I can't believe how quickly Christmas is approaching! It's been a super busy couple of months in the Cake From The Heart kitchen and things certainly don't look like they'll be slowing down anytime soon.
I'm so excited to share all the Christmas goodies I'll be making this year. Pricing and details can be found by pressing the shop button in the menu above!
That charming photo above is of me in New York 8 years ago. After getting married, my husband and I both quit our jobs and traveled throughout America for three months - undoubtedly some of the best times we've had together. New York was definitely a highlight. Of course, we did the obligatory Sex and the City tour while we were there (Ok, I forced Tim to do it with me) and that's where I discovered Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding and my God it was good! I knew their cupcakes were renowned as some of the best but their banana pudding is also quite famous. I'm not even a huge banana fan, but this was delicious.
If you're watching your waistline then this recipe is definitely not the one for you, but if you have left over bananas in your fruit bowl or you're looking for a nice colD dessert that's not your usual go to for an event, then you need to try this!
Instead of making a large trifle bowl full of this delicious pudding, I recently made it in individual jars and they were a huge hit!
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3cups heavy cream
1 packet of Sponge Finger biscuits (the actual Magnolia Bakery recipe calls for Vanilla Wafers but I've not been able to find an equivalent here in Australia)
4 bananas, sliced
Mix water, pudding mix and sweetened condensed milk with a whisk until smooth and then refrigerate.
Whip heavy cream until stiff and peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well incorporated.
Layer sponge fingers, sliced bananas and the pudding mixture in a large trifle bowl and repeat until you've used all of the pudding mixture. Alternatively, you can spoon mixture into mason jars for individual servings.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and then serve.
I'm excited to introduce cookie flower bouquets to my product offering.
I made these cute little cookies as a gift to the carers at my kid's daycare centre for Teacher Appreciation Week and everybody loved them!
A bouquet of 6cookies is $25 and you can purchase them by filling in the contact form. The best part is, they can be posted anywhere in Australia!
Such a cute little gift!
My kids have a love hate relationship with bananas. Some weeks they can't get enough and beg me for them when they're hungry and the fruit bowl is empty by the day after I've done the weekly grocery shop. Other weeks, they won't touch them and those poor little bananas turn brown in the bowl as they lay untouched for a week. It's when those poor bananas are soft and brown that I usually turn to my mum's delicious banana cake recipe so they don't go to waste.
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 Cup castor sugar
3 mashed bananas
3/4 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
250g block of unsalted butter
3 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
Cream butter, essence and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
Stir in mashed banana and sifted dry ingredients. Stir until combined.
Spread mixture into a 6 inch round well greased tin.
Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees C) for about 45 minutes.
Let cake stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
For the icing:
Beat block of unsalted butter in a bowl until light and fluffy.
Add 3 cups of icing sugar and continue mixing until well combined.
Add peanut butter and mix again.
Cut cooled cake in half and fill with icing mixture with a spatula.
Spread remaining icing on top of the cake with the spatula.
Enjoy a slice with a lovely cup of tea!
Father's Day is creeping up on us and at Cake From The Heart we've got you covered!
Delicious chocolate mud cake covered in vanilla buttercream icing with chocolate ganache drip and then topped with donuts and Oreo cookies. This cake will serve between 12 people with dessert sized portions. Cost: $90
Treat dad to breakfast in bed with this cute sugar cookie set. Cost: $20
Decadent Nutella brownie slab (7 inches square). Cost: $12
These are the yummiest cupcakes ever! Fluffy vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing and drizzled with bourbon salted caramel sauce. Cost: $28 per pack of 6.
Click on the contact form to order these delicious treats for dad by Monday 29th August. All treats will be available for collection from Cherrybrook on saturday 3rd September (delivery can be arranged if required).
Although the winter months are traditionally less busy for me as a cake decorator (there usually aren't as many parties or weddings held during the colder months), I've been busily preparing wedding cake quotes and taking orders from all the brides planning their spring/summer weddings. Generally speaking brides will normally book in their wedding cake about 3-6 months in advance of the big day. It's one of those big items you can tick off your list of things to do and best to do as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Gone are the days of a ‘cookie cutter’ wedding cake. The options are limitless and a couple can show so much of their own personality through the style of their wedding cake.
The importance of your wedding cake:
Aside from the happy couple, on your wedding day your wedding cake should be one of the main focal points at your reception. Your cake helps set the tone of your wedding, carries the theme through and shows off your unique style as a couple.
The cutting of your cake not only makes a great photo opportunity but also signifies a very special and symbolic moment so it’s important to have a cake that looks beautiful and one that you love.
Here's my top three things to consider when first planning your wedding cake
Find your style:
When researching your perfect wedding cake you can find so much inspiration online, including website such as Pinterest or 100 Layer Cake, as well as in glossy wedding magazines.
There are so many things to consider when choosing a wedding cake you love. Do you want a square cake or a round cake? Buttercream or fondant? What do you think is going to be the general style of your wedding? Will it be a formal or more casual event? Where will your reception be held? All these things should be considered when thinking about your wedding cake.
Start your own Pinterest Board and pin the things you love or that inspire you. Don’t limit yourself to just pinning cakes from certain decorators, you can find inspiration in flowers, fabrics, colour swatches, invitations and so much more. Share your board or things that you've collected with your decorator and they can bring all these components together to create something truly unique and personal for your special day.
Cake decorators are creative people but you will need to give us a starting point, an idea of what you like, or just as importantly things that you don’t like, to make the process of designing something for you as easy a process everyone involved.
Some of the hottest trends for 2016 include hand painted cakes, geometric patterns, metallics and the popularity of the naked and semi naked cake continues.
Be realistic and honest about your budget:
Set yourself a realistic budget and be honest with your decorator about what it is. A five tier cake covered in beautiful hand crafted sugar flowers will look amazing, but if you only have a limited budget you’re going to be disappointed because it won’t be possible, at least not to that scale.
I know we’ve all heard that as soon as people realise that you’re planning a wedding, the price of what they’re selling goes up. While that may be true for some businesses (I certainly encountered this when planning my own wedding!) that’s certainly not the approach that I take. Wedding cakes are expensive because they are usually created to cater for a large number of people and literally hours and hours of work go into them. But regardless of whether you want a wedding cake from me or a birthday cake, the same factors are considered when costing a cake - number of slices required and the complexity of the design you choose and therefore the time that goes into making it.
If you’re honest with your decorator about your budget, they can suggest ways of getting the biggest bang for your buck, while still having an amazing centrepiece at your reception. I want your cake to be a showstopper just as much as you do!
Choosing your cake flavour:
During your research you’re going to see some amazing and exotic cake flavours and combinations, but be mindful when choosing your cake flavour. Flavours that are not familiar to your guests can turn them off. Often it’s better to choose a more simple flavour combination that the majority of your guests will enjoy like a delicious chocolate mud cake or white chocolate mud cake. If you feel like that’s a little boring, you could choose a flavoured filling. Hazelnut buttercream is perfect when paired with a chocolate mud cake or a raspberry buttercream with white chocolate mud cake is delicious!
You’re potentially spending a significant amount of money on your wedding cake and you don’t want to see cake left on your guests’ plates because they’re reluctant to try it or likely may not enjoy it. If you and your hubby have your heart set on something a little different, perhaps choose that flavour for your top tier and enjoy it for yourselves when celebrating after your wedding.
If you can, taste the cake before you go ahead with ordering to make sure you love it. I offer tasting boxes and you can choose up to three different flavour combinations to help narrow down your favourite combination. There is a cost associated with the tasting box however this cost will come off the final cost of your wedding cake if you choose to go ahead with your order. Many decorators offer this as an option so be sure to ask.
When it comes to cakes these days, really, anything goes and it’s YOUR special day so have fun!
I'm going to be at the Hills Wedding Expo on sunday 19th June. Make sure you pop along if you're planning your big day. I'd love to say hi and discuss your wedding cake with you. I'll have some gorgeous new cakes on display and will also have some tasty samples for you to try.
If you can't make it on the 19th, send me an email or call me - I'd love to help make the cake of your dreams. All my details can be found on my contact page.
Mother's Day is just around the corner so why not treat her to something sweet that she'll love.
I have three goodies on offer this year including a super cute breakfast in bed cookie gift pack, floral cupcakes as well as a delicious celebration cake.
Breakfast in bed cookie gift set - $20 (postage within Australia also available)
Floral cupcake gift box (half dozen) - $28
Floral cupcake gift box (full dozen) - $50
Floral wreath celebration cake (serves up to 12) - $90
Orders can be placed by emailing me through my contact form or contacting me on 0438 441 017.
It was a rainy old day here today so the kids and I decided to make some cookies for fun that are delicious even though the main ingredient is chick peas! The recipe makes around 18 cookies but they didn't even last the day in our house!
We ate way too much chocolate over the Easter break and still have so much left over so the best part is that we got to use up some of our stash in the cookies (I chopped up some solid chocolate eggs and used them instead of choc chips).
These cookies are delicious and definitely worth a try.
1 x 400g can of chickpeas drained and well rinsed
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I use Mayver's brand peanut butter as it's all natural with just a little bit of salt added)
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup of chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
Combine all ingredients (except for choc chips) in the food processor and process until you get a smooth mixture. Scrape down sides regularly.
Add the chocolate chips and mix with a spatular or spoon.
Place some baking paper on your tray. Wet your hands slightly and roll teaspoon full of mixture in your hands to form a small ball and then place on the baking paper.
Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes.
These cookies don't rise or really go crunchy like most cookies. They are deliciously gooey.
* Recipe originally found at www.texanerin.com
So .... I won a third place ribbon at the Royal Easter Show this year!
This is the first time that I've actually entered a cake into a competition and entering two was a bit of a stretch but I got a bit excited about the different categories. I wanted to do something a bit serious and also something really fun so entered a wedding cake as well as a novelty cake which had to encapsulate the feel of the show.
Last year when I was experimenting with hand painting on fondant I made a yellow cake with big bold painted flowers. I loved it and always wanted a chance to make it properly so that's what formed the basis of my wedding cake entry. It was a bit risky since it was anything but traditional, but I feel like weddings are so far from traditional these days and brides are so much more willing to be bold and quirky and show their personality when they theme their wedding.
When I think of the Easter Show I immediately think of the Bertie Beetle show bag, carnival rides and pluto pups (I may be showing my age here since it all seems to be about chips on a stick, cheese on a stick or corn on a stick rather than the good old pluto pup these days) and so that's what I wanted to incorporate into my novelty cake. Unfortunately Lucas got sick during the week that I was making this cake so I spent most of my time coddling him which left only late nights to finish the cake so it really wasn't 100% how I wanted it to be but I was happy with it none the less.
I won't lie though, I put all my eggs into the wedding cake basket in my mind and nursed it so carefully as we drove to the venue. I made Tim drive like he did when we first brought our children home from the hospital so that the precious yellow cake in my lap didn't get damaged. Poor old Bertie Beetle got shoved into the boot because I wasn't completely happy with it and didn't feel like it could win anything.
Thank God Bertie got there safely because after the opening night I found out that he won me a third place ribbon! I couldn't have been prouder, except when I went to the show with my kids who went crazy when they saw mummy's cake on display and when I heard all the comments from people who walked by. Although, I did hear one lady say "urgh who would want a yellow wedding cake?!". You can't please everyone I guess but I wouldn't change a thing about it although maybe next year I will tone it down just a little bit and hopefully I'll get a first place ribbon.
My BB8 cake has by far been the most popular cake I have posted on my Facebook page and I have to say that it goes down as one of my favourites too.
When I post pictures of my cakes people are always interested in how they were made, particularly when it comes to sculpted cakes or cakes with an unusual shape or structure so I thought I'd share with you some pictures of the BB8 cake that I made for my nephew's 14th birthday, step by step.
BB8's head was actually made of polystyrene, however it was decorated in exactly the same manner as a real cake. First it was covered in white fondant and then I used special sugar shaping tools to make all the markings of the rings around his head and other fine details. Gel food colouring diluted with a tiny bit of vodka is used to paint the colours.
BB8's body was all completely edible. This particular cake was only small as it only needed to serve 10 people. I used a half sphere tin to bake two chocolate cakes.
Next I trimmed each half just to make sure that they made a perfect sphere shape when they were put together. I trimmed the bottom of one of the halves to make it sit flat on the cake board and fixed it to the board with a little bit of chocolate ganache so there was no chance that it would move around or tip over.
Chocolate ganache was used to cover the entire cake to seal it and to make a nice smooth base for the fondant to adhere to. It's really important that the coating of ganache is really smooth, otherwise any dimples or marks will show through the fondant and this is not a good look! This was a really tedious process to make sure it was perfect and it was the first time I had granached a sphere shape so it took quite a while to get it right.
I rolled out some white fondant with a rolling pin until it was nice and thin. I then lay it over the ganached sphere and smoothed it on, making sure there were no bubbles underneath. Any bubbles can just be pricked with a pin to let the air out, and then the fondant is smoothed back down. The excess fondant around the bottom was trimmed with a pizza cutter to make a nice neat looking round white ball.
Next I used a wooden dowel to secure BB8's head to the sphere. I then used round cookie cutters and my sugar shaping tools to mark the shapes and details over BB8's body to give me a guide to use when painting all the details on. I also added some wire antennas to the top of his head.
I used the same technique of diluting food colouring gel with a tiny amount of vodka to paint all the details onto the cake with a paint brush. I also used special edible dusting colours to enhance BB8's markings. If you've seen the movie you'll know that this quirky little droid is a little beaten up and dirty from speeding across the sand!
And lastly, I added sand to the base. This 'sand' is actually just Arrowroot biscuits whizzed in the food processor with some butter to make it a bit sticky so it stays on the cake board. Does the trick don't you think?
And there you have BB8! All up it took me about 4 hours to decorate this cake and I'm so happy with how it turned out. I think it will go down as one of my most favourite cakes to date... but I am a self confessed Star Wars nerd so that could have something to do with it!
Thank you for visiting - I'm Alison and this is where you can find out what projects I'm working on as well as cake and styling trends, recipes and other little tid bits that I think you might like.