Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake

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Birthdays are great for so many reasons – you get an entire day to celebrate someone for just being themselves, it’s a good excuse for a party and bubbles, and it’s a great excuse to eat cake! Whether it’s my birthday or that of someone else, birthday cakes are a bit of a big deal for me – I love dreaming them up, making them come to live and (of course) enjoying the finished product.

It was Kevin’s birthday last weekend, and while I spent weeks teasing him that I couldn’t be bothered making him a cake, there was no doubt I’d make him something special. So while he spent the day lifting weights and being fit at a Crossfit competition (as you can tell, I clearly know all the ins and outs of the sport!), I got busy whipping up a special cake to surprise him with when he got home.

Like many people, Kevin’s BIG on chocolate – he loved it way more than I do! So it was a no-brainer that his birthday cake would be absolutely packed with chocolate. But that in itself isn’t particularly special, so I decided to work hazelnuts into the recipe.

The result? A triple-layered chocolate cake infused with hazelnut coffee, stacked and iced with whipped milk chocolate buttercream and finished with a halo of crushed toasted hazelnuts. YUM.

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100s & 1000s of sprinkles

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One year ago two of our best friends welcomed a new member of the family into the world – a gorgeous baby boy named Ezra-Arlo. In the 12 months since Kevin and I have had the pleasure of watching Ezra-Arlo grow into a wonderful little boy – and quite possibly the snuggliest, smiliest baby I’ve ever met!

Considering how recent Ezra-Arlo’s baby shower feels it’s a little hard to believe that he’s hitting his first milestone birthday! The good news? It’s birthday party time! His parents, Rhys & Joy, have a knack for planning wonderful children’s parties, so I was super excited to lend a hand with the baking for this one – which just so happened to be Up themed!

Cute huh? Considering how bright and colourful the theme was, a very special cake was needed to stand out amongst all the gorgeous Up themed decorations – that’s where this giant four-layer sprinkle cake comes in.

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Kit Kat and M&M cake

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I’m of the ilk that cake should be part of every celebration – new job, new house, anniversary… whatever the party, there should definitely be cake. Take our wedding for example – I was dreaming of the cake long before I started thinking about the dress!

Luckily Kevin is equally infatuated with cakes – though he’s usually more involved in the eating part of the process than the design and creation! But that gets flipped on its head when it comes to his birthday. Every year he spends a good couple of days mulling over what type of cake he wants this year – the flavour, the height, the decoration… he thinks of everything.

This year his request was simple… “I want that cake surrounded in Kit Kats and topped with M&Ms,” he cheerfully exclaimed a week or so ago. Since this wasn’t a very original cake design, I suggested he think about it for a couple of days and see if he could come up with a way to make it a little more personalised. But nope – that’s what he wanted, so that’s what he got!

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Simple chocolate cake

chocolate-cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk (milk + ½ Tbsp white vinegar)
  • 1 cup black coffee, cooled
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. Grease and line two 9 inch cake tins.
  2. Make coffee and set aside to cool. Prepare homemade buttermilk and set aside.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Add eggs,  vanilla, oil, coffee and buttermilk and mix on a low speed until combined. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute.
  5. Pour into prepare cake tins and bake for approx. 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool in tins for 5 minutes then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before icing.

Cake, Comedy & Cures

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It’s that time of year again; Red Nose Day!

Red Nose Day was one of my favourite things when I was at primary school – not only did you get to wear a bright red nose all day (well, as long as you could stand the hard plastic ball squeezing your nose) but there were always fun things going on; assemblies, songs, games… the works!

Ever since I’ve always gotten into Red Nose Day – my car proudly wears a nose, we watch the comedy galas on TV and of course send in a donation or two. So this year I decided to share the Red Nose spirit the best way I know how – with a cake!

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