Tag Archives: baking

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lady Dash

My wonderful friend Lady Dash has recently started blogging about her cooking adventures, in particular, cooking her way through Donna Hay’s ‘Fresh, Fast, Simple’.  She was also given the opportunity to test out a few of Donna’s new range of packet mixes so we decided to collaborate on a blog post.

Of course, Lady Dash is the perfect host, and I was lucky enough to be treated to a delicious lunch: Herb and Mozzarella Mushrooms with Garlic Toasts, which was the entree at her latest dinner party (that I unfortunately had to miss).

To see the rest of this post- Come visit me at my new address: fizzleout.com.au

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Blackberry Almond Slice

Hey…

You there…

The only one that hasn’t made a resolution to be healthier in 2011…

The one that hasn’t promised to cut out all sweets and excess sugar….

You need to make this slice…

now.

For those of us that have vowed to be healthier, to exercise, eat our veggies and drink more water,  please avert your eyes for this one post (or may I suggest bookmarking this recipe for when your resolutions are doubtlessly broken… this slice is that good!).

I wanted to bake something sweet to take to Kris’ family on Christmas day, so upon my Aunty’s recommendation, I made this blackberry almond slice from my good old Delicious magazine.

After a bit of a shortcrust disaster (I totally mis-estimated the amount of butter that I added and it was way too dry and floury),  had no choice but to throw out the base and start again.

Also, just a little warning, the recipe is easy yet confusing, meaning that I accidentally tripled the sugar in the almond topping (and didn’t have extra almonds to start over).  I blame the glass of red wine that I was having with mum, but despite all the errors the slice turned out delicious.

A piece of this atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream will make you forget all the guilt of breaking your resolutions only days into January.

 

Photos from: my camera, Kris‘ camera and my brother’s camera (sorry they all look a little different… but it was fun to get a bit of help with my photos)

Recipe from Delicious Magazine, available here.

Just in case you get confused like me… I have added an (in my opinion) improved ingredients list that separates the sugar, butter and vanilla extract needed for each section.  See the original recipe for the full quantities required.

Topping:

  • 200g flaked almonds
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Shortcrust:

  • 165g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour
  • 1/3 cup (50g) cornflour

Berry filling:

  • 1/2 cup (160g) blackberry jam
  • 1 cup (150g) thawed frozen or fresh blackberries

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Cookie monster

A girlfriend and I recently wandered past Mrs Fields, and were suckered in to buying a whole bag of their miniature cookies (you know I just can’t resist anything small, cute and delicious) and ate them until we were all cookied out.

It reminded me that I had a bag of dark chocolate chips tucked away, and as much as I love just eating them straight from the bag, I thought it would be a great chance to bake something sweet for my work colleagues.

I had a quick google for a recipe that I hoped would live up to the crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle goodness that we had from Mrs Fields, and though I can’t say that these were anywhere near that, they were still quite delicious.

I ended up going with Martha Stewart’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and would definitely recommend them as they were so easy to make.

Yum! Choccie chips…

Ready to go into the oven

Good to go.

Warm cookies are the best.

Given that the weather has suddenly decided that it is summer, almost overnight, we have been craving all things cold, watermelon, frozen yoghurt and ice cream.  It is very dangerous having some good quality vanilla bean ice cream in your freezer, because you end up doing things like this…

I have to admit, Tartelette reminded me of how good ice cream sandwiches are… and I think these could have been even better if the cookies were more ‘flat’ than ‘domed’ but they were still amazing.  Ahhh I so want an ice cream maker, imagine all the possibilities!

Anyone want a cookie?

Recipe from: Martha Stewart

Photos from: my camera, with help from Kris

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Flourless Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

Two of our wonderful friends had us over for dinner on our anniversary the other night, so of course as a good guest I thought I should bring dessert.  I’m always looking for an excuse to bake a cake to share with other people, as Kris and I would just eat the whole thing given the opportunity.

As one of our hosts can’t do gluten (even though it is SOOOO delicious), I thought it would be a great chance to try a flourless chocolate cake.  One of the best cakes I have ever tasted was a flourless chocolate cake with raspberries, and I knew I had raspberries in the freezer, so searched for a recipe to reflect this.

I didn’t plan to blog this as I was super rushed, so didn’t take photos as I went, but as soon as I took the first bite I knew that I just had to share this recipe.  It was a pretty easy cake to make, but takes a few steps, and it was pretty robust considering I ran out of both butter and brown sugar so used a bit less than the recipe called for.

This cake was almost like a dense brownie, soft and gooey in the middle as it was still warm straight from the oven, and perfectly crisp on top.  I didn’t believe the recipe that it needed 1 hour 45 min of baking, so baked for about 40 mins in our oven, and after a quick car ride threw it in the girls’ oven for another half hour.  When I thought it was finished I just turned the oven off and left the cake in there while we chatted the night away.

Oh it was just divine.  We were all quiet for one small minute while we enjoyed the first bite, the crisp crust sticking to our teeth.  If I ever hear a girlfriend has had her heart broken, I know that the perfect fix would be a girlie movie, a tub of ice cream and a huge slice of this cake, straight from the oven.  It was that good.

I threw some raspberries on from the freezer just for show (plus I love eating frozen raspberries, they are so good!), and despite my impatience they finally defrosted in time for me to snap some pics before we polished off the left overs.

There is nothing quite like a cake straight from the oven, but the left overs were still so good even though we didn’t warm them up.

Recipe from: Woman’s Day

Photos from: my camera, taken the day after baking

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Baking for a cause

Though I couldn’t attend the open garden at West End community garden on election day, I showed my support in providing them with some baked goods to sell and raise some funds.  It was so difficult to decide what to make, but in the end I stuck to some crowd pleasers, banana bread and cupcakes.

With so many recipes for banana bread online, I just couldn’t decide… and then I found one in my food processor cookbook so went with that one.  My cookbook came free with my food processor but I found a similar one on Amazon called The Food Processor Bible. It was more a banana cake but came out delicious all the same.

Very unappetising photo of mushed up over-ripe bananas.  They are so gross but make the best kind of cakes.

Getting there

It was hard to give them away.

But I resisted the urge (and Kris’s pleas) to eat them and made up a box to take to the garden.

I wanted to try something different, so decided on coconut cupcakes with passionfruit buttercream.  I love passionfruit but have been buying so many and don’t want to waste them, so have ended up with a couple containers of passionfruit pulp in my freezer.

Without using a recipe, I defrosted some left over cream cheese frosting and got over-enthusiastic while adding the passionfruit juice, and it basically turned into a runny mess of icing.  I had absolutely no idea what, if anything, could be done to fix it, so I started from scratch with a simple buttercream (butter and icing sugar) and added the passionfruit mix by the spoonful.  By about the 3rd spoon I had the desired flavour while maintaining the ideal consistency.  Problem solved.

Cupcake disaster averted, the coconut cupcakes were good to go and I topped them with the buttercream and dropped them off at the garden.  I hope that they were well received!

After a crazy morning whipping up buttercream, and attending to Kris’s broken down motorbike, we finally headed to the coast to celebrate a first birthday, complete with a jumping castle, petting zoo and pony rides!  Ah, to be a kid again.

And check out this cake made by my incredibly talented friend, Jade.

YUM!

All photos from my camera

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Passionfruit cheesecake

To celebrate Kris’s birthday I knew that i would have to attempt one of his favorite foods, cheesecake.   Let me start out by saying that I have never made a cheesecake before, let alone a baked cheesecake, but I found an amazing recipe for passionfruit baked cheesecake that I couldn’t resist.

We never really ate cheesecake growing up, and I have never seen my mum make one, but figured that the recipe didn’t look too hard despite a huge number of steps.

I got to use my trusty food processor to make the crust from butternut and digestive biscuits (which apparently don’t even aid digestion) and while lining the pan I could tell that this would taste delicious, regardless of whether the appearance isn’t perfect.

The next step was to make the passionfruit curd, and since I have been buying so many passionfruit I added extra (but made sure to drain off any excess juice).

Tasting delicious so far, I started to make the cheese filling when I realised that I misread the philly package and had only bought 250g instead of the required 500g. It was about 9:30pm by this stage so I did a little late night run to IGA to stock up.

After making a right mess of the kitchen, flinging creamcheese and sour cream everywhere from the beaters, the cake was finally in the oven.

I read a bit online about baking cheesecake and scared myself a little about the cracks that can form, so I added a tray of boiling water to keep up the humidity in the oven. The recipe said it only required 45 min cooking time, but to me it still looked really raw, so I pretty much doubled that until it was mostly set but still with a little wobble in the middle.

Left to cool in the oven, I pulled out the cake to find only one small crack! Woohooo!! I still had to top it with the remaining passionfruit so in the end you couldn’t even see it.

The only problem was that the crust was so crumbly that a bit snapped off while removing the cake from the pan, even though it was well greased. So the appearance wasn’t perfect but the bit that fell off was quickly eaten up…

We went to Tibetan Kitchen in West End for dinner with some family and friends (amazing food) and I brought enough candles and sparklers to sufficiently embarrass Kris in front of the rest of the restaurant… Hehe.

More birthday fun to come…

Photos from: my camera (I can’t believe I didn’t get a single photo of the finished product ahhhh)

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The science of baking

Science and baking have many similarities. You have a method or recipe to follow, requiring attention to detail and a high level of precision.  It is strange then, that despite my clumsiness and my messy, relaxed attitude to work and cooking, that I have such a love of baking and have spent 6 years of my life studying and working in science.

To read the rest of this post – Come visit me at my new address: fizzleout.com.au

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