Sunday, January 31, 2010

The best ever Chocolate Cup Cakes

Now there are a few reasons why l never bake Chocolate Cupcakes, a) my children don't like chocolate (sacrilege I know) and b) I've never found a recipe that i've been completely happy with. Well that all changed last week when l stumbled across this recipe, my husband ate five of them in a row.

I adapted this recipe, but for the life of me I can't find the original one anywhere.

I made these for a Hen's day dessert buffet, here are a few other photos of the buffet.

The recipe makes 12

230g butter
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
2 cups self raising flour
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup butter milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 180'c

In saucepan melt butter, add cocoa to the melted butter and stir. Add in boiling water and let it boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat and set aside.

In a large bowl mix together flour and sugar. Pour in chocolate mixture and mix together just until combined.

In a separate bowl combine buttermilk and eggs and beat. Add in vanilla and mix together well.

Pour into chocolate mixture and mix well.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Roses upon Roses

It's my son Coopers last day at day care today, he is so excited but unfortunately l don't think he realises that when he starts school he's not going to have wonderful hot lunches and be able to play all day! I hope it isn't too much of a shock for him.

I decided to make a cake to say thank you for the carers, they take care of him like he was their own.

The cake is a vanilla butter cake, I was given this recipe from a lady l went to cake school with. I have had the recipe sitting in my to make basket for quite some time, after making it I can't believe l waited so long to make it.

Vanilla Butter Cake

Heat Oven to 180 deg / 160 fan forced cooking time around 50 - 55 mins

Grease and 8" round tin

220 gr caster sugar

250gr softened butter

250gr plain flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 teaspoons of baking powder

3 eggs at room temperature

125 mls buttermilk at room temperature

Beat butter until soft and fluffy for a minute or so, then start adding the caster sugar gradually so as not to choke the butter.

Cream the butter and sugar together

Then add the vanilla extract.

Add the eggs one by one beating well after each addition.

Add the sifted flour and baking powder

Fold in the flour gently by hand using a metal spoon, alternating with the addition of the buttermilk.

I also used this recipe to make this Mickey Mouse Cake.


Y x

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Australia Day Lamingtons

Australia Day apart from being a great long weekend is our national day where we commemorate the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove in 1788. We typically celebrate it with a BBQ with plenty of sausages (snags) and chops and lots of fresh salads and following lunch and abundance of Pavlova topped with freshly whipped cream and fruit.

So in preparation for Australia day l made some Lamingtons, Lamingtons are delicious squares of sponge cake that are covered in Chocolate Icing and Coconut. Lamingtons started to appear in recipe books in the early 1900's and were named after Charles Wallace Baillie, Lord Lamington. He was the governor of Queensland from 1895-1901.

Now if you have never heard of Lamington's l urge you to try them!

Chocolate Lamington Recipe
120g butter
2/3 Cup Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Cups Self Raising Flour
Vanilla Extract or Essence
Pinch Salt

Chocolate Icing
1 2/3 Cups of Icing Sugar
4 Tblspns Cocoa
Boiling Water
Vanilla Extract or Essence
Dessicated Coconut (shredded)

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F Grease and flour a shallow square cake tin.

Beat Butter and Sugar until light and creamy. Add Vanilla. Beat in Eggs, one at a time. Sift Flour and Salt together. Add alternately to mixture with the Milk. Mix lightly to form a soft mix.

Spoon into the Cake tin and bake for approx. 1/2 hour or until cake is cooked. When cold, cut into uniform sized squares.

Dip each square of Cake in the Chocolate Icing (see below) and then roll in the Coconut. Set aside for the Icing to set.
Tip - place a square of sponge cake on the end of a fork prior to dipping. This will be less messy as you need to completely cover each square in Chocolate and then Coconut.

Chocolate Icing
Sift Icing Sugar into a bowl. Blend Cocoa with the Boiling Water to make a smooth paste. Mix into the Icing Sugar, adding a little more boiling water at a time, if needed. Add Vanilla. The Icing should be the consistency of pouring cream, for ease of dipping.


Y x

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Apricot and Almond Biscotti

  • Here's another dessert that l made for my Christmas buffet, for someone (ie me) who doesn't like nuts I didn't mine these!
For something extra l added the zest of one lemon.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 whole large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup whole almonds with skins (5 1/2 oz), toasted and cooled
  • 1 cup dried apricots (6 oz), quartered
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

Preheat oven to 180°F.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add whole egg, milk, and extracts, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms, then knead in almonds.

Divide dough between 2 sheets of wax paper, then form into 2 equal mounds and flatten each mound into a 5-inch disk. Put half of apricots in center of 1 disk and fold dough over apricots to enclose them (use wax paper as an aid if necessary), then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Form into a 14- by 2 1/2-inch log lengthwise on 1 side of baking sheet, spreading dough with wet hands. Make another log with remaining dough and apricots, arranging it about 4 inches from first log.

Brush logs with egg wash and bake in middle of oven until pale golden and firm, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 150°F while logs cool.

Carefully transfer baked logs to a cutting board using 2 wide metal spatulas, then cut logs diagonally into 1/2-inch-wide slices with a large heavy knife.

Line baking sheet with a clean sheet of baking paper. Stand slices, curved sides up, 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in upper third of oven until biscotti are dry, about 30 minutes (they will become hard as they cool). Transfer biscotti to rack to cool.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Orange Crepes

It was Cooper and Hamish's first day back a day care today, after having them home for the past three weekes l felt completly lost at about 2.30. The house was deadly slient, I missed their tiny feet running up and down the hall way.

So as a special treat l decided to make them their favorite dessert, the crepes are the perfect treat and only take a few minutes to make. The boys including Will love their's piled with fresh mangos and l couldn't agree more!.

Makes 15 Medium Size Crepes

250g Flour
600ml Milk
2 eggs
1/2tsp Salt
Zest of one Orange
2 tblsp of Orange Juice

Combine all ingredients together and whisk until combined. Cover the mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the fry pan. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Stack the finished crepes by putting wax paper between each one. Keep covered with a dry cloth until ready to eat.

Just thought l would also share the art smock and library bag l made for Cooper. The art smock fabric was chosen by Cooper l tired to get him to choose something else but he had his heart set on it.

It's been a while since l've gotten my sewing machine out so l was a little bit rusty, but l think they turned out ok!



Monday, January 4, 2010

Apple Pie

For Christmas my lovely husband gave me a Kitchend Aid Food Processor, I've always longed for one but never in a millon years thought I would get one for Christmas.

Because we have been away today was the first time l've been able to use it, I had some beautiful Granny Smith Apples left over that l purchased at the markets over the weekend. So to return the favor I made my husband this beautiful Apple Pie. He likes nothing better then good simple comforting food and this ticked all of his boxes!

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 190g (1 1/4 cups) plain flour
  • 190g (1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g chilled butter, chopped
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) iced water
  • 1.5kg Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered, cut into 1.5cm-thick slices
  • 55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar, extra
  • 2 tbs plain flour, extra
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 3 tsp white sugar
  • Double cream or vanilla ice-cream, to serve

Brush a round 5cm-deep, 20cm (base measurement) pie dish with melted butter to grease. Place the combined flours, caster sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and water and process until the dough just starts to come together. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 28cm-diameter disc. Line the prepared pie dish with pastry and trim excess. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine apple, extra caster sugar, extra flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and the seeds from the vanilla bean in a bowl. Lightly whisk egg white in a bowl. Brush the base and side of the pastry case with egg white. Place apple mixture in the pastry case. Roll out remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface to a disc large enough to fit the top of pie. Place over the apple mixture. Press the edges to seal and trim excess. Brush the top with egg white and sprinkle with white sugar. Cut 3 slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the apple is tender (insert a metal skewer, through the slit, into a piece of apple to check for tenderness). Set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Serve with cream or ice-cream.