Wednesday 2 March 2011

Happy birthday cake for Sylvia

I have told you about Sylvia's birthday pizza in my last post. Dessert was, of course, birthday cake. I asked Sylvia to choose between chocolate, carrot and banana cake. She chose banana. I wasn't sure she understood the decision but she did yell out banana quite a few times. You might notice that this post has a lot of pink. I don't generally have a lot of pink in my life but I wanted to try the beetroot powder in a frosting. This seemed like a good opportunity.

Sylvia doesn't wear lots of pink either. You can see in the above photo of her at the park on her birthday that she wore a gorgeous pink party frock on her birthday. (The dress can also be glimpsed in the Teatime and Tales post about her birthday lunch.) It was a present from my sister, Chris, and the colour is wonderful. Sometimes pink is glorious!

Perhaps Sylvia's frock is the reason a flock of geese starting to rush towards us in a Hitchcockian moment when we arrived at the Coburg Lake playground. Fortunately my country childhood has taught me to stamp my foot and hiss at them. It stopped them in their tracks and Sylvia had fun on the swings ("fings) watching the "birdies".

Back at home, I had some berry yoghurt in the fridge so I decided to make the Banana and Passionfruit Yoghurt from my AWW Cakes and Slices cookbook. I was pleased it included wholemeal flour. Given that the yoghurt seemed quite sweet, I cut the amount of sugar in half.

Sylvia helped with baking the cake. She loves to tip in the flour and have a stir. I have to watch she doesn't just flick all the batter out of the bowl. I was glad to get the cake in the oven and start making the pizza. I was so behind that I even put the cake in the fridge while we ate pizza to cool it a bit before I added the frosting.

I found a frosting recipe I had used for a wholemeal chocolate cake that didn't make oodles of frosting and didn't use truckloads of sugar. The beetroot powder made a beautiful bold pink colour. In future I should remember to sift the powder which has got a little lumpy over the time since I have opened it. Lastly I decided to decorate with blueberries. Sylvia helped to put the blueberries on the cake and if you look at the top picture you might spot where she put them.

The cake was a success. We lit the two candles for Sylvia and sang her happy birthday - one of her current favourite songs that she loves to sing. She refused to blow out the candles, despite enjoying blowing out candles on my birthday. Contrary child! She ate quite a bit of cake. So did E and I.

I found it slightly bland on the first night and thought a little vanilla might pep it up. It wasn't very sweet nor strongly flavoured. However, unusually for cakes, I thought the flavour and texture improved over the next couple of days.

Maybe Sylvia agreed because she started to try eating the frosting on the second day. You can see the tracks of her curious finger in the above photo. She also enjoyed the blueberries. E thought it was such a good cake he asked if he could have this cake for his birthday.

We have a few pieces left in the freezer but I am yet to defrost and check how they travel. I froze the leftover cake when I made another cake for family and friends on the weekend. Coming to the blog in the next few days.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Each Peach - baby blocks and ice cream that rocks
This time two years ago: Hospital food and mum’s cooking
This time three years ago: My Friend the Chocolate Cake

Banana and berry yoghurt cake
adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly Cakes and Slices cookbook
  • 125g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml berry yoghurt
  • 2 bananas (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 cup white self raising flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
adapted from here
  • 125g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp beetroot powder (optional - you could also used food colouring if you want it pink)
  • blueberries, for decoration
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Add yoghurt, vanilla and bananas. Mix well. 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 and beetroot powder. Spread over the top of the cake and decorate with a ring of blueberries around the border of the cake.

On the stereo:
Si vis pacem para bellum: Striider, Strydwolf


  1. Happy birthday to the gorgeous (and quickly growing!) Sylvia! Love the blueberry placements - the girl's got style ;) And isn't it lovely when someone ask for a repeat of a recipe - you know they're not just being polite then!

  2. What a beautiful cake for a beautiful little girl- Happy Birthday to Sylvia!

  3. Oh goodness, Johanna, that cake sounds delightful. The pink frosting is "the icing on the cake." The depth of color is amazing...

    My grand-daughter, Tabitha, went through a brief pink stage. Now that she's eight, she has broadened her color spectrum, thankfully:)

    I love the way you handled those geese, I'm sure you'll be teaching Sylvia one day. She's getting so big. I love the picture with her holding that chunk of cake in her chubby little hands:)

    Thank you so much for sharing. I'm so sorry I just haven't gotten to the post office yet. I'll try this week...

  4. What a great birthday cake and sounds like a lot of fun was had at the park ;0)

  5. Beetroot powder? How intriguing! Where did you find it?

  6. Aww this post made me smile so much! She's so adorable and I love how she just yelled out banana a few times! I like to think she understood the question :P

  7. Lovely cake! And the combination of berry and banana sounds delicious. I love how Sylvia's hand appears to be reaching for the cake in the first photo. :) I now think I must go out and get beet powder!

  8. So. Cute! Happy belated birthday, Sylvia!

  9. Happy Birthday Sylvia. Haven't the last two years flown by?

    Beautiful cake!

  10. Happy birthday Sylvia! I hope you enjoyed the cake that Mum made for you - it certainly sounds yummy, and is so pretty with its pink frosting - just like your lovely dress. Glad you had fun on the fings and watching the birdies.

  11. Thanks Hannah - I was impressed with Sylvia's blueberry decoration and she loved doing it

    thanks Nupur - she is gorgeous if I do say so myself

    thanks louise - no rush - and I feel entitled to dress sylvia in colours other than pink because I know that if she wants she will wear enough pink later in her life - so many girls do

    Thanks Chele - was glad we got to the park because as I still need to post, the next park outing that was cancelled

    Thanks Lisa - herbies beetroot powder but the place where I bought it has closed - I saw someone cooking with herbies on the telly and wondered if it might make it easier to find the spice range - it is amazing

    Thanks Lorraine - I like to think she chose her banana cake too but who knows what goes on inside a 2 year olds head (or anyone's for that matter)

    Thanks Ricki - yes that little hand is quick to reach out - and I am sure you would love beet powder - so nice to use a food colouring that you know wont have them bouncing off the walls

    Thanks Anh - isn't she!

    Thanks Helen - the time has flown - hard to believe she is no longer my little baby

    Thanks Cakelaw - Sylvia would like to say that nothing like fings birdie and pink cake for a birthday - but she would probably be too shy to tell you :-)

  12. So sweet. Happy Birthday little one.
    (and that beetroot powder is an awesome colour!)

  13. Love that dress - so pretty!

    Delighted Sylvia liked her birthday cake.

  14. Happy Birthday Sylvia! I know what you mean about the pink - I'm not much of a pink person but occasionally it's fabulous, and your frosting certainly is all out pink! The cake looks delicious too, really moist.

  15. I love the sound of this cake, but I love the photo of Sylvia holding her piece of cake even more!! Great idea to use beetroot powder in the frosting.


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