The tail end of a cyclone seemed to be the state of things on the Sunshine Coast on the weekend. Grey, squally weather, a churning ocean glimpsed from our apartment, the most extraordinary bands of angry sea colours - greys and muddy browns and lots of foam! Luckily the 50th birthday celebration was taking place 30 minutes in from the coast and yes there was some rain with intense humidity, but we were happily ensconced in this superb marquee decorated beautifully I must add with lanterns from Vietnam (via the lovely Karen at Dragonfly Interiors). The Band was impressive, luring us on to the floor and adding to the wonderful ambience. Lara-Jane, my gorgeous niece joined them for some great numbers. I wrote a post on her here after she recorded an album of her own songs. As an aunt one could be accused of fondness colouring one's view - however this girl indeed has talent...in spades!
and now... for the cake!
Recipe for Chocolate Sacher Torte utilised by mother Olivia on friday (she did the baking) in readiness for trip up the coast - a good foundation for my innovations. She also made 50 copy-cat cupcakes we served rather than create a cake big enough for the crowd - a wise move! Saturday afternoon was spent melting chocolate and watching the gale outside. Concern over humidity led me to make a ricotta filling with fruit, nut and chocolate chopped into it. A modest layer of cream on top of that worked well (next day we SO enjoyed this cake!) and then chocolate ganache icing with shavings of roast almond chocolate I'd made plus toffee shards and chocolate shards. OK... it was no candidate for the Martha Cake of the year award - but with the candles matching all the wonderful garden finds it actually felt quite tropical and worked a treat!
Jana, the birthday girl, going for the last candle. I think she will have wonderful memories - it was one of those times where all went absolutely beautifully, her friends travelling from far and wide enjoyed the excellent reunion and some of us even stayed up very late singing good old favourites from the 70's. The garden glistened in the rain and the weather didn't cause a moment's concern - all was so carefully planned by Jana and Roberto and hosts Tristan (their wonderful son) and wife the lovely Renee- truly a night to remember!
Son Tristan and daughter Lara-Jane making a speech - these 2 have always been adored by their Aunt! Sorry bout the less than fab image here!