Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New York City



Here I am coming live from New York which is just a little far from home. I am over here for a two week trip with my brother. We will be in New York for 6 days (including new years eve) and then move on to Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Since I won't be baking for a few weeks I thought instead I would share with you some of the meals, snacks and food related stores we encounter. Please don't expect lavish restaurants and exciting discoveries. We are simple (sometimes very fussy) eaters and are trying to experience as much 'american' food as we can . So that include chain restaurants, fast food and what many might see as a little boring and everyday. We also don't have a huge budget so 5 star restaurants are definitely out of the question. Another thing, because lighting is often so bad in restaurants, and mostly I'm too busy eating to take pictures, most of the photos posted will come form the establishments own website. Although that isn't authentic blogging, my aim is more to share the places we visit, rather then my personal photos.

So what are our food highlights from the last three days?

At the end of our first full day in NYC which I filled with shopping and my brother went to a giants game, we decided to check out the local restaurants near our hotel (The Pod Hotel). We decided on a nice local bar, The Pig and Whistle. I had Chicken Tenders and Fries (which will be a common choice for me) and my brother G had The Real McCoy Burger . It was great food, great atmosphere and what seemed very authentic. This was an experience quite different from the touristy times square.

By the time we had lunch on our second day we were starving! We ran into a deli-cafe downtown, just near Wall St. I have no idea what the place was called but I had an amazing Chicken Parmigana Panini. It was shredded chicken mixed with marinara sauce and basic, grilled with a slice of mozzarella. It was incredible.

The next night told a very different story. It was times square, and chain restaurant goodness at Dave and Busters. I had been to Dave and Busters in St Louis on a previous trip and knew it was a place my brother would love. You get what is expected here, menu favourites that are well made and taste good. I had The Mac and Cheese (with bacon and chicken!). G had the Island Grilled Trifecta, skewers of sirloin steak, chicken and shrimp with a variety of dipping sauces, served with rice.

On our walk back to the hotel I couldn't resist this GIANT black and white cookie from Hot and Crusty bakery in Grand Central Station. It took me two days to finish but was so very worth it. The cookie was soft and crumbly, the frosting just the right thickness, and it seriously was huge.

By the third day, the coldest yet, we were exhausted and needed an early night. We had pizza for dinner, I had cheese, G had pepperoni. We couldn't resist the garlic knots either. You really can't go wrong with pizza, the slices are huge, the prices are great. You can get good pizza just about anywhere in New York, we got ours from Red Stone Pizzeria Cafe near the hotel.

So far the food has been good, but I know it's only just begun. I can't wait to try out even more, check out some markets and food halls and then get back to Australia to cook it all for myself. But for now its into my nice warm bed out of this cold.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Cookies



So the other week I blogged about how I would love to be able to give away some cookies and other baked good for christmas. I wasn't feeling too optimistic about it but miracles do happen. I finally got into the kitchen and made cookies, Chirstmas cookies!! then I wrapped, decorated, tagged and delivered this lovely little parcels of joy. I made two varieties, a basic butter cookie cut into stars (The recipe was from the cookie cutter box) and basic shortbread.

It wasn't all success though. As well as the little parcels, I also made a cookie christmas tree. Sure it all went together ok, and looks good. But fast forward a day to when it was supposed to be delivered and its not such a pretty store. It fell apart, and an emergency gift was needed instead. I'll just leave you with pretty pictures and spare you the future horror.



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So I missed it....

Well my blog anniversary came and went yesterday and I missed it. I do have an excuse, I've been out of town for the last 4 days, so I guess I kinda have a reason. If I was one of those super-bloggers I would have pre-planned and had a a post ready to go. But if you have looked at my blog, you should clearly know that I am not one of those super-bloggers! I might whip up a cake in the next few days, but honestly I wouldn't hold my breath! Anyway, thank you to those of you who have joined me even if just for a little while in the last year, and I hope I can continue to slowly slowly get better at this blogging thing, or at least better at baking. Please, keep coming back, and say hi as well!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Simple Chocolate Slice

Simple. Such a delightful word. Its what I strive for. Nothing complicated, easy to understand. But the annoying thing about keeping it simple, is that its not. Some things will always be complicated, no matter how hard we try to make it otherwise. Sometimes we make things more complicated then they are. But there is always something that makes it all better, for me anyway. Time spent in the kitchen is therapeutic, its my time to just be. And then you get the sweet rewards, there real is no better way to keep it real. And simple.

This slice really does live up to its name. Throw the ingredients into the bowl, mix and bake. Expect what the recipe looks like, its not a rich decadent slice, but a great one to have on hand for afternoon snacks.

Simple Chocolate Slice

Ingredients
1 cup self-raising flour
395g condensed milk
1/2 cup choc chips
1/2 cup coconut
20g butter, melted

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking pan. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, condensed milk, choco chips, coconut and butter.
2. Pour into pan, bake for 15-18 minutes. When cool, ice with chocolate icing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Double Chocolate Banana Bread


I have been thinking lately about how the art of baking is being lost. No one seems to give baked goods as gifts, there isn't an endless supply of home made cakes or biscuits on hand in the kitchen. Maybe it disappeared a long time ago, maybe it was never that prevalent in Australia. I read all the blogs from US bakers posting their favourite cookies and how to pack goods to send to loved ones. Why don't we do that here? Why don't I start?

This was my thinking before Saturday, I was starting to plan all the great recipes I could bake over the next few weeks to give away as gifts. Then I remembered. Its summer. That means its hot, really hot. On Saturday it was 43C, that's almost 110F for those of you in the North. Who is gonna turn the oven on in that heat?!!! So I might not do as much baking as I would like before Christmas, but I'm going to do as much as the weather lets me.

For those of you that are in cooler climates, try out this Double Chocolate Banana Bread I made a couple of weeks ago, you really can't go wrong with this one.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Recipe from dlynz.com

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarb
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 cup plain yoghurt (I used banana flavour)
2 medium bananas, cut into a medium dice
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Method
1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl beat together egg, oil and yoghurt.
2. Combine egg mixture, banana and chocolate chips and dry ingredients.
3. Spread batter in greased loaf pan. Bake at 180C for 60-70 minutes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Strawberry Jam Tarts

Ahhh peace and quiet. I'm not sure what I did but I've finally found some quiet time. This weekend has been full of a whole lot of nothing and I'm loving it. Not only does it mean I have a clean house, and I've had time to just be calm it also means I can bake. Oh how great it is to bake without being rushed, no deadlines, no racing out the door before its cooled. I have been waiting for this opportunity to make these beautiful jam tarts. It also meant I got to pull out my mini muffin pan, and that always means good things. These did take me a little time, but only because I only have a 12-hole mini muffin pan, and this makes about 24-30 mini tarts. Otherwise its alot simpler then it looks. Great cookie dough base and simple jam filling. My mind is already full of other possible fillings. Stay tuned for that!!

Strawberry Jam Tarts

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 cup salted butter (I think I used unsalted and added some salt)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup strawberry jam, seedless (I ended up using the whole jar)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, milk, vanilla and butter. Pulse until the mixture forms a ball.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and form into a log. Divide the log in half and divide each half into 15 pieces.
4. Place a ball of dough in the cup of a mini muffin pan and using a dough tamper or your fingers, press down until the dough reaches the top of the cup.
5. Spoon about one tablespoon of jam into each tart shell, making sure the tart shells are not too full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tarts are golden and jam is bubbling. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before removing to a rack to cool the rest of the way. You can dust with icing sugar before serving.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Favourite Chocolate Pudding

There are some foods that always taste better when made by someone special. No matter how hard you try it just isn't as good when made by someone else. I think that its got nothing to do with taste or cooking skill, its just about the feeling you get knowing someone has made that special dish you love. This recipe falls into that category for my boyfriend. This is his mum's chocolate pudding recipe, his favourite dessert. Almost as soon as we started dating this recipe was on the list, but even though I did a great job its just wasn't as good as mums, as he continues to tell me! I guess I'll just have to settle for that and find another a special dish of my own. But this pudding certainly isn't disappearing from the menu.

So, next time its cold and rainy, and all you want to do is curl up under a blanket and watch movies, put this pudding in the oven and enjoy the comfort. A beautiful vanilla cake smothered in warm chocolate sauce, there is nothing better than that.

Favourite Chocolate Pudding
recipe from boyfriends mum

Ingredients
2oz butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup milk
tsp vanilla

2 spoons cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Method
1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and stir in remaining ingredients. Mix until batter is smooth.
2. Pour mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle cocoa and sugar mixture over mixture. Pour boiling water over top and bake in moderate over (180C) for 35-40 minutes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake


This recipe has been sitting waiting to be posted for over two weeks. And just as I'm about to post it I realise I can't even remember where the recipe came from so I can't even write that up for you. This is exactly what my life has been like lately. Everything all over the place and rushed! With that in mind I have decided to stop posting my Sunday Baking links, and pushing myself to blog once a week. So I'm going back to the beginning, blogging when I make a great recipe, no pressure to get stuff up or worrying about my blog being quite. I love to bake, and I love to share my recipes, but sometimes life gets in the way, and that's OK. So please, continue to check out my blog, the recipes will continue just not consistently.

By the way the mayonnaise cake was amazing. Just google it and I'm sure you will find the recipes!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Apple Donut Muffins


These are one of those recipes that you just don't know what to name them. They look like muffins, but the mix is more like a scone dough. They are covered in cinnamon and sugar which explains the donut part of the name. Whatever you call them they are great, especially straight from the oven. You can use any apple you like, but a sweet apple is best. Made them twice in one week and received with rave reviews.



Apple Donut Muffins
Recipe from Pinoy Cook

Ingredients
2 apples
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
75g butter
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Method:
1. Peel and roughly chop the apples.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and nutmeg. Add the butter to the flour mixture. Rub the butter against the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Beat the egg. Pour in the milk and stir lightly. Add the chopped apple to the egg-milk mixture.
4. Pour the apple mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until blended. Do not overmix.
5. Form the batter into loose balls and place in the holes of a muffin pan.
6. Bake at 180C for 25 minutes. While still warm roll in the sugar cinnamon mixture at let cool

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cut-out Cookies



Yes more cookies. But I decided to make these because I wanted to try out the icing. You see I've been working on cake decorating with some of the girls at my church and this week we will be decorating cookies. I was planning on making royal icing but had no eggs (probably should have checked that before I started!) instead I used a simple glaze frosting instead. It turned out pretty good and will be the one I use this week with the girls. The last three weeks we have decorated cupcakes and mini-cakes, and I have learnt that simple is best, master cake decorators they aren't, but they sure are having fun! Next week will be out final week when they decorate their own masterpieces, can't wait to see what they come up with.



More great recipes this week:

Cut-out Cookies
Recipe from taste.com.au

Ingredients
125g butter, room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup custard powder

Frosting
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp soft butter or margarine
1-2 tablespoon milk

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
2. Use and electric beater to beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in milk and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and custard powder.
3. Press the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3o minutes to rest.
4. Divide the dough into manageable portions. Roll out one portion on a sheet of baking paper to about 1cm thick. Use cutters to cut shapes and place on trays.
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes on the trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Frosting: Mix ingredients together, slowly adding milk until a smooth spreadable consistency is reached.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chocolate Glazed Donut Muffins


Mmmmm donuts. I love donuts. There really is no better food (I'm sure I've said that before about other things though!) But making them from scratch? Aint going to happen! So when I saw this recipe I knew I had to give it a try just to see how realistic it was. Well I'm not sure about it being like a donut but it is pretty good. The flavour and heaviness of the cake is great and the glaze is amazing. Definitely one to make again.



Chocolate Glazed Donut Muffins

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
60g butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup chocolate chips or melts
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon golden syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method
1. Heat oven to 180C. Grease or line muffin pan.
2. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Mix in the eggs, oil, butter, milk and vanilla. Divide batter between muffin cups.
4. Bake for about 18 minutes or until tested comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Glaze: Melt the ingredients together over low heat or in the microwave, stirring often.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pear and Raspberry Bread


Feeling silent today, not sure what to share with you today other then this recipe. Easy to throw together, my only suggestion is that it was a little too moist, maybe reduce the puree pear amount slightly. Also my baking time was about 50 minutes not the 60 minutes called for in the recipe. It also sunk a little when cooling. Despite all that is still a good recipe.


Check out these recipes too.

Pear and Raspberry Bread
Recipe from Coles Magazine Winter 2009

Ingredients
825g can pear halves, drained, juice reserved
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 15cm x 25cm loaf pan and line with non-stick baking paper.
2. Puree half of the pears and chop remaining. Measure pear puree in a jug and make up to 1 cup with reserved juice.
3. Place dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add egg, oil, raspberries, pear puree mixture and chopped pears. Gently fold together, until just combined. Fill prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until cooked when tested. Cool bread in pan. Store in airtight container.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Chocolate Roll-out Cookies


I made it back into the kitchen! And what a great time I had. I spent about 6 hours in the kitchen on Saturday and it was excellent. The huge pile of dishes that is still sitting there isn't so great, but worth it. I had a friend coming over for dinner that night so as per her request I made lasagne and her all-time favourite dessert, tiramisu. I also whipped up some cupcakes and these cookies. I recently 'borrowed' my mothers 40 year-old rolling pin and put it to good use with these cookies. My rolling skills need a little work but I'm ready to work on it if I keep getting stuff like this made! Simple chocolate cookies which I decorated with white, milk and dark chocolate as well as hundreds and thousands. The aim was that they would go to an ice hockey game I was going to (yes, ice hockey in Australia!) but they were being eaten before I got out of the house, so cupcakes went to the game instead (I'll try and get that recipe up sometime this week). The chocolate was easy to apply to the cookies, I dipped them in as well as spread with a spatula and both techniques worked well. Let your creativity run with these, and use up any leftover chocolate you might have.

A few recipes from other blogs to check out:
Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies
Recipe from Australian Women's Weekly Cookies

Ingredients
125g butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
chocolate and hundreds and thousands to decorate

Method
1. Beat butter, sugar and egg in small bowl with electric mixer until combined. Sift dry ingredients, in two batches.
2. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth; roll dough between sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and oven trays; line with baking paper.
4. Using 5cm round cutters, cut rounds from dough. Place on oven trays.
5. Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
6. Spread tops of cookies with chocolate, sprinkle with hundreds and thousands. Set at room temperature.

Monday, July 27, 2009

No recipe today


No recipe. No baking. But I wanted to post my usual links. No idea when I'll get back to the baking but the sooner the better!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cookie Slice (aka Pioneer Woman's 'Spreads' Cookies)

Yep late again. Maybe I should just make Wednesday posts permanent!  A really quick recipe this week. I found this on Pioneer Woman and really wasn't sure what they would turn out like. They are a great snack to keep on hand, just like a regular cookie but much quicker to make because you don't have to worry about scooping individual cookies, just spread the dough to make a giant cookie and slice it up after spreading it with chocolate.  


A quick list of recipes to check out. Sorry no descriptions this week but they all look great!
Cookie Slice (Pioneer Women's 'Spreads' Cookies)
Recipe from Pioneer Women

Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine (I used butter)
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 to 8 ounces chocolate chipis (I used choc melts)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. 
2. Mix together brown sugar and margarine. Add egg and mix together. Add flour, salt and vanilla and mix together well.
3. Spread dough onto cookie sheet to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2-inch. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly brown.
4. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to over for 1 minute. Remove and spread melted chips over the top.  (I had a little trouble with this so just melted chocolate and poured and spread it over the cookies) Cut into squares.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Slice

Yes I know, its Wednesday not Sunday but I've been busy. Well that's not entirely true, I've been busy and lazy. Sure I've had stuff to do, but mostly that stuff has been going out for lunch and dinner, watching movies and just basically wandering around town. I have done some baking during the week including this chocolate slice. I made it to take to Cafe Church on Sunday night but well never got back home before church to pick it up, so I've been eating it myself. Tastes great warmed up and served with ice cream, just don't put it in the microwave too long or it will burn and catch fire! Charcoal does not make for a nice dessert.  This slice is kind of like a brownie, but with coconut to give it some chewiness. Really easy to make and really easy to eat!


Some more great recipes this week. I don't think in a lifetime I'll ever get to make all the great recipes I bookmark! 

Chewy Chocolate Slice
Recipe from AWW Bake

Ingredients
125g butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 tablespoon shredded coconut

Chocolate Icing
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon hot water

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 19cm x 29cm slice pan; line with baking paper; extending paper 2cm over long sides.
2. Combine butter, sugar, egg and extract in medium bowl. Stir in sifted flours and cocoa then dessicated coconut. Spread mixture over base of pan.
3. Bake about 25 minutes or until firm.
4. Meanwhile, make chocolate icing.
5. Spread hot slice with icing; sprinkle with shredded coconut, cool. Cut into 15 squares, cut squares into triangles.

Chocolate icing: Sift icing sugar and cocoa into small bowl; add butter and the water, stir until smooth.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Cookies have never been my strong point. I mean these come out ok but I'm never quite happy with them. I think its because I like my cookies small and crunchy. I thought this recipe would be just what I was after, but not quite. Close though. I guess I'll just keep looking for the perfect recipe. This recipe is still worth trying if you are looking for a good soft cookie recipe with loads of choc chips.

Get the Chocolate Chip Overload Cookies recipe from Noble Pig

And some other great recipes to try out:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake

I'm digging into the un-posted archives today because I haven't done any baking all week.  I can't exactly say that I've been flat out busy, I am still unemployed, but things just seem to get in the way. The weekend has been busy -  football game, friends birthday celebrations, church, dinner, movies... but surely I could have baked something in amongst all that. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be back in the kitchen soon. Maybe I'll have to schedule it in! But this cake is good, simple to throw together and ends those chocolate v. vanilla debates. 


Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake
Recipe from Taste.com.au

Ingredients
150g butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
20g butter, chopped
2 tablespoons boiling water

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 22cm bundt pan (I used a round cake pan). Beat 150g butter  and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in  eggs and vanilla.
2. Fold in  self-raising flour and milk. Divide mixture into 2 portions. Stir in 1 tablespoon cocoa to one portion. Alternatively spoon the mixtures into the pan.
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. 
4. Combine 1 cup icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter. Stir in boiling water. Pour over cake to serve.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quick Mix Chocolate Muffins


Muffins are the best. They are like mini cakes and very easy to put together. Which was helpful the other night when I had to whip up two batches after a very busy day. Just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix until combined and into the muffin pan. Done. 



Quick-mix Chocolate Muffins
Recipe from taste.com.au

Ingredients
Melted butter, for greasing
200mls milk
125g butter, cubed
100g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup, lightly packed brown sugar

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Brush a 12 medium muffin pans with the melted butter.
2. Place the milk, butter, chocolate and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until smooth.
3. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and use a fork to mix well.
4. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and usa a large metal spoon to fold in until just combined. Do not overmix.
5. Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased muffin pans (I had leftover batter and made some mini muffins as well) and bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until just cooked when tested with a skewer. Stand in pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Whipped Cream Cake

I hate winter. I really really do. Its cold and unpleasant. Now when I say cold, here in Sydney its been down to about 5C (that's about 40F) at its worst, which I guess for a lot of people isn't that bad, but its bad enough for me! And its not just the cold, I hate the rain and I hate that it gets dark so early.  And I also hate that it's flu season. Yes, I have a cold or the flu, who knows, all that matters is that I aint feeling all that great.  But this cake did make it a little better. The special thing about this cake is that it uses whipped cream instead of butter. It also uses brown sugar, giving it a really nice colour and flavour. The original recipe had a caramel frosting but I decided to use a fluffy frosting instead. I had some extra cake mixture so used it to make 6 cupcakes. I think next time I'll just make cupcakes. I filled them with cream and then topped them with a little frosting.

The unfrosted cupcakes
The unfrosted cake. I didn't get a photo of the completed cake because it was getting dark and then I had race out the door to get it to church on time. And it fell apart in the car, turns out my driving isn't very good for cakes.












Whipped Cream Cake
Recipe from AWW Bake

Ingredients
600ml thickened cream
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups self raising flour

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease deep 22cm-round cake pan; line base with baking paper.
2. Beat half of the cream in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.
3. Beat eggs and extract in another small bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until dissolved between additions. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Fold in a quarter of the whipped cream, then sifted flour, then remaining whipped cream. Spread mixture into pan.
4. Bake cake about 50 minutes. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes; turn, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
5. Meanwhile, beat remaining cream in small bowl with electric mixer until firm peaks form.
6. Split cold cake in half; sandwich layers with cream. Spread with frosting.

Fluffy Frosting

Ingredients
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1 egg white

Method
Stir sugar and water in small saucepan over heat, without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring about 5 minutes, or until syrup reaches 116C/240F on a candy thermometer. Syrup should be thick but not coloured. Remove from heat, allow bubbles to subside. Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. While mixer is operating, add hot syrup in thin stream, beat on high speed about 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and cool.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chocolate Swiss Roll



D: Hey Nat, thanks for bringing cake into the office, but I can't sit and chat. I'll just take a piece and head back to my desk.
Nat: Yeh thats cool.
D walks out of the kitchen
30 seconds later D walks back in
D: Oh wow, this cake is great!! Really, How did you do this?!

I love recipes that are simple but look complicated when presented. You get that 'wow' response when they are served up, with everyone asking how you did it. My response for this one was 'its easy, really not difficult at all'. Which is true.  Swiss rolls (or jam rolls) are one of those cakes that many people find daunting, but if you follow the instructions there really isn't much to it. So please, give it a try. And once you have mastered the basics there are so many more variations to try. Add some jam, flavour the cream, change the cake... combinations are endless.


Another great week in the blog world, I had trouble narrowing down my five favourite recipes but here they are:

Chocolate Swiss Roll
Recipe from Everyday Food Autumn 2009 (the Australian Women's Day food magazine)

Ingredients
3 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar, plus 1/4 cup extra
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons hot water
300ml cream, whipped

Method
1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180C. Lightly grease a 26 x 32cm swiss roll pan. Line with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually add sugar, beating until thick and pale. Mixture should hold its shape.
3. Sift flour and cocoa together. Fold lightly into egg  mixture, followed by water.
4. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until sponge springs back when lightly touched.
5. Line a clean towel with baking paper. Sprinkle with extra sugar. Turn out cake onto sugar and remove baking paper. Trim edges. Roll up from long end side, using the tea towel as a guide.
6. Cool completely on a wire rack. Unroll cake. Cover with half cream. Reroll without tea towel and transfer to a serving plate. Serve sliced  with remaining cream and raspberries.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mini Caramel Mud Cakes


Bribery is an interesting thing. Well I like to call it incentive. I had been waiting for some photos from a friend and offered baked goods in return for getting them quickly. The fact that I would have baked anyway is not important, in the end all parties were happy. I got to back, got my photo and he got mud cake, win-win. Not sure why I chose this recipe, it just jumped of the page when I read it.  They were eaten very quickly. Again I missed out but by all accounts they are a winner. I'm sure with more time and some creativity they can be dressed up nicely, I just dusted them with icing sugar as I was racing out the door.

Mini Caramel Mud Cakes
This recipe is from AWW Kitchen

Ingredients
125g butter, coarsely chopped
100g white eating chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
2/3 cup milk
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons icing sugar

Method
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
2. Stir butter, chocolate, sugar, syrup and milk in small saucepan over low heat, until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; cool 15 minutes.
3. Whisk sifted flours into chocolate mixture, then egg. Divide mixture among cases. 
4. Bake about 30 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.
5. Serve, dusted with sifted icing sugar.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars



I live in a beautiful city. Yes, I wish I was already over in Missouri working my dream job, but if I can't be then I may as well make the most of where I live.  Yesterday I went hiking with a friend and some of the youth from church. It was just a short walk around Sydney Harbour National Park. It rained and was freezing cold but with views like this you get over it pretty quickly. 

When hiking you must have snacks and when I saw these Peanut Butter Crisp Bars on my Adopt-a-blogger's website I knew it was the recipe I had to try.  I did play with the recipe a little though, making the rice krispy layer more like my mars bar slice then the original.  But the peanut butter and dark chocolate layer on top was the perfect addition. They were eaten by all hikers very quickly, then finished off at church this morning by everyone else who was complaining about missing out!

Here are some more photos from my day. Enjoy!
























































Check out these recipes from the week.
Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Recipe from HoneyB

Ingredients
Rice Krispy Layer
1 3/4 cups rice krispies (rice bubbles)
60g butter
2 mars bars (milky way bars - the ones with caramel)

Peanut Butter Layer
1 cup peanut butter
140g milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

Chocolate Layer
80g dark chocolate
2 tablespoons butter

Method
1. Line or grease a 8 inch square cake pan.
2. Melt butter and mars bars in small saucepan to make rice krispy layer. When smooth move to a large bowl and stir in rice krispies.  Press the mixture into the base of pan and allow to cool while making the next layer.
3. In a heatproof bowl place the peanut butter and milk chocolate. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and melt, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan in the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crispy layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the layer hardens.
4. Make the Chocolate layer by melting dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Spread evenly over cooled peanut butter layer. Place in refrigerator until set.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

White Chocolate, Raspberry and Yoghurt Muffins


These are the other result of my baking frenzy on the weekend. I have made them before so knew they would be a winner. Again I missed out on my own baking and these ended up in the possession of friends (who are still arguing over them!).  Expect more raspberry recipes in the future too, because I now have a box of frozen berries to get through.

White Chocolate, Raspberry and Yoghurt Muffins
Unfortunately I don't know where I got this recipe, sorry 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup low-fat yoghurt
1 cup frozen raspberries
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
icing sugar, to dust

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan, or line with paper cases.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Mix batter until just combined. Divide the batter until just combined. Divide the batter among pan holes. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
3. Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thumbprint Cookies



I had my last day of work on Friday. I actually finished a few hours earlier then expected. So I baked cookies.  I hadn't been shopping in a while so chose these cookies completely based on the ingredients. In fact I had to substitute the freckles for plain old chocolate melts and threw on some sprinkles.  While they satisfied my baking needs, they did cause some fighting when people missed out! I had to promise to bake more cookies over the weekend to satisfy everyone. Just as well I was in the mood (even baked some muffins too!)

Check out these great recipes from the week
Thumbprint Cookies
Recipe from Taste.com.au 

Ingredients
180g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 1/2 cups plain flour
Chocolate melts
sprinkles

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat well.
3. Stir in the flours and mix to from a dough. Roll 1 tablespoon of the dough into a ball and flatten onto the baking tray. Press your thumb into the centre of the dough to make a hole. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Press the chocolate freckle into each hole and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. 
5. Set aside on wire rack to cool.