Tennis Court

It’s been a pretty busy week – cake orders have been pouring in, the kids’ school broke up for the spring holidays and I had to prepare two birthday parties for my daughter – one at her school and one at home.

Meanwhile, the Tennis Court cake I had to bake for Friday was crowned “order of the week”.  It was the first time I created a tennis court and because my technical tennis knowledge is a little lacking, I first had to do some research…

The base lines and racquets were made from chocolate.

Happy birthday Jessica – I hope you and your tennis-loving friends loved eating the cake as much as I loved creating it!

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A gentleman’s cake

So I’m working at a new office with new colleagues and new challenges.  And they came to realise pretty quickly just how handy it is to have me around, since every Friday is now known as Cake Friday.

So far I’ve baked for an office baby shower and birthday, and it was subsequent to Mr G’s birthday that he asked me to make something special for his son-in-law.

Now, what’s a girl to do when she has free reign over the cake she’s about to make and the only instruction is to use EXACTLY the same recipe as the one used for Mr G’s own birthday cake?  You make a Gentleman’s Birthday Cake, of course:  three-layer buttermilk chocolate cake with dark chocolate buttercream frosting and the entire top surface of the cake covered with malted puffs.  Pure decadence.

Lorraine’s party package

Lorraine is a long-time client of my mom’s so I only felt a tiny twang of performance anxiety when she booked me to bake cupcakes for her birthday party.

After some deliberation and weighing up all the options, I received an order for 60 chocolate cupcakes topped with Lindt & Amarula ganache, a malted puff ball and a rose petal or two.

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Order confirmed, our conversation soon turned to my very famous courgette cake.  Or to be more exact, my version of Flora’s Courgette Cake, as featured in Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess.  I told Lorraine how all my clients’ reactions went from the initial “eeuuww” to “THIS. IS. THE. BEST. CAKE. EVER.” once then have taken a bite.  So she decided to order one too.

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I was quite nervous about the outcome of the cake, especially because I’m usually around when people take their first bite.  But there was no need:  I got an e-mail this morning, singing its praises 🙂

Looking back at all my blog entries until now, I think that Flora Woods’s Courgette Cake has probably received the most coverage.  Of course, I added my own secret ingredients to give it the Cake Revolution stamp, and I developed an additional lemon curd topping (thanks Flora – your curd recipe is tops too!!), but I need to thank Flora Woods once again for giving Nigella this recipe and, in turn, inspiring me to bake something truly great.

I owe you one!

Castle Cake

The Challenge:  A pink castle cake for a little girl who loves Polly Pocket.

The Result:  A pink castle, featuring Polly & friends, as well as back-garden waterfall.

Flower Power

I often get asked to provide cupcakes for a class party at school.  These flower power cupcakes always come up tops.

You need:

  • Your favourite cupcake recipe
  • Decorate the cupcakes with your favourite buttercream frosting
  • A packet of large and small marshmallows (pastel colours)
  • A packet of Smarties

To make the flowers, cut a marshmallow into four slices… the cutting action will automatically shape the petals.  Repeat with the smaller marshmallows, arrange on your cupcakes and top off with a Smartie “bud”.

Triple Treat

The global credit crunch is much more than a motivation for us to tighten our belts and turn over our cents; new terms like “recessionista” have been coined in women’s glossies while  clothes swapping parties are becoming more popular.  It has even reached the party circuit!

So when my manager told me that she was planning to host a recession party for her birthday – complete with tombola table – I decided that the best gift I could give her was to bake her favorite cake.

But which cake to bake?

Now, Fridays are usually met with great anticipation at the office as I often bring any left-overs from the orders I usually get. And if I can single out one specific favorite, then it must be my adaptation of Flora Woods’s courgette cake:  I have personally witnessed how colleagues on diet finish their fifth or sixth slice!!

But I knew that there would be around 40 guests and one cake wouldn’t be enough.  So I decided to bake three ring cakes:  Aletta’s beloved courgette cake, a carrot cake and a lemon-granadilla cake.

From what I’ve heard the party was a blast and cakes were a hit, even if the cakes were never arranged on the stands as I had intended them to be displayed (and after strict instructions to the restaurant manager)!

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Amarula Cake

Dang, this was a fun cake to make.  First, I had quite a large order to fill for a birthday party.  It was on the catering side though, so no cake was planned.  Until hubby called and gave me a top secret assignment to make Gill a really cool birthday cake – something different.

So I took my old tried and trusted chocolate cake recipe and added an Amarula zing to it.  Topped it off with Ferrero Rocher balls, an Amarula butterscotch sauce (which was a reall challenge to make) and added some rose petals.

Of course, I had major performance anxiety about this cake as I have never tried it before and didn’t even know what it would taste like.  But everybody came back saying it was fabulous, so I’ll be on the menu for this coming Saturday when it’s my kid’s birthday.