Monday, September 24, 2012

Jack Skellington Cake

There are some dress up parties that I always wish I am invited to. Lord of the Rings (have I mentioned I'm a huge LOTR fan?), Harry Potter, Dr Seuss, the list goes on and on. Well I finally got invited to one I really wanted to go all out on, a Tim Burton themed 21st!

I am a big Tim Burton fan and an even bigger Nightmare Before Christmas fan! My original thought was "that's it! Me and Mr S are going to be Jack and Sally!" that was before I did some research into how much hiring a costume was. Wowee. Needless to say we went to the party as neither Jack nor Sally. Sad face. I did get to make the birthday girl a wicked cool Jack Skellington cake which I think more than made up for my lack of awesome costume. 

Jack Skellington Cake

I remember in high school most of my friends had seen Nightmare Before Christmas and talked about how scared it made them as kids, me on the other hand, I had never seen it! I decided to get it out on video (yes video, it was a while ago now!) and I fell in love instantly! I loved it so much, in fact, that I played it on repeat while working on my photography project (I failed photography by the way, I'm sure it wasn't because of the movie though). In later years I purchased a copy on DVD but now it has mysteriously disappeared, that's what happens when you go flatting! So while making this cake I was forced to find You Tube soundtrack playlists to get my Nightmare fix. My favourite song is definitely What's This? closely followed is This is Halloween and then Jack's Obsession.

Nightmare Before Christmas Party

Nightmare Before Christmas Party

I'm ashamed to say that I ended up going as Cat Woman for lack of a better costume, I bought a $2 mask and wore all black office attire. Mr S's costume wasn't much better, we put a jacket on him, scissors in his hands and attempted to make "scars" on his face with grey eye shadow all to make a very half-arsed attempt at Edward Scissor Hands. There were some amazing costumes but none stood out as much as my cute and tiny cousin, Kristina's. She was the real Corpse Bride!

Red Velvet Cake

Jack Skellington Cake

I got so overwhelmed by exciting costumes and a couple of glasses of wine I completely forgot to take a photo of the cake once it was cut. I purposely made a red velvet cake with red buttercream filling which was carefully disguised under Jack's white face, just to make it a bit more spooky! My mum also helped out by bringing along some food, little did I know she made little Nightmare Before Christmas cupcakes! If you've ever wondered where I get my baking skills and love for all things decorated cake, it's my mum!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cafe Review: Moustache Milk & Cookie Bar

Last week has been another full on week for me. I had my birthday and two friends who both have birthdays the day after mine (gotta love those New Years babies!) Thank you so much for all your lovely birthday wishes, I had a lovely time on both my birthday and on Friday where I had friends over for some delicious home baked goodies. Can't wait to share the cakes (yes plural cakes) and treats I made! I was also treated to a visit to the much anticipated Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar in the weekend which had only just opened the day before.

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

I heard about Moustache via an NZ Girl newsletter and when I saw the words "milk and cookie bar" my heart skipped a beat! It sounded fantastic and original and oh so delicious! Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed! Moustache was small and quaint, a little crowded (that's a good sign), warm and inviting. I took my time choosing cookies with Mr S and decided on a chocolate flavoured dunking milk which was a very uni-student-friendly $1.50 and ordered our cookies, a Macadamia and White Chocolate and a Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

We managed to get a seat and I snapped away at everything that took my fancy, which incidentally, was everything! I don't even know where to start, the cute colours, the funky innovative milk bottle light fittings, the quirky shelves, the open kitchen where you can see how everything is made or the amazing graphic design work on the logo and window displays! It was all amazing and very refreshing! I introduced myself to Deana who is the brains behind the whole idea and is also the sweetest and nicest cookie loving shop owner! Deana said she was totally surprised at the reaction she had received on the opening morning where (rumour has it) people camped out to get a taste of the first Moustache cookies! I have to say, it would definitely be worth the wait! Not only did they give out free cookies to the first 300 customers but the cookies are divine!

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

I think I was a little safe in my picking (chocolate chip? Hello!) but next time I'm prepared to get a little more adventurous and try out the Marshmallow Oreo or Peanut Butter. I also might "splurge" and buy a coffee, I hear they're also good! If you want to get the latest Moustache Milk and Cookie news head on over to their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. Oh and before you ask, yes I tried to make a moustache with my chocolate milk but Mr S said you couldn't see it *note to self, get normal milk next time to make milk moustache*

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookies Bar

Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar
12 Wellesley Street West
Auckland

Monday, September 10, 2012

Introducing Lydia Bakes!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! It's September 11 once again, which means my birthday and I've decided to take this opportunity to introduce the new and improved blog with an all new name...LYDIA BAKES!

You may have noticed over the months that I've slowly been changing things over to the new name (the domain name is a big hint). I've been wanting to change it to the new name for so long but had to wait for the right moment. As I've just hit 200 likes on Facebook and it's my birthday I figure today is the perfect day!

Hello Kitty Cupcakes

I've thoroughly enjoyed being "Grace Cakes" for the past two years. I have to say, I think I've come a long way from my first blog post. I originally started Grace Cakes as a place to write about my cake decorating endeavours and share recipes and techniques with my friends and family. It's been a good run but the time has come to change my name to something a little more suitable (Grace Cakes sounds like a cake making company!) and change my focus from showing off decorated cakes to getting into the nitty gritty of baking.

Me with a Pecan Pie

Lydia Bakes will be focused on simplifying baking and decorating, sharing the highs and lows I have in the kitchen and a little insight into my life. I hope that you'll enjoy this new adventure with me. I'd love to hear from you if you have any suggestions as to what you'd like to see more of or even if you just want to say hi, comments from you guys are honestly the highlight of my day!

Giveaway Prize

To celebrate the 200 amazing likers on Facebook I've put together a little giveaway. Up for grabs we have an adorable recipe book to write all your favourite (hopefully Lydia Bakes) recipes, signed by yours truly. Also included is a cute cupcake cases set, complete with 24 pink floral cases and 24 assorted fairy princess themed toppers. Lastly I've thrown in some itty bitty cupcake pegs to use however you please. I may just have something exciting to add to the gift pile so keep your eyes peeled! To get yourself in the draw share this post on Facebook then come back here and leave a comment with your name. Winners will be picked at random using the randompicker.com generator and notified on Facebook on the 18th of September. Entries only open to New Zealand residents.

COMPETITION CLOSED!

Congratulations to Linda Knox, I will be in contact shortly.



Good luck with the competition! Remember to add Lydia Bakes on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterst and you can share my blog posts on Facebook, Twitter or email at the bottom of the page, I'm so up with the times now!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lemon Loaf Recipe

Help! I'm drowning in assignments! At first I thought study with no exams would be a breeze, turns out it's not so. It's just assignment after assignment and they're all due around the same time (which happens to be around Mr S's birthday too). I was just answering a Grace Cakes Facebook message which lead me to do some icing research (yes I have my priorities straight) and flicked over to Glorious Treats. Oh my! There are posts upon posts of beautiful fondant flowers and adorable Hawaiian iced cookies which I haven't read! I'm so behind in my favourite blogs to read it's getting ridiculous! I would quite like a break from all this study and just sit down, with some home baked goods (no time to bake either!) and get stuck into my Google Reader to catch up on all my blogs. *sigh* a girl can dream right?

Update: Got my first assignment results back today and you wouldn't believe it! A+ I can't believe how nervous I was before getting the results, now I have to wait for an even harder essays results. Wish me luck!

For the time though, I'm thankful for lemons that I acquire from all kinds of places, my parents, my preschool centre, my supermarket... Lemons make me happy because lemons (in my house) produce lemon syrup loaf with very little effort on my part. So I'm going to get into my happy place and share this amazing recipe which I would honestly say has to be one of my all time favourites.

Lemon Loaf

Lemon Loaf

Lemon Loaf

Lemon Syrup Loaf
Adapted from Chelsea Sugar Recipe Club

Ingredients:
1 3/4 C Flour
1 1/2 t Baking Powder
1 C Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
100g Butter, melted
1/4 t Salt
2 T Lemon Rind
1/2 C Milk

Syrup:
¼ C Lemon Juice
1/4 C Caster Sugar


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease or line a loaf tin.
  • Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on medium speed until just combined.
  • Pour mixture into prepared loaf tin and bake for approx. 45 – 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • While the lovely loaf is baking, mix the lemon juice and caster sugar together to make a syrup.
  • Once loaf is cooked and straight out of the oven, pour syrup over the lemon loaf and let cool in the tin.

  • Lemon Loaf

    Lemon Loaf

    Lemon Loaf

    Recipe notes:
    If you’re feeling lazy or just feel like utilising your food processor, you can combine all the ingredients and whizz until combined. I like to use a little extra lemon juice in my syrup to make it nice and tart! This lemon loaf just gets better with age…a couple of days age that is. Though it doesn’t seem to last much longer than that in my house!

    Lemon Loaf

    Lemon Loaf

    So it's a waiting game on my second assignment which I will get results for on my birthday, of all days (next Tuesday!), lucky me. I definitely think I need some (baking) comfort food in the house for these stressy study times! Any suggestions? What is your favourite comfort food?

    I am submitting this post for October's Sweet NZ hosted by Couscous & Consciousness. Every month one blogger hosts a lovely array of sweet dishes from around New Zealand, it's not a contest just a good way for us to meet new Kiwi food bloggers and see some delicious recipes.