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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!! WOOOO, YEAH! ETC! Making this cake was too much fun, albeit a little rushed as I only had the morning to prepare it. My self-imposed brief was to create a cake based on his favourite desserts: chocolate, pandan (a new discovery thanks to yours truly) and maltesers. Needless to say it was going to be fantastic (idiotic) from the very start.

The look on his face was priceless when I brought it out. And there’s nothing like cutting into what seems like a chocolate cake only to find BRIGHT GREEN.

The pandan cake is my white-girl version, no authentic pandan leaf here unfortunately! I assure you it’s fantastic though and may even be a nice, celebratory cake to bust out for New Years! Just throw some sparklers and gold leaf on there or something. This recipe will make two 9-inch rounds to stack.

Pandan + Chocolate Ganache Birthday Cake

(an original recipe)

Pandan Cake

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

200 g butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 tsp pandan paste


Chocolate Ganache

350 g chocolate, roughly chopped

150 ml cream

Pinch of salt



1x jumbo pack Maltesers

2x Flakes



For the pandan cake

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Beat butter until it begins to cream and pale. Add the sugar and continue to beat until combined and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Add the self-raising flour, butter milk, plain flour, coconut milk and pandan paste once again beating after each addition.

4. Divide between two greased 9-inch cake tins. Rap the pan by dropping it from a small height to knock out any air bubbles.

5. Place in oven and bake for around an hour or until the tops spring back when touched (don’t be alarmed if the cakes crown too much – they can be trimmed back later). Allow to cool for 15 minutes, carefully remove from tins, wrap in plastic and allow to cool completely.


For the chocolate ganache

1. Heat cream in a pan, or in the microwave, until hot. Pour in roughly chopped chocolate and salt and stir until the pieces have completely melted into a smooth, velvety ganache. Allow to cool in the fridge.


For the assembly

1. Once cakes are completely cool trim the tops so they’re nice and even. Place one on your cake stand. Pipe ganache over the top to create an even layer then top with the remaining cake. Pour some ganache over the top (the consistency shouldn’t be too runny or too stiff) and, with an offset spatula, gently encourage it over the sides of the cake. Continue this process until the cake is completely covered using the spatula to smooth around the edges.

2. Whilst the ganache is yet to set, arrange Maltesers around the base of the cake as pictured above (a three-tiered diagonal pattern), or any way you wish. Create a Malteser border around the top of the cake and adorn with broken Flakes and strawberries. Place cake in the fridge to set and once ready to serve bring to room temperature.

I’ve seen so many beautiful photos on other people’s food blog capturing a gorgeous slices of cake – there’ll be none of that here unfortunately as this is what happens when a man cuts and serves cake for everybody.

Hahahahah! Oh well. Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you.

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About a year ago I was transformed into a macaron making machine. Macaron after macaron, request after request, I was churning these mothers out like a, ahhh… like something that prepares a lot of macarons (you can find some evidence in my old kitchen porfolio). Unfortunately this lead to a great macaron meltdown. I had grown so tired of these adorable, French biscuits I began to despise the process and thus began my temporary retirement. It was an epic rage quit inspired by sugar and ground almonds. Months later (last night) however and due to popular demand (a friend) I managed to pull myself out of my rut and make a great macaron comeback.

The first time I ever tasted pandan was in cake form accompanied by a cup of jasmine tea; a seemingly apt combination for a macaron. If you have reservations about opening an entire can of coconut milk for only 2 tbs I completely understand and suggest you use regular milk. However, like salt to lemon, coconut and pandan compliment each other so wonderfully it really is a shame to tear them apart.

Apologies as mine are a little on the thick side; my excuse being I was adjusting to a brand new piping nib… and I’m out of practice.



(an original recipe)

For the shells

1 teabag (or 1 heaped tsp) jasmine tea leaves

100 g almond meal

200 g pure icing sugar

100 g aged eggwhites, room temperature

30 g caster sugar

1 tsp powdered egg whites


For the pandan buttercream

100 g butter, room temperature

2 cups icing sugar mixture

3/4 tsp pandan paste

2 tbs coconut milk

1. Preheat your oven 150°C.

2. Sift pure icing sugar and almond meal and place into a bowl with your jasmine tea leaves and give it a quick stir.

3. Beat eggwhites and eggwhite powder in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar, beating well between each addition, until eggwhites are stiff and glossy. This process should take around 10 minutes.

4. Pour half of your dry ingredients into the bowl of beaten eggwhites and combine with a flat utensil, like a spatula, using “cutting strokes”. Once incorporated repeat with the remaining icing sugar/almong meal/jasmine tea mixture. This is where things begin to get a little tricky as under-mixing or over-mixing will ruin your macarons as they attempt to rise and “grow feet” in the oven. Experts say to stir the mixture until it becomes the consistency of lava. The mixture will be sticky but you’ll know it’s ready when, upon holding your spatula above the bowl, it will begin just begin to flow freely back into the bowl. If it’s too watery then you may have mixed too much!

5. Prepare a piping bag with the appropriate tip (around 1 cm or less), a baking tray with baking paper, and pipe rounds. If there are any small lumps left from your piping tip wet your finger and gently press them down (unlike cake batter, macaron mixture does not flatten out when in the oven! Also, ensure you don’t leave drops of water on your macarons or they will balloon whilst baking). Allow tray to rest for 30 minutes.

6. Place baking tray in the oven and allow to bake for around 15 minutes (this time will depend entirely on your oven, so keep an eye on them). Within 5 minutes or so they will begin to grow feet.

7. Once ready, remove from oven, and after 5-10 minutes transfer to cooling racks.

8. Whilst your shells are cooling place butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat until fluffy. Add pandan paste and beat further. Slowly add coconut milk until the buttercream reaches desired consistency.

9. Prepare another piping bag with a large tip and neatly pipe rounds of buttercream into half of the shells. To close, gently place it’s partner shell on top of the buttercream and twist shut, taking care to prevent buttercream spilling over the edges.

Making macarons is no easy task. This process takes time, patience and most of all PRACTICE. There are too many things that can so wrong so if they haven’t turned out as well you’d like don’t give up! Try, try, try again. It’s a tremendous feeling getting these right. But once you make them…

… they won’t last long.

PS. Have you said hello on Facebook yet?

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