Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2011

Stripping for success

Hands up if you've ever baked a cake that’s come out of the oven with a Rubenesque dome on top.  (Come on, don't be shy - we're all friends here.)

Normally a dome is the quaint hallmark of a homemade cake - and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But if your baking agenda is to cover a cake in fondant or create multiple layers then you need a cake that is flat on top.

One way to achieve this is to [simply] level off your cake.

Use a serrated knife and a steady eye to lop off the offending hump, or if you like baking toys [guilty, your Honour], grab yourself a cake leveller. (Cake off cuts can easily be frozen for later use in trifle or cake pops.)

But if you want to bake a perfectly flat cake from the outset, you really should think about stripping.

Cake strips are essentially strips of padded fabric coated in aluminium. You soak them in water, wring them out and then wrap them around your cake tin before baking.

I’ve read about cake strips on a few forums and tried makin…

My blog is making me fat

It’s official. My blog is making me fat.

It’s also keeping my house messy since I started prioritising writing and baking over vacuuming and putting away laundry.

In fact it’s happening right now – I’ve slept in because I stayed up to watch the new Kennedy’s drama on ABC and then wanted to ‘quickly’ check in to see if there were any new messages or comments. Before I know it its really late and that coffee I had after lunch has kicked in, giving me caffeine-induced heart palpitations, delaying sleep even further.

Mr Di-licious (bless him) allowed me to sleep in and delivered a latte to my bedside. There’s a bowl of porridge waiting for me on the kitchen bench, ready to be reheated while I turn on my laptop and think about my next post.

I used to get up early and go to the gym before breakfast but lately I’ve just been too tired. You know you’ve been MIA when you get notified about a trainer leaving and you’ve absolutely no idea who they’re talking about.

And then there’s the cons…

Norwegian Apple Cake {Recipe}

If you’ve been following my blog you’d know that earlier this week I celebrated Norway’s Constitution Day – hip hip hurrah! 

The Norwegian Kitchen is a collection of traditional and new recipes from each region of Norway, presented by the Association of Norwegian Chefs. 

Choosing just one cake recipe was hard but I decided to recreate a popular cake from my own childhood – apple cake.

When I made the cake I thought three apples was a bit excessive and only used two. Once baked I regretted my decision – whilst still di-licious, the extra apple in the centre of the cake as well as on top would have provided a greater apple flavour and a moister cake. Definitely use two green cooking apples – in Australia we would use Granny Smiths.

I made the cake the day of our afternoon tea so it was still slightly warm when served. The leftover cake was popped into an airtight container and consumed over a week. Kept in the fridge it stays quite fresh. To bring out the aromas, gently reheat a cake …

Celebrating 17 May

It's Norway's national holiday today - hurrah!

Whilst my Norwegian family were getting ready to head out to see the annual parade, back here in suburban Melbourne I held my own special celebration, dressing up Olive and baking a traditional treat.

See this picture - that's me and my sister outside our old home in Sandefjord, on our way to the parade. I think I was 2.  The dress I'm wearing is called a bunad.   Based on traditional folk costumes, every region of Norway has their own special colours,  embrodiery and accessories.

Fast forward 35 years and here's my daughter wearing that very dress and hat (and waving the same flag, albeit not quite so new looking now).  I love that my mum has preserved these touchstones of our culture.

This year my parents are actually in Norway for my cousin's wedding and timed their arrival to be there for today's festivities.

Rather than miltary parades, school children march through the town waving flags and shouting Hi…

Am I not pretty enough?

You could be forgiven for thinking that the life of a baking blogger is all sugar and spice and all things nice. There is an ugly side.

Welcome to “reality baking” in a domestic kitchen where sometimes the cakes just don’t bake pretty.

Uneven edges, baking papers coming away from the cake – there’s no rhyme or reason why it happens. But when it happens to an important order, it’s annoying to say the least.

The cakes themselves were fine (di-licious in fact) but they just didn’t look great. Even a generous swirl of buttercream couldn’t hide the fact that the papers were distorted.

In order to get these cakes to the party on time, I rewrote the rules for cupcakes and tried something a little unorthodox - I gave them a head to toe makeover.

Firstly, I removed the offending paper cups. Just like the plain-Jane secretary taking off her glasses and shaking out her hair, all of a sudden my ugly duckling cupcakes turned into swans with serious potential.

Next, I neatened up the edge of the …

Learning fondant the hard way

As a mere amateur cake decorator, I am still navigating the highs and lows of rolled fondant.

A few weeks ago I completed my second-ever fondant covered cake. It was an order and I wanted it to be perfect with a capital P.

The occasion was little Alice Rose’s first birthday party. I made her christening cupcakes and knew the crowd would be expecting something di-licious.

The cake itself was simple enough – vanilla butter cake filled with raspberry buttercream. I’d made the fondant roses, leaves, letters and heart ahead of time. I just had to cover the cake (cue imminent danger music).

Fondant is finicky and it can sense your fear. But sometimes you have to face near catastrophe in order to get the job done.

Here’s what I learnt the hard way:

Less really is more. Colour more fondant than you think you’ll really need but once rolled out, estimate the size of your cake and sides and trim away the excess before lifting up to cover your cake – fondant, even when rolled thinly, is heavy and …

I love Mum cupcakes {Recipe}

It’s Mothers Day this weekend and we’re hosting my family for lunch. That means no leisurely lie in or breakfast in bed for me. 
Instead I’ll be clearing away my daughter’s toys from the family room and making sure the kitchen benches are clear.  
This year I’m giving a gift to myself by being organised and keeping the menu simple.
The potatoes for the potato salad will already be cooked. The sticky date puddings and butterscotch sauce are already stashed away in the freezer for dessert. My brother in law is bringing along a couple of side dishes and all Mr Di-licious has to do is light the BBQ and grill the salmon steaks just before serving. 
I’ve even planned ahead my own Mother’s Day gift, wording up my daughter for some fabulous striped gumboots – she’s very excited about her ‘secret’ shopping trip with Daddy on Saturday.

With Mother’s Day in the air I thought I’d make a start on my Bookshelf Baking Challenge and make a special treat for my playgroup mums.

I found the appropriate…

Freezer love

It’s a glorious autumn morning here in Melbourne and I’m getting soup ready for the slow cooker so I can concentrate on housework.

To make life easier, my daughter is happily watching The Wiggles sing on TV. I feel slightly guilty that I’ve resorted to the electric babysitter again, but it buys me time to focus on the onions and the vacuuming.

“Mummy, I want a snack. A sweet-some-thing snack. P-l-e-a-s-e Mummy.”

Its times like this I love my freezer.

Here’s a fact that every mum should know – baked biscuits and cookies freeze.

I won’t be so bold as to claim that every single biscuit or cookie can be frozen but most can, and should be if you love the taste of home-baked.

To freeze biscuits or cookies, let them cool completely after baking and place them into an airtight container or freezer-safe snap lock bags. Label and date and store them in the freezer for up to three months. (They will probably last longer than this in the freezer but I’m being conservative in case the food safety…