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Once upon a cake

June 3, 2012 · 26 comments

You remind me of the babe
What babe?
The babe with the power
What power?
The power of voodoo
Who do?
You do!
Do what?
Remind me of the babe!

You know who’s a total babe? My friend Kate. She is also the most impressive fancy dresser I know, proven by her win of best costume at my 30th (she was a TV, with actual turnable knobs! Turnable knobs!!), so it was no surprise when her 30th birthday celebrations also required trawling eBay and Good Sammy’s stores to whip up a costume to suit her “once upon a time” theme.

The birthday girl decided to take us all back to that magical time when hair was big and codpieces were even bigger, and came as David Bowie’s Goblin King Jareth from Labyrinth. It was a killer costume, complete with super creepy baby Toby, but missing one minor detail – his crystal ball.

What kind of magic spell to use?
Slime and snails? Or puppy dog tails?
Thunder or lightning?
Then baby said…..

The rest of the table is covered in bowls of cut offcuts.

In true fairytale style, there was a real moment of peril in the creation of this edible crystal ball, when my stand mixer decided to make an alarming burny smell and stop mixing. In the middle of making Swiss meringue buttercream. For the uninitiated, Swiss meringue buttercream is not something you want to make by hand, unless you have Fezzik to help you, so all seemed lost until a desperate call to my friend Caroline confirmed her lovely shiny red KitchenAid could save the day. Hurrah! I really should return it to her today, but… we’ve really bonded over the buttercream mixing.. it’s made friends with my kettle and toaster… and yet, I know that if you truly love something you must set it free, so I will distract the kettle and toaster with some tea and muffins and whisk ol’ Red back from whence he came. As whiskily as I can be with something that weighs as much as a small child. A small, shiny, red, magical child. Sigh…

I digress.

Kate’s party was fantastic, cruising the Swan River surrounded by princesses and an ogre and Luck Dragon and wizard even a sneaky puss, wearing boots of all things! The Swan River is a pretty friendly place, with everyone waving or cheersing each other as you pass other boats, and we even copped a flash by one girl who wasn’t read enough fairytales when she was a little girl.

When cake o’clock arrived, the Goblin King was appeased with her crystal ball and we were saved from having to complete his labyrinth. Phew! I was dreading the Bog of Eternal Stench, despite rigorous training for it’s horrors throughout my childhood.

 and…….boom! Rainbow!


I wish I could bottle people’s facial expressions when a surprise rainbow cake is revealed, for those moments when I’m feeling a bit down.


Getting back to a bit of caketalk, Swiss meringue buttercream is now my go-to icing. It’s super fluffy, very stable, and is deliciously buttery without that tooth-aching sweetness you can get in most normal buttercreams. It takes a fair bit more work than a regular buttercream, given that you need to pasteurize egg whites prior to whipping them, but it’s well worth the effort. The pasteurisation step, which is not included in some other forms of meringue buttercream, also means that it’s perfectly safe for pregnant ladies to eat. I have found Sweetapolita’s posts on SMB really useful, which you can find here and here.

The fondant I used for this cake was a ready-to-roll white chocolate icing, and then I covered it in golden edible dust to get a shimmery crystal effect and also cover myself and my kitchen in magic.

And, I could hardly write this post without sharing our costumes with you. The Princess Bride was such a part of my childhood, joining the Round the Twist and The Storyteller shows as staples in the school-term-is-almost-over-let’s-just-show-the-kids-stuff-on-TV repertoire. On those enormous TVs on wheels. After briefly toying with the idea of dressing as Hansel and Gretel, mainly to get Fletch into lederhosen, we decided that Buttercup and Westley would allow us more warm clothing, and the lost lederhosen lols were more than made up for by my blondeness and Fletch’s gallant moustache growing.

Buttercup’s beer consumption was kept on the down-low in the film.

Happy birthday lovely Kate, it was a pleasure to share it with you and I hope I haven’t given you the diabetes gift that keeps on giving with all the leftover cake xxx

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate June 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I can personally testify that it was amazing – the unveiling and the eating. Conor is a genius!!!!


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

And freezes/defrosts quite well, yes? ;)


Annette @ Wellness WA June 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm


What a fun party, and I love that little girls open-mouthed expression in the first pic, so cyoot!

I also hope this signals your return to the blogging world.

Annette @ Wellness WA´s last blog post ..Beauty Product Review: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks and Chocolatey Skin!


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

A very leisurely return, apparently. Mojo is a little AWOL…glad yours continues strong!


OohLookBel June 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Amazingly awesome cake!
Great to have you back, too.
OohLookBel´s last blog post ..Non-vintage Lamb Curry and WIN a Slow Cooker


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Thank you!


Steph June 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

That is freakin amazing!!!! That party looks like so much fun and your cake is so brilliant for it! How great is SMB, I love how reliable it is!
Steph´s last blog post ..Macaron & Cupcake Bouquet to say…


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I can’t believe I didn’t know about SMB until last year, what a chump!


Gary June 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

FABULOUS! Certainly not “nothing, nothing tra-la-la.”
Gary´s last blog post ..tartiflette


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Tee hee, thanks Gary :)


Chompchomp June 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm

One of my favourite movies! Used to have a copy of the soundtrack and played it TO DEATH! Great memories. That cake is incredible btw, very talented.
Chompchomp´s last blog post ..Volcanic Stone Grill and Cafe


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Such as awesome soundtrack. You know what also has an awesome soundtrack? Young Einstein. I couldn’t tell you how many times I listened to that on my walkman on long drives when I was little. I wonder if I can make a guitar cake…


CM June 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Conor you’re back!! Woohoo!!!!
I’ve missed your writing – so happy to find an update when I randomly thought to look tonight!
CM xxx


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Thanks CM :) Will try and do so more regularly! I guess I have no excuses now..?


Agnes June 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

That is AWESOME.

(Also, I totally love Labyrinth. Eeeee.)
Agnes´s last blog post ..Dognation


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I suspect that I couldn’t trust anyone who didn’t totally love it… I’m glad you pass the test :D


Hannah June 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

“A few more steps and we’ll be safe in the fire swamp.”
“Bu Wesley! We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense! You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”

Love. So I love your costume best. Also…. oh dear holy bucket, I cannot even comprehend how anyone could make that cake. You are amazing beyond amazing.


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

If only Buttercup weren’t so bloody useless in the fire swamp, they would never have been in danger at all! Squealing doesn’t help, geez.


Lianne June 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm

omgness! That cake is AMAZING! Love the colours! Something magical about rainbow colours (: love your blog btw!
Lianne´s last blog post ..New Found Gem : Kang Na Roo Korean Restaurant


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Thanks Lianne! You’re totally right, it’s hard not to love anything rainbowy…it’s a wonder there are still any homophobes around these days :)


Trish July 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I just had to come out of lurkdom to say that cake looks amazing!! The layers are perfect, I’m impressed!
Love me a good theme party, looks like you all had a blast


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Glad to have you out of the shadows Trish :)


Food lover August 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I wonder how much work the cake layering was – absolutely amazing!!


Conor September 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Thank you! Quite a lot of work, if I’m to be perfectly honest. These things always seem to take around twice as long as I suspect they will, especially when you have to leave yourself time to get costumed up!


Christian Rene Friborg November 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

One of the cutest birthday cakes I’ve seen! Care to share the recipe? :)


Conor November 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Thank you! I used the same basic recipe that I use for all my rainbow cakes, which is this one:
and I think (from memory) that I did up two batches of it to split over the 6 colours, baking each colour separately. The recipe makes a LOT of mixture, so doing it twice for the 6 colours meant I had decently sized layers to play with and level off nicely before sandwiching with the SMB. I also used gel colours. Let me know if you have any other questions, sorry this post wasn’t much of a recipe one!


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