Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Panettone French Toast with Cherry Compote and Brandied Mascarpone


One last post before I sign off for Christmas and New Year!

This is my own recipe for very festive and very decadent french toast. To me, this is Christmas on a plate because it combines so many of the ingredients and flavours associated with this time of year. Italian Christmas bread, cherries, cinnamon, orange, brandy... all my favourite Christmas flavours! It is rich, but if you can't have this at this time of year, when can you have it?! This recipe works a treat with stale panettone, so if you find yourself with panettone leftovers after Christmas, you'll know just how to transform them into something really special :)

For this dish, I believe the key is to getting the compote right. The compote needs acidity to cut through the sweetness of the other components, so make sure you taste it. How much sugar you need will depend on how sweet/tart the cherries are so taste as you go, and add sugar as required.

Panettone French Toast with Cherry Compote and Brandied Mascarpone
an original Diary of a Ladybird recipe
(serves 2)

Ingredients
4 pieces Panettone (I cut a 1.5cm round of my panettone by cutting it horizontally then cut into 4)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.5 cups pitted cherries
caster sugar, to taste (see method)
lemon juice

125g mascarpone
1 tablespoon icing sugar, plus extra to serve
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons brandy
maple syrup (optional)

Method
1. In a wide shallow dish, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Add the panettone to the mixture and let sit for about 10 minutes to absorb the liquid. Turn once midway. Meanwhile, make the compote and mascarpone.

8 pieces pictured as recipe doubled in this instance
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the cherries with 1 tablespoon water, a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of caster sugar, adding more if desired. Simmer covered and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.
3. Combine the mascarpone, zest, icing sugar and brandy in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Heat a large fry pan over medium heat with a little olive oil and a nob of butter. Take the panettone pieces from the dish removing any excess liquid, then cook in the pan on both sides, cooking until golden.
5. To serve, place 2 pieces of panettone on each plate, topped with the cherry compote and a dollop of mascarpone, followed by a dusting of icing sugar and maple syrup if desired.


Buon appetito and merry Christmas! See you in 2014! :)

Anna xx

Monday, 23 December 2013

Cranberry, White Chocolate & Macadamia Cookies


Christmas is here! My shopping is done, and so is my wrapping! Just a bit more work to do in the kitchen and I'll be all set. I am looking forward to spending some relaxing time with my family, and am especially looking forward to lots of cuddles with my little Emperor and our new family addition, Little A. The Emperor knows a bit more about Santa this year, and I can't wait to see his face as he opens his gifts on Christmas morning.

Most years I make gingerbread as it tastes great and makes a nice gift. However, as much as I love gingerbread, I don't love making it in 30-something degree heat with high humidity! The dough is difficult to work, and you have to refrigerate the dough a number of times in order to keep your cookies in shape.

These cookies are a great Christmas alternative. The fact that they are so quick an easy too is a bonus. Here is the recipe so you can leave some out for Santa before you go to bed on Christmas eve ;)

Cranberry, White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies
an adapted recipe from 'The Sweet Life' by Kate Bracks

125g butter, at room temperature, chopped
150g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 egg
260g self-raising flour
80g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
50g macadamias, roughly chopped
50g dried cranberries (craisins)

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celcius. Grease two large baking trays and line with baking paper.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale. Add the egg and beat until well combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Sift the flour into the bowl and mix until just combined.
3. Add the chocolate, macadamias and cranberries to the mixture and mix it through.
4. Gather the dough together and roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place onto the prepared trays, allowing space for spreading.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden (12 minutes will make them slightly softer, 15 minutes will give you crispier cookies). Leave on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: These can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week. The dough (before it is cooked) can be rolled into balls and frozen for up to 3 months.

Tell me, dear readers, how are your final Christmas preparations going?

Anna x

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Plum Cafe, Kenmore


I can't believe it's been exactly a year now that the Ladybird family has been back in Brisbane. A lot has happened this year, and Christmas is just around the corner. Things are just so busy these days, it's hard to get quality time with Mr Ladybird. Dinner dates are impossible, but brunch dates are much more feasible and so we schedule them in whenever we can and really look forward to them.


I am delighted to be posting about brunch at Plum in Kenmore, because it's one of my favourites. Located in Brisbane's western suburbs, Plum has built a name for itself since its opening. It is run by the very dedicated and experienced Lance and Christine Zhou, who took Plum over seven years ago.  Plum is always pretty busy, but weekend breakfasts are especially busy, and with good reason too. The food is excellent, as is the coffee and service.

The breakfast menu is diverse, with eight cooked breakfast options, as well as a number of lighter options including house-made muffins (sweet and savoury). It is also worth mentioning that Plum is also a deli with a wide range of gourmet pantry items, which also serve to whet the appetite when you are dining there alongside them!



But back to the breakfast... Mr Ladybird and I headed to Plum on Wednesday morning and started with coffees, which start at $3.60. A good coffee always sets the tone for breakfast, and these hit the mark. While sipping on our coffee I spotted a fellow patron starting on his house-made granola made with strawberries and yoghurt. It looked so good, I instantly felt order envy!


It wasn't long at all though before our own orders arrived. For me, the Mushrooms ($17.90)
oven roasted garlic and herbed mushrooms, sauteed spinach, cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese with a drizzle of lemon infused olive oil and ciabatta toast. The mushrooms were just delicious, and that goat's cheese.. heaven!


For Mr Ladybird, the Vegetarian Breakfast ($19.90) poached eggs (substituted for scrambled in this instance), haloumi, mushrooms, roasted tomato, avocado, rosti and pesto & fresh spinach. This was one generous and delicious breakfast feast, so much so that Mr Ladybird needed a little help with the haloumi. No twisting of arm required, I was happy to assist! The rosti was excellent - I just love it when you get a proper rosti and not something out of a freezer packet, because there is simply no comparison.


With the most important meal of the day complete, Mr Ladybird and I set about our busy days. And I must say, with such generous portion sizes, this breakfast kept us going for hours! Nothing beats a good coffee and breakfast to set you up for the day. Despite prices being a little on the high side, I would say that Plum offer the best breakfast I have had here in Brisbane, so if you are looking for a place to eat in the western suburbs, Plum is worth checking out.

Ladybird & Mr Ladybird dined courtesy of Plum Cafe.

Plum Cafe
Shop 17, 841 Moggill Rd, Kenmore
Ph: (07) 3378 5422
www.plumcafe.com.au

Plum Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Cockadoodle Cafe & Espresso Bar, Red Hill


Located at the start of Enoggera Terrace a few doors down from Botanica, you will find a quirky and cheerful looking establishment called Cockadoodle Cafe and Espresso Bar. In the area to collect some takeaway salads and with grumbling stomachs, my friend and I decided to stop in with little A in tow for an impromptu brunch.

Finding a nice shady table was easy enough for what is normally a busy time for such cafes on weekends, and pram access was also good. Although we didn't need one, we were offered a high chair which was nice, so I think this is a child friendly venue.


The feel of this place is quite laid-back and I loved the splashes of red in the tableware and d├ęcor.. my favourite colour! :)



With an all-day breakfast menu boasting 15 items, plus breakfast specials, there really is something for everyone here. First up though we ordered coffees. They were nice and strong, but a little on the bitter side unfortunately. Next time I think I'll order something from the extensive list of nice teas on offer.



Onto the food... I opted for the Haloumi & Mushrooms on Sourdough ($15.80), while my dining partner opted for the French Toast with Berry Compote and maple syrup (15.80). The French Toast was lovely, although would have been better had it been left to soak up more of the mixture before being put in the pan. The accompanying compote was delicious and not too sweet.


I really enjoyed my mushrooms and haloumi. The flavour was great and the splash of quality balsamic vinegar to finish the dish was perfect.


All in all a nice spot for a weekend breakfast!
xx

Cockadoodle Cafe & Espresso Bar
5 Enogerra Terrace, Red Hill
Ph: (07) 3369 0610 Cockadoodle Cafe & Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Satvik Foods & a Giveaway!

A little while back, I was fortunate enough to receive this lovely bundle of products to road test by Australian company Satvik Foods.

I am usually a little sceptical when it comes to 'readymade' foods, as I worry about the ingredients and processing, but the Satvik Foods range is a little different. These packets of goodness are pretty straightforward - no nasties, no unpronouncables, no numbers.. just real ingredients. Lentils, quinoa, Ayurvedic spice blends, and salt.


On days when you are short on time and just want to get the food on the table, readymade mixes like these are a Godsend. Preparation of a healthy and delicious meal is made so simple with these mixes - there is no soaking required and they are fool proof! You can follow the packet instructions, or get a little creative and add extra ingredients.

I am in love with the dhal and spice range, in particular, 'Mystic Masala'. For this one, all you have to do is heat a little oil, add the mix, then add chopped tomato, coconut milk and water. Then a short time later you have delicious comforting dhal ready! I love the addition of nigella seeds to the spice blend, it tastes so good. I added a little extra salt, a good squeeze of lemon and fresh coriander (not pictured) and honestly, without any exaggeration, it was the best dhal I have tasted in a longgg time!


The Satvik Foods range is available in many health stores, and online through the Satvik Foods website. But, without further ado, here is the best part...

IT'S GIVEAWAY TIME!

To WIN a $30 pack of Satvik Foods, all you have to do is leave a brief comment on this post saying why you would like to try this product range.

This giveaway is open only to Australian residents, and closes on Monday, December 16th at 5pm AEST. Please be sure to enter your name and email address in the comment form to submit a valid entry.

*** This competition has now closed. Congratulations to Sue! ***

Good luck! xx

Monday, 25 November 2013

Botanica, Red Hill

This is my new favourite takeaway in Brisbane.

For me, it ticks a lot of boxes. It's quick; it's healthy; I can eat everything on the menu; and, oh.my.word... it is DELICIOUS! If you love feeling good about what you eat, then Botanica is worth a visit.



Located in Red Hill, Botanica was opened by owners Ali and Brett Hutley at the beginning of this year. Not only has it become a hit with locals, but has become known as the place for salads in Brisbane. And don't let its size fool you.. although small, Botanica offers a lot for a small eatery! There are up to eight fresh, hearty salads daily, all of which are either vegan or vegetarian.


Botanica is takeaway only, and takeaway boxes come in three sizes. The family size feeds 4+ for $25; the medium 2-4 for $15; and the small $10. I opted for the medium size to feed Mr Ladybird and I for lunch, and was surprised with how much salad could be packed in so neatly! I opted for a little of each salad as they all looked so good.


From left to right, the menu was as follows:
Brown rice with roast vegetables, baby spinach and soy and coriander dressing
Raw beetroot with orange, mint and fetta
Shaved broccoli with cranberries, almonds and garlic cashew cream
Potato, pea and dill salad with green tahini
Red cabbage with parmesan and walnut crumb and Dijon vinaigrette
Kale and parmesan salad with sourdough croutons and roast garlic vinaigrette
Mougrabeh with roast sweet potato and onion, supergreen pesto and baby spinach

All were so tasty, bursting with flavour and with the perfect amount of seasoning and dressing. The kale salad was the winner for me. I could eat that every.single.day. Yum! The medium box filled us up for lunch, plus there were leftovers to have along with dinner.


Also worth mentioning is the beautiful selection of freshly baked gluten-free sweet treats on offer daily at Botanica. When I visited, there were cinnamon bundt donuts, Callebaut chocolate fudge cookies, cherry white chocolate and sour cream muffins... just to name a few! So tempting, but I declined on this occasion. I guess I'll just have to visit again, for salads and maybe more! ;)

Botanica
9/1 Enoggera Tce, Red Hill
QLD 4059
Ph: (07) 3367 3334
http://www.botanicarealfood.com.au

Botanica on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Coco-nutty Granola


This granola, or 'coconut crack' as it is known in my home, is a pantry staple for me nowadays. Delicious, crunchy, and so very addictive. Although it is called a granola in the 'I Quit Sugar' cookbook, there's really no reason why it can't be eaten at any other time of the day. I like it with yoghurt as a morning snack, or even just a little with some herbal tea is a nice afternoon pick-me-up. 


I am a relative newcomer to this business of granola making. One thing I have noticed about people that make their own is that everyone swears by their own recipe, and they are reluctant to deviate from it. I'm pretty happy with my variation of this recipe and rarely stray from it now either! It is packed with good stuff and is slightly sweetened with rice malt syrup rather than loads of dried fruit and honey. You can pick up rice malt syrup up in the health food section of Coles and it is quite a handy ingredient to have in the cupboard!

Coco-nutty Granola
Adapted recipe from 'I Quit Sugar' by Sarah Wilson

Ingredients
2 cups coconut flakes
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup pepitas
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
80g coconut oil/butter, melted
3 tablespoons rice malt syrup

Method
1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Combine all the ingredients, then spread evenly on the tray.
3. Bake for around 40 minutes or until golden, turning halfway through the cooking time. The darker the granola, the crunchier it will be.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container to keep the granola crispy.

Before...

And after...

Notes
The original recipe says to bake for 15-20 minutes at 120 degrees celcius but I found this did nothing to the mixture at all, hence the higher temperature and longer cooking time. Keep an eye on yours though, as every oven is a little different.

Also, I make mine using activated nuts. They add wonderful toastiness and crunch - the main reason why I use activated nuts rather than the health benefits if I am to be perfectly honest! To 'activate' nuts, soak overnight in water with a little sea salt. Drain, then spread out on a baking tray and dry in the oven for 12-24 hours at the lowest temperature possible. Keen to read more about why activated nuts are said so good for you? You might like to read this article.


Do you make your own granola? If so, what recipe do you swear by??

xx

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Breakfast at The Kenmore



This morning the Ladybird family made a Sunday breakfast outing to a local hotel called 'The Kenmore' that has recently undergone a complete refurbishment. The hotel bistro offers breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays until 10am and so we decided to give it a try.

The refurbishment is modern, classy and restrained. They have done a brilliant job in giving this establishment a facelift. The pictures speak for themselves!




The bistro's alfresco dining area is a real highlight - loads of natural light, and fans for the warm weather as well as outdoor heating for the cooler months (yes, they do exist here in Brisbane!)



The breakfast menu offers the usual fare. Unfortunately, there were no savoury vegetarian meals listed, however, the staff were happy to substitute to cater accordingly. Drink and meal orders are taken at the counter. After ordering, we noticed this cute miniature blackboard listing The Kenmore's coffee menu. I like my coffee, but to be honest, I have never even heard of some of these!


I opted for the Lemon and ricotta pancake stack with stewed strawberries, double cream and mint ($12.95). I'm afraid to say the pancakes were the least impressive pancakes I have paid for... The flavour was not great, and the pancakes were burnt underneath. And frankly, two pancakes doesn't make a 'stack'.


Mr Ladybird had the Light Breakfast with toast, eggs, roast tomato and bacon ($12.95). The staff happily substituted the bacon for a side of mushrooms, and he added two hashbrown add-ons ($2 x 2) to share with our little fella. We were a little disappointed to see that the hashbrowns were readymade and that the toast was regular white supermarket bread. Unfortunately the tomato seemed to have got forgotten as well.


The Emperor was a very happy little boy to receive his babycino, graciously provided on the house by the manager. We gave coffees a miss as we have a machine at home which gets a blurry eyed visit from us every morning nice and early.


I was looking forward to this breakfast... Alas, my search for a good local breakfast venue that is child friendly continues. The Kenmore is certainly a beautiful, child-friendly venue. On the plus side, there is parking close to the hotel, room for prams and there are high chairs available. Unfortunately though, food at The Kenmore was a letdown.. Will we be back? Probably not, but their coffee menu has piqued my curiosity so perhaps that might see me return some day.


The Kenmore
841 Moggill Rd
Kenmore
Ph: (07) 33780777
http://www.ourhotels.com.au/kenmoretavern/


The Kenmore on Urbanspoon

Friday, 8 November 2013

Vegetarian Bolognese


As a child Spaghetti Bolognese used to be one of my favourite meals - either at home or to order on the rare occasion all eight of us went out for dinner. I remember the way the sauce would end up on my face as I happily slurped up the spaghetti. I still find comfort in enjoying a nice bowl of spaghetti bolognese. Sure, I still get sauce on my face (some things never change!) but the only thing that is different is that I now prefer my 'Spag Bol' meat free. Purists will scoff at the concept of a meat free bolognese, but what the heck - I will call it a bolognese nonetheless!

I cook this often as it is child friendly and my little man loves it; plus, it freezes very well so is a good healthy emergency meal. The lentils are the protein here, but to bump up the protein even more serve with fresh pasta. I especially love this bolognese with fresh, silky, homemade spelt pasta if I have the time to make it.

If you are keen to see a post on how to make fresh spelt pasta, please let me know by leaving a comment below! For now though, here is the recipe :)

Vegetarian Bolognese
An original Diary of a Ladybird recipe

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp cumin powder
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
Salt and pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sugar, or a natural sweetener such as xylitol* or powdered stevia*
* available at most health food stores

Method
1. Heat oil in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Stir in the garlic and cumin and cook for a minute before adding the tomato paste, tomatoes, vegetable stock powder and half a cup of water. Season with a little black pepper and salt. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the lentils and cook for another 5 minutes, and then remove from the heat and stir through baby spinach.
4. Add sweetener to taste (basically to take the edge of the tomato tang) and add more salt if desired. Serve with your choice of pasta and some freshly grated parmesan.

Ciao for now, readers!

Anna x

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Nan Khatai (Indian Butter Biscuits)

Today marks a very special day in the Hindu calender, Diwali. Diwali is known as the festival of lights, and is a wonderful time of year for Hindu families. Little lamps are lit in homes to usher in good fortune and happiness in the Hindu new year. Vast amounts of sumptuous food is enjoyed as part of the celebrations, including an array of sweets!

Nan Khatai is a simple little sweet one often sees around this time of year in Indian homes. I have tasted many, and tried many recipes. However, this recipe is one I have come up with myself after a good bit of tweaking and now stick to year in and year out. I love the balance of flavours, and I love the tenderness of the crumb in these delightful (and addictive) little biscuits.


Although simple, there are a couple of things key to ensuring perfection in making nan khatai. First, only use freshly ground cardamom - pre-packaged cardamom powder doesn't even come close to the beautiful aroma of freshly ground cardamom. It is the most exquisite scent! Secondly, don't overwork the dough. Last but certainly not least, let the dough rest. Really, it is much like making pastry. If you overwork the dough and fail to let it rest, you will end up with a very tough final product.

Nan Khatai
An original Diary of a Ladybird recipe

Ingredients
90g salted butter
35g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1/2 teaspooon freshly ground cardamom
150g plain flour
45g white rice flour

Method
1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butters, sugar and cardamom until pale and creamy.
2. Mix in combined flour until just combined, then tip out mixture onto a clean work surface. Squeeze together and shape into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Remove dough from the fridge and take teaspoon amounts of the dough and roll into balls and set aside. I keep in a spare plastic container with a lid. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
4. Place spaced apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees celsius. Bake for around 15 minutes or until just lightly golden.


And so to those of you celebrating, I wish you all a very happy Diwali! I hope you enjoy this recipe :)

xx




Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Zucchini Cheesecake/Slice

A couple of months ago, I found myself browsing the book section of a department store one day when I picked up 'I Quit Sugar' by Sarah Wilson. While I am not one in favour of giving up sugar in all its forms, I am definitely in favour of consuming good things in moderation. For me, it's all about less and best. I am a conscientious eater, but when it comes to special occasions, I believe we should all be able to have a little cake. And if you know that that cake was made from scratch with love and the very best ingredients, then all the more reason to enjoy it guilt-free!


So why would I get the book then? While I love making cakes, coming up with new flavours, and so on.. I do have to be careful. If I were to eat cake all the time not only would I be the size of a house, but I wouldn't feel too crash hot either. 'I Quit Sugar' offers lots of useful advice about how we can cut back on sugar in everyday eating, plus it has loads of great healthy recipes. There are lots of high-protein recipes too, which as we all know goes a long way in keeping us full longer and keeps us from raiding the cookie jar at 3pm. And as a vegetarian, I'm always thinking about my protein intake!

In the book this dish is called a zucchini cheesecake, but I prefer to call it a 'slice' as in my mind a anything ending in 'cake' ought to be sweet. Hrmmm... but then again, I suppose banana bread really ought to be banana cake, because there's nothing savoury or bread like about it, is there?! This slice is listed in the breakfast section of the book. When we have this at breakfast I love it with some thyme roasted tomatoes and wilted spinach. I have enjoyed this at lunch and dinner too. It's great alongside a salad with a zingy lemony dressing. Ricotta is a good source of calcium and protein, so not only is this yum, but it's good for you too!

After making this a few times myself, I suggest you to opt for a good quality full fat ricotta from a proper deli rather than a supermarket. It really does make the difference for this recipe. For those of you in Brisbane, try New Farm Deli, Ingredients Deli in Kenmore, or Fruity Capers Deli in Toowong Village. All three are purveyors of quality cheeses.



Zucchini Cheesecake
Recipe from 'I Quit Sugar' by Sarah Wilson. Serves 8

Ingredients
coconut oil, butter or ghee for greasing
2-3 large zucchini
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
550g ricotta
1/3 cup grated parmesan*
2 green shallots (or 'green salad onions' as they are called in supermarkets here in Australia), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped dill
zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup crumbled fetta**

* Original recipe calls for a whopping 3/4 cup of parmesan, but I found this much too salty.
** I think Dodoni or Bulgarian work well

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius and grease a 23cm cake tin or medium sized baking dish.
2. Grate the zucchini - you need 2 cups grated zucchini. Combine the zucchini and salt in a colander or sturdy sieve and let sit for 15 minutes, then use your fingers or a spoon to press out as much moisture as you can.
3. Combine the ricotta, parmesan, shallots, garlic, dill and lemon zest, then stir in the eggs and zucchini.
4. Pour into the dish and bake for 1 hour. Sprinkle with the fetta then return to the oven for 25 minutes or until the cheese has melted. The slice is est when left to cool completely so that it sets properly. Serve at room temperature.

If you end up making this I hope you enjoy it! I look forward to bringing you some more of my favourite recipes from this wonderful book. Kudos, Sarah Wilson!

xx

Friday, 25 October 2013

Edible dirt


A very brief post from me this evening to share my latest order - this wonderful little dump truck and dirt cake!

The idea for this cake came from a dump truck t-shirt my son wears... for months now I have looked at it time and time again and thought, I really would love to make a dump truck cake one of these days. And so it was added to my never-ending list of things to do should I ever find the time! It seemed Lady Luck was on my side this week when a Brisbane mum got in touch with me to request a last-minute cake request for her son Max's second birthday. The cake needed to be egg and gluten free due to dietary requirements. She didn't have a specific design in mind, but wanted something small for an intimate celebration, and perhaps something truck related. Piece of cake!

As you can see from the below shot, the cake was split into three layers and filled with creamy ganache. I then did an outer layer of ganache as I normally do before I would typically cover with fondant. Not this time! Instead, I created a scrumptious salted chocolate crumb to resemble dirt and used this on the exterior of the cake. I love the overall effect, and as I was lucky enough to be invited to share a piece, I can tell you that the crunchiness of the crumb against the moist cake and creamy ganache was really lovely.

Max was one delighted little boy. And for once his mum was happy to let him eat dirt! ;) Haha



Bye for now!

xx
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