Chocolate Cake

Some things in life just never get old. Chocolate cake’s one of them.

No matter what the occasion, chocolate cake is always a winner – whether it’s a crowd or in my case two people. It’s just about impossible to get it wrong, and it’s quick - which is always a bonus when you’re craving instant sweet. There wasn’t a particular occasion this weekend, just an excuse to try and brighten the day with some sweetness , which was again, rubbish, weather-wise.

The acctual recipe I used here wasn’t exactly the best or what I was looking for. I think because I only used the cake, and didnt use the fudge icing, which would have added moisture – because the cake was fairly dry (you can find it here http://titlisbusykitchen.com/archives/chocolate-fudge-cake). I simply wanted a dense cake. With that being said, the icing I did use, and the decoration made up for it. It’s so easy to throw together some bits and pieces from the pantry and you’ve got something pretty spiffy going on. As you can probably tell, I like a pretty bake.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Happy baking!

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Pink Velvet Roulade Log

This week’s bake was certainly a whole heap more successful than last – in fact more successful than ever.

I’ve been wanting, and attempting, to make a ‘log’ or ‘roll’ cake since forever. I’ve searched high and low for a perfect recipe, but despite my time and effort, most of my attempts had ended up as a wasted carton of eggs, and a very messy table cloth filled with sponge.

However just by accident I came across this recipe through the week, and I decided to have yet another go. It’s not exactly a traditional ‘swiss roll’, but it’s a sweet alternative.

It turned out perfect! And with no hassel at all! Plus, it tasted like the traditional swiss rolls we used to get when I was little. This recipe is definitely a keeper. It’s a little more hands on than other cakes, but the result is worth it. It would be the perfect accompaniment to a tea party, the colour is so pretty!

This week was also the first time I’ve made swiss buttercream – which was also very nice. I don’t know if I would use it as icing on a cake like my mock cream recipe – simply because it lives up to it’s name by being very creamy, and very buttery, rather than suggary.

It was just a shame the weather was so bad today and I really didn’t get any decent photographs of it with a nice background. This is one of those bakes that I would have really liked to get a good shot of. Oh well. The other half of the roll is in the freezer now. I’m not sure how well it will turn out once defrosted – but with a good 1/2 a block of butter and 4 eggs, it’s probably for the best that I didn’t finish it off.

And just to finish off – I’ve just been offered a job as a waitress/kitchen hand at the vineyard cafe just around the corner from where I live. At last!

Have a fantastic week – and happy baking.

Pink Velvet Roulade Cake (taken from Sprinklebakes.com, I advise you to check out her video if you’re worried about assembly http://www.sprinklebakes.com/2011/05/pink-velvet-roulade.html)

Cake: 
4 eggs
3/4 cup extra fine granulated sugar
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 drop or small dab of Wilton rose gel food coloring (Americolor pink would also work)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 jelly-roll pan with white vegetable shortening and line with parchment; grease parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with a hand mixer for 5 full minutes – set a timer if you need to!  Properly whipped eggs will lighten in color considerably and have the appearance of yellow cake batter.

With the mixer still running, slowly add sugar and oil to the whipped eggs.  Next, add buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract and food coloring (add food coloring a little at a time until desired color is achieved).

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Slowly add to the liquid ingredients.  Mix until well combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and tilt pan to distribute batter evenly.

Sprinkle a cotton tea towel with powdered sugar and rub sugar into the towel with your hands.  Terry-cloth towels and towels with texture (such as waffle pattern) are NOT ideal for making cake rolls.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Check at 12 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when pressed with fingers. 

When cake is baked turn it out onto the tea towel – do this without delay! Peel off parchment and immediately roll cake into the tea towel, beginning at the narrow end.  Roll tightly and as evenly as possible.  Place rolled cake on a wire rack seam-side down and let cool completely.

Swiss buttercream filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg white (use two whites if your eggs are small)
12 tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 US sticks)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk egg white(s) and sugar together in a large heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Whisk constantly until the sugar melts into the egg white. Check consistency by rubbing a bit between two fingers.  If sugar granules remain, keep heating/whisking.

When sugar and egg white are blended, transfer to a stand mixer.  Whip until the mixtures doubles in size.  Add vanilla extract, and then whip in softened butter a little at a time until mixture has thickened to buttercream icing consistency.

Assembly:
Carefully unwrap/unroll velvet cake, allowing the most tightly rolled end to curl slightly (see video).  Frost inside with Swiss buttercream and roll cake tightly.  Cut into pieces with a serrated knife and serve.

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Custard Slice

Sometimes things just dont go the way you want them too, for example, this lovely custard slice. . .

- or should I say, custard squish.

And, some weeks come tougher than others. Well, it’s been one of those weeks for me.

Firstly, some good news. Last night I entered myself in the running to be on a baking competition on tv! Yay! Hopefully something will come out of that.

Anyway, one of the requirements was to post a few photo’s of your baking, and all my baking photo’s (along with ALL my photo’s, and my mum’s) are on the same SD card, so I grabbed that camera to upload some of my best photo’s. Only to find the camera was being a bit pesky and not wanting to connect – and to think I was upset at this stage.

So I persisted, desperatly attempting to get my camera to upload the pictures I was going to use to submit along with my entry. After around a 20 minute tantrum with the camera, I ended up formating my whole memory card (deleted everything, holiday photo’s, baking, dancing competitions, Christmas, school work and photo’s of our animals). Needless to say I’ve had a pretty sleepless night.

Which is why this slice, although a failure, made me smile. It looked alright to start with but the custard clearly wasn’t hard enough to cut – which is why I ended up with custard squish rather than slice. Just seeing all that gooey custard smoosh onto the plate pretty much summed up exactly the way I felt. Plus, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share with everyone, that no, not every bake I make turns out picture perfect. It still tasted rather nice – but learn from my mistakes and deffinatly cook the custard longer (wait untill it’s quite thick, almost to a ball stage).

However I will push on. I’m busy searching the net for any form of recovery. Wish me luck!

Custard slice (adapted from MindFood magazine)

2 sheets ready-rolled frozen butter puff pastry

1 cup caster sugar

1 cup custard powder

4 cups milk

60g butter

2 tsp vanilla essence

2 egg yolks, whisked

2 cups pure icing sugar

1 tbsp hot water

2tbsp butter

coconut (for topping)

Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease 
2 baking trays. Place a pastry sheet onto each greased baking tray. Prick pastry all over with 
a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes 
or until golden and crisp. Transfer pastry sheets to wire racks to cool.

Grease and line a 20cm-
square cake pan with baking paper. Trim one sheet of pastry and place into the base of pan, 
flat side down.

Combine sugar and custard powder in a large saucepan. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until combined. 
Place pan over a medium heat and stir with a whisk until mixture comes to the boil and thickens (remember, really thick! )- Continue stirring until thick.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, vanilla essence and egg yolks. Stir until well combined. Pour custard over pastry and spread evenly. Trim remaining sheet of pastry and place over custard, flat side up. Cool. Cover and refrigerate.

Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add hot water and stir until a smooth icing forms. Add more water if too thick until desired consistency. Colour with red food colouring. Spread over top of pastry. Sprinkle with almonds. Refrigerate until set. Remove from pan. Cut into 16 squares. Dust with icing sugar and serve.  

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Lolly Cake Slice

Sometimes you just have a whole heap of ingredients that are useless by themselves, yet when put together magically come to life to create something amazing.

I think the best thing’s about lolly cake slice is how pretty it is, and the fact that it takes - at the most – 10 minutes to make, not to mention it’s delicious melt in your mouth sweetness. We’re talking all around win situation here.

I’m hesitant to even call this a recipe. There is literally nothing to it, with perfect results every time (I take no responsibility for this not working for you). Basically throw everything in the pot and you’re cooking – not literally though.

 

Sitting down to this slice today made me feel like a real kid again – okay so I’m not really that far off it, but still. I think it’s the colours that make give it that pretty, tea party feel. It’s something I’ve never made before, I dont know why because it was fantastic. I’ve enjoyed it since I was little, and now that I have this under my belt – I will be enjoying it for many years to come.

Lolly Cake Slice

125g butter, melted
1/2 can condensed milk (about 200g)
1 tsp vanilla
1 packet milk arrowroot (malt biscuits work well for a traditionally dark slice), crushed (about 250g I think )
150-200g fruit puff lollies (I used a whole bag, not sure how many were in there)

coconut, for topping

Melt the butter, and mix in the condensed milk. If they’re not mixing easily, zap them in the microwave for 15 seconds or so (you shouldn’t need to at this time of year). Stir in the vanilla, crushed biscuits and lollies and mix it all up together.

Line a slice tin with baking paper and press the mixture firmly into the tin. Top with shredded coconut, then leave to chill untill set (overnight is perfect). When set, cut into small bars.

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Chocolate Dipped Whipped Shortbread

I’m back! Finally, a little later than expected, and with – unfortunatly – no baking to share other than my own. Nevermind.

My trip away was great – except for the part where I came down with a nasty case of the chicken pox ): That kind of put a hold on the fun. Anyway, I’m pretty much recovered now – well, to a standard of being able to feel partially normal again. And while I acctually didn’t get to bake anything with my Aunty, I was able to eat up all of her genorosity all the same.  I also got to share photo’s of my baking (the one’s I share on here) with her and some of her elderly friends – so that was nice :)

What else is new with me? Well, as of last week I’ve applied for two jobs. One is food preparation early Saturday and Sunday morning’s at the local shop, the other (please please please may I get this one) is at a European bakery. If I get either I’ll be incredibly happy.

School starts again on Wednesday – I guess it had to happen sometime, right?

As for me baking, it’s been practically non existent for the past few weeks. It was mum’s birthday on Friday, which ment we had shop bought cake (read: YUM.) plus apple pie, plus a whole jar of lollies and chocolates from when we went away. There is literally no room in our kitchen for me now. Haha.

With that being said - I still made space for these delicious delights – chocolate dipped whipped shortbread - what a mouthful! The secret is simply, whip, whip, whip! If you whip effectivly, you are guaranteed a delicious light, buttery, melting yet dense mouthful everytime. There is deffinatly room for these in every kitchen – and tummy!

Have a great week everyone – happy baking!

Whipped Shortbread (from A Culinary Education)

(makes about 60 cookies)

1 lb(500 g) of butter, at room temperature
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour

(1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees
(2) Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper
(3) With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and icing sugar until very fluffy (this is what gives the cookie that light and airy texture…it takes about 5 minutes)
(4) Mix in corn starch and vanilla until combined
(5) Turn electric mixer to low and mix in flour 
(6) Turn electric mixer back to medium speed and continue to mix until dough has that light and fluffy texture (about 3-4 minutes)
(7) (time to get the cookies onto your baking sheets) Drop by teaspoonfuls or use a cookie press or pipe cookies onto the parchment lined baking sheets. 
(9) Bake 20-25 minutes, until edges are a golden brown

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Marble Cake

Hi guys :) It’s been a few days since my last post so I thought I’d better spend some time updating, and it’s a perfect opportunity to update a bit and share my marble cake with you all.

I’m still on holidays – yay! They acctually seem to be going forever, which is great! I’ve done a lot of tidying up around the house, and running heaps (you have to balance out all that sweet somehow right haha), but the past few days I’ve just been chillin’. Yesterday I attempted to make my version of Cadbury’s creme eggs – which acctually kind of worked, and they tasted pretty good too – with that being said, I wouldn’t trade the real ones. Not really blog post worthy (maybe one day though) - but hey I ate one. You can find the tutorial online here http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Cadbury-Creme-Eggs/ If you’ve got some spare time, deffinatly give it a go.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m going away (again, double yay!) but just to stay with my Aunty and Uncle for just over a week. I’m really excited because it’s this Aunty that love baking – so we can get creative together, I might have some extra posts to share when I get home. She always used to sent me cook books when I was younger because she knew I loved baking too. Plus, I havent seen them in over 2 years so it will be good to catch up. And I must say I’m really looking forward to getting some sun and warmth - it’s been overcast here for the past week (almost). Weather - cummon, it’s summer! You can be as dreary as you want afterwards in Winter – not during my few weeks of summer.

This pound cake was one of the many thing’s I’ve been enjoying after lunch this week (well, to be honest it lasted 2 days). I used one of my new recipe books that I bought while on Norfolk Island. It’s a great book – Baker and Spice, Baking with Passion. It’s got some fantastic bread recipes, and pastry recipe’s too, as wells as cakes like this one. The chocolate swirl had the richest chocolate taste, it was sort of hard to believe it had only been made with what it had – and I think it was even better on the second day.

Is it just me, or does cake always taste better on the second day, when it’s just a bit firmer and has more bite? I think so.

Hope everyone’s new year is going to plan so far – have a great week, happy baking!

Happy New Year! – Chocolate Coconut Rough Slice

January 1st 2012 has finally arrived bringing *fingers crossed* much joy and many more happy memories. Hopefully everyone had a fun-filled night - me personally - I spent new years on facebook, youtube and food blogs then went to bed at 10:30 – party animal right here.

I spent my new years day (not the whole thing, but some time) baking – what else would I be doing. I had leftover condensed milk, so I needed something to get rid of it with,so, chocolate coconut rough slice was the answer.

Now, I have a habbit, especially on this blog of over-emphasising how good something tastes. That’s probably because everything really does taste quite good. However, I simply cannot emphasise enough, how good this slice was/is. I was trying to think of any possible way to fully explain to you all how incredible this is, the only way I could think of was to expose myself in eating three quarters of it just today (thank God I halved the recipe to begin with).

Yes it was rediculously good, I must admit. It was worth feeling quite sick for a few hours afterwards.

I must warn you – it’s probably not for the faint hearted. If you’re not a huge fan of chocolate – as in, a chewy gritty crunchy mound of chocolate caking your mouth with each bite, maybe try something different – but if you do, you’ve found your match! So I’m going to share the recipe with you all now and you can try it for yourself – and once again, a very happy new year to all!

Chocolate Coconut Rough Slice (from The Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook, Macaroons & Biscuits)

Base 50g Self-raising flour, 50g plain flour, 2tbs cocoa powder, 50g desiccated coconut, 165g firmly packed light brown sugar, 90g unsalted butter (melted), 250g milk chocolate, melted. Filling 240g icing sugar, 120g desiccated coconut, 2tbs cocoa powder, 160ml condensed milk, 75g unsalted butter (melted), 1tsp vanilla extract.

1. Preheat oven to 180 degress celcius (350F). Grease 20cmx30cm rectangular pan and line base and sides with baking paper.

2. Combine flours, cocoa, coconut, sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Press mixture evenly in base of pan. Bake for around 20 minutes, then cool for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make coconut rough filling. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

4. Spead the filling evenly over the warm base, and top with melted chocolate. Refrigerate for 2 hours or untill firm.

 

 

 

Oaty Caramel Slice

As promised, my oaty caramel slice – it certainly satisfied the craving, deffinatly reccomended!

Oaty Caramel Slice (recipe by Joe Segar)

2 c flour
1 c self raising flour
1 c desiccated coconut
2 c brown sugar
3 c rolled oats (I used the small ones)
2 eggs
300 gm butter, melted

Filling
200 gm butter
2 cans condensed milk
4 Tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a large tin 25 x 35 cm with baking paper and grease. 

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl then add eggs and the melted butter. Mix well and press 2/3 of the mixture into the tine.

Make the filling by melting the butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a pot until well blended then add the vanilla. Pour over the base and sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the top.

Bake for 30 mins. Cool in the tin and refrigerate before cutting.

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Rainbow m&m Cookies

Happy holidays! Christmas has come and gone for another year - it’s sad that it’s finally over after months of preparation - but at least now we can look forward to the new year. I spent my half of my Christmas day flying home from a wonderful holiday on Norfolk Island – but all in all it was a lovely day, and my lead up to Christmas was equally as lovely – it was a well earned rest, but at the same time it’s good to be home.

Now that we’re home, I’m focusing on the new year – which I must say has seemed to sprung up awfully soon since last time. I’m tidying up around the house while I have the free time because of the holidays – and I’ve planned some new years goals I’m determined to work towards, for example, get a job. It’s one thing I love about the new year is – at least mentally – being able to start fresh and hopefully make some positive change. Plus, with a new school year means loads of new opportunities, I’m looking forward to it.

Hopefully 2012 will be a little less shaky, with Christchurch being hit by yet another large earthquake on the 23rd – and another 50 or so aftershocks and still counting. It was a real blow to everyone here, I’m glad we were away when it happened. I’m one of the lucky one’s as our house wasn’t as badly affected as people on the eastern side of town – but an earthquake is an earthquake, and it’s just as challenging no matter what your situation.

On a brighter note – the cookies! These cookies acctually aren’t a recent bake – I made them a few months back and took photo’s but never shared them. With all the sweet food that’s inhabiting our pantry at the moment, both mum and I decided we’d better finish what’s left before we end up with an alladins cave of  fatty goodness, so I’ve been out of the kitchen when it comes to baking.

With that being said, I acctually just finished making some oaty caramel slice because I’m craving it since returning from having it for dessert every night we’ve been away – so watch this space!

I made these cookies for a dancing competition.  There are a lot of little kids at my dance studio, so when requests were sent out for home baking donations, I decided to put some of the m&m’s in the pantry to good use in brightening up chocolate cookies because they would be sure to sell – and they did. They’re not just for the littlies either – big kids like myself were fans too. And they really stood out against all the other plain muffins and slices.

Anyway, I didn’t think I’d have much to write but I’ve come out with quite a bit afterall. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday and get some rest before the new year hits us full swing! Untill next time – happy baking!

 

 

 

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Giving Thanks at Christmas

I think one of the nicest things about Christmas is the fact that it’s an excuse to tell everyone who you appreciate – just how much you appreciate them. There’s nothing more rewarding than giving something home made, and watching the joy unfold on the person’s face – priceless.

That’s exactly what I decided to do this year. For all my teachers at school, I made fudge (I also made some lovely shortbread, but I didn’t get any decent photographs) and bagged it with some ribbon. There were leftovers, so out of generosity of the season, I handed them out to people at mum’s work – plus, I had a spare bag for myself.

The fudge, was the most perfect fudge – and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you all. Whenever I’ve made fudge before, I’ve always used condensed milk in any attempt to get a result I have liked – which has never worked. This fudge, is made with cream, brown sugar and maple syrup (yes, que drool). It’s boiled and then whipped (good for muscle building), which gives it a beautiful smooth - although slightly gritty – melt in your mouth fudge. Just the way I like it, the way fudge should be. I also made some white chocolate cream fudge (which is acctually the first picture) – using the same method, but with white chocolate. It was equally as scrumptious.

Maple Cream Fudge (from http://www.thibeaultstable.com/)

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream
1/3 cup of butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup
pinch of salt
vanilla

Add the two sugars, butter and cream, maple syrup and salt into a sauce pan. Place over medium heat. Stir while bringing to a boil. Lower the heat and continue to stir slowly while the mixture cooks. After about 7 minutes, test by pouring a small amount into some cold water. You want it to form a soft ball. You might need to cook it for another minute or two. Remove from the heat, add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla and start stirring. It takes about 14 or 15 minutes for the fudge to cool and thicken. Pour into buttered dish. TIP: If you let the fudge sit for 10 minutes after removing from the heat and allow it to cool slightly this will reduce the stirring time.

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