Bulldozer cake

Bulldozer construction cake

Last week was my littlest apprentice chef’s third birthday. Two of his favourite things in the world are cake and trucks, so his birthday presented the perfect opportunity to roll these things into one!

After Googling all sorts of truck and construction related cakes, I finally decided on a bulldozer cake with a laminated photo of him in the ‘driver’s seat’.

Here’s how to do it…

1. Baking and shaping the cake

Bake two large rectangular cakes. Cut out two long thin rectangles for the main body of the bulldozer cake. Then cut out two (or three, depending on the thickness of your cake) squares for the cabin. Finally, cut out two long triangles for the tracks. Make sure you cut the triangles to the right thickness for whatever you’re using to make the tracks – we used TeeVee Snacks Malt Sticks. If you’re making the cake in advance (which I highly recommend!), wrap it in cling wrap and put it in the freezer. (Just make sure you take it out to thaw before you ice it. I took this one out in the morning and iced it in the evening.)

shapes for bulldozer cake

2. The photo

If you’re planning on putting a photo on the front, it’s a good idea to do this in advance. To set the photo up, get your little dozer driver to pose in some sort of a ‘car’ with a steering wheel. Once you’ve got a photo you’re happy with, black out the background using the paintbrush tool in Photoshop (or another photo editing program). Then you need to cut it to the right size and laminate it. To get the right size and shape, I used a paper template cut to a size that worked for my cabin.

3.Making the fondant details

About a week ahead of the party, I made up the fondant pieces for the cake. I did this early because I wanted them to dry fairly hard so they’d be easier to work with. I also used a hardening agent called tylose powder to make these pieces dry harder.

To make the bucket, I used one of Mr.3’s trucks as a mould and left it overnight. To make sure the fondant didn’t get stuck in the toy, I stuck a strip of baking paper inside the bucket. This also helped to leverage the fondant bucket out when it was dry.

Using the yellow fondant, I also rolled two poles to use as ‘forks’ for the bucket. A little tip here – my first attempt turned out lumpy because I rolled them with my fingers. For the ones pictured below, I used an unopened block of ready-to-roll fondant to get a smoother surface.

Using black ready-to-roll fondant (bought from the supermarket), I created ‘windows’ for the sides and back, and a ‘grate’ for the front. To get the texture for the grate, I made indentations with a bamboo skewer. I also used the black fondant and a ‘3’ mould to create numbers for the sides and back.

Fondant details for bulldozer cake

4. Preparing the board

This part is obviously completely optional, but I used a black and yellow striped ribbon that I made myself by wrapping a yellow ribbon over a black one and sticking it to a chopping board with double-sided tape (I don’t necessarily recommend this – it was really fiddly and a bit of a pain!). I then rolled black fondant over the board so the edges were a bit ‘rugged’.

Preparing the board for bulldozer cake

5. Non-fondant details

Other than the pieces described above, I used the following:

  • brownies for ‘rocks’ (baked ahead, broken up and frozen, then thawed the day before)
  • TeeVee Snack malt sticks for the ‘tracks’
  • witches hat candles that I bought online from The Party Cupboard
  • 3 x licorice discs for the ‘wheels’ on each side (six in total) (I found these at the Sugar Station chain of lolly shops), and strips that I cut up from licorice straps to join the wheels together
  • two upturned raspberry lollies for lights
  • one thick piece of licorice for the smoke funnel
  • yellow buttercream for the icing (I used this recipe, doubled it and added a heap of yellow gel colouring until I got the desired brightness. Ice the pieces before you place them on your board to keep the board free from excess icing).

Adding detail to bulldozer cake

Happy constructing!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Finland


Week 18: Korvapuusti (Finnish cinnamon rolls)
Well, we did it – 18 breakfasts from all around the world! What a finale these irresistible cinnamon rolls were! (A little trivia side note – these things are called korvapuusti in Finnish, which literally translates as ‘slapped ears’…) I was a little intimidated before we started but they turned out to be really easy. And the nice thing is, there were no fancy ingredients, so I didn’t even have to do a special shop. We had everything we needed right here in our kitchen. Waiting for the dough to rise made the process a little bit time consuming but there is not a whole lot of hands-on preparation time – in any case, they were so delicious that they were well worth the wait! We’ll put our hands up for slapped ears any day! 🙂

Finland map with logo

What you will need:
(Makes about 10 rolls)

For the dough

  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 7g dry yeast
  • 60g white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 80g soft butter or margarine
  • 1 small egg
  • baking paper
  • large baking tray
  • rolling pin
  • pastry brush

For the filling

  • 75g soft butter or margarine
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sprinkling of raw sugar

1. Dissolve yeast in 1 cup lukewarm milk.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together sugar, salt, cardamom and flour.
3. Add butter to flour mixture in small knobs and work it through the mix.
4. Add lightly beaten egg to milk and yeast and slowly add to dry ingredients, mixing through with a wooden spoon.
5. Lightly knead the dough until it’s well mixed. The dough should be dry enough not to stick to your hands. If it’s too sticky, add flour until it reaches the right consistency.
6. Cover the dough with a piece of cling wrap and sit in a warm place for 30-60 mins (until dough doubles in size). In the meantime, mix together the ingredients for the cinnamon butter filling and preheat the oven to 180°C.

7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of baking paper and roll it out into a rectangle, roughly 5mm thick.
8. Spread a layer of cinnamon butter over the dough and roll it up into a log, starting from the long edge.
9. Cut the dough into small ‘wedges’ and place them a few centimetres apart on the baking paper-lined tray.
10. To get the right shape, make an indentation down the middle of each one by pressing down firmly with your finger.
11. Brush each roll with some egg and sprinkle with raw sugar.
12. Place the rolls in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy while still fresh!

Bonus tip: Leftover cinnamon butter is amazing on toast!

making korvapuusti 2
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This was the finale of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ journey but there’ll be plenty more foodie adventures to come. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of our adventures. 

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: South Africa

South African Mealie bread

Week 17: Mealie bread (South African corn bread)
This dense, moist and and tasty take on corn bread can be served as a meal on its own or as a side dish. Unlike American-style corn bread, it has actual chunks of corn (you can blend them up really small or leave them more chunky, depending on your preference). Its slightly sweet flavour would go well with plain butter, honey or jam, or as a side dish to a savoury meal. As we made this on Father’s Day, we served it up as a part of a ‘big breakfast’ of fried mushrooms, bacon and baked beans (with one slice of the cornbread cut into a love heart shape!). We pretty much followed this recipe from Global Table Adventure, with the exception that we used tinned instead of frozen corn kernels.

Sth Africa banner

What you will need:

  • 1 x 420g tin of corn kernels
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar (this could be omitted for a more savoury loaf)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • loaf tin
  • blender

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a loaf tin.
2. Blend the corn, starting with one cup and then adding the remainder so that some of the kernels remain whole.
3. Lightly whisk eggs, add butter and then add in the corn.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
5. Combine the corn mixture with the dry ingredients and mix through.
6. Place mixture in loaf tin and bake for 30-35 mins.
7. Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool slightly.
8. Serve plain with butter, or as desired.

making mealie bread
Join us on our journey!
Next week will be the finale of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ journey but there’ll be plenty more foodie adventures to come. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of our adventures. Next stop: Finland!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Jamaica

Fried bananas

Week 16: Fried bananas
This week’s creation – Jamaican fried bananas – wouldn’t exactly win the Heart Foundation’s tick of approval but it definitely got the thumbs up from Crackers and our little guest chefs. If you get the oil temperature just right, the banana goes all soft and oozy in the middle and the batter turns a lovely golden brown (it took us a few batches to find the balance). Mmmmm…

Jamaica ATW banner

What you will need:

  • 3 bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking soda
  • water (if needed, to create a cake batter-like consistency)
  • oil for frying (you will need 2cm of oil in the frypan plus you may need to top it up after a few batches)
  • paper towel
  • icing sugar, to decorate

1. Cut up bananas into 1-2cm pieces.
2. Sift together flour, sugar, salt and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Gradually add egg, while stirring. Mixture should be the consistency of cake batter – if it’s too thick, add water until it reaches the right consistency. Add banana and mix to coat.
3. Heat oil in frying pan. Test the temperature with a little bit of the batter – if it sizzles, it’s ready.
4. Using a spoon, lift out the pieces of battered banana and place them into the oil in batches. Drain excess oil off using paper towel and top with sifted icing sugar.

making fried bananas

Join us on our journey!
This is the 16th of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: South Africa!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Sweden

Swedish fruit loaf

Week 15: Swedish fruit loaf
Sometimes our Around the World journey involves compromises. (I’m all for keeping things authentic but not quite to the point of travelling halfway round the world for the sake of a fruit loaf…) So, although we were missing a couple of key ingredients for this Swedish fruit loaf, I’m pleased to report that the compromise did not extend to the flavour (well, at least not that we were aware of!). The things we were missing were filmjölk (a dairy product made from soured milk, which we replaced with a combination of milk and natural yoghurt) and lingonberries (which we replaced with dried cranberries). The result was a very more-ish loaf with a slightly sweet, slightly sour flavour. There is no butter or sugar (the sweetness comes solely from the fruit) so it’s pretty healthy, and the best part is there’s no waiting for any yeast to rise so it’s relatively quick. If you like your fruit loaf on the sweet side, this stuff goes brilliantly with a smear of raspberry jam. You can find the recipe we based it on here. Below is our version, modified with locally available ingredients.

ATW banner Sweden

What you will need:

  • 40g rolled oats
  • 50g spelt flakes
  • 120g wholemeal flour
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 400ml filmjölk (the original recipe suggested substituting with natural yogurt or buttermilk – we used yoghurt but found we also had to add about 130ml of milk to get a moist enough consistency)
  • 50g dried cranberries, soaked in water overnight (if you can get your hands on them, the original recipe called for 60g lingonberries, fresh or frozen)
  • 65g hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1–2 tbsp pumpkin seeds for decoration
  • baking paper
  • 1.5-litre loaf tin
  • butter for greasing tin, and serving (optional)
  • raspberry jam, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease the loaf tin and line with baking paper.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients.
3. Add the yoghurt and milk and mix together. This should give you a dense batter (we could stand our wooden spoon up in it). Fold in the cranberries and nuts.
4. Pour the mix into the tin and top with pumpkin seeds.
5. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a metal skewer comes out clean from the centre. Leave to cool on wire racks. Eat while still warm or toast when cold.

Making Swedish fruit loaf

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This is the 15th of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Jamaica!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Peru

Quinoa porridge

Week 14: Quinoa porridge
This Peruvian quinoa porridge ticked all the boxes of the Fun Food Trifecta – healthy, yummy and easy to make. The cinnamon quill, cardamon and cloves give it an amazing aromatic spice, perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the honey. As many Peruvians don’t have fridges, this porridge is made with evaporated milk, which gives it quite a rich flavour. If you prefer a more subtle flavour (and you don’t mind being a little less authentic) you could substitute the evaporated milk with regular milk. We found two recipes for this porridge – one with dried fruit and nuts and one without. I’m not sure which is the more traditional way to prepare this porridge but we opted to top it with toasted almond flakes, chopped dates and figs. Crackers also decided to add some currants to his. Mmm mmm – we will definitely be making this one again!

Peru ATW banner

What you will need:
(Makes three serves)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, to serve
  • optional – chopped dried fruit and nuts of choice, to serve (we used a handful of toasted flaked almonds, 3 dates, 2 dried figs and a sprinkling of currants)

Making quinoa porridge

1. Rinse quinoa and add to a pot with 2 cups of cold water. Add cinnamon quill, cloves and cardamom.
2. Simmer, uncovered, for around 15 mins or until most of the water has evaporated.
3. Remove the cinnamon quill and cloves. Stir in the evaporated milk and honey. We used about 2 tbsp but you can add more if you prefer a sweeter porridge.
4. Top with ground cinnamon and dried fruit and nuts.

Steaming quinoa porridge
Join us on our journey!
This is the 14th of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Sweden!

Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Canada

Canadian pancakes

Week 13: Canadian style pancakes with bacon and maple syrup
As the maple leaf is the focal point of the Canadian national flag, it makes sense that the country’s breakfast of choice would feature maple syrup – and what goes better with maple syrup than pancakes? The addition of bacon is where things start to get a little weird… But weird and wonderful is the name of the game in our foodie adventures, so for Week 13 of our Around the World journey we decided to give Canadian style pancakes with bacon and maple syrup a go. Can’t say I was entirely convinced by sugary bacon but Crackers came back for thirds, so clearly it was a hit with him!

Canada banner

In an effort to make our pancakes authentically Canadian, we used a recipe for Canadian style pancakes from Bonibakes. The result was quite a lot lighter and fluffier than the pancakes we’re used to – they were more like the hotcakes you get from McDonald’s. The secret was in the whipped egg whites. The recipe makes about 12 small pancakes.

What you will need:

  • 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 25g castor sugar
  • 235ml milk
  • butter for frying
  • 8 rashers of bacon
  • maple syrup

1. Whisk egg whites until stiff.
2. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl.
3. Lightly beat egg yolks and combine with milk and sugar. Add to dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in the egg whites.
4. Melt butter in a frypan over medium heat. Cook pancakes until golden on both sides.
5. While pancakes are cooking, fry up the bacon until slightly crispy.
6. Serve pancakes in stacks topped with bacon and maple syrup.

Making Canadian pancakes
Join us on our journey!
This is the thirteenth of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest to be part of the journey. Next stop: Peru!