Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TWD - Lime Drenched Loaf Cake

This week’s TWD recipe is rum drenched vanilla loaf cakes and was chosen by Wendy of Pink Stripes (one of my favourite bloggers). I don’t like rum at all, so I decided to make a variation of one of the suggested variations – I made lime drenched vanilla loaf cakes. Actually, I made a loaf cake, singular. I only have one loaf pan and only needed one cake so I easily halved the recipe to make just one loaf.
This was an interesting recipe as the liquid ingredient was cream. I didn’t have any cream and forgot to get some on the way home from work, so instead just used milk, which worked just as well. The recipe called for a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract – I used some vanilla sugar that I always have on hand. I have a jar that I throw any used vanilla pods into and keep topping it up with sugar. The sugar is beautifully infused with vanilla fragrance. The flavouring of choice (in my case lime juice) was also added to the cake mix.
Once the cake came out of the oven, a cooled syrup (in my case lime syrup) was poured over the cake. We ate a slice of loaf each while it was still fairly warm and delicious. It was incredibly moist and the vanilla and lime flavours worked so well together – I think lime goes with vanilla even better than lemon does, as limes have quite a floral undertone. I am sure that the loaf keeps well, but ours didn’t get the chance, as we ate the whole loaf the next day. This would have to be one of my favourite TWD recipes. See what the others thought here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tan Slice - an old favourite

Tan slice is another old favourite of mine. I absolutely love caramel slice of any kind, but there is something about tan slice - you can keep eating it without it ever seeming to be too rich. As I mentioned, my youngest sister was up last weekend and she loves caramel slice as much as me. I hadn’t had a lot of time to bake for her arrival, but on Saturday morning I made tan slice as a weekend treat for us. The other thing I love about making it, is that you don’t have to ice it, so it is fast to make.
I have mentioned on my blog before that my key to tan slice is to make a lovely, thick caramel so that there is a good ratio of caramel to base, and also to slightly under cook it so that you have a gooey, soft, unctuous slice rather than one that is a bit crisp or crumbly or where the caramel flavour has disappeared and it all tastes just a bit burnt. Tan slice isn’t the most elegant looking caramel slice around, but it is great to have in the tins – if it makes it that far!!

Tan Slice
180g butter
90g sugar
½ tsp vanilla
300g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2c chocolate chips

• Cream butter and sugar, then stir in vanilla.
• Stir in dry ingredients
• Press 2/3 of the mixture into a lined 23cm square tin, pour over the following caramel, mix the rest of the base mixture with the chocolate chips and crumble over the caramel
• Bake at 180c for 20-25 minutes


1 x 400g tin condensed milk
100g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup

• Combine all ingredients in a small pot and heat, stirring until melted together and thickened

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TWD - Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake

It’s been a while, but at long last here is a TWD post! This week’s recipe is dressy chocolate loaf cake and was chosen by Amy of Amy Ruth Bakes. I was looking forward to making this recipe as I thought it may have been reminiscent of both the chocolate banana loaf which was a TWD recipe and was perhaps one of my favourite TWD recipes, and also a chocolate loaf cake in Nigella Lawson’s book, Feast, which is just divine. Unfortunately, I didn’t really think that this loaf cake was as good as either of those recipes.

I halved the recipe for the loaf cake to make 6 mini loaves and they may have been my mistake. No-one else probably noticed, but to me they were too cakey and not dense enough – I think I was after something a bit more fudgey. The dressy part of the recipe is that the loaf cake was then split into three, filled with cherry jam, re-assembled and then covered in a chocolate and sour cream glaze. To be honest, the highlight for me was the glaze – I loved how glossy the sour cream made the chocolate and even though I had slightly over heated my chocolate, I kept stirring like Dorie said to and the glaze came together beautifully. I also liked how the sour cream made a slightly less rich topping than usual ganache.
This cake was nice, but I don’t think it had any WOW factor. See what the other TWDers thought here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Catching up With Dorie - ALmost Fudge Gateau

In the last four months while I havent been blogging, I have still been doing most of the TWD challenges each week. However, I haven’t been completely on to it and have about 12 recipes I need to try as a catch up. There are also about 5 recipes that were baked before I became a TWD member that I have to catch up on. This recipe, Almost Fudge Gateau, is one of those.

My sister was staying with us in the weekend and I made the almost fudge gateau for our pudding on Saturday night. I halved the recipe, and made two 10cm gateaux and there was enough mixture left to fill 6 cupcake cases. The gateau is very light and simple to make. It is almost like a soufflĂ© cake, as you fold in beaten egg whites to lighten the mixture, and the cakes puffed up then deflated upon cooling. There was an optional ganache to go on top of the cakes. I didn’t make that on Saturday night, instead serving our gateaux with whipped cream, but yesterday I made a little ganache for this week’s TWD challenge and put some of it on top of one of the cupcake size gateaux – delicious!!

Almost-Fudge Gateau
For the cake:
5 large eggs
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tbsp. coffee or water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
For the glaze:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. light corn syrup
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar, butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy – that is fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour. Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites in to the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature right side up. As the cake cools, it may sink.
To make the glaze, turn the cooled cake onto another rack so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips.
Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven – the chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.
Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don’t worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake, it will add to its charm. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature, or slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

In the weekend we had friends over for lunch. I made these little chocolate cherry cupcakes for our dessert. Lunch was pot luck – a good way of doing things when you have a baby and limited time. I bought some bread, made a big green salad and a chicken filo pie and our friends bought lasagne and a paella, both of which were delicious. The recipe for the cakes is one I adapted from a Julie Le Clerc recipe for a chocolate cherry bundt cake. I didn’t have morello cherries like the recipe called for and also didn’t have all the ground almonds that the recipe required, so I reduced the ground almond in take and upped the four, and used the cherries I had in the pantry.

You could make these cakes with frozen raspberries rather than the cherries and you could add chunks of chocolate, white or dark. The cherries actually mashed up a bit when I folded them through, which kind of gives my cakes more of a cherry swirl look – you could swirl good quality cherry jam through to get a similar effect. I decorated the tops of the cakes with simply whipped cream with a little vanilla bean paste added and sprinkled pink sprinkles on top and added an icing flower. So simple, but so effective!

Chocolate and Cherry Cupcakes (adapted from Julie Le Clerc)

125g butter
¾ c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4c ground almonds
½ c sour cream
1c self raising flour
1/2c flour
¼ c cocoa
1 can cherries, drained

• Cream butter and sugar and then add in vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time
• Stir in almonds and sour cream, then remaining dry ingredients, lastly folding through the cherries
• Spoon into cupcake cases and bake at 180c for 20-25 minutes
• Once cold top with whipped cream and decorate

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes

Our next door neighbours have just had a baby girl and what better way to celebrate than with some little pink cupcakes. I haven’t made that many cupcakes since harry was born – cookies seem to be the easiest thing to make with limited time. I did actually make some cupcakes for the time I hosted coffee group at my house, but I had to leave them un-iced, as I completely ran out of time to decorate them!

These cupcakes are coconut cupcakes. The recipe is scaled down to make 12 miniature sized cupcakes. I have iced them simply with a glace icing (icing sugar and water tinted pink) which meant that I didn’t have to spend a lot of time decorating them. The cakes are lovely and moist – not a lot of coconut, but just enough to give that lovely nutty texture. I sprinkled thread coconut over the top to give an indication of what is inside. The cupakes keep rally well (I think the coconut helps with that) and making mini versions means that you can have two without feeling greedy!

Coconut Cupcakes

60g butter
½ tsp coconut essence
½ c sugar
1 egg
1/4c coconut
¾ c self raising flour
½ c yoghurt
3 tbsp milk

• Cream butter, essence and sugar
• Beat in egg, then stir in dry ingredients, yoghurt and milk
• Spoon into cupcake cases and bake at 160c for 20-222 minutes
• Once cold ice with a simple icing made with icing sugar and water, tinted pink. Sprinkle with thread coconut

Friday, June 11, 2010

I am back blogging....

Well, it has certainly been some time since I last blogged. Life is certainly a lot busier being a Mum and now I am a full time working Mum as well, going to back to my role as partner in my law firm six weeks ago. We are lucky in that my husband is staying home to look after Harry. Harry is an absolutely adorable baby – he is such a good boy and is just gorgeous! We are very spoiled parents!!

I have been baking over the last few months and keeping up with most of the Dorie challenges, but finding time to blog has been hard. So, I cant promise that I will be a consistent blogger like I was, but I will try to blog a few times a week. One of the things I have been baking the most is my Nana’s chocolate chip cookies. These are the biscuits that were photographed in the article about bloggers which my blog featured in in the Sunday Star Times back in December. I love chocolate chip cookies and these are the perfect thing to be able to make very quickly and they also freeze really well, actually tasting pretty delicious from frozen.

My parents are coming to visit in the weekend and so I did a little baking last night, making the ever delicious chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t have any chocolate chips, so I used a 220g cake of energy chocolate, chopped which made the cookies delicious. If you havent tried this recipe, you must – I look forward to receiving your comments!

Nana’s chocolate chip cookies

240g butter
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp condensed milk (I use an everyday tbsp to measure the sugar and condensed milk rather than a proper measuring one)
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ c chocolate chips or 220g dark chocolate, chopped

• Cream butter and sugar, adding in condensed milk
• Stir in dry ingredients and then chocolate
• Roll into balls and flatten with a fork
• Bake at 165c for 15-18 minutes
• Cool on racks