Monday 21 January 2008


it's all about the sugar flowers

Another first birthday has passed. These milestones are so fleeting.

Bib enjoyed her birthday party and even got a taste of the chocolate buttercream that I made to frost the butter cake. She loved it. The kids only care about the sugar flowers and buttercream I noticed...

Those Safeway cakes that have the toys on them are coveted primarily for the toys. The cakes aren't so tasty and the coloured sprays they use to create the vivid images leave your tongue a vivid hue of bright pink or blue, depending on whether it was a boys' or girls' cake.

I've got to get my act together for future birthday cakes by not messing about with the taste of the actual cake too much and just plopping a plastic toy on top. The kids don't really care about the texture of the crumb and the flavour of the buttercream so much as the fact that it sports their favourite image on top. I'll have to start looking out for those cheapy plastic toys and collect them for future birthdays.

I kind of knew all this but I figured because it's a first birthday she wouldn't be able to eat much cake anyway. Besides, I'm usually the one that has to eat the leftover cake because Stomach doesn't like sweets (ironic twist of fate). I didn't want to ingest the shortening-based buttercreams used for kids' cakes used by most commercial bakeries. I'm going to continue baking my own cakes. I can't believe how much people pay for birthday cakes. It's ridiculous.

The birthday cake recipe is here. So my January recipe mission is completed and I'm on to looking for my next recipe for February. I still have a fridge full of pistachio macarons and black sesame macarons I had to make because of all the egg whites left over from making the NeoClassic Buttercream recipe. I had enough leftover chocolate buttercream from the cake to fill all the pistachio macarons I made. I love it when I can recycle my leftovers into something yummy! I'll be bringing all my leftovers, including the birthday cake, to the staffroom, I think. Sometimes staff are kind enough to alleviate me of my sugar-burden.

Pistachio Macarons
adapted from tartelette
Makes 35

225 gr powdered sugar
60 gr ground almonds
65 gr pistachios
3 egg whites (about 100gr)
25 gr granulated sugar

  • In a food processor, run the nuts and powdered sugar until the nuts are finely ground. Run through a sieve if needed.
  • Whip the egg whites until foamy, slowly add the granulated sugar, until they are glossy. Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed.

  • Slowly fold the nut/sugar mixture into the whites with a wide spatula. The mixture should remain shiny and flow easily.
  • Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe small rounds, the size of a quarter, onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Let the macarons rest for 20 minutes to develop a skin. Touch the tops to ensure that they are not tacky. If they are, leave them to rest longer.
  • Preheat the oven to 315 and when they are ready, bake them for 12-15 minutes.
  • Let cool, remove from the paper and fill with the chocolate buttercream.


Patricia Scarpin said...

The cake looks beautiful and delicious!

Cakebrain said...

Thanks Patricia, but unfortunately I am living in the twilight zone...where no one in my immediate family wants to eat sweets and the ones who do, can't. In other words, I had to eat leftover cake for the last few days and am feeling a little ill from buttercream overdose!

Helene said...

The cake is gorgeous and look at those macarons...Per-Fect!!
You rock!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I've been wanting to make macarons for quite some time now, but never gotten around to it!


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