December 30, 2008

Sticky Birthday, Gingerbread Houses, and Rainbow Cake


I thought it would be nice to have lunch out at the orchard to celebrate Ben's 6th birthday on 29th of December, but again, weather permitted. And yet, we're tucked in inside while rain was pouring gently outside.

We started with grilled capsicum stuffed with basil pesto (handfuls of basil, toasted pinenuts, garlic, olive oil, feta cheese, and freshly cracked black pepper), accompanied by cheese and crackers. Then, we moved on to the main dishes, just a usual home-kill mutton roast with spices (make a paste of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves of garlic, turmeric, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), salt and pepper, sauteed with a little olive oil, brown the mutton leg to seal the goodness inside, and pop into the oven bag, roast slowly--took me from dawn to the serving time to roast this mutton. Mind you, I use the oven to bake some macarons in between the use). I think everyone love the flavour in the meat and the tenderness of it with crusty skin (I unwrapped the oven bag just 1 hour before the serving and popped it into the oven at 160C together with the par-boiled vegies to roast together). John also home-smoked our home-kill chicken as well, so that was double delish, I suppose.

Ben said to me the other day "Thank you for making my boat cake, Mum. It is nice." And now it is the time for him to blow the candles out. The fave task he always is looking forward since two-three months of reminders.

Rainbow Cake Slice copyright Arfi Binsted 2008

Along with his boat cake, the adults enjoyed Rainbow Cake, which is adapted from Donna Hay's magazine. She used 8 eggs for three layers cakes, but I used 9 in total. I am not really good at making layered cakes in one batter for different colours when they are supposed to be divided into triple tins. It's okay to make them all together when they are all plain, but when they are added with colouring or even added with cocoa powder, I am not so sure if I can do it. So, okay. I made a little bit of adjustments, with mixing 3 eggs for each layer and converted it with the other ingredients. I also use raspberry paste I made myself the other day to be added to the pink one, and reduce about 2 tablespoons of the measure flour for cocoa powder. I'll give you Donna's recipe in the end of the post.

duo ice cream2 duo ice cream

I also made homemade ice creams for desserts. Duo ice cream I call it. I made raspberry ice cream, freshly picked from our garden, and the other one is the old-fashioned vanilla ice cream. The children fancied the ice creams, so that was their desserts alongside the berries.

Snowy Village

The biggest hit of the get together was the time when the aunties joint a helping hand to stick their fingers building the gingerbread houses. I baked 2 medium houses and the other 2 smaller ones to construct. I also made the rabbits and butterflies with Sarah just a day before the celebration day. Keeping them in the tin makes them stay fresh.

sticky time Final Touch

Gingerbread Houses

I think there's sort of creative minds and imaginations involved to make it come true. Not a dream, really but just creations. And, communication. I believe you can see one's characteristic from such task. Everyone will come up with a different idea, styles, and creativity. Mind you, there's always a child within you, isn't there?

Believe me, making gingerbread house is fun to involve yourself with the whole family or with friends. Have a look at the larger version of our gingerbread house last year we constructed with my American friend Ellen Granger and her little children. You may find the recipe for the gingerbread house as well if you follow the link. I like using that recipe for it is easier (just like when you make playdough) and makes strong biscuits for the houses.

Rainbow Cake copyright Arfi Binsted 2008

Donna's Rainbow Cake

Source: Donna Hay Magazine. Issue 41. October/November 2008.

8 eggs
220g caster sugar
200g self-rising flour, sifted
100g butter, melted
2 Tbs cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 tsp pink food colouring
strawberries, to serve

Cream Cheese frosting
100g butter, softened
500g cream cheese
320g icing sugar mixture (I just use icing sugar, and I add lemon juice)

My adjustments

Vanilla layer
3 eggs
about less than 1/4 cup caster sugar (not fancy too sugary cakes)
about 60g self-rising flour
about 30g-32g melted butter
vanilla essence

Raspberry layer
3 eggs
about less than 1/4 cup caster sugar (not fancy too sugary cakes)
about 60g self-rising flour
about 30g-32g melted butter
homemade raspberry paste (about 2 tsp) (made from pureed raspberry cooked with cornflour until thick)

Chocolate layer
3 eggs
about less than 1/4 cup caster sugar (not fancy too sugary cakes)
about 60g self-rising flour (replace 2 Tbs of flour with cocoa powder)
about 30g-32g melted butter
vanilla essence


Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare the triplet cake tins, lined with baking paper. Beat the eggs and sugar until pale, thick and tripled in volume. Fold in the flour and butter (and the essence, or paste) gently. Pour into the tins, level. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until springy to the touch.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until pale and creamy, about 6-8 minutes (mine is about 5 minutes). Beat in the icing sugar until light and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes more. (At this stage, I squeezed in fresh lemon juice, just to taste).

When the cake is cooled, put the chocolate layer on the serving plate. Spread with 1/4 of the frosting, topped with the raspberry layer, spread again with the same amount of frosting, topped with the vanilla layer. Spread with the remaining frosting and cover all the sides of the cake with it. I arranged the homegrown strawberries and raspberries on top. The slightly tartness of raspberries make a good combination of the richness of cream cheese frosting. Serves 10 (actually, it is depending on the thickness of the slices, really. This cake is quite rich, so thin slices with sliced berries will be just right for us).


Scott at Real Epicurean said...

The gingerbread houses look fantastic - I must be getting old, this kind of stuff appeals to me more and more!

Indonesia-Eats said...

Happy Birthday, Ben!
Complete menus from your own farms to the kitchen

Barbara said...

Happy BIrthday Ben.
What a lovely party. Such wonderful food Arfi.

Peter G said...

You've captured everything so beautifully Arfi! Wishing Ben a happy b'day and all the best for you and your family in 2009!

Sofie said...

Happy b'day buat Ben..
Keren banget tuh rumah jahenya ditaburi "salju".
Kemaren sy juga udah bikin mba, ternyata emang seru!. Mampir ke blog sy yaa.. :D

sunita said...

I adore your gingerbread houses.

Happy birthday to dear Ben and a happy new year to all of you :-)

ellentakdir said...

happy b'day ben....nice party
the cake so colorful
happy new year for u and family....

Susan from Food Blogga said...

It looks like the perfect birthday, Arfi! And Ben is just adorable blowing out those candles. Thanks for sharing the sweetness. And may you and yours have a happy and healthy new year!

Mandira said...

Happy Birthday Ben, the cake is gorgeous! happy new year to you and your family Arfi! Looking forward to many delicious posts in 2009.

eliza said...

happy birthday utk Ben! kue ultahnya pas deh, warna warni spt itu. seru banget yg bikin gingerbread, berapa banyak pake confectioners' sugar tuh? ;)

Y said...

Everything looks amazing! That cake is absolutely perfect. Happy Birthday to Ben! :)

Soma said...

How beautiful are ur gingerbread houses... its like a pretty scene & very lovely cake too.

Happy Birthday & Happy New year to all of u!!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Happy Birthday Ben. Allhumdulliah, Pics show you had big fun blast on your birthday. Happy New Year to you and your family Arfi.

Jescel said...

Those gingerbread houses are so cute.. and the rainbow! Ben is a lucky kid to have such a creative mom! Happy New Year!

Ivy said...

Belated Happy Birthday wishes for Ben and Happy New Year to you and your family. The gingerbread house is beautiful and a lot of work in it but I am impressed with the rainbow cake.

Kevin said...

That cake looks good!

bee said...

happy new year to you and your family, dear arfi.

syrie said...

Simply gorgeous. Hope you and your family have a fantastic 2009!

Vij said...

Outstanding pics! Hope you guys had a blast! Happy 2009 arfi!

Jeena said...

Happy new year.

Your cake looks so lovely with all those different layers. :-)

linda said...

Happy belated birthday to your little big boy!
You did a lot of baking. Looks like a regular gingerbread village!
The rainbow cake looks very pretty!

Yasmeen said...

May Allah shower His choicest blessings on your little one.You always make the best,Arfi:)

Aparna said...

The concentrated effort while blowing out the candles and the happioness on eating his ice-cream on your son's face are priceless.

And I just love your gingerbread houses and that lovely cake. I shall keep this different coloured layer cake in mind.

Happy cook said...

Happy Birthday to Ben.
And a very happy newyear to all of you.

Sophie said...

The rainbow cake is gorgeous; I love the fun colors. The gingerbread houses are just as fun :)!

Lidia Sianturi said...

Happy bday buat Ben..rainbow cakenya bikin ngiler...salam kenal mb Arfi..

Sweet.Hearts said...

Oh the rainbow cake look so AWESOME!!
Will try it out. Thanks for your comment at the forum! This really helped :)