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baking, children, cooking, dessert, fabric, sew

hungry caterpillar party

July 10, 2012

I don’t know how anyone ever planned a party without Pinterest.  I spent hours searching on Pinterest for the perfect ingredients to host a toddler Hungry Caterpillar party for B’s 2nd birthday.  And I’m so grateful for others’ creativity that I was able to copy!

The cake was what I was most concerned about.  I wanted to copy this great example but I never used ready-roll icing like this before so I was very nervous.  Luckily I discovered just how forgiving it is and after a few minutes I even started enjoying making it!!  I used Martha Stewart’s Blueberry-Lemon Bundt Cake recipe which was sooooo delicious and moist!

For the dress, I found on ebay a beautiful Monsoon white dress with butterflies embroidered on the top (how fitting!) so I decided to add a ruffle of Hungry Caterpillar fabric. (I wasn’t about to pay the Etsy prices for a Hungry Caterpillar dress!)

I had never made a ruffle before but found it very simple thanks to some online instructions (probably should have ironed it).  

And here she is, ready for the party in her new dress!  

Thanks to more Pinterest inspiration I went all out on the theme and had fun “pimping up the house” caterpillar style.

Of course all of the food from the book had to be present which made for a beautiful table arrangement (and a lot of baking!).  

I was amazed with how many Hungry Caterpillar themed items you can find online.  I love these cake wrappers and toppers (I think I bought on Amazon).  

And these personalized water labels are adorable (Etsy– lots of options, very reasonably priced!). 

Here is my little hungry caterpillar, starting on plums, just minutes before her first party guest arrived.  Happy birthday, my beautiful butterfly!!
baking, children, cooking, create, fabric, sew

two little bakers

May 31, 2012

For my beautiful little American/Mexican nieces, I made two tiny aprons for their first birthday.  My sister-in-law is an amazing cook and baker so I know these little ladies will be creating in the kitchen very soon as well.

I used one of my favorite pink vintage finds (I think from a sheet) and also a new yellow vintage find (again from a bedsheet).  The contrasting two fabrics for the pockets were both taken from leftover fabric from the girls’ birthday bunting I made (“Me And My Sister” fabrics– how fitting!).  I adapted a template from 101 Great Ways To Sew a Metre.

Here is Valentina trying on her pink apron.

And Chloe sampling hers.  I was thrilled to give them to the little ladies in person!

baking, cooking, create, dessert

banana nut muffins

August 2, 2011

These are delicious understated little beauties! I needed a quick sweet to take to a friend’s for late morning tea and I saw three very ripe bananas in the fruit bowl. I adapted a couple of recipes and ended up with a delicious macadamia nut banana muffin and then (because it’s a lovely summer day) I decided to decorate them in a fresh lemon icing.

Because not everyone wants American-style frosting all over their muffins at 11am, only half are covered this much with the tangy topping.

The recipes are so (!) simple and very adaptable and it makes a quick dozen treats. The muffins alone are wonderful without the icing, but they are extra special with the icing!

Banana Nut Muffins

(makes 12)

200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
150g caster sugar
1 egg
75g butter, melted
handful of macadamia nuts, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Place 12 paper baking cases in a muffin tin.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt; set aside.
3. Combine mashed bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter in a large bowl. Add nuts. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth.
4. Spoon evenly into baking cases in muffin tin.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly tapped.

Lemon Icing (taken from in good taste)

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest, strips, or more to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine icing ingredients in a medium bowl; beat with an electric mixer until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Ice cooled muffins; cover and refrigerate any uneaten muffins.

baking, cooking, create, dessert

carrot whoopies

July 17, 2011

These whoopies are so fun and child friendly (although maybe skip out the filling). They are like cakes but in the form of cookies and this filling is a perfect match! This was my first whoopie experience and it definitely won’t be my last.

Carrot Whoopie Cakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (2-3 carrots)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Finally, add the grated carrots, beating to distribute evenly.

Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Using a small cookie scoop (mine measures about 1 1/2 inches across – you’ll need to adjust the baking time accordingly if yours is larger), portion the batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake (one sheet at a time) for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies spring back when gently pressed. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes then remove the cookies to the wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with all of the dough, alternating baking sheets.

Makes about 20 sandwiches

Cream Cheese Filling (from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl in between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract. With mixer on medium, beat for another minute or so, until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Match the cookies in pairs by size. Transfer the filling to a piping bag and pipe a small amount onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Sandwich the cookies together, and press the filling to the edges.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

(taken from
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

baking, create, dessert

poker cupcakes

July 11, 2011
I’m really trying to improve my baking skills, so any chance to make and decorate desserts I’ll happily give it a go! I decided Simon’s poker night was a good reason (cooking for hungry men is always more rewarding than cooking for dieting gals) to make cupcakes. Not exactly “manly” but Simon agreed to it (even with cutesy playing card decorating!) as long as I didn’t use my cupcake stand. The cake stand was acceptable, but not the cupcake stand (it’s tiered and paisley).

I decided they needed chocolate. I used this recipe: Libbie’s chocolate cupcakes.

The first batch were a bit gooey, which I’m a big fan of, but not everyone is so I cooked the second batch longer. They were delicious and very moist.

Then I made a mess. I think the butter was too cold so the powdered sugar didn’t blend in quickly. I had covered (!!) the kitchen in a sugar coat. I was still in my work clothes as well so my suit skirt was caked in it too (why didn’t I wear an apron?).

I used a vanilla butter cream recipe for the frosting (recipe here) which I had successfully used the week before for banana muffins, but I wasn’t that impressed this time.

At the end I decided to soften the manly cupcakes and piped on pretty frosting and then made little playing card marshmellow tops (suprised Simon let me get away with these!). Using red and black frosting I attempted to draw hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades.

They got good reviews… but they were only sampled after six pints of Stella/Fosters/Carling.

baking, children, cooking

color party cake

June 27, 2011

For Bailey’s first birthday we had a color party. After a quick Google search I was thrilled to find a perfect cake idea.

I made a basic sponge cake recipe, as I was going for looks not taste. Then divided the mixture into six separate dishes to add food coloring gel (apparently it’s important to use gels and not usual food coloring drops).

I then nervously made circles of the color in two 7″ dishes with the opposite rainbow order in one of them.

The end result was exactly as I hoped! The one with purple in the center was much prettier than the opposite order, so that was going to be the top. And it was obvious I shouldn’t ice the cake because it would cover up the beautiful colors!

I then stuffed it full of whipped cream and fresh raspberries and blueberries. I really loved the cake and it was perfect for the color party!
baking, cookies, cooking, dessert

cranberry, macadamia, chocolate oatmeal cookies

July 28, 2010

These cookies are by far the best I’ve ever made and I doubt I will ever make better ones. The recipe is my own (thanks to the supermarket not having the required ingredients and I had to improvise!).


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (about 145 g)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped up dark chocolate bar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped macadamia nuts (toast them in oven for 20 min or so)
  • 1 sleeping baby to allow you to make the recipe


Position racks in center and top third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Mix in egg and extract. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in oats, then chocolate chips, cranberries and nuts.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies 12 minutes. Switch and rotate baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden, about 6 minutes longer. Cool cookies on baking sheets (cookies will firm as they cool). (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)


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