Ballerina Shoes Cake

Ballet shoes cake
Ballet shoes cake

This 9″ Ballerina Shoes birthday cake is made from dark chocolate mud-cake and filled with dark chocolate ganache.

Materials

0.5 metres of 1 metre wide net

Glue gun

14″ cake board

2 x 9″ set up boards

Super Pearl Dust (Sweet Inspirations)

Hot Pink Twinkle dust (Global Sugar Art)

Clay gun

1.2 kg white sugar-paste

300g pink sugar-paste

Quilting mold

silver edible balls

Tylose powder

Make the 9″ round Dark Chocolate Mud Cake

500g unsalted butter
400g dark chocolate
10g (2 tablespoon) instant coffee
2-2/3 cups warm water
380g (2 cup) caster sugar
520g (3 cups) self raising flour
60g (1/2 cup) cocoa
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Grease and line base and sides of cake pan with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
2. Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, coffee, and water in a saucepan.
Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of mixer.
3. Add caster sugar to mixture and beat well until dissolved. Add sifted flour and cocoa, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.
4. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 150C for 1 hour 45 mins. Test with skewer. Cool cake in pan.

Make the Dark Chocolate Ganache

1.2 kg (2lb 10oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped

500ml (17.5 fl oz) pure cream

Method: Heat the cream until it just starts to bubble, pour over chocolate (which you have blitzed in the food processor to coffee granules size) and let it sit for about a minute to melt. Use a hand whisk to blend it all together then set aside to cool.
Your ganache at this point will be thin. You will have to let it set overnight until it thickens to a slightly thicker peanut butter consistency. Since I don’t have the patience to wait, I just let it cool to room temperature and then pop it in the fridge (don’t cover because you might get condensation). It would  usually set in the fridge in about an hour or two. If it sets too hard, just microwave it in 10 second intervals (keep mixing it whenever you take it out).
For more information on how to make ganache and cover your cake with it, please click here.
Assembling the cake
Cut the cake in half and fill with ganache.
Attach cake to set up board with edible glue or some Royal Icing.
Cover the top and the sides of the cake with ganache and smooth the surfaces.
Cover in white sugar-paste.
Press a quilting mold to the sides of the cake to make quilting effect or measure and indent with the side of a ruler.
Brush the top and sides of the cake with Super Pearl dust.
Use the other end of a paint brush to make holes for the silver balls and use some edible glue to attach them.
Add any lettering at this stage.

To make edible glue

Add 2 tablespoons of warm water to a quarter teaspoon of Tylose Powder and allow the Tylose powder to melt. Don’t worry if at this stage the glue appears not to be blending. Put a lid on the container and leave it in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning you will have a perfectly clear and ready to use glue.
The glue should be a dripping consistency. If it is too thick, just add a little more water and stir with a toothpick .
The edible glue should be stored in the refrigerator when not in use.
To apply the glue, use a good quality paintbrush and brush on to the area where you are going to be working. Leave until it begins to dry a little so that the area is just tacky to touch.

To make the tutu

Cut the net into 2 strips each 15 cms wide.

Join the strips with pins to make a 2 metre length then machine stitch along one long edge with the largest stitch on your machine.

Pull one of the threads to gather the fabric into the tightest circle possible and sew in place.

Place tutu onto a 14″ cake board and glue down with a glue gun.

Use a  9″ set up board to sit on top and glue this on with a glue gun. Place a 5 kilo bag of flour (or something heavy) on top till set.

Trim your tutu so that it sticks out about 1 cm from the edge of your cake board.

Place your cake (which should be on a matching 9″ set up board) on top using your glue gun or PVA glue to stick it down.

Ballet Shoe template
Ballet Shoe template

To make the Ballet Shoes

Print out the shoe template onto thin card so that the sole measures 14 cm in length and cut them out.

Use the templates to cut out 2 soles and two toes in pink sugar-paste and remember as we work through the rest of the instructions that you are aiming to make a left and right shoe.

Use edible glue to attach the uppers to the soles. I turned a little of the edge of the upper under the sole but I think it might have looked better just to join them edge to edge.

Fill the shoes with cotton wool to keep their shape (the cotton wool stuck a little to some glued edges so I would recommend scrunched cling film instead).

Leave shoes overnight to harden.

Next day remove packing and add the stitched band around the top of the shoe by cutting and glueing a narrow strip of pink sugar-paste around the top edge of each shoe and use a cocktail stick to make the little holes.

Making the shoes
Making the shoes

Use the clay gun to make the little bows and glue them in place with edible glue.

Dust the shoes inside and out with pink twinkle dust and attach to cake with edible glue. I also used a cocktail stick to anchor the toe of the angled shoe to the cake as the cake was travelling by car to the birthday girl.

Cut out 4 long strips of pink sugar-paste to make the ribbon ties and dust them on both sides before glueing them to the shoes.

Brush more pink dust over the shoes where needed.

Ballet shoes cake topper
Ballet shoes cake topper
Ballet shoes cake bow
Ballet shoes cake bow

Use a ribbon in the same shade as the tutu, around the base of the cake and make a bow for the front.

Ballet shoes cake top
Ballet shoes cake top
Ballerina Shoes Cake
Ballerina Shoes Cake

How to make a Rainbow Layer Cake using white chocolate mud recipe

Rainbow Cake
Rainbow Layer Cake

This cake is similar to my Rainbow Cake below and you can find full instructions for it here.

Rainbow Cake
Rainbow Cake

Three things make this cake special

1. The Rainbow Layers. They can be a big surprise if the recipient and/or guests have no idea what is inside.

2. The cake is based on a White Chocolate Mud Cake. Lots of people are scarred to use colours with Chocolate mud cakes if they do not have the special chocolate colours. I did a lot of research before I used my ordinary food colours and the reason they work is because we are not colouring 100% pure chocolate. The other ingredients magically make it alright to use Wilton or AmeriColor (these are the only two makes that I have tried so far).

3. You can make this cake even if you do not have 6 x 10″ round cake pans. I have 2 x 10 inch pans and I bake the layers in 3 batches. You could make do with just one pan, it will just take a little longer.

Colours of the rainbow
Colours of the rainbow Red, Orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Coloured cake batter
Coloured cake batter
Use 2 x 10 inch pans
Use 2 x 10 inch pans

White Chocolate Mud Cake 

(Planet Cake recipe)

Need a minimum of one 10″ pan ( 6 x 10″ pans would make the job really easy though!)

I used 2 x 10″ pans as that is all I have.

390g butter
390g white chocolate
350ml water
195g SR flour
390g plain flour
520g caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla essence

White Chocolate Mud Cake Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  2. Grease and line bases of both cake pans with one thickness of baking paper.
  3. Combine chopped butter and water in a saucepan.
  4. Stir over low heat until butter is melted. Turn off heat, then add the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is well combined.
  5. Sift flours into a bowl. Add sugar, a pinch of salt and make a well in the centre.
  6. Pour chocolate mixture, egg and vanilla into the well then stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  7. Divide the batter equally amongst the 6 bowls.  Weigh your mixing bowl before you begin adding ingredients and then subtract the weight of the bowl from the final measurement after the batter is completed. Divide that number by six and add that weight of batter to each bowl, and then whisk a fair amount of the appropriate food color into each bowl. Keep in mind that the color of the unbaked batter will be the color of the baked batter. Pour into the pans and bake for 15 minutes each or until a skewer comes out clean when poked into the middle of the cake.
  8. Once cake pans have been washed, repeat the process twice more till all 6 layers have been baked.

 

Rainbow layers ready for buttercream
Rainbow layers ready for buttercream

Lemony Swiss Meringue Buttercream

As you can see from the recipe, this cake requires a huge amount of buttercream to fill the layers and cover the outside. I would recommend that you make the buttercream in two separate batches ( 1. To fill and crumb coat. 2. To frost) because you would need a HUGE bowl to make this much buttercream at one time!

Please click here for a step-by-step guide to making Swiss Meringue Buttercream and troubleshooting tips!

To fill and crumb coat:

9 egg whites
1 ¾ cup (350 g) sugar
4 sticks (452 g) butter, room temp
2 tsp lemon extract

To frost:

5 egg whites
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 sticks (226 g) butter, room temp
1 tsp lemon extract

Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it’s completely smooth, it’s done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-slow speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. After all the butter has been added, turn the mixer back to high speed and whip until it has come together, about five minutes. Add the extract, beat briefly and then use.

If the buttercream seems soupy after all of the butter is added and does not come together after whipping, refrigerate for 5 to 7 minutes and continue whipping until it becomes fluffy and workable.

Filled with buttercrem
Filled with buttercrem

Assembly

Stack the layers in your preferred order and fill and frost as you would any other cake.

Once frosted, the cake can be left on the counter without any problems, but feel free to refrigerate it. Just be sure that the cake is at room temperature when serving or the frosting will be hard.

A slice of Rainbow Cake
A slice of Rainbow Cake

Wedding Cake Pops Tutorial

Bride and Groom Wedding Cake Pops

Cake pops have without a doubt become one of the most popular sweet treat trends in years.  

While cake pops are certainly a fun treat to share and eat, they can be a challenge to create. I will start this tutorial with the recipes and method I used to make these Bride and Groom Cake Pops then I will expand the tutorial with a troubleshooting section that applies to all kinds of cake pops.

Cake Pops
Makes 20 pops

What you will need:

600g dark chocolate mudcake made from scratch or 600g of mudcake made from a box cake mix

115g cream cheese

160g sifted icing sugar

40g butter

0.5 tbsp milk

620g white candy melts

350g black candy melts

Lollipop sticks ( 7″ if possible )

Matching ribbon

1.   Make the frosting by mixing together the cream cheese, icing sugar, butter and milk.

2.   Crumble the cake into a large bowl or process in the food processor to fine crumbs then place in a large bowl and stir in half of the frosting. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined and thick like a truffle center. Mix in additional frosting if necessary.  You just want enough to get the crumbs to stick together when you roll them into balls.  Do not add so much that the mixture becomes soft and mushy!

3.   Roll mixture into balls weighing 30g and place on a cookie sheet. Place in freezer for 15 minutes then allow them to almost return to room temperature.

4.   Meanwhile melt chocolate in the microwave at 70% for 1 minute then stir well. Return to microwave for 30 seconds and stir well. If the chocolate has still not melted then repeat in 30 second bursts until fully melted and smooth ( always stir well before returning the chocolate to the microwave to avoid overheating). Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the the top of the cake ball.  Insert a little more than halfway.

5.   Place in freezer again for 15 minutes then allow them to almost return to room temperature before dipping them. Pops will crack if the temperature difference between the cake and the coating is too great. Carefully dip the cake pop into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and submerging in the chocolate till fully covered. Once covered, remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off too.

You want the chocolate to come over the platform you created when inserting the chocolate-dipped stick, but you don’t have to cover it all the way to the stick.

Tap off the excess chocolate. 

Once half the cake pops are on sticks that have been dipped in chocolate, I then put them in my freezer for 15 minutes and by the time they are ready to come out the freezer the remaining cake pops will be ready to go in. Chilling them helps set the chocolate and make the stick, chocolate and cake all come together firmly.

6.   Melt the black chocolate as before and dip half of the cake pops to make the ‘Grooms’. Dip at an angle and rotate a little to create the jacket. Fit a no. 2 tip to a piping bag and fill with a little of the black chocolate. Pipe on the bow tie and buttons. If the chocolate hardens in the bag or tip just ‘neuk’ the piping bag in the microwave at 70% for 5 – 10 seconds.

7. Fill a similar bag with a little white chocolate and pipe the ‘Brides’ as per the picture.

Troubleshooting Cake Pops

Bride and Groom Wedding Cake Pops

Cake Pops Cracking

The challenge I find with chilling the cake pops is that there seems to be a fine line as to how long to chill them – as having them too cold often results in the chocolate cracking after dipping.   I try and make sure my chocolate isn’t too hot, and that my cake pop isn’t too cold – letting it warm up a bit after taking it out of the freezer, even just a few minutes.

Another way I deal with this issue is that I do a “first dip” into chocolate. I then redip them in a second layer of chocolate, and decorate.  Kind of like a crumb coat in frosting a cake.   This sort of seals the crack into the first layer, leaving the second and outer layer looking nice and pretty, and yay – more chocolate!   This is also an option if you make your cake pop and the chocolate hardens before you get the sprinkles on it.  Just dip it again!

Here are some other sites that you can check out for more tips and advice on the chocolate on the cake pop cracking issue…

 Prevent Cracks In Cake Pop Shells from Honeycomb Events & Design

Why Do Cake Pops Crack from Beki Cook’s Cake Blog

Cake Pops, Balls & Truffles: Troubleshooting & FAQ from Veronica’s Cornucopia

Tricks Of The Trade from The Cake Pop Connection

Chocolate Coating Cracking from Chocolate Candy Mall

Cake Pops Falling Off The Stick

Dipping my cake pop sticks into the chocolate, then putting them into the cake pops and letting the chocolate set should avoid these problems.   I do have a few other things that help with this issue.

1.  Don’t make the cake pop too big. Keep cake pops on the smaller side between 27g – 32g as too much weight on that tiny stick has the potential to create problems.

2.   When dipping the cake pop into the chocolate, dip it in and get it out – don’t twirl it around. Twirling it in the chocolate increases the chances of the cake pop falling off the stick or chunks of the cake pop falling off.

3.  Never tap the stick on the side of the bowl too hard when trying to get the excess chocolate off.   Too hard of a tap and bam, cake pop in bowl. Do a very gentle tap or two on the side of my bowl, and then twirl cake pop, slowly and constantly, over the bowl to let the excess chocolate drip off.

4.  Holding on to the cake pop until the chocolate is close to set.   Once the chocolate sets, usually the cake pop and stick are pretty good friends then you can confidently set it down.

Here are some other sites you can check out with information about preventing your cake pops from falling off of the sticks…

Common Cake Pop Issues & Tutorials from Miss Candiquik

Cake Pop Tutorials and Q & A from Not Rachel Ray

How To Get The Sticks To Stay In The Cake Pops from Babycakes

FAQ from My Little Cupcake

 Cake Pops Tutorial from Mandy Walls Photography

Getting the Chocolate Smooth and the Sprinkles To Stick

Keep the cake pops moving, slowly twirling the cake pop until the chocolate sets.   It’s a bit of a balancing act to find when to add the sprinkles and when to put the cake pop down.   If you put the sprinkles on too soon, they can slide off and take the chocolate with them.   Wait too long and they won’t stick.   There is definitely  a sweet spot time wise to adding the crystals, and I think a lot of it just takes some practice and patience to find what works.

Stick to lighter sprinkles, the ones that weigh the least, such as sanding sugar, sugar crystals, jimmies and the like.   The sanding sugar and sugar crystals are the easiest.

Do not submerge my cake pops in sprinkles. Hold the cake pop over a bowl, and sprinkle over it, catching the excess sprinkles.

Bride and Groom Wedding Cake Pops

80s Theme Cake

This 80s Theme Cake was made for Jessica’s 30th Birthday Bash in Brisbane. It is made from white chocolate and dark chocolate marbled mudcake, filled with dark chocolate ganache and covered with sugarpaste. The Rubik’s Cube is a really delicious truffle.
The birthday girl wanted hot pink, turquoise and yellow as her colours but you could use whatever colours you wish. To celebrate her 1980s themed birthday the cake incorporates the MTV logo, Pacman arcade game, Rubik Cube, Boogie box, fluorescent colours and animal print fondant, not to mention the giant number ’30’.

 
Baking Diary
DAY 1
Colour sugar-paste. Hint – You can buy ready coloured black sugarpaste which saves a big mess. Also I used Wilton’s Rose edible gel colour for the hot pink.
Make ganache click here for detailed ganaching info

Bake cakes
Wrap cakes in foil and place in fridge overnight.
Cut finger nails. There is nothing worse than making a mark with your long nails on your completed cake.
DAY 2
Take cake out of fridge first thing in the morning and allow to come to room temp.
Torte and ganache cake then leave it to set. click here for detailed ganaching info
Once set cover with sugar-paste.
DAY 3 
Decorate and complete the job.
DAY 4 
‘Stuff up’ day. You never know what might happen when making a cake so always pencil in a ‘stuff up’ day (I had a day with my feet up when making this cake as I had a toenail removed, ouch!)
DAY 5  The day of the party
 
Marbled Mudcake
The three tiers are made up of a 7″ round, a 5″ round and a 4.5″ square. The rubik cube (1.25″ / 3 cm) is made from the cut offs from the Boogie box mixed with left over ganache formed into a large truffle cube and covered on all sides with a thin layer of ganache.Make the light and dark mudcake batter in separate bowls then pour the dark in first filling your pans to half the usual height then fill each with the white choc mud batter and gently stir round a little to mix and bake for 1.5 hrs at 150C
 
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake (Pam’s recipe)
187g butter
150g dk choc
1 tbsp coffee, powder or granules
1 cup water
1 cup SR flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
 
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake Method
    1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
    2. Grease and line base and sides of cake pans with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
    3. Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, coffee, and water in a saucepan.
    4. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of mixer.
    5. Add caster sugar to mixture and beat well until dissolved. Add sifted flour and cocoa, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.
    6. Pour mixture into prepared pans stopping at half the height you normally fill to.
No need to be delicate with this one – just make sure that the chocolate mixture has cooled sufficiently so as to not create a thickening reaction when the flour is added.
 
White Chocolate Mud Cake (Planet Cake recipe)
185g butter
185g white chocolate
170ml water
95g SR flour
185g plain flour
250g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence

White Chocolate Mud Cake Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  2. Grease and line base and sides of cake pans with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
  3. Combine chopped butter and water in a saucepan.
  4. Stir over low heat until butter is melted. Turn off heat, then add the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is well combined.
  5. Sift flours into a bowl. Add sugar, a pinch of salt and make a well in the centre.
  6. Pour chocolate mixture, egg and vanilla into the well then stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  7. Add the white batter to the already half full pans and fill to their normal height.

Marbling
To create the marbling effect simply gently stir round a little to mix (Do not overdo) and bake for 1.5 hrs at 150C. Check the small cakes before their time is up.

 
 Dark Chocolate Ganache click here for detailed ganaching info
1600g dark chocolate, finely chopped
800ml pure cream
  1. Grind the chocolate to fine granules in a processor.
  2. Put the chocolate in a large bowl
  3. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to boiling point. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and mix with a hand whisk until the ganache is smooth. (Do not use an electric whisk, as you will create too many air bubbles in the ganache.)
  4. Allow to cool completely and then leave to set overnight.

Decoration
Templates can be found on my Free Stuff page click here
I used a whole lot of edible glue on this cake. I even stuck the tiers together with glue as it wasn’t a big heavy cake and the glue would survive the 200km round trip delivery.

Edible Glue
Also called Gum Glue
Add 2 tablespoons of warm water to a quarter teaspoon of Tylose Powder and allow the Tylose powder to melt. Don’t worry if at this stage the glue appears not to be blending. Put a lid on the container and leave it in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning you will have a perfectly clear and ready to use glue.
 
The glue should be a dripping consistency. If it is too thick, just add a little more water and stir with a toothpick .
 
The edible glue should be stored in the refrigerator when not in use.
 
To apply the glue, use a good quality paintbrush and brush on to the area where you are going to be working. Leave until it begins to dry a little so that the area is just tacky to touch.
The animal print is made up of thin strips of black sugarpaste.
Some sugarpaste shapes for the Boogie box, Rubik’s Cube and Pacman
Pattern pieces for the more complicated shapes can be found on my Free Stuff page. Flat pieces such as the ’30’ and the ‘MTV’ logo should be made early and left flat. Curved pieces such as Pacman should be stuck to the cake soonish so that they can mould themselves to the shape of the cake. Add Tylose powder to any parts that need to be very stiff such as the MTV logo. I added just a quarter of a tsp of Tylose to a lump of pink which I used for the ’30’ and the ‘MTV’. Knead the powder into the sugarpste till well combined.
To make the handle for the Boogie box use some plastic tubing with cocktail sticks pushed in at the ends. Stick the sugarpaste on with edible glue.
You will need 45 coloured squares in total (none on the bottom) and stick them on with edible glue. Each square is 1cm x 1cm. Secure to the cake using two short wooden skewers and edible glue.
I used this image in the background of my cake picture. I made the image a couple of years ago with camper vans and surf board, typical of the Gold Coast and reminiscent of the ’80s. I changed the colours to suit the colour scheme of the cake.

Black and White Tiffany Wedding Cake

I made this cake for a wedding on the Gold Coast yesterday!
The top tier is a 10″ Hummingbird Cake filled with Cream Cheese Frosting and some Decorator’s Buttercream to go directly under the sugarpaste.
The bottom tier is a 12″ Dark Chocolate Jaffa Mud Cake filled and coated with Dark Chocolate Ganache and covered in sugarpaste.
Making and using black sugarpaste can be a nightmare and so for this special cake I purchased ‘Satin Ice’ Ready Made black sugarpaste. The white sugarpaste is Bakel’s.
Quantities of Sugarpaste
5 Kg white sugarpaste
1.3 Kg black sugarpaste
Three of the sketches used in the design stages.
Ingredients for the 12” square dark chocolate Jaffa mud cake 
500g butter
500g dk choc
55g coffee
360ml water (replace some of this with the juice of 2 oranges)
280g SR
280g plain
110g cocoa
1.5 tsp bicarb
1080g caster
9 eggs
Zest of 4 oranges
16 tsp oil
225ml buttermilk
Ganache
2700g dark chocolate
1350ml pure cream
Method for the dark chocolate Jaffa mud cake 
Preheat the oven to 160C (Fan Forced). Grease the tin and line the base and sides with a collar that extends 2 cm above the top of the tin. Add baking strips (made from damp cloths wrapped in tin foil) around the outside of the cake tin.
Put the butter, chocolate, coffee, water and fresh orange juice in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted, then remove from the heat.
Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Add the combined egg, orange zest, oil and buttermilk and the chocolate mixture, stirring with a large spoon until completely combined.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 2 hours or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean, though it may be a little sticky.
Once removed from the oven, use a pastry brush (or similar) to brush the top of the cake with boiled water to keep it moist and save it from cracking and forming crusty bits on top. Then cover with a clean tea cloth to reduce evaporation. Repeat the brushing with boiled water step two or three times at half hour intervals as the cake cools.
Remove the baking strips once they can be handled or use oven gloves to remove them.

Let cake cool completely on a wire rack before taking the cake out of the tin.

Wrap the cake well in cling film (do not squash cake) and put in fridge till morning.
Method for dark chocolate ganache
  • Find out how to make ganache and fill / cover your cake with it Click Here

Ingredients for 10″ square Hummingbird Cake 

A 250ml measuring cup was used for this recipes.
440g can crushed pineapple in juice or syrup [or 62ml (1/4 cup) pineapple juice/syrup and 110g (1/2 cup) well-drained crushed pineapple]

300g (2 cup) self-raising flour
150g (1 cup) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
250ml (1 cup) oil (we use peanut oil, but any mild-flavored oil could be used)
780g (3 cup) mashed very ripe banana
450g (2 cups, firmly packed) brown sugar
170g (1 1/3 cup) pecan nuts, broken or chopped into pieces
Cream Cheese Frosting (to fill the cake)
245g (1 3/4 cups) icing sugar
40g butter
80g cream cheese
2 1/2 teaspoons (12.5ml) lemon juiceDecorator’s Buttercream (a nice firm buttercream to spread on the sides and top of cake)

(Very stable in very hot weather which we get in the summer here on the Gold Coast, Australia. Probably the best buttercream for covering the outside of cakes as it firms up nicely and forms a crust)

250g Lurpak butter
250g copha or solite
1 tbsp lemon juice
around 750g Pure icing sugar (just keep adding till you are happy with the consistency)
one and a half tablespoons of ‘Pavlova Magic’.
1/4 cup of water (don’t freak out if the icing seems to curdle, it comes together fine.)
Method for Hummingbird Cake

If using a can of crushed pineapple, empty the contents into a strainer over a medium bowl. Set aside to drain.

Grease a deep 10” square cake pan and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced). If you are not using a fan-forced oven, adjust the oven rack to the lower half of the oven so the centre of the cake will be in the centre of the oven.
Stir or whisk self-raising flour, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together in a large bowl until combined.
Measure 62ml (1/4 cup) pineapple juice/syrup and 110g (1/2 cup) pineapple flesh.
Place eggs, oil, banana, brown sugar, pecan nuts, crushed pineapple and pineapple juice in a large bowl. Stir the ingredients together until well combined.
Add banana mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake cake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until a thin-bladed knife or wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out without any batter attached.
Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan.When cool cut in half and fill with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

 Place icing sugar in a mixer and mix on high speed for a few seconds to remove any lumps. Add butter, cream cheese and lemon juice to the food processor. Process on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Stop the machine and use a spatula to scrape down the side of the bowl. Process for a further 15 seconds, or until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Make a dam of Decorator’s Buttercream around the edge of the cake and fill in the middle with the frosting.
Decorator’s Buttercream
Melt/soften the copha (make sure soft all the way through, or just melt) (Solite is already soft, so just add straight to the bowl).
Add copha/solite and softened butter to mixer, start mixing, add lemon juice.
Add the icing sugar a cup at a time, once combined add pav magic, and water. Leave to mix for about 10 minutes.
Smooth over the sides and top of the cake and leave till firm.
Covering the cake with sugarpaste
Knead some white icing to a pliable dough and roll it out to 3 mm (1/8 in) thick, using a large rolling pin.
Cover both cakes with white sugarpaste.Making the strips
Cut out 3.5 cm wide strips of black and white sugarpaste the height of the cake. You will need 20 black strips and 16 white strips plus 4 white corner strips which you can custom cut to fit once all the other strips are in place. Start off each side by marking the midpoint and sticking the first black strip right in the middle.

Making the lids

Let the cakes sit for a couple of hours to allow the icing to dry before you make the lids. Brush the top of the cakes with a little water (or syrup) and run the brush around the top inch of the side of the cakes. Knead 700g of the white icing for the top box lid and 900g for the the bottom box lid.Once the dough is pliable, roll out each piece till they are at least 8 in larger than the width of each box. Roll the icing over your rolling pin, lift it up and roll it over the cake. Smooth the top and sides with a flexi-scraper. Use a ruler to mark the edge of the lid on all 4 sides. Trim the lid with a sharp knife.
Making the ribbon

Knead 500g of the black sugarpaste to a pliable dough and roll out. Measure length of ribbon needed. Cut out 4 strips of the required length by  3.5 cm wide. Trim one end of each ribbon into a point to help fit the ribbons together on top of the cake. Stick to the cake with water or edible glue and trim excess ends with a knife.


To make the bow simply follow this video.
Once the bow is completely dry use edible glue to stick it to your cake.

I hope you enjoy making the cake as much as I did.

Retro Birthday Cake

This stunning 8″ round cake is a Vanilla Buttermilk Cake layered with Swiss Lemon Meringue Buttercream and covered in sugar-paste.
One thing I really like about this particular buttermilk cake is that it is essentially a one bowl cake, not following the regular cake pattern of creamed butter and sugar, eggs added one by one and then alternating dry and wet ingredients. That’s the good part. The bad part is that it is imperative that you scrape down the bowl often, all the way to the bottom, overdoing it even. Otherwise, little deposits of unmixed butter or flour will sneak up on you.
Otherwise, the cake is really quite simple.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake 8’ round / 7’ square cake
Ingredients
700 ml cake flour
 (replace 6 tbsp plain flour with corn flour) explained below
470 ml sugar
4.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.4 teaspoon salt
230 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
245 ml plus 60ml buttermilk
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 160C / 325°F. Butter an 8-inch round cake tin. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 245 ml of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 60 ml buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition.
4. Bake for 2 hours, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack by placing a rack on top of the pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liner and let cool completely. When cool, place a cardboard cake board on top of the cake, invert again, and lift off the rack. Wrap the cake on its board completely in plastic, so it doesn’t dry out, and refrigerate.
What is Cake Flour?
Replace 2 Tablespoons per cup (per 240ml) of all purpose flour (plain flour) with cornstarch (corn flour) to reduce the gluten content without sacrificing volume.
Recipes that call specifically for cake flour should have liquid volumes calibrated accordingly, so the won’t turn out dry, as long as you don’t ADD the corn flour, but incorporate it, so that the dry volume is the same.
Commercial cake flour is also finer than regular flour. Sifting a few times through with the cornstarch or zipping through a food processor can really help when you’re trying for a lighter-textured cake. “All-purpose flour” seems to be labeled “plain flour” in Australia.

Swiss Lemon Meringue Buttercream

This all-purpose buttercream has an ultra-silky, stable texture that spreads beautifully over cakes and cupcakes, and can be piped into perfect peaks and patterns.
The recipe makes enough to fill a 3 layered 8″ cake or for 24 (or 18 if piping a tall topping)  cupcakes.

Ingredients

4 large egg whites
250g Caster Sugar
pinch of salt
250g Unsalted butter/ softened
1.5 lemons, zest only

Directions

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in lemon zest and a little yellow food colouring gel (optional). Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes

Once the cake is layered with the buttercream it needs a crumb coat. Swiss Meringue Buttercream is not much use for this as it is quite soft. On this occassion I have added a very thin coating of white chocolate ganache but could have used a crusting decorators buttercream instead.
This nice firm crumb coat will make it easy to get a nice finnish on the sugar paste covering.

Brush the cake with a thin layer of water (boiled and cooled) this will help the sugar paste stick to the cake.
I used just under 1 kilo of white sugar paste to cover the cake and coloured a further 200g pink, 200g orange and 200g yellow.
I used a pizza cutter to cut out Paisley pattern teardrops, triangles, long ovals, circles and flowers then randomly placed them all over the cake. I stuck them down with some edible glue but a little water would have worked just as well.
Back view
Side view

Pink Tatty Teddy Christening Cake Tutorial

7” White Chocolate Caramel Mud Cake Round
Ingredients
180g butter
180g white choc
162ml water
90 SR
180g plain
120g caster
120g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
250g nestle Top’n’Fill Caramel
Ganache
780g white chocolate
270ml pure cream
Fondant
780g sugar-paste
Method for the 7″ round white chocolate Caramel mud cake 
(adapted from Planet Cake Cookbook)
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease tin and line the base and sides with a collar of baking paper that extends 2 cm above the top of the tin. Add baking strips (made from damp cloths wrapped in tin foil) around the outside of the cake tin. Put the butter and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter has melted. Turn off the heat, then add the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is well combined.
Sift the flours together in a bowl. Add the sugars, a pinch of salt and make a well in the centre.
Pour the chocolate mixture, egg and vanilla into the well then stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add Top’n’Fill and stir till combined
Pour into the cake tin inserting a flower nail in the bottom of the tin. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when poked into the middle of the cake. Cover with foil halfway through if the cake is browning too quickly.
Once removed from the oven, use a pastry brush (or similar) to brush the top of the cake with boiled water to keep it moist and save it from cracking and forming crusty bits on top. Then cover with a clean tea cloth to reduce evaporation. Repeat the brushing with boiled water step two or three times at half hour intervals as the cake cools. Remove the baking strips once they can be handled or use oven gloves to remove them.

Let cake cool completely on a wire rack before taking the cake out of the tin.

Wrap the cake well in cling film (do not squash cake) and put in fridge till morning.
  1. Process chocolate till it resembles breadcrumbs and place in a large bowl
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and mix with a hand whisk until the ganache is smooth. (Do not use an electric whisk, as you will create too many air bubbles in the ganache.)
  3. Allow to cool completely and then leave to set overnight.

To torte and cover your cake with ganache click here

To make the teddy. Colour white ready made sugar paste with pink gel colour and add half a teaspoon of Tylose powder and kneed till incorporated. Model all the little bits and pieces in the picture above and leave to harden for an hour or two.

Use dark pink petal dust to brush onto the Teddy’s cheeks with a dry paint brush. Use wooden cocktail sticks to attach arms, legs and head to body along with edible glue made from water and Tylose powder. Use the same method to attach the finished Teddy to the cake.