Spiced pumpkin and turkey (happy Thanksgiving!)

Spiced pumpkin chai cupcakes and chocolate turkeys

I love having an excuse to bake something new! Thanksgiving (even though we don't celebrate this in Australia) was a chance to try out something a little bit different. The pumpkin chai cupcakes were a big hit - some people liked them so much that they cam back for seconds and thirds!
thanksgiving cupcakes

Making the cakes:

These cupcakes were inspired by this recipe from food52, I ended up using:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 120g butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 500 g pumpkin pie mix
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
This made heaps of batter, enough for about 30 medium cupcakes.

pie mix from an American store
heaps of batter
the pumpkin cupcakes cooling

Decorating - Chai frosting:

I basically followed the frosting recipe and instructions from the food52 recipe. For the chai syrup I used used brown sugar instead of white. I used a plain round tip to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, and added a piece of candy corn to finish.

chai syrup ingredients

sugar starting to dissolve 

finished syrup cooling
frosting ready to be combined

chai cream cheese frosting
frosted cupcakes
pumpkin chai cupcakes with candy corn decoration

Decorating - Chocolate turkeys:

These super cute turkeys are from a blog I follow called Whipped (http://whippedbaking.com). They are made with candy corn, white chocolate bits with black fondant for eyes and chocolate sprinkles. I used chocolate cream cheese frosting.

white chocolate bits for the eyes
dark chocolate fondant for the heads, black vanilla fondant on white chocolate bits for the eyes with candy corn beaks
turkey cupcake

Baby shower treats (Rebecca is having a boy!)

Baby shower cupcakes, scones and chocolate strawberries

For my dear friend Rebecca's baby shower we prepared a dessert table and a lolly station. While the items were tasty, they couldn't compete with the jungle themed cake by Rebecca's sister and mother!

Baby shower dessert station


I made 24 cupcakes (12 vanilla and 12 chocolate) using my usual recipes. I did a batch of chocolate butter cream and a batch of vanilla butter cream (adding a few drops of blue food colouring to some of the vanilla batch) for the frosting. I purchased an assortment of baby shower themed cupcake toppers from ebay (http://www.ebay.com.au/usr/toppers_cakes_pops). These were so simple to make, and the cake toppers make them look almost professional!

Baby shower cupcakes


I used a recipe from Taste.com.au (http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/24492/scones) that I have had success with previously. Each scone was cut in half, smeared with a delicious strawberry jam. I then whipped some cream and piped a small dollop on top of the jam.

Scones with jam and cream

Chocolate strawberries

These were very simple to make. I washed the strawberries and let them dry. Meanwhile I melted some white chocolate buttons and added a few drops of blue food colouring. Each strawberry is dipped on the chocolate and then left to set on baking paper coated with some spray oil (to stop them sticking). These are best kept in the fridge until they are served.

Blue chocolate strawberries

Lolly table

I know - this isn't really baking, but I think the lolly table we put together was pretty and worth sharing. It was dead simple, all you need are an assortment of lollies, some glass jars, vases etc and some different coloured ribbons and serving spoons/tongs. Party guests each filled a small bag to take home as a thank you for coming to the shower.

Baby shower lolly station

Hard core cupcakes! (bHash dessert)

Whiskey cupcakes (adults only) & chocolate peanut butter cupcakes (for kids and non-drinkers).

My friends were the bHash hosts this week (bHash is a weekly gathering of mountain bikers… mostly an excuse to share a beer mid-week!). I offered to supply dessert.

Whisky cupcakes:

This was my third time making these cupcakes, see my previous posts for recipe details. I used a combination of single malt whiskey (for a proper whiskey flavour) and a dash of honey bourbon for sweetness (ditto for the frosting). These cakes went down really well. Unfortunately the weather (very humid) and lack of facilities (this week was held in the Humpty Doo Pine Forest) meant that the honey bourbon syrup didn't make it, but the cakes were sweet enough without it.

Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes:

I love peanut butter and I love chocolate so I couldn't wait to try making these cupcakes as the non-alcoholic dessert option for bHash. I used my usual chocolate cupcake recipe for the bases but added some of this delicious Reese's Peanut Butter Topping to the batter:

Reese's Peanut Butter Topping

For the frosting I made a classic butter cream frosting, adding about two tablespoons of the peanut butter topping.

I piped the frosting onto the cakes using a plain round nozzle, adding a chocolate covered peanut as a finishing touch.

chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

All up I made 24 cupcakes. There we no leftovers.

Mountain bikers eating cupcakes - hard core!

Princess cupcakes (happy birthday Zoe!)

Chocolate cupcakes with pink butter cream frosting and sugar paste princess crowns and butterflies

We were invited to dinner at a friend's house a few days before her daughter's 4th birthday. For dessert I wanted to make something her litttle girl would like.

Cake and frosting:

I used my usual chocolate cupcake recipe and found this delicious butter cream frosting recipe. This is the first time I have used salt in my butter cream and it really enhanced the flavour. To make the pink I added just a few drops of natural pink food colouring.


I am still very much a beginner when it comes to fondants/sugar pastes. I used a pink pre-made paste. After softening the past by kneading it in my hands, I rolled it out (as evenly as possible).

To make the crowns I cut the rolled out paste into a long thin strip and used the edge of a star shaped cookie cutter to make the crown tips. I then rolled the strip onto a a small round (made from kitchen foil) to help hold the shape. I also added rainbow coloured soft sugar pearls to the tip of each crown point.After hardening in the fridge I removed the foil.

To make the butterflies I used a small and a large butterfly cookie cutter to cut the butterfly shapes out of the rolled paste. Using a thick folded piece of cardboard (covered in kitchen foil to stop the paste from sticking) I then placed the butterflies in the centre of the fold (so the wings are held up in shape). After hardening in the fridge I removed the cardboard and brushed a little edible glitter onto the wings. I drew the butterfly bodies on using chocolate writing icing.

For the large cupcakes (even though I used princess themed cupcake cases) I added a princess crown cupcake wrap for extra effect. The mini cupcakes are just in a pink case. I piped pink butter cream frosting onto each cake and added crowns/butterflies as required. I used pink and blue cachous and some pink butterfly sprinkles to finish them off.

Vanilla cream cakes (Happy birthday Liz, Ben and Alister!)

Vanilla cupcakes with whipped cream frosting

I wanted something simple, tasty and easy to transport to the combined birthday dinner for three friends. These cupcakes were quick to make and tasty without being too sweet, perfect for grown ups!

Making the cakes and frosting:

I used my usual vanilla cupcake recipe. I wanted to use whipped cream for the frosting, but was worried about it holding its shape so I used this recipe (with a little less sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract) which added gelatine to stabilise the cream. It worked perfectly, the cakes held their shape easily.


Keeping with the simple theme I piped a small amount of the stabilised whipped cream on all the cakes. I then decorated half of the cakes with these cute 'happy birthday' chocolates I found at Woolworth's:

The other half of the cakes are decorated with a slice of fresh strawberry.

Chocolate strawberry overload (happy (belated) birthday Tessa)

Chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting and a mound of strawberries!

I have been wanting to try this cake out since I saw Lorraine Pascal make on TV. Making a delicious birthday cake for my sister seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go.

Making the cake and frosting:

My mum assisted by making the cake base ahead of time (as I was arriving on an afternoon flight). She followed Lorraine's 'I can't believe you made that' cake recipe and it worked out perfectly!

Moist chocolate cake

Cut into two layers

I made the chocolate frosting from the same recipe.

Butter and sugar

creamed butter and sugar

added melted chocolate


For decoration we decided on heaps of fresh strawberries for the top, Arnott's Choc Fun Sticks for the sides and a final dusting of icing sugar.

Frosting was added between the layers as well and all around the top and sides

used these to decorate the edge of the cake

add strawberries (fresh, halved)

Final product, dusted with icing sugar.