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Milo Ice Blocks

We love ice blocks! These are actually the first lot of ice blocks I’ve given the boys. They are nearly 18 months, so I thought it was about time, especially given the heatwave Sydney has had this week! And they looooved them!
I used Décor Likety Sips Ice Block moulds ( 
http://www.decor.com.au/product/lickety-sips/), however you can use any type, any brand, but these measurements fill the 4 x iceblock moulds EXACTLY!
If you use other ice block moulds, make the ice blocks as per the following recipe and if it needs a bit more filling, top up with more milk.

 

Pour into moulds
Freeze overnight
Freeze overnight
Serve dipped in extra Milo (optional)
Milo Ice Blocks
Messy boys!
Milo coma!

Milo Ice Blocks

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 grams milk (any type - I use A2 Full Cream)
  • 75 grams Milo

Instructions

1

Method (Thermomix)

2

Add all ingredients into bowl. Mix 40 seconds/50 degrees/Speed 4.

3

Pour into ice block moulds and freeze overnight.

4

Method (Stovetop)

5

Add all ingredients into a small pot. Stir with a whisk/spatula until Milo and milk have mixed together into a chocolate milk.

6

Pour into ice block moulds and freeze overnight.

Baby Food/ Breakfast/ Kids in the Kitchen/ Main Meal/ Non Thermomix/ Snacks/ Thermomix/ Twins

Finger Food Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

Here are my ‘tried and tested’ list of finger foods for my boys!
When Ethan and Harley started to want to eat themselves, I did a lot of online and book research for finger food ideas. My boys are HUGE for their age, and looove their food. They are not fussy (…most of the time) and have no food intolerances which makes it really easy for me to prepare their meals! My rule is to have the most colourful ‘tasting’ plate of foods so the boys experience a variety of different foods, textures, smells and flavours. I’ve read that a colourful plate of food is a nutritious one! So I make sure I cover lots of food colours in the meals the boys eat (except for when we are out and using the pram!). I’ve also read that the more variety of foods you give a baby when they are young, the less fussy they will be when they grow older (this isn’t tried and tested yet, so *fingers crossed*)!
 
Thermotwinning’s Finger Food Ideas for Babies and Toddlers
Koala sandwich with Mayvers Super Spread on a bed of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, babybel cheese, steamed broccoli and carrot, strawberries (quartered), hard boiled egg, and pizza pockets 
The boys with their ‘pram friendly’ finger foods (i.e. nothing juicy or coloured like vegemite, tomatoes, berries, watermelon etc)
Dinosaur sandwich with cream cheese on a bed of baby spinach, cheese and crackers, dried apricots, freeze dried apple, and whole orange and poppyseed muffin with almond and chia seeds 
Another ‘pram friendly’ lunch box
Cheese and bacon rolls, sweet eating cucumber, tasty cheese, mini fruit balls, pear and crackers
BREAKFAST:

Pancakes/waffles – these are some that I make that freezes and reheats well:
– Pumpkin Pancakes (The boys fave!!)
– Sweet Potato Waffles 
– Berry Coconut Flour Pancakes 

Wholemeal sandwich, toast or Cruskits with the following spreads:
– Baby purees including fruit purees (instead of jam)
– Vegemite
– Mayvers Super Spread (can be found with the peanut butter section/organics section)
– Cream cheese
– Avocado
– Mashed banana
– Jam

Raisin Toast (there is a wholemeal version available) – freezes and reheats well

Scrambled eggs – in a bowl, add egg(s) (about 1 per child) + a splash of milk + a small handful of grated tasty cheese – microwave 1 minute on high, stir, then microwave 30 seconds at a time stirring in between until cooked. Leave to cool for a few minutes – the tasty cheese gives it some flavour and also helps the egg firm up so it is easier to grip (my husband’s trick! he makes it for the boys on the days I’m at work) – goes well with vegemite on toast!

Sultana Bran Buds (link here) or similar type bite sized cereals (soaked in some milk to soften)

***With a spoon:

MAIN MEALS:

Wholemeal sandwich, toast or Cruskits with the following spreads:
– Baby purees including fruit purees (instead of jam) and savoury ‘main meal’ ones
– Vegemite
– Cream cheese
– Mayvers Super Spread (can be found with the peanut butter section/organics section)
– ‘The Laughing Cow’ cheese triangles – squished and spread 
– Cream cheese mixed with sardines (super nutritious but best left to eat at home as it‘s a bit on the nose!) my boys love this!
– Vegemite and sliced tasty cheese
– Avocado
– Mashed banana
– Jam 

Wholemeal Toast Cheesy Melts – I use one or some of these toppings and top it with a piece of sliced tasty cheese and pop it in the air fryer or grill for 5 minutes/180 degrees
– Tinned tuna
– Ham
– Scrambled eggs
– Tomatoes
– Tinned red salmon
– Avocado
– Bolognese sauce
– Gourmet sausages cut up into small pieces
– Roast/poached chicken (shredded)
– Leftover meat diced into small pieces

Pizza Pockets (link here– freezes and reheats well

Pasta – any type, I usually use elbow pasta, macaroni or small sea shells as they are easy to pick up – freezes and reheats well. I generally use a cheesy white sauce base, vegetable puree, or tomato based sauce for the pasta sauce with the following fillings:
– Tinned red salmon
– Fresh salmon (de-skinned and de-boned)
– White fish like Ling or Barramundi (de-skinned and de-boned)
– Bacon/ham
– Chicken Thigh Fillets (they have more nutrients than breast fillets)
– Pork, chicken or Beef mince
– Peas
– Broccoli
– Sweet Potato
– Pumpkin
– Carrots
– Zucchini
– Frozen Veg i.e. peas and carrot
– Or cooked pasta with grated cheese melted on top (easy and not messy if you’re out!)

Some of the boys’ fave pasta recipes:

Meatballs – Any combo of chicken/pork/beef mince + hidden blitzed up veggies – freezes and reheats well

 
Salmon Patties – I use a recipe from the Thermomix Cooking for your Baby and Toddler book – however this is a great Salmon Rissole recipe – freezes and reheats well
 
Risotto or Pasta Muffin Cups – With any risotto or pasta recipe, just place in muffin tins and top with tasty or cheddar cheese, and bake for about 20 minutes/180 degrees until cheese is melted and golden. Skinnymixer’s Risotto Frittata is a great recipe – freezes and reheats well

Hot Dog Buns (Chinese Sausage Rolls) (link here) – freezes and defrosts well

Sushi – This is great for older babies if you’re out and need to takeaway something for them. My boys love the mini ones and make sure you don’t get the raw fillings, so I usually get avocado, tuna, cucumber, or egg ones. The sushi rice is really sticky so I find it really easy to clean up after them! You can make Sushi yourself – this is a great recipe – Thermobexta’s Egg and Avocado Sushi
 
Thermomumma’s Garlic, Cheese and Spinach Naan (link here) – freezes and reheats well
 
***With a spoon/fork:
VEGETABLES:

Sweet eating cucumbers (halved or quartered lengthwise) – these are mini cucumbers you can get at green grocers, Coles/Woolies and Aldi – usually in the refrigerated vegetable section with the lettuce

Cherry/grape tomatoes (halved lengthwise) – the boys fave are the Gold Sweet Eating Grape tomatoes (they are orange in colour) these are the ones from Coles, they are sweeter than normal Cherry tomatoes which can sometimes be quite tarte

Steamed carrots and green beans (cut in half, then quartered lengthwise) – Fill bowl with water just above the blades, place carrots into steaming basket (I usually make about 2 carrots and a handful of beans then place in fridge to use as needed), then steam 16 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1

Steamed Broccoli Trees – Fill bowl with water just above the blades, place carrots into steaming basket (I usually cut 1 lot of broccoli then place in fridge to use as needed), then steam 12 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1

Steamed Zucchini – Fill bowl with water just above the blades, place carrots into steaming basket (I usually cut 2 lots of zucchini then place in fridge to use as needed), then steam 9 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1

Sweet potato (roasted/air fried/steamed)

Pumpkin (roasted/air fried/steamed)

Potato (roasted/air fried/steamed)

Lettuce/spinach leaves (any type though I steer clear of the bitter ones like rocket)

Cooked peas – Fresh, frozen or dehydrated

Capsicum (Cut into sticks)

FRUIT:

Apples (quartered, cored, then each quarter cut into 3 wedges) I leave the skin on as it has a lot of vitamins/nutrition in it, or else there are ‘kid’s lunchbox’ apples which are smaller which my boys love to use their teeth and bite into!

Pears (quartered, cored, then each quarter cut into 3 wedges) I leave the skin on as above

Seedless Watermelon
(cut into small pieces (one of the boys faves but I leave it for home as it is so messy!)


Blueberries

Strawberries
 (halved or quartered)

Grapes (halved lengthwise)

Bananas

White or Yellow Peaches

White or Yellow Nectarines

Mango

Kiwifruit

SNACKS/DESSERT:

BLISS BALLS:
(Fridge or freezer)

SLICES/BARS/BROWNIES:

(Freezes and defrosts well)

 

MUFFINS/CUPCAKES:
(Freezes and defrosts well)
 

COOKIES/BISCUITS:
(Freezes and defrosts well)

 

BREAD/CAKE:
(Freezes and defrosts well)

 

SWEETS:
(Keeps in fridge for a few weeks)

 

SAVOURY:


Hard Boiled Eggs – Fill bowl with water just above the blades, place eggs into steaming basket – cook 15 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1
Tasty or cheddar cheese – pre-sliced/cut into thin pieces
Cheese sticks (these are softer, I would wait to introduce it around 10 months as I found the boys would squish it in their hands and smoosh it everywhere before it got to their mouths)

Babybel Cheese

Deli meats – ham, turkey, Skinnymixers Lunchbox Chicken Loaf

Shredded chicken (poached, roasted)

Crackers – Jatz, Ritz etc

Arnott’s Shredded Wheatmeal biscuits

Fruit straps (100% dehydrated fruit) I have made them like the Strawberry Chips but they have a really short shelf life when homemade (when the boys are older and eat more it’ll better!) but my recent fave are Annie’s Fruit Straps as they are great to leave in the baby bag
Mini Fruit Balls (link here) – can be frozen and defrosted

Cruskits – These are a great alternative to the ‘baby section’ rice crackers which are sooooo $$$$$$ which I use for snacks when we go out

Dried apricots
 
Dried apples

Sultanas 

Tinned pineapple pieces

Freeze dried fruit (I buy mine from Costco, Bellamy’s Organic also have some)

Veggie Straws (I also buy these from Costco but you can get them from the heath food section)
Skinnymixer’s Cheesy Pumpkin Puffs (link here) – freezes and reheats well

***With a spoon:
DRINKS:
Getting into their pizza pockets!
Wholemeal toast cheesy melt with Bolognese sauce #nomnomnom
 
 
Christmas/ Craft/ Non Thermomix/ Thermomix/ Twins

Advent Calendar for 1 year olds

After years of searching, I’ve finally found a wooden Advent Calendar that I am in love with!!! I got this beauty from Target!
As the boys are still young for little toys like yoyos, lollies/chocolates, activities like Christmas light watching (the boys are in bed before it’s dark!), this is my 25 days of Christmas advent Calendar activities suitable for 15 month old toddlers (and the family)!!
1. Take photos with Santa
2. Start wearing Christmas Pyjamas
3. Finger paint Christmas cards/wrapping paper
4. Read Christmas stories
5. Feed the birds some bird seed
6. Make salt dough hand print Christmas ornaments
7. Sing and dance to Christmas carols
8. Take Christmas themed photos at home
9. Make homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows (their first taste of hot chocolate!) https://thermobexta.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/thermobextas-heartwarming-hot-chocolate/
10. Check out Christmas displays at a shopping centre
11. Stocking game – place toys in Christmas stockings and get them to pull them out one by one to play with
12. Have a picnic in the backyard with Christmas themed food
13. Go the beach and make sandcastles
14. Make little canvas paintings for presents – use painters tape, and tape a shape/initial on a canvas, and finger print on top – when dry, peel off the painters tape!
15. Play with bubbles
16. Make easy ‘snow globes’ for presents
17. Make Christmas shapes out of red and green playdough
18. Feed the fish some bread
19. Run in the sprinklers in the garden
20. Play with Christmas stickers
22. Play with red and green balloons
25. Take family photos in front of the tree and open presents!!
I cut out little cards to write the activities on to put inside the Advent Calendar boxes – Christmas shapes – I placed 3 colours of paper together and cut them together once to save time!
Write the No.’s 1 to 25 onto the shapes
Write down the activities (see my list above)
Place them in the corresponding box
Advent Calendar all ready to go for December!!
Baby Food/ Breakfast/ Non Thermomix/ Thermomix/ Twins

Sweet Potato Waffles

With sick babies who only want to feed themselves, I wanted to make them something relatively nutritious for their breakfast today.
Sweet Potato Waffles
I thought I would sneak in some sweet potato into some waffles, since the sweet potato works so well in the Sweet Potato Caramel Mudcake making it really moist (http://thermotwinning.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/sweet-potato-mud-cake.html)!
If you don’t have a waffle maker, you could use this batter for pancakes (they are pretty much the same type of batter).
SWEET POTATO WAFFLES (THERMOMIX)
Ingredients:
260 grams sweet potato (cut into 1 inch pieces)
40 grams water
30 grams butter
165 grams milk
190 grams plain flour
1 egg
30 grams brown sugar
15 grams desiccated coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Method:
1. Preheat waffle maker (or frying pan if you don’t have a waffle maker).
2. Add sweet potato to bowl and chop 5 seconds/Speed 7. Scrape down.
Sweet Potato
3. Add water and cook 3 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1.
Sweet Potato Chopped + Water
4. Add butter and blend 10 seconds/Speed 7. Scrape down.
 Cooked Sweet Potato + Butter
5. Add milk, flour, egg, sugar, desiccated coconut, baking powder and cinnamon and mix 10 seconds/Speed 4.
Sweet Potato Waffle Batter
5. Spoon into greased waffle maker (or frying pan) and cook according to the waffle maker instructions (or if in frying pan cook and flip until both sides a browned).
Grease preheated waffle maker and spoon in batter
Sweet Potato Waffles!
Sweet Potato Waffles – serve with or without maple syrup
 
Yum!!
Craft/ Kids in the Kitchen/ Thermomix/ Twins

Playdough

Both of the boys have been sick and it’s the first time one of them has been put on antibiotics (Harley 🙁 ) so thought I would treat them to their first playdough experience!
First time playing with Playdough!
There are many playdough recipes around, but this one caught my eye, since it was titled as ‘the best’ Thermomix playdough recipe by Fat Mum Slim, so I just had to try it!
For the non-Thermomixers, she has also put a link to a non cook/non Thermomix recipe too!
The recipe pretty much cooks up the mixture, cooking/dissolving a salt, water and cream of tartar mixture:
 Dissolved/heated salt, water and cream of tartar
Then you mix in some plain flour:
Added flour
And then mix in some oil. I chose coconut oil as I just looove the smell!
 Added Coconut Oil
I then added 1 teaspoon of liquid blue food colouring and kneaded it in the Thermomix as I wanted minimal ‘hands on’ effort especially with the food colouring – 3 minutes/kneading function.
Added 1 tsp of blue food colour
After 3 minutes/kneading function
I then used a spatula, and kneaded it with a handful of plain flour into small shaped balls for the boys to play with…and ‘tested’ it for them too 🙂
Playdough!
‘Testing’ it first
🙂
As they are still quite little, and eat everything they’re not supposed to, they did try to eat bits of it, but luckily it’s non toxic and all the ingredients are things that they have eaten in their ‘proper food’.
To avoid this, I pressed in cookie cutters for them to take off and press in – they are great at dismantling Duplo blocks/wooden blocks, so it is a different ‘sensory play’ for them to do it with playdough!
It felt amazing, silky and smooth and feels so nice coming out nice and warm from the Thermomix. I haven’t played with playdough for over 2 decades, but this will definitely be my ‘go to’ playdough recipe in the years to come as I cannot fault it in any way!
Yay for playdough!
Getting serious with it!
Dessert/ Healthy/ Non Thermomix/ Snacks/ Thermomix/ Twins

V8 Jelly with Diced Strawberries

 V8 Jelly with diced strawberries
The boys got to taste all sorts of sugary goodness at their 1st birthday party, with Ethan taking a particular liking for jelly! The jelly was blue at the party and he ended up with really bright fluoro green poop the day after that (sorry TMI!!!)!! So obviously that wasn’t very good for him!! I thought I would make the boys a healthier jelly (also for the adults). I love making Nushi’s Jelly Joobies and how it uses V8 Juice (http://thermotwinning.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/healthy-snackspetite-fours.html), so I thought I would use that concept and make it into a jelly with similar ‘wobbliness’ as Aeroplane jelly.
I used diced strawberries as they are in season and really cheap at the moment, but you could use any fruit (however not pineapple, kiwifruit or paw paw as the gelatine will not set).
I used the V8 Forest Fruits flavour with this lot of V8 Jelly, I’m looking forward to try the other flavours!!
Thermomix recipe is in RED, and scroll down for the Non-Thermomix recipe in BLUE.
 
V8 JELLY WITH DICED STRAWBERRIES
 
Ingredients:
 
1 x bottle V8 Juice (approx. 1270g)
30g gelatine powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
45 grams agave syrup
5 strawberries
 
Method (Thermomix):
 
1. Add all the above ingredients – 5 minutes/60 degrees/Speed 2.
2. Whilst cooking, wash and dry strawberries (excess water may affect the gelatine), and dice into small pieces.
Wash and dry strawberries
Dice the strawberries
3. Add diced strawberries into 8 small cups.
Distribute diced strawberries into 8 small cups
4. Once finished, pour mixture into cups over the strawberries. I poured it into a measuring jug first as I find the Thermomix jug a bit big to pour into small cups. Place in fridge to set for at least 3 hours.
Decant jelly liquid into a small measuring jug
Place in fridge to set
V8 JELLY WITH DICED STRAWBERRIES
 
Ingredients:
 
1 x bottle V8 Juice (approx. 1270g)
30g gelatine powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
45 grams agave syrup
5 strawberries
Method (Non-Thermomix):
 
1. Add all the above ingredients into a medium sized pot, on low heat.
2. Continuously stir with a whisk until gelatine  has melted (dip your finger in and rub together – if it has a gritty feel it still needs more melting).
2. Wash and dry strawberries (excess water may affect the gelatin), and dice into small pieces.
Wash and dry strawberries
Dice the strawberries
3. Add diced strawberries into 8 small cups.
Distribute diced strawberries into 8 small cups
4. Once finished, pour mixture into cups over the strawberries. Pour it into a small measuring jug to pour into the small cups. Place in fridge to set for at least 3 hours.
 Place in fridge to set
 
The jelly turned out amazing and the sweetness was perfect for me. The boys loved it and shared a cup of jelly for their morning tea today. This is a refreshing and healthy snack or dessert perfect for the whole family!!
Spoonful of V8 Jelly with diced strawberries
Ethan and Harley enjoying their jelly!
Cake/ Twins

‘Sail Away’ Cakes – Ethan and Harley’s First Birthday

Ethan and Harley’s ‘main’ birthday cakes, which I call, their ‘Sail Away’ cakes.
Sail Away Cakes
I didn’t really have a clear vision of what I wanted it to look like from the start, I just knew I wanted to have blue coloured torched meringue (to look like the sea) and I wanted it to go with the nautical theme. I actually just thought it would end up like a blue version of my 30th cake, but wanted it to be more appropriate for the occasion.
When I searched for ideas for nautical themed cakes, it ended up with a whole lot of fondant (which I hate) and cakes cut and shaped to be pirate ships (which I didn’t want to make x 2 of!!
I started off with making the cakes so that each cake would have 2 layers of Magic Bean Cake and 2 layers of Sweet Potato Caramel Mudcake. When I assembled it, it was HEAPS higher than I thought, but I made the cakes so I didn’t want to waste them lol! I had a whole bunch of ideas, like icing it an ombre blue and matching with the smash cakes but ended up trying to keep it simple with a lighter tone of blue for the buttercream base, and darker shade of blue for the white chocolate ganache.
2 days before the party…
I made the boats for to top the cakes. I was really determined to make the boats out of chocolate, but wasn’t sure if it would be too brittle/look terrible so had brown coloured fondant as back up (though all the fondant boats I looked at looked very bulky/heavy looking and I wanted it to have a crisper/lighter feel…and I hate fondant…so I’m glad I didn’t have to do that!).
I was an expert at folding boats after making heaps of paper boat food labels so I thought I would fold boats out of baking paper to use as a mould for the chocolate. I made 2 and stood them up in apples (I saw them on the bench in my fruit bowl and thought they would be great stands/weights for the wooden skewers lol!).
Making Chocolate Boats
I melted dark brown candy melts in a ziplock bag (20-30 second intervals and squishing it around in between until all melted). Then cut the tip off the ziplock bag and piped it onto the boat shaped baking paper to set. I didn’t end up checking them until the morning of the party, in hindsight I should have made a few back ups just in case it didn’t work or they broke in the process, but they ended up PERFECT and worked really well!
 
Piping the candy melts on
Ready to put in the fridge to set
Even though I hate fondant, I couldn’t think of any other way to make the ‘sails’ edible (though I would use paper if need be as a back up).
I rolled white fondant and roughly cut into square/rectangular shapes.
Rolling and cutting fondant
I tried putting the fondant straight onto the wooden skewer but it was too heavy so cut pieces of cardboard to skewer with it to support the weight of it.
Skewering fondant sails with cardboard
 I used an egg carton to hold the skewers. I then left it out on the kitchen bench to dry out and harden for the day.

All done to set on the kitchen bench
The day before the party…
I took the cakes out of the freezer and made the buttercream whilst they defrosted.
As in my post yesterday with the smash cakes, I went through 9 kilos of buttercream icing for the 4 cakes. I made the buttercream icing using a 1:2 ratio of butter to icing sugar. No need to measure/weigh anything – I just chucked in a 500gm block of butter (room temp. cut into cubes), beat for about 30 seconds, then interrupted the beating about 4 times to progressively add and beat in a 1kg packet of icing sugar. I then beat till light, fluffy and when you can see the ‘yellowy’ butter colour has turned white.
 
Cakes defrosting, and ready to ice!
I started off with the Sweet Potato Caramel Mudcake at the base secured with melted white chocolate, then alternated the cakes ending up with the Magic Bean Cake at the top.
Securing base of cake with melted white chocolate
I didn’t cut the tops off as they ended up relatively flat after the baking and freezing. I used the ‘top’ Magic Bean Cake and turned it upside down as the bottom edging of the cake is heaps sharper from the pan than the top of the cake (I thought this was a genius idea at the time, though it probably is common practice with pro bakers!). I placed 3 wooden skewers through it to secure the layers, and I iced about 1cm of frosting in between the cake layers then finished it up with a crumb layer.
Frosting between cakes
More frosting between cakes
Securing with wooden skewers
Icing a Crumb Layer
Once the crumb layer was done, I put in the fridge to set.
I then mixed up the buttercream and used the Wiltons Gel Food Colouring Royal Blue Shade to create a light blue. I iced both cakes with the light blue then put in the fridge to set.
Covering in light blue icing
All done to set in the fridge
I have never ever ‘smoothed’ buttercream, but I really wanted to do it as I was unhappy with the finish of the icing from just putting it on with a spatula. I googled it and found some youtube video from America saying to do it with a Viva papertowel – I tried that and it DID NOT work! I ended up remembering seeing photos of people using those metal dough cutters (well that I use as a dough cutter) to smooth the buttercream. Once the icing was chilled in the fridge (so not sticky upon touch), I used my metal dough cutter to smooth the sides. I felt like a bricklayer smoothing out my mortar as the buttercream had a very putty like texture after being scraped and smoothened several times.
Smoothing buttercream icing with a metal dough cutter
Smoothed buttercream vs one that is about to get smoothened!
It took what felt like forever but came out soooo much nicer than I ever imagined (I am so using this technique in the future!) I almost thought of just using the cake plain like that! But… I don’t really do ‘plain’ lol… so then I made the white chocolate ganache.
I have never coloured white chocolate ganache before but researched it only works with gel food colouring. I did it the old school way on the stove (small pot with 1 inch of water on medium heat, with a glass pyrex bowl on top). I used 350 grams of cream and 450 grams of Nestle White Chocolate Melts.
White chocolate ganache…the old school way!
I heated up the cream first, then added the white chocolate bit by bit and stirred until melted in. Once the white chocolate was all melted, I added the gel food colouring in (same Royal Blue shade as the buttercream) with a toothpick to build up the colour to make it an intense blue.
Adding gel food colouring
It ended up slightly teal in colour as I think the white chocolate has a hint of yellow in it, but loved the colour, looked very ‘sea’ like. Once it was all mixed in, I took it off the stove and let it sit for about 10-20 minutes to cool and thicken up a bit. I then spooned it on with a metal tablespoon starting from the sides of the cake to drip down like candle wax, then filled in the top middle part of the cake once that was done.
Dripping ganache onto the sides of the cake
Filling in the middle of the cake with ganache
All ready to set in the fridge
I then put in the fridge to set overnight.
The morning of the party…
Well, lucky the boys are early risers, comes in handy sometimes!
I started off making 2 x batches of basic meringues.
I used my Kitchenaid (sorry Thermie!) as it is best for light and fluffy meringues, plus I was slightly disheartened by my Thermie from the previous day by failing to produce copious amounts of buttercream without getting error messages!! (though it still is great for everything else…and less ‘mass produced’ stuff lol!!)
I coloured the meringue with the Wiltons Royal Blue Gel Food Colouring (sticking to the same shade as the buttercream and ganache) to have a light blue colour, and not mix it in completely so it would have streaks of darker blue coming through).
Colouring the meringue
I then used a small spatula to spoon the meringue onto the cake, the torched it with a blow torch bit by bit to set and hold it, mindful of the angle of the blow torch so the ganache wouldn’t melt! I wanted it higher on one side of the top of the cake, then to trickle down the other side of the cake so the boat was placed on what looked like a floating sea cloud of torched meringue.
Meringue all ready to go!
Dolloping on the meringue and torching it
Torching meringue
 
Building up on the meringue
Trickling meringue down the cake
I then took the chocolate boats out of the baking paper, they didn’t break (PHEWF) and placed them on the highest part of the meringue.
Assembling the chocolate boats
Placing the boats on the meringue
I then cut the cardboard out of the fondant sails, and secured the holes from the wooden skewers with white chocolate (as it was too heavy to hold without it), set in the fridge for a few minutes then placed 3 within the chocolate boat.
I needed to ‘bling’ it up abit, so with my fingers, I sprinkled glitter on top of the sails, and placed light blue cachous vertically on the buttercream and rubbed glitter over it. I also used the ‘sand’ that I made from the smash cakes (blitzed up scotch finger) and placed it in sections of the cake. I then topped it off with a wooden cake topper with the boys names.
Meringue and ‘sand’
Blue Cachous and blue edible glitter
Harley’s Sail Away Cake
Ethan’s Sail Away Cake
Harley’s Sail Away Cake
Ethan’s Sail Away Cake
  
Sail Away Cakes
Cake time!
Candle Blowing!!
  
 Inside the cake – Magic Bean Cake and Sweet Potato Caramel Mudcake
 Inside the cake – Magic Bean Cake and Sweet Potato Caramel Mudcake
Cake/ Twins

Blue Ombre Smash Cakes – Ethan and Harley’s First Birthday!

The big day has come and gone, and now I can finally sit back and relax ahhhhh…
A few days ago I posted the baking and freezing of the smash cakes: http://thermotwinning.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/baking-and-freezing-smash-cakes-ethan.html
This is the decorating (FUN) part of the SMASH CAKES!!
Smash Cakes!
The day before the boys birthday party, I took the cakes out of the freezer to defrost in the morning. Whilst defrosting, I made the buttercream icing.
I actually started making the buttercream icing in the Thermomix, but it couldn’t keep up with the huge amount  that I was making for both the smash cakes, and both the ‘main’ cakes which ended up being 9 KILOS OF BUTTERCREAM ICING!! (6kg Icing Sugar and 3kg butter). Sorry Thermie (I ended up getting error messages for overloading it lol!), but my old faithful Kitchenaid turned out to be my saviour for the day!! It was actually easier to spoon the buttercream right out of the bowl (rather than try and get it out from under the blades of the Thermomix) and make larger amounts.
I made the buttercream icing using a 1:2 ratio of butter to icing sugar. No need to measure/weigh anything – I just chucked in a 500gm block of butter (room temp. cut into cubes), beat for about 30 seconds, then interrupted the beating about 4 times to progressively add and beat in a 1kg packet of icing sugar. I then beat till light, fluffy and when you can see the ‘yellowy’ butter colour has turned white. I didn’t add any vanilla bean/flavouring to it since it would be a waste since the cake is meant to be ‘smashed’! …and the boys wouldn’t know any different lol!
Kitchenaid vs Thermomix
Whilst the buttercream icing was beating, I unwrapped the 4 layers of cake (x2) and cut the tops off to give it an even flat top (…the cake tops were great to snack on whilst I made the cake!!).
Defrosting and unwrapping the smash cake layers
Cutting the tops off the cakes
 I then started layering the cakes with from the darkest blue cake, blue, light blue then up to the white cake. I secured the bottom cake layer with melted white chocolate between the cake board and the cake. (FYI the cake boards are $10 round chopping boards from Kmart)!
Securing the bottom layer of cake to the board with white chocolate
I secured the cake layers with about a 1cm layer of buttercream.
Cake layers with buttercream icing
Then filled in the ‘gaps’ and covered the entire cake with a crumb layer then put in the fridge to set. The crumb layer is like a primer to ‘paint’ on the outer decorative layer of buttercream so you don’t get any stray crumbs with the finished product. 
Crumb Layer
Whilst the crumb layer set in the fridge, I piped out lettering of the boys names with candy melts (I put some in a ziplock bag, then microwaved in 20-30 second intervals, checked and squished it around in between, until it was all melted, then cut the tip of a corner to pipe out). I piped out the names many times and in upper case and lower case as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use until the final product, and did several for ‘back ups’ and so I could choose the best looking out of them.
Lettering with melted Candy Melts
Once the crumb layer was set (just needs to be cold and not sticky when you touch it), I mixed up another batch of buttercream, and divided into 4 – white and 3 varying shades of blue. I used Royal Blue Wilton Gel food colouring and added the colour progressively with a dipped toothpick.
Mixing shades of blue buttercream icing
I started from the bottom of the cake, with the darkest blue colour to correspond with the darkest blue colour cake underneath. I then added the different shades of blue the topped with white and spread it together. I then used the tip of a small metal spatula and lightly run it around the whole cake to create a rounded indentation (forgot to take a photo!).
Outer buttercream ombre icing
 
Mixing/integrating the shades together
 
I then topped with a wooden cake topper, added my piped out candy melts red lettering and placed an iced sugar cookie that I made a few days ago: http://thermotwinning.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/iced-sugar-cookies-ethan-and-harley.html
Finished!
Ethan and Harley’s Smash Cakes
To further add to the Nautical Theme, I blitzed some Scotch Finger biscuits in the Thermomix (on turbo for a few times) to create ‘sand’ that I placed around the bottom of the cake.
Ethan and Harley’s Smash Cakes with the Smash cake backdrop
The smash cake setting consisted of the smash cake backdrop I made last week (http://thermotwinning.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/smash-cake-backdrop-decorations-ethan.html) and an artificial grass mat I bought from Bunnings. My husband attached the smash cake backdrop to chairs as it was too heavy to be taped up on the wall.

The boys were very cute with the smash cake session. They are usually very destructive boys who love to eat everything and anything, however they had stage fright on the day and ‘picked’ at the cake. I had to come in and stick their hands and feet into it!!
 Smash Cake Session
Showing the boys how to destroy their cake
My very neat and tidy boys more interested in their cake toppers than the cake!
As they didn’t SMASH their cake, their big cousins later came in and smashed it for them! 🙂 🙂
 Their big cousins smashing their cakes!
Success! The cakes are ‘smashed’!!!
Cake/ Thermomix/ Twins

Baking and Freezing the Smash Cakes – Ethan and Harley Turn 1! (4 day party countdown)

Today I baked Ethan and Harley’s smash cakes to freeze, to defrost and decorate the day before the party.

Smash cakes are generally a colourful layered cake covered in buttercream, and usually in pastel colours, as when the babies ‘smash’ into the cake it looks so cute with the pastel coloured cake and buttercream all over their face, hands and clothes.

To go with the theme and my cute 2 boys, I decided to do a 4 layer blue ombre cake. I have made many pink ombre cakes as I’ve posted earlier, http://www.thermotwinning.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/pink-ombre-cake.html but have never made it in other colours, and I have only made them with a 20cm round baking tin. As I am making one for each of my boys, a 20cm cake to ‘smash’ into is way too big, so I used 13cm round baking tins which is a ‘cuter’ size for a 1 year old!

Blue Ombre Cake layers ready to freeze
(to decorate the day before the party)

With my previously baked pink ombre cakes, I used a butter cake recipe as the mixture is a great base to colour with the different shades of pink, and it is nice and dense to hold the buttercream. However, I wanted a cake which is lighter/fluffier for my boys little hands to get into and as the cake is much smaller than usual, it would not be so much of a worry with holding the buttercream if it was a lighter mixture.

Puritans Vanilla Cake by Serena:

http://cantstopbaking.com/tag/cant-stop-baking-vanilla-cake/

It is the first cake I have tried making with vegetable shortening (instead of butter/oil) and apparently that is the secret to getting a light and fluffy cake!

I need a total of 8 layers – 2 x white, 2 x baby blue, 2 x light blue, 2 x blue to create the 2 x blue ombre cakes. It is a pretty specific recipe so I made 1 x batch at a time (to divide into 4 cake layers).

It is no doubt one of the more complicated cake recipes I’ve ever read but she’s made it very simply to make with the instructions recommending you pre weigh the ingredients in 7 separate bowls, so with each step you just add in whatever is in the pre prepared bowls:

 

Ingredients pre-prepared into 7 bowls

Once the cake mixture is made, I distributed the batter between 4 bowls and weighed them so it was evenly distributed 4 ways.

 

Cake batter weighed into 4 equal portions

I then coloured 3 of the bowls of batter into 3 varying shades of blue. I used Wiltons Gel Food Colour in Sky Blue. I just dipped a toothpick into the gel colouring bottle and mixed through the batter, adding a toothpick of gel colouring at a time to build up the colour.

 

Colouring 3 x batches of batter in varying shades of blue
(leaving 1 batch white)

I only have 2 x 13cm round cake tins, so I just baked 2 x colour batches of batter at a time.

Bake 1 x colour batch per 13cm tin
I baked the 2 x 13cm tins for 25 minutes at 180 degrees. Once the cakes were all baked, I let them cool and wrapped them to freeze like I did with my ‘main cake’ cakes I made a few days ago – http://www.thermotwinning.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/baking-and-freezing-cakes-ethan-and.html
Cakes to be cooled, and wrapped, to freeze in preparation for decorating

 

Sweets/ Thermomix/ Twins

Iced Sugar Cookies – Ethan and Harley Turn 1! (6 day party countdown)

To go with the theme, I thought that iced sugar cookies would be perfect, and I always wanted to personalise it by using Ethan and Harley’s first letters of their names and the No. 1 for their first birthday.
Iced Sugar Cookies
I started off by making the sugar cookie dough.
I used the cookie recipe as follows:
Sugar Cookie Dough

 

Roll into a ball

 

Cling wrap and put in the fridge to harden
After about an hour or 2, I rolled the dough between 2 pieces of baking paper and cut out the biscuits with my cookie cutters. I bought the nautical cookie cutters off Ebay, and the E, H and 1 from my local cake shop.

 

Cutting E, H and 1 cookies

 

E, H and 1 cookies ready to bake

 

Cutting the nautical themed cookies

 

Nautical cookies ready to bake
I baked them at 180 degrees for about 12 minutes.
Baked E, H and 1 cookies
Baked Nautical Themed cookies
It was pretty easy to cut the cookies, but the nautical themed ones were a bit fiddly with the smaller parts of the cookie shapes – like the anchor and the wheel shapes.
The next day I iced the cookies.

I used a ready to go pre-mixed Royal Icing mixture. I have made Royal Icing the normal way before using egg whites, but I didn’t want to be left with heaps of leftover egg yolks, so bought this mixture instead! For a 500gm mixture you just need to mix in 75ml of water.
I mixed the mixture up in my Kitchenaid (the instructions say not to use a food processer, so I figured a Thermomix was in that category!), and split the mixture into 3. One to keep white, and the other 2 to colour with blue and red gel food colourings. Gel colours make the colours more vibrant than the liquid ones and you use a tiny bit so it doesn’t affect the texture of the icing.
Royal Icing ready to colour

 

White, Blue and Red Royal Icing

Once mixed, I spooned them into disposable piping bags sitting inside large glass cups. I used disposable ones as I only have 1 small frosting tip so I didn’t want to have to keep interchanging and washing it between the colours.

Spoon icing into piping bags

Once the icing is all in the piping bags, snip a small hole at the end, and start by outlining the cookies, then filling them in. The royal icing mixture should spread out and give a smooth surface.

Outline cookies with icing

 

Fill in cookies with icing
Depending on the shape, once adding a base colour, I iced further patterns etc on top layering on the colours.
Nautical Themed Sugar Cookies
These are just a few of the cookies, I still have 1 more batch to go – it is super fiddly and does take some time but it is certainly worth the effort!!