This weeks ‘Baking with a Pinup’ was the Rita Sue Cake, Rita Sue is a lovely pinup and beauty boutique nestled in St Kevins Arcade on Auckland’s K’Rd. Everything the boutique represents fits perfectly in with this historical setting in a very beautiful arcade overlooking Myers Park.
It wasn’t a surprise that I wanted to add Rachael and her boutique into this project – she’s an adorable, hard working little lady who rocks a pixie hair cut better than anyone I have ever seen. I wanted to incorporate not only a cake flavour that she would really enjoy, but something that represented Rita Sue as well.
I knew Rachael loved citrus, poppy seed cakes and because my fruit bowl is currently full of Zandy’s lemons (I raided her tree a week ago) I knew I would go for a base of lemon and poppy seed cake for the ‘Rachael’ part.
Next up was the Rita Sue part – I took a step back, and thought about the first words that popped into my mind when I thought about this store…. floral, red roses, glamour, class, confidence and above all… so many pretty things.
I have a firm belief in that everything on a cake should be edible and taste flavoursome and delicious. No one wants to have to waste and remove giant, pretty flowers, and inedible pieces of decorations from a cake before you eat it. It should be ready to go from the moment its sliced!
I chose the following toppings to decorate the Rita Sue Cake:
Dark red sugared rose petals – not only do these represent the floral patterned dresses often adorning the racks, but the Rita Sue logo also contains big, red roses.
Figs – these add a natural sweetness to the cake, as well as a classy element to the topping.
Pistachios – I love the crunch and saltiness that balances out the sweetness of cakes, so I knew these would be great sprinkled on the top for added texture and colour.
Lavender – I sprinkled some freshly picked lavender over the top. Not only does lavender smell and taste really lovely, but the smell reminds me of older, more simpler times when it was often dried and strung up in the kitchen, or used in wheat bags to relax the soul before bed time.
I also used a little lemon curd to ensure the decorations stayed on the cake, and then made a lemon syrup to drizzle over the finished cake. The end product smelled so good, and looked colourful.
I dropped the cake off at the store yesterday during the last of the mini shoots by Zandy J Photography, Rachael was there as well as Miss Victory Violet who had recently finished doing Miss Honey Bee’s hair and make-up so it was great for everyone to have a little slice at the end of the shoots.
- 175 grams self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 175 grams softened butter
- 175 grams caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 2 large lemons, juiced
- 35 grams poppy seeds
- Grease and line two round cake tins, preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
- Combine the flour and baking powder and sieve into mixer
- Add the softened butter, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and poppy seeds to mixture and mix for approximately 30 seconds until combined
- Pour the mixture evenly into both tins and bake in the middle shelf for approximately 25 minutes or until the stabby device comes out clean.
For this cake I chose to make a simple lemon syrup, for this I used the juice of 3 lemons and 3/4 cup of caster sugar. Bring to the boil and stir until it thickens slightly, then pour over the hot cake once you have removed it and assembled both layers. I put a thin layer of lemon curd between the two cakes. You want to pour the syrup over the cakes so it seeps through and keeps them both moist.
I made my own sugared rose petals, this is super easy and I will pop the method up online shortly, I also picked some lavender and brought figs and pistachios which I just cut up and sprinkled over the top. It really is a very simple cake to make, just a little preparation before hand that’s all.
I will be picking the next personalised cake later this week, so keep an eye out for that next Monday on the blog
Photos by – Zandy J Pinup Photography