Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bake-off challenge for charity

Friday at work we had a departmental bake-off challenge to help raise money for the Cancer Council. It was organised for Marketing, HR, IT and Payroll to bake-off against each other for the chance to be crowned Master Chef. We had a few weeks to prepare, so there was some healthy competitor gloating. With a few people boasting that they would be a contender for the crown, I took it upon myself to really show off and make something that would look and taste AMAZING! I asked for a bit of advice from people at work. The lady from HR who set the challenge said in her experience, chocolate always comes out on top. Then I asked my friend, who just yelled SALTED CARAMEL. She has a sort of salted caramel turrets. I took both these bits of feedback on board and knew what I had to make - Double Chocolate Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Ganache. And guess what??? It was a winner!!! After the other departments have their battles, the winner from each area will bake-off against each other to determine the company's Master Chef. Might need to start my research for that one - will need to be spectacular!

My trophy

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Third cake of the week

Today is my brother's birthday and he's turning 30 (dirty 30!). He is one of those big brother's who is over protective and always looks out for his little sisters - sounds cliche, but that's who he is. He is impossible to buy for, as he just buys whatever he wants himself and isn't fussed with other stuff. So, I decided to make something special for him - chocolate sour cream cupcakes with a chocolatey-raspberry cream cheese icing. We had lunch plans, so Reuben and I baked them in the morning just in time for lunch (actually, we were late because I lost the keys somewhere in the house while I was rushing to leave - that's another story). We finally got to the restaurant and as I was getting out of the car I fumbled and dropped the tin causing all the cupcakes to flip and go everywhere in the tin. I managed to salvage them using a knife in the restaurant - whoops. I don't think the messy presentation put anyone off though. The cupcakes were crumbly and moist and the icing was sweet with a lovely hint of tart raspberry. Happy Birthday bro, couldn't ask for a better brother!

My brother and I riding "horses". Possibly aged about 4 and 2.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mid week birthday cake

Today was my son's father's birthday. This presented an opportunity for Reuben and I to make a cake together, but mostly a chance for me to do another layer cake. I was pretty happy with the results, and even better, just over a quarter was eaten, so the team at work have morning tea tomorrow!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Something sweet to celebrate Mum

Last weekend, I asked Mum what she wanted for Mother's Day. As always, her response was "Don't buy me anything." We all know that you MUST get something though, and why shouldn't you. Being a Mum myself now, I can understand all the stress and craziness Mums go through and they deserve a day to be celebrated. So, with that in mind I wanted to make something special for my Mum.

We've put Mum through a lot over the years. I don't think you could call us bad kids, we just knew how to "work" Mum and played her... shortcomings. She's the smallest in our family but she moves fast. I like to think she shuffles around the house because she walks fast and does everything quickly. She's also the most prone to stress, so we've used that to our advantage. I remember we'd all gang up on her at the dinner table most nights and tease her so much that you could see the stress starting to build. Then there were the teenage years, which are awful for all parents. I remember having huge fights with Mum, probably over something extremely trivial, and sulking in my room. The sucker my Mum is would always come up to apologise. I'd ignore her and be awful until she felt so bad that she generally back-flipped on whatever we were fighting about.

My Mum is an amazing women. Along with my Dad, she raised 3 children while working full time, getting to the top of her field and being completely respected (and I hear from some people, feared) by her colleagues. My Mum is my role model. Thanks for everything Mum, enjoy the tart!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rip off cookies

One of my favourite things to do at the moment is scroll through the hundreds of photos on Pinterest. I love seeing what other people discover and developing my own ideas form them. I also love that you can keep track of all the great webpages without having to bookmark the site or page in your toolbar.

This morning, while slightly hungover, I was checking out the latest updates in my Pinterest account and came across a link for Doughnut Cookies. I thought they looked amazing and possibly not too difficult to recreate. So, with a sore head and not much energy to bake for a party I'm going to this afternoon, I thought these cookies were the perfect solution.

I used my sugar cookie recipe from a previous post and a basic icing and finished them off with the special sprinkles I ordered from an online supplies store. So easy yet so delicious! ENJOY!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lunch box treat for daycare

I don't have any proof, as I am one of the first to drop my son off in the morning, but I sometimes wonder if the other parents are judging what I leave my child for lunch in the fridge at daycare each day. Do they look at the same ham and cheese sandwich that my son gets for lunch everyday and smirk at their gourmet bites they have brought in for their child, or do they think "I really should try feeding my child ham as it won't eat anything else?" I am sure everyone actually does what I do and throws the lunch in the fridge with the hope it lands in the correct basket then whips my child to whatever room he needs to start the day in before having the teacher peeled him from my arms so I can run to the car/bus/train to get to work on time. No time for judging, only time for a sympathetic look or smile from other parents as you can hear your child screaming down the hall.

So, with this little theory of mine not really debunked or confirmed, I sometimes like to treat my son with a special (tasty) lunch box treat. Today it's an apple tea cake. It's so easy to make, so can be whipped up the night before after the kids are finally in bed and before you pass out from exhaustion yourself. ENJOY.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A little pick-me-up

I love my coffee! I am not the best morning person, generally need something to get me started. During the week, especially if I know I have a busy day ahead, my starter is coffee. The cafe at work is a bit hit and miss when it comes to a good coffee, but it's better than nothing.

I had a bit of a coffee craving last night and wanted to treat my work mates with something, so went hunting through my Hummingbird Bakery cookbook and came across a coffee cake. I've made this cake before and it's huge, I always have to half the recipe. On this occasion, I made cupcakes and paired them with a mocha cream cheese icing. An amazing match and a great (sweet) way to kick off the morning. ENJOY