Friday, 7 March 2014

Chocolate cupcakes with and banana cake revisited for a birthday

Sylvia's birthday fell on a school day this year.  It meant 3 cakes yet again.  One on her birthday, one at the party and a batch of cupcakes for school.  She was so excited about her birthday this year that there were many plans.  Cake.  Party.  Games.  Party Bags. Etc etc etc.  It will take a few posts to write about her birthday.  Let me start with the cakes for the big day.

Sylvia's favourite breakfast is banana oat pancakes  so I flipped pancakes while she opened her birthday presents before school.  (We didn't eat them all so I put a few in the freezer.  They make great school lunch box snacks.)

Leading up to Sylvia's birthday, I was a bit confused about whether we take cake to school or not.  We are still getting used to the school routines so I was dealing with other issues in the week leading up to school.  She said she didn't want any cake at school, despite me offering.  Then at 7.30 on the eve of her birthday she decided she did want cake for school.  This meant no time for any fancy food.

I found a basic chocolate cupcake recipe to make at night and decided to top them with white chocolate frosting and coconut.  It wasn't my finest moment in baking.  I forgot to add the second 1/2 cup of flour.  This didn't matter too much because I was baking in mini muffin cups, that are more likely to dry out.

Then I made a white chocolate frosting that just wouldn't set no matter how long I waited.  I think I spread it on the cupcakes at around midnight.  As you can see in the photos, it was still quite thin.  I regretted not just making a plain old buttercream frosting.  However most of the cupcakes were eaten at school and we were quite happy to devour the leftovers.

For her birthday cake Sylvia chose banana so I returned to a banana berry yoghurt cake that she had for her second birthday.  Instead of berry yoghurt I used vanilla yoghurt.  The cake was delicious and rather stodgy (even with some extra milk).  I loved the pale pink cream cheese frosting with a little lemon juice to reduce the sweetness.

Sylvia was more interested in decorating the cake with lollies - rather than the berries she had when younger.  We bought a dolly mix and m&ms.  I thought it looked great.  Sylvia insisted on adding sprinkles. She loves a bit of colour.  Hence the balloons and fives (cut out of wrapping paper as inspired by my brother in law) that decorated the kitchen.

Once the lights are dimmed and the candles lit, any birthday cake looks beautiful.  This one was no exception.  The lollies and sprinkles sparkled like jewels.  Sylvia was delighted.  She wasn't keen on us singing happy birthday but she loved blowing out the candles.

I am sending the lolly covered cake to Jane of the Hedgecombers who is co-host of Tea Time Treats with Karen of Lavender and Lovage.  This month the theme is decorated cakes.  Stay tuned for the birthday pizza and toadstool birthday cake.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Cottage cheese and chive bread and the uke fest
Two years ago: Pea pancakes with sun-dried tomato pesto
Three years ago: MLLA Renovation pancakes
Four years ago: Panzanella and return to work
Five years ago: Hummingbird Cake
Six years ago: Paté and Cat Hair

Vegan chocolate cupcakes
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World via Chow
Makes 36 mini cupcakes

1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup plain wholemeal flour
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup rice bran oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
White chocolate frosting (See below - optional)
Coconut for sprinkling

Mix soy milk and vinegar in a large jug and leave aside to curdle.

Preheat oven to 180 C and line three mini muffin 12 cup tins with mini muffin papers.

Mix dry ingredients in a medium large mixing bowl. Whisk the sugar, oil and vanilla into the milk mixture. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix until just combined. Spoon the mixture into cupcake papers, filling about 3/4 to the top.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked (when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out cleanly). Cool on a wire rack. Ice with white chocolate frosting and sprinkle with coconut.

White chocolate frosting
Adapted from Christmas Cooking with Kids by Annie Rigg

80g white chocolate
50g butter
50ml milk
90g icing sugar, sifted

Melt chocolate and butter in a small bowl in the microwave (or in a small saucepan on the stovetop).  Set aside.  Stir together the milk and icing sugar.  Mix in the chocolate butter mixture and let cool until it is spreading consistency.  I put mine in the freezer to cool it quickly.  The recipe suggests 30 minutes cooling time but even with the freezer mine took far longer to be spreadable.

Banana and yoghurt cake
Adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly Cakes and Slices cookbook via here

125g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
200ml vanilla yoghurt
1/4 cup milk (I used soy)
2 large bananas, mashed
1 cup white self raising flour
1 cup wholemeal self raising flour

125g cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp butter, at room temperature
squeeze of lemon juice
few drops of pink food dye
lollies to decorate

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Add yoghurt, milk and bananas and mix. Gently mix in flours until combined. Tip into a lined and greased 20cm round cake tin. Bake at 180 C for about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.

To make frosting, mix cream cheese, icing sugar butter, lemon juice and food due. Spread over the top of the cooled cake and scatter with lollies.

On the Stereo:
The Little Mermaid: 28 all time favourite songs, stories and nursery rhymes


  1. Happy bday Sylvia! The cake looks great :) it's my Sylvia's bday next week so I too shall be baking three lots of cake. She has requested a rainbow cake for her party- hmmm lets see how that goes!

    1. thanks kate - good luck with the rainbow cake (and other cakes) - sounds just the sort of thing my sylvia would love - hope we see a pic on your blog - hope your sylvia has a great birthday

  2. What a sweet looking cake :) My mum never used to make a cake for my school birthday, she'd buy a Boston bun from the bakery instead. I wonder if people still do that?

    1. Thanks veganopoulous - my mum always made a sponge cake - either with cream or lemon filling, meanwhile I spent hours looking at the women's weekly novelty cakes - so I am still making up time :-) Never heard of a boston bun for a birthday cake but I loved having them when a kid (and now)

  3. That cake looks wonderful and I think that Slyvia and I have the same taste in food! xxx

    1. Thanks Fran - it is a great cake - was glad to remember it, especially as I am in love with the vanilla yoghurt I used

  4. Aw I love the cake, Sylvia did a fab job at decorating it. It certainly looks like a party cake! :)

    1. Thanks little vegan bear - sylvia loves the sprinkles :-)

  5. Happy Birthday Sylvia! 5 already! Great taste on banana pancakes for breakfast ;)
    That sweet covered cake looks like exactly the kind of cake I'd love at her age. So pretty.

    1. Thanks Emma - we love those banana pancakes - they are great for using up old bananas - I was surprised she asked for banana cake for her birthday cake - I was always a chocolate cake kind of girl

  6. Happy Belated Birthday to Sylvia!! I think the cake looks beautiful with the lights off OR on! I love all the colors. And seriously, is that FIVE candles?!! Already??? Holy moly! Time sure does fly. Hope she had a very special birthday and enjoyed all three cakes. :)

    1. Thanks Ricki - yes it does seem incredible she is 5 - and so grown up as a school girl - she did love all her cakes - though she suddenly took a dislike to the dolly mixture once it was on the cake (she is often saying food is too sweet these days - how odd!)

  7. Una torta riquìsima para un buen cumpleaños infantil con lindos adornos,abrazos.

    1. Thanks Rosita - yes it was a easy cake to make to delight a kid!

  8. Happy birthday to Sylvia!! Wow times have changed. I wish we had three cakes when I was growing up. I remember just one at home on my birthday at a birthday party. Kids today are so lucky!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I think my love of baking means sylvia gets lots of cake but I did too - having lots of brothers and sisters meant I got to share lots of cakes with them (luckily sylvia has cousins to share cakes with). But three cakes does seem indulgent :-)

  9. Happy birthday Sylvia! She is learning to celebrate in style, with 3 cakes and plenty of gorgeous colour. What a well (thoroughly!) decorated cake - perfect for a 5 year old and I am sure she loved being able to add the sweets.

    1. Thanks Kari - sylvia did love adding the sweets but she said the icing and the dolly mixture was too sweet - so I gave her dad the rest of the dolly mixture - which he loved!

  10. Happy birthday to Sylvia! Hope she had a wonderful day :-)

  11. Happy 5th birthday to your daughter. I have just been through the same thing with my son who turned 9. There were cupcakes made for the class, a dessert cake to have with family and a birthday cake for his party. Thank goodness that's done and dusted for another year. Your sparkle cake looks very pretty xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - yes I was quite glad when the birthday was over - sylvia has already started planning for her next birthday!!!! You son's party sounds great if a little boisterous :-)

  12. Happy birthday to Sylvia!! I think she did a splendid decorating job!!

  13. White chocolate icing is always tricky, but obviously everything tasted fab. Cute banana cake too.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - it never occurred to me that the icing took a while to set because it was white chocolate but maybe it was - I thought maybe I heated it a bit much when melting it in the microwave - I figured no one could complain about minimal sweet icing for the kids :-)

  14. What a yummy cake! Did you use vegan marshmallows? Or are they something else? I did a trip to a vegan supermarket the other day and bought a stash :)

  15. 3 cakes! That’s unbelievable! I love the first photo - I want this for my upcoming birthday! Ah these vegan chocolate cupcakes look good! What was Sylvia’s favorite cake/dessert so far?

  16. Utterly gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing with this months tea Time Treats!
    Janie x


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