Author Archives: cocoajo




Girly Cupcakes anyone?

Just a quick post today to show you the girly cupcakes I made this week for my daughter’s dancing group bake sale.

Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Butter cream….. mmmmm.

Sometimes the simple flavours are the best.




Two big cakes in one weekend.

This past weekend was a very busy but fun weekend. I had two orders for the one gorgeous little girl, Piper. One cake on Saturday for her Naming Day ceremony and a cupcake tower the next day for her Blessing Day. The criteria: chocolate mud cake, fondant on one and what ever I want for the second. I had a blast designing these cakes.

So here is what they ended up with. The top layer was carrot cake with lemon cream cheese filling. The bottom layer was chocolate mud cake with ganache filling. I was blown away with the responses. I had many comments on my cakes but one friend told me it was the BEST cake he has EVER eaten. Well that was a boost to my confidence and a great result.

The second cake I really enjoyed making. It brought back many memories from when I used to bake cakes in a little cupcake shop in Spring Hill (a town south of Nashville in Tenessee). Pipers mum is wheat intolerant so I wanted to included a cake that she could enjoy as the cakes from the day before all contained wheat. This cake at the top was an orange and almond cake with chocolate ganache. I love this recipe. Its so easy and I also had rave reviews about it. I decided to stick with mud cake for the cupcakes but chose two different flavoured frostings. The bright colourful ones were vanilla buttercream and the other a whipped chocolate ganache. All in all a successful weekend doing what I love! I feel so blessed.


When I lived in the States for a few years I just couldn’t get my head around Americas obsession for Chocolate and Peanut Butter. Don’t get me wrong I am a fan of both.. separately. Together I know they work but I don’t roll my eyes back into my head as I take the first mouthful of this classic combination. Some of my family members however DO!

So when I was given this gorgeous little chocolate book by a friend from my husbands work I figured it was time to give it ago. I had dinner guests coming two nights in a row so I made this. I had to adjust the recipe slightly and drizzled melted peanut butter on the top to intensify the flavour. I honestly can’t give my opinion on the pie ( not the best time to be doing a cleanse but then its never a good time in my house!). The reviews from our guests told me the full verdict. Our friend said he would eat it for lunch and dinner and with every mouthful would close his eyes and go to some other place! I guess that means it was good. My brother in law has officially moved his number 3 favourite dessert down the list only to replace it with Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie!

Well I have to say I was quite happy with that result. I did sneak a teaspoonful and think I will actually enjoy it when the time comes! Have a go….try it out…you might be converted!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

  • 250 g chocolate biscuits, crushed ( I used Arnotts chocolate ripple biscuits)
  • 70 g butter, melted
  • 250 g cream cheese, softened
  • 110 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 130 g smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 280 g whipped cream , firm peaks
  • 70 ml extra cream
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 75 g dark chocolate, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter, extra
  • honey roasted peanuts chopped for garnish

Combine crushed chocolate biscuits and butter and press into pie dish and put in refrigerator for 20 mins.

Beat cream cheese and icing sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat together. Stir in a third of the whipped cream until smooth, then gently fold through the remaining whipped cream. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Melt extra cream and butter in a saucepan until butter is melted and cream is just simmering.  Remove from heat and stir in grated chocolate. Cool and spread on top of the pie. Melt extra peanut butter in a microwave until runny and drizzle over chocolate. Refrigerate until firm.

When ready to serve add chopped honey roasted peanuts. Serves 10


xoxox Cocoa Jo




My first Croquembouche (crock-em-bush)!

Talk about excited!….I was asked to make my first Croquembouche for a Logie’s celebration party for 26 people. Well I will be honest….I studied this dessert for many hours before making the final product. I have made many profiteroles, eclairs and a St Honores but to assemble a croquembouche…nope…never.

The challenges were: 

To assemble the dessert only an hour before delivery, due to its mildly rapid deterioration.

For delivery to be only 2-3 hours before it has to be consumed (so the toffee doesn’t soften and dissapear!)

To fill the profiteroles just before dipping in toffee so the custard doesn’t become warm and melt from the heat of the toffee.

And then to deliver the made tower that doesnt have a supporting cone….15 mintes down the road!

Well Im happy to say due to my amazing husband it was all achievable……hectic but achievable. I enjoyed the challenged immensely but with the time deadline we didn’t get the best of photos. So please don’t look to close. And here she is!!!!!!

And a few shots during the process…..




Somewhere Over The Rainbow…..

Actually right here in this busy household I got to experience the yearly joy of making a birthday cake for one of my children. In fact for my baby girl’s first birthday!

I decided to try this rainbow cake recipe and design by a great baker and blogger Whisk Kid. This white cake is made into 6 coloured layers and topped with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream with Pure lemon oil. I was really enjoyed making this.The best part was watching the reactions of my older children when the vibrant coloured cakes came out of the oven.

This was my first attempt at Swiss Meringue Buttercream…It was a lovely frosting to make but very fragile. I learnt very quickly not to over work it when frosting the cake. Unfortunately my need to have the icing look perfect lead to the first outer later becoming overworked and turning to butter! So I had to scrape it off and start again. The next batch I so delicately and swiftly frosted the cake and it turned out just as I had imagined.

In my honest opinion …Swiss buttercream is a bit sickening. Not at all in sweetness but as it’s mostly made of butter it is quite heavy…Perhaps its more of a cultural opinion as most Australians wouldn’t be used to this type of frosting. Definitely worth tasting though.

Finally I just want to add that the whole time I was creating this piece I was wondering why I was doing this for my baby who wouldn’t even know it was her birthday…..well I’m chuffed to say she absolutely DEVOURED it in seconds and next thing you know she has the plate at her face licking the plate clean!!!! I have never seen her do that before and it completely warmed my heart. Happy 1st birthday my precious MELODY JOY!!!