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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).


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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This post is dedicated to the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. Shout outs to my Australian pals!

Hopefully for those living in the great sunny land down-under this image should stir nostalgic delight within each and every one of you.

Perhaps I should explain for my international friends. This book was held precious to many families in the 90s with its simple instructions and how-tos for creating adorable cakes. It’s so popular that a commemorative Vintage Collector’s Edition was released in Februrary this year. It’s so popular it has a number of Facebook fan groups and fan pages. It’s so popular this book has barely aged; it’s incredible to see how many people continue refer to this gem of a book for fun cake ideas. It’s simply amazing.

Amongst its pages of how-tos for the Teddy Bear cake, Train cake, Piano cake and Butterfly cakes lies the most infamous cake of all – The Swimming Pool cake. It was every kid’s dream cake when I was younger, and why wouldn’t it be? Delicious cake slathered in buttercream and jelly (or jell-o for my American pals) covered in lollies and candy. It was a dream come true. I might go as far as to call this an Australian Icon.

Thankfully, however,  the culinary world has evolved from using algae-green jelly and nailpolish as decorating components.

My version is a little different from the recipe listed (I didn’t use “1 packet butter cake mix”, for example) so here’s my step-by-step guide to creating this iconic Australian cake. It’s best started a day in advance to prepare the cake, and more importantly the blue jelly. I hope you have lots of lollies ready in your pantry!

Swimming Pool Cake

(Alana’s Illustrated Guide)

1. BUY LOLLIES AND CANDY. Blue jelly, desiccated coconut, Teevee snacks (or long chocolate covered biscuits), jelly babies, gummy bears, snakes, kool mints and cocktail umbrellas. GO NUTS!

2. Prepare blue jelly according to packet instructions. Place in fridge and allow to set completely.

3. Prepare a 9-inch round cake. I used my standard vanilla cake recipe and added a chocolate swirl by adding a little cocoa in some of the remaining mixture. Once baked (180°C for around 50 minutes), wrap in plastic so it doesn’t dry out and place in the fridge until your jelly is ready.

4. Remove cake from fridge. With a sharp knife trim the cake to remove the dome that has probably formed in the baking process to create a nice, flat surface.

5. With the sharp knife, cut around the top in a circle to represent the wall of the swimming pool. Hollow out the centre if the cake to form a recess for the jelly.

6. Prepare chocolate buttercream by beating 125g butter, 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 50g melted chocolate and a tablespoon of cocoa. Spread around the cake covering the edges and around the wall of the recess.

7. Prepare green coconut “grass” by combing desiccated coconut with a few drops of green food colouring. Gently place or spoon around the rim of the cake ensuring not to spill any on the sides (a little overflow is fine though as they will be covered by the biscuits). I know it’s looking a little silly now but just bare with me, it will be worth it, I promise!

8. Create the fence of the pool by arranging the Teevee snacks (or biscuits sticks) around the edge of the cake. Be sure to leave a 1 1/2 inch gap to make room for the ladder.

9. Construct the ladder out of must sticks and thin candy strips, I used thin sour laces. Use a little of the buttercream to attach the pieces and lean against the cake.

10. Remove your set jelly from the fridge and mash with a fork to represent water. Carefully spoon into the crevice of your cake, ensuring you don’t spill any onto the coconut grass (once it sticks, it stays!).

11. It’s time for the decoration! Adorn your cake with cocktail umbrellas, jelly babies, gummy bears, kool mints for balls or anything else you like. I had my brother make create some lounging jelly babies floating in pool toys constructed from snakes. Place them in and around the pool edges!

Note: you may have a LOT of sweet treats leftover if you bought as much as I did.

It’s a sight to behold, isn’t it? It’s just so adorable taking a knife to is seems almost blasphemous…


Oh well. Good night, sweet prince.

You were everything I ever dreamed of and more as a 5 year old.

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Macaron Cupcakes. MACARON. CUPCAKES. Why aren’t these a “thing” on the internet yet? A dessert garnished with another dessert; genius (if I do say so myself)! I first made a dozen of these a few months ago for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, an annual event to raise both awareness and funds for The Cancer Council. My vague instructions were to “make cupcakes, or macarons, or I don’t know, SOMETHING” so I took it in my stride to combine the two aforementioned goods to create the absolute ~CUTEST~ cupcake known to man. They were a hit! And of course the inspiration behind the alanabread logo.

So when my friend Bayden of Packwood recently asked if I could bring something along to the accompanying bakesale at Folkraiser @ Hibernian House this weekend there was only one adorable cake on my mind.

If you’re already experienced in macaron and cupcake baking then this should be an absolute breeze, albeit a little time consuming. The great thing about this combination is that you can mix up the flavours as freely as you’d like and, with the addition of some lovely pastel colours, they’ll always look fantastic. They basically advertise themselves! And who wouldn’t want a delicious cupcake with a macaron top-hat?!

This recipe will make 12 macaron cupcakes with some extra macarons to spare.



(an original recipe)

Macaron Shells

100g egg whites, room temperature

100g almond meal

200g pure icing sugar

30g caster sugar

1 tsp powdered egg whites

Powdered food colouring of your choice


Salted Callebaut Ganache

140g Callebaut chocolate, chopped (I used half milk, half dark)

80ml pouring cream

sea salt, to taste


Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

100g butter, room temperature

1 cup caster sugar

1 vanilla bean

3/4 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup +2 tbs plain flour

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk


Cream Cheese Icing

250g cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups icing sugar mixture

Food colouring of your choice



Mini cachous


For the salted Callebaut macarons

1. Preheat your oven 150°C.

2. Sift pure icing sugar and almond meal and place into a bowl 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 5-10 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 and almond meal 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. You’ll need to knock a lot of the air out of it.

5. Prepare a piping bag with the appropriate tip (around 1 cm or less), a baking tray with baking paper, and pipe small rounds (they must be small enough to balance on the cupcakes!). If there are any small lumps left from piping wet your finger and gently press them down (unlike cake batter, macaron mixture does not flatten out when in the oven). 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 minutes transfer to cooling racks.

8. Whilst your shells are cooling place your cream in the microwave for 30 seconds or until relatively hot. Pour your chopped Callebaut into the bowl and stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is combined. Add sea salt, to taste, until you chocolate flavour begins to “pop” (this took me a few turns of my salt mill). Place bowl into the refrigerator to cool and thicken.

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

For the vanilla bean cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Beat butter until it begins to cream and pale. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the butter, add the sugar and continue to beat until combined and fluffy. You should be able to see the flecks of vanilla bean.

3. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Add the self-raising flour, milk, then plain flour once again beating after each addition.

4. Spoon into a prepared cupcake tin with liners, filling each to around two thirds full. Rap the pan by dropping it from a small height to knock out any air bubbles.

5. Place in oven and bake for aound 15-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. While these are cooling, prepare your cream cheese icing by beating the cream cheese with icing sugar and food colouring until combined and creamy.


For the assembly

1. With a piping bag with a large tip attached carefully pipe cream cheese icing over cupcakes. Carefully take macarons and place at an angle on each cupcake ensuring their placed firmly enough that they won’t slip off. Sprinkle with mini cachous and place cupcakes in the fridge for the icing to firm up to ensure the macarons will stay put.


All packed up and ready to go!

If you’d like to hear more of Packwood’s tunes you can check out the Facebook page here, also the alanabread facebook page is here too. Here’s a fan-video from our friend Zohara from a show a couple of months ago (you can hear me playing piano at 5:30!):

Lessons learnt the past few days: 1) orchestral folk music is cool, 2) being a baker/musician for a night is a total dream come true, and 3) there is something strangely satisfying about baking your own logo.

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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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