White chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and deliveries

sceneI got sent some peanut butter recently. It was probably one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever received in the post. If I could set it up so that I got surprise deliveries of peanut butter in the mail every now and then, I would be ecstatic. This was a one-off kind of thing, but no less exciting.

Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter were the geniuses behind my letter box peanut butter, and I’m so grateful for it! The contents of the jar are super crunchy and the ingredients are all natural, which I love!

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.

Choc chip pumpkin cupcakes and Halloween desserts

fourI mentioned in my previous post that my parents didn’t consider Halloween a very Australian holiday. And I’ve inherited this view to some extent.

It’s odd trying to translate the dark, spooky images that permeate the idea American Halloween to Australia’s October, when the weather is mostly sunny and warm. It doesn’t stop me wanting to make Halloween-themed goodies, though!

So for this year’s Halloween, I’m focussing on another thing that I equate with the American Halloween; pumpkin. I remember making a pumpkin pie for my family, years ago, and they all cringed at the idea of it. It was delicious (how modest of me…) but pumpkin and dessert don’t often meet in Australia.

Lime and raspberry cupcakes and unbirthdays

scene (416x640)I know too many people who were born in the last three months of the year, October is particularly packed. Lots of people, including the Boy, must be celebrated in such proximity to one another that I decided to throw another unbirthday party. It’s not that I dislike birthdays (quite the opposite, actually), it’s just there are not enough days to celebrate people properly!

The last unbirthday party I threw was mainly for one person, whereas this one was aimed at three people. It is worth noting that anyone can claim an unbirthday – as long as their birthday doesn’t fall on the say that it is celebrated!

I feel as though I’m becoming a bit of an unbirthday expert…

please

 

Norman, meanwhile, is an expert unbirthday crasher. He’s got his puppy dog eyes look sorted!

Raspberry cupcakes and food obsession

close upMy last post was about giving in to the gym. It’s day four of me signing up to the gym and I’ve been good so far. Except for the fact that I spend my entire life pinning, instagramming and Googling baked goods.

To say I’m obsessed is an understatement. I’m fairly sure I was dreaming about eating these cupcakes last night, because I was awoken by a sharp pain – I’d bitten the inside of my lip hard enough to draw blood!

These gorgeous little cupcakes came about by accident. I was actually trying to create cupcakes with bubblegum icing; the cupcake was supposed to be a platform to raise my glorious bubblegum icing to dizzying sugary heights.

But the icing never really made it. It didn’t taste as bubblegummy as I’ planned (don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, it just wasn’t bubblegum flavoured), but it didn’t matter, because the cupcake outshone it!!

The cupcake is light and airy. It’s delicately fruity and a little bit like eating a raspberry cloud. Or how I imagine that would taste. The icing is sweet and soft, the perfect complement to the raspberry cloud!

biteRaspberry cupcake clouds

Makes 24

  • 120g butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup raspberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1-2 tsp pink food colouring (optional)

Icing:

  • 50g butter
  • 50g cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp strawberry essence
  • ¼ tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups icing sugar

raspberriesPreheat your oven 180°C and grease a 12 capacity cupcake tin.

Cream your butter and sugar together until pale. Add in your raspberries and blend until smooth. This should take 1-2 minutes to eliminate all of the lumps and bumps. You can leave chunks of raspberry in if you’d like, but I prefer them all mixed in, it makes for a smoother batter.

mixAdd in the teaspoon of vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.

Scoop your flour into the mixture and mix well, ensuring no pockets of flour remain. Add in the milk and combine.

At this point, the raspberries will have added a slight tinge of pinky-purple to the mixture, so you don’t have to add colouring. If, like me, you can’t resist a pop of colour, add in some pink food colouring!

That’s it! These cupcakes are so simple, but the result is so impressive.

lolliesSpoon the mixture into your prepared cupcake tins and bake for 16-18 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are out of the oven, allow them to cool for ten minutes. While they cool, mix the butter and cream cheese together until there are no lumps and the mixture is pale. Add in the strawberry essence, orange blossom water and vanilla, followed by the icing sugar. Keep blending until all are combined and smooth.

sceneDecorate using a piping bag, or just spoon it onto your cupcakes and smooth with a knife. I added little chewy lollies to the top of mine, but don’t worry if you don’t have any they’re sweet enough without them!

Serve with a strong black cuppa to balance out all of that sugar.

Enjoy!

Carrot & poppyseed cake and re-discovering

sceneA friend requested I make a carrot cake a while ago and I said I would oblige. I hadn’t even considered posting a carrot cake, because I would never usually choose to eat carrot cake. I was chatting to mother dearest about it and she reminded me of a recipe that she hasn’t cooked in years. And I didn’t realise how much I had missed it!

This mixture is beautiful. It is moist and crunchy and dense and delicious. Have I convinced you to make it yet? I haven’t even started describing the velvety cream cheese icing.

Brownie cheesecake slice and remembering

sliceMother remembered on Thursday morning that she had to take a slice into work on Friday. She left me a note asking me to make one for her. Of course I obliged; being unemployed and sole contributor to my baking blog, this request was perfectly tailored to my situation!

She needed something easy to transport (cupcakes are out), something that would feed a group easily (pots de crème are out) and something delicious. I’ve made brownies before and they’re delightful, but I felt as though she needed something a little more show stopping to tempt her co-workers.

Nutella sponge cake and being let go

It’s not you, it’s me.

Today I was on the receiving end. Unexpectedly too.

The probationary period at my fab new job came to an end and that was it. I’m not as experienced a worker as she needs – and that’s okay. Small businesses need to be as efficient as possible and I’m not the right employee for the company. There are no ill feelings, no bitter words.

It just sucks slightly.

Re-evaluation will start tomorrow. A call to Centrelink may or may not be on the cards. But today I’m embracing the change.

I cried in the car (that was a first), I went to the supermarket in my pretty work dress with my stripey orange runners on (hopefully that’s a first and a last) and I bought a tea set that was irresponsibly expensive given that I started being unemployed this afternoon. And I felt slightly better.

I moped about the house and watched Gossip Girl to escape, but I decided that wasn’t enough.

So Mother and I took Norman for a drive…and I can thoroughly recommend this is treatment for sadness.

Feeling blue? Force your dog to go for a drive with you. I promise it is an instant mood lifter.

We drove to a local park where the wattle is overgrown. And we stole some.

Norman 3Norman 2

Queen of Hearts Tart (White chocolate cheesecake)

I’ve got a friend’s birthday coming up soon and I’m trying to put together a few recipes to make her party special. It will be a high tea style thing because she’s not a big fan of birthdays. I can’t understand why she doesn’t love birthdays, but I’m loving the challenge of finding recipes that will impress her without seeming too celebratory.

I’m keeping plans a little bit secret, so I won’t blab too much. Keep an eye out for her birthday post later this week, I have a feeling that it’s going to be great!

Before you start the recipe, ensure you’ve got a syringe. Like the ones you give kids medicine with. It sounds odd, but it’s a really simple decorating tool.

I appropriated this recipe from one I found at Cooking Classy.

White chocolate cheesecake tart:punch glass (1024x683)

  • 2 sheets shortcrust pastry
  • 300g cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice

Raspberry puree

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • ¼ cup cold water

Grease six tart tins. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
strainPut your frozen raspberries in a small saucepan over a medium heat and sprinkle the sugar in. When the raspberries start to defrost, add the cornflour and water. Stir it often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. When the raspberries have broken down fully, allow the mixture to come to a boil and thicken for about two minutes. Remove your puree from the heat and put it through a strainer to get rid of all the seeds.strained

It’s going to look a little bit like something from a bad horror film – all red and gloopy, but it’s delicious. Set your puree aside, you’ll need it in about ten minutes.

Cut your pastry into squares and fit them into your tart tins. You’ll need to do this in two batches, the recipe makes about 12. Pop them into the oven for 10 minutes so that the pastry cooks slightly – you may want to weight them down with baking weights to stop it from bubbling up.

like creamWhile the tarts cook, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy in a large mixing bowl (this will take about one minute.) Mix in your egg and egg white, then the vanilla and lemon juice. Melt your white chocolate and stir the cream into the chocolate. When the chocolate and cream are completely combined, add them to the cream cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. It should be a similar consistency to whipped cream – don’t worry, it will cook into a more cheesecakey consistency.

Remove the tart cases from the oven and allow them to cool. Take them out of their cases and put your second batch of cases in to cook. When your second lot of tart dough has come out of the oven and cooled, prepare to put your cheesecake mixture in.

syringeSpoon the mixture so that the tart cases are about ¾ full (the mixture will rise slightly as it cooks.) Get out your syringe and prepare to get crafty! Grab your bowl of raspberry puree and suck up as much as you can into the syringe. I’d advise you to keep the nozzle moving so you don’t suck up much air, because air bubbles are annoying. Ensure that the tops of your tarts are as smooth as possible and inject small circles of raspberry into them. Don’t crowd the circles because you’ll elongate them later to make the hearts. Once you’ve put circles in all of them, get a toothpick and run it through the centre of each circle in a continuous line. You may want to wipe the toothpick after each tart to make cleaner lines.spotsswirl

Don’t worry if they’re not completely neat, as long as you run your toothpick through the centre of each circle, they’ll look heart-like. Little tricks like using the syringe or a piping bag may seem fiddly, but get easier with practice, and give your baked goods a professional finish.norman watched

Bake tarts back in the oven for 15-20 mins. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool completely before serving. They’ll set more as they cool, so don’t rush them by eating them warm!

trio