Cooking Books: Julia, Child and Chocolate Almond Cupcakes Recipe

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

As a child I was a total bookworm. I remember the excitement of being a kid and piling up 20 books from the library and lugging them home with my mom. We were surrounded by books as children and my favourites were always the ones with beautiful drawings of cakes or pastries or elaborate meals, or pictures of bears dispensing ice cream-like honey, or Cookie Monster ravaging a plate piled high of pink cookies. Later, when picture books morphed into junior novels then regular old booky books, it was always the pages-long descriptions of what was laid on the table at supper, from starched tablecloth to the shine of silverware to the clinking of crystal to the glugging of glasses being filled to sloshing. Now, as a mother myself, I see what a cool move that was of my mom to get us into reading! It’s that love of books that I see thusfar in my two year old son. Reading time mellows him right down as he immediately gets engrossed, points to things, practices his words, asks questions and laughs.

Julia, Child children's book chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

This book! Julia, Child by Kiyo Maclear and illustrations by Vancouver artist Julie Morstad – it’s all the things I remember loving about reading, all rolled into one beautifully illustrated book about friendship, the magic of childhood, trying, failing and trying again – and cooking, of course! Teddy loves the book too – especially the page of cooking disasters – a flopping over tiered cake, an escaping octopus, a deflated omelette! Then, a magical baking experiment – chocolate almond cupcakes with delicious chocolate centers. Those cupcakes inspired me to make some of my own! I came up with a chocolate almond cupcakes recipe thanks to both Julia Child herself and that devilishly sensuous Nigella.

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

My sweet memories of children’s books likely explains my love for my friend Danielle’s blog - This Picture Book Life! Her blog is so sweet, clever and fun – a blog that “explores picture books—their art, their makers, the stuff they illuminate, and all the exuberant wonderfulness they contain.” In a blogosphere stuffed with craft/DIY/food blogs (ha – all my faves) – her blog is refreshingly genuine and heartfelt. I’ve found lots of great new authors through it, and today she’s posting about Julia, Child too! Sweet!

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

I admit my kitchen looked very similar to Julia and Simca’s kitchen while I was making these cupcakes. Pots and pans flying everywhere, chopped chocolate, egg shells strewn on the counter, piles of bowls, and drips of batter on the floor. It was childlike chaos, and I laughed at the similarities. In the end however, out of the oven came these delicate, totally sunken in chocolate almond cupcakes, with a rich chocolate gooey texture. I filled the centers with chocolate pastry cream, sprinkled them with toasted almonds and dug right in, like a delighted child. The recipe is gluten-free, using almond flour (ground almonds). The cupcakes are very fragile, and best served with a spoon on a fancy plate.

Illustrations from Julia, Child by Kiyo Maclear and Julie Morstad

Chocolate Almond Cupcakes With Chocolate Pastry Cream

2 dozen cupcakes

For The Cupcakes

  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs

For The Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ tablespoon flour
  • ¾ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate

For The Almonds

  • ¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped

Make The Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Gently oil the top of the cupcake pans and line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk cocoa powder with the boiling water until you have a smooth, thick and creamy chocolate paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the almond meal with the baking soda and salt.
  3. Place the sugar, oil and eggs into the bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on high until thick and creamy, about three minutes.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture until combined.
  5. Add the almond flour mixture until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl, about one minute.
  6. Using a medium sized ice cream scoop, dole out the cake mixture and fill the cupcake liners just over half full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes – cupcakes will rise, and fall again.
  8. Let them cool in the pans.

 

Make The Chocolate Pastry Cream

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a low boil.
  3. Whisk half of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then add the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
  4. Cook the pastry cream over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick – about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Remove the pastry cream from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. The chocolate will melt into the hot pastry cream. Whisk to combine.
  6. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and power-chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, or let cool in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
  7. Dollop two tablespoons of chocolate pastry cream into the sunken chocolate almond cupcakes.
  8. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and finish with a fresh berry.

Toast The Almonds

  1. Place almonds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes (watch they don’t burn!) Let cool until crispy, then chop.

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

Do you have a favourite children’s book from your childhood, or one your child loves now? I’d love to hear! Happy baking, everyone! xo Lyndsay 

Image from Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear. Text copyright © 2014 by Kyo Maclear, Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Morstad. Reprinted by permission of Tundra Books, a division of Random House of Canada, a Penguin Random House company. All rights reserved.

Hey Sungy – It’s Your Birthday! Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Recipe

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

38 years of Chinese sweet crazy lady livin’ on this planet, guys. I turned 38 over the weekend and destiny called: the universe told me I had to make the most epic peanut butter chocolate cake recipe I could possibly muster. How could I say no!? Peanut butter and chocolate is my deadly kryptonite, sparkling green-bright, cartoon pain crystals on another planet waiting to take me down. I wanted creamy salty sweet peanut butter frosting, rich dark chocolate cake layers and I wanted to STUFF this muthah with peanut butter cups. Then, I looked to my fave cake sistah from another mistah, Katherine Sabbath, for design inspiration – drips, shards and sweet little brightly coloured meringue kisses!

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

For the chocolate cake, I wanted to try something different from my usual recipe. Years ago my mother-in-law gave me The Barefoot Contessa At Home. How LOVEABLE is Ina Garten! Like a warm hug on a cold day, I used to cozy up to her show, dreaming of having a big gorgeous house with a bright and fancy kitchen. I found it so soothing and relaxing to watch. Ina and Jeffrey = dream team! I like to imagine them cuddling the shit out of each other on a perfectly comfy taupe couch while dining on crisp roast capon. I’d forgotten about Ina’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake Recipe until I came across it again on The Vanilla Bean Blog while searching for recipes. It did not fail me. The texture was so tender and springy I wanted to punch the air in CAKE VICTORY. The layers were deeply chocolate with a hint of coffee flavour.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Another year older – another year cram jammed full of life. So here it is: the motherload of cakes, the cake my husband told me “I think this might be the best cake you’ve ever made” … a little something for you all. Let’s celebrate!!! With this peanut butter chocolate cake recipe and a lifetime hashtag of #muffintop4evah.

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

12 slices

For The Chocolate Cake

Adapted slightly from The Barefoot Contessa
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup of Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used two shots of espresso topped up with hot water equal to 1 cup)
 

For The Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of supermarket peanut butter (I used Kraft smooth peanut butter)
  • 2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • dash of milk
  • 2 packages of Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped

For The Chocolate Glaze

  • ½ cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, diced into small pieces

Make The Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 7-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper circles.

  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Make The Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on high speed for 1 minute.
  2. Scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the icing sugar, vanilla and dash of milk, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the first cake layer from the cake pan and place on a cake plate or pedestal. Frost generously with peanut butter frosting. Read here for how to frost a cake. 
  4. Add one half of the chopped peanut butter cups on top of the frosting, pressing down into the frosting.
  5. Add the second layer, frost, fill with peanut butter cups.
  6. Add the final layer of cake, frosting the top and sides to a crumb coat.
  7. Chill in freezer for ten minutes to set crumb coat.
  8. Frost a final coat of peanut butter frosting and set aside.

Make The Glaze

  1. Using a bain-marie or heatproof bowl set on top of boiling water, melt together the butter and chocolate.
  2. Mix together slowly with a wooden spoon.
  3. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes; it will thicken slightly. Pour on top of peanut butter frosting covered cake, using an offset spatula to gently ice the glaze to the edges of the cake for maximum dripping.
  4. Top the cake with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups, meringue kisses, chocolate shards or sprinkles.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Chop those Reese’s peanut butter cups! I ate quite a few of these chopped pieces. Sheesh.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Frost the first layer and stud the whole thing with peanut butter cup pieces.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Place the next layer on top and continue your cake journey.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Cram it full of cups!

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Put a lid on it.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Get ready to frost the whole thing!

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

The crumb of this cake is a bit on the tender side so the crumb coat will get “crumby.” Don’t worry though. Chill the cake in the freezer for ten minutes to set the crumb coat.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Remove the chilled cake and cover with a final layer of peanut butter frosting.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Hakuna matata, am I right! Cake looks great!

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Oh drippy glaze. You kill me with your beautiful drips every time. Use an offset spatula to gently spread it out to the edges.

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

Let it be, drips! Let it BE!

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

Then top with the cutest stuff ever, such as meringue kisses in bright and smurfy colours, and dark chocolate shards covered in sprinkles. Don’t worry, I have a meringue kisses tutorial coming up real soon on Coco Cake Land!

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

coco cake land's birthday party with three cakes

Ahhhh … all the hard cake making work was worth it … especially when my SISTER showed up with her own aqua ombré cake she made based on my own tutorials… CUTE! And my husband surprised me with my favourite cake – Dairy Queen ice cream cake with Garfield. Ha! Oh man I was spoiled. It was a very happy moment for me.

chocolate peanut butter cake slice - coco cake land

And … finally … a slice of this dark and delicious beauty of a beast. I had a pretty fantastic birthday. I’ll miss being 37, but I’ve gotta accept 38 because it’s here – just like I have to accept every year I turn another year older. Every year I think I do get both a little wiser and a little stupider. Some memories slip away while newer ones are being made. Another year of experiences or hardships or sweet moments – I store them all in my head like a teen diary. I try to laugh every day, eat something I like, and get as many hugs as I can out of my two year old son. I try to connect with friends, make sure my family knows I love them and learn just a little something new. That’s all I’ve got for you, at 38, guys! That, and I guess this crazy good peanut butter chocolate cake recipe too. xo Lyndsay

Party Like It’s 1994 – Pink Rosette Cake + A High School Reunion

pink rosette cake slices - coco cake land

Cakes with roses remind me of high school. Sheet cakes with electric blue borders and custard filling, Safeway cakes with hastily piped roses, cheesy flowers like the carnations and baby’s breath I had delivered to the ex-boyfriend who crushed my heart after I heard he broke his leg during a football game.

pink rosette cake - coco cake land

Memory one: using my sister’s expired passport to get into Starship Nighclub on Kingsway in Vancouver. I wore sheer black Betsey Johnson pants with a large pink floral print, giant hoop earrings and a half top. We bought orange juice at Safeway for mix and chugged it in the car while my girlfriends smoked cigarettes. Why are teens in such a terrible urge to grow up? If I could tell my teenage self to cool it, I would’ve. It was always such a push and pull between childhood and adulthood for me.

pink rosette cake slices - coco cake land

Memory two: the taste of my after school snack. Every day we’d get off the bus and stop at 7-11 and I’d get a bag of salty Sun Chips, a pink lemonade (some weird Canadian brand) and either a sleeve of white powdered mini donuts or a package of Hostess cupcakes, the chocolate one with “creme” filling and the white swirl on top. My metabolism was on fire in those days.

a wedge of pink rosette cake - coco cake land

Memory three: Being voraciously hungry/thirsty after basketball practice and coming home from school and pouring the largest glass of milk possible. Chugging it and ruining my appetite for my mom’s ground beef spaghetti and iceberg lettuce with watery-sweet Catalina dressing.

pink rosette cake decorated buttercream cake

So yeah … I survived my 20 year high school reunion over the weekend. It was the most surreal experience. I was nervous going – clammy hands, even. Would the bitches still be bitches? Would my old crushes look like shit? Would people hate ME for some reason?? I was throttled with high school-y like thoughts and obsessions. I had skipped the 10 year reunion because at the time it hadn’t been long enough since high school ended. I was a “different person”, I’d discovered feminism and critical theory – basically I thought I had moved on and was too cool. But 20 years later, as I approach my 38th birthday, with a husband of 8 years and a 2 year old son and 20 years of life-living between me and high school, this time I was drawn to it and I wasn’t sure why.

pink rosette cake slices - coco cake land

It turned out to be soooo hilariously fun, deeply surreal, like stepping into a time warp. Seeing some of my old friends, it felt like yesterday. I sweated through my chambray shirt ripping it up HARD on the dancefloor to some brutal 90s tunes. I hugged and took pictures with everyone. I drove home happy and finished the banh mi that was waiting for me in the fridge. I was fraught with feelings afterward – like, why did that affect me so much? Why did seeing all my old boyfriends bring back giddy emotions, from disgust to giggly fondness?

pink rosette cake slices - coco cake land

For the days after the reunion my brain was fritzing with memory after memory, washing back up onto shore like long lost message bottles. So I processed the shit out of my feelings and came up with this: As a teen, you’re a disgusting cocktail of hormones, explosive emotions, anxiety and insecurity. Every feeling and emotion dug me out with a spoon so deeply, whether they were happy or sad -as a teenager (basically a child), you have no perspective. Everything is SO IMPORTANT. So my memories have scarred me. But now I can finally wear those scars happily and I can look back fondly. My high school experience is like a Safeway sheet cake – oily, sweet, with prettiness and surprises inside, bad for you, nostalgic and addictive. Pass me a plastic fork and I’ll dig right in.

Lomelino’s Cakes: Raspberry Brownie Cake Recipe

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

Hazy, pretty, pink – like looking through clouds – this is what one bite of this raspberry brownie cake, frosted in smooth, lightly sweet and airy raspberry meringue buttercream topped with a shiny chocolate glaze will do to your vision. I’ve known Linda of Call Me Cupcake as an online cake friend for many years now – I’ve seen her go from tiny Flickr account to discovering and honing her style to massive internet overtaking thanks to her INSANE talent. She has the ability to create achingly beautiful, cry-worthy-they’re-so-good photographs of perfectly styled cakes, desserts, bread, anything. A picture of her HAND touching a cup of coffee is spectacular. She’s just that brilliant. (I have an interview with her coming up for my series Sugar Crush, too!)

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

She just released her THIRD book in Sweden – this woman is a creative typhoon – and her first book, Lomelino’s Cakes, has been translated to English and released in North America – now us English-speaking hillbillies can get in the kitchen and bake up some of her beautiful recipes.

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

Flipping through the pages of her book, the raspberry brownie cake recipe caught my eye. While making it, I found the process wonderfully methodical and meditative. There are several steps, which forced me to slow it down (I’m so used to slamming together my own anciently-memorized cakes) and read ingredients, follow steps and put it all together.

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

I realized this is the sheer beauty of cookbooks, and this book in particular. Creating individual components and having little victories – like my meringue whipping properly, or bringing my buttercream back to life after it broke (there are tips in the book to fix such things!) or my chocolate glaze coming together shinily and smoothly. Then, bringing all the components together in a perfectly realized cake: deep brownie layers studded with tart raspberries, light buttery raspberry frosting and that thick creamy chocolate glaze dripping happily down the sides. If baking could be mindful meditation, I’d call the recipes in Lomelino’s Cakes ”cake yoga.” So set aside an afternoon for yourself, crank up a podcast, choose an occasion or just bake for the hell of it – then dive in to this raspberry brownie cake.

Raspberry Brownie Cake

12 slices

For The Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 1¼ cups light brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Dutch process)
  • 1 teaspoon baking bowder
  • 3½ ounces raspberries, I used fresh but frozen can be substituted

For the Meringue Buttercream

  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3½ ounces raspberries
  • small amount of pink gel food colouring

For The Chocolate Glaze

  • 3½ ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • ½ stick unsalted butter

Make The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter and flour three 7-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper circles.
  3. Cut the butter into cubes, and coarsely chop the chocolate. Melt the butter and chocolate together at low heat in a large saucepan. Let cool.
  4. Beat the light brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs until light and airy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  6. Pour the chocolate and butter mixture into the sugar and egg mixture, and beat to a smooth batter. Sift in the dry ingredients, and mix until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans, and level the surface with an offset spatula. Press a portion of the raspberries into each cake layer; set aside the remainder for decoration.
  7. Bake the layers for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs.

Make The Meringue Buttercream

  1. Pour the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Place it on top of a double boiler over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continually until the mixture reaches 150 degrees Farenheit or the sugar crystals have dissolved. Remove the bowl from heat.
  2. Continue to beat the mixture with an electric beater or hand mixer until it is as white and fluffy as a meringue. Beat until the mixture is cool, up to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter a little at a time. After all the butter has been incorporated, beat for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Purée the raspberries in a blender. Press the purée through a fine mesh to remove the seeds.
  5. Mix the purée with the buttercream, beating until smooth. Add a tiny amount of gel colour to make it more pink.

Make The Glaze

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and dice the butter.
  2. Carefully melt the butter with the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, and let it cool. The glaze will thicken somewhat but still be fluid.
  3. Once you’ve frosted and filled the cake, add the glaze on top and garnish with the remaining raspberries.

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

Are you dying of dreamy cake-ness yet? Well you’re in luck… To celebrate Linda’s sweet North American book release, I’m giving one lucky reader a hot ‘n fresh copy of Lomelino’s Cakes! Simply leave a comment below telling me what your dream cake flavour is, and what city and country you live in. GIVEAWAY open worldwide and the contest closes November 18th 2014 – Contest is now closed. The winner is: EFI from Athens, Greece (winner drawn at random!) Please email me at lyndsay (at) cococake (dot) com to claim your prize!

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

Many congratulations, sweet Linda, on the release of your book in North America! xo Lyndsay

Raspberry brownie cake recipe from Lomelino’s Cakes by Linda Lomelino, © 2014 by Linda Lomelino. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.

Look Who’s Talking Four: Pineapple Cake

pineapple cake face - coco cake land

Look who’s back… back again! Look who’s back … tell a friend! Pineapple cake, pineapple cake, pineapple cake.

pineapple cake face - coco cake land

These pineapple eyes are smillin’… Sunglasses or not, dude’s a total fruity party animal.

pineapple cake face - coco cake land

Where the pineapple goes, the party goes. CONFETTTTTTTI!!! Flowers, paper bits, whatever ya got!

pineapple cake face - coco cake land

Happy 2nd birthday sweet little Flora! You are an adorable doll! Thanks to mama Elizabeth for the order. Elizabeth is co-creator of a sweet event planning biz here in Vancouver – Double Fantasy. It’s run by artists so you know “u can’t touch this.” Check out their blog to feel the brutally cool vibe. 

Things I’m lovin’ on:

This is a painting. My brain and stomach are so confused!

I just discovered Love, Cake and I’m in …. love!?

These little dudes made me laugh – probably because my 2 year old is weirdly obsessed with touching cacti.

Captivated with this chilling podcast. Are you listening to Serial yet? (PS can I say how much I hate the word podcast? It reminds me of alien body snatchers.)

I love how some people can look at a giant cardboard box and turn it into this cuteness.

Happy pineapple cake face almost-weekend, everyone! xo Lyndsay 

Pretty Palette: Rainbow Petal Cake

rainbow petal cake - coco cake land

rainbow petal cake - coco cake land

I made this cutie-pie tri-coloured petal cake and cute little matching mini cupcakes for Alice to celebrate the upcoming birth of her second babe. I have some thoughts about the petal cake which I will relay here: Man alive, it takes a while to pipe and pull, switch colours, pipe and pull, switch colours and keep on keepin’ on ’til the whole cake is done. I kept singing Patience by Guns N Roses, with memories of my friend Ann’s grade 7 graduation party, slow-dancing in the basement with a boy crush, my hair all crunchy from my hairsprayed poodle perm and just FEELING those lyrics. And I was feeling those lyrics big time once again while piping this cake:

“All we need is just a little patience

(patience)

Mm, yeah…”

Yes, it takes a while to make this petal cake. But I thought it was totally worth it – and imagine all of the colours you can make it! Colour palette ideas galore! In fact, you can even use the petal technique and make it into a fish cake, like I did, hehe!

mini raspberry cupcakes - coco cake land

Alice’s baby shower colours were mint green, lavender, gold and white so I rolled with that colour theme. Loved the colour theme. Totally sweet.

rainbow petal cake - coco cake land

I love finishing any cake with a single berry, or candy, or flag – the cake itself was earl grey and the cupcakes vanilla raspberry – but I just had to get all matchy-matchy on the cake so I added the raspberry. Pretty, simple and now the cake and cupcakes were a family with their raspberry badges.

mini raspberry cupcakes - coco cake land

Have you tried the petal cake technique? All you need is a piping bag fitted with an open circle tip (or three piping bags fitted with three open circle tips, in my case!) and a small offset spatula. Visit this tutorial from The Cake Blog, or there’s also this great video of an ombré cake version from the Boy Who Bakes which really lays it down pat! Thanks again Alice for the fun order – and all the best with baby #2! xo Lyndsay 

Totoro Week Gone Wild: How To Make A Catbus Cake

cat bus cake - coco cake land

cat bus cake - coco cake land

Catbus may very well be the ultimate feline party train – a flying fat cat faced furry magical bus that flies through the air, splaying eight fluffy spider-like legs, transporting sad children to catch a glimpse of their ill mother who is recovering in hospital. Continuing my celebratory snack attack EDIBLE TOTORO WEEK with I Am A Food Blog, I present to you: CATBUS CAKE!

drawing of miyazaki cat bus

You Will Need:

  • 1 recipe for a cake of your choice baked in a  loaf pan (I used a 9 x 5 x 3 inch) and cooled completely.
  • 2 cups of vanilla buttercream, tinted a slight yellow/orange
  • 2 cups of chocolate buttercream
  • An offset spatula
  • 2 piping bags fitted with a multi opening tip 
  • wooden BBQ skewers
  • 1 inch ball of yellow fondant
  • 1/2 inch ball of orange fondant
  • 4 inch ball of white fondant
  • 1 inch ball of black fondant
  • Rolling pin
  • Small amount of cornstarch
  • A paring knife or pizza cutter
  • Piping tips in two sizes to use as small circle cutters
  • A cake board or large plate. I used a 10 inch round cake board.

frosting a loaf cake - cat bus cake

Step One

Carefully remove your loaf shaped cake from the pan. Begin spreading it generously with buttercream.

crumb coating a cat bus cake

Step Two

Cover the entire cake with buttercream – don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfectly frosted because you’ll be piping on top of it.

cat bus cake fondant details

Step Three

Make your fondant details. Using the white fondant, make two triangles for the catbus ears. Cut a wooden skewer in two and place a triangle on each skewer. Roll out a log-like piece for the catbus tail. Using your rolling pin, roll out the remaining white fondant. Using the pizza cutter, slice rectangular “windows” in even sizes. Finally, Cut out a banana-like shape for the smiley teeth – indent teeth marks by gently pressing down with a paring knife (without cutting through). Make an upside down triangle catbus nose using the orange fondant. Roll out the yellow fondant and punch out two large eyes and a “slit” like shape for the cat’s pupil. Roll out the black fondant and punch out black circles for the irises. Adhere it all together with a tiny amount of water. Roll the remaining black fondant into cat whiskers!

cat bus cake face

Step Four

Place the eyes and teeth on the designated front of the loaf cake by gently pressing into the buttercream. Insert the ears.

cat bus cake - windows

Press the windows into the sides of the cake.

cat bus cake supplies

Place the “tail” on the cake board. Get your piping bags ready!

cat bus cake - piping chocolate frosting

Step Five

Pipe an inverted triangle shape of chocolate buttercream onto the face of the catbus.

cat bus cake - piping chocolate frosting

Step Six

Continue piping the entire top of the catbus with the chocolate buttercream.

cat bus cake - piping chocolate frosting

Pipe a line of chocolate buttercream across the side, underneath the windows!

cat bus cake - piping chocolate frosting

Pipe around the edges of the ears!

cat bus cake - piping chocolate frosting

Step Seven

Using the tinted buttercream, fill in the rest of CATBUS! Give him fur, people! Let him live!!

how to make a cat bus cake

Pipe the tail, too! Finally, place the nose and the whiskers on his face!

stamped speech bubbles - cat bus cake

I made a few speech bubbly hand stamped signs for my Catbus Cake! GET ON MY BUS! (no presh). I also hand drew a fat and funny Totoro! You can also make a Totoro out of fondant, too!

smiling cat bus cake on cake stand

CATBUS!

totoro drawing cake topper - coco cake land

STUNNED TOTORO!

cat bus cake - coco cake land

cat bus cake - coco cake land

Slice in before CATBUS cruises off!

cat bus cake - coco cake land

More Totoro-ness: 

Steph’s black sesame Totoro donuts!

The green tea catbus cake I made for my nephew years ago!

Totoro Macarons! this is a sweet and easy-to-follow video via Nerdy Nummies, just found this gal! Awesome stuff!

How To Make A Totoro Cake - my post earlier this week!

Steph’s SUPER KAWAII Totoro jalapeno grilled cheesies!

Way back in 2009 when I made a million felt Totoros and my first fondant cake for my nephew’s 1st Totoro birthday!

Totoro SPAM MUSUBI!

The original catbus cake that inspired this tutorial!

Happy Totoro cake making, everyone! xo Lyndsay 

Gimme Gimme Ghibli: Totoro Cake Tutorial

totoro cake - coco cake land

It’s TOTORO WEEK! Self proclaimed by myself and my fellow Asian Vancouver love-her-to-bacon-bits blogger Steph of I Am A Food Blog. To celebrate, I made for you a Totoro cake tutorial!

Totoro Cake with paper confetti - Coco Cake Land tutorial

For some reason I’ve been humbuggy about Halloween posts this year. Maybe it’s because I bought a 128 piece box of Halloween candy and have been mindlessly scarfing candy after candy and feeling like a bloated chumpkin (that’s Chinese pumpkin) so secretly hating the “holiday” that’s brought the muffin top on. Or maybe I’m in denial that the seasons truly snowball into each other and suddenly there’s Halloween posts everywhere crammed down my face and I don’t like to be rushed. Like, I still have records and my VHS tapes I want to hold on to, mini hoarder style, and I still have my Betsey Johnson crepe silk flowery peter-pan collar grunge-era dress from grade 10. Oh – and my 20 year high school reunion is coming up so I file that under a What-The-Fuzz is happening. So I say: Father Time, while you are intent on making me old and grey and making my life go by ultra fast, I will still forever be frozen in time arrested development zonkbonked out by SUPER KAWAII CUTE CHILDRENLAND things like the fuzzy, bizarro, a little bit scary but fat and cute, sort of owl/cat/raccoon-y creature, oversized and cuddly TOTORO.

totoro cake animated gif - coco cake land

So join me in never growing up! Let’s make a Totoro cake!

You Will Need:

  • A baked and completely cooled 2 layer round cake. I made an 8 inch round cake.
  • 4 cups of vanilla buttercream tinted grey – use a tiny amount of black gel food colouring to do this!
  • An offset spatula
  • A piping bag fitted with a multi-opening tip (also known as the grass tip). I use Wilton #233.
  • A 3 inch ball of white fondant
  • A 3 inch ball of grey fondant
  • A 1 inch ball of black fondant
  • A rolling pin and a small amount of cornstarch
  • Wooden BBQ skewers
  • A paring knife
  • Piping tips in two sizes (optional)

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Step One

Fill and frost your baked and cooled two layer cake. Need a little brush-up on how to frost a cake?

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Step Two

After you’ve covered the entire cake with buttercream, smooth it with a bench scraper. Set aside.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Step Three

Prepare your fondant! Roll out your white fondant. Using a large piping tip as a cutter, punch out two holes for Totoro’s eyes.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Roll out a small amount of black fondant; using a smaller piping tip as a cutter, punch out two black irises! Using a tiny dab of water, adhere the black circle to the white circle. While you’re working with the black fondant, make a black triangle nose and some whiskers by rolling the fondant between your palms into skinny snake-like pieces.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Roll out a small amount of the grey fondant. Using the large piping tip again, punch out 4 circles. Cut each one in half with a paring knife.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Using the smaller piping tip, punch out a half-circle, forming a grey “rainbow” like shape for Totoro’s belly. Note: you can also shape his belly pieces by hand, too! Simply roll the grey fondant into tube like shapes and fold over to a rainbow shape.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Shape two larger pieces of grey fondant into pointy bunny-like ears. Totoro’s face is ready!

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Step Four

Roll out a larger piece of fondant. Place a cereal bowl face down on it and cut around using your paring knife.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

This will be Totoro’s white tummy!

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Use the remaining grey tinted buttercream to fill your piping bag fitted with the multi-opening tip.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Now get ready to make Totoro come to CAKE LIFE!

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Step Five

Looking down at your cake in a bird’s eye view, carefully place the white fondant circle onto the lower part of the cake so the edge of the circle meets the edge of the bottom of your cake.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Step Six

It’s piping time!! Start piping Totoro’s fur – going around the edge of the white circle, completely cover the rest of the cake.

grey buttercream piping - my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Once the top is all done, continue piping fur on the sides of the cake.

totoro-cake-tutorial-17

All piped! Give your wrist a little thank you and ice it if you need to (ha.)

making of totoro cake

Time to put Totoro’s face on! Gently press the eyes into the fur.

making of totoro cake - my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Put his little triangular nose on. Note the placement to ensure Totoro-likeness! Then, using a chopstick and a tiny amount of water as glue, place the grey rainbow shapes onto Totoro’s belly.

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Place all the rainbow shapes on and then his whiskers, too!

my neighbor totoro cake tutorial

Plunge them wooden skewers into the side of Tote’s head! TOTORO HAS COME TO LIFEEEEEE!

finished totoro cake with paper confetti

Hooray Totoro Week! Steph’s got Totoro apple pie pancakes on her blog so far and we both have more Totoro posts on the way so come on back to the blog soon! Do you have a favourite Miyazaki film or character? And how many mini chocolate bars does it take to squeeze into my floral Betsey Johnson grade 10 dress for my 20 year high school reunion? Ha. xo Lyndsay