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Last week-end was my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. I call her Granny, as I no longer have any living grandmothers. The whole family helped to organize a big birthday party for her, and as I’m the baker in the family, I made the cake. Granny is as fit as a fiddle, smart as a tack, and has a better social life than I have. We invited seventy five of her friends, so I knew that I’d need to make a lot of cake. A tower of cupcakes was the final result. There were lemon cakes with a curd filling, strawberry cakes with a jam centre (with jam I made from last summer’s berries). Both of these cakes were made with recipes from Martha Stewart’s  Baking Book, but the fillings and frosting were little fillips of my own. Also passionfruit cakes with a curd centre, and chocolate devil’s-food – from Tish Boyle’s “The Cake Book”,  with a dark chocolate mint ganache inside, and peppermint schnapps icing on top (the light green cakes).

The frostings were all based on an Italian meringue buttercream base that became soft and fluffy in the heat of a roomful of people. I didn’t want the ladies in their lovely party dresses to spill icing on themselves, so the spoons make a neat and easy way to eat the cakes. I picked these up from my local gelati shop. The colours looked lovely too!

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