A Cake Decorating Class and an AppliancesOnline.com.au 8th Birthday Competition

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As many readers may know, I love baking and decorating cakes for family and friends.  I’m far from being an expert so any tips and tricks I can get is always welcomed.

I was invited by AppliancesOnline.com.au to attend a cake decorating class at Let Them Eat Cake in South Melbourne.  Owner Christopher Montebello and staff demonstrated their decorating skills and answered all the questions we had.  And trust me, we had plenty.

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Australia’s largest online retailer of appliances is celebrating it’s 8th birthday by launching a national cake decorating competition to find it’s official birthday cake.  The national competition encourages Australians to get creative by baking and decorating an appliance themed cake, to celebrate the birthday.  Entrants will go in the draw to win one of eight sunbeam food processors valued at $399.

To enter, create your cake and upload a picture via Appliances Online Facebook, instagram or twitter. Tag @appliancesAU and use the hashtag #AOLbirthday

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During our class, we were shown how to decorate cake to make it look like a blender. CakeDecoratingClass1

Doesn’t it look real?!

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Christopher also showed us how to write with royal icing.

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Not bad huh?

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Here are some cake decorating tips:

1. Buy fondant pre-made.  It can be difficult to achieve the right consistency when making fondant from scratch.

2. Sketch your concept before you start decorating and keep it simple.  The simplest ideas are often the best.

3. Use fruit or mud cake.  Fondant works best with firm cakes such as fruitcake or mud cake.  Make sure you don’t use sponge cake as it won’t support the weight of the icing.

4. Heat the marzipan.  If you’re using marzipan, take it out of it’s foil package and microwave for about 10 seconds to make it easier to work with.

5. Applying the fondant.  Knead on a clean board that’s been sprinkled with icing sugar.  If adding colour, apply sparingly and knead into the icing.  Roll out with a rolling pin and keep applying sugar throughout the rolling process.  Drape fondant carefully over the cake and then smooth gently with dry hands, starting at the centre of the cake, moving outwards.  Make sure to get rid of any air bubbles. Trim any excess fondant with a sharp knife.

6. Experiment and have fun with leftover marzipan and fondant icing which can be used to create simple figurines and flowers.

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Don’t forget to enter Appliancesonline.com.au’s competition.  Ends December 8th. So get on it now!

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Celebration Carrot and Pistachio Cake

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I love baking for my family and friends be it for an occasion or for the joy of baking for them.  This time, it was my mother in law’s birthday.  We went out for dinner but came home for a slice of this delicious carrot and pistachio birthday cake.

It looks simple but elegant.  It’s a celebration cake because it’s luxurious in flavour and texture.  It’s moist and most importantly, damn delicious.  For a family that does not like eating carrots, I had them eating this cake to the very last crumb.

Thanks to Fleishman Hillard PR co, I had a bag of Wonderful Pistachios in the pantry and I was dying to bake with it.  I came across a carrot cake recipe and I thought to add the pistachios to it.  It was a great idea! It gave the cake a little character.  I love eating pistachios on it’s own so you can imagine how difficult it was for me to shell them without scoffing them all down.  LOL

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Recipe:

  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g soft dark brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs vanilla paste/extract
  • 450g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 400g can crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 125g Wonderful roasted unsalted pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • 1/4 shredded coconut, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 180degC (160degC fanforced)
  2. Oil and line 2 x 18cm round baking tins
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir well.
  4. In another bowl, add the eggs, oil and vanilla extract together and then add to the dry ingredients.
  5. Using an electric whisk, blend until all ingredients are well combined.
  6. Stir in the carrot, pineapple and chopped pistachios.
  7. Divide evenly between the two baking tins and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes our clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tin.
  9. When cool, divide the frosting (recipe below) between the two cakes and layer one cake on top of the other.
  10. Sprinkle the top with the toasted coconut.

Frosting:

  • 175g softened cream cheese
  • 50g softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbs milk (if needed
  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla paste together until smooth, then gradually beat in the icing sugar until the frosting is smooth.
  2. Add a little milk if it needs loosening it a little.

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Filipino Fiesta Party with Style

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It was party time!  What better way to celebrate a milestone birthday than to share it with family and friends and plenty of delicious food.  I invited over my food blogger friends and asked them to bring along a Filipino dish of their choice.  Some of them have eaten Filipino food but certainly not one of them have ever cooked or baked it before.

I have held many parties and dinner parties before but I have to say, most of my focus is usually on the food.  This time though, I wanted to have more style and pazzazz at my do.  As this fiesta, the guests were bringing a dish (or two or three) each, I didn’t have to worry whether there will be enough food.  As food bloggers, we tend to over cater.

Thanks to Fleishman Hillard PR company, I was provided with a party kit which included fun retro straws and napkins, deco tea light holders and candles for ambience and a stylish wine bucket to keep the wine and drinks cold.

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candles are a great way to create an ambience

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Use a stylish ice bucket to keep your drinks cold

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Wonderful Pistachios are a wonderful addition to the nibbles

The food my friends brought along were amazing.  I was really impressed at their effort, most especially because they have never cooked Filipino food before.  We also ordered a HUGE lechon.  The meat was so tender and moist and the skin/crackling was so crunchy.  It was amazing.

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The table was laden with wonderful and delicious Filipino food. My friends rock!!

My birthday cake was the highlight of the night.  My very good friends (aka #CakeSquad) Shellie and Thanh, made me a ube, pandan and coconut ombre cake, topped with macarons.  AMAZING!

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If you follow me on istagram and/or twitter, you will know that I share my birthday with my little boy.  We celebrated his birthday with family.

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Thomas with his spider man birthday cake I made for him

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photos taken by my bro @epu3on

Here are a few tips from Style and Fashion Host Melissa Hoyer to keep guests and yourself happy whilst entertaining,.

  1. Parties are all about the people so get the guest list right.  Aim to have groups of people with common interests and that you know will “gel” together well.
  2. Three week rule: I suggest inviting your guests at least 3 weeks in advance.  Hosts should give an email address for their guests to RSVP to, that way, the confirmation is saved and you can go back to it when you finalise the guest list.
  3. Be present and available.  This can be hard when you’re constantly refilling the buffet table and justling trays of food.  More importantly, everyone has come to see you and if they see you stressed then they will become uneasy
  4. To theme or not to theme: Themed parties puts a gimmick in every guest but really gives your guests the opportunity to talk about something to other people at the party.
  5. No one goes hungry on your watch: I’m always thinking about my guests, making sure they are having fun and are relaxed.  Keep an eye out for clinking ice cubes.  Offer to refill drinks, as you carry around platter of delicious nibbles such as cheese, pistachios and gourmet dips.
  6. Provide light nibbles that are easy to serve and source: I’m pretty sure that generally people love going to parties because of the sheer hospitality they recieve.  I’m also sure that hosts put on parties to have fun too.   My typical platter of nibbles includes bowls of flavoured Wonderful Pistachios, brie, Camembert cheddar and Jarlsberg and lots of dip flavours like chili crab, guacamole baba ghanoush and beetroot.
  7. Is it OK to ask people to bring something?- Of course! Most people will want to bring something.  I often tend to ask to bring a bottle of something they like drinking.  As a host, be confident to put the request in the invite subtly.

Thanks to Fleishman Hillard for the party kit and for the Wonderful Pistachios,

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

300th Post, Cakes and a Giveaway

I’ve finally made it to 300 posts. It was a long road to get here.

I started back in 2006 because I wanted to share recipes with friends. Along the way, I’ve had many great food experiences, enjoyed eating for the sake of my blog and best of all, I’ve connected with lots of wonderful food bloggers. A couple of times I lost my blogging mojo when life got a little busy with work and most importantly my family. However, I got back into it. I can’t stay away too long.

To celebrate, I have eaten cakes for you. I have enjoyed cakes and desserts from The Cheesecake Shop.

I thought the cheesecake shop only had cheesecakes but they offer so much more. I first discovered this at the “A Foodie Affair” event held by 360 Focus PR.

They have a variety of desserts, cakes and treats on offer. They have something for every day treats or a cake for that special celebration.

I have enjoyed the strawberry continental cheesecake. The cheesecake is so light and has a moussey texture. This was a favourite with the family.

The Rocky Road was full of marshmallowy goodness coated in dark chocolate.


The Rumballs were delicious little morsels but be carefull, these are addictive.

The Boston Mudcake was rich and full of chocolate flavour. I thought it would be dense like some mud cakes but this one was actually light.

I got “The Treasure Cake” for my dad’s birthday. The cake is a chocolate Mudcake coated in chocolate frosting and topped with profiteroles and fresh strawberries.


To share in the celebration, I have 5 cheesecake shop vouchers to the value of $25 each. It is valid at any of The Cheesecake Shop outlets near you. Simply leave a comment below to enter and I will randomly pick 5 winners. The winners will be notified by email and will have the vouchers mailed out by post.


Be quick, the competition closes midnight Monday 6th February AEDST.


Unfortunately, this competition is only open to Australian residents only.


Vouchers are courtesy of The Cheesecake shop and 360 Focus PR


Bon Appetite and Good luck,

Cherrie

Halloween 2011 – Mummies invade

This is our first time to do something for Halloween. We usually let this day go by without even a thought, however, Halloween is gaining popularity here and it is getting harder to ignore.  The supermarkets are filled with decorations and trick or treat candies and stores are decked out in spider webs and skeletons.

We let the children get dressed up for the night. We didn’t go trick or treating as that part of the Halloween tradition has yet to hit my home (and I don’t know if it will be). They were happy to get dressed just for the fun of it and to just sit and watch tv in it 🙂   Deanna was excited to get dressed in her mummy costume. It was her idea. I think her recent visit to the tutankhamun exhibition may have something to do with it.  Thomas was not so keen to wear the bat cape I had bought for him though, we managed to take a photo or two of him.

For our easy holloween dinner, I made hot dog and pizza mummies accompanied by ghost mashed potatoes.  These were quick and easy to make and very tasty. After a busy two days, I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen so this was perfect and the kids loved it.  After all, how can you go wrong with hot dogs and pizza, right?

For dessert, I made orange Jack-o-lanterns filled with strawberry jelly. I got the idea from a food magazine “Super Food ideas”

I also made snakes in soil (chocolate mousse topped with crushed chocolate biscuits and sour worms)

For a creepy drink, the children had green slime with worms (lime softdrink spider) while the adults had blood (red wine)

I don’t know if we will ever celebrate Halloween like the American’s do but I think the children have fun dressing up.

Visit Deanna’s blog for more Halloween photos.

I hope you have a spooky Halloween…  oooooOOOOoooohhhhh!!!!

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Cook Book Challenge : Egg Pin Wheels for an Afternoon Tea Dinner

Theme 8 : Eggs
CookBook : The Dairy Book of Home Cookery by Sonia Allison
for the Milk Marketing Board of England and Wales
Recipe : Pin Wheel Sandwiches
With my Hubby and his family originally from England, we were all excited for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  My mother in law came over for dinner but instead of eating dinner I prepared an afternoon tea affair.  The cookbook I used actually belong to Hubby’s Nan in England.  She let me keep it during our holiday there a few years back.  This version was published in 1978 and as you can see it’s been well used.  To this day, my mother in law still cooks dishes that she got from it.
Pin wheel sandwiches shows up regularly in afternoon teas, alongside other fabulous finger foods, sweet and savoury.  It can be filled with any filling you like.  I chose Egg.

Tea is, of course, compulsory though coffee can also make an appearance.  I even took out our special Harrods tea towel just for the occasion.

Other dishes I also prepared for the Afternoon Tea Dinner :

My Afternoon tea table
Salmon sandwiches and cheese and cucumber sandwiches
Victoria Sponge Cake
After dinner, Hubby made Pimm’s Deuce.
Recipe :
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 tbs mayonnaise or salad cream
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
salt and pepper
6 white or brown bread slices, crusts removed
butter
alfa alfa
1.  In a bowl, place the eggs, mayonnaise or salad cream, English mustard powder salt and pepper.  Set aside
2.  Using a rolling pin, roll over a slice of bread to flatten.
3.  Spread with butter and 1 – 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture.
4. Sprinkle alfa alfa over the egg mixture.
5.  Roll tightly to enclose the filling.  Place on place, seam side down.
6.  Repeat with the remaining of the egg mixture.
7.  Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to firm up a little
8.  Cut into 3 or 4 even slices.  (as you can see, I didn’t cut them evenly hehe)

Check out my previous posts on this year’s cookbook challenge.

Bon Appetite,
Cherrie

Christmas Eve Feast 2010 in Pictures

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STARTERS:
Country Pate I made three days before Christmas Eve

Hubby made Nachos with his infamous chilli.  You can get his recipe here.
My de-constructed prawn cocktail
Peking Duck 

MAIN DINNER:
Roast Turkey.  I also had a Coke glazed Ham but somehow I don’t have any photos of it
 
Now that’s a drumstick!
Prawns waiting to be roasted in the oven 

 
Pigs in a blanket
Steamed green beans with butter
Honey glazed Carrots
My Newphew made a mocktail called Summer breeze that we had when we were all at Lindeman Island
DESSERT: 
I made Christmas cake balls inspired by Bakerella
Sister in law made buttersnap cups 
My mum made Puto Maya.  This is a traditional Filipino sweet dish made of glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and coated with fresh grated coconut and sugar.
My brother, @MrEdwardPuzon made his much-loved Trifle.
I also made an Angel Food cake with cream cheese and berries.
Photos taken by @MrJamesMoore and @MrEdwardPuzon
Bon Appetite,
Cherrie