decided to go with a basic cake recipe and then let the little man go nuts with some food colours..
    And go nuts he did!!! I split the batter into 4 different bowls, gave him a choice of food colours, and then made the mistake of turning my back to answer the phone!
    And when I turned back...let's just say that I'm glad I like the colour purple, as half my bottle had been tipped into one bowl!

    We then performed a very precise operation of filling the cake tin, one spoonsplat at a time!

    And the end result..a cake full of colour, and a very happy 3yr

    We ate a good chunk after dinner, and finished it off the next day..

    Oh, and just a note for those curious...eating blue food colouring makes for the most interesting coloured poo..bright green to be exact... an astonishing fact for a 3yr old!!



    Planet cake 102

    So it was off to my 2nd planet cake course!! ( thanks mum:) )

    Luckily this one was on a Sunday so I didn't have to battle through peak hour to get there, and I could park right outside..gotta love that!

    After the standard "hi my name is.." it was off and running.

    Covering boards.. Cutting cakes.. Then the fun bit - ganaching. Bloody hell those corners are a bitch to work with for the first time, especially when short of time. (and especially when the person beside you looks like they were born baking cakes, and finishes every step way before anyone else...not good for the confidence levels)

    Then lunch, yum, and covering the cake in icing.

    Time for the cherries, with whatever colour we like. I went for disco gold, and my end of class report stated " best in class!" . Unfortunately however,  the same couldn't be said for my sucked!!  and naturally my bench mate's was perfect:\
    So when i got home the dodgy figurine went straight in the bin and on went a cute little wooden doll i had been given for christmas (thanks Vivian).

    But after some practice piping cherries on my cake I was happy. A fondant ribbon finished everything off and it was time for the group photo!
    I definitely learnt heaps, and my teacher Jessica was great, and soooo patient.

    Time for 103 I think..



    3 ingredients!!

    Ok, so what can you make in a hurry with only 3 ingredients..vegemite on toast, frog in a pond...or..panna cotta!!

    My panna cotta is fool proof, quick and sets in just a couple of hours. You can then if you like, add a topping. For example I used some raspberry compote, but other examples could be passionfruit sauce, chocolate ganache, or even a fresh fruit salad.

    Panna cotta

    900ml thickened cream
    320g castor sugar
    4 sheets gelatin

    Soak the geletine in cold water. Heat the cream and sugar till scalding point. Squeeze out the gelatin and add to cream. Whisk and strain. Pour into your favorite glass/ bowl and leave to set.

    Easy, impressive and cost effective!!   What more could you ask for in a great dessert.



    Tea and cake anyone??

    Ok, time to start experimenting with different flavours in my cupcakes...

    A friend, Madeleine gave me the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook for my birthday this year and I have decided to use their vanilla cupcake recipe as my base.  I'm going to add different flavous to the basic mix, to see what works and what really should be left alone.  I thought i'd start off with some Chai latte cupcakes! I was going to try and infuse tea leaves in my milk, but then came across some chai latte syrup at the supermarket, and thought i'd try that and basically see what happened!

    I made a cinnamon buttercream icing to finish off.

    Well, I thought I would not simply pipe the standard swirl on top, but try out a different tip in my piping bag. Different it was!! Still not sure if I like it, but not too bad. I will have to try something different again next time.

    The most important thing was the taste test....and ..delicious!!
    It's nice to have something else to cook and offer others, rather than just the standard vanilla, chocolate and banana cupcakes.

    chai latte cupcakes

    120g plain flour
    140g castor sugar
    1 1/2 tesp baking powder
    pinch salt
    40g butter
    120ml milk
    1 egg
    1/4 tesp vanilla essence
    3 tesp chai latte essence

    Pre heat oven to 160 deg cel
    Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in mixer with paddle attachment and beat on a slow speed till you get a sandy texture. 
    Gradually pour in half the milk and beat till the milk is just incorporated.
    Whisk egg, vanilla, chai essence and remaining milk together, then pour into the flour mix and continue beating till just incorporated. 
    Continue mixing for a couple more minutes. Do not overmix.
    Spoon into paper cases and bake for around 20 min or so, depending on your oven.
    Leave to cool fully before icing.
    # The recipe on the book says serves 12, however I think 11 is better.


    Cinnamon Frosting

    250g icing sugar
    80g unsalted butter, room temperature
    25ml milk
    cinnamon to taste

    Beat the icing sugar together on med-slow speed till the mix comes together.
    Turn the machine to slow, and add the milk slowly. Add cinnamon.
    once the milk is incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed, and beat untill frosting is light and fluffy, 
    at least 5 minutes.



    The small but mighty cake

    I was asked to do a wedding cake the other day for a lovely couple, Fiona and Louis.
    It was to be a simple but stylish 8inch square chocolate mud cake.

    This sounded good to me, as I am not particularly a fan of the cake covered in layers of fondant, with every colour under the sun, and looking busier than the pacific highway during peak hour!!
    I prefer something a little classier, especially for a wedding cake.

    This would have to be my most pain-free cake to date. It cooked beautifully in the oven and rose well. I could have kissed my oven there and then.
    My choc ganache set well, despite the humidity, and I managed to apply it to the cake without to many tears.

    I was a little nervous with the fondant as this was only my second square cake, but, again, the kitchen gods were on my side and it was perfect.
    With some pretty ribbon and fresh flowers we had a beautiful wedding cake!!

    I loved loved loved doing this was such a rewarding experience, and I can't wait to do another wedding cake.

    All Photos © Michael Tristram Photography