Tag Archives: cake

green + gold cake for our #proteas – #NZvSA #ProteaFire

green + gold cake for our #proteas – #NZvSA #ProteaFire
My tribute to our Proteas

My tribute to our Proteas

Are we not all proud of South Africa’s #cricket team the Proteas? According to my husband it is taboo to talk about rugby, unless of course you are talking about the Rugby 7’s. It is ok to talk about the cricket though.

The other day, a client asked me for a Protea cake – something he could show off to his Kiwi visitors after the game against the Black Caps. He was confident our boys in Green and Gold were going to take the cake with some ease and overs to spare. He was so right!

Creating the cake
I have to admit, it was a challenge for me to create something that would make our boys proud, but with a light green icing, some edible gold leaf (you can find this at art shops) and some proteas, I think I managed. Do not ask me the measurements for the green icing colour – I added drop for drop until I was happy with the colour.

I used Donna Hay’s chocolate buttermilk layer cake recipe and her frosting for between the layers. I had to double the recipe in order to attain the right height for the cake. It’s really delicious, moist and dense.

Donna Hay’s chocolate buttermilk layer cake

1 cup (250 ml) water 125 g butter, cubed
1/3 cup (35 g) cocoa powder, sifted
2 cups (300 g) flour, sifted
1 t (5 ml) baking soda, sifted (bicarbonate of soda)
2 cups (440 g) caster sugar
2 eggs ½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk
1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence/extract
Chocolate cream cheese frosting
100 g unsalted butter, softened
500 g cream cheese
2 cups (320g) icing sugar, sifted
½ cup (50g) cocoa, sifted

Pre-heat oven to 160 °C. Place water, butter and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Place flour, baking soda and sugar in a bowl, add the cocoa mixture and whisk to combine. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and whisk again. Divide mixture between 2 greased and lined 20cm round cake tins, then bake for 40-45 min or until baked through when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out the cakes onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. For the frosting: place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl. Using an electric mixer beat for 6-8 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar and cocoa and beat for a further 6-8 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
To assemble, slice off the round tops of each cake layer to produce 2 smooth, flat layers (I use a sharp long bladed knife). Place one layer on a plate, spread with frosting, then put remaining half on top and cover with frosting.

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my pantone 2016 cloud cake

my pantone 2016 cloud cake

Pantone cloud cake

Each year I wait in anticipation to see what the Pantone Colour of the Year will be. This year they surprised us and went with two amazing colours … Rose Quartz and Serenity. I love the soft colours and this cake was inspired by these pretty colours. It is very difficult to get the right colours with icing sugar and I would love to go on a course on colouring confectionery icing. Anyone?

The process was as follows: white icing, a toothpick drop of blue, then a toothpick drop of purple and then green and so on. And then there I was with my computer and the cake matching and comparing the colours – along with my spoon full of icing. Eventually I realised I must just go for the colour I love – which is this light blue. I then decided to get some pink candyfloss to dress the cake.

__Pantone 2016 800

The candyfloss was another story. I could not find big packets of candyfloss at the shop so I bought a small bright pink candyfloss machine and tried making the candy floss myself. Another disaster. My friend suggested I throw the candyfloss contraption into the bin – which I duly did. I then googled every candyfloss maker under the African sun (why did I not do this from the beginning) and found a candyfloss ‘factory’ and asked them for R100’s worth of pink candyfloss. The guy told me bring an empty boot! All this happened while the cake waited patiently in the fridge … for a whole week! 🙂

With a boot full of candyfloss on a very rainy day in Cape Town I decided to style and photograph my cake creation. Another mistake. Candyfloss hates wet weather and after a few minutes it starts to weep sugar tears. This of course is complicated when you are in the middle of a delicate photo shoot and one of your clients’ phone and you have to answer the call. Half an hour later the candy floss was dripping all over the cake.

But at the end of everything, I loved the process – and how the final culmination of my effort has come out. I wanted a dark, rich and dense chocolate cake underneath with clouds of pink and blue and baked Donna Hay’s milk chocolate layer cake.

I think it’s dreamy, whimsical and sublime.

Donna Hay’s milk chocolate layer cake

500 g unsalted butter, chopped
400 g milk chocolate, chopped
660 ml milk
880 g caster sugar
10 ml vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
525 g cake flour, sifted
50 ml baking powder, sifted
50g cocoa, sifted

Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the butter, chocolate, milk, sugar and vanilla in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted and smooth. Pour into in a large bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until cool. Add the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into 2 lightly greased 22cm round cake tins lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook for 1 hour 25 minutes–1 hour 30 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I used normal butter icing and food colouring. I have no idea how much colouring. Play around and create your own. Have fun!

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pandoro #christmas tree #trifle

pandoro #christmas tree #trifle

This year my Pandoro Christmas Tree Trifle will stand proud just like the Statue of Liberty right in the centre of my festive table – between the gammon, chicken and potato salad.

Pandoro Christmas Tree Trifle

I recently visited Miki Ciman at her La Botegga Deli at the Italian Club in Cape Town and she shared this very traditional Italian Christmas treat with me. Now, Pandoro is baked in a special star-shaped mould. When sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, it has the appearance of fallen snow on a mountain.

The two of us took the Pandoro out of its box before decorating it with Miki’s crème pâtissière, a glass of sherry and fresh berries. The transformation was this most magnificent Christmas tree trifle!

Bellisimo, lovely and easy to make.


Visit Miki at the Italian Club
If you have not yet paid a visit to her deli at the Italian Club – put it on your to do list asap.   Miki is “old school” and she still makes all her pasta, cookies and other specialities by hand. She sits diligently each day preparing fresh gnocchi by hand in her deli. She also sells the best Italian fare from handmade mozzarella to charcuterie and a range of other products from her homeland.

Want to learn how to make cheese, pasta, gnocchi or salami?
Contact Miki at : 021 511 5956 (ask for La Botegga Deli) or 083 391 5792

Lovely Miki!

Lovely Miki!


Pandoro Christmas Tree Trifle

1 large Pandoro
175 ml sweet sherry (or liqueur of your choice )
500 ml lemon crème pâtissière
fresh berries
icing sugar, for serving

Carefully cut Pandoro horizontally into 6 slices. Place the largest slice on a serving platter. Sprinkle over the sherry and spread a thick layer of crème pâtissière over. Top with the next largest slice, angling it so that the points of the star do not align. Repeat with sherry and crème pâtissière with the remaining layers. You can now place in your refrigerator until later. Just before serving put a lot of berries on top of the trifle, push some berries in on the sides of the cake. Sift icing sugar over the top and enjoy!

Miki’s lemon crème pâtissière
Makes 500 ml

40 g plain flour
100 g caster sugar
large pinch of salt
300 ml milk
4 egg yolks
zest of one lemon, thinly slice strips (not the white bits)
20 g butter

Sift the flour, sugar and salt and set aside. Beat 60 ml of milk and egg yolks. Scoop the flour mixture in and beat until smooth. Heat the remaining milk and lemon over low heat until it just starts to boil. Remove lemon peel and discard. Pour a third of the hot milk into the egg mixture and mix well. Throw everything in the heated milk and stir well. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. Cook for one minute. Stir in the butter and mix well. Remove and let cool completely before using.

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