Sunday, 15 July 2012


After an incredibly hectic first week back at school, I was more than happy to spend today baking up a storm. A day in the kitchen is simply the perfect way to relax. However, relaxation was not, in fact, my main reason for today's 'session'.  Tomorrow afternoon, I will be taking a cupcake decorating workshop with a group of 12-year old girls.  One of my colleagues runs a wonderful program called GirlLife.  In a nutshell, GirlLife gives these girls an opportunity to broaden their world view by seeing that there is so much more for them in life than they may have experienced.  I simply cannot wait to show you some of their creations which we intend to enjoy in a lovely high tea. 

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?

F. x

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Tea Time Tempter

I have found the perfect tea time cake.  Now, I understand that this sounds like quite a claim but it's completely true!  In fact, I have made this cake twice this week.  Initially, the desire to make this cake came from the gorgeous fresh oranges that were taking over my fruit bowl and filling my house with the scent of citrus.  I took it along to a morning tea with my ladies, warm from the oven and all agreed that it was perfection.  It could be described as a dense cake, delightfully moist and yet at the same time, it is not at all heavy.  It's not overly sweet at all and a big, fat wedge goes down a treat with a freshly brewed pot of English Breakfast. 
As I said, the first time I baked this cake, I served it warm from the oven with a sweet drizzle of orange juice and caster sugar.  My husband was very pleased that some cake actually made it home from our morning tea, so I decided to make another one for him to take with his lunch.  This time though, I wanted to finish the cake with a thick swirl of light buttercream and some finely grated rind.  It just looks so delightfully homely - I adore it and just couldn't help but 'test' my creation straight away.  I just know that this cake is going to become a firm favourite.  Perhaps, it already has.  My dear friend, Emma, is today baking this cake and intends to whip up an orange cream cheese frosting to finish it off. 
I just can't help but sing the praises of this darling cake and have missed the biggest positive of all - it is all blitzed together in five minutes with the food processor.  Could it be any more fantastic?  No, it could not.  This recipe comes from the beautiful Janelle Bloom and can be found on her amazing web site, along with a myriad of other quick, fabulous recipes.

Whole Orange Cake
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
3 eggs
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.

F. x

Orange you lovely?

This week, my Mr. and I made the long drive to Rockhampton.  Every time I make this drive I make a mental note to stop in the town of Westwood where there is a property with gorgeous rows of citrus trees and a little wooden stall out the front.  On this trip, this is exactly what we did.  Away we came with two enormous bags - one of mandarins and one of navel oranges, all picked that morning.  This is just the best way to buy produce and easily, the cheapest.  Oh, don't they look cheery sitting in the fruit bowl, filling the house with colour and the aromas of the freshed of fruit.

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...
F. x

Monday, 2 July 2012

Bun in the Oven

While I have missed 'literally' baking and cooking terribly over the past couple of weeks, ironically, I have never really stopped.  My Mr and I are very excited to be baking up our very own 'bun'!  At 14 weeks along, I am back, causing a stir,  in the kitchen after the exhaustion and morning sickness of my first trimester.  Due on the 4th January 2013, I look forward to sharing my sweetest recipe yet with you in the form of a beautiful little baby!

F. x