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18th birthday cake or dessert-quick,easy cheat

By: Deb

I’d asked my Son what kind of cake he wanted for his 18th birthday dinner with close friends and family at a  local restaurant.

He ask me to make him a mousse cake which is a family favourite. Unfortunately come his birthday I was a little unwell and taking medication which really didn’t bode well for creating a cake suitable for a public get-together ;)

So what to do?

We headed out to the local Sara Lee Factory outlet as I’d used their catering sized cakes before, they are of good quality and some do have a very nice flavour.

While there I had an idea.

My son loves Bavarian dessert.

We used Sara Lee Entertainer Bavarians

We used Sara Lee Entertainer Bavarians

It’s a kind of biscuit base with chocolate, vanilla or other flavoured pudding kind of mousse filling. Quite often more than one flavour and sometimes has piped fresh cream on the top.

So I grabbed 3 of them (2 to make the main cake ’8′ one as extra serves) and a couple of  classic chocolate Pound cakes to make the ’1′:

We used simple Poundcake

We used simple Poundcake

I’m showing the pictures so that you can see what kind of cakes they are, knowing full well how we all have different names for similar cakes worldwide :-)

The beauty of this idea was it only needed to be assembled just before we left so it made for easier storage in the fridge and witht he sweltering and humid weather we’ve had here in Australia this Summer that was quite important!

So when I was ready to assemble the cake I covered a platter with foil. I then sliced about an inch/inch and a half off the bottom of two Bavarian dessert cakes. This allowed them to sit snugly like a figure 8. It’s quite easy to see just by looking how much needs to be removed but the amount will change depending on the size of the cakes.

I then placed them together and covered the join with some melted milk chocolate

I then squared up one end of each of the poundcakes so they sat at a similar height to the number 8.

I coated them in a chocolate ganache style icing made from around 300 grams of dark chocolate (I used a lindt with bitter orange and almond pieces left over from Christmas) and a few buttons of dark cooking chocolate. I broke it into pieces and covered it with pre-boiling cream and let it sit for 5 mins to melt. I then beat it together until smooth and sifted a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar in to help thicken it. I then coated the ’1′ shaped cakes and placed them next to the Bavarian desserts.

I initially was intending to cut the centre of the “8″  circles out but realised quickly with a biscuit/cookie base the cake would lose some integrity so I  made a small amount of melted white chocolate and did my best to form the inside of the 8. I then sprinkled it with coconut to help disguise the lack of precision  ;)

I stuck some ‘Happy birthday” candles in the one so there was no need to pipe or write on the cake at all !

All in all we had an 18th birthday cake that may not of looked professional at all but one that cost less than $25au and served more than 30 people. Also it was guaranteed my son would like the cake as it was made from one of his favourite desserts and I didn’t have to stress over each part of the cake baking and the full decorating.

Served with fresh (and squirty) cream it went down very well.

Very quick 18th birthday cake or dessert

Very quick 18th birthday cake or dessert

I think with a little thought any circular cake or dessert could be used e.g. Black forest gateaux or Cheesecake and also most numbers could be created. Have a look and see what your local supermarket, grocer or bakery keep in stock I’m sure they will have a few appropriate cakes which can be used last minute to make a number cake.

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Book Shaped Cake

By: Deb

This book cake is a very simple cake to decorate and very popular with bookworms.

The 1st book

The book of love cake

You’ll need:

Ready made rectangular cakes

Chocolate fondant icing, enough to cover and overlap the top and the spine.

Small amount of white or cream fondant icing, enough to cover 3 sides of the cake plus 2 inches over.

Edible gold dust
Edible gold paint

Take a sheet cake, or any rectangular cake and cut in to smaller rectangles.

If you wish the cakes to have a filling you could cut these horizontally and fill or just add one on

top of the other, sandwiched together by whichever filling you have chosen.

I had a small amount of ready-made chocolate fondant  leftover but not enough to cover the cakes so I went in search of a recipe and this is the recipe that appealed the most.

Fondant Icing recipe (discovered at

* 2 pounds confectioner’s sugar, sifted (I replaced 1/8th of a pound with cocoa powder)
* 1/4 cup cold water
* 1 tablespoon unflavoured gelatine
* 1/2 cup glucose (found in cake decorating stores) or white corn syrup
* 1 1/2 tablespoons glycerine (found in cake decorating stores)
* 1 teaspoon desired flavouring (vanilla will give the fondant an off-white color)
* Cornstarch

US cup = 8 fl oz


In a large bowl (do not use metal), sift the sugar and make a well in the centre. In a small

saucepan, add the water and sprinkle the gelatine on top to soften for about 5 minutes. Begin to

heat the gelatine and stir until the gelatine is dissolved and clear. Do not boil. Turn off the heat and

add the glucose and glycerine, stirring until well blended. Add the flavoring. Pour into the well of

sugar, and mix until all of the sugar is blended. Use hands to knead icing until it becomes stiff.

Add small amounts of confectioner’s sugar if the mixture is sticky.
Form the mixture into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container.

This icing works best if allowed to rest at room temperature for about eight hours before using,

particularly if the weather is humid. Do not refrigerate.

Do not refrigerate a cake with fondant icing.

I used chocolate fondant because I like that “old leather-bound book”  look. You can of course make any colour book but i would suggest making it a strong  color as opposed to pastel shades. This is usually made easier by using coloring gels instead of the liquid. You can also make some different coloured icing to use as bands on the book spine.

When I made these cakes it was a very hot day here in Oz so I made them as quickly and plainly as possiblewith minimum adornment.

When ready roll out the light colored fondant so it is long enough to cover the top-side,front-sideand lower-side of the cake. This will probably need to be done in 2 sections so make sure you will be joining them at the least noticeable point.

Form these edges around the cake making sure it can be folded over the top of the cake a small way and folds down the spine side at least an inch top and bottom.

I then used the hard plastic container the sponge came in to mark pages into each side.

You need to press firmly but beware of cutting all the way through.

Then roll out the chocolate icing in a rectangle larger than the cake. I rolled it out on some greaseproof paper that I had crinkled up. This gives the slightly cracked texture of old leather. It also cuts down the amount of cornstarch needed when rolling if you use a cover of greaseproof paper. if you do have some trouble with sticking use your fingers to gently dust the surface with the cornstarch.

Then place the icing over the cake making sure you have just enough to double back the edge to form the book lips. This also makes it nice and thick and helps it to hold shape. If you start at the spine side it makes it easier to allow an extra amount of fondant to shape more into a rounded spine

Run your finger or thumb from the top of the book to the bottom making a small indent helping to define the spine.

Roll some chocolate fondant into 3 little skinny sausage shapes which you will run along the base of each side to creat the “hidden” side of the book cover.

Then it’s time to decorate at will.

I dusted the pages with gold dust to get that old-fashioned effect.

I then took some scrap-booking  letter stamps and imprinted the title of the book on thje front. Iwould of also done the spine this way if it was not so hot (or if I had some freehand talent ;) )

I then used the imprints as a guide for the gold paint. I did find I had to use a smaller brush than the one that came with the paint but could probably of used an even smaller brush, say eye-liner brush thickness.

I had to  gently manipulate the icing a little more due to the heat, then I added the second cake to the top

Voila! The cake is done.

Some additional suggestions would be to make a big stack of books for more guests. Usingdifferent coloured books or perhaps make them smaller and have them standing upright a labookshelf.

You could even add a bookend at each side.

2 book cakes together

2 book cakes stacked together make a bigger cake for more servings

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Full moon cake

By: Deb

This is again a really easy cake to make. I was really surprised to do a search online to find hardly any full moon cakes.

You’ll need:

1 round sponge cake cake (ready made or see this recipe )

Fondant icing (amount is depending on the cake size 6 inch = about 1/2 a pound)

Yellow food colouring Silver edible pearlescent powder (bronze or gold colour may also work)

Start by placing the fondant in a thick plastic food bag. This helps to prevent discoloration of hands and nails and also allows you to do something else while kneading in the colour .

Put fondant in plastic bag

Put fondant in plastic bag

Add a couple of drops of food colouringbut no more initially. We are after a light cream colour and not yellow icing.  Add more if necessary but take your time and knead it in well.

Roll out the icing . I roll out in between greaseproof paper as it is unnecessary to use icing sugar (unless your icing is very sticky)

Add icing to cake and smooth out. I found I didn’t need anything to hold the icing to the cake but you could use jam/jello.

Cover cake with fondant icing

Cover cake with fondant icing

Add random sized craters

Add random sized craters

Then add craters. I used cake modelling tools but anything with a rounded end will do. Make various sizes to form the lunar craters. Once the craters are added you could stop there. You have a great representation of the full moon.

You could add eyes and a mouth and make a Man-in-the-moon cake. I took a stencil I created of the lighter  areas of the moon, cut them out and smoothed them onto the the top of the cake.

Place stencil on cake

Place stencil on cake

I then took some silver pearlescent powder and highlighted the areas in between the stencilled areas. I also highlighted some craters. This effect looks fantastic under glowing light such as birthday candles. Not so great under out lousy home lighting of an evening though! There we have our full moon cake. Why not make one every lunar month? :)

The finished full moon cake

The finished full moon cake

I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the new Duncan Jones movie “Moon”.  So since I was making a moon cake I thought I’d have a go at a fun cake of the trailer:

Mimicking the trailer for "Moon"

Mimicking the trailer for "Moon"

Ok so it might not be a very good replica, so here is the original trailer. It excites me to think there is a true sci-fi movie out later this year. It looks and sounds beautiful :)

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