Category Archives: Cakes and cupcakes




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!!!

Wow..its been awhile since I last updated you but I have been busy. At Christmas I created 30+ boxes of chocolates for orders with 9 different flavours. I then had a big war widows order of 4 different flavours, My husband has since designed my new logo and I absolutely love it!!! and finally my latest adventure….a friends wedding cake. So much to fill you in on.

Firstly……the logo.

Next, Christmas has well and truly gone but not the memory of my chocolate making week. Just as I started my 300+ chocolates I noticed my machine wasn’t working. There’s no time like absolute pressure to master the art of microwave tempering. Tough week aside I’m glad it happened. I learnt more about the movement, appearance and temperament of chocolate in one week than I have in my journey so far.

I managed to make 9 flavours some of which have become my ‘new’ favourites. The new ones include:

Classic Nut Tower – Toasted almond pieces in a milk chocolate hazelnut Gianduja
Garden Mint – Bittersweet chocolate ganache and fresh garden mint
Classic Orange – Fresh orange milk ganache with Boyajian pure  orange oil
Pineapple Punch – 70% dark chocolate swirl with fresh pineapple pate’ de fruit and pineapple milk ganache
Raspberry Roses – Raspberry puree and rose water in a bittersweet rose shell

Cocoa Jo's Packing

My war widows order comprised of 4 flavours: Rum ‘n’ Raisin, Coconut Dream, Chai and Honey Cinnamon Caramels. Apparently the feedback was “fantastic”. Another job done…..more satisfied customers. Yay!

And finally this past week I had the pleasure of making a dear family friends wedding cake. They had a gorgeous wedding at the beach in Currumbin with close family and friends, followed by a cocktail reception. It was so lovely. The final creation consisted of three types of cake. The top layer was a chocolate whisky fruit cake covered in fondant accompanied by two types of cupcakes. Italian Wedding cake with Cream Cheese frosting and Chocolate Mud cake with Chocolate buttercream frosting. The absolutely gorgeous cake topper was hand created by the grooms sister-in-law Tamra Philpot of  Birry Cake Toppers. She does a fantastic job and the detail is impeccable.

The end result…everyone LOVED the cakes..absolutely loved them. And I……I learnt to   relax and have confidence in what I do. A hard lesson to learn when your a perfectionist, but a great one.




I’ve Been A Busy Beaver…

Well I have been busy lately and it doesn’t look to change leading up to Christmas, but I certainly  have nothing to complain about working with chocolate and sweets. What a job!  The past month has looked like this: Chocolate cupcakes for my daughter’s play date,  two pavlovas, a Binoffee pie, a cheesecake and a new chocolate flavour that I will tell you about soon. To top it off I had a two flavour cupcake order and my bulk chocolate order for my Christmas chocolates arrived. I’m in my element.

I have had requests from people that they love my pictures but want the recipes too. So for those recipes that don’t need to be kept a secret I will try and share each time. If I haven’t put the recipe up that you want just let me know. I worked as a baker and froster in a cupcake store in the States for a while and really grew to love what they could offer. One of my favourite flavours I was introduced to was the Italian Cream Cake. Its delicious so I thought for my cupcake order I would try to recreate these. The Result?….my husband and official product tester says they are his favourite to date. So I thought I would share the recipe I have been working on. Let me know what you think.

Italian Cream Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing.

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil ( not olive!)
5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda ( baking soda)
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3 Tb coconut milk (or 2 Tb of coconut cream mixed with 2 Tb water)


  1. Mix coconut and coconut liquid together and leave to sit.
  2. Cream 1/2 cup margarine or butter, sugar and oil in mixer bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolks, beat well.
  4. Sift in flour and soda; mix well.
  5. Add buttermilk and 1 tsp vanilla; mix well.
  6. Fold in egg whites, coconut and 1 cup pecans.
  7. Pour into 12-18 cupcake pans.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cakes test done.
  9. Remove to wire rack to cool.
  10. Combine 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and beat well.
  11. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla. Frost and top with toasted shredded coconut.

Some exciting creations are in the making….so hang in there, I will share them soon. xo Cocoa Jo

New york Cheesecake only ever said to me …”PLAIN”. Why would anyone want a plain cheesecake when there are so many other gorgeous options ? Well I was mistaken.

Our weekly dinner date with my brother in law changed everything. It was his choice this week to pick a dessert from the cookbook challenge and apparently this is his favourite dessert. What I thought was the most boring choice turned out to taste absolutely incredible. Wow! If you like cheesecake or even if you don’t, take the time to make this recipe, it is so impressive. One of those moments when you take a bite and everything around you disappears…..just you and the cheesecake.

Let me prove it to you. This recipe has been adapted from the book I’m using for my cookbook challenge, ABC Delicious. Sweet

New York Cheesecake

Serves 10-12

200g Nice Biscuits (Graham crackers will work too)
75g unsalted butter, melted
800g cream cheese
190g caster sugar
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks
3 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespns lemon juice
300g sour cream
good quality cocoa, to dust

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm springform pan. Wrap two sheets of foil around the base and up the sides of the pan to stop water leaking into the cake. Finely crush biscuits and add melted butter and combine. Press firmly into base of tin.

Place the cream cheese, 170g castor sugar, eggs, extra yolks, 2 tsp vanilla and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor Process until smooth. ( I used a stick blender and it worked well). Pour over biscuit base. Place tin into a roasting pan or dish and pour boiling water halfway up the sides. Bake for an hour and 10 mins.

Using electric beaters, beat together the sour cream, remaining sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Pour mixture over the cheesecake. Bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Dust with cocoa and serve.

Really have a go at making this…invite some friends over and treat them too.

Well not literally but it has been a massive week of chocolate creativity. Chocolate caramel tarts, chocolate orange almond cake, two new truffle flavours and Hokey Pokey icecream.

This week saw the start to my cookbook baking challenge . I purchased a desserts cookbook and decided for ONCE I am going to bake every receipe in it.  Tuesday nights my brother -in -law comes for dinner and it’s always the perfect excuse to cook up a storm. As you may know I have a slight obsession with chocolate and caramel so it only seemed fitting to start with the Chocolate Caramel Tart . First step I had to do was to find a chocolate shortcrust pastry recipe…I ended up adapting one and it turned out nicely.

Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry

200g Plain Flour
150g chilled unsalted butter chopped
1/4 cup caster sugar
25g cocoa
1 egg yolk
cold water extra

Using a food processor or your fingertips, mix the butter and sugar together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Slowly incorporate the flour and cocoa and 1 tablespoon of water at a time until dough forms a ball,  is soft but not sticky to touch. Roll in glad wrap and place into the fridge for 30 mins to rest. When your ready to use it, roll it out, place it in the tin and prick it with a fork. Rest in fridge for a further 20 mins.

Blind bake in the oven at 190°C for 15 mins , remove rice or weights and further bake for 5 mins.

The rest of the tart recipe is from the book (pg 57) or can be found here. This dessert was quiet intense, especially if you like dark chocolate. You could make it with plain shortcrust pastry which would be more subtle but make the caramel stand out more.

Later in the week I had 3 family birthdays all two days apart from each other. We decided to combine them all and I offered to make the birthday cake. Here’s the final creation. A ( gluten free) orange almond cake with chocolate ganache frosting, topped with cocoa dusted truffles..And I also made some hokey pokey ice cream for Adam.

As I mentioned it was a busy week and I had my parents arrive for a day. I cant have them arrive and not have some experiments for them to taste test as they are some of my biggest supporters so I set about creating a few new flavours of truffles for them. I ended up with Milk chocolate macadamia nut toffee truffles and dark Pomegranate Molasses truffles. The dark one are my favourite creation to date but you have to like tart flavours. Luke on the other hand loves the macadamia one. Sorry I forgot to take photos of these before they were all eaten but I will in the future.

Well I now need to gather my thoughts and get ready for this week, I have an order for 15 chocolate berry boxes and am looking forward to making these again. Oh and of course next Tuesdays dessert…..what to pick?…mmmmm.