Tag Archives: food

Surprise Rainbow Cake

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This double decker rainbow cake was fun to make and looked great when Big L cut into it (it also tasted really nice).

We started out by making a double quantity of buttercake mix, which in this case was two packet mixes. I sometimes make cakes from scratch and sometimes from packets, depending on cupboard contents, time, and inclination. I happened to have a couple of cake mixes handy, so we mixed them up according to the packet.

In one of my rare moments of organisation, I had previously taken the block of butter out of the fridge to give it plenty of time to soften before mixing up the cake batter. Unfortunately, Big L assumed I’d just forgotten to put it back in the fridge, and tidied it away. So it was hard as a rock when it came time to add it to the mix. Big L suggested that he cut it up for me, and promptly snapped one of our butter knives in two! He then softened it a little in the microwave, but it was still fairly hard when we added it to the bowl, and the batter was a little lumpy as a result, but it didn’t affect the taste at all.

Adding colour to the batter.

Adding colour to the batter.

The kids both wanted to have a go at using the mixer. Neither one of them managed to turn it off prior to lifting it from the bowl…. Must work on that. Once it was finally mixed, I divided the batter into five bowls, with each bowl holding a little less than the one before it, until the batter was gone. I added a few drops of food colouring to each bowl, and the kids mixed the colour in. We had blue, green, yellow, pink and red.

To cook the cake we used a rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper. I used the biggest bowl of batter first, which was blue, and poured it into the base of the tray, spreading it out to the edges. Then I took the next bowl, the green batter, and poured it into the tray in a stripe down the centre of the blue. I continued this with each of the remaining colours in progressively smaller stripes until all the batter was in the tray. Then we popped it in the oven and waited for it to cook.

Ready to cook.

Ready to cook.

Straight from the oven.

Straight from the oven.

The cake really puffed up in the centre of the tray, but that didn’t really matter. Once it was cool, I cut it in half. The inside of the cake looked awesome! I leveled off the top of the cake to make each half reasonably flat on top so that they could be stacked one on top of the other.

After leveling the top of the cake.

After leveling the top of the cake.

Cut in half.

Cut in half.

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to spread frosting.

Ready to spread frosting.

 

I normally make icing or butter cream from scratch using icing sugar, but I cheated this time and bought a container of Betty Crocker’s Milk Chocolate Frosting. It saved a bit of time and made the cake very chocolatey.

I spread the chocolate frosting between onto the top of one half of the cake, and then placed the second half on top. I made sure it was all straight, and then I covered the whole cake in frosting, smoothing it out with a spatula. I covered the top of the cake in lines of chocolate freckles. I had some left over, so I added these down the sides of the cake.

Cutting into the cake and revealing the hidden rainbow surprise was very exciting! The cake was very yummy too. A and L got chocolate frosting all over their faces and hands, while Baby T ate his little piece much more politely.

A slice of surprise rainbow cake.

A slice of surprise rainbow cake.

The inside of the cake.

The inside of the cake.

Cupcake Bee Cake

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Cupcakes iced and ready for decoration.

Cupcakes iced and ready for decoration.

I was thinking about ways to make bee cupcakes, when I thought that perhaps I could make one big bee cake using cupcakes. I pondered this for a while, but finally came up with a plan. After baking two dozen cupcakes, I laid them out in a bee shape to see if it looked okay. It did, so I mixed up some yellow icing and some black icing, which is not perfectly black, but rather a dark grey. To get the icing really black, I would have needed some food colouring paste or gel, but I only had liquid colouring, so dark grey it is. This wasn’t an issue though, as the colours looked quite good together.

L icing a cupcake.

L icing a cupcake.

I got to icing, starting with the black head. The two cupcakes at the front are angled up a little to create the head shape. I used a couple of toothpicks to secure them into place against the single black cupcake behind them. L helped me to ice some of the other cupcakes, and was a big help whilst making this cake. The cupcakes that make up the stripey body are just placed into the correct shape. I ended up using fourteen cupcakes for this cake.

The head of the bee.

The head of the bee.

L made the antennae and stinger out of black pipe cleaners. I stuck one antenna into each of the head cupcakes, and then added eyes below them. The eyes are made from a single malteser chocolate ball with some white chocolate fudge writing icing blobbed on it. L stuck the stinger into the last yellow cupcake.

A wing.

A wing.

The wings of the bee were the trickiest part of this cake. They are made out of clear cellophane. I cut a double sheet into a rough wing shape, and then scrunched one edge together to create the shape of the wing emerging from the body. I separated the two sheets of cellophane slightly to give the wing some depth, and then wrapped half a black pipe cleaner around the scrunched section, and secured it between two of the body cupcakes using toothpicks. The toothpick slotted under the pipe cleaner and then poked into the sides of the adjoining cupcakes. I made another wing for the other side.

And there I had my cupcake bee cake. It was very difficult to photograph, but I’ve done my best. The cellophane didn’t show up very well in the photos, and it was difficult to get one good shot of the whole cake, so the photos don’t really do it justice. It did look much better sitting on my dining table!

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Choc Mini Meringues

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Ingredients.

Ingredients.

A is very fond of meringues, so when I did the groceries last week I bought a box of rainbow mini meringues for her (Woolworths Select Rainbow Mini Meringue Drops). On the side of the box was a recipe for transforming these mini meringues into bitesize chocolate rainbow treats. As we had all the necessary ingredients in the cupboard we gave it a go.

Dipping a meringue into the chocolate.

Dipping a meringue into the chocolate.

It was really a very simple process. I melted the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until it was smooth. Then the kids dipped the meringues into the chocolate, and put them straight into some hundreds and thousands. The hundreds and thousands stuck to the chocolate, making the meringues very colourful.

Covering the chocolate in hundreds and thousands.

Covering the chocolate in hundreds and thousands.

Setting on the bench.

Setting on the bench.

We also tried using some rainbow star sprinkles, but they weren’t quite as effective as the hundreds and thousands. The stars were bigger and didn’t make as neat a layer as the smaller hundreds and thousands, but I still liked how they looked, and the taste was similar.

L and A enjoyed making these treats, and eating them even more!

A star meringue.

A star meringue.

 

Easter Chocolates

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I wanted to try making some Easter shaped chocolates this year with the kids, as I thought it would be fun. We were given a number of plastic chocolate moulds by a good friend, and my mother also gave us a silicone chocolate mould to try. We started with the silicone mould.

IMG_9124We didn’t make our own chocolate, we used choc melts, in milk chocolate and white chocolate. I melted small batches of the melts in a ceramic bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds at a time. Each time the microwave dinged, I mixed the chocolate with a spoon to make sure that it was melting evenly and not burning on the bottom of the bowl. It’s very important to remove the spoon from the bowl before it is placed in the microwave!

Chocolate mould.

Chocolate mould.

I did not let the kids handle the bowl with the melted chocolate, as it can be very hot. I used an oven mitt to prevent burning myself on the bowl when removing it from the microwave. After a minute or two it was normally cool enough to touch, but we still had to be very careful.

Mixing the hot chocolate.

Mixing the hot chocolate.

Ready for the fridge.

Ready for the fridge.

As silicone is floppy, we used a plastic cutting board underneath the mould to prevent it from drooping and spilling the chocolate. We transferred the melted chocolate into the mould one spoonful at a time, carefully filling each hole to the top and smoothing it out. Inevitably, we dripped chocolate onto the cutting board, mould and even on the bench. The kids didn’t mind swiping it up on a finger and popping it in their mouths. Once all the holes on the mould were filled, we placed it in the fridge to set.

Placing the chocolates onto the cellophane.

Placing the chocolates onto the cellophane.

We made some plain milk chocolate, some white chocolate, and some we mixed together to marble the chocolate. I also had a go at layering the chocolate. I found it was best to let the first layer set in the fridge for about fifteen minutes before adding the second layer.

Forming a bundle.

Forming a bundle.

The kids cut some cellophane into squares and placed about four chocolates onto each square, then brought the cellophane up around the chocolates creating a little bundle. We added some curling ribbon to tie it up, and I curled it with scissors. L tried to curl her own ribbon, but she didn’t quite manage it. They want to give their little parcels of Easter chocolates to relatives.

Little parcels of Easter chocolates.

Little parcels of Easter chocolates.

Sheep Cupcakes

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IMG_8959A while ago I saw some of the librarians at our local library had made foods inspired by books, and they had made sheep cupcakes for Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek. We own this book, and it gets read over and over to the point where both L and A are able to recite the words! I love the idea of book inspired food, and these sheep cupcakes looked simple enough, so I gave them a go.

Cupcakes ready for icing.

Cupcakes ready for icing.

Big L made a double batch of butter cupcakes, and when they were cool, I iced them with basic vanilla frosting. Then I covered each one with mini-marshmallows (I think the pack called them mallow bakes). I had these in pink and white, so we had some pink sheep and some white sheep.

Covered in mini marshmallows.

Covered in mini marshmallows.

For the heads I used some honeycomb chocolate pods, which are like a small biscuit cup filled with chocolate and come in a number of different flavours (I think they are made by Mars). The filling side of the pods was facing out, and I drew on this using white chocolate writing fudge to form the facial features and ears of each sheep.

It didn’t take me as long as I expected to make these sheep cupcakes, and I was quite happy with the result. Everyone thought they were very yummy too.

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Arrowroot Biscuit Easter Eggs

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IMG_9084We go through a lot of milk arrowroot biscuits in our house, especially baby T, he loves them!

Biscuits and 100s and 1000s ready for decorating.

Biscuits and 100s and 1000s ready for decorating.

Milk arrowroots are oval shaped, and close enough to egg-shaped that we tried decorating them to make some non-chocolate Easter eggs. The icing is quite sweet though, so these aren’t a less sugary alternative to chocolate eggs, but they were fun to make.

I mixed up some icing sugar with a little bit of milk in a bowl, and then I transferred some to a zip lock snack bag. I added some vanilla essence and some food colouring to the bag, sealed it, and squished it all together to mix it. When it was ready to use, I snipped a tiny triangle off one corner so that we could use it as a piping bag. I added a bit too much milk to the first lot of icing so it was a little runny, but the other lots were a better consistency for piping.

Spreading icing with a knife.

Spreading icing with a knife.

Piping icing onto a biscuit.

Piping icing onto a biscuit.

The kids used the icing bags to spread icing across the top of the biscuits, on some making patterns with the colours, on others just covering the whole biscuit in the same colour. On some of them they used a knife to spread the icing out. They added some 100s and 1000s to the top of the biscuits, and some they even dipped in the bowl of 100s and 1000s to completely cover the top.

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This was a very messy activity! There was icing, 100s and 1000s and icing sugar everywhere (including all over the kids), but they had a ball. They also enjoyed eating some of their biscuit eggs along the way 🙂

The mess at the end.

The mess at the end.

Monster Fingers

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Monster themed finger food just right for a snack or party is monster fingers. A chose to use cheese sticks for this activity, while L chose to use carrot sticks. We used dried strawberries for the finger nails. I was going to use pecan halves or slivered almonds for this, but we’d run out, and the kids couldn’t wait for me to go to the store. I think the dried strawberries worked well though.

Adding dip to the finger to stick the fingernail on.

Adding dip to the finger to stick the fingernail on.

I broke the cheese sticks in half and cut the carrots into sticks. The kids used a little bit of french onion dip to stick the fingernails to the fingers. We could have used cream cheese or something like that to stick them together too.

Adding a fingernail.

Adding a fingernail.

This was pretty quick and easy, fun and tasty. The kids pulled theirs apart to eat them though, as the dried strawberries were quite sweet while the cheese and carrot were not, and they didn’t like the mixed tastes. I think they would have eaten them together if we’d used the nuts instead of strawberries. We can use nuts next time we feel a bit peckish for some monster fingers.

A plateful of monster fingers.

A plateful of monster fingers.

Cupcake Monsters

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With some frosting, lollies and fudge writing gel, we turned our plain vanilla cupcakes into monster treats. Big L cooked the cupcakes for us and then we decorated them as a family. It was lots of fun, and we ended up with some awesome cupcakes!

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The kids enjoyed spreading the frosting onto each cupcake, though A kept leaning through the work area, and ended up with three shades of frosting all over her. She even tried licking some of it off her elbow!

Spreading the frosting.

Spreading the frosting.

Adding mini marshmallows.

Adding mini marshmallows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the frosting was completed we used a range of lollies, including some strawberry jellies, mini m&ms, yoghurt buttons and mini marshmallows, and some writing fudge, to create our monsters. L used some frosting to stick mini marshmallows together to create long horns. Big L made a Cookie Monster cupcake, complete with mini cookie in his mouth. A just liked using lots of m&ms and marshmallows (and eating them when she thought we weren’t watching!). I used the writing fudge to add pupils to my monsters’ eyes.

Big L's attempt at making Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

Big L’s attempt at making Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

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Pizza Pinwheels

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Pizza pinwheels.

Pizza pinwheels.

Along with snacks for the kids lunchboxes, I also like to have snacks for Big L’s lunchbox too. He doesn’t mind a range of cakes and cookies, but for a savoury change, I made him some pizza pinwheels. These are very similar to the cheese and bacon pinwheels we made a few days ago.

After defrosting the puff pastry sheets, I spread one with tomato pizza sauce, and the other with BBQ pizza sauce. To these I added grated cheese, shredded ham, and sliced mushroom. The kids can help with this bit. Sometimes I add other pizza ingredients like pepperoni and pineapple, but I didn’t have these today.

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

Ingredients laid out on the puff pastry.

Ingredients laid out on the puff pastry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each sheet of pastry is rolled up into a log, and the edge pinched together to seal it. Then the log is cut into slices, and each slice is transferred to a baking tray covered in baking paper. I add a little grated parmesan to the top of each pinwheel before putting them in the oven to cool until the pastry is golden and the cheese is melted.

These make for a delicious snack or light meal. They freeze well, but for a crispier finish, after defrosting them, I would pop them in the oven for a little while to reheat.

Sliced up log.

Sliced up log.

Laid out ready to cook.

Laid out ready to cook.

Frankfurt Octopuses

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This is a fun and interesting way to serve cocktail frankfurts. A friend of mine served these at an undersea themed birthday party last year, and I just had to try them for myself.

Frankfurt octopuses.

Frankfurt octopuses.

Surprisingly easy to make, the kids often ask for their frankfurts to be made into octopuses now. I use a sharp knife to cut into each frankfurt starting from about half-way up, slicing through the bottom half length-ways. Then I turn the frankfurt around and cut it through again, so now the bottom half is in quarters lengthways. Then each quarter is cut in half again to make eight tentacles. I have found it just as easy to cut through the two opposite quarters of the frankfurt at the same time, as it is to tackle each quarter separately.

Cut up ready to cook.

Cut up ready to cook.

Cooking in the pot.

Cooking in the pot.

Once the frankfurts are cooking, either on the stove top, or in the microwave, the tentacles will start to curl up and out, giving the frankfurts an octopus look.

 

 

The kids like to have tomato sauce with their frankfurts. They dip the octopus’ tentacles into the sauce and bite them off. While they were eating, I heard a lot of “I have a four-leg octopus” and “I have a no leg octopus!”. L even exclaimed she had a “no-head octopus” after she bit the top off her frankfurt.

Frankfurt octopuses ready to eat.

Frankfurt octopuses ready to eat.