“Can we have a cake to celebrate Charlotte’s great piano exam result?”
“What sort of cake would you like for your confirmation, Sophie?”
“Could you bake me a chocolate cake for my birthday, please?”
Imogen and Charlotte turn out an endless stream of cakes. There’s always something to celebrate in our family. And if there’s no official red letter day on the calendar, the girls are good at finding an excuse to bake a cake and make a day special.
“It’s the Queen’s birthday, Mum. We can’t have a birthday without a cake.” I don’t think the Queen cares whether we have a cake in her honour or not, but of course we had one anyway.
We used to buy our cakes from the Cheesecake Shop. We’d come home with a giant box, slide it into the fridge and then count down the hours until dinner time when we could slice it up and enjoy.
But with ten birthdays and numerous other big celebratory days every year, our Cheesecake Shop cake bill was getting longer and longer. One day, to my secret relief, the Cheesecake Shop closed down. And I decided we’d have to bake our own cakes from that time forward.
I bought a few cake cookbooks and some good quality spring-based cake tins, and the girls started baking.
If you read my blog regularly you will recognise the cake in the photograph. It is of course Sophie’s confirmation cake. Sophie had requested a white chocolate mud cake. Imogen had never made one of these before but she likes experimenting and she went to work. She took a tried and tested dark chocolate cake recipe, eliminated the coffee and cocoa, and substituted white chocolate for dark chocolate and voila! Soon she had a white chocolate mud cake ready to decorate.
We decided to decorate the confirmation cake with 12 fruits to represent the 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit. We make a similar cake each Pentecost.
So a white chocolate frosting was prepared and spread over the cake. Andy and the younger girls made the 12 different fruits, moulding them from shop bought fondant icing. They tinted the icing with food colouring. It was all so simple but effective. The hardest part was coming up with 12 different fruits that could easily be moulded. The girls decided that a tomato was acceptable as it’s really a fruit and not a vegetable.
This recipe really is worth adding to your collection:
Dark or White Chocolate Mud Cake
250 g butter, chopped
I tbsp. instant coffee granules (only for dark chocolate cake)
1 ½ cups water
2 cups caster sugar
1sp vanilla extract
200g dark or white eating chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups self raising flour (dark chocolate cake) or 1 3/4 cups self raising flour (white chocolate cake)
1 cup plain flour
¼ cup cocoa powder (only for dark chocolate cake)
1/3 cup cream

1.   Preheat a slow oven: 150°C or 130°C fan forced  or 250° - 300° F

2.   Heat butter, (coffee), water, sugar, extract and half of the chocolate in a saucepan. Stir until smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Cool 20 mins. Stir in eggs and dry ingredients.

3.   Pour mixture into greased pan (19 cms square or equivalent) with bottom lined with baking paper. Bake approx. 1 hour 50 minutes. Stand for 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.

4.   Combine cream and remaining chocolate in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

5.  Spread frosting on cake.

6.  Add fruits made from fondant icing (or sprinkles or chocolate buttons or M&Ms or another choice of decoration.

“Mum, that’s your first ever blog post recipe. We must celebrate! Shall I bake a cake?”
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  1. oh looks good and most importantly sounds delicious. Dermot would be there in shot.
    Well done Charlotte for a great Piano result.

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  2. Leanne, you will have to come and visit us, and then the girls can bake a cake to celebrate our very first get-together at our home! God bless.

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  3. Love this, Sue. So true, isn't there just always so much to celebrate?! The cake is beautiful!

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  4. Now that is a invitation....God Bless leanne

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  5. Hi Stephanie, my children always say it's wonderful being Catholic as we have far more feast days etc to celebrate than everyone else. And of course, we have to bake a cake for every celebration! Thank you for stopping by.

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  6. Leanne, I would be delighted if you came to visit. You have an open invitation!

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  7. Thanks for the recipe, Sue. I have never baked a homemade cake and to be honest, I'm a pretty poor baker :) My cookies make good hockey pucks though! You probably don't have that sport down there but that's how hard my cookies come out sometimes. Maybe I'd do better with a cake (lol)!

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  8. Hi Mary,
    Does your daughter like cooking? Perhaps you can make cakes together, and then when she gets good at cooking, she can become your official family cake baker. Do you buy all your celebration cakes?

    I've seen ice hockey on TV. I was explaining what a puck is to one of my girls the other day. The word came up in a book we were reading together. I think it was one of The Penderwicks books which of course, are set in the US. I'm sure your cookies aren't quite that hard!!

    God bless!

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  9. 12 Fondant Fruits...that is just too cool!:) Love it!

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  10. Hi Grace.
    Everyone wanted the slice of cake holding the pineapple as it was the biggest fruit. However, we ended up slicing the fruits into smaller pieces, because they were so sweet. No one could eat a whole one!

    Thank you for stopping by. God bless!

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  11. I'm a Master Chef in the kitchen!

    Sadly, no one agrees except our dog who'll vouch for me any day.

    God bless.

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  12. Hi Victor,

    Perhaps when I come to visit you, on my way to the international bloggers' conference in Edinburgh, I should bring my own cake!

    God bless!

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  13. Hi Sue, I agree with your girls. There is always a good reason to celebrate with a cake! The picture you made looks delightful! (And I do recall it from Sophie's confirmation cake!) How did you make the fruits?

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  14. Hi Noreen,
    We bought a packet of prepared fondant icing from the supermarket. It is white and can be kneaded and moulded. The girls broke off small amounts of the icing, added a few drops of the appropriate food colouring, kneaded it until the colour was evenly distributed, and then moulded it into fruit shapes. A skewer was used to add markings such as the dimples on the strawberries and the holes at the top of the berries. It was good fun, and was simple but effective. Try it next Pentecost!!

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