A Huge Favour and…A Daisy Cake

This is a post about a daisy cake.  It’s not about a hibiscus cake.

One day I was in the shower.  Having a few moments to myself.  Actually, probably not that many moments because it wasn’t long before there was a knock on the door.

‘I’m in the shower’, I yelled in an annoyed tone hoping whoever it was would get the message and leave me alone.

‘Mum, would you be able to make the cake for Tegan’s 18th?’  It was Arabella.

‘Who?  Who’s Tegan?’

‘You know, my friend from school’.

‘I don’t have time.  I’m not making cakes for your friends’.

‘But her mum can’t cook and she’s seen the cakes you’ve made and it’s not hard; it’s just a round cake with icing’.

Strawberry Frosting

And then I remembered.  The mother is that poor woman whose husband left her for his secretary and she’s been left to raise her daughter on her own and has worked two jobs to pay the school fees and she rents an apartment on the main road for her and her daughter and she did me a favour a few months ago by staying up late and bringing Arabella home from a party.  I thought I should probably do something nice for this woman who’s down on her luck and has done a few favours for me.  ‘Just a round cake?  When’s it for?’

‘Friday week’.

‘That should be okay.  But talk to me about the details when I’m out of the shower’.

Neapolitan Cake. Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry layers

So a few days ago Arabella let me know that the party had a Hawaiian theme and Tegan had her heart set on a pink cake with white hibiscus flowers printed on it.  ‘Mum’, said Arabella, ‘how will you do the hibiscus flowers?’

‘I’m not doing hibiscus flowers.  I can’t do that.  I’m not a magician.  I’ll put daisies on the cake’.

‘Mum, it’s a Hawaiian party so she wants hibiscus flowers on it.  That’s the whole point.  If I’d known you weren’t going to do them I wouldn’t have asked you to do the cake.’

Chocolate Ganache

‘Arabella; I’ve already spoken to the mother who phoned me yesterday while I was at swimming lessons and the noise was so loud I couldn’t hear a word she was saying but I told her I couldn’t do hibiscus flowers because I’ve phoned every shop in Sydney and no one stocks an icing cutter in the shape of a hibiscus flower but,  I do have a daisy cutter that I bought for that handbag cake a made.  A flower is a flower and that will do.  As you know I owe the mother a favour so I’m doing this on the cheap as in making no money out of this whatsoever so there won’t be a hibiscus on the cake but there will be flowers.  And that’s the best I can do’.

Smoothing the ganache over the cake

Then the budget started to blow out of the cake.  I was told it had to feed 80.  The cake platter I had bought was too small so I had to buy another one.  Then I realised the flowers wouldn’t stick to butter cream so I’d have to cover the cake in rolled icing which meant covering it first in a chocolate ganache.  More steps, more time, more money.  I was beginning to resent agreeing to making this cake.

Rolling over the pink icing

On the day of the party I suddenly had to work all day and arrived home after the time the woman wanted the cake and immediately made the strawberry flavoured icing to put between the layers of the cake, the chocolate ganache to cover the cake, kneaded the pink dye into the white rolled icing and cut out the daisies with remaining white icing that were to decorate the cake.  And an hour or so later I was ready to ice the cake and an hour and a half later it was finally finished.

Smoothing over the pink frosting

And then I had a conversation with Arabella that rocked my world.  ‘When are they coming to pick up the cake?’

‘Tegan’s father was coming earlier but it wasn’t ready so we now have to take it to them?’

‘I thought Tegan didn’t have a father’.

‘That’s Teania.  Tegan has a father’.

‘I thought Tegan was the one living with her mum in the unit on the main road.  Isn’t she the one who brought you home from that party?’

‘No, that’s Teania’s mum.  Tegan lives with her parents in that house on the water’.

Piping tiny flowers onto the base of the cake

So I had made the daisy cake for Tegan thinking she was Teania with the mother I thought I owed a favour.  In reality, my ‘client’ was not a single mum, nor was she a woman down on her luck, nor was she someone I owed a favour.  And because I failed to have the cake ready by this afternoon (because I was at work), somehow that was there only window to pick up the cake so it was assumed I would deliver it to them.

Tegan threw her arms around me at the door and was extremely thrilled and very appreciative of her cake.  And the fact there was not a hibiscus flower in sight did not even rate a mention.  She was gracious and suddenly I melted because this girl is a good friend of Arabella’s and she was so thankful for the cake that had been made.

But after $80.00 in expenses and six hours of my time and finishing up so late I was too tired to cook dinner.  I was so exhausted that Carl took me out for dinner with my Sea Scout.  And Carl was asking about the mother of Tegan and said, ‘Isn’t she the one who sewed and altered all of Arabella’s school uniforms when Arabella told her you couldn’t so much as thread a needle?’

And suddenly with great clarity I remembered Tegan’s mother.  ‘Yes’, I said, ‘she’s the one with the sewing machine.  She’s amazing; she’s like a professional seamstress’.

‘Did she charge you for the alterations?’

‘No, she never did’.

It turns out I did owe this mother a favour.  A huge favour.

 

Daisy Cake

Daisy Cake – A Triple layer Neapolitan Cake sandwiched with strawberry cream and covered in chocolate ganache and pink icing

Serves:  40

Degree of Difficulty:  3/5

Cost:  It cost me $80.  I understand food in other countries is a lot cheaper than here in Australia.

For the Chocolate Layer:

  • 185g butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tspns baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk

Pre-heat oven to 160C (350F).

Grease and line a 9 inch (25cm) round cake tin.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time stirring well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients and milk and beat until well combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 mins or until cooked.  Rest for 5 mins in pan then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool.

For Vanilla Layer:

  • 185g butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tspns baking powder

Pre-heat oven to 160C (350F).

Grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients and beat until well combined.  Pour into prepared pans and bake for 35 mins or until cooked.  Rest for 5 mins in pan then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool.

For the Strawberry Layer:

  • 185g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 packet strawberry jelly
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tspns vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 2 tspns baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Cream butter, sugar and jelly crystals until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients alternating with milk and beat until thoroughly combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 mins or until cooked.  Rest for 5 mins in pan then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool.

(For best results, wrap cakes individually in cling wrap and freeze overnight to make the assembling and icing of the cake easier).

For the Chocolate Ganache:

  • 600gms dark cooking chocolate
  • 3/4 cup pouring cream

Combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until smooth. Remove bowl from heat.

Set aside at room temperature to cool, stirring occasionally, until ganache is thick and spreadable.

For the Strawberry Frosting:

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 60mls whipping cream
  • 1 tbspn vanilla extract
  • splash of strawberry essence (I used Queen)
  • pink food colouring

Beat butter until white as possible.  Gradually add icing sugar.  Beat in cream and vanilla and strawberry essence.  Taste to see if more essence needs to be added to give that strawberry flavour.  Tint icing pink.

For the Rolled Icing:

  • 3 packets royal icing
  • pink food colouring

Knead icing until smooth.  Add pink food colouring and knead until well combined.

I placed a little edible pearl in the centre of each flower

To Assemble:

Trim cakes to make them level and even.

Place a small amount of strawberry frosting on the cake board.  Place chocolate layer on top of cake board (the frosting will stop the cake from sliding on the cake board).  spread top of cake with 1/3 of strawberry frosting.  Place strawberry cake on top of chocolate layer and cover top with 1/3 strawberry frosting.  Place vanilla cake on top of strawberry cake.

Cover cake with chocolate ganache.

Take ready-rolled pink icing and place over cake and smooth.

Decorate with daisies that have been cut out with a primrose cutter.  Paint one side with edible glue brushed on with a paint brush and affix to cake.

Take remaining pink frosting and place in a piping bag.  Pipe florets around base of cake.

And this has been my 300th post!

If you liked this post, why not like me!

 

 

Comments

  1. I’m surprised the parents didn’t offer to come and collect the cake. I hope they did something nice for you in return. I’d love to ask you to bake a cake for my nine year old niece, but I’d pay you! She wants a Panda!

  2. Wow. That’s amazing. My kids are lucky to get cup cakes for their own birthday – let alone a friend’s. Good job mum.

  3. Beautiful cake .. but the story was very interesting, especially with the twist at the end, which caused a smile. :) …. and congratulations on #300!

  4. That cake is absolutely gorgeous, too pretty almost to eat. I’m glad that the whole thing worked out and you felt good about making the cake. And, hey, you got dinner out with your husband.

    Yes, it does seem to me that everything in Australia is way more expensive than here in the U.S., at least in the Midwest.

  5. I love the stories you tell with your recipes :) Always so entertaining! I’m glad in the end, this cake was actually a returned favor, because you sure didn’t pick the simplest of cakes. It does, however, look and sound amazing!

  6. Well even though it sounds like it nearly drove you crazy, the cake did turn out beautifully in the end! And I’m glad you DID end up having owed that mother a favor…otherwise I would have been very irritated that she didn’t offer to pay you for all of your work!

  7. Glad it all worked out in the end. The bitter sting of making the cake for cheap etc was gone as well as getting a nice dinner out with your hubby and the Sea Scout.

  8. Oh my dear, I want to fly there… This is amazing cake and should be sooooo delicious… I can eat the whole cake. You are amazing. Thank you, have a nice weekend, love, nia

  9. Too funny. I am definitely a believer in what goes around, comes around. With all of the good you do, there should be a lot coming around!

    Congrats on the 300th post!

  10. You write such funny and fun posts, Charlie. I can’t believe you have done 300 of them! Great story and beautiful cake.

  11. Awww I’m so glad that it works out favour wise in the end! :D

  12. Oh wow I am glad it all ended well my friend, and what an incredible #300 :D
    LOVE this stunning cake!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  13. Isn’t it annoying when our fully-justified-self-righteous-attitudes bubbles are popped, and we end up with them all over our face? Life is so unfair sometimes :) I got all worked up about someone assuming I’d take on this big project, that was heaps of work, and cost stacks of money, and being taken for granted etc. – only to realize I had volunteered for the job a couple of months earlier! I just hadn’t thought it through :) It would have been much easier to resent the other person, than to accept it was my fault!
    Beautiful cake though Charlie, and I’m sure Good-Cake-Karma is coming your way :)

  14. Thank goodness you listened to your better angels and made that cake! Speaking of which, your cake decorating skills are just incredible, Charlie. I couldn’t even begin to tell you where to find fondant, let alone use it. I’m lucky there’s a great bakery nearby.

  15. Wow Charlie that looks amazing! I think you could pass those flowers off as hibiscus anyway.

    You will most definitely have good cake karma coming back at you very soon.

    ps love the socks and havaianas :-)

    • Hi Claire,
      You weren’t supposed to notice the sox and Havianas! It’s not a good look, but she tells me it is very comfortable.
      Carl.

  16. I’m glad it all ended well. You’ve done a wonderful thing for a girl who wanted a pink cake! It looks amazing!

  17. Congratulations on your 300th post!! What a fine post it is. A lesson in giving, sharing and making daisies look like hibiscus:)

  18. What a fabulous cake, and what a story. You had to adapt at every moment, which sounds like the story of your life. 300 posts is a great achievement. Congratulations on overcoming more obstacles.

  19. Whew…I’m so glad she had did you a favor!! I was getting irritated!! I’ve definitely been there, done that. I could never understand why my daughter volunteered me to do everything when I was the single mom and her other friends had two parents to pitch in, drive places and make things!! Well, I have to say now that my daughter is away at college, I actually miss some of those crazy days…just a little :) Your cake is fabulous, you are so very talented, I could never bake like that….and a good thing cuz no one will EVER ask me to!!

  20. That cake is definitely worth the exchange rate for alterations! Congrats on 300 posts!

  21. What an amazing looking cake! Thanks for sharing the story :)

  22. What a beautiful cake and I am so pleased you did owe her a favour or the bitterness would have tainted the cake. It reminds me of that movie, Like water for Chocolate, where all the cook’s feelings went into the food.

  23. What a beautiful cake and I’m glad it turned out that the woman had done a favour for you in the past. I’m glad Tegan loved her cake. I would like it too. :)

    Congratulations my dear on 300!! you rock!

  24. What lazy parents! :( That stunning layered triple cake with all of thet yummy filling & the outside looks amazing, superb & fantastic too!

    You are a miracle worker! Waw! Fabulous even! xxx

  25. Well thank goodness for that – I was getting a bit worried for a while there! That is a lot of time and a beautiful cake as the end result. I am sure it was much appreciated and Arabella no doubt got credit for a mother with such impressive baking skills :)

  26. What an extraordinary cake!! Just stunning! And your good deed gave me such a warm feeling…your kindness will be remembered by many!!! xo

  27. What a beautiful cake. That’s so funny how you got the mothers mixed up, I would have been so mad too, but I guess in the end it’s nice to know this mother had also done something to help you in the past without asking for payment. Well done on the cake :-)

    currently holding a giveaway over at my blog
    http://myfroley.blogspot.com

  28. You’re a kind soul, Charlie. :)

  29. Awww, you are so sweet to make this beautiful cake! I have never heard of a daisy cake, but I love all the flavors that are combined in the cake:-) Simply Beautiful, Hugs, Terra

  30. Wonderful story! I too was upset that you put in so much time and money into this cake! I’m so glad to hear everything worked out fine. You have a kind heart! I wish I had you near by to bake me a cake like that! :)

  31. I’ll bet there wasn’t a crumb left, that cake looks wonderful.

  32. You crack me up, your posts always put a smile on my face and sometimes I laugh out loud. Beautiful cake and cogratulations on your 300 posts.

  33. That’s a lot of work for a cake but it looks absolutely amazing. I miss baking…

  34. And so the wheel turns. All’s well that ends with such a pretty cake :)

  35. All’s well that ends well Charlie. So good to know your efforts were worth it and a very pretty cake to boot.
    Congratulations on your 300th post.
    :-) Mandy xo

  36. Congrats on 300 posts! Its crazy to think how expensive baking can get these days with the frosting, ganaches and fondant. $80 plus six hours of labour seems like so much for a cake that feeds 40 but all in all, it does look lovely and it was very kind of you to make it for your daughter’s friend!!

  37. That is the most professional looking and beautiful cake. You are a wonder in the kitchen, truly…not to mention a wonder in general. I do not know how you do it all!

  38. Beautiful cake, I love a happy ending

  39. That is a beautiful cake and a WONDERFUL story.To make a cake RIGHT in the U.S.,it costs money, which is why there are so few independent bakeries anymore and very few who make homemade cakes; people know they can pick up a fairly decorated, (albeit formerly frozen,mix made), cake for a bit cheaper, they go for it.Someone said that if you wanted to make cakes and sell them, you have to take the price of the ingredients and then triple it for incidentals ,(like whatever you use to keep the cake from sticking to the pan), to clean-up, fuel to cook it, box, trays whatever. People like cheap; which is why I am out of the business.
    300 posts! Congratulations!

  40. WOW! I have to say that I am very impressed! That’s one hell of a cake! You definitely gave a young lady quite a thrill to share such a beautiful cake with her friends, not to mention, making your daughter quite proud. What a good mother you are!!!! A fun read!

  41. You are truly amazing Charlie :) I honestly don’t know how you can manage everything and still make such a magnificent cake :) It looks amazing and hehe the Daisy flowers make me very happy HHAHAHA

    Phew! I kind of feel better for you that you did actually owe Tegan’s mum a favour because if not I’d feel so sorry for you to have to make the cake and delivering it to someone you didn’t owe any flavours too hehe

    But it all worked out for the best YAY!

  42. Your cakes are always impressive. I know the girl (and her mother) were thrilled.

  43. What a gorgeous cake. You make covering a cake with fondant look so easy – I always have issues x

  44. You can tease all you want, Charlie, but you have a very generous spirit! And you’re oh-so-talented, too! I could spend all week in the kitchen and I don’t think I could produce a cake nearly as gorgeous! :-)

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