Tuesday, 27 August 2013
LEMON & LIME SHORTBREAD
So here's my final installment of baked goodies from my recent party for my idol, Madonna. First there was the great birthday cake, then the Wagon Wheel slice (which coincidentally has quickly become one of my most viewed blogs); and now, here's the great Lemon & Lime Shortbread. Down the bottom I have also included a picture of the sausage rolls I made for the night. They were pretty simple, but oh so tasty. I made mulled wine for the first time too, both will be made several more times!
These shortbread biscuits are quite delicate and have a nice little tang. These are perfect for nice afternoon with a friend, a cuppa tea and the latest gossip. They are quite easy to make, but really make sure you rest the dough in the fridge before rolling out and cutting. It needs that chill to firm up and be easier to roll and cut. There a few stages to this, but it is worth it as they pretty divine.
Go forth and bake my friends. I'll be heading back to some of my old favourites for the next few blogs.
250g Unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup Icing Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Plain Flour
1/2 cup Cornflour
2 Lemons, rinds grated
1 Lime, rind grated and juiced
1 cup Icing Sugar
90g Unsalted Butter, softened
1 - Line baking trays with baking paper or biscuits liners, I ended up using 3 trays.
2 - Using electric beater, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until pale.
3 - Add flour, cornflour and the rind of the lemons and lime. Stir to combine.
4 - Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Shape shortbread into a 20cm rough circle and wrap in baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
5 - Preheat oven to 160°c.
6 - Roll shortbread out between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using a cookie cutter (simpler shapes are best). cut out biscuits. Press remaining together and roll out, cutting more shapes. Repeat process until you are out of dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.
7 - Bake shortbread for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and firm to touch. Cool on trays.
8 - Using an electric mixer, beat icing sugar and butter until pale. Add a tablespoon of fresh lime juice and beat for a further 30 seconds.
9 - Spread icing over the half of the shortbread and sandwich with another shortbread piece.
10 - You can dust with icing sugar if you like.
11 - Enjoy.
Catch you again soon,
Sunday, 25 August 2013
WAGON WHEEL SLICE
The Wagon Wheel Slice had been on my list of things to make for a while but I'd never gotten around to making it. After trying it at my recent Madonna birthday party, I wish I'd done it earlier. It was certainly the favourite for the night with my guests. The wonderful thing is that it does have that taste of the old fashioned Wagon Wheel, but in a delicious slice. There weren't many of them left after the party, but the ones which were I took into work the next day and they disappeared very fast as well. One of my friends who has tasted a lot of my baking said they were one of the best I'd made. Thanks Cas!
I think I held off making them because I thought it was going to be delicate and difficult to make. I'm a pretty robust baker, and have never been described as delicate. But the thing is, when I made these, they were much simpler than I thought. Not at all hard, and parents, you could certainly make these with the kids. Think this could become quite the family favourite for you.
One more biscuit for you guys during the week and then I may go back and blog some of my older recipe attempts. Trying to be good over the next few weeks and drop a few kilos for an upcoming photo shoot I have. But don't worry, baking will never be too far away from me. I'll just have to do a few more push ups to make up for it!
Recipe originally found out: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/29889/wagon+wheel+slice
235g Unsalted Butter, softened
1/3 cup Caster Sugar
1&1/2 cups Plain Flour
1/3 cup Self Raising Flour
1/2 cup Raspberry Jam (I only had Strawberry and still came out well)
145g Marshmallows, white preferred but doesn't really matter - I had to use some pink too
200g Dark Chocolate Melts
1 - Preheat oven to 180°c and grease and line a slice pan.
2 - Using electric mixer, beat 185g of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flours over butter mixture. Stir with spoon until dough comes together.
3 - Press mixture into prepared pan. Level and press down with the back of your spoon. Don't over fill (I ended up not using a little of my mixture - as seen in the above picture).
4 - Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. While baking, use scissors to cut marshmallows in half.
5 - Spread warm base with jam. Cover with marshmallows, cut size down. Bake for 2 minutes. Remove from oven. Press down on marshmallows to level surface. Cool completely in tin.
6 - Combine chocolate and remaining butter in a small saucepan over low heat (I used a double boiler saucepan). Cook until completely melted and smooth, don't rush this process. Pour over marshmallows and smooth the top. Refrigerate until set.
7 - Cut in pieces to serve and enjoy.
Catch you during the week with the lemon and lime shortbread in one of the pictures.
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
BIRTHDAY LETTER CAKE - BUTTER CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY INFUSED WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
So I am a pretty big Madonna fan, by pretty big I mean, massive. I like to have a small party for her every year. It's a great excuse to pure some wine, get together with my friends and make some baked goods. I made a number of delightful baked goods this year I'll be posting over the next week. I was keen to try a special cake. I thought I'd make a big "M", this means that others can use the recipe and a letter cake of their own for themselves or a loved one. Now I'm not the neatest decorator, but I give it a good go. And I was pretty happy with the result. You can adjust it yourself for whatever letter you need.
This was a standard butter cake but I replaced the vanilla essence for some strawberry essence and just swirled some red food colouring through the batter. The ganache was the real fun. I infused some cream with fresh strawberries, and it gave the ganache a distinct flavour. I was really happy with it and will definitely experiment with other flavour infused ganache.
This cake is a good recipe for a nice afternoon tea as well. To make enough cake for the large letter cake I made a double batch.
185g Unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence (or strawberry essence)
3 large Eggs
2 cups Self Raising Flour
1/4 cup Milk
optional Red Food Colouring
300ml Thickened Cream
180g White Chocolate, cut roughly and finely
1/4 cup Strawberries, chopped
80g Salted Butter, softened
80g Icing Sugar, sifted
1 - Preheat oven to 180°c and grease cake tins. (I used three loaf pans)
2 - In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and essence together with an electric beater until light and creamy.
3 - Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
4 - Sift the flour over the mixture alternatively while adding the milk, a third at a time. Stir in lightly until each are mixed.
5 - Spoon in batter into prepared tin/s. You can then add in the food colouring and mix in.
6 - Cook for 50 minutes or until ready (if using smaller pan, make sure you don't overcook).
7 - Cool in pan slightly before cooling completely on wire rack.
1 - Chop up strawberries and mix with cream. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
2 - Pour cream through a strainer into a small bowl, pressing the strawberries gently to get more flavour through.
3 - Heat cream in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil.
4 - Pour cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes before stirring. (If chocolate doesn't melt, place bowl over another bowl of boiling water and stir until smooth.
5 - Place ganache in fridge until it thickens to desired consistency. Stir occassionally.
6 - Cut cakes into desired shapes and spread ganache over the top. Clean excess ganache from the plate.
1 - Cream butter and icing cream together until thick and creamy.
2 - Add in colouring, to make purple I used red and blue food colouring, and beat until well combined.
3 - Put the buttercream into a sandwich bag and cut off end. Outline the lettering to make the border.
Place cake in the fridge to set.
This is a fun cake that is tasty and lasts well for a few days. I'll be back on Thursday with the amazing wagon wheel slice that went off a treat on the weekend.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
RASPBERRY VANILLA SLICE
Decadence is good word. So is moderation. This isn't one to just make for yourself, it's good to share. I made this for my boyfriend's Dad who hasn't been too well and loves vanilla slices. I also got to share with some of my workmates, my manager has a sweet tooth so I wanted to make sure I saved one for her. These were great to make except I realised too late that they needed a lot of rest time and needed them for Sunday afternoon so I had to come home from seeing a play on Saturday night and start baking at 11.30pm. Another reason I'm sure why my neighbours hate me and my noisy ways.
The great thing about these slices are the raspberries. They add that little bit of freshness and the right level of tartness for a very sweet dessert. The thing I discovered while making them is that they do need a lot of time in the fridge setting. They were best when I'd left them in the fridge the whole day, or even more so, the next day. I also found my icing too runny, so make sure you add more icing sugar if needed.
Never made anything like these before, so was great to do. Think I'll use puff pastry more. My next challenge, to make my own rough puff!
3 sheets of Puff Pastry, just thawed
1/4 cup Caster Sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons Custard Powder
3 cups Milk
1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthways
300ml Double Cream
125g frozen Raspberries
For the icing:
3 cups Icing Sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons Milk
3 drops Pink Food Colouring
1 - Preheat oven to 200°c. Line baking trays with baking paper and place 1 puff pastry sheet per tray. Use a fork to prick the pastry. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Set aside on trays to cool.
2 - Combine the caster sugar and the custard powder in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth and combined. Add the vanilla bean. Then put on stove top over low-medium heat. Whisk constantly for 5-10 minutes, until the custard boils and thickens. Transfer the custard to a heatproof bowl to cool. Cover with cling wrap to stop skin forming. Discard the vanilla bean.
3 - Line a tray with baking paper. Can use square pan, or I used a brownie pan. Trim the pastry to fit and put in first slice.
4 - Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the cooled custard until well combined.
5 - Spoon half the custard mix over the pastry and even out with the back of a spoon. Top with another pastry sheet, gently pressing it down.
6 - Spoon the rest of the custard mix onto the top of the pastry sheet and smooth out again with a spoon. Then place raspberries on top of the custard. Press down the last pastry sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in fridge overnight.
7 - Place icing sugar in a small bowl. Gradually stir in the milk until the icing is smooth and spreadable. Make sure it's not too runny. If it is, add more icing sugar. Transfer 2 tablespoons into a small bowl. Stir in the food colouring into this mixture.
8 - Remove the vanilla slice from the pan. Spread the white icing over the top. Place the pink icing into a small plastic bag and cut off the end, making a small hole. Pipe small lines over the top of the icing. Then use a skewer to create a feathered pattern. Place in fridge to completely set.
9 - Cut into pieces and serve. Keep remaining pieces in the fridge.
10 - Share with friends and enjoy.
I'll have a special birthday cake on Sunday for you all.
Monday, 12 August 2013
APPLE CINNAMON MUFFINS
I had such big plans to present a lavish looking dessert for you this week. Was all ready and pumped to present to you an apple tarte tatin. I bought a new small frypan and got loads of apples and then made it. While it turned out and tasted quite nice, it was ugly. I was playing with the type of sugar to use and when caster sugar crystalised I thought I'd try brown. Sure it worked, it just made it dark and ugly. So I'll attempt it again soon.
So then I had to think of what else I could make. I had a whole heap of peeled apples left, and then I remembered a friend had recently posted she'd made apple cinnamon muffins. Then I knew I had to make them. Love apples, and cinnamon has become a favourite flavour of mine. These were simple to make and tasted so very moist. The raisins helped and certainly didn't dominate the muffin, just adding to the moistness.
Parents, these are a good lunch box stuffer, there's nothing too bad in them and they are super tasty. If you're not a massive cinnamon fan you can take a teaspoon out, but I say keep it bold. Some recipes call for red apples, but quite frankly I find them bland. The tartness of the green apple is divine and mixes perfectly with the sweet. Enjoy these, I have a very sinful recipe for later in the week.
Recipe originally from: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/10436/basic+cinnamon+apple+muffins
2 cups Plain Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
3 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
3/4 cup Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
2 medium Green Apples (peeled, corred and diced)
125g Seedless Raisins
125g Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup, Milk
Toasted Muesli, for top of the muffins
1 - Preheat oven to 180°c and grease a 12 muffin pan with canola spray.
2 - Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, apples and raisins until well combined.
3 - Whisk together the butter, eggs and milks until well combined.
4 - Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir with a large metal spoon. Mix just until all ingredients are combined. Be careful not to overmix.
5 - Spoon mixture into muffin pan and top with toasted muesli, adds some nice crunch to the muffin.
6 - Bake the muffins for around 20 minutes or until muffins are fully cooked and spring back up when touched.
7 - Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack.
8 - Enjoy.
Catch you during the week.
Wednesday, 7 August 2013
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE
Last Tuesday was National Cheesecake Day. Sure, it's an American thing, but I wanted to celebrate all the same. Plus, cheesecake is my boyfriend's favourite dessert.So I decided to make this cheesecake. Now the result was not perfect, I think mostly because I let the gelatine get too hard. But it was still a nice tasting dessert that was easy to eat - because let's face it, dessert is always amazing to enjoy. I have a whole list of cheesecakes I want to try, so you'll be seeing a few coming up. Any ideas from you which cheesecake I should make next?
If you give this one a try, remember to be careful with the gelatine. Too hot and you'll ruin the ingredients, too cold and it'll set and you'll have lumps and a hard time setting it. But it's worth the trial and error.
185g Nice Biscuits, crushed
90g Unsalted Butter, melted
500g Cream Cheese, softened
1 can Condensed Milk
100g White Chocolate
1 tablespoon Gelatine
1/4 cup Hot Water
3/4 cup Thickened Cream
150g Raspberries, pureed
Whole Raspberries to top
1 - Combine biscuits and butter in a food processor and blend till combined. Then press into the bottom of a lined springform tin. Refrigerate until firm.
2 - Beat cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth, then beat in the cream.
3 - Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler on the stove top. Allow to cool to room temperature.
4 - Sprinkle gelatine over hot water and stir to dissolve. Allow to cool.
5 - Beat cooled chocolate and gelatine into the cream cheese mixture and spoon evenly over the biscuit base.
6 - Add the raspberry puree to the top and swirl to make a pattern. Plus add whole raspberries to the top.
7 - Refrigerate before serving.
Catch you on the weekend for some baked goodness.
Sunday, 4 August 2013
COCA COLA CHOCOLATE CAKE
Here's part two of the birthday cakes I cooked last weekend for friend's birthdays. This one was one of my boyfriend's closest friend's, Elyse, who's also become a great friend of mine. Now Elyse loves a drink of Coke, we joke she's addicted. Now I had heard you could put Coke in cakes and it tastes great, but hadn't tried it. This was my chance to have a go, and wow it was worth it. This is one of the best cakes I've made in a longtime. The Coke made the cake light and fluffy, and combined with my standard ganche recipe, it was perfect. I always know when the cake is good because it goes fast. We cut the cake up and everyone had a slice and ate it all - a sure sign the cake was a hit. People said they had hints of coke as they ate it. So have a go at this cake and I know you'll love it.
There's a few things I want to try over the next few weeks, experiment a little. Some may work, some may not. So I look forward to sharing the successes with you.
Original Recipe from: http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/coca-cola-chocolate-cake-L1378.html
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups Marshmallows
1/2 cup Oil
1/2 cup Margarine
3 tablespoons Cocoa
1 cup Coke
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1 1./4 cups of Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 cups Self Raising Flour
400g Milk Chocolate, roughly chopped
300g Thickened Cream
Lolly Coke Bottles to decorate
1 - Preheat oven to 160°c and grease line a springform tin with baking paper.
2 - Place marshmallows, oil, margarine, cocoa and Coke in a saucepan and heat and stir on medium heat until melted.
3 - Mix in bicarbonate soda.
4 - Beat flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk.
5 - Mix all ingredients together, including flour, and pour into springform tin. The mixture will be runny, so don't worry.
6 - Bake for one hour or until cake bounces back or skewer comes out clean.
7 - Let cool in pan. When cool, cut in half, ready to ice.
8 - To prepare the ganache, place cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring just to boil.
9 - Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate (in a heatproof bowl). Leave for 5 minutes and then whisk mixture together. Chill in fridge, stirring every few minutes until it gets thicker.
10 - Spread the ganache liberally over the cake and the side. Refridgerate to set.
11 - Top with fizzy Coke bottle lollies and enjoy.
Catch you on Tuesday for the results of my national cheesecake day bake.
Thursday, 1 August 2013
ROLO BROWNIE CAKE
I just had a massive weekend of birthday celebrations. It seems like a ridiculous amount of us were born in July, me included. Lately as a present to my friends I've been making them birthday cakes. I had two good friends with birthdays last week, so made two lovely cakes (will share the other on the weekend). This cake, the Rolo Brownie Cake, was one I've wanted to make for a while. It's from my favourite blog, Raspberri Cupcakes, and her stuff is always nice - albeit very fattening. Trust me, this is the kind of cake that is divine to eat, but you can't have a lot.
I made it for my friend Jen, a very talented actress and make up artist. She is one of the nicest people I have met since moving to Melbourne. I have directed her twice and have loved getting to know her. I felt very honoured, and very excited to share a small dinner for her special day.
This cake was wonderful to make, I had a lot of fun doing it. The only difficulty I had was with the actual Rolos themselves. I couldn't find the tubes of Rolos, just the block. I rang Nestle, and they told me they didn't makes the tubes anymore. Dumb. Apparently you can get them in import stores still - but I'd left it too late. So I had to do things a little differently. The other different thing to do here is to make your own caramel sauce with a can of condensed milk. This was great and it turned out perfectly.
So have a go at this fun cake, but make sure you share it or you may just explode!
For the Cake:
400g Salted Butter
200g Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 Large Eggs
200g Caster Sugar
200g Plain Flour
1 block of Rolo Chocolate
1 can of Condensed Milk
For the Icing:
400g Milk Chocolate, coarsely chopped
300ml Thickened Cream
1 block of Rolo Chocolate
1 - First you need to make the caramel sauce for the filling. Take the unopened can of condensed milk and remove the label completely. Place in a medium saucepan and fill with water until it is half to 3/4s of the way up to the side of the can. Cover with lid and boil over a medium heat for two hours. Check regularly and top up with water if it falls below half. WARNING - if the water runs out the can will explode. Please don't let that happen (I'll feel really bad). Let it cool, and then put in fridge until you need it. (Will look like pic above)
2 - Preheat oven to 150°c and grease and line 2 springform tins (if like me you only have one, you'll have to take turns cooking them).
3 - Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth.
4 - Whisk eggs and caster sugar in an electric mixer until thick and pale (about 3-5 minutes), fold through chocolate mixture and then fold in flour until just combined.
5 - Pour half the batter in the two pans. Smooth the top and then spread half of the Rolo block to the top of each cake mix.
6 - Bake for 25-30 mins, until cake is firm to touch.
7 - Cool completely in pan before carefully transferring to serving dish. As it's a brownie cake it will crumble easily.
8 - Open caramel tin and add some salt. Use beater to smooth the caramel and mix salt. Then spread completely over the top of one of the cake pieces. Put in fridge for at least half an hour, to make sure it sets.
9 - Carefully sandwich the second cake on top.
10 - To prepare the ganache, place cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bring just to boil.
11 - Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate (in a heatproof bowl). Leave for 5 minutes and then whisk mixture together. Chill in fridge, stirring every few minutes until it gets thicker.
12 - Spread the ganache liberally over the cake and the side. Break up rolo block and place on top. Refridgerate to set.
13 - Serve and enjoy.
On the weekend, the Coke Chocolate Cake will be put on the blog.