Oreo and Milk Cupcakes

I am a very big fan of Oreos, and always have been. I remember watching The Parent Trap when I was little and was very intrigued when the twins were talking about how they both loved dipping them in peanut butter. I tried it, and was hooked. There was no turning back! I made these cupcakes for the Australian Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea, which was held at my workplace.

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I really wanted to put little milk bottles on top of the cupcakes, as well as the mini Oreo, but they were just too big, and they ruined the look a little. The taste of these babies was quite amazeballs, I must say. It was definitely a good idea putting a whole Oreo cookie at the bottom of the cake 🙂 Winner!

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Oreos: (adapted from the usual Vanilla Cupcakes recipe) Makes approximately 36 cupcakes.

  • 200g butter, chopped and softened, not melted
  • 1 1/3 cups caster (white) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 packet Oreos (I used some weird ‘Grab and Go’ packs as they were the only ones at the store. I would suggest using one whole long packet of Oreos!)
  • 36 extra Oreos (for the bottom of the cupcakes), crushed

Preheat the oven to 180c. Line cupcake tins with cases and place one whole Oreo biscuit at the bottom of each case. Beat butter, caster sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until each one is well combined. Add the flour and the milk in batches, starting and finishing with flour. Stir after each addition until well combined. Either in a food processor or with a rolling pin (or any other alternate way), crush one packet of Oreos. If you are using the food processor, just be careful as you don’t want the biscuits to be just crumbs. You want them to be chunky, so you get nice big bits when you’re eating the cake. Stir crushed Oreos into cake mixture. Spoon cake mixture into cakes with the whole Oreos at the bottom. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a skewer is inserted into the cake and comes out clean. Leave cakes to cool in tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Condensed Milk Buttercream: (adapted from the awesome Raspberri Cupcakes)

  • 350g butter, chopped and softened, not melted
  • 2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 200g tube sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  • To decorate, mini Oreos

Beat butter until pale and creamy, approximately 4 minutes. Gradually add the icing sugar. Add the condensed milk and vanilla and beat until well combined and fluffy. I let mine go for about 4 minutes. To assemble, spoon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a wide, round nozzle. Pipe large dollops onto cooled cupcakes, and top with a mini Oreo. Store at room temperature in an airtight container, in a cool place. I’m a big advocate of not putting cakes in the fridge. It just dries them out, plus cold cake is not pleasant. It’s as simple as that, in my opinion!

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This cupcake has been one of my favourites, to make and to eat. I always like to make my cupcakes a little bit different and I try to make them memorable. The Oreo at the bottom of the cake and that delicious condensed milk buttercream was a winner for me! Also, I am off overseas next week, and won’t be back until the end of July. I hope to have an interesting travel post for the blog. Until then, Happy Baking!

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Pear and Chocolate Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

My friend asked me to make a special cake for a very special occasion, and she gave me complete freedom to choose the flavours and look of this special cake. I was a bit worried, because I wanted it to not only be creative and interesting, but also a crowd pleaser. It took me a while to come up with the idea that eventuated into the pretty little thing below,and I kept umm-ing and ahh-ing about every last detail. I’m pretty happy with the result.

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This is the first ‘naked’ cake I’ve made, and I must say I really like the look of the naked cake. It first worried me a little because covering a cake in icing kind of gives you a security blanket in that you can cover up all the flaws on the cake itself, but I love the rustic look, and also the autumn colours this cake has.

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I have used the combination of pear and caramel before, and really, adding chocolate to this magnificent duo, is certainly not going to do any harm! While it may seem a little rich, the pear is a nice fresh hit when paired peared with the creamy caramel and breaks the decadence up nicely, even though I would be so much more than happy to down a bowl of that caramel buttercream on its own.

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The recipes used here are nothing I haven’t made before, I’ve just adapted them a little differently.  You can find the caramel buttercream recipe on this post for Caramel au buerre sale macarons, and you can find the chocolate cake recipe here – I have just made it into three round cakes instead of cupcakes. As for the pear, there is one pear, chopped, in each layer, plus the whole baked pear in the middle of the top layer. Enjoy!

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Lamington Cake with Balsamic Strawberry Jam

Happy Australia Day to all you Aussies! I hope everyone is having a relaxing long weekend 🙂 As a country, Australia does not really have a defined cuisine of its own. I guess it has something to do with being derived from Britain, and not really having a whole lot of history of our own. However, there is one sweet that we do claim do be our own (aside from the humble Pav, of course!). It is the delicious Lamington. If you do not know what a Lamington is, you are missing out, big time! They are slices of sponge-y cake, filled with jam, and covered in chocolate icing and coconut. Yum! I had actually never made a Lamington before, so I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I decided on a cake version for my Mum’s birthday, and I must say, it was delicious, and a big hit.

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I was going to use the recipe from the ‘BAKE’ book, from the Australian’s Women’s Weekly (AWW are the go-to’s for great recipes for many Aussies), for normal Lamington’s. However, I just had to look on my favourite site, Taste, of course, to see if they may have had a recipe for a cake. Luckily, I found the perfect one with great reviews, so I went with that, with a few of my own additions. I guess I could be more sure of the measurements this way, instead of having to adapt a slice into a cake. Anyhoo, the recipe was great – easy to follow and not ridiculously time consuming, either. Winner 🙂

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Lamington Cake: (recipe from Taste.com)

  • Cooking oil spray, to grease
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup caster (white) sugar
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 1/3 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract

Preheat your oven to 180c/356f. Grease two 20cm round springform baking tins with cooking oil spray, and line with non-stick baking paper. Set aside.

Sift all three flours into one bowl. In a separate bowl, beat all of the eggs, and the sugar, for approximately ten minutes, or until the mixture is thick, pale and creamy. Then, sift half of the flour mixture into egg mixture, and  gently fold it in with a metal spoon until well combined. Repeat with the remaining flour. Make sure the flour is all combined as it can be difficult to see in a large bowl – the flour will just sink to the bottom. And remember to be gentle as you don’t want to knock too much air out of the sponge.

Divide the mixture evenly into the 2 prepared tins. Smooth the surfaces with a metal spoon to ensure the mixture is even. Bake for 12-15 minutes (mine took 14, but ensure you check at 12). Insert a skewer to ensure cake is cooked – the skewer will come out clean. Leave in tins to cool, then place on a wire rack.

Chocolate Icing:

  • 2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup water

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl together, and add the water. Mix well until combined and smooth. Pour the icing into a large, shallow dish. Pour the coconut out onto a large baking tray.

Place one side of the sponge cake into the icing, cover the sides, then dip the other side of the sponge in the icing. Cover in coconut and place on a large cake stand. Repeat with remaining sponge cake, except place this one on a plate or another baking tray. I found this process super messy and it took me a while, but I got there in the end!

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Balsamic Strawberry Jam:

  • 1 medium punnet of strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract
  • 1 cup caster (white) sugar
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of water

Place strawberries and water (I literally used a splash, just to moisten the strawberries) in a medium sized saucepan. Cook on a medium heat until the berries begin to soften (about 2 minutes). Add the vanilla and sugar, and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until strawberries have broken down. Add balsamic vinegar, and continue cooking on low until mixture becomes a sticky, jam like consistency. Pour into a bowl, and leave to cool. If you are not using the jam on the day of making it, cover with cling wrap and place it in the fridge. I made my jam two days beforehand.

Lamington Cake

Assembly:

Whip up 250ml thickened cream, with 1/3 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste/natural extract. With one sponge cake already on the cake stand, cover with whipped cream, ensuring you spread the cream right to the edges of the cake (if you want to decorate it like my cake, leave a little bit of cream behind to pipe on top). Then, spread over the strawberry jam – although this time don’t spread it right to the edges, leave about 1cm. Place the other sponge on top of the cream and jam. Decorate as desired 🙂 EAT!

Messy goodness

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY! (check out my past Australia Day posts here.)

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Coconut and Lime Ombre Cake

Happy slightly belated New Year to you all! I can’t believe it is 2014, and January the 1st marked whiskitforabiscuit’s second birthday. Yay 🙂 The beginning of the year is always a bit of a baking whirlwind for me, because almost every member of my family has their birthday in January. So, here is the first of the birthday cakes:

CoconutLimeCake

I love the combination of coconut and lime. It’s really fresh and summery, which is nice when you’re in the middle of the horrible heatwave Melbourne is experience at the moment! The last thing you feel like doing is forcing down a piece of heavy mud cake down your pie hole, so this cake, I thought, was ideal.

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As you may have seen, I enjoy making layer cakes with different colours and gradients; it just makes it a bit more fun, especially when kids are around. I also decided, instead of covering and filling the cake in buttercream, I used a fresh and tangy lime curd to sandwich the layers, and whipped cream to cover the cake, with some coconut, too. Buttercream does not go down well in heat!

Layers

For the cake, I used my trust vanilla cake recipe I have used many times before (which is originally a cupcake recipe, but it works just as well for larger cakes), and just added a bunch of lime zest, lime juice and coconut. It’s so easy and it works perfectly every time, especially when adding different flavourings. I only had a couple of hours to make this cake, so the layers are not quite as even as I’d like them to be. Oh well, it still tasted pretty awesome!

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I hope you all had an amazing New Year, and that 2014 is everything you wish it to be! Happy Baking 🙂

A Wonderful Wizard of Oz Party!

Last Sunday, it was my little sister’s wonderful Wizard of Oz party. Well, it was more of a production actually, as our house was temporarily taken over by Oz paraphernalia and resembled quite the tornado. It was a lot of fun, and the amount of work my parents put into making the place look like it was straight out of the movie set was astronomical. As was the amount of time I spent in the kitchen! I made so many little bits and pieces I thought I would dedicate a whole blog post to it 🙂

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My ‘Emerald City Macarons’ – Redskin flavoured, with edible gold glitter. This flavour was SO delicious!

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‘Yellow Bricks’ – aka Salted Caramel Rice Bubble Slice

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Unfortunately, I did not make these. I had never tried a cake pop before, I have heard they are very difficult to make. These ones not only look amazing, but tasted it, too. Inside were gooey, chocolatey, fudgey balls of cake. YUM!

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Rainbow lemonade for the kiddies 🙂

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The cake I made – Somewhere Over The Rainbow Layer Cake, with Yellow Brick Buttercream and a Macaron Emerald City.

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This was the same recipe I used to create last year’s Rainbow Cake. It’s not at all difficult, it just takes a lot of time. The end result is well worth it, though. Especially when kids are involved!

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road…

Lemon Meringue Layer Cake with Macarons

This cake was tasty, very tasty indeed. I made this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday, as he loves all things lemon and meringue – you may remember from last year. I was really happy with the flavour of this cake and the lemon curd that filled it, and the macarons turned out quite well, too. I’ve been a bit lucky with macarons of late, lets hope it stays that way!
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I pictured the merinuge on the outside to look a little different. It wasn’t as glossy and high as I would have liked, but I think it was because I didn’t make enough sugar syrup. However, that’s a minor detail. The part I loved most about making this cake was blowtorching it! I love watching the meringue cook and change colour, I could stand there all day and blowtroch…or maybe I just love playing with flames?! I used my usual vanilla cupcake recipe and just added a bunch of lemon juice and zest and it worked a real treat! It was moist, lemony and buttery all at the same time – yum 😉 The lemon curd recipe I used was from the ever wonderful Zumbo, and it was unsurprisingly delicious and unlike many lemon curds, it remained thick and did not leak out the sides of the macarons like lemon curds often do! Winner 🙂
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Macarons:

This recipe is Adriano Zumbo’s, and was published a couple of years ago in the Herald Sun. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  •  135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • 1/4 tsp colouring gel, yellow

Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves (if it slightly burns my tongue, it’s done!). If you do not want to burn your tongue, Zumbo suggests investing in a candy thermometer and heating the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. If you want to add flavouring/colouring, now’s your moment. So add the colouring now. Just lightly beat them into the meringue. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. (If you don’t have a piping bag set, most supermarkets sell plastic ones, they are Multix brand, in an orange box and contain 5 piping bags with a few different nozzles, plus they’re only about $3. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle). Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 145c (135c fan forced).

Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Check macarons at 16 minutes, and to test if they are cooked, pull a macaron off the baking paper. If it is stuck, keep cooking and checking regularly. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge) and some say that the longer they are refrigerated, the more the flavour is likely to develop. Macarons taste best when they are stored in the fridge, then brought down to room temperature to eat.

 Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Vanilla Cake: (adapted from Taste’s recipe)
  • 200g butter, chopped and softened
  • 1 3/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a round baking tin with baking paper (I have two tins, so I baked two cakes then another one), and set aside. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. One at a time, add the eggs and beat until just combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Add the flour and milk in alternate batches, ensuring you start and finish with the adding the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. To ensure layers are even, weigh mixture and divide into three. I think, from memory, each layer weighed about 312g. Pour mixture into prepared tins and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Place in oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. It should just be slightly golden. Let cakes cool in tins for approximately 15 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack. When completely cooled, gently wrap cakes in glad wrap and if not using immediately, place in fridge until they are needed.
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Lemon Curd: (from Zumbarons: A Fantasy Land of Macarons p. 28)
  • 160g lightly beaten egg
  • 240g caster sugar
  •  Finely grated zest of 5 lemons
  • 160g fresh lemon juice (this amounted to be exactly 5 lemons for me)
  • 300g butter, chopped and softened
Put the egg and sugar in a saucepan and mix well. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Heat over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 85c/185f (You can buy thermometers from homeware or discount stores). Strain the curd into a bowl, discarding the zest and any little bits of cooked egg (I had a few – it’s so easy to do!). Cool the mixture to 50c/133f. When the curd is at the right temperature, beat in the butter gradually until smooth and shiny. If not using straight away, refrigerate. If you are using immediately, allow to curd to cool until it becomes firm enough to pipe.
Lemon Curd
 
 Italian Meringue: (italian meringue is made by making a sugar syrup and adding it to the egg whites to create an extremely thick and glossy mixture)
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold water
To make the sugar syrup, slowly heat the sugar and water in a saucepan on a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium until mixture begins to bubble – some people heat their syrup to a certain temperature but I usually do it by touch, usually when the mixture is just too hot for my finger it is done! Begin beating the egg whites, and slowly stream the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Beat until mixture is thick and very glossy. NOTE – don’t make the meringue ahead of time otherwise it will become limp. Make it straight before you cover and blowtorch the cake.
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Assembly:
Place one layer of cake on a cake stand, and generously spread lemon curd on top. Place another layer of cake on top of the lemon curd, and once again cover it with lemon curd. Place the final layer of cake on top. and cover will lemon curd. There should be a couple of teaspoons left after the cake and macarons have been filled. With a round-edged knife, generously cover the cake completely with the meringue mixture, making flicks with the knife as you go to create an element of height and visual appeal 🙂 With a chef’s blowtorch, gently go over the meringue from about 10cm, depending on how brown you want the meringue to be. To completely blowtorch the cake took me about 10-15 minutes. If you are not serving the cake immediately, gently cover it with glad wrap and keep it in a cool dry place. Enjoy!
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Jaffa Ombre Layer Cake

One thing is fairly obvious: I love cake. I try not to eat tooo much cake, but with this one, it was difficult to stay away. I was convinced this cake would be super-rich, but surprisingly, it was quite light. It was certainly still decadent, and I will definitely be making this one again. I know I say this with a lot of things, but I’ve had the idea of making this cake in my head for quite some time. My Mum’s birthday seemed like the perfect occasion – as she (and my Dad) both love the Jaffa Macarons, and I haven’t done ombre, or any type of layer cake really, for a while.

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 The recipe I used for the orange cake is from the always amazing Raspberri Cupcakes. It is a beautfiul cake, not too buttery, and the zest from the oraange was intense, but in a great way. This particular post – Orange Cake with Fruit Tingles Icing, is one of my favourite posts from Raspberri Cupcakes, and was one of the recipes I was inspired by, to begin blogging myself (see Musk Layer Cake + Musky Macarons)!

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Orange Cake: (adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes)
  • 165g butter
  • 3/4 cup caster (white) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • Zest and juice from 1 1/2 large oranges (I had about 1/3 cup of juice)
  • Wilton’s colouring gel, orange
Preheat the oven to 180c (170c) fan forced. Line a 22cm springform cake tin with baking paper and set aside. Beat butter until pale and fluffy. Gradually add sugar. Beat eggs in one at a time until well combined. Stir in the orange zest and juice and flour, until well combined. To divide cake into batches, weigh mixture and divide the number by 3. Pour into three separate, clean bowls. Add small amounts of colouring gel to mixtures, until you have 3 clearly different shades of orange. Pour one batch of mixture into cake tin, and spread with a spoon so it is nice and even. I had a little bit of trouble with this because the cakes were so small, but they were all fine in the end. If you have more than one cake tin, it is okay to put two on the top shelf of your oven, if they fit. Bake cakes for 10-15 mintutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Begin checking the cakes from 10 minutes.
Let cakes cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes. If you are using the cakes straight away, let them cool completely on a wire rack, and then begin layering and decorating. If not, gently wrap cakes in cling wrap tightly – be very careful as the layers will be quite thin and fragile. Place in fridge overnight. It is best to bake cakes the day before, or on the day of use. You could probably freeze them if you were really time poor, however, sometimes I find that cakes can taste a bit strange when they have been frozen!
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Jaffa Ganache:
This is the same ganache I used for the Jaffa Swirl Macarons, however I just quadrupled it.
  • 400g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups thickened cream
  • Zest of 2 1/2 oranges
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir over a low heat until smooth. If using the next day, cover and refrigerate, then take out an hour or two before use. If using on the same day, cover and refrigerate for about 30 mins, or until ganache has slightly set. I probably made my ganache a little too late for when I needed the cake, so you can see in the pictures that it was still quite runny. I tried to make the best of it though, and exposed the colours of the cake by letting the ganache drip around the side. I originally wanted to cover the cake completely in ganache, but I think it still looked nice.
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Assembly:
Place the bottom cake on a large cake stand or a cake board. With a round-edged knife, spread a layer of ganache on the top, and layer with the second cake. Repeat the process, and cover the cake completely with the ganache. If the ganache is too hard, dip the knife in warm water – it will make it a lot easier to spread out.
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You can decorate the cake however you like – you don’t even have to decorate it thought, if you don’t want to. You could use cachous, glitter, you could pipe swirls of ganche – anything you like! As you can see here, I went for choc-dipped orange segments with a tiny bit of gold glitter.
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