Epic four-tiered launch cake

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I’ve been a little off my blogging game over the last couple of months. I put it down to having to juggle writing a thesis with other projects – “other projects” like making a giant fish piñata and cake for the launch of new comedy e-book anthology The Sturgeon General at 107 Projects. Of course I’ve also just been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls and going to Gatsby themed parties at The Victoria Room.

IMG_9648 IMG_9641 But back to the cake, because that’s what we’re all here for. A couple of weeks ago now I went through the process of baking and freezing four tiers of cake in three different flavours, so that on launch day I could ice together a layered monstrosity that had launch guests boggling at its height (not so much girth, it was pretty much regular cake-girth). IMG_9651 The frosting was this one here. Which is a highly unusual recipe using flour and sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar. It is amazing! But, of course I forgot that I no longer have any kind of electronic help in the whisking department and my icing turned out a lot less fluffy and white than I dreamed. It was tasty, and held together the cake component competently, but if you are going to make it try to remember to own some kind of electric mixy thing. Sometimes I am just so fucking hopeless at life/cooking/not being hungover when there are things to get done. Speaking of: the night was sponsored by Raidis Estate, who make pretty darn-tootin’ tasty wines. I’ll have to get my hands on some more for future cooking adventures. IMG_9330 The whole thing was pretty simple in the end – despite having to bake three cakes. I made a rose tea flavoured cake first up, using a cup of cooled rose tea for liquid. Then I whipped up an orange, almond and ginger cake, using almond meal, orange juice + zest and ground ginger; and finally I made a double batch of vanilla cake. IMG_9307 The decorations were also made by hand. While I was painting the sturgeon piñata I also painted both sides of a sheet of paper in the same orange. I then cut out little fish from the paper and glued them to the end of skewers using a square of the same paper as backing. After icing I arranged them with some silver cachous on top of the cake and VIOLA! You have my permission to pronounce this VIE-OH-LAH in your head (or aloud) IMG_9633 Anyway, the launch was super fun: the readers were all fucking hilarious and entertaining (which is so, so rare at any reading), the warm-up act was a blast, the piñata (eventually) got beaten to bits and most of the stupidly large cake was devoured. Good effort kids. You can buy the Sturgeon General on e-reader here. There are five collections from five authors who are all funny assholes deserving of your time. IMG_9509

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Rose tea cake:
1 cup butter
2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
2 ¾ cups plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup rose flavoured black tea, steeped and cooled
1 tsp vanilla essence

Orange almond cake:
1 cup butter
2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
2 cups plain flour
¾ cup almond meal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup orange juice
zest 1 orange
2 tsp ground ginger

Vanilla cake (double if you want four tiers):
1 cup butter
2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
2 ¾ cups plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla essence

Directions (same for all):
Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one by one. Gradually add dry ingredients. Finally stir in wet ingredients. Bake at 160 degrees until cake is brown on top and doesn’t wiggle on top/ bounces back when touched. Depending on the cake/your oven this could take between 45min to 2 hours – more if you’re doing a double batch.

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Orange and Pomegranate Hommus

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Hey, look, another magic post from magic land, where I’m not anywhere near my laptop and posts keep coming at you the way mosquitos inexplicably fly towards your head when you’re asleep. And, look, another colourful foodstuff, because I can’t seem to stay away from brightly coloured things.

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This hommus recipe is based roughly on the ingredients list of Paradise Beach orange and pomegranate hummus, which is so so delicious, but so so hard to come by. Also, expensive. Actually, if you live anywhere in Sydney it’s not that hard to get hold of (they sell it at Harris Farm), but otherwise you might have to get yourself a hommus mule. Or – and here’s the genius thing – you can make your own! This one isn’t exactly the same as its packaged cousin, but it’s just as complex and addictive as the original, with the added bonus of being really, really yellow.
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Ingredients:

800g chickpeas
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 whole large red chilli (or chilli to taste)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp red onion
zest 1 orange

Directions:

Add chickpeas, garlic, onion, chilli, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice to food processor and pulse until combined. Add remaining ingredients and pulse again. When all ingredients are well combined taste test and add more of any ingredient you think it might need. Serve with flatbread or crackers.

(I, of course, have no affiliation with Harris Farm or their delicious dip suppliers Paradise Beach.)