Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

All right ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your witches hats as I present to you my super spooky spiced pumpkin flavoured Spiders Nests! Baked donuts seem to be all the rage at the moment and my mum is producing some pretty delicious ones out of her kitchen… so I have decided to jump on board, get creative, experiment and create my very own Halloween themed baked donuts.These are the perfect show stopping treat for any spooky celebration!
Spiced Pumpkin is not a very common flavour in Australia, but seems to be dominating my Instagram and Pinterest news feeds thanks to all of my American friends! I have developed this recipe with a subtle spiced pumpkin flavour that gives the donuts a brilliantly vibrant, perfectly halloween orange colour! Then to top things off a caramel glaze onto to really compliment and sweeten the spiced pumpkin donut.

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests
For this recipe I knew I wanted to develop a pumpkiney delight…. but if you are like me and live in Australia, getting your hands on tinned pumpkin is unfortunately not such an easy task. For this recipe I followed the queen of all thing butter, baking and blogging: Ree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman” Pumpkin Puree.. if you are lucky enough to grab some canned stuff, then by all means go ahead and use it!

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders NestsAlso I completely understand that I am always up for a challenge, however if all of this pumpkin and spices are too much for you… a simple packet cake will also do the trick! Chocolate mud cake or a basic vanilla with caramel glaze would be just as good! Baked donuts are all the rage at the moment, so there are plenty of donut pans around… I piked mine up from good old Big W!

For my cute little chocolate spiders I melted some good quality dark chocolate and popped it into a piping bag with just the very tip cut off. To make things easier I took the time to draw some spider patterns on the underside of my baking paper, that way all I had to do was follow the lines! Give them a good amount of time to set and firm up before trying to remove them from the baking paper.

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

How cute are they!!….. don’t look too close, I haven’t followed the lines very well!

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

It is always fun to jump into the kitchen and push my boundaries… I must admit I had a few goes at this recipe before I was happy with it! Working with the spice pumpkin was very different as well as being new at baked donuts. It is an honour and my greatest happiness to develop and share with you all my recipes and I hope you enjoy. Let me know below in the comments your thoughts on my latest creation.

Have a beautifully “spooky” weekend everyone.

Much love,

xxx Holly

Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

  • Servings: 12 Donuts
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests


Spice Pumpkin Donuts:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  •  1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree *see notes*
  • 2 Tbs butter melted
  • 1/4 cup butter milk

Caramel Icing:

  • 1 CupBrown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 Tbs Milk

Spiders Nest Decoration:

  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 1 packet of Persian Fairy Floss


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare 2 donut pans by well greasing all donut holes with butter or canola spray
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and all spices into the bowl of an electric mixer
  3. Add sugar, egg, pumpkin, melted butter and buttermilk
  4. Mix on medium speed until all ingredients are combined
  5. Spoon into prepared donut baking pans and bake for 9-10 minutes
  6. Remove from pan  and place on a wire wrack to cool
  7. For the Caramel Icing: In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, and water to a boil over medium
  8. Remove from heat and add chopped  butter, stirring to incorporate.
  9. Whisk in milk and icing sugar until smooth- mixture should be a thick yummy icing.
  10. Top each donut with Persian fairy floss and chocolate spiders (See notes above for instructions on chocolate spiders)

* For this recipe I knew I wanted to develop a pumpkiney delight…. but if you are like me and live in Australia, getting your hands on tinned pumpkin is unfortunately not such an easy task. For this recipe I followed the queen of all thing butter, baking and blogging: Ree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman” Pumpkin Puree.. if you are lucky enough to grab some canned stuff, then by all means go ahead and use it!


Rocky Road Cupcakes….. with a little extra rock and a little extra road!!

Rocky Road CupcakesAll my spring baby friends have been keeping me very busy lately with birthday cakes galore!

Making cakes is always interesting and there is never ever a dull moment in a cake decorators life. I have learnt over many years of “caking” to expect that anything that could possibly go wrong, WILL go wrong.. and to just go with the flow. I am now a master of not only cake decoration but also in stress management, quick thinking, an expert in profound language and very very talented at balancing a cake in one hand whilst opening numerous doors all on roughly 2 hours of sleep! (I am going to start adding these serious talents to my resume) Any cake decorator out there will understand.

On this blog I am an open book and I aim to share with you all the happy and pretty moments in my life.. so it feels only natural to share with you when life throws me a little.. lets call it an “oopsie”.

These yummy chocolate birthday cupcakes are topped with a swirl of chocolate butter cream, a cluster of mini marshmallows, a scattering of red lollies and all drizzled with milk chocolate. These are my rocky road cupcakes..

Rocky Road Cupcakes

Now comes the humorous part of this story…. after spending hours perfecting these cupcakes very tired on Friday night, I was pretty chuffed with my efforts! A quick happy snap of them on Saturday morning and I was off with a skip in my step, bursting with excitement to share my pretty cupcakes with the birthday girl.. Balancing a cake stand under my arm, a box of cupcakes in my hand and a handbag is never and easy task so a friend was there to help….. (that’s what makes this even funnier) some how I didn’t quite clasp the locks on my cupcake carrier, so my perfect little cupcakes decided to take a swan dive from hip height out of the safety of their box an onto the footpath. Now because these cupcakes were stacked high with butter cream, marshmallows, lollies and chocolate they were very top-heavy (this makes for a very yummy cupcake/not such a great swan diver)…. consequently all twelve of my cakes landed on their heads 10 meters away from their final destination!

At this point looking down at the 12 dishevelled, smashed, sad looking cupcakes that had taken me hours of effort, love and enthusiasm to create.. I could have cried (well sobbed!). Just as I knelt down on my knees to pick up the mess I had made, a beautiful lady walked past, expressed her sympathy and said… “Don’t worry my darling, for ever negative thing in life, there will always be a positive”… What a fantastic attitude!! They are just cupcakes!.. sooo instead of fretting, I hysterically giggled at the unfortunate situation and then in true blogger style I reached for my phone and document my cupcake carnage!

smashed rocky road cupcake

My friends were happy to apply the 3 second rule to those cupcakes that weren’t so dishevelled and they were enjoyed immensely with a little extra rock and a scattering of dirt from the road. After 10 + years of making cakes, this was my first (and hopefully last) dropped cake. Tell me I am not the only one! Please make me feel better and comment below your disastrous cake stories.

I guess the lesson I am reminded of here is that no matter what you have to alway look on the bright side of life… I am very blessed!

lots of love





Pink Donut Birthday Cake

What’s the best thing about birthdays?….. BIRTHDAY CAKE!!

Being a cake decorator for so long, it often becomes a little hard to constantly come up with new and exciting cakes to impress my loved ones..

This cake was my weekend creation for that pink donut loving best friend of mine! It’s a very different style for me and quite liberating to get all messy and free!! It honestly has put a little “spring” into my cake making step!

Just couldn’t wait to share with you all!  


Carottes Râpées – Parisian Carrot Salad

Paris Carrot SaladIf you have not already noticed, my love for Food and France is probably what dominates  90% of “A Pretty Little Life’s” content. Well this post I hate to break it to you is no different!

Whilst in Paris we became very familiar with a carrot salad that we would see adorning the front windows of all the famous french rotisseries. Beautiful and vibrant looking this salad immediately caught our eyes and was enjoyed on numerous occasions during our stay in Paris.

The most memorable of these occasions would have to have been when I ate this this zesty salad with a falafel pita whilst exploring the Jewish quarter of Paris. We spotted people from streets away all carrying and indulging in these overflowing Pitas. We followed our noses and the trail of happy customers carrying pitas until we stumbles across L’As du Fallafel. It was there I had a broken conversation with the most delightful jewish man. We both could not speak each others languages, but some how managed to have a conversation expressing our love of food! This incredible pita was served to me chock a block full of zesty carrot salad, falafel and a combination of hummus, tahini and a sauce I can’t quite put my finger on…. yum!! It was the perfect blend of cultural cuisine.


Since returning from our European holiday we constantly try and find foods similar to those we ate on our travels. Although we are yet to find a falafel pita anywhere near as good as our Parisian experience, I have been able to recreate our favourite zesty carrot salad from inside it.

We have this simple and tasty salad in my house a couple of times a week. It is quick, yummy and I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand ready to go!

Here is my recipe for Parisian Carrot Salad or

Carottes Râpées

(Parisian Carrot Salad)


  • 4 carrots
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • a splash of verjuice (optional)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • Big pinch of salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • a good handful of flat leaf parsley chopped finely


Wash, peel and grate your carrots. You may do this the old fashioned way with a grater or use an attachment on your food processor. I have recently bought a veggetti (I love it!!) purely for this salad.

Prepare the salad dressing by combining all other ingredients in a glass. Whisk to combine.

Dress the salad just before serving so that the carrots remain crunchy and beautiful.





Love in a Cup… My Individual Banoffee Parfaits

Love in a Cup

 “My Individual Banoffee Parfaits”

Banoffee Pie Parfait-1Buttery biscuit crumble, fresh banana custard, whipped vanilla cream and thick homemade caramel sauce… (take a moment to wipe the drool from your mouth please people!) oh the joy of that classic Banoffee flavour combination, it really is almost too good to be true!

This is a dessert that I came up with when having a dinner party for some very special friends of mine. They mean the absolute world to me and they do allot for me. I wanted to cook them dinner to say thank you and let them know just how much I appreciate their friendship. The thing is when I cook it is generally because I want to show the person eating my food just how much I love them. To me it is a way of expressing myself as I cook with my emotions (deep I know!.. but true). I wanted this special dinner party to end with a lasting memory and I knew dessert was going to be where I was going to pack the most sweet love in!!  I have had this dessert sitting in the back of my mind for years… probably ever since I bought these sweet little desert cups on sale from Ikea. I had an idea that this banoffee concoction was going to be yummy, however I didn’t quite expect it to be so good that my best friends (who have eaten more of my desserts than anyone else) would claim it to be my best dessert ever!! To be completely honest it almost feels a bit wrong how much attention and praise they gained considering how simple it was to make!…. maybe it was the secret ingredient LOVE.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can whip it up ahead of time. This is the secret to making your dinner party skills seem flawless.. when you return from the kitchen with a tray full of these bad boys your guests will be most impressed.

This desert really could not be any easier.

Banoffee Pie Parfait-3



Buttery biscuit crumble

1 packet digestive biscuits

100 g butter, melted

Fresh banana custard

2 large ripe bananas thinly sliced

I x packet of instant vanilla pudding

Whipped vanilla cream

250 ml thickened cream

1 tsp vanilla seed paste

Thick homemade caramel sauce

1 can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup Brown sugar

100 g butter


I like to take my time and make each component separate and then it is just a matter of layering all of the sweet goodness into your serving glasses and then retrieving from the fridge when the time is right.

For the buttery biscuit crumbs, process the digestive biscuits in a food processor until a rough crumb forms. You don’t want your crumbs too fine otherwise it will not give a great texture suited to soaking up the butter.  This is also the crunch element in the dessert. Mix the processed biscuits with the melted butter and then set aside. Don’t worry if you do not have a food processor.. just pop the biscuits in a ziplock bag and give them a good bash with a rolling pin!

For the fresh banana custard start by slicing your bananas as thin as possible. Mix up the instant vanilla pudding according to the packet instruction and then fold the fresh banana through. Chill in the fridge for about 5 minutes (just before it firms up) you still want to be able to spoon the custard into the parfait glasses.

For the whipped vanilla cream use a whisk attachment on your electric mixer to whip the thickened cream until soft peaks form. Stir in the vanilla seed paste. Set aside in the fridge.

Now for the best part!... the thick homemade caramel sauce!

In a saucepan combine the brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush (this prevents sugar crystals forming and gives a nice smooth caramel). Boil the mixture until a rich caramel colour is reached ( 5-6 minutes). Stir in the condensed milk and butter. Continue stirring for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Allow the caramel to cool in the fridge before using.

Banoffee Pie Parfait-2

Once all of your elements are prepared it is just a matter of layering. I like to at least get two thin layers of each element in so that with each big spoonful you are getting a bit of everything! I finish my parfaits with a little piped whipped cream and a dusting of buttery biscuit crumbs.. delicious!

See I told you they are super easy!! But shhhhh do not let your dinner guest know!

Lots of sweet love always,


Happy Mothers Day…

coconut cake 1Now I know nearly every child would say something along the same lines (especially on mothers day right!)… but my Mum really is the most incredible woman you will ever meet. She is the most inspiring woman and my absolute idol. I was only trying to explain to someone the other day how much I admire her ability to care and put her families needs over everything else in life. Some how she manages to capably juggle 100 things all at once, executed with absolute perfection all whilst wearing the prettiest shade of pink lippy! I often sit exhausted trying to hold my simple life together and look over at Mum.. who is usually in the kitchen whipping up a gourmet dinner for the family and wonder how on earth she does it all with such ease!…  I am hoping that it is some genetic super power I will get when I become a mum one day.IMG_6709

Mum is the kindest person you will ever meet, however has a wonderful strength that she uses to protect her loved one. She is open and honest yet so gentle and sweet. She is incredibly talented and pretty much perfects any craft, sewing or cooking project she sets her mind to… what I am trying to say is she is basically Martha Stewart!! (you are welcome Mumma!) I am absolutely honoured and blessed to be able to call her not only my Mum but my best friend… and often my partner in crime! We share and do pretty much everything by each others side. I look up to her more than anyone and hope to be just like her one day..

So in honour of my beautiful Mumma Bear today I thought I would flash back to the first cake I remember baking with her.

“Moist Coconut Cake with Coconut Ice Frosting”

Coconut cake 4

It is from our trusty and beloved Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices cookbook. Page 47 you can see is just a little more loved than the rest smeared with pink food colouring and splashed of cake batter. This cake was my specialty as a little girl as Mum taught me from a very young age how to perfect it.. it was my go to cake for birthdays or Mothers Day. I would spend hours in the kitchen whilst Mum was at work making this cake and trying to pour as much love into it as possible! Australina Womens Weekly cakes and sliceAustralian Womens Weekly Coconut cAKE

This really is my favourite cake to make and eat! It is so simple and has an incredibly dense and moist texture unlike any other cake as it is made using sour cream. The icing is the best part though.. it is just like coconut ice!! Yum.

If you are one of the few Australians to not own The Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes and Slices cookbook (I will try not to judge you), you can access the recipe here.

I really feel it is the perfect Mothers Day cake.

Coconut cakeCoconut cake 2

I would like to wish all of the pretty little mothers out there the most incredible Mothers Day today.. I hope you spend the day relaxing, being spoilt rotten and hopefully indulging in a big slice of cake!

Lots of Love




Lest We Forget..

Anzac Day

Saturday 25th April 2015

Anzac Biscuit

What a special and proud day to be Australian. A day where we all come together as a nation to honour and remember all of those incredible Australian men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

We all celebrate Anzac Day in our own way… whether that be attending a dawn service or ex-servicemen march, wearing a sprig of rosemary as a symbol of that found on Gallipoli peninsula or just sharing a beer at the RSL amongst family, friends and local hero’s. It is a special day of remembrance and celebration.

My tradition on Anzac Day is to bake (surprise surprise!) a fresh batch of warm chewy Anzac Biscuits. I love the history they have as being a gift made by loved ones and sent to the soldiers fighting during World War One. They are unique, iconically Australian and 100 years on they are still god dam delicious!!

I tend to pick a different recipe every year in search of the perfect Anzac biscuit (I am still searching and will let you know when I find it) This year I also made a variation on tradition and sandwiched a few with a little chocolate icing to make little mini Anzac Kingstons… They are very yummy and the perfect companion for a cup of tea.

So tell me beautiful people how do you honour Anzac Day?… Oh and… if any one has the perfect Anzac biscuit recipes out there, I would very much appreciate it!!

Lots of Love