Tag Archives: home baking

Cthulhu Cake – the prototype version….

AS this is year 2 in diminished socializing < Covid Pandemic still doing its thing>,  we did not have a big birthday party, but my MUSE always inspires me to create something fun for him.

This year, Gregorian calendar 2021, I decided to use the opportunity to make a small version of a Cthulhu cake…  so I could decide if next year I will attempt a larger one for guests if we are able to enjoy the company of others then.



FYI – the Mountain will be shared later today with nearby neighbours so we don’t eat it all!

I apologize for the “jump to recipe” folk – you’ll have to scroll!

I’ll divide it into the 3 main segments and tackle each on it’s own, so you can tell by photos where I’m at in the journey!

  1. WINGS
  2. Cthulhu
  3. Black Forest Mountain Cake



  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • food colouring

Put the sugar, water and cream of tartar  into a pot and heat on medium heat, stirring only until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil and insert a candy thermometer.

No stirring now – let it reach 300 degrees or hard candy stage.

Remove from heat and quickly stir in food colouring. Pour into greased mold and let harden for 30-35 minutes.

Remove from mold while still a bit warm in order to shape the wings a bit – stick it into a cup or something to keep it upright and place in the fridge to finish setting.

Lessons learned:  

  • I thought if I made this with brown sugar it would be cool and have a different flavour – I think I over cooked it . I used parchment paper with a pattern under it to try to create the wing shape and it was rough and too large – then they cracked and I turned it into a creepy bat…
  • at the last minute I rushed to create the wings that I did use for the cake
    • positives: the stick helped, the foil mold was a better size, and they looked very cool with the texture created by the foil.
    • negatives: I did not think to pre-grease the foil – that would have saved me 30 minutes of scraping foil off the back – but chemistry: sugar melts with water, so I alternatively scraped and ran water over the wings until I got all of the foil off.  Also, I added the food colouring at the beginning and then had to clean up the bits of green sugar mix that bubbled up and out of the pot onto the stove …though it was easy to see…

Cthulhu Figure:


  • Rice Krispie treats

  • Cake pop filling for head <optional>

  • Modeling chocolate

  • Faux Mirror Glaze

  • decorator’s icing , cinnamon hearts for red eyes and nails


Rice Krispie treats – follow the directions on the cereal box – you’ll need marshmallows, butter/margarine, vanilla flavouring .  I only needed a half recipe for this project.  You can also use premise treats, but I find I have more control creating my shapes while it is still warm.

Helpful hint: Oil your hands with a neutral oil < veg oil> or your butter/ margarine to do the sculpting. also oil the surface you will put it on or use parchment or wax paper – it makes life easier.

Cake pop filling head < you can just use more Rice Krispie treats to make the head> – I had leftover chocolate cake and butter cream icing from our anniversary, so thinking ahead, I had mixed the crumbled cake and frosting together, squished it into a ball, wrapped it in plastic and stuck it in the freezer.

I shaped roughly into the head and it stuck onto the body quite nicely with no toothpick/ stick needed.

NOTE: I also made a Rice Krispie treat small circular platform you’ll see in later pics, that I then cut in half and stacked,  upon which the little guy would sit when assembly time came.



  • 250 grams or 1 package chocolate chips < I used 50% cocoa/ dark chips>
  • ¼ cup honey at room temperature

Melt the chips on the stove or microwave – careful not to over melt them. Remove from heat when they are almost all melted and stir until it is all melted.

Add the honey and stir until it reaches the texture of soft ice cream and is mostly dull. There may be some shiny streaks, and you don’t want to over mix.

Wrap it in plastic or parchment paper and set aside to cool to room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to start using it, knead it a bit to make sure all is nice and smooth then treat it like play dough or clay.

Here are some of the stages of creating Cthulhu that worked for me. I placed him on a small tin that would provide a good base for the mirror glaze pour, then into the freezer with him for at least 2 hours …


Faux Mirror Glaze by TAV

I looked online to find any mirror glaze recipes that did not require corn syrup or gelatine as I had neither. The vegan recipe I found did call for corn syrup and agar agar – which I also did not have.

What I did have was more marshmallows – guess what’s in marshmallows – gelatine and a lot of sugar!  Also most called for sweetened condensed milk – but I had a can of evaporated milk open in the fridge so…

Many recipes also called for white chocolate to give a more opaque base that would show the colours more, and while I only had 50 grams left from a previous baking adventure,  I figured sure… I experimented…


  • ⅔ cup evaporated milk 
  • 8 large marshmallows 
  • 50 grams white chocolate chips
  • Food colouring as desired

Heat milk and marshmallows over low heat to melt. Remove from heat and add in chocolate, and food colouring.  Stir until all is melted.

Pour the glaze through a mesh sieve into a pouring container – I have a glass measuring cup that worked. This helps reduce the bubbles.

I took Cthulhu out of the freezer and placed him in a larger foil tray to catch the drips. I placed tiny foil pieces on the eyes to minimize the need to clear that out later -> it worked.

Because my glaze was fairly runny, it was very forgiving.  I was able to keep scooping up the glaze from the tray and pour it back over the top of him, barely wasting any – which is a bonus!  I used silicone pastry brush to get it into the crevices.

NOTE: the colour did change after 12 hours to a darker green – but that’s ok..


Decorator’s Icing:

I actually had some already from an XMAS cookie decorating kit that I had – so I will let you decide if you want to just make a simple icing sugar, butter/margarine/coconut oil mix and add food colouring, or do as you will for decorating – some folk have used sliced nuts for creating claws on food art…


Black Forest Mountain Cake


  • cake mix  – yes – I use boxed mixes..
  • whipping cream < 35% fat> – I do whip it up myself!
  • Canned cherry pie filling – yes.
  • buttercream icing – I made a half recipe of my Aqua Faba Swiss Buttercream and added ¼ cup cocoa to it.
  • chocolate shavings from a dark chocolate bar

This year I wanted to try making a vertical roulade/ rolled cake to create the mountain – had to adapt at every stage as there were a few firsts for this…

Mix the cake according to directions and line a sheet pan < I had two smaller ones, so I used those> with parchment paper.  Bake until done – it took about 15-18 minutes < but I make have over baked a bit>.

Immediately roll into logs using the parchment paper and a tea towel.  Let cool completely in this shape.


Whip about 300 ml whipping cream to stiff ish peaks – I did not add any sugar as the rest of the cake has enough.

Unroll the cakes and kk- oh- they cracked something fierce.

Oh well – I knew I wanted to have peaks on my mountain so I cut the cakes diagonally, with the intention of rolling them from the high side to create a lowering around the mountain as it formed.

NOTE: Build the mountain on your serving tray. Make sure there is room in your fridge for the tray…

I spread some cherries and whipping cream on the larger of the two sheet cakes and started rolling them up. Since it had cracked, it ended up working better to build it by applying one segment at a time, and choosing the pieces based on what I liked the look of…putting cherries* and whipping cream on each piece to as I stuck it to the side of the growing mountain.  I added a bit more whipping cream like snow along the tops of the pieces and in between as needed.

*save some cherries and most of the pie filling liquid for finishing the cake later…

Once I had all the pieces on the cake, I stuck it into the fridge to help it set, while I made the buttercream.

Aqua Faba chocolate Swiss Buttercream < ½ recipe>

  • ¾ cup Aqua faba < strained juice from a can of or your own baked chick peas or mixed beans >
  • ½  cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼  cup softened butter or shortening
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Mix aqua faba and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl, letting it cool completely.

Whip it to stiff peaks, and add in the cream of tartar.  This can take 15 minutes – bear with it!

Mix the cocoa powder with the ciocng sugar and add that to the meringue.  Continue whipping and gradually add the softened butter or shortening, adding the vanilla last.

Bring the cake out and frost the outer edges or wherever you feel like to give it a nice coat/ look you want.

NOTE: I found that using a metal knife dipped in water helped it go on smoothly.

Use some  frosting to cover the seat/platform later or if there was any faux glaze left, mix it and the frosting together for a lovely goo to cover the seat.  Place it where it will allow room for the figure to sit safely beside the mountain.

The cake being erratic in construction needed some support, so I tied sheets of parchment around the outer edges and put it back in the fridge for overnight.


Ok – Cake comes out – gently peel back the parchment support and start adding the rest of the cherry pie filling as lava over the surface of the Mountain.  Use the chocolate shavings to finish off the look of ash on the mountain.

Check placement of platform/seat and stick wings into cake approximately where it will line up with the Cthulhu figure’s back.

Gently lift him and place onto the seat, and adjust the wings to rest against his back – I was not able to get this to quite work the way I wanted – but lessons learned for future adventures!

This worked on his own before he sat by the Black Forest Mountain…

Place candles as you like and light em up!

And enjoy!!!


Holiday Baking adventures!

So many cookies! I was on a roll…
Some of these cookies are long time favourite recipes , some are experiments…

Some are vegan, some are not – but you can modify them yourself I’m sure to explore whatever dietary choices you prefer to make.

Some are gluten free, dairy free, and some are all the bad- er I mean good stuff…#nojudgement

Click through on the recipe links where I found my inspiration and support those bakers too!

Ginger bread Dinosaurs/ or are they cats… or both…

Ginger bread recipe is from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
The cutter I picked up at Ma Cuisine on Dalhousie street here in Ottawa.
And I used the spicy icing left over from my Wolfenoot cookie baking…

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

This gluten free cookie recipe was a variation on the recipe I found here. The change I made was to use half chick pea flour and half oat flour< I make my own by grinding oats in a coffee grinder>.
I would also recommend chilling the dough before baking- I did not, and the cookies spread out a lot!

Cherry shortbread

Based on the recipe I found here  – and these shortbread cookies melt in your mouth… I used vegan butter replacement, and otherwise followed it.
The dough is super soft when mixed, so chill it for at least 30 minutes before creating these melt in your mouth cookies! And be sure to drain the cherries, if you buy them in syrup.

Oatmeal Coconut choc chip cookie

Here’s the recipe – I choose to add coconut “and” chocolate chips – or sometimes all three!

Oat cookies from no name oatmeal bag

and these chocolate cookies are a family tradition 🎉….but I’m changing things up a bit…

Vegan Chocolate cookie sandwiches

Vegan chocolate cookies and Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting…

So this is a variation on one of my families traditions….these are amazing frozen when in their sandwich form ( stolen from the giant Tupperware container in the chest freezer…)

  • ½ cup vegan butter substitute
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg replacement*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup cocoa
  •  ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup oat milk

*egg replacement options :  1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water or 1 tablespoon aqua faba < strained liquid from canned chick peas> or your own choice!

Cream the first 2 ingredients then add the next 2.

Mix the dry ingredients together and add, alternating with the oat milk, until you get your batter.

Drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet, flattening with wet fingers/ bottom of a glass, and bake for 7 minutes at 400Degrees F.
Cool completely and enjoy as is or fill with frosting to make sandwiches….

Vegan Swiss Buttercream frosting…

So I hybridized the original family recipe, which uses Marshmallow creme < I wasn’t going out to buy this>,  and this Aqaufaba Swiss Buttercream I found online which called for WAY TOO MUCH FAT – as in I had used all my vegan butter by this point in the day

  • 1 ¾ cup aquafaba ( strain the liquid from 1 or 2 cans of chick peas- measure it )
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening ( I used Crisco) softened/at room temperature.
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla

Mix aquafaba and sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil for 5 minutes…stirring occasionally.
Take off heat, pour into mixing bowl and cool completely ( I put the bowl into the fridge for about 20 minutes.)
Once cool, start whipping the mixture at high speed. You can use a whisk attachment, I suggest not trying to do this by hand unless you have strong arms. It can take up to 15-20 minutes to get it to firm peaks with the machine doing the hard work…
Once you reach that stage, mix  together the cream of tartar and icing sugar, and gradually add that in, whipping it- whip it good…
Add the softened vegetable shortening ( I used Crisco) that is at room temperature, keep whipping to incorporate it fully and finally, add  the vanilla.

You will have leftover frosting- so feel free to halve the recipe…and it will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in a. tightly sealed container…

Tim Tams? WTH are Tim Tams…?

After noting our friend’s social media lamenting about her lack of Tim Tams… and I’ve been binge watching Baking shows….I looked around briefly online to see if these could be purchased nearby.

I stumbled upon this recipe – shared through a few websites…especially this one:

https://www.abeautifulplate.com/homemade-tim-tams/ …Hers look so neat!

A major thank you to the original recipe creator – Sarah from TheSugarhit.com. So many recipes there to check out!

And for a first attempt…here are some pics of the process and what I produced…

Frozen cookie dough between two sheets of parchment- brilliant concept!
Gentle baked biscuits
Biscuits halved because they just seemed too big and I had not actually read the size I was supposed to cut the dough properly!
Chocolate Malt Frosting
Frosting anyone?
Chocolate sandwiches
Dipping process involved fork and spoon!
Dipping in the chocolate
Dipped and chillin
Ready to go or to be decorated!
Vegan royal icing
Piping takes practice

Thanks for checking this out- if you make some, enjoy!
And my inspiration to go on this adventure- author and creative soul, S.M. Carrière!

” not quite Timtams but delicious…” I’ll take it!

Sunday morning baking- Swedish Apple Pie

This came through on one of my social media streams and it looked like a very good idea!

Swedish Apple Pie (a crustless apple pie)

Author: Bridget Oland


  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2“-thick wedges
  • 3 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (can use half whole wheat)
  • 1 large egg, room temp.
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ginger


  1. Preheatovento350F.

  2. Fill a deep 10′′ pie dish with the sliced apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle

    over the molasses.

  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Remove from heat and whisk

    in sugar, flour, egg, salt and ginger.

  4. Pour over apples, covering as evenly as possible.

  5. Bake until crust is golden brown and crisp, 45minutes to 1 hour.

380 calories per ⅛ pie


PDF: crosbys.com-Swedish Apple Pie a crustless apple pie

I subbed half of the white sugar with brown, and otherwise followed it…Oh and I baked it in my cast iron skillet…

Cored and chopped apples with cinnamon and molasses.
Melted butter, with flour, sugar, egg and ginger whisked in.
Spreading the batter on…
Swedish apple pie (379 calories per ⅛)

Happy Black Forest inspired

Happy 48th my love! #GrabberMovie

Every year, for my fabulous Husband of 22 years’ birthday, I create a cake for him.

It is always based on a “fake” Black Forest style, made with a cake mix, cherry pie filling and whipping cream.

And I try to make it interesting every year that I have the time to do so.

This year, we had watch the movie, Grabbers, and I had already been thinking “tentacles” for the 2020 version, so I was inspired!

I knew I needed cake, and last year I had used a great brown sugar cookie recipe for the face hugger from Alien, so I knew that would work for the tentacles… I did some baking and chilled all the bits.

I spent some time on Friday afternoon looking for images of the Maher’s Pub and did a quick acrylic painting of it, while FaceTiming with my niece – who created a lovely piece as well!  I then popped a photo of my painting into Procreate – and added the tentacles for the finished illustration!

The acrylic painting of the Maher’s Pub

Maher’s Pub after the attack.. #Grabbermovie

The following is a photo journey through the process I spent 3 hours completing this morning…

< click on images for captions and to enlarge>

The Pub:

The Grabber…

The Grabber Babies:


The displays:



Sunday afternoon baking…

Jumped on the bandwagon-here are today’s kitchen adventures!

Oatmeal Banana cookies:

  • 2 smashed bananas
  • 1 cup oatbran
  • 1 cup oat flakes
  • .5 cup chocolate chips
  • .5 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder

350 degree oven- 9-12 minutes- greased baking sheet.

Note: Original recipe posted here:


Banana Oatmeal Coconut chocolate chip cookies

Sweet potato brownie cookies:

  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
  • .5 cup natural peanut butter
  • .25 cup cocoa powder
  • .25 cup maple syrup

350 degree oven – 10-12 minutes for cookies- lightly greased baking sheet

Original recipe found on Pinterest:


Sweet potato brownie cookies

In the crockpot:

Original recipe found here:


I’m using that recipe as inspiration…I don’t have all the spices, nor vegetable broth.

Crockpot Sweet Potato Lentils ( my version)


• 3 large sweet potatoes, diced (about 6 cups)
• 3 cups water
• 1 onion, minced
• 2 teaspoon each ground coriander, curry powder and chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups uncooked red lentils (masoor dal)
• 1 can coconut milk
• 1 cup water


1. Place the sweet potatoes, water, onion, and spices in a crockpot. Cook on high for 3 hours, until vegetables are soft.

2. Add the lentils and stir once. Replace the lid and cook on high for an additional 1 1/2 hours.

3. Stir in the coconut milk and as much water as needed to get the right consistency.