Sunday, 15 July 2012
In order to conduct such a workshop, of course, I have to prepare the cupcakes for the girls to decorate. So I was busy, busy, busy. Naturally, when I found that I had some extra cupcakes, I couldn't resist having a mess around with some of the yummy toppers that I had prepared for tomorrow! I baked my Mum's Chocolate Cake recipe before topping with Vanilla Buttercream and a sweet chuck of liquorice allsort. Both my chocolate cake and buttercream recipes are tried and true. How could you not look at these and smile?
Saturday, 7 July 2012
Janelle Bloom and can be found on her amazing web site, along with a myriad of other quick, fabulous recipes.
220g chopped navel oranges (this was 1 and a half oranges for me)
185g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups S R Flour
Pulse the chopped orange 3 - 4 times in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter, sugar and extract before pulsing until combined. At this stage, the mixture may look curdled but is fine. Pop the eggs into the bowl and pulse before adding flour. It is important just to pulse until flour is incorporated and not over mix. Pour the batter into a prepared 23cm springform tin and cook in a 170 degree oven (lower for fan-forced) for 60 - 70 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Whipped Orange Buttercream
145g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
3-4 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Beat butter for 5 minutes until colour lightens. Mix in 1 cup of icing sugar well before adding the orange juice. Beat for a minute. Add last cup of icing sugar and beat with an electric mixer on high for 8-10 minutes. Buttercream should be light in colour and texture. You can add more icing sugar or orange juice until it reaches your desired consistency.
Now, you and I both know that there is but one thing to do with an overload of beautiful, ripe fruit...bake with it! Funnily enough, our little tummy bug is the size of a navel orange this week, so how appropriate that I should be cooking with them. If you were in my house right now, your sense of smell would be overwhelmed with the sweet, sharp scent of the Whole Orange Cake that I currently have in the oven. Just wait until you see pictures of it...you won't be able to help but want to make it yourself.
More to come later...
Monday, 2 July 2012
Friday, 8 June 2012
I thought that I simply must share this fabulous dessert with you. It's been a favourite of mine for quite a few years but I made it most recently, last week. The event was the lovely baby shower of one of my gorgeous teaching partners. Mel's little "wombat" is due on the first of August and I just cannot wait to squeeze (his) cubby cheeks! This wonderful gathering required a pregnancy friendly dessert and so I chose this beautiful White Chocolate and Strawberry Tart.
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
Place flour, sugar and butter into the food processor. Pulse until the mixture has a fine crumb consistency. Add the egg and process again in short bursts until the mixture starts to come together. Turn the mixture onto a work surface and press dough together into a thick disk. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes.
Roll dough out between two sheets of baking paper. Line your greased flan tin, easing (not stretching) the dough into the corners. Refrigerate for another thirty minutes and preheat oven to 180 degrees. Blind bake the pastry case with weights for 15 minutes, then remove weights and bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden. Allow the case to cool completely.
White Chocolate Custard
225g white chocolate, chopped
375mL pouring (single) cream
3 egg yolks
Place chocolate and cream into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until melted together and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk through the egg yolks. Pour mixture into the pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes. It should be just set. Allow to cool in tin and then refrigerate.
To assemble the tart, top the filling with 500g of hulled strawberries and dust with icing sugar.
Monday, 7 May 2012
White chocolate cake?
Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake
250g unsalted butter
400g caster sugar
1 x 142ml pot sour cream
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line the bottom of a 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
In a large saucepan, place your guinness and butter and stir over a low heat. When the butter has melted into the guinness, add the sugar and cocoa. Separately beat the eggs, sour cream and vanilla together before whisking into the dark guinness liquid. Finally you can stir in the plain flour and bicarb until combined. Pour the batter in the cake tin and bake for an hour.
I literally baked this cake twice within a week. It freezes beautifully if you want to slice it up, as I have, for my lovely husband to take in his lunch; it is simply sublime with custard or icecream as a dessert; or you can frost it, as I have here, with my divine Cream Cheese Frosting and adding some chocolate coated strawberries.
Saturday, 5 May 2012
Sunday, 29 April 2012
No-Cook Key Lime Pie
200g digestive biscuits
70g unsalted butter, softened
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp dessicated coconut
juice and zest of 4 limes
397g tin of sweetened condensed milk
300mL double cream
Put all of the ingredients for the base into the food processor and pulse so you have oily crumbs. Press the crumbs into 4 small tart tins or one large flan tin. Place these into the freezer to set while you get on with the filling.
With an electic mixer, whisk the zest, juice, condensed milk and cream until thick and creamy.
Pour into the tart shells and put into the fridge to set.
Strawberries and Cream
6-8 medium sized strawberries
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 cup thickened cream
Before you begin, there are two very important details you must note: your cream must be full fat and your strawberries must be sweet (so try them first). Whizz up the strawberries in a blended until you have a syrup-like consistency and set aside. Whip cream with an electric mixer until you have stiff peaks. Sift over icing sugar and begin to mix. Add in the strawberry pulp, one tablespoon at a time. Stop when you have reached the desired consistency. Your cream will be a soft pink but you could add a little powdered food colouring for a richer colour. Pipe onto the cupcakes of your choice but I suggest you do this as quickly as possible before you eat it all out of the bowl!
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
In addition to a recipe, I also thought it incredibly important to include the history of the ANZAC biscuit. This is a recipe that stays true to that which was cooked in the kitchens of our great great Grandmothers during WW1. It is heartwarming to know that the love that these women demonstrated for our soldiers lives on in our kitchens today.
During World War 1, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Here was a problem. Any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometers per hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. A body of women came up with the answer - a biscuit with all the nutritional value possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. These oats were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.
The ingredients they used were: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp golden syrup (or treacle)
1 tsbp water
1/2 tsp baking soda
Combine all of your dry ingredients. Place butter, syrup and water in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until butter has melted. Stir in the baking soda before combining wet and dry ingredients. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and press firmly to flatten. Bake in a 160 degree oven for 15 minutes.
This recipe gives you biscuits with a crunchy outer and a soft middle. If you prefer you ANZAC biscuits really crunchy, flatten them more on the tray before they go in the oven and cook for 20 minutes instead of the stated 15.
Monday, 23 April 2012
Sift in the flours and beat on a low speed until combined. You will have quite a thick batter.
Divide batter into baking cups and smooth the surface.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out fairly clean. Allow to cool.
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tsp lemon rind, finely grated
1-2 tbsp milk
Beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Grate in lemon rind and thin buttercream to the desired consistency with the milk. Pipe onto your lovecakes.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
These cupcakes tasted absolutely amazing. A true feast for the tastebuds, not to mention the eyes! These are simply beautiful and the visual impact when presented is fabulous. It is very important to bake these lovelies to share, otherwise, you might very well eat the whole lot by yourself (and justifiably so!). This recipe bakes 12 so I doubled it. The recipes for the buttercream and praline, however, make considerable amounts so no need to double - perhaps even half them! You truly will not regret making these cupcakes. They are special cupcakes, to be prepared for special people.
Caramel Maple Mudcake
60mL maple syrup
120g dark brown sugar
150g unsalted butter, chopped
75g white chocolate
150g P flour
50g S R flour
After you've preheated your oven to 160 degrees, place the maple syrup, milk, sugar, butter and chocolate in a saucepan. Melt over a low heat, stirring continuously. Once completely melted and combined, pour into your mixing bowl and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Sift in both flours and mix until just combined. Beat the egg lightly before whisking into batter until smooth. Divide the mixture between your baking cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer (you want a few crumbs on the skewer). Once out of oven, allow to cool completely.
Maple Vanilla Bean Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
2 tsp maple syrup
Whip butter and 3 cups of sifted icing sugar together until smooth and light. Mix in vanilla bean paste and maple syrup to flavour. If buttercream is too wet, add remaining icing sugar.
Flaked Almond Praline
1 cup caster sugar
4 tbsp cold water
1/2 cup flaked almonds
Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved.
Increase heat to high - no more stirring allowed! You are permitted to lightly swirl the saucepan once, but that is all. Boil until mixture turns a deep amber colour. Remove from heat and leave to sit until bubbles have subsided. Add almonds.
Pour mixture over baking tray. You can use a spatula to spread it out to ensure that the praline is nice and thin. Allow to cool then break praline into shards.
Put it all together and...Voila!
200g dried dates, roughly chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups boiling water
60g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup S R Flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease your chosen moulds. Put the chopped dates, bicarb and boiling water into the blender jug and leave to soak. After around 5 minutes, add the butter and sugar before pulsing 2 - 3 times. Any more and your dates will be mush. Tip in the flour and eggs and pulse again until just combined.
Use an icecream scoop to divide the mixture between the moulds. This will ensure even distribution. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. You want a few crumbs on the skewer when tested. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before turning out. While they are resting, you can get on with your butterscotch sauce.
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
300mL single (pure) cream
125g unsalted butter
Put all of your ingredients into a saucepan over a low heat. Stir continuously as all ingredients melt in together. Put into a pouring jug to serve with your puddings.
Don't forget the Vanilla Bean Icecream!
Friday, 13 April 2012
The Cupcake Project, so won't rewrite it here but if you click on the link, you will find the recipe.
Just looking at these darlings make me happy! They are everything a cupcake should be - petite, delicate and adorable with their little swirl of frosting. These have that childhood appeal of peanut butter and the depth created by the chunks of dark chocolate. The light, airy whipped cream frosting is a perfect compliment to this dense cupcake and looks a treat too. This is a fantastic substitute for those who are not particular fans of buttercream or who are looking for a lighter frosting. It is not overly sweet which means that it doesn't take over the flavour of the cupcake. Whipped cream frosting pipes beautifully and is perfect for both small, delicate cupcakes and larger, layered cakes.
Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting
1 cup thickened cream (full fat)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa, sifted
4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
Whip your cream with an electric mixer to stiff peaks. Keep mixing as you add the vanilla, cocoa powder and icing sugar. Stop mixing when ingredients have just come together. This can then be piped onto cakes.
This recipe can be modified easily for Strawberry or Raspberry whipped cream. It's quick and easy and looks fantastic. Not to mention, perfect for school lunches. Sigh.
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Generally, Vanilla (as a flavour) has people in a couple of camps. You may be one of those who classes Vanilla as bland, the option when there are no other options. Perhaps you quite enjoy the creaminess of a Vanilla milk shake and don't mind Vanilla at all. The other side in this flavour-triangle is the Vanilla lover - not just content with Vanilla as a flavour but also as a shower gel, moisturiser and room fragrance...this is moi. Vanilla may well be boring and uninspiring in cooking if you have only been exposed to cheap imitation vanillas, such as Vanilla Essence. Once you have gone down the 'real' vanilla track, that is, vanilla beans, vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste, you simply won't be able to go back.
These wonderful little cakes are soft and luscious, stunning white with the tiny little black flecks of vanilla bean. But I hear you thinking, is that it? No, my darlings, that is not...it. They are topped with the most amazing vanilla buttercream. It truly tastes like creamy vanilla ice-cream, full of gorgeous flavourful vanilla paste. These are the Queen 'Bean' of Vanilla Cupcakes. In fact, this exact recipe was crowned "The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake" by experimental blog The Cupcake Project. For this very reason, I will allow you to follow the link for the recipe rather than reproducing it here. Stef has included some amazing tips which include baking yourself a 'test cupcake' prior to baking the batch, ensuring you have the perfect cooking time and cupcake result. I really couldn't not share this recipe with you.
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Ok, well I've paraphrased but I'm sure Tara will back me up when I say, that was the general gist of it. In short, even if you don't think you like shortbread, make these!!!
I believe that this recipe was originally from a Women's Weekly cookbook (probably the one of the many I have stolen from my mother, but possession is nine-tenths of the law, no?). I have done a little tweaking over the years to get this just right so I cannot attest to how closely this resembles the original recipe. Nevertheless, this shortbread is insanely wonderful and not even remotely like the old-fashioned fork-pricked triangles seen in old tartan-covered Christmas books of old. The batter is amazingly soft and velvety, and if you can manage not to eat it all before you get it into the oven, the biscuits are even more so.
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
1-2 tsp finely grated lemon rind (to taste, really)
55g icing sugar
225g plain flour
Preheat oven to around 160 degrees and top some baking trays with baking paper.
Beat the butter, sugar and lemon rind with an electric mixer until it changes to a light straw colour. Next, sift your flours in two batches, mixing to combine in between. When mixture has come together, place into a piping bag with an open star tip. Pipe onto the baking tray in whatever manner takes your fancy. I have done pretty 'bars' but you can also do little rosettes which are quite nice. Bake for around 15 minutes. Don't expect the shortbread to brown. If it does, then they will be overdone. Once baked, transfer to a baking rack to cool.
Prepare to fall in love.
Monday, 9 April 2012
This recipe is a people-pleaser. It doesn't discriminate in terms of flavour and is lusciously light and fluffy. You will have people asking for these time and time again. These are absolutely glorious warm, straight out of the oven but if they last long enough, ice with either my cream cheese frosting or a thick buttercream (either chocolate or vanilla would work nicely).
125g very soft unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
Sunday, 8 April 2012
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
Place flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor and process in short bursts until mixture has a fine crumb consistency. Add egg and process again, in short bursts until mixture starts to come together - it will still seem quite crumbly. Turn the mixture onto a floured work surface and press dough together. If you are making one large tart, bring dough together into a large, thick disc. If you are making a number of smaller tarts, divide mixture into 2 smaller discs. Either way, wrap pastry in glad wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out dough on a sheet of glad wrap or baking paper (this stops it sticking to your surface), ease into the corners of your buttered dish and trim edges. I now put the pastry (in the dish/es) into the freezer for 20 minutes. This removes the need to blind bake with pie weights. The pastry doesn't puff up when you cook it from frozen - so much easier! From the freezer, put the pastry straight into a 180 degree oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. You will notice that the pastry has 'dried out' and started to brown slightly. Perfection!
As much as it always seems easier to buy a pre-made pastry case, you will no longer wish to take this option once you make your own. It is infinitely better and so much more satisfying! You can make pastry that tastes and looks better than the frozen option. Now, don't just take my word for it...give it a go!
Saturday, 7 April 2012
Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat 100g of softened cream cheese with 125g of sifted icing sugar. Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon (or lime) juice and pop in a dash of vanilla extract. You can mess around with these quantities to fit your personal tastes. Whip until the mixture comes together. Keep in mind that if you add more liquid, then you may need more icing sugar. Pipe onto the top of cupcakes and prepare to fall in love!
I wish everyone the happiest of days for Easter!
Friday, 6 April 2012
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
400g jar of Nutella
1 tbsp Frangelico (or rum, which I used)
100g ground hazelnuts
100g dark chocolate, melted
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and prepare a 23cm springform tin.
Whisk the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks.
Separately, beat the butter and Nutella together. Incorporate the Frangelico (or rum), egg yolks and ground hazelnuts, then fold in the cooled melted chocolate.
Add a large dollop of the egg whites to lighten the batter. Beat this in well.
Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites, a third at a time.
Pour into the tin and cook for 40 minutes. The cake should be beginning to come away at the sides.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
Roast 100g of hazelnuts in a 180 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before rubbing of outer skin.
Add 125mL of double cream, 125g dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon of your chosen tipple from earlier. Heat this gently and stir until chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and whisk until the ganache thickens. Pour over the top of cake and top with roasted hazelnuts.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
Earl Grey Cupcakes
3 tsp loose leaf Earl Grey
a good dash of boiling water (1/4 cup)
1/3 cup full cream milk
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cups S. R. Flour
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and prepare your baking cups on a tray. In a jug, pour boiling water over the tea leaves. Leave to steep for 2-3 minutes before adding your milk - just like making a jumbo cup of tea! Put all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Once combined, add tea and beat mixture until smooth and light in colour. Spoon batter into baking cups, only fill to halfway to allow for a rise. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Cupcakes will be golden and fragrant, and a skewer should come out clean.
Raspberry and Pear Frosting
2 tbsp Raspberry and Pear Conserve (substitute as you like)
1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar
1 - 2 tbsp milk
Warm jam in the microwave to thin. Mix into the icing sugar and use milk to thin to the preferred consistency. Pipe frosting onto cakes.
Hints: If you prefer a glaze to a frosting, use a little more milk before drizzling over cakes. You can use whatever jam or conserve you like. Marmalade works really well and you can substitute milk for orange juice.
Time for a cup of tea, I think!
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2 tsp baking powder
35g caster sugar
40g raw sugar
pinch of salt
handful of frozen (or fresh) raspberries
handful of chopped white chocolate
sprinkling of orange zest
Combine all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl and roughly combine. Use a measuring jug and beat together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter and vanilla. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently to combine. Don't worry about trying to beat out lumps, a light hand works best as you don't want to over-work your batter. Fold the berries, zest and chocolate into the batter with minimal mixing. Spoon the mixture into your baking cups or tray. I use an icecream scoop to do this. It seems to be a lot less messy and also means that each muffin contains the same about of batter. Bake the muffins for around 20 minutes, depending on your oven. A skewer should come out clean and the muffins should be golden brown and smelling gorgeous. This recipe makes 12 medium sized muffins.