For today’s cake cocktail, we wanted some sweet relief from the normally cream filled cocktails that come to mind when you think of cake. So we explored the fruit flavour of the Italian Wedding cake cocktail. This one is supposed to take on the flavour of its namesake – a little fruity, a little nutty and definitely delicious.


60ml pineapple juice

30ml vodka

10ml amaretto



In a cocktail shaker, combine pineapple juice, vodka and amaretto.

Shake well.

Strain into a lowball glass over ice.

There are so many traditions that surround a wedding day, all which play their part in making the day distinctly yours.  The wedding cake is one such custom and originates in Roman times, where the cutting and sharing of cake became a symbol of the bride and groom’s affection, and promise to always provide for each other. Like these traditions, when a treasured recipe is passed down through generations, a certain meaning is held within the process of making and sharing the recipe. These time-honoured recipes are often reserved for special family occasions like Christmas Day, notable anniversaries, baptisms and of course, wedding days.  This rich fruit cake is one such recipe, passed to me from my husband’s mother, who was passed it from her husband’s grandmother.  It was the cake we made together for our wedding day and it holds a very special significance for me.

While it seems involved with lots of ingredients and a very long cooking time, the recipe is surprisingly straightforward with little need for special interpretation. The most important things to note are firstly to prepare the layers of paper correctly. This process will insulate the cake and protect the outer edges from cooking too quickly and drying out.  Secondly, once the butter and sugar have been creamed, adding the eggs slowly beating after each addition is key to ensure each egg is incorporated separately – if you add them too quickly the mixture will appear curdled.  If this does happen, all is not lost and the cake will still succeed, however will be slightly less light than if the eggs are incorporated correctly. Best of luck! One thing I can promise, is that it is definitely worth the effort.

You Will Need:

1 x 23cm Spring Form Pan

Brown paper

Baking paper

Butter for greasing


1.85kg mixed fruit

125g glace cherries

200g mixed peel

Handful of desiccated coconut

250ml Dark Rum


450g unsalted butter, cubed

450g brown sugar

9 eggs

Zest of one lemon

Zest of one orange

2 tbs marmalade

1 tbs coffee essence (make your own with equal parts instant coffee and boiling water)

1 tsp vanilla extract


510g plain flour

60g self raising flour

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

1/2 tsp salt


1kg Ready to Roll White Icing

Decorations for cake (we used pom poms and colourful serviettes)

Step One. Start the day before!  Cut up any of the dried fruit if not already pre-cut.  Sprinkle over a handful of desiccated coconut and mix well.  Soak in rum overnight. Leave a few days if you have time on your side to really let the fruit take in the rum.

Step Two. Turn oven to 150 degrees celsius.  If you have an option not to use fan forced, use it.  If you have to use fan forced, reduce heat to 130 degrees celsius. When you are ready to make the cake, prepare the cake tin first. Rub tin with butter. Then using a square of brown paper, butter both sides and arrange in the tin.  Repeat three times with brown paper.  Then butter two sides of a square of baking paper and repeat three times.  The 6 layers of paper  in the tin will protect the cake and maintain the moisture as it cooks slowly over a very long period.

Step Three. Cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add grated rinds and vanilla extract.  Add eggs, gradually, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add coffee essence and marmalade and mix well.

Step Four. Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add half of this dry mixture to the fruits and stir through so all are coated.  Fold remaining dry mixture through butter and egg mixture.  Add floured fruits to wet mixture and fold well until combined.

Step Five. Pour cake mixture into prepared pan and smooth out to ensure there are no air bubbles in mixture.  Place in oven for 3 hours.  Reduce temperature to 120 degrees celsius (115 fan forced) and cook for a further 2 hours.  Once time has passed, turn oven off and leave door ajar but leave cake to cool in oven (overnight is usually best).

Step Six. Once cake has cooled, turn out of tin upside down onto serving cake board.  Now prepare the icing as directed on the packet.  Roll out and place icing over cake, this is one of those tricky processes where confidence is key – be confident and purposeful when applying the icing and you are less likely to have lumps and bumps.  Decorate cake with pom poms, sparklers, fresh flowers, pretty coloured papers or whatever your heart desires!

Ms Zigzag says: Bonus points to Jess for baking her own wedding cake for her big day! What a lovely tradition to continue to pass down from one generation to the next. 

About Jessica Derrick: I’m a writer and a lover of words and stories, pretty papers and flowers. I find great satisfaction in creating something beautiful from the simplest of materials. I’m happiest in a home bustling with conversation and music, sitting at a beautifully decorated table surrounded by good friends and delicious food – with a glass of champagne in hand, of course!

Hands up if you’d love to serve this three-tiered beauty on your wedding day? Well, today we’re giving you the keys to actually make this recipe at home yourself! This Beetroot and Rose Truffle Cake is one of the showstopper recipes in Hayley McKee’s new book “Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb” and despite its vibrant pink colour, you won’t find any artificial colours and flavours in this recipe, or anywhere throughout the book. We love the native Australian blooms, unique seasonal ingredients and the rustic style of all of Hayley’s recipes in her book and this week, we’re thrilled to be giving away three copies to our loyal Polka Dot Bride readers in celebration of our cake month on the site!

Hayley says: “This recipe will become your secret weapon chocolate cake. Earthy baby beetroots are roasted until juicy to lend a dense, fudge-like texture to an already deep, dark chocolate base. The real highlight, though, is the addictive beetroot and rose truffles dusted in cocoa, which happen to be a cinch to make. Just try not to scoff them before you decorate your cake.”

Beetroot and Rose Truffle Cake

Serves 8–10

Cake ingredients:

10 baby beetroot
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
340g unsalted butter
370g soft brown sugar
340g caster (superfine) sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a few drops of rosewater, to taste
600g  plain (all-purpose) flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
160g Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
4 teaspoons salt
625g sour cream

Beetroot and rose truffle ingredients:

3 beetroot
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
400g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into chunks
400ml thick (double/heavy) cream
40g edible dried rose petals, plus extra to decorate
a few drops of rosewater
100g  Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder

Beetroot icing ingredients:

3 tablespoons finely grated roast beetroot (see method)
225g  unsalted butter, softened
225g cream cheese, softened
500–625g icing (confectioners’) sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
50ml  milk

Note: This recipe makes one tier with two layers. To pump up the tiers and recreate the cake tower pictured, as a guide you’ll need to quadruple the ingredients; as well as a 20cm (8 in) cake tin, you’ll need one 23cm (9 in) and one 25cm (10 in) cake tin.


Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F). Lightly grease and line two 20cm round cake tins with baking paper.

Toss the whole beetroot in the oil. Wrap each one separately in aluminium foil. Roast 1 hour or until soft, then remove from the oven and cool. Once cool, peel off the skin and finely grate. Set aside.

To make the truffles, cook the beetroot as per the method above, then add to a blender or food processor and blitz to a fine purée. Transfer to a saucepan set over a low heat for 2–3 minutes (this will dry up any excess moisture and help bring out the flavour, so don’t skip this step).
Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the chocolate pieces in a heatproof dish. Bring the cream to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, reduce the heat to a simmer, add half the dried rose petals and cook gently for 15 minutes, or until the flavour of the rose petals has fully infused into the cream. Strain the cream over the chocolate pieces and stir slowly until melted and glossy, then add 110g of the beetroot purée and the rosewater and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour until firm. Once set, take teaspoons of the mixture and shape them into bite-sized balls, then roll them in the cocoa powder and the remaining dried rose petals to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator and leave to chill until needed.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a bowl using a hand-held mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and rosewater and mix in half the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Stir in the sour cream, then mix in the remainder of the dry ingredients before gently folding in 300g of the grated roast beetroot until well combined (save the rest for the icing).

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tins and bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tins for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

To make the icing, beat all the ingredients together in a bowl using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer until well combined.

Place one of the cooled cakes on a serving plate or stand and spread with half the icing. Place the second cake on top and spread with the remaining icing. To decorate, top with the truffles and scatter over a few more dried rose petals or team the truffles up with fresh garden roses.

Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb is available now from Hardie Grant.