A birthday cake (and some food)

I still remember the first time I baked a birthday cake – it was about 4 years ago in my tiny little kitchen, where I impulsively decided to bake a simple chocolate cake for my flatmate. Being completely clueless about cake decorating, I just used halved strawberries along the sides of the cake, and was happy when it looked reasonably presentable. Fast forward to 4 years later, when I start planning what cake to make at least a week in advance, and inevitably ending up with too many ideas.

I went through the very same process during R’s birthday, and didn’t actually manage to decide which cake I would make until I was shopping for the ingredients. Shocking, I know. Anyway, I finally decided on Tartelette’s chocolate, mango and coconut cream cake. The vibrant colours just looked so beautiful, and I knew R would like the tropical theme of the cake.

(Edit: Just a note to say that all this took place more than a month ago, I just didn’t get around to posting till now. :P)

As you can see, I didn’t do terribly well with the cake as I am completely incompetent when it comes to splitting cakes into half. I have much to learn! πŸ˜› Alternatively, I may just bake each layer in a seperate tray instead of trying to split an already thin cake into half… Despite the rather “uneven” look, the cake was delicious. The sponge layers were the best sponge cakes I’ve ever baked, and I think I’ll be using Helen’s recipe from now on. I did find that the mango mousse was not “mango-ey” enough for me, but this may have been because I used canned mangoes instead of fresh.

I topped the cake with some raspberries, lemon swirls, and dried mango slices (only thought of the mango once I sliced it up, which is why it’s not in the photo above).

And of course, it wasn’t just about the cake – there had to be some food as well…

A very simple proscuitto wrapped tomato/buffalo mozzarella salad, topped with fresh basil leaves and a dash of olive oil. This was inspired by a recipe in Donna Hay magazine (as always!), and was wonderfully delicious. I chose this primarily because it was very simple, and because I knew I would be spending a long time on the cake. Definitely something I will make again in the future.

Beer bacon wrapped beef fillet with a mushroom sauce, served with cheesy semolina. This was also a Donna Hay recipe. I was originally slightly disappointed as my sauce was not as dark as it appeared to be in the photos that accompanied this recipe – but as it still tasted amazingly good, I just had to be content with less attractive photos.

In the end, we were so stuffed from all the food that we couldn’t even eat the cake. That’s saying something as I always have room for dessert. R just blew out the candles, and we had to wait till the next day to eat the cake.

The recipe of the chocolate mango and coconut cream cake can be found here.

Beer bacon wrapped beef fillet with mushroom sauce
Adapted from a recipe in Donna Hay magazine, issue 40

  • 2 rashers bacon
  • 3/4 cup dark ale
  • 2 x 200g beef fillet steaks
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 150g chestnut/white mushrooms
  • 150g oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 2 slices of cheese (I used raclette)

1. Place the bacon rashers in a bowl, and pour the ale over it. Leave to marinade for at least 1 hour.
2. Remove bacon rashers from the bowl, and reserve the ale. Wrap a bacon rasher around each beef fillet steak.
3. Heat oven to 180Β°C. In the meantime, brush the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Cook the steaks in a hot ban for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they brown. Place the browned steaks in a baking tray and cook for 8-10 minutes (I like my beef to be medium-rare). Set aside and keep warm.
5. Heat some oil in a pan, and fry the mushrooms until they are browned (should take 1-2 minutes). Add the beef stock and reserved ale, and cook for 2 minutes. If you want to make the sauce thicker, either add some cornflour to the mixture, or cook until it reduces.
6. Place the steaks on a plate, top with the raclette cheese, and spoon over the mushroom sauce.

Note: I also served this with some cheesy semolina. This was simply semolina cooked with milk and some soft cheese.

26 thoughts on “A birthday cake (and some food)”

    1. Lol. Remember what I said about me having a huge backlog of posts? This cake was from the end of November…. πŸ˜›

    1. Thanks Helen. Definitely good practice, and I can’t wait to experiment with more of your cake recipes. πŸ™‚

  1. That’s a beautiful cake and your table setting looks wonderful. Hope he enjoyed his birthday meal and hope you are feeling better from flu. We had a great afternoon at Royal China Club today and it’s a pity you couldn’t make it but hope to see you next time.

    1. Thanks, and yup he did enjoy both the cake and the meal. Am feeling better (though not all that ready to face Monday just yet), thanks for asking! x

  2. wow! That cake look fantastic and what a beautiful dinner presentation! Oh well, guess I’ll make a romantic dinner for hub when little one is away on vacation with my PIL.

    pss…if u didn’t tell us it was uneven, I wouldn’t even noticed it. πŸ™‚ I have never tried slicing the cake into half for fear of destroying it. At least you are braver than me. πŸ™‚

    1. Aww thanks Pam. Slicing cakes is a tricky thing – will have to try over and over until I finally get it right! πŸ˜›

      I quite like planning nice dinners, my friends all think I’m really strange!

    1. Hehe I do that all the time as well – it’s one of the things I love most about frosting a cake. Hides all imperfections! πŸ˜‰

      And thank you.

  3. next time u gotta invite me round. your food looks DIVINE and that cake is gorge. very pretty πŸ™‚ not to worry about the layers. i think they’re lovely as they are and expresses your care and love very well! x

    1. You’re welcome at my place anytime! πŸ™‚

      Glad you like the cake – I still can’t believe how much longer I spent on the cake as compared to the actual food, lol.

  4. Don’t be too harsh on yourself, gal! It’s already good enough for me!

    And whoa! You made everything for the dinner! You rock!! Keep inspiring us!

    1. Thanks for the sweet comment! Much appreciated. πŸ™‚

      I think I just have a verrry bad habit of wanting everything to look perfect, hehe.

  5. Too many ideas is the bigest problem ..we are quite the same..I never know what m going to make until Ive made it !! lol…beautiful cake btw….perfect layers!! :))

    1. I know – I’m exactly the same when it comes to ordering food, I tend to just narrow it down to a few meals and choose only when the waiter/waitress comes to take my order. πŸ˜›

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