Cake roundup

9 09 2011

It’s that time again, a quick catchup with my recent cakes. Apologies for the abysmal photo quality, a combination of bad lighting where I’m currently baking and using the camera on my phone.

Up first is Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The head is vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream & the body is rice crispie treats covered with fondant.

Up next is a cake I made for my friend Emma‘s 30th birthday. This was fun as I got to make lots of different fondant pieces depicting her favourite things. She’s got such a wide range of interests that I could have probably added even more. I think she liked the ones I picked! Cake is vanilla with Galaxy chocolate buttercream and all decoration is fondant.

A few more close-up shots of the different elements on Emma’s cake:

And finally I was lucky enough to be asked to make a 2nd birthday cake for my workmate’s son. I made his 1st birthday cake last year, I’m hoping this will be an ongoing tradition! The Handy Manny cake is vanilla sponge with vanilla & raspberry filling, all decoration is handcut & hand painted fondant.

The saw was my favourite tool to create, so much character in those features.

Until next time folks.

Lamingtons – My first attempt

9 09 2011

While things settle down in my real life baking has taken a back seat. I’ve made the odd batch of brownies and there are a few cakes I’ve yet to blog about but regular baking has been severely lacking. So obviously inspiration had to strike while I was without all my baking kit. My dad is originally from Australia and despite being the only person in our family never to have set foot on Aussie soil I’m quite partial to some of their sweet treats. I adore chocolate covered Macadamia Nuts, I love that they are big fans of coconut and I have a multitude of the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks. I decided that I must make Lamingtons and as soon as possible.

As I was without my cookbooks I googled for a simple recipe and settled on a sort of hybrid version of several recipes. I decided to use my own sponge cake recipe as I knew it was easy and didn’t require any fancy equipment. I used an 8 inch square tin but I’d say this would be best in a 9 inch tin, it’s really personal preference as to the size you’d like your lamingtons to be. I went for 16 squares from my sponge which was just enough for us as the icing is quite sweet.

Basic Sponge Cake

175g (6 oz) soft butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing

175g (6oz) caster sugar

3 eggs

175g (6oz) self-raising flour

1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder


Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 4

Lightly grease and line the bottom of your square tin

Combine all the ingredients and beat well until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared tin.

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the cake is well risen, golden and springy to the touch.

Let the cake sit in the tin for 5-10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, cut it into squares ready for dipping.


225g (1/2 lb) icing sugar

2 & half tablespoons of good cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)

1/2 tablespoon butter

60ml (2 fl oz) milk

200g packet of dessicated coconut


Combine the icing sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan heat the milk & butter until the butter is melted, I kept this on low – med heat and it didn’t take very long so keep a close eye on it.

Add the warm milk to the sugar mixture and mix well to create a fluid (but not too runny) icing. It should be fluid enough to allow the cake to be dipped but not so much that none of the icing adheres itself to the cake.

Have your cake squares, icing, a fork & a cooling rack ready. Place the coconut in a shallow bowl. Use the fork to dip the cake in the icing, making sure to turn it to cover all the sides. This bit can be messy but it’s worth it! Tap the excess icing off the cake then roll it in the coconut. This is where you can check if the icing is too runny, it should be thick enough to not continue to drip from the cake once you tap off the excess.

Place the squares on the cooling rack once they’ve been rolled in the coconut. Let them harden up a little then try to resist eating every single one before you share them.