Tuesday, December 30, 2008


So being Christmas/New Year and all I've got the week off work. Which means more time to bake. I bought the latest recipes+ magazine yesterday and as soon as a saw the doughnut recipe I knew I needed to give it a try. If I have one food weakness its doughnuts. But this recipe is for baked doughnuts so a little bit healthier, well thats what I'm going to tell myself!

So with all of those good intentions I set out. Now I believe that an important part of blogging my cooking is to share the disasters as well. As you can see they didn't turn out as you would expect. The dough was way too sticky and I just couldn't handle it to cut it into the right shape. In a last ditch attempt I just threw spoonfuls onto the tray. 

My next mistake was that I got a little distracted and they ended up a bit over-cooked. But all in all they still tasted OK. There is definitely the potential for improvement, one to put back on the to-do list.   

Here's the recipe, hopefully yours will be a little more successful:


1 egg
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/2 cup milk
50g butter, melted
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
Assorted coloured sprinkles, to decorate

1. Using an electric mixer, beat egg, sugar and 1 teaspoon essence in a small bowl until creamy. Stir in milk and half butter. Stir in milk and half butter. Stir in combined sifted flour and baking powder to form a soft dough. Cover with plastic food wrap; chill for 30 minutes
2. Preheat oven to 200oC. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface. Pat dough to 1-1 1/2cm thick. Using a 5cm floured biscuit cutter, cut out the centre of each round. Place doughnuts (and centres) on prepared tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. 
3. Meanwhile, combine icing sugar, remaining essence and 1 1/2- 2 tablespoons boiling water in a medium heatproof bowl; Stir to make a runny glaze.
4. Dip doughnuts in warm glaze and decorate with sprinkles.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Classic Sponge Cake

I achieved one of my cooking goals with my latest baking efforts. It was my first attempt at a multi-layer cake. Now it wasn't difficult at all, just two cakes stuck on top of each other, but it was a start.  Next time I'll aim to cut a cake in half to make some layers. It was also my first sponge cake. I was unsure whether it was done so probably kept it in the oven a little too long but it was still very nice. A sponge cake is ready when its just golden brown, the normal cake tests don't apply (eg. touching the top to see if it bounces cake). The cake was made to take to a family Christmas barbecue so I wasn't able to get any pictures in the mad rush to get out the door. Hope the drawing helps!

Classic Sponge

1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour
6 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 cup cream
icing sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the overn to moderate 180oC. Lightly grease two round cake tins and line the bases with baking paper. Dust the tins with flour, shaking off excess. 
2. Sift the flours together three times onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Beat the eggs in a large bowl with electric mixer for 7 minutes or until thick and pale. Gradually add the sugar to the egg, beating well after each addition. Using a large metal spoon, quickly and gently fold in the sifted flour and 2 tablespoons boiling water.
3. Spread the mixture evenly into the tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until the sponges are lightly golden and shrink slightly from the sides of the tins. Leave the sponges in their tins for 5 minutes. 
4. Spread jam over one of the sponges. Beat the cream in a small bowl until stiff, then spread over jam. Place the other sponge on top. Dust with the icing sugar. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fluffy Chocolate Cake - Best Birthday Cake!

Todays baking sunday was a birthday cake classic. This fluffy, moist chocolate cake is becoming a family favourite. I made a different icing to usual, and settled with a warm glaze.   Sorry about the poor quality picture. Was all gone before I could get a better shot! 

*** I managed to get a pic of the last slice left. enjoy! ****

Fluffy Chocolate Cakes
Recipe from Australian Womens Weekly Cakes and Slices

125g butter
2 tablespons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour

1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
20g butter, chopped
2 tablespoons boiling water

1. Combine butter, sifter cocoa and milk in saucepan, stir over low heat without boiling until butter is melted; cool to room temperature. 
2. Grease a deep 20cm round cake pan, line base with paper; grease paper well.  Preheat oven to 180oC
3. Beat eggs in small bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy, gradually beat in sugar, beating until dissolved between each addition. Transfer to large bowl. Fold in half the sifted flour and half the cocoa mixture, then remaining flour and cocoa mixture. Pour into prepared pan. 
4. Bake in moderate oven for 35 minutes. Stand 5 minutes before turning on to wire rack to cool. Spread cold cake with icing. 

To make icing: Combine sugar, cocoa and butter. Stir in boiling water until smooth. Pour over cake. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cookies for Christmas - Shortbread and Chocolate Snowballs

Its baking Sunday again and I attempeted three cookie recipes to take to work with me tomorrow. Only two made it to the end and they turned out pretty good. The disaster recipe was honey ginger buttons. The honey/golden syrup mixture over boiled and spilt all over the oven, and seeing as a finished off the honey to make it that was the end of that recipe. 

The messy disaster!

I carried on and made some lovely shortbread and chocolate snowballs with not very much snow. Very fitting for the climate I think. I little un-imaginative packaging and its ready for work. Well half of it anyway, kept some for home too!

Basic Shortbread

Not sure where I got this recipe but shortbread is a classic

250g butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour

Basic topping
1 eggwhite, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons white sugar

1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until pale. Add flour and cornflour. Stir to combine. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead gently until smooth. 
3. Gently press dough into the desired shape (I made a rectangle) until about 1.5cm thick.
4. Use a knife ti mark into individual biscuits. Do not cut all the way through. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm. Preheat oven to 160oC. 
5. Make topping. Brush each shortbread with egg white. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely on tray. Use a Sharp knife to cut right through markings. Serve. 

Chocolate Snowballs
Recipe from delicious magazine (link)

This recipe is very very rich. One cookie is more then enough for even the serious chocoholic!

200g dark chocolate, chopped
100g unsalted butter, chopped
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup icing sugar

1. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. 
2. Place the dark chocolate and chopped butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water over low heat. Stir mixture until melted and smooth, then remove the bowl from the heat and stand for 5 minutes to cool. 
3. Using a wooden spoon, stir caster sugar into chocolate until dissolved. Gradually add eggs, stirring until well combined. Add vanilla, flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix until a smooth dough. Cover and chill for no more than 30 minutes to firm. 
4. Use hands to roll heaped teaspoons (2 tablespoons as in original recipe makes HUGE cookies) of the dough into a ball. Sift the icing sugar into a dish, then dip each ball into the dish and dust heavily in icing sugar (I wasn't heavy enough) and place on prepared trays about 2cm apart. Bake the snowballs for 10-12 minutes until firm to the couch. Cool on the trays. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Unplanned cookies - but still so good! (Jam Drops)

So Sunday is my regular baking day. I had planned on baking mini brownie bites or ginger buttons but discovered I was missing some ingredients. I considered walking to the shops to get the stuff I needed, but well just couldn't be bothered, and then it started to rain, so that was settled. Instead I had a quick look through my recipe collection and found this recipe for jam drops that i hadn't tried before and all the ingredients were in the house. Perfect! They turned out pretty good, or at least thats the impression i got from the 10 my dad ate all at once!  Enjoy. 

The recipe is from The Essential Baking Cookbook.  

Jam Drops

80g unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup custard powder
1/3 cup raspberry jam


1. Preheat oven to 180oC, Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a small bowl. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the sifted flour and custard powder and mix to form a soft dough. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place on the trays. Make an indentation in each ball using the end of a wooden spoon. Fill each hold with a little jam. Bake for 15 minutes, cool slightly on trays, then transfer to wire rack to cool. 

Makes 32