Banana sundae mini cakes and sweetness

wholeI wrote in my last blog post that everything seemed to be going swimmingly. I had a wonderful weekend. It just so turns out that the luck is continuing! My work week is plodding along steadily, I received a gloriously vanilla-scented parcel from Vanilla Queen, and I just realised that the Cake Bake and Sweets Show is rolling around again this year.

Life is sweet.

I think I know what started all this sweetness. Continue reading

Angel food cupcakes and lightness

singleI had one of those weekends where everything seems to float on by. It was most enjoyable. I baked most of Saturday, had a long-awaited catch up with a good friend, and entertained on Sunday. By entertained I mostly mean that I force-fed my friends so that I didn’t eat all of Saturday’s baking efforts.

It was all fabulous, easy, lovely. After my jam-packed weekend in Melbourne, the lightness of it all was refreshing. There is no better segue into these cupcakes than this – they’re easy, fabulous and breezy. They’re also quite a show-stopper, with their brilliant white inner. They’re the kind of cupcake that looks like you’ve put in loads of effort, when actually you haven’t – I love those recipes!

The only downside is that you have to use 5 egg whites, which I’d usually balk at. Luckily I’d just finished making delectable Oreo ice cream, so I had 5 to spare. I recommend you make both of these recipes, just so you’re not wasting any eggs!

 Angel food cupcakes:

  • ¾ cup caster sugarbite
  • 5 egg whites
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

 Icing:

  • 450ml thickened cream
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Sprinkles (optional)

whip whitesPreheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 12 cup capacity cupcake tin.

Whip together your sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until firm peaks form. This is easiest to do if you’ve got a hand/stand mixer, but is do-able by hand – you just need some muscles! Add in the vanilla and mix lightly. Sift the flour lightly over the egg whites in at least  four batches, folding it in after each addition. It’s best to do it this way to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Scoop your mixture into your tins until they’re almost full (about 7/8 of the way) and pat gently with a spoon to smooth out any points.

foldCarefully slide into the oven for 19-22 minutes, until tops have browned evenly and they spring back when pressed.

Allow to cool.

While the cupcakes cool, make a start on the icing. Whip the thickened cream until it just starts to thicken, then add in the icing sugar and vanilla. Keep whipping until it is a smooth, pipe-able consistency. Take care not to over-beat it.

abovePop the cupcakes out of their molds. Don’t worry, even though they look delicate, they’re quite sturdy and will spring back into shape. Scoop your icing into a piping bag fitting with a round nozzle and pipe in spirals. Top generously with sprinkles.

The joy of these cupcakes is their fluffiness – the cupcake and icing are both gorgeously light and soft. As a result, it’s best if you’re gentle with them – if it’s warm, keep them in the fridge before serving to stop the icing from drooping.

Oreo ice cream sandwiches and the end of Summer

sandwichSummer ended this weekend. How dramatic does that sound? Even though everyone was heralding the end, both days were really hot. Hot enough that I decided to make my own ice cream, without an ice cream machine!

It did not disappoint.

The custard base gives it a sweet, smooth flavour, and the Oreos add a delectable crunch – the best taste, however, if the satisfaction of home-made ice cream!
I refuse to believe that this is the last batch of ice cream I’ll be making – with the weather we had today (stinking hot), I envisage many more batches of home-made ice cream!

scene 2Plus, with this gorgeous, pastel-hued tea-towel egging me on, I’ve got no excuse. The tea-towel is from Deedub designs (check them out here, everything in the shop is equally as gorgeous!) and I’ll be giving one away in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for the competition.

As much as I enjoyed screaming for ice cream this weekend, I am looking forward to Autumnal foods – stone fruits, pies, gallette! Is it odd that I anticipate the seasons based on the foods I plan on eating?!

Oreo ice cream sandwiches:

Makes 1L

  • 1 cup milk (full fat)squish
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 ¼ cups thickened cream
  • 7 Oreos, crushed
  • 7 Oreos, whole

Mix milk and sugar together in heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Using a thin knife, slice the vanilla bean open, lengthways, and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and the bean pod in the milk and return to the heat, allowing the milk to simmer for two minutes before turning off.

Cover with tin foil and allow to infuse for 1-2 hours.

Whisk your egg yolks for 20 seconds to break them up. Warm your milk again, then discard the vanilla pod. Add a tablespoon of milk to the egg yolks and mix in. Repeat about 5 times, until the egg yolks have warmed to body temperature (this is called tempering.)

Pour the egg and milk mixture into the saucepan of milk and return the stove on a low heat. Stir constantly for about two minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to stop the mixture sticking, until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.

swirlPlace your container in an ice bath and pour cream into the container. Pour the warm egg and milk mixture into it, stirring until combined. Put in the freezer for an hour, remove to stir, then return to the freezer. Repeat 2-3 times, stirring in the crushed Oreos on the second stirring.

scoop textureRemove from the ice bath and leave in the freezer overnight.

Remove from the fridge 5-10 minutes before ready to serve.

sceneWhile allowing the ice cream to thaw, twist your Oreos so that you can sandwich the ice cream in the middle. Use a tablespoon to scoop your ice cream out, place in the middle of the Oreo parts and sandwich together.

Eat immediately.

If you’re after more home-made ice cream recipes, try my no-churn berry icecream. It’s super-easy, and such a stunning colour.

 

Also, my fingers look giant in the picture where I’m holding the sandwich. They’re regular-sized Oreos, and I have regular-sized hands. The ice cream scoop is pretty small :P

Catch ups and simple orange biscuits

aboveI’ve been a bad blogger. I haven’t updated the blog in over a week! I have an excuse, I promise. I’ve been trying to organise a super-cute giveaway for the blog (keep your eyes peeled in the next few blog posts), I’ve been working like a crazy lady, and I was in Melbourne over the weekend. I do have a biscuit recipe to share with you though – that’s go to count for something, right?

So here is what I’ve neglected to tell you: Continue reading

Peanut butter brownies and procrastinating

flowersI’ve had a crazy few weeks. Work has been busy, I’ve been baking with renewed gusto (and trying to get the recipes posted, rather than just consume the finished product) AND trying to have a social life.

It’s like I can only have two out of three – I can either work and socialise, and leave my beloved blog to gather dust, or I can socialise and blog, and get fired from a job that I love. Neither of these options are ideal!

I need to plan my life. Continue reading

The best hot chocolate in the world

aboveWant the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate.

That is all you need. (Well, that’s all I need!)

It’s no secret that I love chocolate. When it comes to food, the more chocolate something has in it, the better. That is why I skip cocoa and go straight for a block when I make hot chocolate. Your loved one/s will love you for this, trust me. Continue reading

Valentine’s pretzels and home-made gifts

pairI am the anti-Valentine. I’ve written about this before.  I question the need for lavish gifts, I’m awkward and clumsy when dining at nice restaurants, I don’t really like champagne (unless it’s champagne icing!) and, given the choice, red roses are the last flowers I would choose for myself.

I’d also choose kitchen/dachshund or tea-related items over a stuffed teddy. Continue reading

Chocolate cups with blueberry cream and romance

edible heartsI’m not really one for Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been keen on red roses, I’m not a fan of the clichés. I’m really not much of a romantic at all. When asked the other day about the most romantic thing the Boy had ever done for me, my response was that he got me Daisy for my birthday.

My idea of romance involves sausage dogs. Yup. Continue reading

Vanilla, fig & honey cupcakes and fig deliveries


sneak peek
It’s not very often that one gets an offer of free figs. So when a very generous friend of mine messaged our group of friends offering free figs, everyone jumped at the chance. She even delivered them to our doorsteps!

image1Clearly she is a saint. If you’d like to see what this saint’s instagram looks like, click here. It’s full of beautiful photography and enviably delicious cooking dates with her Nonna.

Given that I didn’t develop a taste for figs until last year, I decided to keep things simple. Figs, honey, vanilla – the beautifully sweet ingredients and varying textures come together perfectly in these bite-sized morsels.

Vanilla fig and honey cupcakes:

Makes 48

Fig filling:

  • ½ cup water
  • 200g chopped figs (stalks removed)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Vanilla cupcake:

  • 115g butterbite
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • ¾ cup milk

Honey icing:

  • 115g butter
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp milk

chopped figsPop your water, figs and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir gently for five minutes, allowing the figs to start breaking down. Grab a potato masher and squish the figs over heat for three minutes. You should end up with a lumpy, seed-filled, jam-like substance.

Remove from the heat and set to one side to cool.

Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 24 capacity mini cupcake pan.

Cream together the butter and white sugar. Add in the egg, and mix until combined. Add in bocarb, vanilla and flour, mix well. Slowly pour in the milk, mixing until just combined.

Fill each cupcake ¾ of the way full, and use the back of a spoon to make a shallow well in the centre of each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with ½ tsp of the fig filling and pop them into the oven for 13-15 minutes. As the cupcakes rise, they will cover most of the fig filling, but will have a small seam running through it.

Turn your cupcakes out onto a cooling rack and set aside to cool. To make your icing, cream together the butter and honey until smooth and pale. Add in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, then add in 1 or both of the teaspoons of milk until the icing reaches the desired consistency.

single cupcakeScoop icing into a piping bag and pipe generous amounts of icing onto each cupcake. The height of the icing should be about the same height as the cupcakes – the perfect icing ratio, if you ask me.

above

Nutella choc chip biscuits and World Nutella Day

choc chipsFebruary 5th. Put it in your diary. World. Nutella. Day.

Did you know this was a thing? I discovered it last year, and have set myself a reminder a week in advance in my phone so that I never forget it. What a glorious day! It’s been around since 2007, but I only started celebrating it last year. I have so much Nutella-loving to catch up on!

Part of the reason I love it so much is that it gives me an excuse to bake with Nutella. Continue reading