Donna Hay, I love you…

After making a few different chocolate cakes and realising that none of them were any good, I thought I would make one last attempt. Enter – Donna Hay Magazine. I bought this magazine the other day after being droolingly drawn to the enormous chocolate cake gracing its front cover. This Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake would be the basis for the finally finished birthday cake for the Ginger Ninja.

I decided to do a test run on friday to make sure that it wasn’t another dud recipe. Worry I need not. It. Was. Amazing. So amazing that when my mum came home she said “oh…. ¬†wouldnt it be nice if there was one for me…” and, well, how could I resist? So after baking another cake and another batch of cupcakes, I have decided that the richness, glossiness, tastiness and sheer consistency of this recipe may have earned it the crown of Best Chocolate Cake Ever. Really. Donna Hay… amazing.

So without further ado, here are pictures of the completed African Jungle Cake! Hooray! P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NINJA!

I decided to make the cake like a bunch of trees, so the figures on top are sitting in the branches! A bit rough, but you get the idea…

And here are a couple of pics of the cupcakes and their mini animals!

Hooray for mini African animals!

Have you met Lenny the Lion?

So my lovelies,  what is the best birthday cake you have made for someone or someone has made for you? I would love to know!

Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake

Recipe – From Donna Hay Magazine

Ingredients

1 cup (250ml) water

125g butter

1/3 cup (35g) cocoa

2 cups (300g) plain flour

1 tsp bi-carb soda

2 cups (440g) caster sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1. Place water, butter and cocoa in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter has completely melted and the mixture is smooth

2. Place flour, bi-carb and sugar in a bowl, and whisk in the cocoa mixture

3. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until smooth

4. Divide the mixture between two 18cm round cake tins and bake for 40-45 mins at 160 degrees celsius (I took all my cakes out at right on the 40 min mark but it might vary depending on your oven)

NOTE: you can alternatively make these as cupcakes, they will make around 18-20 depending on how big your patty pans are and how full you want them to be. They will still be AMAZING!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting – from Donna Hay Magazine

Ingredients

100g butter

500g cream cheese

2 cups (320g icing sugar)

1/2 cup (50g) cocoa

Method

1. Beat butter and cream cheese until pale and creamy

2. Add the icing sugar an cocoa and beat for 6-8 minutes until light and fluffy

3. Ice your damn cake!

NOTE: If you want to make your icing different colours, substitute the cocoa for another 1/2 cup of icing sugar then add the colour you require. This is how I did the green icing on top of the cake above

Graduation and an amazing Lime Cake

Yesterday I graduated from my degree. Hooray! It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed it much more than the graduation ceremony for my undergrad degree. The speeches were short and sweet and I wasnt totally freezing beneath my gown (my last graduation was on a particularly cold April day) so, all in all, it was lovely!

So today, in honour of ending another chapter of my life, I thought I would try a recipe ive been itching to have a go at. The CWA Lime Cake. Given my love for all things citrus, im sure this isnt surprising. I had a few limes that were about to turn and half a packet of almond meal left over from christmas, so this recipe seemed to tie up a lot of loose ends. Until I realised that the almond meal was slightly mouldy and filled with bugs :S ugh! So, instead I tried substituting more flour for the 1/3 cup almond meal required, and added about another tablespoon of lime juice. There was no real rationale for the extra lime juice, other than the fact that I just really love lime!

An hour later and all I can say is yummo! The cake turned out deliciously light and moist with a slight limy syrup sinking to the bottom. I would have liked a tiny bit more limyness but the recipe gave such a nice hint of lime that this cake definitely had me going back for seconds. Very very easy to make, this recipe was a success! One other thing to add, a bonus with this cake is that it was inordinately easy to get out of the tin. often I have real trouble with cakes sticking to the sides and breaking when I try to get them out of the tin, but this cake literally fell out onto the cooling rack when I turned the tin upside down. Amazing!

Lime Cake

Adapted from the recipe by Gwyneth Watkins in the Country Womens Association Cakes Cookbook

Ingredients

180g softened butter

1 cup sugar

zest of one lime

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups self raising flour

1/3 cup self raising flour (Im terrible at fractions and couldnt work out how to add the two)

3/4 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons lime juice

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius

2. Cream butter and sugar

3. Beat in zest and eggs

4. Fold in sifted flour, sour cream and lime juice

5. pour into 18cm tin and bake for one hour