wordless wednesdays: birthday cakes

I feel like a proud mother.  You know the kind – they look down at their children and simply beam.

That’s how I feel.

I am beaming.  And it’s because of this:

And this:

Seriously.  So proud.

Don’t you think both cakes look pretty?

Emily and I were asked to make and decorate a  birthday cake for friends of friends (thank you Isabelle for recommending us!).

After some discussions we decided on two cakes – one lemon and one carrot (they couldn’t decide which of the two they prefered – I thought one of each would be perfect!).  And so – out came my lemon cake recipe – my twist on it this time was to include some freshly made lemon curd into the buttercream frosting.  The second cake was my carrot cake – always popular; this time we decided to use raisins instead of the walnuts (no need to worry about allergies), and cover it in cream cheese buttercream … and then cover the sides with some flaked coconut.

Cakes made – buttercreams made – time for some decorating.

That’s where Emily came in.  As always – I showed Emily some ideas I had had and she was able to execute them.  Then when it came time to figure out how we would pipe the lettering, my friend Chloé offered up the idea of tempering chocolate and using that rather than buttercream piping (merci Chloé!!!).

First up – the lemon cake with lemon curd buttercream

Emily then quickly got to work on the carrot cake with cream cheese buttercream and flaked coconut

And that my friends is how we ended up with these cakes.

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dear adam (aka muffin)

Dear Adam,

I just wanted to tell you … you’re awesome.  Really and truly awesome.

So are Oliver and Chris.  You guys make a great team.  And are all … really (like unbelievably) nice.

And your cooking … well you’ve got some skills.  But I already knew that.  I’ve known that since the first time we met – at the Whalesbone on April 23rd 2010 (I have a good memory eh?).

I’m using this blog to gush about you… and your food.  Remember how I promised I would tell everyone about my crush on you?  Well … this blog is that. 

For anyone who is having a hard time following this entry … my friend Adam Vettorel, Head Chef at Domus, was the man behind the Chefs-Night (industry night) at Oz Kafe.  He decided to take all of us on a Tropical Vacation.  I had a very lovely vacation :0)

You might wonder why tropical vacation?  Well – Domus is known for using local, seasonal food – if you import the product it doesn’t find its way onto the table.  Last night at Oz was Adam’s chance to use all those ingredients he would never use at Domus

It was a fun menu – well executed, super bright and colourful,  flavourful … and two of the plates I could probably have eaten several times over and been one very happy girl. 

First up – the soup.

spiced tropical fruit gazpacho / fruit salsa & chili oil

I won’t lie.  The first spoonful wasn’t overly pleasant (I told them that in the kitchen) – so I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to react to the soup.  And then … it clicked.  The spices made sense.  It was bright and really cool – and the finely diced fruit salsa added a nice crunch (I tossed mine into the gazpacho).  It reminded me of a holiday spiced wine … only substitute the wine and toss in a puree of tropic fruit.  I bet it would be tasty with a shot of rum … ;0)

 three citrus & avocado salad / mango puree, pomegranate seeds and mint

After the spiciness of the gazpacho, Adam was more reserved in this one … however the avocados were perfectly ripe – smooth and creamy.  Toss a tart citrus salad into the avocado centre … and your mouth is happy.  Add the bitterness of the pomegranate and that’s a mouth full of flavour.

grilled spot prawn with kiwi relish

I heart this kiwi relish.  My dinner companions (Trish & A.J. – chef / sous-chef @ The Black Cat Bistro and Lidija) all loved the grilled spot prawn (claps for Chris – that was his job).  I got to take pictures while the prawns were being cooked – and holy mother of pearl did they smell amazing.  But I still think the relish was my favourite component – sweet and light.   It was awesome.

“land and sea” / spiced meat patty with papaya catsup / grilled banana leaf halibut with banana chutney

1.  The spiced meat patty.  I would be happy to have that any day.  It tasted like a mini tortiere.  The meat filling was so well seasoned – and with a little kick of heat – I think I could have eaten a dozen of them and still have happily eaten more (actually I begged Oliver to send me home with some extra pattys … no luck).  And the papaya catsup just brought back memories of a katchup maison – sweet and salty.  They were the perfect team.

SIMPLY BRILLIANT.

2.  The grilled banana leaf halibut was good.  But it became really delicious when you ate it with the banana chutney.  Those bananas were super sweet … I truly enjoyed the halibut when I made sure each fork full included some chutney.  I think we’re seeing a trend here:  I am a condiment lover.  But in all of the above cases, Adam did a really great job of building the flavour and texture of each plate by adding the salsa, the relish, the catsup and the chutney.  Adam should jar them and sell them … even if it’s just to me :0)

fruits of passion / coconut macaroon indulging in a passion fruit 4 way (Justin Rogers – Clove Chocolatiers)

This is an instance were reading the menu but not really paying attention to it can get you in trouble.  First … for some reason I expected chocolate on the plate.  Don’t ask me why – nowhere in the description is there a mention of chocolate.  And I watched them plate the desserts and didn’t see them add any chocolate.  But I somehow thought that the base of the dessert was white chocolate.  It wasn’t.  It was coconut.  And so my mind couldn’t process what it was eating … don’t worry.  That only lasted the first bite.  And then it understood.

Oh. My. Goodness.

A-MAZ-ING.

I heart passionfruit so I already figured I’d like this.  But that coconut macaroon base was brilliantly simple and delicious.  Justin … sigh.  So delightful.  That entire plate made me happy.  I LOVED how tart the passionfruit was.  And the silky smoothness of it compared to the flakes of coconut.  Happy happy dessert. 

And so … my crush on Adam grows stronger … it was an absolute pleasure to eat your food and thank you for allowing me access to the kitchen and not minding that I stuck my camera lens in your food.