Sunday, 9 February 2014

Summer Cupcake…. Coconut and Lime Cupcakes

School has been back two weeks now. I forgot how exhausting it is! Our kids have been super but still adapting to changes of classes and new staff! I spent this weekend recuperating and by recuperating i mean baking! 

A perfect cupcake for summer! I messed up the recipe and forgot to add the sugar! Whoops! BUT it actually didn't need the sugar once you added the icing. So feel free to leave it out deliberately! 

Coconut and Lime Cupcakes
adapted from Making Cupcakes with Lola 

1 3/4 cup Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
grated zest of 1 lime and juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
110g melted butter
1 tsp honey 
1/3 cup caster sugar (or less)
3/4 cup Coconut Water
3/4 cup Milk (or coconut milk)
1 tsp coconut essence

Lime Buttercream:
120g Butter, softened
3 cups Icing Sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lime
juice of 1/2 lime
coconut flakes and slices of lime to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a muffin tin with cupcake patties. Sift the flour, powder and soda and in a large bowl. Add the desiccated coconut and zest. 

Put the melted butter, honey and sugar in a bowl and mix in the coconut water, juice, essence and milk. Add the dry ingredients and carefully mix together. Divide the mixture between the patty cases and bake in the oven for 20-25minutes or until risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Lime Buttercream
Beat the softened butter in an electric mixer. Gradually add icing sugar, lime juice and zest. Beat until fluffy. Spread over cupcakes with a knife. Sprinkle over coconut flakes and add half a slice of lime. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Hazelnut, Sweet Potato and Olive Oil Cake

I was looking for something a little bit more healthy to bake after all the Christmas and New Year Treats… We had some sweet potato sitting all lonely in vegetable crisper and rather than waste it i decided to cook it. It's taste is rather subtle within this cake, as is the hazelnut and olive oil. If you don't like the taste of olive oil try sunflower or vegetable oil instead. I choose to use olive oil because I like the distinctive taste and also the skin benefits of olive oil.

Hazelnut, Sweet Potato and Olive Oil Cake
Recipe adapted from

300g Sweet Potato Puree (2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
100g plain yoghurt
100g Olive Oil
zest of half an Orange
160g Plain Flour
40g Hazelnut Meal
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
30g Hazelnuts, chopped (for topping)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a loaf pan.

Peel and chop the sweet potato into small pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave to cook according to microwave settings. Alternatively, you can cook in boiling water until sweet potato is soft. Puree it in the food processor or mash it with a fork.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, hazelnut flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. In a separate bowl,  whisk the sweet potato puree, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, yoghurt, oil and orange zest.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. It will be a runny batter.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top of the cake. Cook for 30minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10minutes and then on a wire rack. Eat!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Blackberry, Almond and White Chocolate Cheesecake

Just another Cheesecake recipe. I have to share it mainly because it is an example that i am human and make mistakes! I actually didn't read the recipe correctly and baked the cheesecake in a tin that was too small which meant i burnt the top! So i saved it by cutting the top off it and literally pouring blackberry puree on top! Not to mention that my tin isn't sealing and the oil/butter from the base leaked out! What a fail! I plan to make it again once the silly seasons calms down in the right tin! Everyone ate this one so it couldn't have been that bad!

Blackberry, Almond and White Chocolate Cheesecake
adapted from Delicious Magazine December 2013

600g Blackberries
juice of 1 lime
1 cup Caster Sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
1/3 cup Blanched Almonds
250g Gingernut Biscuits
100g unsalted butter, melted
4 Eggs
500g Cream Cheese, at room temperature
250ml Sour Cream
150ml Thickened Cream
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Plain Flour
200g White Chocolate, melted

Preheat Oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base and sides of a 24cm round Springform cake tin with baking paper. Make sure the baking paper rises at least 2cm above the rim of the tin. 

Place half of the blackberries, i used frozen blackberries, in a small saucepan over medium heat with a lime juice and 2 tbsp caster sugar. Simmer, stirring, occasionally, for 10minutes or until fruit if softened. Pass the fruit through a sieve, pushing down on the solids with the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool completely.

Scatter almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8minutes or until golden. Whiz the almonds and ginger nut biscuits in the food processor or until the resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the melted butter and process until combined. Press into the base of the pan and chill for 30minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the the eggs, all the creams, vanilla, flour and 1 cup of the caster sugar with electric beater for 3-4minutes until smooth and thick. Add the chocolate and beat to combine.

Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan gently to remove any bubbles in the mixture. Pour the cooled blackberry puree over the top in a spiral, then using a skewer swirl it into the cheesecake batter.

Bake for 1 hour or until almost set in the centre. Turn oven off. Leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar, for 2 hours or until cooled completely. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight to set. 

Sprinkle over the blackberries or make a blackberry purred to serve.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Homemade Toasted Berry Granola

Another Homemade healthy gift for Christmas… or homemade day to day healthy breakfast…

I often post recipes for sweet treats that are not meant for the daily grind, more for the one off occasions, however every now and again i feel the need to post something with some form of nutritional value! 

Here is a recipe for Homemade Berry Granola. I put it into cute jars and put little labels on them and voila perfect (Healthy) little present! 

Homemade Toasted Berry Granola
Adapted for Delicious Magazine Dec 2013

Makes around 1.5kg and can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1month

1 cup Sultanas
1 cup Apple Juice
2 Cups of Rolled Oats
90g Pumpkin Seeds
80g (1/2 cup) Sunflower Seeds
150g (1 cup) Whole Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
120g (2/3 cup) Whole Almonds, roughly chopped
2/3 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
a pinch of salt
240g dried Cranberries (or 240g Dried Sour Cherries)
100g Dried Blueberries
1 cup Shaved Coconut, toasted
3/4 cup Quinoa Flakes
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup Mixed Black and White Chia Seeds

Milk, almond milk or yoghurt and fresh blueberries to serve

Place the sultanas in a bowl and cover with the apple juice. Soak for 2 hours to soften, then drain.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place the oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and almonds in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat well. Transfer the mixture to the lined baking tray. Spread evenly and bake for 35-40minutes until golden, stirring every 10minutes to avoid the mixture from burning. Allow to cool completely. 

Combine the sultanas, cranberries, dried blueberries, coconut, quinoa flakes, cinnamon, chia and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add the toasted nut mixture and stir to combine. Transfer into airtight containers.

Serve the milk/natural yoghurt and fresh berries. I personally prefer goats milk yoghurt or almond milk and fresh blueberries! Yummy and healthy!

The Recipe of 2013 - Homemade Snickers Bar

I love homemade gifts. They require thought and effort…sometimes lots of effort! They are also always delightfully received! In the past i have made jams truffles, homemade fudges and cookie jars but  for Christmas 2013 i took it to another level and made these homemade snickers bars. They taste just like the real thing - if not better. 

This recipe is simply divine. It takes a while and bit of effort but it's totally worth it in the end. When i saw the ingredient list i was skeptical and unsure. Especially the jar of marshmallow fluff. I had no idea you could even buy some of the ingredients in Australia! FYI marshmallow fluff can be found in the condiments aisle at Woolworths Supermarkets. 

These things are definitely not every day food items but at Christmas you can bend the rules! Of all the recipes i post, i really do recommend these if you are a snickers fan! Delicious! 

Homemade Snickers Bars
recipe sourced from

What You need and how to make it (layer by layer steps!):

You will need a 22cmx33cm pan (or roughly that) that has been greased and lined!

bottom chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
Thoroughly grease and line your baking pan. Melt the ingredients together in a saucepan or  in the microwave. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely in the fridge (especially when making them in the Sydney Summer heat!)
Nougat layer
60g unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat and fold in peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Let cool completely.
caramel layer
400g of  Jersey caramels (also sold in Woolworths) or caramels
1/4 cup thickened cream
Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth – this took about 10 minutes for me. Pour over nougat layer and let cool completely.
Top chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour over caramel and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, then cut as desired. These can stay at room temperature, but they do get gooey and will melt if serving them in the Australian summer heat! Best if kept in the refrigerator. Note: the caramel will run if you stack them on top of each other during storage.

Peach and Amaretto Cheesecake

I am always looking for a good summer dessert. I like to describe the seasons by the year by the smells and tastes that define them… summer to me is fresh, clean and fruity. The best thing, in my opinion, about summer is the fruit… berries, plums, cherries, nectarines, watermelon, apricots and peaches! I try my best to eat fruit and veg that are in season at the time. I relish the moment that the first australian berries start infiltrating the fruit and veg market! Yum! You should see me slowly eat my way through a punnet of fresh raspberries - little bursts of joy!

As i was saying… on the hunt for a good summer dessert I stumbled across a recipe that felt, looked, smelt and tasted like summer… and I had to share it!

This a beautiful baked cheesecake that is made with ricotta and mascarpone cheeses. It has a very delicate and soft taste thanks to the peach, vanilla bean and amaretto flavours. I made my amaretti biscuits from scratch, however, you can usually buy them at your local deli or specialist grocer. Similarly, vanilla bean paste should come in small little pots from your local supermarket. Amaretto can be purchased from your local liquor store.

Peach and Amaretto Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from 

4 white peaches, halved, stoned
1/2 cup caster sugar,
1/4 cup amaretto
100g amaretti biscuits (See Recipe here)
150g Arnott's Marie biscuits
150g unsalted butter
250g firm ricotta 
250g mascarpone
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla bean paste 
3 eggs

Roughly chop 2 peaches, then place in a saucepan with 2 tbs sugar, 1 tbs amaretto and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes or until peaches are soft. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving syrup. Transfer peaches to a second bowl and set aside to cool. Stir 1 tbs amaretto into syrup, then reserve syrup to serve.

Grease a 20cm springform cake pan, then line base and side with baking paper. Process all biscuits in a food processor to crumbs. Melt 125g butter, add to biscuit mixture, then stir to combine. Transfer mixture to prepared pan, then press over base and halfway up the side. Using a straight-edged glass, press side to form an even shell. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until biscuit shell is firm.

Preheat oven to 170°C. Process ricotta, mascarpone, lemon zest, vanilla and remaining 75g (1/3 cup) sugar in a food processor until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, processing until well combined after each addition. Add cooked peaches and remaining 1 tbs amaretto, and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into biscuit shell in pan. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until edge is set and centre moves just slightly when pan is shaken. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven with the door ajar for 2 hours or until cool enough to handle. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.

To serve, slice the remaining peaches and place on top of the cheesecake. Drizzle with reserved syrup. 

Friday, 6 December 2013

White Chocolate Mud Cake with a White Chocolate Ganache

This is a beautiful cake that tastes amazing and is so easy bake. I made it recently as one of the layers for an Engagement Cake. Its fairly rich so you don't want much! This ganache recipe is also beautiful and easy!  i have $45 worth of white chocolate ganache bought from the cake specialist store which i didn't end up using sitting in my cupboard as my own was a thousand times better!

This recipe is for a basic 20cm (or 6inch) round cake. For the bottom layer of the cake shown in the photo below i made 2x 20cm round cakes and joined them with ganache. You can adapt the recipe to make different size cake pans if you are making it for a special occasion! I also suggest to use a full based cake tin and not a springform. The mixture can be quite runny when you pour it into the tin (don't be alarmed it sets!) and it can leak from springform tins!

White Chocolate Mud Cake
(recipe adapted from Australian Women's Weekly)

165g Butter, chopped
100g White Chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups Caster Sugar
2/3 cups Milk
1 cup Plain Flour, sifted
1/3 cup Self Raising Flour, sifted
1-2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease and line base of 20cm round cake tin. Line the sides of the cake tin, leaving the paper extending 5cm above.

Next combine the butter, chocolate, sugar and the milk in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir until chocolate and butter have melted, sugar dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Transfer into a large mixing bowl. Cool for 15minutes.

Whisk in the sifted flours, vanilla and egg. Ensure that the mixture is smooth but do not over mix. Pour mixture into pan. Cook for 75minutes. Cover the cake with foil at the 45-50minute mark if the cake is over browning. The cake develops a thick sugary crust, which is perfectly fine.  Test with a skewer before removing from the oven.  Cool completely in the cake pan.

White Chocolate Ganache

360g White Chocolate, good quality
1/2 cup or 125ml Cream

You may wish to make the ganache while the cake is baking as it needs reasonable time to cool down. Break the white chocolate into small pieces and put into a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan on low-med heat. Remove from heat and pour over white chocolate. Mix until smooth. Bring to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator to cool completely and thicken. Leave the fridge for 30minutes (or even overnight). Once cooled, beat in the electric mixer until thick and fluffy. Spread over cake with a knife.