strawberry

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As bloggers we are content creators, we make neat stuff whether it be photos, drawings or pieces of insightful writing to entertain and/or educate the internet masses. If we have a corner of the internet we have a responsibility to represent ourselves in entirety; creatively, emotionally, whatever. We push the boundaries of what we know and enjoy and create new and exciting things to share. In turn we are inspired by what others do. An honest blog is a beautiful outlet of nice sentiments and hard work. Personally, my benchmark of a good post is one that disregards all the trends and basks in the sweet glow of straight up originality (if there even is such a thing).

However.

This weekend something took hold of me. A terrible monster. Like the devil’s grip I was thrown into the shallow abyss of kawaii cake trends. On Friday night I was up at 2am gluing small triangles onto striped twine and you know what? I felt so alive… like I was patting a pack of pugs whilst simultaneously poaching an egg for brunch. I made ombré cakes, I stacked them high and got rustic with a Wilton #125 tip. Pink. Chocolate. Strawberries. Ruffles (kinda). Bunting. Is this how God feels (on one of his more leisurely days)? Can I put a bird on it? These are my dirty kicks. I was possessed by a beautiful twee monster all in the name of creating a nice birthday cake for my friend Julie. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JULIE!

Basically what I’m trying to say is sometimes I cannot resist the warm, comforting yet disgusting lure of a good dessert trend. Ombré + bunting. It’s Etsy crack, it’s twee porn. But it’s ok (sometimes), or at least that’s what I’m trying to convince myself. I did not choose the Etsy life, the Etsy life chose me.

I named this a “Neapolitan Cake” mostly for the wank, however, upon actually tasting the combination of vanilla cake, chocolate ganache/buttercream, strawberry swiss meringue buttercream and slices of fresh strawberries together the cake really did emulate flavours of a straight up ghetto tub of Neapolitan ice cream. So good. One of my favourite cakes to date. In fact, pastry chef Felicia said it best when she confided “I know exactly what’s in this icing yet I can’t stop eating it”.

Because I so often keep it real I don’t have any staged “slicing of the cake” photos, instead I have some unglamorous shots as it was divided between the 12 of us at a restaurant in Glebe. In true (new?) alanabread style I’ve illustrated how to construct this tower of twee (no recipe this time but send me an email if you’d like some assistance on that front). Otherwise just stack it, dirty ice it then slater it (maybe stab it with bunting if you’re ready to embrace twee).

Also (not even an attempt at a suave segue here), I was recently informed alanabread was not only nominated but is a finalist in the Voices of 2013 blog awards! So thank you so, so very much to everyone who nominated me and of course to the judges, I really appreciate the recognition. Congratulations to all my blogging peers also, you can find the list of finalists here. But, I digress (sneaky tear), here are some cake related pixels. Good luck and enjoy!

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No Churn Iced VoVo Ice Cream

Making a no-churn ice cream has been on my to-do list since the dawn of time so I’ve decided to go out on a limb and dedicate this frozen experiment of convenience to some delicious Australiana. Enter: the Iced VoVo. It’s proper grouse. Ace. A real corker. ONYAAAAAA MATES.

No Churn Iced VoVo Ice Cream

The Iced VoVo has been around for over 100 years (for a relatively new country like us I’m sure that’s some sort of historic achievement, right?). Breaking it down it’s basically a buttery biscuit topped with fondant, strawberry jam and coconut – naturally an inviting combination for the base of any ice cream. I never really liked them when I was younger (I had a thing with desiccated coconut) but obviously times and palettes change! This recipe is a bit ridiculous, but lots of fun. Be warned though it’s super creamy and really sweet so give your dentist a heads up before throwing this in your freezer.

No Churn Iced VoVo Ice Cream
 No Churn Iced VoVo Ice Cream
(an original recipe)

1 x 395ml can sweetened condensed milk
600ml thickened cream (around 2 cups)
300g Iced VoVo biscuits (1 1/2 packtes)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold cream into the condensed milk. Crush Iced Vovo biscuits in food processor (or with a large, heavy kitchen utensil) and combine with cream mixture along with the coconut.
3. Place jam in a small heat proof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Mash with fork to remove lumps (discard any large chunks of strawberry that do not budge). Drizzle over ice cream and gently swirl through. Freeze for a few hours, ideally overnight.

For those who don’t have access to these across the other side of the world I ask you, is there any sort of vague equivalent? Do tell!

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Berry Infused Vodka

Still riding the high of my recent LET’S-MAKE-EVERYTHING-FROM-SCRATCH! revelation I decided it was time for a little home alchemy thanks to a friend who, in exchange for my photographic services, presented me with a rather large bottle of vodka. Lovely.

Berry Infused Vodka

Berry Infused Vodka

After trawling the internet regarding the best methods of home infusion I shrugged and tumbled everything into a tub for steeping; I’m talking strawberries, blueberries, lemon rind, sugar syrup, a cinnamon stick and the most potent vanilla bean I have ever had the pleasure of using to create this DIY berry infused vodka.

Berry Infused Vodka

The only difficult step to this process is waiting. I kept this tub in a dark place for three weeks after which time it looked a little something like this; the vodka had completely stripped the berries of their colour and little vanilla bits were floating everywhere. Straining this concoction was incredibly ugly (NOTE: no matter how tempted you are, do not eat the berries; your brain will melt out of your ears if you do).

Berry Infused VodkaBerry Infused Vodka

After further cheesecloth straining I funnelled my wonderful liquor into glass bottles. The result? The most intensely delicious vanilla. Vibrant red and fragrant berry flavours. This was one of those times a pilot experiment has lead to immeasurable happiness!

Berry Infused Vodka

Now, what to do with such a special brew? Keep it simple; one shot over ice, lemonade, freshly sliced strawberries to garnish. This drink is girly as all heck but is so absolutely special I’m convinced the boys will be more than willing to drink this over, and over again. Welcome to vodka with style!

Berry Infused Vodka

EDIT: my brother, my dad and my boyfriend love this so yes, it is a blaring manly success!

 

 

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