Friday, November 29, 2013

Pink Ombre Cake Tutorial

How do you make an ombre cake? It's actually very easy to make this pink ombre cake and you need no previous decorating skills. It looks impressive and is simple and easy. How do you do it? All you need is a significant quantity of butter cream icing, food colouring, a cake and a teaspoon.
It looks pretty and perfect for a shabby hightea or party, and I believe any girl would swoon over this. I've adapted it also to suit a little girl's birthday too, with fondant Peppa Pig and George jumping in muddy (chocolate) puddles. I do not have instructions on how to make a Peppa Pig cake on this page but it's very straight forward fondant modelling. You can really top this cake with anything, or simply leave the top plain. It's up to you. I hope you enjoy this delicious and exquisite looking cake as much as I did! 

Pink ombre cake with fondant flowers
Pink ombre cake turned Peppa Pig and George style

HOW TO MAKE A PINK OMBRE CAKE (Adapted from How to Cook That)

2 precooked cakes of the same size (mine are about 18cm across each)
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
7  1/2 cups  icing sugar
4+ tablespoons of milk
rose pink food colouring

 To make the buttercream, beat the butter with the icing sugar and the 4 tablespoons of milk until smooth and light, adding extra milk if desired to reach a thick and smooth consistency.


1. Take your two cakes and spread butter cream icing between them, then join them together. Set them on a serving plate which will enable you to work close to the bottom of the cake (plates with sides will not work as well. A flat or convex plate works best.) Smooth the sides of the cake with a thin crumb coat of butter cream icing to smooth any imperfections and inconsistencies. Take the remaining icing and colour with a little food dye. This will the the lightest coloured coat.

 2. Place a few heaped tablespoons of the icing in a piping bag fitted with a large round open nozzle. A zip lock bag with the corner cut is also a quick and easy option for a piping bag if you don't have one or the round nozzle. Starting at the very top edge of the cake, begin to pipe a row of 10c sized blops of icing, ensuring the side of each blop touches the side of the one next to it. Continue around the whole diameter. Using the back of a teaspoon, smooth each blop downwards. It may help if you dip the spoon into warm water between each smear to get a smoother finish.

 3. Add some more of the same food colouring to the remaining butter cream icing so that it is a few shades darker. Fill the piping bag with this darker shade and repeat the same process as previously, positioning the blops of icing along the bottom of the last row to cover any messy areas. When this row is completed, use the back of the teaspoon to smear the blops downwards as previously done.

4. Repeat this process with the next row, colouring the icing a few shades darker again. Finish the cake with the last and darkest row, which remains unsmeared and sits against the plate covering any messy edges.

5. Your pink ombre cake is complete! Finish it off with pretty fondant flowers or little fingurines like Peppa pig and George.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Caramel Popcorn Balls

 My son will not eat corn, hence he will not eat popcorn.
"Mum," he says "if it's corn, it's a veggie." And we all know how hard it is to get the kids to eat their veggies, even if it is in the form of popcorn. Yes, this is the three year old that knows his chocolate custard from his chocolate mousse, and isnt hesitant to make it known. "This isn't custard Dad--I think it's chocolate mousse!" While I beam with pride that my son knows the difference, part of me thinks, we probably conume more mousse and custard than we should.
My two year old daughter on the other hand, is more of the experimental type, and corn in any form does not faze her. In fact, she can't get enough. She went crazy for this popcorn when I made it. Her eyes almost popped out of her head with glee when she saw me pouring hot caramel over the fresh popcorn, and she started clapping excitedly. This recipe for caramel popcorn is from Danielle's blog, Hugs and Cookies XOXO. Danielle is the owner of a delightful blog just bursting with all sorts of scrumptiousness--and I found it hard to choose just one recipe to recreate for this months Secret Recipe Club Reveal. The caramel recipes alone left my keyboard rather drooled upon. Anyway, I've been looking for Christmas recipes for a long time, and when I came across the caramel popcorn it brought back vivid memories of Christmases gnawing away at caramel popcorn in the form of a ball.
My parents ended up making a rule against gift giving among my siblings--there are ten of us kids, so you can imagine the mountains of presents surrounding the tree and everyone getting stressed over what to buy and the lack of coin, especially among the younger ones. So my parents would give us all presents, and we would in turn, add something to the day--the Christmas tree, the wine, the pudding, the candy canes for the tree--whatever we wanted. For many years in a row I recall making caramel popcorn balls tied with ribbon, and hanging them on the tree like baubles as my little gift for the day. It's very economical and fun, and easy enough for children to make. They would make great DIY teacher's Christmas gifts for the end of school as well, tied up with ribbon in a clear cellophane bag. They would also be a great treat to sell at a school fete--cant you just see all the little ones munching away?
Now will my son eat corn?
Only if it's popped kernels covered in caramel and made into a ball shape. Somehow now, it's not a vegetable.

CARAMEL POPCORN BALLS (Adapted from Hugs and Cookies XOXO)

6 cups already popped popcorn
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup honey (golden syrup or light corn syrup and great substitutes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp bicarb soda (aka baking soda)
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, place the popped popcorn. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the sugar, honey and salt. Stir to combine, then let boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the bicarb soda and vanilla. Pour this hot caramel over the popcorn. Stir thoroughly, then set aside for 5-10 minutes to cool. The caramel is extremely hot, so cautiously test the caramel with your finger to make sure it's cool enough to handle. While it is still warm, scoop handfuls of caramel popcorn and form them into balls, about fist size. Make sure you use some pressure, so that the ball holds together firmly. Set aside to cool before tying with ribbon.

Makes approximately 6

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One Minute Self Saucing Nutella Mug Pudding for One

Movie ticket for one. Table for one. Pudding for one.
Sounds lonely.
I don't like doing those sorts of things on my own. Never really have had to fortunately. But it sounds way too lonely to be any fun.
Until last night.
I did it.
I went solo.
My husband said it was the perfect night for pudding. It was cool--the type of night you just want to roll up in a ball in front of a log fire like a cat and bask in warmth and hibernate there forever.
But what to do when you can't be bothered cooking pudding for an hour because you're way too tired and it feels like a hundred hours past your bed time?
One minute self saucing microwave mug pudding. And even better, it's choccas with Nutella. Can't really go wrong there.
I can tell you I got a little excited seeing the pudding magically rising before my eyes in the coffee mug and it made its way slowly around the microwave carousel. Nothing really beats chocolate self saucing pudding made in the oven, but this came pretty close, and considering it took so little time, it turned out to be a winner. It's a self saucing pudding, and the sauce sits awaiting at the bottom of the mug, making it fudgy the further you dig the spoon down. Ooh laa la! So good with ice cream...and perfect consolation food for those damn heartbreaks and breakups most people suffer at least once in their lives. Forget eating out of a tub of ice cream. Get to it! It will only take two minutes of your time to put together, and another in the waiting for it to cook, and voila! Better than tall, dark and handsome?'s rich too.
This decadent recipe makes one generous serve in a large mug (my mug wasn't on the large side, hence the explosion) if you're in a wonderfully happy loving relationship, grab two spoons and share it with your significant other. You could even add walnuts to this recipe for something really special--and I also like to add a dollop of cream for nice contrast. Dessert tonight--sorted! In less than 5 minutes from beginning to end.


1 egg
4 tbsp self raising flour
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp nutella
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil

Place all the ingredients in a large mug. Thoroughly whisk with a fork until well incorporated and the egg is well broken down. Place in the microwave and cook on high, for approximately 1-1.5 minutes. Cooking time will vary due to the differences in strength from microwave to microwave. Serve with cream or ice cream if desired.