A Cake for Sonnie

My sister, Sonnie, has just turned 70.  She didn’t want to celebrate, just wanted to have a quite day…  But her family and friends had other ideas!

A message, out of the blue, from my nephew, Dave, put us all on notice.  There was to be a surprise celebration!  Oh the pressure of trying to not make her suspicious of the goings-on.

Even though we were working the following day, Gary and I decided that we wouldn’t let that get in the way of us attending the big celebration in Melbourne (a five hour round trip!), so I offered to make the celebration cake.

The plan, to make a gluten free cake inspired by our Mum’s Little Pineapple Tarts.  It would be a naked, layered, coconut cake filled with a pineapple filling, a whipped white chocolate ganache, a single layer of shortcrust on the base and a single layer of almond meringue in the middle.  The decoration – fresh edible flowers from the garden.  Well that was the plan!

The pastry based turned out perfectly, as did the coconut cake.   When I went to make the pineapple filling, I opened the can of pineapple only to discover that I had purchased pineapple rings, not crushed pineapple! Not happy, but then come to my senses and realised I could throw them into the food processor and blitz until the right consistency – problem solved.

I made one batch of meringue for the disk to go in the middle, but wasn’t happy with it, so made another, it worked perfectly, but Gary commented about how difficult it might be to cut through – I agreed, so decided not to use it.  Then it was time to make the white chocolate ganache, you would have thought that by this stage, I may have realised that things were really not going to plan, but I didn’t!  I started to make the ganache – it was way too sweet, and then it split!  So Gary went off to get more ingredients… By this time I was questioning everything that I had planned, I changed the ganache to a whipped mascarpone cream!  The cake was assembled – pastry on the bottom, a layer of pineapple, a layer of coconut cake, a layer of pineapple, a layer of cake, a layer of whipped mascarpone cream, a layer of cake, a layer of pineapple, and finally a layer of cake!

Time for a walk in the garden… I had a bit of an idea as to what I wanted to put on top, that was until I saw the first flowers on a gladioli that had been gifted to me by a wonderful friend (we often send each other packages of bulbs from our gardens).  The colours in the gladioli then determined the flowers to be arranged on the top of the cake!

Having relaxed from my wander around our garden, I set about arranging the flowers on the cake.  I made sure that all the flowers selected were, in fact, edible, and I was so happy with the end result.

When we arrived at our friends’ home, our son, his wife and one of the grandsons, Cooper, were already there, so Cooper helped me to arrange the 70 and the candles on the cake, it was such fun trying to find places for each candle to go.

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Now all that was left to do, was sit back and chat with family and friends as they arrived, and wait until Sonnie come to the door – plans and schemes were in place to ensure we knew when she would be arriving.  With our other sister on Facetime, we all got to see the shock and amazement on Sonnie’s face when she walked in, it was priceless – she had no idea!

Happy 70th Sonnie, we are all so happy that you had a fabulous night.

Until next time…

Love your family, enjoy your garden and

Bon appétit!






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