New links


I’ve been away on holidays and haven’t created anything in a while, but I wanted to share these two websites I came across. I think they are great with heaps of tutorials and recipes as well.

Bake Happy

http://www.bakehappy.net/

&

Our Best Bites

http://www.ourbestbites.com/

xo

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Hidden Heart Cupcakes


Hidden Heart Cupcakes for my Wedding Day

I saw a picture on Pinterest showing hidden heart cupcakes and I fell in love with the idea. My mum and I catered my wedding on Saturday, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test this technique out.

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I tried two batches. The first batch I flavoured the heart cake batter with rose water and the cupcake batter with vanilla bean. Individually both cakes tasted great, but I found the rose flavour was lost in the vanilla. I tried this again and added more rose water and it worked out much better.

What you will need:

Cupcake recipe (flavour and recipe of your choice)
Food colouring (of your choice)

Heart shaped cookie cutters (It is important that you pick a heart shaped cookie cutter that will fit inside the patty liner)

Method:

1. Bake the cake batter you will use to make the hearts from. I used a square tin and cut into slices. I also used a rectangular pan on the second batch. Either works fine… Just work out how to you get the most hearts from each tin.
2. Once the cake is cooled, use your cookie cutter to cut out hearts. NOTE: I put the hearts into a Tupperware container and put them in the freezer overnight (a few hours will work to). I found this helped to keep the heart shape and prevented them from crumbling) – much easier to handle.
3. Line your cupcake pans with patty liners and place two tablespoons of cupcake batter into each liner.
4. Place a heart into each liner (pointy end down), and push to the bottom of the liner.
5. Put an additional tablespoon of batter over the top and bake for required time.
6. Allow to cool and decorate as you wish.

I did some sample cupcakes… Didn’t want to waste a whole batch and get it wrong. So tried out two ideas and wanted to share this with you so you can see the difference.
The cupcake on the left shows you how the cupcake would turn out if you put a tablespoon of batter over the heart… The cupcake on the right is how it would turn out if you didn’t put the extra batter over the top.

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Here’s a YouTube tutorial I found. This video includes a vanilla bean cake recipe you could use, but like I said, if using your own recipe, you can skip the beginning of this video.

Hope you have as much fun as I did with this! Let me know how you go.
Happy Baking!

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Here are some additional sites you can visit that demonstrate this technique
http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/537431/hidden-heart-cupcakes

Ombre Cakes


Petal Technique – Ombre!

One of my girlfriends is having her second baby…. a boy! I volunteered to make her baby cake and decided on everything blue.. Ombre style! I’ve put together this little tutorial for you all so you can also learn how to make these fabulously simple, but effective cakes! My main issue with the petal technique… I found my lines were not very straight. Even though I thought I was following the correct line, I had some “waves” happening. With more practice, I’m sure it would be easier to make each dot the correct size and length, etc.

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What you will need:
Cake(s)
Frosting
Teaspoon or spatula
Piping bag
Round piping tip

Cake Ingredients:
Depending on the number of layers you want to create, double this batch.
Melted butter, to grease
450g (3 cups) self-raising flour
150g (1 cup) plain flour
440g (2 cups) caster sugar
300g butter, cubed, at room temperature
310ml (1 1/4 cups) milk
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 tsp vanilla essence
Desired food colouring

Crisco Butter Cream Frosting
Makes around 3 cups
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
additional 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted icing mixture
2 tablespoons milk
Desired food colouring

OR

Classic American Butter Cream Frosting
Makes around 2.5cups
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
3-4 cups icing mixture, SIFTED
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Desired food colouring

Method (Cake):

  1. Preheat oven to 140°C. Position a rack on the second lowest shelf of the oven. Brush a round 25cm (base measurement) cake pan with the melted butter to lightly grease. Line base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the self-raising flour, plain flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric beater to beat on low speed for 30 seconds or until just combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and all the butter is incorporated.
  3. Divide mixture in two (or if batch doubled, in four). Add desired food colouring to each batch until desired colour reached. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cool.

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Method (Frosting):

In large bowl, cream shortening (or if using American frosting all butter) and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add icing mixture, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all icing mixture has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.
For stiff consistency, add more icing mixture until desired consistency achieved.

Divide frosting into even batches (depending on number of colours you want to do). Add food colouring to each batch until desired colour achieved. Add more icing mixture if frosting becomes too thin!

Put a light coat of butter cream over the cake. This is your crumb layer and will give you a smooth, even surface to start decorating on.

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Here’s a cute tutorial I found on Cake Central by ‘The Hungry Housewife’. I’ve also included her youtube video which clearly shows each step!

http://cakecentral.com/b/tutorial/blue-ombre-petal-cake-tutorial

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Here’s my first attempt!! Hope you all enjoy this. X

Happy Baking

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References:
http://savorysweetlife.com/2010/03/buttercream-frosting/

Boeuf Bourguignon


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My brother, Michael, organizes a ‘world cuisine’ lunch or dinner were our friends and family can gather to catch up and enjoy good food. We pick a different theme each time we get together, the latest being French cuisine. We usually post on the Facebook page he created what each of us is going ot make, so we don’t make the same dishes. I choose to try the boeuf burguignon. Why did I chose this dish you ask?… well I forgot to prepare a meal and my husband kindly reminded me that the lunch was happening the Sunday just gone. Luckily, we were at the supermarket, so I quickly googled French cuisine and chose the first non-chicken based dish I could find (everyone else was doing chicken). I think this came out really nice. It is so simple to make and very tasty!

INGREDIENTS

1.2kg chuck steak, trimmed of fat, cut into 4cm cubes
1/4 cup plain flour
20g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g small button mushrooms
200g bacon, cut into 3cm cubes
12 eschalots or spring onions, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
1 cup red wine (such as shiraz or cabernet sauvignon)
1 1/2 cups beef consomme or stock (preferably home made)
1 bouquet garni
flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to serve

METHOD

Step 1

Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly coat meat with flour. Heat a large, ovenproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add 10g butter and 2 teaspoons oil. When butter and oil are sizzling, add one-sixth of meat and cook for 6 minutes or until well browned on all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat with remaining meat, adding more butter and oil as required.

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Step 2

Add mushrooms to casserole and cook, stirring often, until golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside until required. Add bacon, eschalots and carrot to casserole. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden. Drain away any remaining oil. Pour wine and consomme into casserole. Bring to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen sediment on base of casserole. Return beef to casserole with bouquet garni. Cover and place in oven.

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Step 3

Cook for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and add mushrooms. Return to oven, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Spoon casserole onto plates, garnish with parsley and serve with Pommes Anna (recipe published soon).

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Try this for yourself and let me know what you think? What other French inspired dishes do you like?

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Devil’s Food Cake Recipe


You can never go wrong with a Devil’s Food Cake… I came across this recipe a very long time ago and I love it! The trick with this recipe (as with all) is to read all the way through first.

“While you’re making it, don’t panic. The mixture will seem very runny for ages once the chocolate has melted and you will think you have a liquid gleaming glaze, beautiful but unfit for purpose; leave it for about an hour, as stipulated, though, and it will be perfect and spreadable. It never quite dries to the touch, but this is, in part, what makes the cake so darkly luscious. Goo here is good.”

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Recipe by Nigella Lawson

for the cake:
50g best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
100g dark muscovado sugar
250ml boiling water
125g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
150g caster sugar
225g plain flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs

for the frosting:
125ml water
30g dark muscovado sugar
175g unsalted butter cubed
300g best-quality dark chocolate finely chopped
2 x 20cm sandwich tins

Method

Serves: 10 – 12

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Line the bottoms of both sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.
  3. Put the cocoa and 100g dark muscovado sugar into a bowl with a bit of space to spare, and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy; I find this easiest with a freestanding mixer, but by hand wouldn’t kill you.
  5. While this is going on – or as soon as you stop if you’re mixing by hand – stir the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl, and set aside for a moment.
  6. Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar – mixing all the while – then drop in 1 egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of flour mixture, then the second egg.
  7. Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl well with a spatula.
  8. Divide this fabulously chocolatey batter between the 2 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.
  10. But as soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting: put the water, 30g muscovado sugar and 175g butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.
  11. When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
  12. Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again – when you’re passing the pan – by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.
  13. Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread with about a third of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula. You can go for a smooth look, but I never do and probably couldn’t.

 http://www.nigella.com/

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Home Baked Pain au Chocolat


Last week, my husband, roomie and myself were watching night time TV when a craving for something sweet and chocolatey hit us. We didn’t have anything in the house, as I tend not to keep such vices around in full knowledge that I would eat it all… However, I always keep puff pastry in the freezer and I know we had nutella. So, asked the boys if a modified chocolate croissant would satisfy the craving. Our roomie was shocked, and asked how would I make a croissant? So I offered to show him. Here’s a quick step-by-step… so quick and easy to make!!

Ingredients:
Frozen puff pastry (thawed)
Nutella
1 Egg

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Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
Thaw sheets of puff pastry (note; you will get 4 croissants from 1 sheet) and cut into 4 equal squares.

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Step 2: Place 1 tablespoon (or whatever you desire) of Nutella into the centre of each square.

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Step 3: With a small amount of water, wet the edges of the pastry (this will make it sticky) and fold it over. You can make what ever shape you like (as shown in the picture below). Be sure to press the folded pastry down firmly (I use the back of a teaspoon) to ensure it is sealed. If you leave gaps, or it is not firmly sealed, the pastry will open during the baking process and the nutella will ooze out.

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Step 4: Whisk the egg (yolk and whites) and lightly brush over the pastry.
Place in oven and bake until pastry is golden brown (usually about 25-30minutes).

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Serve straight from the oven… Delicious!

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Blueberry Muffins


I was cleaning the house last weekend and had a sudden desire to fill the rooms with the smell of freshly baked muffins! Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked goods?!  I had some frozen blueberries and threw together a quick batch of blueberry muffins. It didn’t take long for the boys to come in the house from working in the shed, and ask how long they would be. A great treat!

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Recipe by Donna Hay
(makes 12)

Ingredients

2½ cups (375g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup (125ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g fresh or frozen blueberries

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Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Place the oil, egg, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the blueberries and mix to combine.
4. Spoon mixture into a 12-hole ½-cup capacity (125ml) muffin tin lined with paper patty cases. Add extra blueberries to decorate the top and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Tell me… what’s the secret to your blueberry muffins? Lemon Zest? Sugar on top?

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Cake Decorating Basics #14


Cupcake Frosting Techniques

I came across these 2 cute blogs by ‘Glorious Treats‘ and ‘Niner Bakes‘. They have a page all about frosting techniques and a few different frosting recipes you could try! I’ve added their photos to show you what each tip can create.

Link to Niner Bakes

Here’s the link to Glorious Treats (these are her pictures below)

Cupcakes wtih tips

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