Friday, August 30, 2013

SPCA Cupcake Day 2013

Monday 26th August was SPCA Cupcake Day. Here at Kiwicakes Laura and I formed "Team Kiwicakes" as SPCA Cupcake Day bakers. We baked over 100 cupcakes and raised $282.50 for the SPCA. We worked furiously together for most of the day. Thankfully Laura had spent the week before making many of the decorations. Many of the cupcakes missed being photographed, as we had customers calling early than we advertised to collect cupcakes.

Many of our customers took away 6 packs of mixed designs. We used the SPCA vanilla cupcake recipe created by Chelsea Winters (winner of Masterchef). We also had red velvet with cream cheese icing. What didn't sell over the counter by the time we closed, my team sold around the Kamo businesses - they were all gone in 10 minutes! Since Monday I've received some lovely compliments on them. We also received some extra donations from our generous Kamo business friends.

Laura used our dog & cat face stencils, to make these fondant discs ahead of time. The fondant had tylose added to harden them. They were stencilled using royal icing.

The SPCA letters were cut using the alphabet fondant cut-outs

Our edible wafer butterflies were great to create quick yet stunning cupcakes, which was awesome as some of our other designs were labour intensive.

Our Bunnies have a pink mimosa for a tail. The bunnies were cut using the larger of the two PME rabbit cutters. The grass was green buttercream icing piped with tip 233

This little doggy digging for bones was made using chocolate modelling paste. The little candy bones were from our range of sprinkles.

The little dog house and our yellow scaredy cats were both cut using cutters from our miniature precious paws cutter set. The blue paw print was made in just seconds by pressing fondant into our paws & bones silicone mould

I've been a part of SPCA Cupcake Day since its inception, both as a baker and as a sponsor of prizes. I looked forward to SPCA Cupcake Day 2014.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wilton - Fondant and gumpaste student graduation cakes

The following cakes are the finished cakes, from my students that have just completed the Wilton fondant & gumpaste class. (see our class schedule here for future classes) They are all gorgeous. Yet each is so very different from the other.

This cake was very tall, it was hard to photograph, so I've included a close up of the roses.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Culinary adventures - On shore - cruising with P&O

As my family contemplates our time aboard the Pacific Pearl cruise ship with P&O cruises (from December/Jan 2012).  I realised there was a post that never made it to fruition. And that is the culinary adventures of our shore trips. We left Auckland Dec 26th and took in some gorgeous places throughout the pacific. Whilst the cruise was a long time ago. Our small children talk about it, like it was yesterday. 

I just have one photo to share with you from Port Vila in Vanuatu. This cake whilst unassuming looking, was seriously tasty. Grandma Kiwicakes and I had morning tea, in the restaurant of a hotel, that was out over the water. We could see fish swimming in the water below.

My hubby loved the garlic snails we purchased at the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia (I was too scared to try them). We also purchased what my kids describe "as the best hot dogs ever" - the long french bread sticks were filled with what can only be described as a cross between chorizo and salami. I have to agree, it's the best hotdog, I've ever had!

Our time spent in Noumea, was my favourite shore trip. I was really looking forward to trying out my 5 years of school girl french. I didn't do too badly - I even managed to impress myself, when turning to my hubby to say "look at that", the first thing that came to mind was "regardez la!". We left our cruise ship and joined a short tour around Noumea taking in some of the popular sites. At the top of a lookout, we pulled over and our hosts opened up enormous boxes from the local patisserie.

Of course I was the only one crazy enough to need lots of photos of them.

There was toffee

Filled with yummy patisserie creme

a dark bitter ganache may also have been consumed.

This kitchen store I got a little waylaid in - it was directly opposite the docks.

A little local colour

The smell within this air conditioned chocolate store was addictive

I'm used to marzipan fruits - but not marzipan breads!

I bought one of these marzipan peaches to take home - it was so hard to decide what to buy ( a fair few other things from this store may also have made it in to my bag)

These funnels caught my eye

This designer homewares store was such fun. I got a little tangled up in a few goodies here. A few sets of demi tasse came home with me from here.

The brioche and breads in this bakery were amazing, they fashioned breads in to all sorts of shapes for the holidays.

And if the bread wasn't already a fancy shape, you could adorn it with a bread crown.

I snapped this photo from the pages of their photo album. They made profiterole towers - or pirate ships

The supermarket directly opposite the docks - I wanted to take home to be my local supermarket. The bakery department, was nothing like you'd ever see in a NZ supermarket. Imagine caneles at your fingertips every day.

Grandma Kiwicakes & I - in the interests of research took back to the ship with us, one of every flavour macaron. We declared the violet the winner (and just about made ourselves sick in the process).

The petit fours were amazing considering they were simple supermarket fare.

The enormous bags of sugar almonds and silver cachous/dragees were only aprx $16NZ - I'll admit quite a few of those came home with me too. Fancy finding those in a supermarket!

I snuck in to Chocolat Morand while Grandma Kiwicakes was otherwise occupied. The window display had caught my attention. This large cone had circular discs, placed up the cone to act as shelves to hold up the chocolates - it was then covered in a burgundy metallic lustre.

Whilst I was there, I was able to purchase a couple of treats for Grandma Kiwicakes, as it was her birthday while we were away. Nougat and violet cachous - two of her favourites.

And right before we climbed aboard our cruise ship for what was to become our last shore visit (due to rough seas we could not disembark at Norfolk Island). Hubby & I settled in for a quiet wine along the docks, whilst Grandma Kiwicakes entertained the kiddies on board the ship.


Designer Handbag Cakes - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

My babysitter just turned 18 and her mum wanted to surprise her with a designer handbag birthday cake. I love that it's still possible to delight your kids when they are teenagers!

Her cake is pictured here along with my first attempt. I was inspired by Sandra's Table of Eight handbag cake class a couple of months back where I made the mini cream coloured fruit cake purse. I love the detail that the super-realistic silicone zip mold in conjunction with edible gold paint gives both of the cakes. A good trick I learnt from experimenting is to colour up your fondant for the features to be painted with metallic paint to grey (for silver) or peach (for gold). 

Here is the fondant setting (I do carefully count and remove the pins after!) 

I baked a 9" round chocolate cake and levelled the top then cut it in half to create two semi-circles. When stood up together and sandwiched with buttercream they give you this easily impressive handbag shape.

This purse has been finished using a bead mould to decorate the base. I used an impression mat from my floral set to beautify the handles and with a little tylose hardener in there I was able to drape the straps naturally across the top of the bag.

You will see that I used a different floral impression mat from my set to decorate the purple handbag panels. So simple yet effective! I am keen to invest in the fabric texture impression mat set at some stage too because they would have looked great here.

The finished product!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fair trade - Big Fair Bake

I just received all of these gorgeous goodies above from the lovely folks at Fairtrade NZ so I can test drive all this yummy goodness in preparation for the Big Fair Bake (details at - there's heaps of prizes to be won) 

I have been given a super yummy recipe for Deliciously Dark Chocolate Cake. If you're entering the Big Fair Bake - you can use your own recipe, or one of theirs from their website.The finished cake is so decadently yummy and the icing is even better!

The batter was deliciously dark - you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a photo of a bowl of ganache

The recipe for the icing in fact is quite similar to ganache, but is a little more spreadable

I deviated from the recipe and baked two 6'' rounds, to be stacked together to form a higher cake, with a generous slather of the gorgeous icing between. It has made a lovely cake, all ready for decorating tomorrow.

Caffe L’affare's Deliciously Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 25 MINUTES
  • 1 1/2 HOUR
  • SERVES 8-10
    • 200g Whittaker’s Fairtrade Certified Dark Ghana chocolate
    • 250g butter, diced
    • 1 cup hot Caffe L’affare Fairtrade Certified Organic Gusto plunger coffee*
    • 1 1/2  cups caster sugar
    • 3/4 cups self-raising flour
    • 1/4 cup Trade Aid cocoa
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2 tsp Fairtrade Certified vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cups cream
    • 175g Whittaker’s 72% Cocoa Fairtrade Dark Ghana chocolate
    • 1 Tbsp butter
    • 1/2 cup icing sugar

  • Method
    Preheat the oven to 150⁰C. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Break chocolate into pieces and melt slowly with the butter in a stainless steel bowl set over boiling water. Remove from heat and add the hot coffee and sugar and stir until dissolved. Sift dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre and beat in the eggs and vanilla essence. Then gradually beat in the chocolate mixture until batter is smooth and glossy. Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for 1½ hours. For the icing, break chocolate into pieces. Heat cream until almost boiling, remove from heat and add the chocolate and butter. Stir until fully melted, then mix icing sugar in to thicken. Allow icing to cool before pouring over cake.

    There's heaps of yummy recipes on the Big Fair Bake website, such as this Yummy Banana Caramel cake from Kim Evans at Little & Friday

    30 - 45 MINUTES


  • SERVES 10-15
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • pinch salt
    • 125 g butter
    • 3/4 cup Trade Aid sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 cups mashed All Good Fairtrade Certified bananas
    • 4 Tbsp hot milk
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Caramel:
    • 300ml cream
    • 1 cup castor sugar
  • Cream Cheese Icing:
    • 500g cream cheese, cut into small cubes. We use a firm cream cheese that holds its shape, such as Philadelphia
    • 125g butter, cut into small cubes
    • 1 cup icing sugar, sieved
  • To Assemble:
    • 3 Tbsp Caramel
    • 1/4 cup mascarpone
    • Cream Cheese Icing
    • chopped walnuts or banana chips, to decorate
    Note: The cake pictured is an individual serve, different to what is recommended in the recipe.
    Baking the cake
    1. Preheat the oven to 160 ˚C. Spray two 23cm cake tins with cooking spray and line the bottom and sides with baking paper cut to fit exactly.
    2. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter on low speed until light and creamy.
    4. Slowly add sugar and continue to beat on low speed until light in colour and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and making sure to incorporate each egg before adding the next.
    5. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
    6. With the mixer on low speed add the banana.
    7. Dissolve soda in hot milk.
    8. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three equal batches alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the flour. Lastly add walnuts.
    9. Divide mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins and bake for 45 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
    10. Let the cakes cool completely in the tins.  When cool, turn out by inverting the tins, then turn the cakes upright
    11. Cover tightly and store in a cool place for up to 3 days. The banana flavour gets better with age at room temperature. This cake is best not stored in the refrigerator.

      NOTE: To avoid flour collecting in the crevasses of the walnuts keep them separate otherwise white flour patches appear throughout the cake. Fold them into the wet mix at the end just before you put it into the mix.
    Making the caramel
    1. Put the sugar in a sauecepan and just cover with water to achieve a wet sand consistency.
    2. Bring to the boil. Do not stir the sugar water mixture. Using a wet pastry brush, clean the sides of the saucepan to remove any stray sugar crystals.
    3. Continue to boil until the colour changes to amber. At this point, quickly remove from heat.
    4. In a small saucepan heat cream to boiling point.  Gradually add this to the caramelized sugar, stirring all the time to achieve a smooth consistency. This may take a while,  but will eventually combine.
      NOTE: Timing is paramount with caramel. Both the cream and the sugar need to be really hot when they are combined.
    Making the cream cheese icing
    1. Thoroughly cream butter in mixer on fast speed, continuously scraping down the sides of the bowl
    2. To the creamed butter, add cubed cream cheese that has been squeezed through your fingers.  Continue beating on fast speed until there are no lumps, again scraping down the sides of the bowl
    3. Turn the mixer onto slow speed before adding the sieved icing sugar. When fully integrated turn up the speed & continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and has no lumps
    4. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
    Assembling the cake
    1. Use a serrated knife to slice the domed portion off the top of each cake to make the tops flat
    2. Spread Caramel over one cake layer, then spread a thin layer of mascarpone over the caramel.
    3. Place the second cake on top. Spread with a thick layer of Cream Cheese Icing.  Drizzle with extra caramel and decorate with chopped walnuts or banana chips.
    4. Serve the cake at room temperature. If wanting to assemble the day before omit the mascarpone.


    Do you fancy making this delicious Banana Caramel Cake?. Leave me a comment below with the name of the recipe you'd like to make for the Big Fair Bake (it can be your own or one from the Big Fair Bake website). And a winner will be chosen at random to receive the Fairtrade pack above (prize will be sent directly from the lovely people at Fairtrade - due to the short life of bananas). Winner drawn at random 12 noon Wednesday 21st August. Make sure you leave me a way to contact you.

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