What is the favourite book in our house at the moment? The Great New Zealand Birthday Cake Book! Come bedtime we have had arguments every night over who gets to read it first. We have hundreds of little bits of paper stuck in pages marking their favourites. It may be worn out before their next birthdays actually come around! This awesome book is partly a family creation, and we are all about family here. Cake designer Jazmine Nixon worked with her mother-in-law and project editor Wendy Nixon to create 80 fabulous cakes. The delicious recipes for the cakes are by Dean Brettschneider. When I wrote about our ‘Daddy bakes the Cakes’ I had joked that Dean Brettschneider had some competition! Perhaps we inspired Dean to take on kid’s birthday cakes!
What do we love so much about this gorgeous book? Of course our main reason has to be because it is ‘New Zealand’s’ Great Birthday Cake Book. So many cakes making reference to our wonderful homeland and things that are special for kiwi kids. The ingredients can all be sourced easily, the lollies and decorations don’t need to be hunted for in every supermarket. All from New Zealand with good old Pams, New Zealand’s oldest and most trusted grocery brand’ being recommended for ingredients.
I asked the kids to choose two favourite cakes each. Getting them down to just two took a lot of discussion but here they are. Big brother could be your typical six year old kiwi boy who has recently gone all sport’s mad. Big brother chose two ‘sporty’ themed cakes. The stencils provided on the patterns in the back of the book would make creating the rugby jersey easy. Roll out your fondant icing and pop your baking paper stencil on top. I think we may be heading for a rugby themed birthday party for Big Brother next year.
Rosebud knew one of her favourites straight away – Mermaid Rock. She loved the coral reef made from crushed lollipops. All the cakes in the book were named by children in Room 10 at Churchill Park School. They must have loved doing this and we love the names they came up with, especially for Rosa’s other favourite using a little alliteration… Mysterious Monarch and Little Fella’s top pick… Dirty Digger.
My gorgeous Little Fella had a bit of trouble understanding the concept of choosing just two favourites. Every page we turned he shouted, ‘mine’. We managed to help him choose these two with the Dirty Digger being a firm favourite. I think Daddy Cake Baker will love putting this one together come April next year… if it holds its status as Little Fella’s favourite. The ‘My Buddy’ cake is another great choice for my animal loving Little Fella. Jazmine Nixon has used a variety of techniques to decorate the 80 birthday cakes and describes each step in detail. This My Buddy cake uses a ‘grass tip’ (wilton 233) piping tip to create the furry dog. So cute! At the front of the book Jazmine describes, with photos, many piping techniques, fondant tips and other icing know how.
I haven’t shown you my favourites and I feel for asking the kids to pick just two. Jazmine has included some cakes which will get you lots of mileage out of the book for your tween and teen girls. She has a trendy ‘naked’ cake and a ‘messy’ cake. A fabulous ‘meringue cake’ and a ‘marbled effect cake’. I can’t pick my two so I will have to choose all four. Shhh don’t tell the kids.
We couldn’t tell you how fabulous this birthday cake book is without trying the recipes so into the kitchen we went. Big brother wanted us to create one of the cakes from the book however mummy didn’t agree with this enthusiastic idea. While Big Brother was at school we went for making some chocolate cupcakes instead. The great thing about the layout of the recipes is you can choose from three sizes of cake tins or cupcakes. Each recipe is broken down into ingredients quantities, tin sizes and cooking times. I don’t have scales so I had to convert some of the ingredients into cups but I noted it in pencil ready for next time we bake from this book. Rosebud and Little Fella wore their aprons and hats from Rosebud’s Confetti Decorating.
The cupcakes turned out perfect even with two little helpers. They were a lovely rich chocolate which would cut well when making fancy birthday cake shapes. Daddy Cake Baker described them as ‘denser than a normal chocolate cake but not as much as a mud cake.’ When we mixed the batter with the hand beater it became so velvety and smooth… I knew we were on to a winner. The kids of course loved them and now we just need to wait and see which cake will actually get picked when their birthdays come around. The book comes with a bookmark for kids to pop by their chosen cake. Cute idea! I just need two more bookmarks!