Tuesday, September 7, 2021

TWD - Torta Sbrisolona


This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Torta Sbrisolona. I have never heard if it before and I am sure I can’t pronounce it correctly, but it is a delicious crumbly almond cookie, made like streusel.

I made a half batch, which cut neatly into 8 bars:


 I really enjoyed these cookies, more than any we have made for a while. Thanks to Dianne’s husband for choosing them.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Harry the Hairy Nosed Wombat Cake - Book Week 2021


 This week is Book Week, so I thought I’d share a cake I made for the Threatened Species Bakeoff, but which also fits neatly in with Book Week. I dub this cake Harry, after Harry the Hairy-Nosed Wombat, the title character in a 1970 children’s book written by Australian author, Jill Morris.  This book was read to our class at primary school by the librarian, Mr Broom. It follows the adventures of Harry when a man comes to disturb his habitat by building a highway through it.


The basic concept for my cake design came from Willie the Wombat in Aussie Cakes.  However, Willie is a common wombat, so I made some modifications to end up with Harry. Hairy-nosed wombats have pointier ears than common wombats and squarer, almost pig-like snouts. 

To that end, I shaped the “ears” of my cake more sharply and used a Monte instead of a Mint Slice for the nose, which I gave some details in black icing writing.  Aussie Cakes doesn’t provide any templates for the cakes - you have to design your own from the photo in the book.



The book says to use packet cake mix to make it accessible and easy, but I made the Dutch Chocolate Cake from Christine McConnell’s Deceptive Desserts as my base cake.In hindsight, this light spongy cake was not ideal for shaping, but I got it to work. (It is a delicious cake, BTW.)

Once you have shaped the cooled cake, it literally is as easy as icing it with chocolate buttercream (use your favourite recipe, making sure to crumb coat it), smothering it in brown tinted shredded coconut (I used dessicated coconut because that’s what I could get) to resemble fur, piping details on with black writing icing, and sticking on a chocolate biscuit nose, two Dairy Milk rollos for eyes, and licorice claws. I used the cake that I cut off to make chocolate soil to hide the cake board.

I am pretty happy with this cake.  It looks deceptively simple, but it was actually quite time consuming to make. I think Harry is rather handsome, and he tastes delicious! 

Are you celebrating Book Week? I would love to hear if you bake any literary themed goodies.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

TWD - Baby Buckwheat Bars


 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Baby Buckwheat Bars. As the name suggests, these bars are made with buckwheat flour, and flavoured with vanilla, rum and chocolate.

Dorie recommended caramel chocolate so I used Caramilk. I have to say I didn’t really taste it though.

These bars were not really my cup of tea. They were ok, but the overwhelming flavour of buckwheat flour made them a bit meh for me.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

TWD - Three-ways Sugar Cone Pizzelles

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Three-Ways Sugar Cone Pizzelles. The recipe is what it says on the tin - pizzelles moulded into cones, or bowls, or just left flat.


I don’t have a pizzelle press and don’t intend to invest in one, so I used my jaffle maker to make my Pizzelles.



 I wanted to try out moulding the Pizzelles, so I used cream horn cones and a glass to make cones and bowls respectively. I found the cones challenging to mould and had holes in the base of my cones - not so great for icecream but still delicious.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Bridget Jones’ Pan Fried Salmon with Pinenut Salsa


 

"Bridget, this baby situation threw me initially. We squashed an entire relationship into one night and skipped straight to the starting a family phase. We never even had a real second date, but just so you know I would have taken you to Ottolenghi’s, an amazing place in Notting Hill. You would have had the grilled salmon and pine nut salsa. It’s unbelievable AND healthy." Jack in Bridget Jones' s Baby

In the movie, Bridget Jones' Baby, Jack tells Bridget that he would have taken her to Ottolenghi's restaurant for their second date, and that she would have ordered the grilled salmon and pine nut salsa.  That dish did not exist  on Ottolenghi's menu, but to fill the gap, Ottolenghi developed a recipe for this dish for his cookbook, Ottolenghi Simple.

I have Ottolenghi Simple, and I am also a Bridget Jones fan, so I had to make this salmon dish for myself.  And I am glad that I did.  It is tasty, with a mix of sweet (from currants) and savoury flavours.

If you fancy bringing a little movie magic into your life by making this dish, you will need:

100g currants
4 salmon fillets, skin on
100ml olive oil
4 celery sticks cut into 1 cm dice
30g pine nuts, roughly chopped
40g capers + 2 tablespoons of their brine
40g large green olives cut into 1cm dice
a pinch of saffron mixed with a tablespoon of hot water
20g parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper

Cover the currants with boiling water and soak for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the salmon with 2 teaspooons olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Put 75ml olive oil into a large frying pan over high heat.  Add the celery and pine nuts and fry for 4-5 minutes.  Once the nuts have browned, remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the capers, the brine, the saffron in its water, the olives and a pinch of salt.  Drain the currants, then add them, the parsley, the lemon juice and lemon zest to the mixture.  Stir through, then set aside.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil into a fry pan, and once hot, add the salmon, skin side down, and fry for 3 minutes or until the skin is crisp.  Flip the salmon and cook for another 2-4 minutes, dpeending on how you like your salmon.  Remove from the pan and set aside. 

Place each of the salmon filets onto a plate, and spoon over the salsa.

Enjoy!  

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

TWD - Caramel-Sugar Pufflets


 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Caramel-Sugar Pufflets. 

These yeasted dough biscuits are made from the same dough as last fortnight’s savoury biscuits, but instead of being blended with seeds and spices, the dough is blended with sugar. I used cardamom pistachio sugar from Gewurzhaus, because I could.

These biscuits were ok, but not as good as the savoury ones.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.


Saturday, July 17, 2021

Lemon and poppy seed meringue cheesecake

My mum has sent me some very nice recipes out of her local paper recently.  One that particularly caught my eye was for a lemon and poppy seed meringue cheesecake, by Phoebe Wood.  

Unfortunately, my circumstances mean that it was not realistic to make the whole cheesecake.  Instead, I quartered the recipe, and made two 6" tart versions.  They are not as visually stunning as the whole cheesecake, but they tasted great.

The cheesecake is comprised of a pastry base, with a lemon curd and poppy seed flavoured filling, and topped with sour cream and meringue.  The meringue was also meant to contain poppy seeds, but I forgot. 

I think the mini tarts are cute:



 To make this cheesecake (full recipe), you will need:

Pastry

1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup sugar
75g butter, chopped

Filling

150g sugar
350g cream cheese, at room temperature and cut into cubes
350g ricotta 
200g lemon curd (I used this Donna Hay recipe to make some)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
180g white chocolate, melted and cooled
200g sour cream (I used Greek yoghurt)

Meringue

3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 22cm springform pan

To make the pastry, put the flour and sugar into a food processor and blitz to combine.  Add the butter, and blitz until crumbs form.  Add 2 tablespoons or so of cold water, a little at a time, until the dough just comes together.    Press the pastry into the base of the prepared springform pan.  Put a few prick marks in the pastry with the tines of a fork. Line the pastry with a piece of alfoil, shiny side down, and cover with baking beans or rice.   Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, then remove the baking beans and foil, and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the pastry is golden.  Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Slowly beat in the sugar, then beat in the ricotta and lemon curd until smooth.    Beat in 2 eggs and the poppy seeds until combined, then pour the mixture over the cooled pastry base.  Bake for 1 hour or until just set with a slight wobble in the centre.

Whisk the melted chocolate, sour cream and remaining egg together in a bowl until smooth.  Pour it over the top of the baked cheesecake, and bake the cheesecake for a further 10 minutes.  Turn off the oven, leaving the cheesecake inside and the door slightly ajar, until the cheesecake cools completely. 

Remove the cooled cheesecake form the oven and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

For the meringue, put the eggwhites and sugar in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of just simmering water, whisking by hand until the sugar dissolves.  Remove the bowl from the heat, and beat with a handmixer until the meringue is thick, glossy and completely cooled.  Whisk in the poppy seeds, then transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a 7cm plain nozzle and pipe in a spiral over the top of the cheesecake, piping form the centre outwards.

Using a kitchen blowtorch, brown the top of the meringue.  Serve immediately or chill the cheesecake in the fridge until needed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

TWD - Sour Cream Everything Seed Knots



 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Sour  Cream Everything Seed Knots. The sour cream refers to the pastry, the everything seed refers to the seed mixture blended through the dough, and the knot refers to the shape of these yeasted dough biscuits.

I subbed Greek yoghurt for sour cream in the pastry, and onion flakes for dukkah in the seed mix. I enjoyed these biscuits - they are a really tasty snack.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Banana, Pineapple and Coconut Bread


 Recently, Mardi posted a recipe for Banana, Pineapple and Coconut Bread on Instagram. I was intrigued by the combination of banana and pineapple, and the fact that this cake is made with buckwheat and coconut flours.

For reasons that I could no longer remember, I had both buckwheat and coconut flours in my pantry, so all I needed to buy was pineapple. Instead of using tinned crushed pineapple, I cut fresh pineapple and crushed it in the food processor.

This banana “bread” is rather delicious, with a slightly grassy nutty flavour from the buckwheat. The fruit makes the cake moist.  

For those with dietary constraints, this bread is gluten free, and the only sugar is in the fruit. 

I really enjoyed this change from the run of the mill banana bread, and it is very easy to make. Give it a go!



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

TWD - Coconut Patties


This week’s Tuesday with Dorie tecipe is Coconut Patties.  As you’d expect, these are flattened coconut macaroons shaped in a biscuit cutter, and flavoured with lemon, lime and vanilla.

I was underwhelmed at the thought of making these, but they were actually very tasty.

Dorie had made a pink, rose flavoured version of these as well. That version could be made into a Cherry Ripe flavour by adding finely chopped glace cherries. These patties are a coconut blank canvas, so you could flavour them any way you like.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

TWD - Natasha’s Mum’s Fruit and Walnut Bread Bars



This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Natasha’s Mum’s Fruit and Walnut Bread Bars - quite a mouthful!

These bars are not bread, but an egg white based biscuit filled with dried fruits and nuts. I used figs, apricots and glace cherries as the fruit - Dorie and Natasha are keen in crystallised ginger but I didn’t have any.
 


A quarter of the recipe yielded 5 largish bars - fine with me, even if slightly bigger than the originals.

These are good biscuits - and I love the fact that they have an Australian connection.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they though if it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Spiced Chocolate Pear and Hazelnut Torte - The Cook’s Pantry


Currently there are a lot of pears around, so it is a perfect time to make the most of them. I was watching The Cook’s Pantry this weekend when Courtney Roulston made a Spiced Chocolate, Pear and Hazelnut Torte - a perfect way to celebrate pears.
 

This moist torte contains both hazelnut and almond meal. When combined with dark chocolate, cardamom and cinnamon, and topped with sliced pears, you have a nutty, winning dessert.


To make this easy, gluten free dessert, you will need:

120g chopped dark chocolate, melted

2/3 cup olive oil

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup hazelnut meal

1/2 cup almond meal

3 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom 

2 pears, cored and thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 9” fluted tart pan with a removable base.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and the egg yolks with the olive oil, then fold through the melted chocolate.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites through the chocolate mixture.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tart pan and smooth the top. Arrange the sliced pears on top.

Bake the torte in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the torte from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin before slicing and serving.



Tuesday, May 18, 2021

TWD - Pecan Brown Sugar Crack -Ups


 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe comes from the land of pre-COVID, being a cookie designed to share. The recipe is for Pecan-Brown Sugar Crack-Ups, so named because you are meant to crack off pieces from the single large cookie.

Toasted pecans are whizzed up with brown sugar, butter, flour, eggs, sugar and salt to form a cookie that is warm and earthy in flavour. I wasn’t sharing, so I made a quarter of the recipe. My cookies were probably a bit thick as a result of the pan I used, but they suited me.

To see what the other Dorie’s Cookies bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.



Saturday, May 15, 2021

Simple Apple Cake - Helen Goh’s recipe


 Happy Saturday everyone! I hope that you are having a relaxing weekend.  It’s freezing here today,  but perfect weather for cooking and baking because it warms up the house.

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. My mum is too far away to bake for, but that did not stop me from baking Helen Goh’s gorgeous Simple Apple Cake to celebrate the day.



This lovely cake is soft and moist on the inside, studded with apple pieces, and has a nice brown crust on the outside that is coated with a citrus glaze. The cake also has a hint of rose flavour. I thought it was delightful.

If you would like to make this cake for someone special in your life, you will need:


2 small apples

Zest of 1 lemon

225g plain flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of sofa

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

100g sour cream (I subbed Greek yoghurt)

160g sugar

150ml olive oil

2 teaspoons rosewater

Glaze

1 cup icing sugar 

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon orange juice (I just used all lemon juice)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 20cm round springform pan.

Peel and core the apples and chop into 1cm pieces. Toss the apple pieces with the lemon zest and set aside.

Sift the flour, ginger, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

In a jug, whisk together the eggs and sour cream. Add the sugar, olive oil and rosewater and whisk until smooth.

Fold the apples through the flour, then pour over the egg mixture and fold together until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in the oven for 55-60 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the tin.

In the meantime, make the glaze while mixing together all of the glaze ingredients until smooth - it should be thick but pourable, so add more lemon juice if necessary.

Pour the glaze over the warm cake and spread over the top of the cake with a metal spatula. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before unmoulding. 

Serve the cake decorated with edible flowers.



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

TWD - Chocolate Chip Not Quite Mandelbrot


 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Chocolate Chip Not Quite Mandelbrot. The name is derived from the fact that Mandelbrot is meant to contain almonds - these biscuits do not.

Like biscotti, these biscuits are twice baked. I made my own modifications - I used a gluten free flour mix, a mixture of Reese’s pieces and chocolate chips, and chocolate ginger sugar in place of cinnamon sugar on top.

These biscuits were quite tasty - way tastier than commercial almond bread.

To see what everyone else made this week and their thoughts in it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.



Sunday, April 25, 2021

ANZAC Cake


 
Today is ANZAC Day, marked by dawn services, parades and other tributes to service men and women. The traditional “food” made to mark the day is ANZAC biscuits, made with oats, coconut and golden syrup.

Helen Goh published a recipe for ANZAC Cake, incorporating the flavours of ANZAC biscuits in cake form. The cake looked delicious, so that is what I made as an alternative this year.

Here’s my cake, decorated with rosemary to commemorate the Gallipoli landings in World War I,  and shown with my new Brooch the Subject slouch hat brooch:



I loved the look of this cake (I made a half recipe in a small loaf tin), with its shaggy coconut topping:


The cake is soft and moist, and is complemented by the sweet, textured coconut topping:


I paired my cake with coconut yoghurt, continuing on with the coconut theme:


To make this cake, you will need:

Cake

100g rolled oats

200ml coconut milk

170g plain flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking sofa

Pinch of salt

120g butter, softened

100g brown sugar

100g golden syrup

2 eggs

Topping

75g salted butter

95g brown sugar

95g shredded coconut

60ml cream

Pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 195 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 20cm loaf tin.

Put the oats in a food processor and pulse a few times to create an uneven texture. Place the oats in a bowl with the coconut milk, and stir to combine.  Leave to soak while you make the rest of the cake.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

In a food processor, mix together the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup until light and creamy.  One at a time, blend in the eggs, then scrape down the bowl. 

Add the oats to the food processor and blend until just combined. Add the flour mixture and pulse a couple of times.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the ingredients together until just combined.

Scrape the cake batter into the prepared tin, and bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked through.

While the cake is in the oven, make the topping by putting all of the topping ingredients into a saucepan and stirring over low heat until the ingredients are combined and the butter has melted. Set aside.

When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and spread the topping carefully and evenly over the top.  Put the cake back in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve dusted with icing sugar if desired.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Peach and Walnut Chutney


If you like a fruit chutney and you can get your hands on some peaches, I have the recipe for you! The recipe is for Peach and Walnut Chutney, and comes from The Veg Space.

I love this chutney - thick and fruity and savoury, with nice texture from the walnuts.  It is so good - I wish I’d made a larger batch.

This chutney is good spread on bread with meat and salad, and would make an excellent accompaniment to roasts or in sauces.


 If you would like to make this chutney, you will need (for a full batch):

6 onions, finely chopped
14 peaches 
Zest of 2 lemons
720ml cider or white wine vinegar
700g sugar
175g chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger

First, skin the peaches by putting a cross in the top and bottom of the skin of each peach, covering the peaches with boiling water for a minute, then draining the peaches and pulling off the skins.  Remove the stone from the peaches by cutting each one in half down the middle and twisting out the stone (or cutting it out for clingstone peaches).

Roughly chop the peaches, and place them into a large saucepan with all of the other ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down and allow the mixture to simmer, stirring regularly to stop it from burning onto the base of the pan, for around 90 minutes or until the mixture is thick and jammy. The mixture stinks a bit because of the vinegar, and it is a bit of a time investment, but the end result is worth it.

While the chutney is simmering, sterilise 5 or so jars by either boiling the jars and lids in a pot of boiling water for ~20 minutes and drying them out in the oven, or running the jars through the hot cycle on the dishwasher.

Spoon the cooked chutney into the jars until nearly full  and seal immediately.  I find that turning the sealed jars upside down for a few minutes helps to create an airtight seal (you will hear the button on the lid pop in when the seal has been created). Allow the chutney to cool completely in the jars before storing in a dark cool place.

Leave the chutney to mature in the jars for 4 weeks before opening.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

TWD - Matcha-White Chocolate Mads

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Matcha-White Chocolate Mini Mads. I made full size madeleines as that is the tin I have. I ended up with 12 mads and 2 “Aberffraw cakes”.

The mads reliably got their trademark hump in the oven:



 The lovely green colour from the matcha made these especially pretty madeleines. I couldn’t really taste the white chocolate or the lime zest, but that’s ok.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Caramilk Chocolate Chip Cookies


 

Cadbury Caramilk chocolate has been all the rage since it was resurrected a year or so ago.  You can now buy Caramilk baking chips, and to promote them, the local Woolies catalogue featured a recipe for Caramilk Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Caramilk is on the sweeter side, and these cookies are quite sweet when the Caramilk is combined with brown and white sugar.  They are sweet in a good way, but if you are not a sweet tooth, these are not likely to be your thing.

If you'd like to try out these cookies with the new Caramilk baking chips, you will need:

125g unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
130g Cadbury Caramilk baking chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and the lightly beaten egg, and beat to combine.

Sift over the flour and cornflour.  Beat together on low speed until just combined. Fold through the baking chips.

Roll tablespoons full of dough into balls and place on  2 lined baking sheets, leaving an inch between each ball. Place biscuits in the fridge  to chill for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Place the trays of biscuits in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden at the edges, rotating front to back and top to bottom at the midway point of baking time.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow them to cool on the trays.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Cassata


 Recently, it was my friend Vanda's birthday, and a group of us went to her place for a birthday feast.  Vanda's family are of Italian origin, so I wanted to make an Italian dessert.  For ages, I had wanted to make cassata.  Someone else was bringing a cake, so I decided to make the icecream version of cassata. For the uninitiated, cassata is an icecream dessert comprising three layers, one of which is chocolate, and one which is flavoured with candied fruits and nuts.



There are many different recipes for cassata, and the more traditional ones I suspect are those that contain ricotta and marscapone.  However, I chose a recipe by the Australian Womens Weekly, which uses only cream.  The recipe refers to using a round tin, but the photo accompanying the recipe features a loaf tin, so that is what I used.  The only adaptation that I had to make is to make the layers in reverse order.

I think it turned out beautifully, and Vanda loved it:


To make your own cassata, you will need:

Almond layer

2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup icing sugar
125ml pouring cream
1/2 teaspoon almond essence

Chocolate layer 

2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup icing sugar
125ml pouring cream
60g melted dark chocolate
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons water

Fruit layer

250ml pouring cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons red glace cherries, chopped finely
3-4 tablespoons candied fruit of your choice, finely chopped
(I used candied clementines, pear and figs)
30g roasted flaked almonds (I just used roasted chopped almonds) 

Line a loaf pan with cling wrap, as smoothly as possible.

For the fruit layer, beat the cream and vanilla extract together until firm peaks form.  In a small separate bowl, beat the egg white to soft peak stage, then gradually beat in the icing sugar.  Fold the egg whites into the cream, then fold through the fruit and nuts.

Spread the mixture into the bottom of the lined loaf tin and smooth the top.  Freeze until firm (~1-2 hours).

For the chocolate layer, beat the egg whites together until firm peaks form.  Gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream to soft peak stage, then fold the cream into the egg white mixture.  

In a cup, blend together the cocoa and water.  In a small bowl mix the melted chocolate and egg yolks together.  Stir the cocoa mixture through the chocolate mixture, then fold the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture.  Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the top of the fruit layer in the loaf tin, and freeze until firm (~ 1-2 hours).

For the almond layer, beat the egg whites together in a small bowl to firm peak stage, then beat in the sifted icing sugar.   Lightly beat the egg yolks and fold them through the egg whites.  

In a separate bowl, beat together the cream and almond essence until soft peaks form.  Fold the cream through the egg mixture, then spread the almond mixture over the top of the chocolate layer in the loaf pan and smooth the top.  Freeze the cassata for a further 1-2 hours until firm.

To serve, unmould the cassata, fruit side up, onto a serving platter, and carefully remove the cling film.  Cut into slices, and enjoy!
 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

TWD - Fennel-Orange Shortbread Wedges


Today's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Fennel-Orange Shortbread Wedges.  As the name suggests, these shortbread biscuits are flavoured with orange zest and ground fennel.

I made a half recipe to get eight wedges:


I am not a massive shortbread fan, but these biscuits were nice.  They won't be on my high rotation list, but if shortbread is your thing, then you may enjoy this fennel-orange flavour riff.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Bunny Cupcakes for Easter


 Happy Easter readers!  I hope that you are having a great day.

To celebrate, I made Bunny Cupcakes (down the rabbit hole).  The recipe comes from this week's Woolworths supermarket catalogue.


Instead of making marzipan bunny feet, I used white marshmallows, cut in half, and painted them with red food colouring.  These are really nice cupcakes.  There is no coconut in the cakes - the coconut is used strictly for decoration. 


To make your own Bunny Cupcakes, you will need:

Cakes

125g butter, softened
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup wheaten cornflour
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar

Icing and decorations

1 1/4 cup icing sugar
75g butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut
12 white marshmallows
red or pink food colouring

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake papers.  

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.  Add the whole egg and the vanilla and beat until combined.  Add a third of the sifted flours, and beat until just combined.  Add half the milk and beat until just combined.  Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, ending with flour.  

In a separate bowl, beat together the two egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Fold the egg whites gently into the batter with a rubber spatula.

Using an icecream scoop, divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake papers.  Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through when tested with a skewer.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and unmould them from the muffin tin onto a wire rack.  Allow them to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes are cool, make the icing - Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until pale and creamy.  Gradually beat in the icing sugar, then beat in the milk and vanilla.

Spread the buttercream over the top of the cupcakes, leaving a small hump of icing in the middle of each one to form the bunny tails.  Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the top of each cupcake.  Cut each marshmallow in half, and arrange the two halves of of a marshmallow on the top of a cupcake near the tail to form "feet".  Using a small paintbrush dipped in food colouring, paint on the bunny's paws, as shown.  

I also made Easter marshmallow rabbits again this year:


You can find the recipe here.  The recipe makes one large rabbit or 6 junior rabbits. 

Happy Easter to all!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Chocolate, Fig and Stout Cake


 Happy St Patrick’s Day! To celebrate, I had to make a chocolate stout cake.  I also received some fresh figs from a colleague, so I checked to see if I could find a recipe with chocolate and stout and figs - and boom! Whole Foods Market came up with the goods with this recipe. Packed with chocolate and fresh figs, and with a full bodied richness from the stout, this cake is a winner.


I wanted it to be a celebratory cake, so I made the full recipe, in the knowledge I’d be catching up with friends so I could share. Here’s a close up of the figs inside, which have been sautéed in butter before being added to the cake:



Tempted? To make this cake, you will need:

175g + 25g butter
2 cups stout
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups brown sugar
225g fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
1/8 teaspoon black pepper 
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups plain flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 10” springform pan and dust the insides with the 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.

In a medium sized saucepan, add the stout, 175g butter and 3/4 cup cocoa powder, and whisk over low heat until the butter melts. Add the sugar and whisk until dissolved.  Transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Melt the rest of the butter in a frypan over medium heat, and when it begins to sizzle, add the figs and season with salt and pepper. Cook the figs until they soften and begin to release their juices. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the figs to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cloves. In a jug, whisk together the eggs and vanilla.

Whisking continuously, mix the egg mixture slowly into the cooled cocoa mixture. Fold in the flour mixture, then fold through the chocolate chips.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, arrange the figs on top, then top with the rest of the batter.

Bake the cake in the oven  for 50 minutes to an hour, or until cooked through.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the outer ring, and allow the cake to cool completely on thr pan base.

Before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. Slice and serve.

Do you celebrate St Patricks Day? What will you be doing?




Tuesday, March 16, 2021

TWD - Mrs Corbitt’s Pecan Cake Fingers

 


This week’s Tuesday With Dorie recipe is Mrs Corbitt’s Cake Fingers. It’s hard to describe these - kind of a meringue cookie with browned butter icing.

I thought I’d really like these, but they were a tad too sweet for me. I took Steph’s tip and thinned the icing with water rather than pressing it onto the cookies. I also iced the cookies before cutting them to save time.

To see what everyone else made and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.


Friday, March 5, 2021

Champagne Cupcakes - La Boheme Inspired


In you, I see the dreams that I have always longed for!
 Rudolfo, La Boheme

My Pilates instructor is soon to be married (their third date after previous cancellations) - I have my fingers crossed that it will go ahead smoothly.  I thought their forthcoming wedding would be the perfect occasion for me to finally make the Champagne Cupcakes from the La Boheme episode of Cupcake Wars. I have wanted to make these cupcakes for ages, and I was so pleased to finally have an occasion to do so.


These cupcakes are made by an unusual method, where all of the ingredients are placed into a mixing bowl at once and beaten together. I wasn’t sure how this would turn out, but the resulting cakes were light and airy:


For the icing, I made the champagne buttercream from Sally’s Baking Addiction, which is flavoured with reduced champagne, rather than the Italian buttercream featured in the original recipe (I am not a fan of Italian buttercream).

I decorated the cakes with pink glittery fondant hearts - I think they are so pretty:


 If you would like to try your hand at making these cupcakes, you will need:

4cups plain flour 
3 cups white sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking Skoda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups milk
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup champagne
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 egg whites 
(makes 24 cupcakes)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line two x 12 hole muffin tins with paper cases.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking sofa and salt. Add the milk, shortening, champagne and vanilla and beat in a stand mixer on low speed until just combined, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the egg whites and beat for a further 2 minutes.

Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly between the papercases and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove the cakes from the oven and unmoved onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

180ml champagne
230g butter
4 cups icing sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
Pinch of salt


Reduce the champagne over low heat in a small saucepan until it is reduced to 1/4 cup. Cool.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and creamy. Beat in the icing sugar on low speed, a cup at a time. Beat in 3 tablespoons of the reduced champagne, the vanilla and the salt.

Pipe frosting on top of the cupcakes and decorate as desired.