I LOVE birthdays. My mum always made my sisters and I feel so special on our birthdays growing up.
I also want to make my children feel special as we celebrate the DAY THEY WERE BORN and how BLESSED WE ARE to have them in our lives!
Every year, I ask the kids what special birthday cake they would like me to make … and yes, they can choose anything… and this year Charlie wanted a ‘Carousel’ or ‘Merry-Go-Round’ cake.
She Googled this picture….
… and said “I want this one please mummy!” This picture is what we based our creation on.
So after 3 trials of different ‘icing’, and a leaning, top heavy cake sliding off of it’s post, and a lot of ‘fixing’ mistakes… and a LOT of licking of fingers… the Carousel Cake was completed in the early hours of this morning!!!!!!!!!
It was put together in one night (last night) only because of a lot of preparation.
A few weeks ago, I baked the chocolate cakes X3 and put them in the freezer.
I used ‘Mrs Ripberger’s’ recipe for ‘moist chocolate cake’ because it is –
1. EASY to make
2. you can make TRIPLE the quantity in one big saucepan
3. you don’t need a machine (even the Thermomix sat quietly while I made this mixture in the saucepan!)
4. and it’s DELICIOUS !!! and MOIST and EVERYONE loves it at a party.
Recipe for ‘Boiled Chocolate Cake’ (I’ve just doubled the recipe – so it makes 6 log cakes)
Get out a HUGE saucepan (if you triple the recipe as I usually do for birthdays).
Pop it on the stove and turn it on low.
ADD a 250g block of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water, and 4 Tbsp of cocoa.
Turn up the heat and stir until butter is melted and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Take it off the heat and cool.
Then (once cooled) ADD 3 cups of Self Raising Flour, 4 eggs, and 1 tsp of Bicarb Soda.
Pour into baking tins or muffin trays.
Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celcius.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
For today’s Carousel Cake, I made 3 round cakes (in 8 inch or 20cm round baking pans) and a whole heap of muffins.
I pull the cakes out of the freezer a couple of hours before I decorate. Half frozen cakes are easier to cut when making cake creations – they don’t crumble or break – and the icing ‘sets’ quickly on the cake too.
My aim for the icing was to make it ‘colour’ and ‘flavour’ free so I looked up some egg white recipes (we have a LOT of eggs at the moment).
The first icing I tried (see white icing top/centre in the picture above) was Royal Icing – just an egg white and 1 cup of icing sugar whipped up in the Thermomix for 2 mins. It didn’t work. I would have had to make 6 batches to cover the whole cake! and it went SO HARD before I could even spread it! and it tasted of course like ‘wedding cake’ icing which the kids aren’t keen on, just too sweet …….. so even though it was a beautiful white I tried something else.
I then made my usual butter icing (whip up a cup of unsalted butter with a drop of water and vanilla extract, and 4 or more cups of icing sugar – yes, I do it in bulk) but I kept on adding too much water and needing too much icing sugar and the it was kids bedtime and I was distracted…. so I put the huge bowl of icing in the fridge to ‘set’… and went to Google to find another ‘colour-free’ and ‘flavour-free’ recipe.
I had never heard of it before, but it sure looked delicious, and there was a Thermomix recipe for it so I gave it a whirl. (You could also do it in your Kenwood /Kitchen Aid etc).
It has egg whites, sugar, pinch of salt, and unsalted butter – all real ingredients – no colour or even flavour added – it turned out a beautiful pastel yellow colour – AND tasted even better than any other icing I’ve ever tasted!!!!
I used this meringue icing on the top 2 cakes of the carousel, then the butter icing for the bottom cake, and for all the cupcakes.
The pink butterflies and flowers…
The ‘candies’ we made a couple of weeks ago with the kids. Simple ingredients (icing sugar, gelatine, water, and a drop of red food colouring), easy, and so effective. The last few years we’ve even made ‘candy Easter eggs’ using this recipe. I’ll do a post on these another day (because it is so cool to make ‘lollies’ or ‘candies’ for your own birthday parties – the kids love it and it saves money also!)
They are little wooden horses from Spotlight, painted white one night with the kids, then the next day decorated (painted eyes, saddles) with coloured paints. Another holiday activity with the girls. The above horses were the same one’s that I used a couple of years ago for my other daughter’s cake, so they were already in the birthday box!
Other bits and pieces…
I received a new ‘Cookie Press and icing set’ from my in-laws for Christmas… (what a cool gift!!)
Its the SAVANNAH Cookie Press and icing set and I just found a review on it here…
I used this to put the icing in the centre of the flowers, to stick on some of the obnoxious little pink flowers that kept falling off (most just stuck so easily and beautifully to the sticky meringue icing), and to decorate all of the chocolate muffins.
The pink stripy patty pans/cups were 3.95 from Neds – I bought them in bulk a few years ago and use them at the girls birthday parties.
And with the help of my Thermomix, I was able to feed the kids some ‘real food’ this birthday party (aside from the musk sticks, mint leaves, and candies on the cake!)
Menu – Spicy Thai Hommus & Sundried Tomato/Cashew/Capsicum Dips
– Corn Chips
– Carrot/Capsicum/Celery Sticks
– Dried Apricots
– Fresh Cheese/Tomato Bread (pull apart)
– Meringues drizzled with dark chocolate
– Homemade Chocolate and Vanilla Icecream
– Caramel Popcorn Balls
– Fresh Fruit
Then for extended family and extras who stayed for tea, I made some extra fresh bread, had extra piles of carrot sticks, celery sticks, capsicum stick, and I had frozed some mince patties shaped into ‘sausages’ (minced meat from our grass-fed beef… by the way, did you watch Food Inc the other night on SBS?? It’s still on the SBS website for another few days). I pulverised a whole huge zucchini, some squash from the garden (that I never know what to do with!), an onion, cloves of garlic, a capsicum, and a few stalks of celery in the Thermomix, then added this to the mince and mixed it with my hands – the veges made the mince go even further, and if the kids didn’t eat the vege sticks, it didn’t matter as the veges are in the patties! AND they tasted delicious (not just my opinion, others commented also!!) AND all the children ate them!!!
Well, that was Charlie’s 7th birthday party today. It was a lovely day. And I’m going to go and fall into bed….
I just looked up the above white carousel cake that Charlie found on Google images – it cost $75 – and that’s with 20% off!!!! So I saved a bit (and I don’t mind ‘spending’ the time).