Category Archives: Baking

Happy Christmas

Christmas is a time for gratitude, remembering all those things you are thankful for, and indulging in things that make you happy, spending time with loved ones and overdosing on favourite foods. I have a lot to be grateful for, and one thing that is high on my happiness list is chocolate. I decided to revisit a recipe from last year and improve on it by combining cocoa with my gingerbread recipe to create a chocolate version, and substituted milk for ginger beer.

This gingerbread is delicious by itself, dressed up with your favourite icing or used in trifle, which is what I will be doing later this week for Christmas.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas.

What I was cooking this time last year: Gingerbread Trifle

Chocolate Gingerbread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 cup ginger beer
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • Cooking oil spray

Method

  • Melt butter and syrup in saucepan over low heat until butter is melted and set aside to cool a little.

Butter and syrup

  • Sift the flour, cocoa & spices into a bowl.

Sift flour spice cocoa

  • Add sugar, eggs, ginger beer and butter syrup and mix well.

Cake batter mixing

  • Spray your baking tin(s) with cooking oil spray. Pour cake batter into tins – I used mini-cupcake tins.

Chocolate cake batter in tins

  • Bake for 20 minutes at 170°C [fan-forced] or 180°C normal oven (you will need to adjust the cooking time if using larger tins). Remove from oven when cooked – ie skewer comes out clean or the gingerbread springs back with lightly touched.

Chocolate gingerbread

What is your favourite food that makes you happy? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Cake, Chocolate, Recipes, Spices, Sweet, Vegetarian

Retro

Some of the first recipes I learnt to perfect were from my mum’s Australian Women’s Weekly recipe card collection. It seems many Aussies have a soft spot for the Australian Women’s Weekly recipe card collection, and many of the recipes have stood the test of time. This caramel slice is always popular.

Caramel slice

To create a gluten free version of the slice and ensure none of my guests had to miss out, I used a biscuit crumb base instead of the details prescribed in the original recipe. I blitzed a 200g packet of gluten free biscuits with 100g of softened butter in a food processor, pressed this into the bottom of the lined baking tray and put in the fridge to chill before adding the caramel and chocolate layers.

In Australia, condensed milk currently comes in 400ml cans, I’ve included the 440ml can below as specified in the original recipe, but when I make the slice I just use the readily available 400ml can. Following the current trend for salted caramel, I added a generous pinch of salt to my caramel as it was cooking. The coconut specified refers to desiccated coconut. I also added extra chocolate, increasing to 200g of dark chocolate and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil instead of vegetable shortening for the topping. If you are using cooking oil, I recommend you select a neutral flavoured oil, I used rice bran oil. If you feel so inclined, you could scatter crumbled salt fakes over the top of the chocolate topping as extra decoration.

I recommend you bring your finished slice to room temperature before slicing if you have refrigerated it, otherwise the chocolate topping will be prone to cracking as you chop. The slice is quite rich, I suggest you cut into dainty portions – you can always go back for seconds or thirds if you still have room.

Australian Women's Weekly Recipe Card Collection

What I was cooking this time last year: Choc Malt Brownies

Carmel Chocolate Slice

* This recipe is the original Caramel Chocolate Slice recipe published by The Australian Women’s Weekly recipe cards.

Biscuit Base

  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

Biscuit Base

  • Sift flour into bowl, add sugar and coconut, stir until combined.
  • Melt butter in pan, add to dry ingredients; mix well.
  • Press into greased 28cm x 18cm (11 in x 7 in) lamington tin.
  • Bake in moderate oven 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, spread with prepared Caramel.
  • Return to oven for further 10 minutes.
  • When cold, spread with Topping.
  • Cut into squares when set.

Caramel

  • 440g (14 oz) can condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 30g (1 oz) butter

Caramel ingredients

  • Place all ingredients into saucepan, stir over low heat until caramel has thickened, bringing slowly to boil, remove from heat.

Topping

  • Place 125g (4 oz) chopped dark chocolate and 30g (1 oz) solid white vegetable shortening in saucepan over hot water, stir until melted.

Chocolate topping

What is your favourite retro recipe? Has this post inspired any new (or old) ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Biscuits, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut, Pudding, Recipes, Sweet, Vegetarian

Crazy as a coconut

Banana bread has become a breakfast staple in cafés. A coconut bread recipe by Bill Granger was the inspiration for my recipe this week. I’ve changed ingredients and swapped it from a loaf to muffins, to come up with the below recipe.

I’ve packed in triple coconut, with desiccated coconut, coconut milk and coconut oil. Coconut oil is sometimes referred to as coconut butter, they are the same thing. If your coconut oil becomes solid, it can easily be melted my standing the jar in some hot water from the kettle and it will return to liquid again. Coconut oil is reported to be a good oil, with lots of health benefits, and works well in baking.

Coconut oil butter

If you are not a confident baker, muffins are the perfect thing to try making to build up your confidence. No fancy equipment is needed for mixing the batter. In fact, the less mixing you do, the better. It’s also a good recipe to get the kids involved with.

The salt quantity below is based on using fine salt flakes, if you are using regular table salt you will need to reduce the amount you include – adjust to taste but start off cautiously. If you need to reduce or limit your salt intake, you can of course skip the salt.

Delicious served warm straight from the oven, with a slather of butter or just as they are. Suitable for breakfast, morning or afternoon tea or a snack. Any leftovers can be frozen and zapped for a few seconds in the microwave to warm through again.

What I was cooking this time last year: Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse

Coconut Muffins

* This recipe was adapted from a Coconut Bread recipe by Bill Granger. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 300mls coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150g shredded coconut
  • 75mls coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
  • Cooking oil spray to grease your muffin tin

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven on to 180°C.
  • Add the dry ingredients (flour, mixed spice, coconut, salt and brown sugar) to a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Muffin dry ingredients

  • Add the coconut oil, eggs and vanilla to a measuring jug and mix to combine. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients in the bowl.

Eggs, oil, vanilla

  • Measure out 300mls coconut milk and add to the dry ingredients in the bowl.

Muffing batter ready to be mixed

  • Stir until the mixture is just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  • Spray a muffin or cupcake tin with cooking spray.
  • Pour the batter into the muffin tray.

Muffin batter in tray

  • Cook your muffins in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked through (test by pressing lightly on the middle of a muffin, it should bounce back, or when you insert a skewer into the center it comes out clean without any batter stuck to it).
  • Remove from the oven, and serve still warm, or allow to cool in the muffin tray. Enjoy.

DSC07609

What is your favourite breakfast recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Breakfast, Cake, Coconut, Recipes, Spices, Sweet, Vegetarian

Poppy Seed cake

In preparation for embracing the “Swank Diet” in the new year, I am taking steps to wean myself off certain favourite foods. A lot of the diets books I have been reading say it is important not to put your body through sudden and / or drastic changes, so I am currently cutting back on coffee and dairy products, and if I am eating dairy, using low-fat or no-fat versions. If you are regular follower of this blog, you may have detected that I love baking and I believe cake should be classified as its’ own food group. The inspiration for this recipe is to come up with a cake that doesn’t use butter. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s healthy, but for me, it’s a step in the right direction.

The cake has been drowned in a sticky syrup, which you could skip if you want or need to reduce your sugar intake. Delicious served warm alongside a scoop of fat free natural yoghurt.

Lemon poppy seed

What I was cooking this time last year: Veggie Burgers

Lemon Poppy Seed Yoghurt Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 cup zero fat yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons poppy seeds

Lemon Syrup

  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • Water

Method

  • Turn the oven on to 180°C to pre-heat.
  • Add the flour, sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, yoghurt and oil to your food processor bowl.
  • Juice the zested lemons, and add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the food processor bowl.

DSC07542

  • Mix until the cake batter is combined.
  • Add the poppy seeds to the food processor bowl and pulse until mixed into the cake batter.

Poppy seed cake batter

  • Grease a cake tin.
  • Pour the cake mix into your greased cake tin, and set a timer for 45 minutes (you may need to adjust the cooking time depending on your oven and cake tin size).

Poppy seed cake batter

  • To make the syrup zest 2 lemons to produce long strips of zest. Add to a saucepan.

Lemon zest strips

  • Juice the lemon, to create 1/4 cup lemon juice, add 1/4 cup of water and add to the saucepan.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the lemon zest and juice mix.

Lemon syrup

  • Cook the syrup mixture over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to the boil.
  • Take the syrup off the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Once the cake is cooked, remove from the tin and pour over the syrup while the cake is still hot.
  • Serve warm or once cooled. Enjoy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Yoghurt Cake

What is your favourite healthy(ish) cake recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Cake, Lemon, Pudding, Recipes, Sweet, Vegetarian

Zesty

One of my all time favourite flavours is lemon. When I was making the Australian Women’s Weekly classic, Caramel Chocolate Slice recently, I was inspired to try a citrusy version. This slice is my Lemon and White Chocolate Slice.

I like to use the zest and well as the juice of lemons to give an extra citrus boost when I am cooking. Cooking the lemon filling is more to cook out the egg yolks than to actually thicken the curd, the reaction between the lemon juice and condensed milk when mixing without any heat produces a thick filling. With the cooking oil you use, I recommend you select a neutral flavoured oil, I used rice bran oil.

I recommend you bring your finished slice to room temperature before slicing if you have refridgerated it, otherwise the chocolate topping will be prone to cracking as you chop (I learnt this the hard way, and the firm chocolate caused the lemon filling to ooze out a little). The slice is quite rich, you I recommend you cut into dainty portions – you can always go back for seconds or thirds if you still have room.

What I was cooking this time last year: Banoffee Pie

Lemon and White Chocolate Slide

* This recipe was adapted from a Caramel Chocolate Slice recipe by The Australian Women’s Weekly recipe cards. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.

Ingredients:

Biscuit Base

  • 120g butter
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

Filling

  • 400g can condensed milk
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Generous pinch of salt

Chocolate topping

  • 22og white chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Method

  • Turn the oven on to 180°C. to pre-heat.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • Add the oats, flours, brown sugar and melted butter to a food processor bowl. Mix the biscuit base mixture until combined.
  • Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
  • Tip the biscuit base mixture into the lined baking tray, and press out evenly over the base of the tray.

Biscuit base slice mixture

  • Cook the biscuit base in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the biscuit base from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • Add the condensed milk to the saucepan used to melt the butter.
  • Zest and juice the lemons and add to the condensed milk in the saucepan.
  • Add the 2 egg yolks and salt to the saucepan and mix everything to combine.

Lemon curd ingredients

  • Cook the lemon filling over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is hot. Continue cooking for a further two minutes to ensure the egg yolks are cooked.

DSC07486

  • Pour the hot lemon filling over the biscuit base, spread out to create an even layer. Set aside to cool.
  • Add the white chocolate and cooking oil to a large bowl.

White chocolate melting

  • Suspend the bowl over a saucepan of hot water and gently heat until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined.
  • Pour the white chocolate over the lemon filling layer, spread out to create an even layer. Set aside to cool.
  • Remove the lemon slice from the baking tray and cut into serving size pieces. Enjoy.

Lemon White Chocolate Slice

What is your favourite lemon recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Biscuits, Chocolate, Lemon, Pudding, Recipes, Sweet, Vegetarian

Protein punch

When I came across a recipe in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food section that used a tin of red kidney beans to produce a gluten-free chocolate cake, to say I was dubious is an understatement. Curiosity got the better of me however, so I decided to give it a try. I shared my experiment with my family, because I knew I would be guaranteed an honest opinion – my brother is never one to hold back with his reaction. I doubled the original recipe and split the mix among three cake tins to create a triple layer cake The result was a success, a fudge cake that I smothered in dark chocolate icing with white chocolate cream between the layers. I didn’t tell everyone about my secret ingredient, and everyone was genuinely surprised when I revealed the details. A great way to sneak in extra protein for kids or vegetarians, and of course, a perfect recipe to cater for those that are gluten-free. Feel free to decorate.

Tip: make sure the cocoa powder is gluten-free if you are catering for those that are intolerant.

What I was cooking this time last year: Zucchini Fritters

Chocolate Fudge Cake

* The basic cake recipe ingredients list is taken from a recipe by Debbie Skelton that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food section on 7 August 2013.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 2 x 420g tins of red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons espresso coffee
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla paste
  • 10 eggs, at room temperature
  • 250g softened butter, plus extra to grease your cake tins
  • 320g sugar
  • 140g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free-baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

White Chocolate Cream

  • 100g white chocolate
  • 300mls cream
  • 1/2 tin condensed milk (approx 200mls)

Dark Chocolate Ganache Icing

  • 220g dark chocolate
  • 300mls cream
  • 1/2 tin condensed milk (approx 200mls)

Method:

Cake

  • Turn the oven on to 180°C.

DSC07372

  • In a food processor, purée the kidney beans, coffee, vanilla and two eggs until smooth.

Red kidney beans eggs

  • Add the butter and sugar and process until smooth.

Butter and sugar

  • Add the remaining eggs, two at a time, processing until smooth.
  • Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and process until smooth.
  • Cut grease-proof paper to size to fit the bottom of three cake tins.
  • Grease the three cake tins and line the bottoms with the grease-proof paper discs.
  • Divide the cake mixture between the three cake tins and smooth out to encourage them to cook evenly.

Chocolate cake batter

  • Cook in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven once cooked and allow to cool in their tins.

White Chocolate Cream

  • To make the white chocolate cream, add the white chocolate, cream and condensed milk to a large bowl.
  • Suspend the bowl over a saucepan of hot water and gently heat until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined. Allow the chocolate ganache to chill completely in the fridge.
  • Once the white chocolate mixture has chilled, beat the cream until thick.

White chocolate cream

Chocolate Ganache Icing

  • To make the chocolate ganache icing, add the dark chocolate, cream and condensed milk to a large bowl.
  • Suspend the bowl over a saucepan of hot water and gently heat until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined. Allow the chocolate ganache to cool to room temperature.

Assembly

  • To assemble, place one cake on your serving plate.
  • Top with half of the white chocolate cream, and spread the cream across the top of the cake.
  • Add the next cake on top of the white chocolate cream layer.
  • Add the remaining white chocolate cream, and spread the cream across the top of the cake.

Tripple layer chocolate cake cream

  • Add the final cake to the top of the second layer of cream.
  • Top the layered cake with dark chocolate ganache icing, and spread to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate cake assembly

  • Allow to chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy.

Chocolate mud cake

What is your favourite chocolate cake recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Gooey caramel

One of my all time favourite desserts is Nigella’s Molten Chocolate Babycakes. I wanted to play with this recipe and come up with a caramel version.

The salt quantity below is based on using fine salt flakes, if you are using regular table salt you will need to reduce the amount you include – adjust to taste but start off cautiously.

Babycakes are best cooked to order just before you are ready to serve. The original chocolate and these caramel puddings can be frozen before cooking (if you happen to have any such thing as extras), so that you have them on standby for emergencies. You will just need to add a couple of extra minutes to the cooking time if cooking straight from the freezer. You also may need to play with the cooking times depending on your oven, you want a cooked pudding that will turn out of its mould intact but retaining its gooey centre. Delicious with whipped cream or ice-cream.

What I was cooking this time last year: Pumpkin Cannelloni

Salted Caramel Babycakes

* This recipe was adapted from a Molten Chocolate Babycakes recipe by Nigella Lawson. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 50g butter, softened
  • 350g white chocolate
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50g plain flour
  • Cooking oil spray to grease your cake tin

Method

  • Add the white chocolate and brown sugar to a large bowl.

White chocolate and brown sugar

  • Suspend the bowl over a saucepan of hot water and gently heat until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly.
  • Add the butter, vanilla, eggs, salt and plain flour to your food processor bowl. Blend until combined.

Cake ingredients

  • Add the chocolate sugar mixture to the food processor and blend until combined.
  • Spray 6 moulds with cooking spray, and you may want to line the bottom of each mould with a disc of grease-proof paper cut to size.
  • Divide the batter between the 6 moulds.

Caramel pudding

  • When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven on to 200°C.
  • Cook your baby cake(s) for 12 – 15 minutes.

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  • Remove from the oven, run a knife around the outside of the cakes to loosen from the mould, then tip out onto small plates or shallow bowls.
  • Serve with whipped cream or ice-cream. Enjoy.

Caramel pudding with ice-cream

What is your favourite gooey recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Cake, Chocolate, Pudding, Recipes, Sweet, Vegetarian