Nailed it. Seriously.

So its a close friends childs first birthday on sunday. Its pretty exciting. And I offered to bake the cake for her.

Today I’m having a pretty busy Saturday. I’m actually writing this BEFORE the day, I find that writing lists of what Im going to do before the day helps me achieve everything in the day – I’ve already committed to it!

Today I want to bake little Joel’s 1st birthday cake, Ice it, make piccalilli and jar it (Christmas pressies!). There. I’ve written it down. Therefore I now just need to make it happen 🙂

First step is to get the cake started, then the piccalilli (veges need to sit for an hour before starting the cooking).

The cake baking part is actually going to be pretty easy. My friend already has a “1” tin, so I don’t need to bake multiple cakes and cut them to form a “1”. I’m going to make a standard banana cake, following my tried and trusted recipe. Then ice it with buttercream. I’m thinking of adding some cream cheese to the icing – its meant to help it solidify after you pipe it. I’m also hoping it will make it slightly less sweet.

Banana cake (this is normal cake sized, I doubled this for my tin)

125g butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups castor sugar

1 ¼ cups mashed overripe bananas (approx 2 large bananas)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100ml buttermilk – sub with milk+lemon juice or vinegar

1 ½ cups SR flour

½ teaspoons bicarbonate soda


Place butter, sugar, banana, eggs and vanilla in a bowl and mix for 2 minutes or until well combined. Add buttermilk and process until combined.

Add the flour and bicarb soda, and stir until combined. Pour the mix into the tin, and shake to settle. Bake for 1 hour at 180 degrees Celsius, then cool in tin for 10 mins before turning out.

Here it is just before the oven!

Buttercream recipe (it better be best ever…)

250g unsalted butter

250g cream cheese

2 ½ teaspoons vanilla

4 to 4 ½ cups icing sugar, levelled and sifted


Beat butter. Then when it has changed colour (pale white), add cream cheese and vanilla. Add 4 cups of sifted icing sugar progressively, mixing well.

So now I have my pale white icing. I’m going to try and copy this cake –

Shouldn’t be too hard right?

The instructions are pretty good. I havent piped before, but I’ve watched a few youtube videos. I have a whole cake to practice on!!

I got my borders done, and started on the dots. They were actually super difficult. Sometimes the icing didnt want to stay on the cake…

Next was the stars in the middle. This was were I started having difficulty with the icing getting too warm in the bag. Its 32degrees here in Sydney right now. Not the greatest cake decorating weather! I got some really nice stars in:

Lastly was the border around the edge. I couldn’t get this like the photo. It just wouldnt work. I just did a line with the star nozzle – it got a bit mushy and doesn’t look great. The “Joel” was with the smaller star nozzle and looked messy as well. I think I should have just used the straight nozzle. But here we are:


Yay! Cake is done. Now for the piccalilli. I haven’t made this before, but it looks tasty and easy to make.

Im following Jamie Olivers recipe from here:


½ large cauliflower , cut into small florets

1 head broccoli , cut into small florets

2 bulbs fennel , cut into small chunks

4 red chillies , seeds still in, finely sliced

2 green chillies , seeds still in, finely sliced

200 g fine green beans , chopped into short lengths

150 g runner beans , cut into short lengths – I didnt have these, just used more green beans!

300 g shallots , cut into eighths. I didnt have these, just used onions

1 red onion , roughly chopped

2 handfuls fine sea salt

2 tablespoons mustard oil – I subbed in some oil and some more mustard powder

2 heaped tablespoons mustard seeds

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons turmeric

1 nutmeg , grated

2 tablespoons English mustard powder

4 tablespoons flour

500 ml white wine vinegar

2 apples , grated

2 mangoes , peeled, stoned and roughly chopped

6 tablespoons sugar

3 cloves garlic , crushed

2 tablespoons dried oregano

4 bay leaves


Put all the vegetables in a bowl, add the salt and enough water to cover. Leave in a cool place for about 1 hour.

Heat a saucepan big enough to hold all the vegetables. Add the mustard oil to the pan, then fry the mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric and nutmeg for a moment. Lower the heat, add the mustard powder, flour and a splash of vinegar. Stir well to make a thick paste. Gradually add the remaining vinegar and 100ml water, stirring all the time to make a smooth paste. Add the apples, mangoes, sugar, garlic, oregano and bay leaves. Cook for 2–3 minutes.

Drain the salted vegetables and add them to the pan, stirring well to coat with the spicy paste. Cook for 10–15 minutes until the vegetables have just softened and started to release some juice. Spoon into sterilized jars (I use the oven method) and close the lids tightly.

As these are going to be Christmas presents, I’m going to make them pretty with little hats and some ribbon:


I got 14 jars of various sizes made. I’ll keep 2 and gift the rest!

Ok and now its bed time. Hopefully little Joelly enjoys his cake tomorrow 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s