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Classics with a twist: Chocolate Hazelnut cake

25 Aug

I have always been a person who has experimented with personal style. Not always very successfully but I have tried. I remember when much younger I went through a phase of refusing to wear matching socks. We are not talking laziness about finding two matching socks, because heaven knows my socks were always paired rolled and in the appropriate drawer…thanks Mutti. No I carefully matched, mismatching socks to my outfit. I assume this came from some American TV show and I adopted it in an attempt to be different and cool. I clearly failed to understand that cool in child world means fitting in.

As I went through my early teen years I adopted a more refined grunge look. Accessories formed a large part of this particular look. Long layered skirts and dresses with asymmetric hats and doc martens. Of course puberty put an end too this experimentation. It is truly disappointing to realise that floating hippie dresses don’t mix well with boobs and bums 😦 However in all of this experimenting I continue to claim I had a tendency towards trying to add a classic component to any current fashion trend. I now understand that no matter how much I marvel at some girl’s ability to look positively gorgeous in rolled up boyfriend jeans with high heels and a imitation Chanel jacket. I will simply look like a deranged escapee from the Salvation Army store. So I stick with classics with a twist of colour or pattern.

Chocolate hazelnut cake

This cake to me is the perfect mix of a classic rejigged. ‘How passe!’ you exclaim flourless chocolate cake..it has all been done before. Yes indeed it has…. and this version may not be entirely cutting edge, but it is a classic flourless cake with the twist of hazelnut meal. In the same way that mismatched socks represented my attempt at being fashion forward in my youth, I will happily have my current tastes defined by this cake. Classic, decadent and a little boozy and so is the cake 😉

Chocolate and Hazelnut cake

Serves 8

adapted from Donna Hay recipe for Chocolate and Pecan cake featured in Issue 69 Donna Hay Magazine

  • 350 gms dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
  • 150 gms unsalted butter cubed
  • 6 eggs seperated
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 2/3 cups of hazelnut meal
  • 1 tsp of vanilla paste
  • 1 cup if brown sugar
  • cocoa for dusting

1. Preheat an oven to 160 degrees. Line and grease a 22 cm spring formed tin

2. Break the chocolate into a bowl with the butter and place into a microwave on 80% power at 40 second intervals until melted.

3. Beat egg yolks vanilla and 1/2 cup of sugar for 1 minute and then add brandy, chocolate/butter mix and the hazelnut meal mixing until it is all combined. Put this chocolate hazelnut mixture aside

4. Beat the egg whites in a seperate bowl adding the remaining sugar one tablespoon at a time.

5. Add 1 half of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate hazelnut mix beating in with a wooden spoon to loosen the chocolate mixture and then fold in  the second half of the beaten egg whites.

6. Pour the stiff mixture into the tin and then bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes 10 1 hour and 25 minutes or until the top is crisp the sides have come away for the edge. there will still be a slight wobbly in the middle  when you shake the pan.

7. Allow the cake to cool in the time before removing. (i did not do this and ended up with a crack in my cake. What can i say i am impatient)

P1020084

8. Serve with berries and cream

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Cake Castle: Strawberry and Lemon Yoghurt Cake

25 Sep

King Kong: ‘Wow did you make this?’

Me: ‘Yes of course’

A Castle of cake

King Kong peers into the cake box again ‘Wow how did you make it into that shape, that’s amazing’

Me…stifled laughter ‘Its called a cake tin’ 🙂

I love how baking a cake in a bundt pan, in fact baking in general can make you appear like an alchemist of flour and butter, even if it is not the most difficult of recipes.

Strawberries are in abundant supply at the moment and this seemed like a great way to showcase them. This cake is a lovely moist cake and I received more than the usual number of compliments even days after, so I am guessing this cake is not merely for cake lovers.

What is your favourite way to showcase strawberries?

Strawberry and Lemon Yoghurt Cake

adapted from Strawberry Yoghurt Cake

Serves 12

  • 225 gms of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda and
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 200 gms of natural greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 250 gms of strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Grease and flour a bundt tin thoroughly.
3. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
4. Add the lemon juice and zest and then add the eggs one at a time waiting between eggs until combined
5. Alternate adding the flour and yoghurt in 3 parts, then add in the milk at the end and mix to combine
6. Bake the cake in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until the cake is springy to the touch and the skewer comes out clean
7. Allow the cake to cool in the tine for 10-15 mins and then remove carefully on to a rack to cook

Fathers Day Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting

3 Sep

My Dad used to play basketball before we were born. We have pictures of him on the basketball court, in his tiny basketball shorts circa 1975. My Dad is also an absolute wind up merchant and stirrer. When we were kids Dad had the usual stories about walking 10 miles in the snow every day to school, a distance that seemed to increase by a mile every time he told the story, but he also had some special stories. One of his favourites was the story about when he used to play for the Boston Celtics. My brother loved the story about how Dad used to shoot hoops with Larry Bird. In a child’s head the details of the story were unimportant. In fact it seemed completely plausible after all we knew he played basketball we had seen the photos. Mum used to tell us how he was called ‘legs 11’ because that was his number and he used to live in another country. As far as we were concerned he was the font of basketball knowledge and a sporting genius.

One day we were playing at Rachel’s house and my brother proudly told her father how his Dad used to play for the Boston Celtics. Rachel’s father scoffed let out a chuckle and told my brother he didn’t think that was true. The amused expression on his face told me that clearly there was some adult knowledge here I wasn’t privy too and so instead of supporting my brothers proud boast, I kept quiet. My brother being younger and less perceptive insisted it was true and that Dad had played with Larry Bird. This claim was met with absolute laughter and by then I started hissing at my brother to stop talking. Once again his lack of perception intervened in his reasoning abilities and he continued to argue passionately with Rachel’s father, retorting the ultimate in all argument clinchers ‘he did too!’

This Father’s Day I tried to combine my Dad’s favourite flavours into one special cake to celebrate a man who could tell his children absolute whoppers straight faced and unflinchingly 🙂 The cake recipe I used suggests using a bundt pan, I however opted for a two layered cake. I paired it with the caramel bourbon frosting which was extremely yummy, even for someone like me who isn’t a great fan of caramel. The Bourbon cuts right through any sickly sweetness and makes the cake decidedly grown up. If you are concerned that the cake will taste like Guinness, don’t be. It simply adds depth and character.

Did your father tell you outlandish stories about his past lives?

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting

Adapted from  Smitten Kitchen and Creative Culinary

Serves 8 – 10

Cake

  • 1 cup of Guinness
  • 250 gms of unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of Plain Flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp if bi carb of soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup of sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. Grease 2 20cm cake tins with butter and line the bases

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powders and salt in a large bowl and put aside

4. Place butter and guiness in a pan and allow the butter to melt, then add cocoa powder and whisk to combine

5. Allow the chocolate mix to cool

6. Beat eggs and sour cream together and then slowly add the slightly cooled chocolate Guinness mixture. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until combined

7. Pour half the batter into each tin and then bake in the oven for 20 – 25 mins or until skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake is springy to the touch

9. Allow cake to cool completely before icing

Caramel Bourbon Frosting

  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 8 tbsp of butter
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk
  • 3 tbsp of bourbon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Whisk the bourbon into the cream and set aside

2. Combine the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and place of medium heat. Bring to the boil shaking the pan occasionally, I find it better that you don’t stir or whisk it.

3. Once the mixture turns a caramel amber colour and then take of the heat.

4. Add 6 tbsp of butter. Be careful the butter will cause the mixture to bubble and froth. Whisk in the butter until it is melted.

5. Once the butter has melted, slowly pour the cream mixture into the caramel mixture. Once again the mixture will bubble considerably. Place the mixture on a low heat again and then mix until completely combined.

6. Put caramel in a fridge until it is cool and firmer

7. Once the caramel is cooled cream together the 2 tbsp of butter and caramel.

8. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time, alternating with 1 tbsp of milk and continue to beat until smooth.

9. Place the frosting in the fridge until it is firm enough to easily spread on the cake.

10. Place one of the cakes domed side down on the serving plate. Top with some of the frosting and then sandwich the other cake on top. Use more of the frosting to spread on the tops and the sides of the cake.

Sunshine on a Plate: Orange, Almond and Honey Syrup Cake

15 Aug

Sunshine is something occurring in a patchy fashion in Sydney at the moment and even when it does occur, the weather is still so cold that you require a few layers to brave it. Despite my love for accessorising with hats and scarves, I find the whole experience of winter depressing. Citrus reminds me of sunshine and warmth and although I tend towards lemons, my favourite of all citrus I decided to make a cake with orange. The cake was very buttery, moist and slightly aromatic.

I stumbled upon a Lemon and Honey Syrup cake recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine Australia and flagged it for later baking. That was months ago. I played with the original recipe slightly because I wanted a denser cake redolent with spices.  With juice and rind added, the cake was filled with orange flavour and just a hint or aromatics. When you pierce the cake to see if it’s cooked you may be concerned because the skewer will have a small amount of sticky batter on it, not much, but this cake won’t pass the clean skewer test. In addition the cake seemed to have quite a few small bubbles or popped bubbles at the top. Once again this is not at all an issue given that it the cake will later have syrup poured on it. This cake keeps extremely well in a tin. 4 days later it was still moist and sticky

The cake was too good!

The first night Miss Wallflower and I had 2 warm slices of cake after dinner, it was so moreish. The following day we also had two slices although spread out during the day so as not to appear gluttonous, we are ladies with bird like appetites after all 😉 The copious cake consumption accounts for the lack of cake left in this photo.we had really hoed in and I was lucky to get a photo at all!

Are you controlled when there is cake in the house?

 Orange, Almond and Honey Syrup Cake

Serves 8

Adapted from Australian BBC Good Food Magazine August 2011

  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of grated orange rind
  • 1/2 tbsp of Orange Juice
  • 1 cup of greek style natural yoghurt
  • 250 gms of unsalted butter, chopped small and very soft
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 heaped tsp of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp Grated orange rind
  • 1 tbsp of orange juice.

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a loose bottomed round cake tin

2. Sift flours into a large bowl and add sugar, baking powder, spices and orange rind

3. In a seperate bowls stir together the eggs and yoghurt

4. Add the butter and 1/2 tbsp of orange juice to the flours and stir with a large spoon until starting to combine then add the egg and yoghurt mixture. Mix until well combined. There may still be some slightly unmixed portions of butter. As long as they are small and infrequent don’t worry about them.

5. Pour batter into a tin and bake for 50 mins to 1 hour or until set and the top of the cake is firm to the touch.

6. Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 mins. While still warm but cool enough to touch the pan remove the cake  from the pan leaving the base of the pan on the bottom of the cake. Place the cake on a cooling rack.

7. You can now make the syrup

8. Heat 1/2 cup of honey with juice and rind in a pot until starting to thicken.

9. Skewer the cake all over and then pour over the syrup slowly while both the syrup and the cake are still warm.

10. Serve cake warm or cold.

A Slice of Dense Citrus heaven

Living Dolls and Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

10 Jul

I don’t know if anyone else remembers a doll that came out years and years ago that reveled its gender only after purchase, kind of imitating the real life gender surprise at birth. I recall when I was small that they sat on the shelves beckoning me every time I went into a department store and I begged Mutti for one. I had never had anything but girl dolls before but I desperately wanted one of these dolls, it came with a dissolvable package that revealed the birth certificate and gender of your baby. I of course was adamant that despite the dolls androgynous features I could pick the girl dolls and I remember Mutti trying to reason with me that I may get a boy doll and I couldn’t give it back. After some careful consideration…..maybe a whole day of thought….. I decided I could indeed cope if I got a boy doll, although I was still sure I would get a little girl. Some time later mum let me pick a doll, I got it home dissolved the little package and it revealed I had a bouncing baby boy! I was horrified 😦 I refused to pick him up or play with him at first and I think I might even have cried.  I came to love him, I named him after an uncle, but I never felt the same fondness.

Aren’t they pretty!

 

A new little girl was introduced into the world a couple of weeks ago and I am completely ecstatic. I won’t lie, I basically jumped around after I heard the news and told people I had a living doll to dress, before promptly going out and buying clothes for her. I love the little men that my friends have so kindly brought into the world so I can practice my car sounds and force cuddles on them, but there is just something so exciting about a little girl. Little girls open a whole new world of sugar and spice and all things nice 🙂

In honour of the new little princess I made a slice which I thought was appropriately girlie and completely delicious. I also figured it would give poor mum some sweet treats to keep up her energy or bribe her toddler (or husband) with.

They are no greater work than a usual brownie. The only amendment I made to the original recipe was to make a double batch and use a different shade of food colouring. They are by far the most moist and moreish brownie I have ever made and they didn’t last long.

Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Brownie

adapted (only slightly) from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

 

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 110 gms of dark chocolate
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp of rose pink colouring
  • 1 1/2 cup of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Cream Cheese Topping

  • 450 gms of cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees

2. Grease an aluminium roasting tray, line if you are using a non disposable baking tray

3. Microwave the butter and chocolate in a bowl until melted and combined

4. In a seperate bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and pink food colouring.

Prior to adding chocolate the mixture is bright pink

5. Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine

6. Add flour and salt and stir to combine completely

7. Pour into baking dish. Bang the dish a couple of time on the bench top to release any bubbles

8. Beat together the ingredients for the topping until smooth and then layer on top of the brownie and using a knife swirl the topping in with the brownie mixture.

9. Bake for 40 mins or until sides are slightly crisp but centre is just set. Leave to completely cool before cutting

 

Childs play: Creme egg crispies

19 Jun

Have you ever been at a kids party, seen their food and wished you were sitting at the children’s table. I have, I have also been known to wait until they have become distracted by a new plaything and then help myself to their food while no one is watching. You say desperate and sad…. I say clever 😉

It is not simply that the food is in miniature, I admit I have a slightly odd fascination with miniature clothes, cookware and food. But it is also that kids food brings back memories of halcyon days stuffing my face with tasty and fuss free foods, completely unaware of food fads or fat contents.

One of those things that I absolutely loved as a child was the chocolate crackle. While I was making the recipe below Miss Meat and I reminisced about chocolate crackles and she commented how her father still loves them. I suggested  that they should still be served at adult parties, which got me thinking I might need to do a kids themed cocktail party because a chocolate crackle can only be improved by partaking  in a Bosom Caresser at the same time.

In saying that children’s food is simple and fuss free, I did fool around with the concept of a chocolate crackle in making the recipe below. In my defence it was motivated by a desire to get rid of some things left in my fridge, namely a bag of mini crème eggs. But I think it stays true to the spirit.

What’s your favourite kids food?

Crème Egg Crispies

Makes 20 mini crispies.

  • 230 gms of Cadburys mini crème easter eggs
  • 60 gms of copha
  • 60 gms unsalted butter
  • 50 grams of dark chocolate
  • 2 cups of corn flakes.

1. Heat the copha and butter in a pan over medium heat until melted and then add the crème eggs. You will need to keep an eye on the chocolate and stir occasionally until the eggs are completely melted.

2. Add the dark chocolate and stir until melted and combined with the crème egg mixture.

3. Turn off the heat and add the 2 cups of cornflakes and stir cornflakes through the chocolate mixture.

5. Spoon teaspoons of the mixture into patty cases. I used mini ones but you can use bigger muffin patty cases and chill until hard.

6. Serve to those who take delight in children’s party food.

Box of childish delight

Planning and Procrastination: Raspberry Lemon and White Chocolate Slice

30 May

I am in the final year of my Masters degree in Law and despite the fact that I have only had 1 subject to do this semester I have absolutely no motivation. In the beginning my motivation for doing my Masters was all about creating opportunities in case I ever wanted to seize the moment. I have never been a great planner of things in life, I never planned to be a lawyer and although I have dabbled in creating 5 year plans in my early twenties, a 5 day meal plan is about the best I can manage now. However when I know something needs to be done I unexpectedly become an excellent planner, I go about radically setting new goals and finding new motivation. I suddenly gather the focus and determination  to spend 2 hours googling lipstick colours while in my pj’s. A potentially crucial step on the path to my new goal of being an expert at retro make up techniques….. True none of this is may lead to a distinction on my criminology essay, but maybe I will find that elusive plum lipstick that you can wear from day to night. Lets be honest isn’t that an equally noble goal 🙂

Knowing that in good conscience I can’t leave the house because I should be chained to my laptop writing another 1000 words on the challenges of the adversarial system (yawn),  I try and find distractions within the home and at some point even I know I have to be cut off from my new googling addiction. So I bake.

I found this Recipe for Blueberry and Lemon Brownies a while ago on Strawberry Ginger, a blog I nominated for the Kreativ blogger award. Having undertaken to really hammer out some of my essay and then go to the shop for the blueberries the recipe required,  I then threw myself into 2 hours of research……this time on platform shoes…..so I never made it to the shops. Instead I improvised and thereby altered the recipe slightly using what I could find within my house. The alterations are as follows

  • frozen raspberries (not thawed),
  • doubled the zest content ( I like a lot of lemon)
  • white chocolate chips added to the mixture instead of creating a drizzle (just pure laziness on my part)

This was a really nice slice and I will make it again but probably double the quantities because too much of a good thing is never enough. Miss Meat had seconds every time she had a piece because apparently she felt it wasn’t so overpoweringly sweet that it required self restraint.

At least i have something to show for my web surfing!

How do you procrastinate? Are you a planner?

Self Awareness and M&M Cookies

6 May

Recently I have been going through a little stage of hating people. My faith in them has been seriously undermined by a combination of being exposed to the worst qualities in people in both my work and my social life. It doesn’t happen that often, but a few incidents of poor behaviour in a row and a wealth of stewing on and analysing disappointments can really put me in a mood. So here goes the rant….

People just seem to be prepared to have no self awareness.  Let’s be honest no one wants to admit that they can behave badly, but recently I have become increasingly frustrated at people who run away from their mistakes or minimise their involvement. I sometimes feel that this complete unwillingness to be brutally honest with ourselves means that people can engage in some hurtful and often self harming behaviour. We learn nothing and gain nothing when we ignore our failings. We all make mistakes and bad choices, we respond in humanly flawed ways to challenges and humiliations, I think it is how we deal with them that is the measure of who we are and who we will become…. Deep breath….

When I get into my hating people funk I like to spend time with children. I can’t have any expectation that a small child will have any self awareness and empathy, I can’t feel betrayed when they hug me and tell me 5 mins later they don’t like me and I know that all I have to do to win a smile is present them with a cookie. If only everything was so simple. I have to admit these cookies were crunchier than I would have liked but they were still tasty, maybe a little less cooking time would have rendered them more chewy. I also used M&M’s instead of Smarties. Chocolate freckles would be good too.

I brought the cookies along with me for my play date and they did elicit a smile and that smile plus some cuddles went some way to rebuilding my trust in people, plus they look like such happy cookies, how can a world filled with cookies be bad? In the meantime I have to keep practicing acceptance and repeating the mantra the dude abides…the dude abides

M&M Cookies

Very slightly adapted

 

Happiness in a biscuit


 

Do you ever have difficulty accepting things as they are?

 

Indulging for Easter: Black Forest Trifle

2 May

When I was a kid, Mutti and I while shopping would sometimes stop for Kaffe and Kuchen. I loved being able to go up to the cake display and with my nose pressed to the glass look at all of the sweet offerings and decide what I would have.

I absolutely love chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, but I am not obsessed with mud cake like so many chocoholics I know, unless it is for breakfast where it seems to possess an all together different appeal……..rather like McDonalds at 2 am after a night out drinking 😉 So Black forest cake was often my pick. The slight sourness of the cherries against chocolate sponge and cream were just heavenly.

This Easter after weeks of almost no sugar in my daily diet thanks to my new health kick, I decided to go all out and make a heavenly trifle based on black forest cake I so fondly consumed as a child. There is certainly no shortage of chocolate in this recipe which seemed only fitting for celebrating the day where I can eat chocolate with guilt free glee.

Black Forest Trifle

I won’t lie, this particular version is not exactly a slap dash type of trifle. But I have taken some short cuts which hopefully will make you more inclined to make it. I used cherry brandy because despite Dads best efforts Kirsch could not be found. The cherry liqueur serves to add an echo of cherry flavour to all layers of the trifle and gives it extra depth. The chocolate cake recipe I have used is by no obligatory it just happens to be a quick one bowl wonder and is not so rich as to be over powering, but you can use your favourite chocolate sponge recipe.

I have  used the mousse recipe so many times it doesn’t bear thinking about. I usually use brandy, but in keeping with the cherry theme substituted cherry brandy. Don’t be scared that it will add some strong alcoholic component to the mousse. It really doesn’t but rather enhances the flavour of the chocolate.

While I knew all the components of this trifle were delicious by themselves, I had no idea if placed together they would really work the way I hoped. But I promise that this will not disappoint. Even Dad licked the bowl!

Black Forest Trifle

Serves 6-8

Chocolate Sponge

by Miranda Sharp in Epicure Chocolate

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup of self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Chocolate Mousse

adapted from ABC Online

  • 300 mil cream
  • 30 gms of sugar
  • 130 gms of dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs, seperated
  • 2 tsp of Cherry Brandy

Remaining Layers

  • Jar of morello cherries
  • 300 mls Whipped cream
  • Vanilla pod
  • Store bought sponge cake
  • Cherry jam

Make the chocolate cake as instructed below;

1. Melt butter and combine with remaining ingredients. Pour into 20 cm cake tin and bake for 20 mins.

2. Once cooled and removed from the tin wrap in cling film and place in the freezer for approximately 30 mins before using. This will make it easier to cut in half.

Make the mousse as instructed below;

1. Whip cream with sugar until soft peaks

2. Melt chocolate in microwave on short bursts. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly and then add brandy, egg yolks and whip until smooth and thickened

3. Fold cream into the chocolate mixture

4. Whip egg whites until soft peaks and then fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, you can be quite cavalier with how you combine this 1st 1/3 of the egg whites. Add the egg white and chocolate mixture to the remaining 2/3rds of the egg whites folding gently until just combined.

5. Chill.

Next prepare the cherries

1. Drain cherries, put the cherries aside and place the syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Add 2 tbsp of cherry brandy and reduce the syrup until reduce by half and sticky. Take off the heat and put cherries into the mixture and leave to macerate. The cherry mixture must be completely cooled before using.

Slices are similar heights.

3. Slice vanilla sponge cake in half lengthwise.

4. Slice chocolate sponge in half lengthwise

5.  Slice 1 slice of vanilla sponge on the bottom of trifle bowl. Spread with cherry jam top with 1 slice of chocolate sponge.

6. Top the chocolate sponge with half the cherry mix and spoon over half the syrup.

7. Repeat process until all the sponge, cherries and syrup are used up.

8. Top with Chocolate mousse

9. Whip cream with vanilla seed from 1 vanilla pod and spread on top of trifle.

10. Top with chocolate shavings.

 

Sweets for my Sweet: Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes with Pink Frosting

12 Feb

I know a lot of people despise Valentine’s Day as some commercial beat up, requiring you to buy overpriced, poorly thought out presents for your significant other. But I have to admit that I kind of like Valentine’s Day.

When I was a kid my dad always bought my mum a big bunch of flowers and I always got a single red rose in a plastic tube. I loved it! 🙂 I felt so grown up. Mutti also used to buy us kids little chocolates for Valentine’s Day. So for me, Valentines Day was never something people did only for a romantic partner, but rather just a day where you exploited the opportunity to show the people in your life you loved them.

Now I am a person who loves a reason to do something special and create a little moment, be it Christmas, a birthday or a job promotion, there is a little special moment that can be created in celebrating all of these things. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but why not celebrate the end of exams with apple pie and ice cream!

I can’t say that the men in my life have felt the same. A few days before Valentine’s Day the conversation usually goes like this.

Him “So do you like.. celebrate Valentine’s Day?’

Me “What do you mean celebrate?’

Him “You know.. do you like to do something special, specifically for Valentine’s Day?’

Me “I always like doing something special”

Now at this point you would have thought they would have just erred on the side of caution and organised something and stopped asking questions…particularly because they had consumed more than their portion of the end of exam pie, not that I am keeping track 😉 No their questions continue…

Him “I mean… like will I get in to trouble if I don’t do something? I don’t care so I won’t do anything unless you want me to’

Me “I don’t want you to do something that you don’t want to do, and you won’t get in to trouble. It is up to you”

Now I know this might sound annoyingly like I won’t give a straight answer, but what I have said is completely true. Valentine’s Day to me should not be some forced mushy fest where presents are begrudgingly bought because you have to. I like to take part in it because I can show people I care and have an excuse to eat sweets!

Sweet treats for those who sweeten your life!

I don’t like the tacky gifts that are for sale on Valentine’s Day, although I would love a bunch of lemon roses….anyone?! So I usually make something for loved ones. These cupcakes are the perfect sweet addition to any day.  They are beautiful to look at and I found some very  appropriate little candy hearts to top them with. Most importantly they are beautiful to eat. You would have to feel loved just consuming them.

Do you celebrate Valentines Day?

Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream Frosting

Makes 6-8

Cupcakes

Adapted from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies and other Tempting treats

  • 85 grams of unsalted butter
  • 85 grams of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 70 gms of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of bi carbonate
  • 1 tbsp of cocoa
  • Raspberry jam

1. Cream together sugar and butter and the vanilla extract, until fluffy

2. Add eggs one at a time allowing the first to be incorporated into the mixture before you add the second one.

3. Sift in flour, cocoa, bicarbonate and baking powder and mix to combine

4. Spoon mixture into the lined cupcake tray

5. Bake in oven for 20 mins or until skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake is springy to the touch

6. Allow to cool completely.

7. Then using a small serrated knife cut a small disc about 1-2 cm deep into the cupcake.

8. Fill with raspberry jam but be careful not to overfill as the cut out lid needs to be placed back on top.

Frosting

  • 200 gms of unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • 250 gms of icing mixture (or enough to get desired consistency and sweetness)
  • 2 drops of Rose pink food colouring

1. Cream together butter and milk until fluffy

2. Add colouring, add more if you want a more intense colour

3. Add sifted icing mixture and beat until combined.

4. Spread or pipe on top of cooled and jam filled cupcakes.

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