Rainbow Vanilla Buttercake

Looks like a normal cake right?

Until you cut a slice out of it to reveal crazy rainbow colours!

I had planned on baking something amazing for my dear friend Queen Chu’s 21st birthday, but it wasn’t until I saw this cake that I thought a) I have to make this! and b) I’m crazy! At this point in time chocolatesuze had yet to post up her method of making her amazing rainbow cake so I was sort of improvising along the way and just praying that everything would turn out alright.

I was never as ambitious as chocolatesuze to make an astounding 20 layers in her cake AND make it into a fork shape, so I ended up with 8 layers. I didn’t have high hopes for success while I was baking this, hence the lack of process photos but it turned out surprisingly well (albeit a bit lopsided!). Chocolatesuze’s recipe is here for a 20 layer cake and probably one that is more efficient to make but I’ll post mine below anyway just in case you’re interested ;)

Rainbow Vanilla Buttercake

Basic Vanilla Buttercake
90g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
2 eggs
3 tbsp milk

Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and milk and beat together. Sift flour into mixing bowl and mix until well combined. 

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Make 3 portions of your favourite buttercake recipe or use the one above. Take about 3/4 cup of the batter and put into separate bowls until you have used up all the batter. You should end up with about 8 or 9 bowls.

2. Make your colours! Chocolatesuze recommends using food colouring gels but I only had liquids on me and I used these and they turned out ok. Make each bowl have a different colour and you can afford to use quite a lot if you want your colours bright.

3. Spread one colour of your cake batter thinly onto the base of a cake tin. I used a 20cm round springform tin but in hindsight it would probably have been better to use a smaller, non-springform tin because sometimes the edges came off when I removed the ring. Try to spread it as evenly as possible across the base. Don’t worry about it being too thin – the cake will rise.

4. Pop it into the oven for about 10-15 mins depending on your oven. I didn’t time this exactly but after doing this 8 times it turned out to be about 11 minutes for me. You can check by using a cake tester in the middle of the cake – the skewer should come out clean. The edges should just be starting to brown.

5. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes (here it would be helpful if you have several tins of the same size because you can start baking the next layer instead of waiting for the cake to cool so you can use the tin). Turn your cake out onto a plate or something and begin the process again from step 3 using another colour.

Chocolate Ganache
300g dark chocolate
300mL cream

Heat cream in a saucepan and just before it boils take the cream off the heat and pour it over your chocolate. Stir to melt the chocolate. Leave to cool (you can put it in the fridge) until it is of icing consistency.

6. Decide which order you want your coloured layers to go. At this point if your layers do not have nice edges you may want to trim them so they are reasonably flat. Make sure you trim all the layers to the same size. Place the bottom colour down and slather with the cooled chocolate ganache to stick the next layer on top of it. Repeat for all layers and continue to ice the top and sides of the cake until the whole cake is covered in chocolatey goodness :)

Sakana-Ya, Crows Nest

Feeling like going out for dinner somewhere close by, Sir D and I headed out to Crows Nest to eat at Sakana-Ya on a Thursday night. The restaurant was surprisingly quiet which also meant that the waitstaff were particularly attentive. We sat down and were given a regular menu as well as a sheet of chef’s recommendations and the types of fish available for the day.

The menu was so extensive that we took forever to decide what to eat and spent a great deal of time staring at all the types of fish. There were so many things I wanted to try but there were only two of us so we settled on a few dishes that caught our eyes.

Tuna tartare with raw egg – $14.00

The first dish that arrived was the tuna tartare with raw egg which was one of today’s specials. The bowl at first seemed like it was full of negi and seaweed with a sun of egg yolk cracked in the middle, but underneath the foliage were succulent pieces of raw tuna. After mixing it all together what we ended up with was a silky combination of tuna and egg with crunchy leeks, all dressed with a fragrant sesame sauce. 

Duck on skewers (2 skewers), choice of salted, plum or wasabi flavour – $9.50

Next up were two skewers of duck which had been grilled and lightly salted. The pieces were a little tough but still pink and juicy on the inside. Also skewered with the duck were pieces of green spring onions.

Sashimi and tempura mixed platter – $29.00

Our mixed platter of sashimi and tempura arrived next with 6 thickly cut pieces of sashimi + scampi, and an assortment of seafood and vegetable tempura. In the middle was a scoop of Japanese potato salad. The sashimi portions were extremely generous and our eyes were boggling at the size of them. There were two pieces each of salmon, kingfish and tuna as well as one scampi, and all of these were very fresh and perhaps one of the best sashimi I’ve had. The tempura consisted of half a soft-shell crab, prawn, eggplant, pumpkin and broccoli. The batter was light and crunchy and also came with the accompanying tempura dipping sauce.

Nimono yellowtail – $12.00

Lastly we ordered the nimono yellowtail fish. Neither of us knew what yellowtail was; we basically just picked a random fish from the list. I looked up yellowtail in Wikipedia only to be bombarded with about 50 types of fish so I still don’t know what we ate exactly. What I do know was that there were lots of little bones in the fish but the flesh was cooked perfectly. It was definitely worth picking out all the bones to get at the fish which was cooked in sweet soy sauce and sake (nimono).

Scampi miso soup – $4.00

When removing our finished sashimi and tempura platter, the waitress asked if we would like a scampi miso soup using the scampi head. It arrived piping hot on the table with the scampi head leaning casually half out of the bowl. The miso soup was infused with the flavours from the scampi head and Sir D took great pleasure in breaking it apart and eating all the scampi remnants in the head. A great way to end an enjoyable meal :)


336 Pacific Hwy
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Ph: +61 2 9438 1468
Lunch: Monday – Friday, 12pm-2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm-10.30pm everyday

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The Falconer, Darlinghurst

Falcon in The Falconer

The Falconer is an unsuspecting little restaurant on Oxford Street that we walked straight past when trying to find it. Sir D and I were greeted by cheerful waitstaff who asked us whether we were here for dinner or drinks, and then led us to a comfortable booth on the side of the restaurant.


We are handed us single page menus with entrees, pasta and risotto, mains, sides and salads and desserts. It all sounded so delicious I wanted to order one of everything, but I exercise restraint and we choose one entree and two mains.

Arancini (2) filled with pumpkin, stracchino cheese and marjoram – $8.00

After a short wait two balls of arancini arrive on a plate full of tomato sauce. The sauce is more acidic than usual but goes well with the cheesy arancini. Sir D, who usually avoids risotto, surprisingly enjoys this dish a lot and proclaims it the best risotto he has ever had. The risotto is cooked well, perhaps a bit too soft for some, but it has the right amount of cheese and pumpkin bits in it surrounded by a crunchy crumbing on the outside. 

Fresh egg pasta lasagna layered with beef ragu, peas and parmesan – $15.00

The mains arrive and the lasagna is much larger than I had anticipated, with the layers of wavy pasta sheets separated by peas, hard boiled egg and beef ragu. The lasagna sits in a pool of the same tomato sauce that came with the arancini. I find the hard boiled egg a bit strange in the lasagna but I love the peas which add textural variety to the beef and the pasta sheets. I dollop a generous amount of tomato sauce on each piece of lasagna and savour each bite, and reluctantly hand over the other half of it to Sir D.

Roasted Bultara saltbush lamb with pink eye potato and rosemary gratin – $27.00

Sir D’s main is the lamb, and although I don’t want to share my lasagna, one bite into the lamb and all is forgotten. I’m absolutely lost in the juicy, soft lamb pieces and before I know it I’ve devoured it all. The potato gratin is the perfect accompaniment to the lamb with the buttery, cheesy potato slices, and I clear this up as well in no time. We’re pleased with service as well as our water is topped up regularly and we’re glad to have found great food at a reasonable price.

Although I’d heard from a friend that the Falconer’s vanilla creme brulee was excellent, it was going to have to wait because we were in Darlinghurst. Which meant that I only had my sights set on one thing – Gingerbread gelato from Gelato Messina!

3 scoops of gelato (from top) passionfruit, gianduia and gingerbread – $5.80

I was so excited to see gingerbread gelato in the window! You can only just see it peeking out of the cup. But it was gingery and sweet and spicy in a good way :) The other flavours you can see in the photo are one of my favourites gianduia, and Sir D’s favourite passionfruit.

The Falconer
31 Oxford Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9267 8434

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Gelato Messina
Shop 1/241 Victoria St
Darlinghurst NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 8354 1223

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Ben & Jerry’s, Manly

Did someone say free ice cream?

How could I resist the lure of a Scoop-A-Thon at the newly opened Ben & Jerry’s at Manly, especially when that day was forecast to be 35ºC! I joined Suze, Yas, The Ninja‘s body double, Shez, Richard and Rose for some serious ice-cream eating.

We joined the ever present queue and waited for our turn while the Ben & Jerry’s people held competitions giving away free cooler bags and other merchandise. While we were in the queue we decided which flavours to get using these handy flavour cards.

We got our ice creams and sat outside the store where they had installed some fresh grass on the pavement, and we tried and tested all the flavours. My favourite was without a doubt the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough aka Peanut Cookie-Burra Dough! The salty peanut butter with the sweet ice cream was the most amazing combination ever! Phish Food (which doesn’t contain any fish food) as also a close second with melty marshmallow bits in the chocolate ice cream.

Clockwise from top: Berry Berry Extraordinary, Chocolate Therapy, Lemonade Stand, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Chocolate Macadamia, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Lemonade Stand.

After Richard and I did some catching up to the others who had already eaten 3 scoops of ice cream before we arrived, Suze, Yas, Richard and I headed down to the beach to get our daily dose of Vitamin D. Yas and Richard did what any foodblogger would do at the beach – make some food instead of sandcastles out of sand and seaweed.

Yas got really creative and made some dumplings and soba nicely presented on a sheet of seaweed haha.

Before heading home we queued up one last time for some more ice cream. This time we got Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz and of course, the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough!

Thanks to Ben & Jerry’s for holding the Scoop-A-Thon and letting us have free ice cream for the day! And thanks to Suze for organising a fantastic day =D Head on down to these great blog posts for more info about the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop-A-Thon.

Ben & Jerry’s
Shop 5 and 6, 25-27 South Steyne
Manly NSW 2100
Ph: +61 2 8966 9219

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Ozeki Sushi, Chatswood

My friends know me well. “Jacq!”, said Queen Chu, “there’s a new sushi train near Chatswood Chase – lets go check it out!” Queen Chu loves food just as much as I do so without delay we went in our post-uni-exam bliss to eat sushi to our heart’s content.

Chicken katsu with cucumber inside out roll – $3.80

We were greeted with the coolness of stainless steel decor and the waitresses directed us to some seats at the bench. We watched the plates of sushi go by on the train and the first thing we noticed was how big the serving sizes were! Giant slices of fish and sushi bursting with more than substantial fillings were going past our eyes and we couldn’t wait to dig in. (And I also couldn’t wait to take photos with my new DSLR camera =D)

Salmon nigiri – $3.00

The chicken katsu inside out roll came with three pieces of sushi on the plate which is quite different since most places have only two. It had two pieces of succulent fried chicken inside the roll with a sliver of cucumber for some refreshing coolness. The salmon nigiri was very fresh and the slice of fish was larger than you see in most sushi trains.

Tempura Prawn hand roll – $3.80

Queen Chu ordered a tempura prawn hand roll which she said was very fresh – the tempura and seaweed still crunchy and not soggy from the rice. Queen Chu is somewhat renowned within our group of friends for leaving food behind if it’s not to her taste (she has a very refined palate which comes from her mum not liking her to “mix flavours” LOL) but she cleaned this one up which is a very good sign! 

Agedashi tofu – $5.80 (I think)

She also ordered the agedashi tofu which is a favourite of hers and she also approved of this with the starchy batter not being too thick and the tofu being smooth and silken.

Aburi Scallop sushi – $4.80

Being the scallop fiend I am, I ordered the aburi scallop sushi because I can’t not have scallops when I see them and also to compare with Sushi Sagunja’s bargain $2.50 aburi scallops. I have to say that although these were good, they didn’t have that aromatic smokey flavour and there just wasn’t enough of that sweet sauce to go with it. Sushi Sagunja wins hands down in terms of value and quality.

Soft Shell Crab sushi – $3.80

Lastly I grabbed a plate of the soft shell crab sushi in the hope for some deep fried crunchy goodness. The pieces of sushi were large and the amount of soft shell crab was very generous. Sadly when I bit into the sushi there was no resounding crunch from the batter, which was quite disappointing.

Being in Chatswood which is already littered with sushi trains we couldn’t help but shamelessly compare this newcomer to the more well-established places. We mostly found that this place had bigger serving sizes than most other sushi trains but were priced similarly to Makoto for somewhat lower quality and less varity. It seems as though the made-to-order items were much better than the ones sitting on the train, and although we probably didn’t sample enough of their menu to adequately judge, next time I’d probably go to another place for my sushi fix.

Ozeki Sushi

345 Victoria Ave
Chatswood NSW 2067
Ph: +61 2 9410 2777

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