Archive for May, 2011

Wedding Cake Jars – Vegan

Two of my very dear friends were married to each other on the weekend and I was tasked with making their wedding desserts. I have been friends with the bride for longer than I wish to disclose to you. She’s a vegetarian and over the years I’ve enjoyed making sure she has yummy vegetarian food to eat when I’m entertaining. While she’s always been easy to please (basically give her anything with potato and she’s happy), I decided that for her wedding dessert she probably needed something besides a pile of fried potato (as tasty as that sounds).

Drawing inspiration from some cake in jars I’d stumbled across on the internet and Bakerella this is what I ended up creating for the couple’s reception. (Big thanks to Huy & Seleana Bui for allowing me to use their beautiful photographs from the wedding).

At the back are non-cake, cake pops. There are two fillings – cherry and coconut and also apricot and coconut, coated in dark chocolate or candy coating in the wedding colours.

The rest are vegan cake (vegan cupcakes) in jars made in the wedding theme colours. The flavours are peach iced tea (peach coloured), mojito – lemon, lime, mint (green) and blue lemonade, which of course are the blue ones.

The big jar in the middle is the bride and groom’s vegan wedding cake for “cutting” for photos. That has layers of two flavours, a rose sponge and the peach iced tea flavour with layers of the different frosting as well.

If you are going to do something like this yourself I have a few tips that may help you out.

  1. Get helpers to clean the jars and tie the ribbons. If you use small jars like I did, it’s extremely fiddly and you will be thankful you gave this task to someone else.
  2. I cooked my vegan cake as  cupcakes - partly because I used a cupcake recipe and also because it was faster to cook in the oven. Cake sized would work as well, be careful about the edges getting too brown and hard, unless you like the texture. (My helpers happily ate all the cupcake tops).
  3. I used gel colouring and used it sparingly. I only just touched the tip of a spoon to get colouring then added more as I went. Gel colouring gives brilliant colours and it’s easier to add more later than wonder what to do with bright green cupcakes. (unless that’s what you’re going for).
  4. Using 4cm jars, about 2 to 3 dozen cupcakes filled 30 jars. It’s better to make more than you think you will need and just eat the extras.
  5. Do a trial well in advance. This allows you to experiment with colours. Make sure to document the quantities for the final batch.

I adjusted a recipe from one of my absolute favourite baking cookbooks – Humming Bird Bakery’s Cake Days. Making this recipe vegan was not difficult and I think it surprised everyone that they tasted great and you wouldn’t have noticed whether they were vegan or non-vegan. Yes, vegan foods can taste delicious too.

Notes for non-vegan: just replace the nuttlex with unsalted butter, the rice milk with milk and the egg replacer with egg. Voila!

Peach Iced Tea Vegan Cupcakes

2 sachets of peach iced tea powder
3 tbsp just boiled water
80gm nuttlex
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
200ml rice milk
2 egg equivalent of egg replacer
Food colouring (I use drops of gel colouring) Yellow and Pink Wilton colours for the peach colour.

Vegan Peach Tea Frosting

1 sachet peach iced tea powder
25ml rice milk
500g icing sugar
160g nuttlex
Food colouring (as above)

Preheat oven 190°C.

Dissolve peach iced tea powder with the just boiled water.

Use an electric beater or stand mixer to mix the nuttlex, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on low speed until it becomes a fine breadcrumb texture.

Whisk rice milk, egg replacer, tea and food colouring together.

The ratio of pink to yellow I used is about 2 yellow to 1 pink.

Pour 3/4 of the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on low to combine.

Increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth and thick.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the remaining wet mixture.

Mix on medium until smooth and well mixed.

Bake 18 – 20 minutes until well risen and springy. You can use a skewer to test the centre of a cupcake and make sure it comes out clean.


Dissolve iced tea powder in the rice milk.

Add the food colouring to the tea mixture.

Mix the icing sugar and nuttlex with an electric beater until it reaches a sandy consistency. Be careful not to go past this point.

Gradually pour the tea milk mixture in while mixing on low.

Increase the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy.

Cake Jar Assembly

To construct the cake jars, all you need to do is crumble the cupcakes into a big bowl.

Then gently press bits of cupcake into the jars until you reach the rim or just under the rim.

Once all your jars are filled, pipe the frosting onto the tops of jars as you would do with a normal cupcake.

Serve and enjoy!

Yes that’s me on the right. Frosting is delicious.

I’m at the International Incident Gumbo Party

I have been meaning to participate in more International Incident Parties but keep missing them since the dumpling party. I even prepared something for the salt party and have no idea how I let cakepop party pass me by.

So this month it’s a gumbo party! I am not familiar with gumbos. I’d heard of them, but never had one, yet alone made one. One of our dinner guests said “I just remember gumbo from Disney”, to which I replied “it’s gumbo not dumbo”… but she hadn’t meant the elephant at all.

I adapted my recipe from the Alabama Gumbo recipe I found on Nigella’s website:

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and fast it was to make and also how delicious it was.

So here we go! Feel free to substitute any seafood for what you prefer.

Gumbo with Chorizo, Mussels, Moreton Bay Bug meat and prawns.

  • 2 sweet onions diced (I used what was labelled as spring onions at my grocer, white bulbs with long green tops)
  • 3 eschallots chopped (I really get all my onion family things mixed up, these were the long slender onion things, which I thought were actually spring onions…)
  • 1 medium red capsicum (diced)
  • 1 medium yellow capsicum (diced)
  • 2 stalks of celery (diced)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (crushed and roughly chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 chorizo sausages (sliced) – I would probably add more, maybe double?
  • 500 g prawns (I removed heads, but left shells on, just sliced the back to devein)
  • meat from 2 moreton bay bugs – chopped into chunks
  • 12 mussels – washed, beards removed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (you can adjust this to your taste)
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • dash of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 75g butter
  • 1/2 cup flour



  1. Heat a large cast iron pot/flame proof casserole dish on medium heat.
  2. Add some butter to the pot about half to one tablespoon.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and capsicum to the pot and saute until glistening – ensuring not to burn.
  4. Add the tomatoes and stire until warmed through.
  5. Add the sausag, chicken stock, bay leaves, paprika, chilli flakes, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper.
  6. Stir and allow to come together to a very slow boil. Keep it on a low boil.
  7. Add the worcestershire sauce and stir.
  8. Add the seafood.
  9. Now while the seafood is cooking, start to prepare your roux. That is, add butter and flower to a second saucepan and stir over low heat until it becomes a thick golden brown colour. Turn off the heat of the roux when it has reached a slightly brown colour.
  10. Add some of the stock from the seafood pan to the roux  and mix together to make a gravy.
  11. Add the gravy to the pot of seafood and stir it all together. The gumbo should thicken. You will know the seafood is cooked when the prawns change colour and the mussels open. Be careful not to overcook the seafood.
  12. Serve in bowls with rice or bread. ENJOY!

Head over to Jeroxie’s site to see more gumbo action!