On her birthday/-/Pumpkin spiced Croquembouche on a caramel mud cake with Honey butter cream.

One of saddest and unluckiest birthdays that have ever occurred in my family happened. It happened last week. Why would a birthday be sad or be considered unlucky? Well let me count the ways.

My Older sister birthday just passed in the first week of September. Of course I had to make a cake for her but as you guys know I was still drunk on medication from the surgery. For all of those who are wondering now, I AM ALL BETTER sorta now I have new tooth problem but that’s off topic… THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR GET WELL WISHES! My family is very happy to receive them.

So drunk on meds I attempted this cake, I used the word attempted strongly. Yes, crazy me working with cake, butter and boiling hot sugar. Thankfully I survived, barley. Blessing my hardy hands. Yep I used to sew and now I cook, so I have developed that ability to not feel pain as much as another’s ( let me say not always good when you find you burnt yourself two hours later)

My sister has always loved these puffs, she is the one that would look at the dessert menu first then order her main. Her motto in food is “always order dessert” which I think is great; too many girls are on that “no dessert for me thanks I am too *insert excuse*”

However on this day, her birthday she spent the night in the emergency ward of the hospital after catching a terrible stomach bug.

Ok so let me draw you time line of her down fall.

7:00pm:Pick up special fried flat head (her fave fish dish); she felt uncomfortable

8:00pm: Get to my place and wait for dinner, She had to lie down from feeling so woozy.

8:30pm: Sitting in the fetal position on the Lazy boy and covered in blankets.

9:30pm: Trying to get the courage to eat but Throwing up most of it. Heat pad, wet towels and meds are called in.

10:30pm-11:30pm: The rest of us cutting and eating cake (pictures, presents etc.); feeling a bit better to eat.  A little bit of cake and a puff. She leaves with a bit of cake and some food. (now here is where it gets very bad)

3:00am!!!: Now I am about to go to sleep; I get call from her. Crying and intense pain she rings for medical advice from me? REALLY!? If you are crying from the pain; the first thing you should do is go to the hospital; not call your brain dead of sister. Anyway handed over to my mum who talked some sense into her.

Anyway next morning I hear, via my mum and Facebook (yes she even updated her facebook about this event); She was on two dips and given morphine…..

Yes this was the saddest birthday ever.

Hopefully I might be able to make this again so her can have a fresh piece but until then I tell you what I did with most of it.

This is the cake that went into this  BIRTHDAY CAKE ice cream; Caramel mud cake with a honey butter cream icing and pumpkin spiced Profiteroles. We all know the concept of the croquembouche; so this is my take on it. It might be smaller and less impressive than the big one but I do not have the fridge space for that 1 meter tall tower.

While people think this a complex thing, you actually just need to be prepared. Get your sugar ready and your cake then dip and place as fast as you can!

The caramel mud cake was a wonderful complement to the icing which had tones of honey to it. This caramel mud is so easy and the incredibly tendered crumbed and moist when at room temperature.

The bonus of honey and salt is that sickly sweet feeling you can sometimes get from mud cake does not happen here. Also I reduced the sugar quite a bit in this cake as the addition drizzled caramel on top will take it OTT. I am in love with spices right now, so the crème filling these puffs are made from pumpkin puree, spices and cream. This cake is a very autumn winter inspired cake but it is my fall well cake to winter in Australia.

Let’s Hope your next Birthday goes better than hers!

Pumpkin spiced Crouqembouche on a caramel mud cake with Honey butter cream.

Makes about 35 Puffs and a 20cm by 1cm 3 layered cake

For the puffs

From this recipe

100g Butter

10g sugar

215ml milk

3g salt

130ml water

125g plain flour

4 eggs

Get the recipe for Pumkpin Crème here, I do not come up with this; so I am not sure if I can post the recipe again. This is very easy but and well worth the effort, I added 3tsp Pumpkin spice to the recipe (Equal amounts of Saigon cinnamon and all spice then for every 1tsp add 1/4tsp nutmeg and ginger and a 1/8tsp of cloves.


You need to batches of this. One for assembly and one for finishing

300g caster sugar

1Tbp corn or glucose syrp

50m water

Cake Adapted from

150g butter, cubed

200g white chocolate (any eating/cooking chocolate), chopped

130g (1 cup, firmly packed) light brown sugar

180ml (3/4 cup) warm milk ( I used a unsweetened nut milk for the flavour)

1 tbs honey

1 scrape vanilla bean pod

2 eggs, at room temperature

300g (2 cup) plain flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

0.5 tsp baking soda

5g course pink sea salt

Pre heat oven to 160C

Line 3x20cm greased cake pans with baking paper.

In large sauce pan melt your milk, butter, white chocolate, sugar, honey, vanilla bean over low heat. Stir continuously until melted well and combined. Set aside for 20mintues to cool.

Shift baking powder baking soda, flour and salt together.

Add eggs whisking well after each addition.

Whisk in flour in three batches until combined.

Pour mix into your cake tins and bake for 30 minutes or until the skewer has a few crumbs left ton it when poked in the middle. Cover with foil if it is browning too much.

Leave to cool in pans for 10 minutes then cool on a cake rack until cool.

Once cool, wrap in ccling film and fridge for one day.

Puff instructions

Preheat oven to 190c.Prepare two lined baking trays

Place butter, sugar, milk, salt and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat.

With a wooden spoon beat in flour. Return to heat and continue beating until mixture comes away from the sides of bowl. I did for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In large bowl of a stand mixer, place dough ball. Beat mixture for 1 minute for it to cool. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, until all the eggs have been added and mixture is thick and glossy. Beat for a few more minutes, or until thickened and shiny.

Spoon half the choux pastry batter into a large piping bag fitted with a 1 cm round nozzle. Cover the remaining pastry with cling film. Pipe mixture onto trays in mounds

Bake at 200c for 10 minutes then turn it down to 180c for 15 minutes. Once they have browned, feel hollow and firm; Transfer to a cooling rack and immediately piece the bottom of the puff with a sharp knife.

Honey swiss butter cream

140g egg whites

140g caster sugar

3g sea salt flakes

1 teaspoon of clear vanilla extract

210g unsalted, cubed, soft butter.

200g runny honey.

In medium bowl whisk together your egg whites and caster sugar.

Place bowl over a saucepan of simmer water. Whisk continuously until the sugar is fully dissolved. Rub a bit of mix between your fingers to test.

Transfer mix to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat until it becomes a big fluffy and white. At this point it should take about 8 minutes for the meringue to come to room temperature.

Change to paddle mix. While beating the mix on medium with the paddle add the butter a cube at a time until it fully combined. GO slowly here and scrape down the bowl frequently. Once butter is all added, beat on medium high till it is fluffy and pale.

Add vanilla and beat again. In order to incorporate honey use the final vanilla. While beating on low, pour in the honey into the vanilla swiss butter cream until combined.

Set aside for later use


Cut the domes off your cakes and set aside.

Ice and fill each cake, you can get wonderful tutorial here on Bakers Royal but just do not do the ruffles.

Fill your puffs with crème by poking a small hole in the bottom of each puff and using a 1cm nozzle, pipe you filling in. You can tell if it is ready when you fell the puff have a bit of resistance when you hold it. Repeat with all puffs, set on a baking tray and fridge for 1 hour.

Now be prepared here. The final product!!

Take out your cake and puffs. Also if you do not have heat resistant hands like me, get yourself some thongs.

Place your pan of caster sugar, glucose and water over medium heat and bring to the boil. Once it turns golden brown in 15 minutes remove from heat. Quickly dip each puff into the syrup then on to the cake. If you cake is cold enough the butter cream will not melt too quickly and you will return it to the fridge later so no panic J

Place each puff in a circle pattern, work your way up repeating the dip and place technique to build a tower. So you will place each puff on top of the space between the below puffs.

Once built, return to the fridge for 1 hour.

On Serving

Make the other batch of toffee. Using two forks dip then in the caramel then lace over the tower on the cake. I like to draw a figure 8 pattern on to the cake but do whatever you want. You should get thin strands of caramel setting on the cake. Continue to do this until you have enough for your liking. Now it is ready for serving!


  1. OMG!! HOW DO YO MAKE A CAKE LOOK SO PERFECT!!! You should see what's sitting on my kitchen counter at this very moment... sadness... sadness I tell ya. Perhaps you can gimme a little tip.
    A) My buttercream always come out too loose and does not hold its position in between Ccakes...
    B) HOW THE HELL do you get that RAZOR straight surface??!
    C) Are you human?

    1. I swear you are too kind mandy!.

      A)If you cream is too soft place it in the fridge for 30 minutes then whip it up again. If it is the american butter cream still too loose at more icing sugar. I normally use Swiss butter cream, you can find it hear on brave tarts website;
      Also a scale heaps; cups are too varied

      B) Honestly this is practice. Use a flat icing tool and have lots of paper towels to clean it alot. Start with the flat top of the cake then go to the sides. Also fridge your cake for 1 hour after you do the final layer then go over it with a thin layer of cream, this way it is easier to create flat edges.

      C) yep still human, at least I think I am. The pain meds I was on might have changed my biological composition

      Ask me any time if you need help!

    2. got it, thanks!!! Although I don't think I have enough energy in me to do another layered cake in at least 6 months.. haa

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Dina, you can use the left overs in cake like I did in my other post. I hope you try your hand at this cake

  3. Sorry to hear about your birthday. But this cake - man oh man. What a glorious cake!

    1. Oh it is not my birthday, it is my sister!

      I am sure you can do something like this too based on your blog!

      Thanks Chung

  4. looks amazing.

    (it might help to include 2 cups of flour in the ingredients list as in the original:
    150g (1 cup) plain flour
    150g (1 cup) self-raising flour)

    1. I increased the flour to 300g as I used baking powder and baking soda. I find self raising flour gave it too much bounce but thank you for your edit.

  5. This is one of the most perfect looking cakes I have ever seen. And the flavours sound incredible!

    1. Thank you Aimee. I wanted to get the tower more even but it is lovely that you think it is perfect

  6. Umm wow. What a stunning cake. I have no other words.

    1. You are too kind nicole! Thank you for commmenting

  7. Soooo beautiful! you have really outdone yourself! The layers of flavors are just incredible. I baked some honey into pumpkin cookies today but nothing like what youve done! Pinned! And saw it on the 2nd row of FG. Well-deserved!

    1. I know! It was such a strike of luck you also did a honey, pumpkin combo! I am trying your cookie today.

      Thank you averie for you lovely comment about my photos, you are such a support.

  8. Gorgeous! Beautiful! Amaaazing looking cake!! I want a slice!! or two....

    1. I would gladly send you one if we had any left! Thank you love

  9. That is definitely the worst birthday ever! You should make this cake again for your sister and have a re-do birthday party. This cake looks insanely good!

    1. You bet! she was so upset, but we are making up for this weekend. Thank you love!

  10. Absolutely stunning dessert! So sorry your sister was unwell and not able to enjoy your labor of love!

    1. You are too kind! Thankfully Laura she back to her normal self and we celebrate tomorrow!

  11. Oh my this looks really delicious. your photography looks like,the food pop out off the screen to my mouth. Nice job.

    1. Thank you! You are too kind Thank you for commenting love

  12. My goodness, you have some incredible desserts here! This cake looks unbelievably perfect. : )

    1. Hey Monica, far from perfect but very delicious none the less! Thank you for coming to my blog

  13. OMG!!! I'm totally drooling here. Like major drool. This is probably the best BEST mud cake I've ever seen!

    1. Oh nami! This has made my day! Mud cake is way too under used and I love it here. Thank you for commenting

  14. Truly gorgeous cake!! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

    1. Thank you Karly. I hope you keeep on with the pumpkin recipes! I need some more inspiration.

  15. Okay that cake... so hungry right now!!!

    1. I am sure you can recreate it! Thank you for your lovely comment Rachel.

  16. WOw this cake looks awesome. My son have seen it and want it for his birthday next weekend. So I will have a try and will make this cake (cross fingers)

    1. I wish you good luck and your boy Happy birthday when you make this!
      You can do it!

  17. Thanks Belinda. I will let you know how the cake tasted. I will make it Saturday.

    1. Tell me all about it, I love to hear feed back

      I hope all your friends enjoy it!

  18. Why oh why do your cakes look sooo good, Belinda? Much salivating and drooling over here =) Every time I visit your blog I see all these visual and delicious goodies, so thank you and keep up the awesome work!

    p.s. I was wondering if you take cake orders and if not, would you consider doing so in the near future? :)

    1. I love that you like my work so much, You have no idea how much these kinds of comment mean to be, it makes my heart jump for joy!

      I do take cake orders if you are in Sydney, Australia. I would love to start my own cake service

    2. YAY !!!!! :D

      Good thing I live in Sydney too ;) When can I order? :) Can't WAIT to taste one of your creations :D :D :D

  19. Contact me via email, and I be happy to discuss what you would like to order via email and phone!

  20. Im guessing you add the milk with the butter chocolate and honey?