GF Honey Bee Hive Cake

honey beehive cake with hidden honeycomb centre gluten free

A few weeks ago Derby Clandestine Cake Club‘s August meeting was held, with a ‘Hidden Summer’ theme. A bit unsure of adding extra ingredients to a gluten free cake, I opted for a hidden-centred cake instead. I found the honey cake recipe and things spiralled out from there… a beehive shape, honeycomb centre, perfect!

The gluten-free honey cake recipe I used was this one from Glutafin – and I simply can’t rave about it enough. It was so easy to make (hello, one-bowl baking), cooked perfectly, and was wonderfully moist and tasty. Gold stars all round!

gluten free honey cake easy GF recipe one bowl

I baked the cake in two slightly different size round tins, to start the circles needed for the beehive.

Once cool, I used various circular elements from round the kitchen (a bowl, a glass, and a spray oil lid for the smallest one!), to cut concentric circles out from the middles of the large cakes. I ended up with three ‘rings’ of cakes on the bottom (circles with holes in the middle), and two ‘solid’ circle layers for the top.

stacking gluten free honey cake circles for beehive theme hidden centre

Once I was happy with the stacking, I dis-assembled down to the bottom two layers, and filled them with a generous mix of chocolate and honeycomb pieces (I highly recommend Crunchie Rocks – a ready-made version of this!)

hidden centre cake honey bee hive chocolate honeycomb filling

Finally I needed to stick the cakes together, and cover with icing. The sticking part didn’t take much icing at all as the cake was so moist, but I more than made up for it with lots of sticky icing on the outside. I’d love to share the recipe for this as it worked perfectly, but alas it was one of those throw-in-the-pan-and-see-what-happens kind of icings, with some honey, butter, icing sugar, a little chocolate… you get the picture!

Once the cake was covered I added some bee-hive ‘ridges’ round the cake, using the back of a fork.

sticky chocolate honey buttercream icing on beehive cake

And what beehive would be complete without some little honeybees? Wondering where their honey has gone no doubt! I rolled together some black and yellow fondant icing, adding white wings and black dots for eyes, to make these little bee-hive keepers.

fondant icing handmade bees for beehive honey cake clandestine cake club

The finished cake – stickly hiding its hidden chocolatey treasure away…

fondant bees on honeycomb cake handmade gluten free beehive honey cake with hidden chocolate honeycomb centre decorated with fondant bees

… only to spill out in a grand reveal when the cake is cut open!

hidden centre beehive cake chocolate honeycomb hidden centre layered beehive cake honey with chocolate honeycomb

Needless to say there was neither much cake nor chocolate left by the time cake club was over. You can read the full details of our August meeting here. Next stop is our September meeting to launch the new Clandestine Cook Book – featuring a recipe from little moi! All will be revealed soon…

Ruby Wedding Cake

john and claire ruby wedding anniversary cake red fondant decorations flowers edible glitter

This weekend just gone, Rob’s parents, John and Claire, had a celebratory lunch for their upcoming ruby wedding anniversary. 40 years – what an achievement!

Claire had asked me months ago to make a cake, and specifically the Tropical Fruit Cake with coconut icing that I made for CCC last Christmas. Coincidentally it was exactly a year since I last made this cake!

I used 1 1/2 times the recipe to make a huge square cake, and a good thick layer of coconut icing, which set in the fridge before I started decorating.

Using red fondant throughout, I personalised the cake with a sparkly name plate, and ‘Ruby Wedding Anniversary’ lettering on the edge of the plate. To finish – some sparkly ruby-red flowers.

ruby wedding anniversary winter christmas tropical fruit cake red floral glitter john and claire name plate personalised ruby wedding anniversary cake red fondant festive flowers on coconut iced cake decorated with edible glitter john and claire ruby wedding anniverary cake tropical fruit christmas cake with coconut icing and red decorations

Rob had mentioned that his parents wanted to give some of the cake to friends who couldn’t be at the lunch – so | made some matching cupcakes to ensure there was plenty to go around. Sticking with the theme, they were a (ruby) red velvet chocolate cake base, topped with a swirl of vanilla butter cream, and coordinating red flowers.

winter floral ruby red flower cupcakes with vanilla icing swirl for wedding anniversary ruby flower cupcake for wedding anniversary party ruby red flower cupcakes with edible glitter vanilla buttercream swirl for wedding anniversary celebration

It was a great lunch and lovely to be able to celebrate with them. Happy Anniversary John & Claire!

30th Birthday Lemon & White Chocolate Biscuits

30th birthday thirty biscuits pink and purple edible glitter celebratory present ideas

These sparkly little biscuits were, no surprise, for a 30th birthday party a couple of weeks. The lucky lady in question is a big lover of all things sparkly, particularly pink and purple, and I’m sure there was a squeal of excitement when she saw them!

I used an adaptation of the rich biscuit recipe from my Be-ro book for the base, you can find it online here.

To offset the sweetness of the icing, I added more lemon as follows, and also used plain flour instead of the recommended self raising, so the shapes wouldn’t spread too much.

Ingredients

225g plain flour

100g caster sugar

100g butter

1 lemon, juice and grated rind

1 egg, beaten

Method

– Mix the flour and sugar together, and rub in the fat until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs

– Mix in the lemon juice and rind, and add the egg a little at a time. Keep stirring after every addition of egg, and stop when you have a stiff dough. There may be a little egg left over

– Refrigerate for at least half an hour before cutting into shapes; roll out thinly on a well-floured surface

– Bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of your shapes), until they are just going brown at the very edges

– Remove and allow to cool completely before icing

I chose to ice my biscuits with a great new discovery – Renshaw’s white chocolate fondant icing.

renshaw white chocolate ready to roll fondant icing review recipe usage

I’ve not seen in this in the shops before so think it may be new, although I am not always the most observant! In any case I’m very happy to have discovered it, I love using normal chocolate fondant as it adds a real flavour that normal ready-to-roll doesn’t, but is really simple to use.

To cover the biscuits, I cut out matching shapes, using a size smaller cutter than the biscuit dough, and ‘glued’ them on with a quick brush of golden syrup.

For the ’30’ numbers, I coloured up a little fondant in both pink and purple, cutting out big chunky numbers. These were then brushed with a good amount of edible glitter – no such thing as too much sparkle – and left to set overnight, before applying to the biscuits the next morning.

sparkly pink star 30 biscuit happy thirtieth birthday recipe purple sparkly star and circle 30th thirty birthday biscuits

The ‘plain’ white biscuits were simply made by pressing number cutters into the fondant after it had been stuck on the biscuit, and in-filling with, you guessed it, more edible glitter!

30 thirtieth birthday biscuit edible glitter lemon and white chocolate recipe easy gift

They went down really well at the party, with lots of interested comments about the white chocolate fondant. The flavour worked really well with the lemon and it’s definitely something I’ll be using again!

30th birthday biscuits thirty lemon and white chocolate easy recipe gift

gift box biscuits homemade treat thirtieth birthday 30 edible glitter sparkly girls

This post is part of #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 – read more over on Jenny’s blog.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

 CelebrationCakesAndBakes

Tropical Beach Cake

tropical summer beach cake recipe clandestine cake club nottingham how to with sugar and crumbs flavoured icing

June’s Nottingham City Clandestine Cake Club had the wonderful (if I do say so myself) theme of ‘we’re all going on a summer holiday‘ – conveniently it had worked out to be the day before we went away for ours!

Fruity flavours and funky colours were definitely on the menu, and this was a perfect excuse to use some more of my lovely Sugar and Crumbs products. S&C make wonderful flavoured icing sugars and cocoa powders, with completely natural ingredients. They were kind enough to send me some to try earlier this year, and I then won a competition of theirs and received another great supply!

sugar and crumbs tropical icing sugar summer cake recipe bundt not granulated or caster

For this cake I used a 500g pack of their tropical icing sugar. If the pink lemonade one smells like Refreshers sweets – this one smells just like Fruit Salad sweets. Sweet tooth? Moi?!
I’d seen somewhere on their facebook page a while back that you can use the flavoured icing sugar in the cake itself, in place of where you’d normally use a white or brown sugar, but after a good search around couldn’t find a whole lot of recipes. Eventually I stumbled on this Powdered Sugar Pound Cake – but had to convert and scale down before I could get to work. It turned out really well and would definitely work in small bundt (or large one if you scaled up), adjusting cooking times of course.

Ingredients
165g butter
225g tropical icing sugar
165g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs

Method
– Beat together the butter and icing sugar. You’ll find this needs to be done very slowly (even if you’re doing it by hand), to prevent a great cloud of sugar dust descending on your kitchen
– Beat in the eggs along with a tablespoon of flour
– Sieve the remaining flour and baking powder, and mix well
– Pour into a well greased tin and level with a spatula
– Bake at 170 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean
– Turn out onto a cooling rack

Tropical Butter Icing
275g tropical icing sugar
100g butter
Tablespoon of milk (if needed)

– Beat together the sugar and butter. Add the milk a little at a time only if the mixture is a little stiff
– Spread all over the cake, or split and colour as desired

I split the icing for my cake into two, for the sand and the sea.

To make the sand, I blitzed up a small packet of biscuits in the food processor. Making a shoreline shape with the butter icing, I then gently pressed the biscuit crumbs all over, until the icing was completely covered.

tropical icing sugar summer beach cake sugar and crumbs recipe crushed shortbread biscuit to represent sand on summer tropical beach cake

It was rather a messy job trying to get the biscuits to stick to the side!

making edible sand on tropical beach summer cake from crushed biscuits

Once the sand had set a little, I set aside a tablespoon of the remaining icing, to stay white, and coloured the rest a light blue, before applying it all over the remaining half of the cake with a palette knife.

tropical swirl icing blue sea

To create the wave effects, I added random and alternate stripes of the white icing, and a bit more blue food colouring. Swirling them around a little with a knife, I then used a palette knife dipped in boiling water to smooth the whole area over.

tropical blue swirled sea summer beach cake

The sand and sea complete – onto those all important beach accessories! How our house doesn’t have any cocktail umbrellas I’m still not sure, but this tutorial on DIY parasols from Food 52 was fun and easy – much better than a drive to the supermarket, which was my back-up option. And all you need is paper, scissors, glue, and a cocktail stick!
I then got to work with my fondant to make the remaining elements. For the beach mat, I used a light brown fondant imprinted with a basket weave, and edged with black fondant. The beach ball was simply for rectangles of red and white fondant rolled together, and the birkenstocks shaped and cut yellow and brown fondants.

summer beach cake home-made parasol beach mat book ball and sandals

Having completely failed at making a bucket and spade, I decided to go down the literary route for the last item. Starting with a ‘cover’ of dark blue fondant, I then rolled some thin white strips, using a cocktail stick to gently press them into place, and black food colouring for the text.

sea and sand summer beach scene cake fondant accessories

Et voila – one tropical beach scene! We had a great time discussing all things summer and holiday at CCC, and of course devouring all the delicious cakes.

nottingham-city-event-july-2014-summer-holidays

I was really pleased with how my cake came out inside – the icing sugar made for a dense but incredibly light texture, a bit of a cross between madeira and sponge. And of course perfectly flavoured by Sugar and Crumbs! I’ll definitely be trying some more recipes with their icing sugars.

tropical cake recipe made with sugar and crumbs flavoured icing easy and light for summer

Fat-Free Banana, Date & Maple Syrup Loaf

banana date and maple syrup loaf cake high fibre low fat and low sugar recipe

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bunch of blackening bananas in the supermarket, reduced to just 10p. Knowing I had a free evening ahead – I hastily picked them up and started dreaming of banana recipes! (Thanks to my Dad for ingraining in me an inability to walk past a reduced section without stopping – unfortunately this does also extend to clothes, shoes, bakeware…!)

Back home I quickly found some banana bread recipes, and thought the maple syrup I’d brought back from a recent trip to the US would be a perfect complement. A quick rummage in the cupboard and I ended up with dates as well – to come up with a super-healthy loaf, with no added sugar or fat. (Maple syrup is a natural product, so that’s good for you too, right?) Definitely a good couple of your five a day! You can add more or less spices depending on your taste buds.

Ingredients
300g ripe / blackening bananas
100g chopped dates
50 ml maple syrup
250g plain flour – use wholemeal if you are being extra healthy, although it will make for a heavier loaf
75ml milk
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon water

Method
– Put the chopped dates, maple syrup and water into a saucepan, heat slowly until gently bubbling. Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, and stir well. You should fine the dates have started to break down into a paste – if not heat for another minute or two. Set aside to cool. tur
– Mash the bananas, they don’t need to be too smooth (small lumps are fine), as they will melt down during cooking
– In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the date mixture, bananas, milk and eggs. Mix together well, but don’t over beat.
– Pour into a greased, lined loaf tin. It is quite a liquid mixture so will level out easily by itself.
– Bake at 150 degrees for 1 hour. In my fan oven this was the perfect time – an inserted skewer came out clean first time – but for other oven types it’ll take longer. Give it extra time in increments, testing with a skewer each time that oven beeps!
– Leave to cool in the tin, wait until you’re ready to serve before slicing

banana date and maple syrup fat free loaf cake recipe healthy baking batter mix ready to bake

banana date and maple syrup fat free low sugar cake recipe easy loaf tin bake

It’s best eaten quickly, or keep in the fridge in tupperware and work through it over a few days. It won’t be difficult!

Enjoy in big slices. It definitely doesn’t taste healthy, but makes a brilliant guilt free snack! If you’re after something a little naughtier, it works just as well with a good smother of butter, a la malt loaf.

sliced banana date and maple syrup loaf cake from home recipe

banana date and maple syrup loaf sliced with butter healthy treat recipe

 

 

 

Creme Egg Cookie Pizza

creme egg minis cookie pizza white and milk chocolate recipe for easter

Ah Easter. That one time of the year when excessive chocolate consumption is not only allowed, but positively encouraged. A four day weekend with little else to do but gorge on milk, white and dark goodness. Perfect!

My Cadbury Creme Egg Cheesecakes – Two Ways are incredibly popular at this time of year, being the most popular post on the whole blog for at least the past couple of months. This year I wanted to use those gooey orange and white filled shells for something equally as amazing, combined with an early with an early birthday treat for Rob.

As soon as I saw this fantastic cookie pie recipe from Averie Cooks, my mouth started watering and brain whirring. I loved the way she sliced it into pizza-style slices, and with Rob’s love of everything biscuits and cookies, I was onto a sure-fire winner.

Jazzing up the recipe with extra chocolate, and of course those mini creme eggs was as easy as converting to UK measurements. The ultimate Easter indulgence!

Ingredients
110g butter
130g light brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g plain flour
1 egg
100g chocolate chips

To top
1 pack mini Cadbury Creme Eggs
2 squares each milk and white chocolate

Method
– Melt together the butter and golden syrup, try not to over-heat
– Stir in the sugar and vanilla essence, add the egg and mix well
– Add the flour and chocolate chips (reserve a small handful for the topping), and mix until just-combined – this is some seriously good cookie dough that’s rather moreish eaten raw!
– Spoon into a greased, lined tin, I used a large pie dish with silicon lining for easy removal, flatten evenly
– Grate over the white and milk chocolate squares, sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips
– Lightly press in the Crème Eggs – either whole or halved, I used a mixture of the two. They are easy to cut in half if slightly warm
– Place the cookie pizza in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes. Check it’s done by inserting a cocktail stick / small skewer in the middle and seeing if it comes out clean
– Allow to cool in the tin / pie dish before removing and slicing into pizza segments

pie tin greased and lined for cookie pizza dough recipe

 

cookie pizza dough chocolate chip recipe uk

 

chocolate cookie pizza grated white and milk chocolate topping

 

creme egg chocolate cookie pizza topping ready to bake recipe

creme egg cookie pizza chocolate toppings milk and white chocolate chips

freshly baked chocolate creme egg pizza cookie

creme egg cookie pizza chopping board easter baking easy ideas recipe

creme egg cookie chocolate pizza cutter easter

chocolate pizza slice creme egg cookie giant

 

creme egg cookie pizza slice recipe

As easy as (pizza) pie – pure Easter indulgence in every bite. How do you eat yours? Very quickly in this case!

mini creme egg giant cookie chocolate pizza easter baking recipe ideas

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

mint chocolate cupcakes recipe how to fondant flower and leaf cutter decorations with edible glitter and chocolate sprinkles

By the wonder that is Facebook, I found out a couple of weeks ago, that there was a charity bake sale taking place in Toton, mere minutes drive away from us. I’m not really that great at giving money to charity, but am always happy to give my time or skills (Christmas present wrapping I just love!) for a worthy cause. This particular cause was Little Hearts Matter, and the event the brilliantly titled Big Hearted Bake, raising money for children born with heart conditions.

I wanted to bake something fun and family friendly, chocolate was definitely on the menu! I’d initially planned to make a big show-stopping cake to serve slices of, but time really wasn’t on my side last week, so I stuck with what I knew would work best – cute little cupcakes.

These lovely little cases jumped right out of my baking box, pretty black and white ivy designs from The Cake Decorating Company, based right here in Nottingham (more on this amazing shop to come in due course, I’m sure).

floral vine black and white cupcake cases cake decorating company nottingham

The recipe I used was a simple chocolate sponge from my Be-Ro book. It occurred to me that we used to make these exact cakes at home when I was little, but back then (about 20 years ago, eek!), we would never have called them cupcakes, they would have been chocolate buns through and through, as the book calls them. Funny how even baking has its trends that change!

chocolate victoria sponge cupcakes oven tray freshly baked white and black cases

When the cakes were cool, I topped them with a big swirl of mint buttercream – just butter and icing sugar, with a few drops of peppermint essence, and a tiny dab of green gel food colouring.

chocolate cupcake with mint swirl butter cream icing frosting light turquoise looks like ice cream

To decorate the tops, I followed the ivy theme from the cases, and used a flower and leaf plunger cutter, to cut shapes out of chocolate fondant. I worked a little tylose powder into the fondant before rolling it out, so the shapes would set nice and firm.

chocolate fondant flower and leaf shapes press cutters tylose powder to harden cupcake decorating

Then, it was simply a case of squishing the fondant topper straight onto the top of the mint buttercream…

chocolate and mint cupcake with flower and leaf fondant topper

… before finishing with some chocolate chunk sprinkles and some iridescent edible glitter (they’re for children, excess of glitter is a necessity, honest!)

mint chocolate cupcakes with edible glitter and chocolate sprinkle chunks swirl icing

The finished cupcakes – it took every inch of willpower not to eat one before they got dropped off at the bake sale.

mint chocolate cupcakes with fondant leaf and flower toppers edible hologram glitter

And the best news by far – the event raised nearly £1,800 for this lovely charity. If you want to see more details on Facebook, or follow their page so you can be a part next year, you can find the Toton bake here.

Easy Mid-Week Cookies – Oatmeal Raisin & Double Chocolate

easy midweek cookies double chocolate oatmeal raisin recipe with one egg yolk

Why are they called mid-week cookies? Do you ever get a couple of days into work and feel like it should be the weekend already? These are a great little therapeutic bake and perfect sugary pick-me-up, to make it that little bit easier to get out of bed tomorrow.

The basic recipe will give you yummy plain sugar cookies, but is so easily adapted to whatever flavourings or additions you’d like.

Ingredients

125g butter
30g caster sugar
40g brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon golden syrup
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Teaspoon of vanilla essence
150g plain flour

Adaptations:

Oatmeal raisin
Add 50g oats and 50g raisins, plus 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional
Use wholemeal plain flour for something that’s bordering on a healthy snack!

Double chocolate
Substitute 30g flour for 30g cocoa powder. Add in 50-75g of whatever chocolate chips or chunks you have to hand – I had some milk chocolate buttons lying around

Method
– beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Trust me it’s worth it. Use an electric mixer for speed/if you’ve had a particularly bad week
– add the remaining ingredients, including any extras, and mix well until everything is combined. If making a drier mix (like oatmeal raisin) you may need to get your hands in there to knead together properly.
– grease a baking sheet well (I use cake release spray), and roll balls or drop teaspoons of your dough on, depending on how wet your mixture is

I shaped the oatmeal raisin into balls, before rolling in a 50/50 brown sugar and oat mix for extra crunch. When on the baking sheet I pressed them out so they were a little flatter.

oatmeal raisin cookie recipe egg yolk rolling in oats and brown sugar easy

For the double chocolate, the batter was wonderful and sticky so I used teaspoons full, well spread, and each topped with another chocolate button.

easy gooey chocolate chunk cookie recipe egg yolk topped with chocolate button

– bake at 180 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Check back regularly and take out as they start to brown, don’t over-bake or you’ll lose the great chewy cookie texture. Allow to cool at least a little, but make sure you try one while they’re still warm!

easy midweek oatmeal raisin golden crunchy chewy cookies egg yolk recipe

double chocolate cookies biscuits with chocolate buttons easy one egg yolk recipe

See – I told you it was easy! Two sets of cookies, mixed, baked and eaten in under an hour!

oatmeal raisin and double chocolate cookies square plates easy recipe

Try not to eat them all at once – calling in sick with a stomach is not the answer to a bad week! Roll on the weekend… 🙂

double chocolate and oatmeal raisin best chewy easy cookies recipe

Dr. Who Tardis Lemon & Blueberry Birthday Cake

doctor dr who tardis police box birthday cake blue fondant squares

A busy week for birthdays! This cake is one for one of my best friends, who absolutely loves all things Dr. Who. He also loves all things tea and cake (and features in a fair number of my posts on the subject!) so it wasn’t hard to bake him something he’d like.

I wanted the inside of the cake to allude to the Tardis exterior, hence the blueberries. After a looking for a few recipes, this one over at allrecipes was my favourite, although I adapted it a bit for the size of cake I wanted:

Ingredients

120g butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
175g plain flour plus one tablespoon set aside
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g blueberries plus a few extra for the top
50ml milk

Method

– Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs
– Add the vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour (sieved) and milk and fold until smooth. For the true tarsus effect inside I also added a smidge of blue food gel colouring at this stage
– roll the blueberries in the remaining tablespoon of flour, so they all have a light coating. Add to the mixture and fold just a few more times, don’t over-mix them. (The flour coating helps stop them all sinking to the bottom)
– pour into a greased tin (around 15cm square tin or slightly large round, or equivalent), and sprinkle with the remaining blueberries

blueberry pound cake with fresh fruit topping batter ready to bake

– bake at 180 degrees for 35 – 50 minutes, dependent on oven and size of cake tin. Check it’s done by inserting a skewer or toothpick, if it comes out clean your cake is ready!

rectangle blueberry pound cake for doctor who tardis cake

I let the cake cool completely before covering the top and sides with a thick layer of lemon buttercream – a perfect complement to the fruity cake and sweet fondant covering.

blueberry pound cake covered in lemon butter icing

It took rather a while to get a dark blue for the fondant and I’m still not sure it’s quite what I wanted. Using a good amount of Wilton royal blue, with little dabs of black, it got to a point where the colour was just not improving, so I had to stop!
This cake is probably the first time I’ve used a ruler in my baking – after covering the whole cake in the blue fondant, I carefully measured and cut smaller squares out of the same blue for the door panels. They were stuck on with edible glue, and finished with a little silver edible glitter.

doctor who tardis birthday cake with blue fondant squares silver glitter measured with a ruler

One of the biggest challenges for the Tardis was the Police Box sign itself – a black base with tiny white lettering. I tried a couple of small letter stamps but they just weren’t working out. In the end I used a plastic food bag, with plain white icing, and cut a very tiny tip out of the corner for my ‘nozzle’. A bit shaky in places but it turned out ok!

doctor who tardis cake black fondant iced with police public call box in white

A few more details in place – black and white window panes with piped grey edging, a white fondant panel with writing added (using a black food pen), and extra fondant details for the small round door symbol, and yellow top light.

doctor dr who birthday cake tardis police box yellow light on top blue fondant windows and iced sign

The completed cake! Sorry for all you Doctor Who buffs that it’s not 100% accurate – I could have spent a lot longer with my ruler! – but I’m happy that the overall effect looks as it should, the important details are there, and there’s no disguising that’s one big blue Tardis!

doctor who tardis cake birthday blueberry and lemon how to fondant

The birthday boy certainly loved his cake…

20130419-210820.jpg

And inside – a true Tardis through and through!

20130419-211429.jpg

Cakes with the Kiwis

Kia Ora from New Zealand!

We have spent 1 1/2 beautiful weeks here in Aotearoa, touring from Tauranga, through Rotorua, Taupo, and Napier, crossing the islands by ferry and ending our journey in Christchurch.

Although a lot of the hotels and motels come with small, well-stocked kitchenettes, I have to say the only cooking I’ve done is to put a slice of bread in the toaster!

But of course, we have made time for cake along the way!

Hot cross buns over Easter weekend:

20130403-130510.jpg

– in sulphuric, stunning but very smelly Rotorua –

20130403-181845.jpg

Tuesday last week was my dad’s birthday, we bought him a gooey caramel slice cake and couldn’t help but top it with candles!

20130403-181747.jpg

Big slices enjoyed with a beach view, on the seafront in Napier.

20130403-181754.jpg

A 350km drive to Wellington definitely called for a midday cake-stop. Would you believe we have stopped in this cake shop on our past 2 trips as well – two and six years ago! The Olde Plum Duff tearooms in Shannon.

20130403-181827.jpg

What seems to be a Kiwi classic – lolly cake.

20130403-182506.jpg

The best way to describe it is quite dense and fudgy, with big chunks of bright squishy sweets, kind of like firm marshmallows, and rolled in desiccated coconut. Yummy! I will have to look up the recipe for this when we get back.

20130403-181812.jpg

A lot of the bakeries also sell another classic from this region – Lamingtons, although they do originate from neighbouring Australia. I didn’t manage to try one on this trip, but maybe next time…

20130403-181833.jpg

The cake shop is set in the middle of a tiny little town called Shannon, half an hour or so outside Palmerston North. There are a lot of small one-street towns in NZ, and Shannon is no exception, but really very pretty nonetheless.

20130403-181820.jpg

And the piece de resistance – the reason for our travel to NZ, my brothers wedding in Christchurch this weekend.

The wedding was held at a lovely little venue on the outskirts, called Sharvin Lodge. How nice to be able to hold the ceremony outside!

20130407-123317.jpg

The wedding cake was fab and perfect for the autumn theme – how amazing are those fondant leaves.

20130407-123343.jpg

20130407-123334.jpg

And the loveliest part? There was a mini cake for everyone to have there or take away with them, such a nice idea.

20130407-123400.jpg

So we leave New Zealand later today with some fantastic memories, next stop LA!