Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Delicious lemony cookies with savoury poppy seeds and an ultra tangy lemon curd filling. The perfect celebration prize for scrumptiousanddelicious reaching 5000 views. Congratulations to Rebecca Carpenter for winning a dozen of these yummy cookies.

 

Lemon Curd

6 tbs fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)

2 tbs butter

1 tbs finely grated lemon zest

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbs corn flour

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

 

Cookies

1 cup butter (225g), softened

1 cup icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 ¼ cups plain flour

1 tbs poppy seeds

 

For the curd, heat the lemon juice, butter and zest in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and set aside. Whisk the sugar, cornflour and salt together in a bowl, add the egg and yolk, whisk until smooth. Gradually add the warm butter lemon mixture, being sure to whisk consistently. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the lemon curd is thick and bubbling. Stir often to prevent scorching. Tranfer the curd to a bowl and press a piece of glad wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold.

 

For the cookies, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour and the poppy seeds until just incorporated. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls, being sure they are smooth and free of cracks. Arrange balls on a tray lined with baking paper, spaced 2 inches apart. Make a deep indentation with your index finger or the stick end of a wooden spoon. Bake in a 180’C oven for 12-14 minutes. Let cookies cool for a few minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Fill a zip lock bag with the lemon curd and cut a corner off to make a piping bag. Pipe a small amount of curd into each cookie. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or 2 weeks in the fridge.

 

 

This recipe is from Crystal’s Fantastic Fixin’s a food blog with all sorts of recipes on it. This recipe makes about 30 cookies, the curd recipe makes more than double what you need but you can keep it in the fridge and use the left overs for something else. I used the end of a wooden spoon to make the indents because I wanted them a consistent size and I knew using a finger would be too unreliable. The holes to rise up a fair bit during baking so make sure that the holes are deep to start with. These cookies are really easy to make and you get such a lot of cookies for not too much work. I let the cookies harden in containers over night before I added the curd to prevent too much of it soaking into the cookie. If you prefer softer cookies by all means fill them once they have cooled.

 

I used a zip lock bag to pipe mainly out of laziness, I couldn’t be bothered washing up all the bits that go with using a piping bag so a snipped off zip lock bag is the perfect disposable substitute. These cookies would be quite nice with orange curd as well, just substitute orange juice and zest for the lemon. The curd I made was very tart, I would assume it was the lemons I bought on the day but if you don’t like tart lemon try the curd before you thicken it because you might need to add a little more sugar or some water to make it a little less tangy. If you don’t like poppy seeds all that much I would recommend reducing the amount you use because these cookies have a large content of poppy seeds.

 

I loved these cookies and so did my competition winner. If you have some spare time this weekend why not give them a go while lemons are in season.

 

Love Sonia

Chocolate Walnut Cookies

I baked these for Debbie to take to a dog show along with the Peaches and Cream cake I posted last week. A recipe from Julia the runner up in this years Masterchef.

From the October Masterchef Magazine these cookies are super naughty and super yummy.

 

60g rolled oats, roughly chopped

150g walnuts

125g unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

110g caster sugar

110g brown sugar

1 egg

1 ½ tbs milk

250g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

250g dark chocolate chips

200g dark chocolate

 

Preheat oven to 180’C. Spread oats and walnuts evenly over 2 separate oven trays. Bake oats for 5 minutes and walnuts for 6 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool sightly, then roughly chop walnuts. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, vanilla and sugars on high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well combined. Add oats, walnuts and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Roll tablespoons of mixture into 36 balls and place 2cm apart on lined trays, bake, swapping trays halfway though for 12 minutes o until golden and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, place dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir for 5 minutes or until melted. Dip a cookie half way into melted chocolate. Gently tap cookie on edge of bowl to remove excess, then place on a sheet of baking paper. Repeat with remaining cookies. Set aside for 30 minutes to set. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

These cookies grabbed Daniel’s attention first while I was doing the first flick through of the October Masterchef Magazine, over my shoulder I heard “they look tasty”. I Flagged the page and continued reading. I promised I would make the cookies one day soon. When I offered to make something for Debbie to take to the dog show I thought I better make 2 things because cakes never last long enough. These cookies were perfect and even though she didn’t take them to the show, her house guests enjoyed them immensely. I got 42 cookies from this mix, slightly more than the recipe stated.

 

1 dozen were gifted to my Dad to share with his employees, 1 dozen stayed with Daniel and I and we shared them at work and the remaining cookies, (minus the “testers”) went to Debbie. These cookies have a nice firm texture and the real chocolate melted on the outside melts deliciously quickly adding a lovely mouthfeel to the cookie. Daniel doesn’t normally eat walnuts but he loved these cookies, so for those of you that don’t like walnuts I urge you to give them a go anyway. There was nothing too difficult about theses cookies, I found the hardest part to be finding enough bench space to cool and set chocolate for 42 cookies. Thank goodness we have stools that are large enough to hold cooling racks!

 

These cookies make an excellent give away treat because you can give away 2 dozen and still have more than enough to eat yourself. Perfect for around Christmas time, you could even jazz them up with some Christmas coloured sprinkles or something. At the end of dipping the cookies the melted chocolate will get a bit to shallow for dipping, you can then spoon the chocolate on to half or all the cookie or do what I did and just use a spoon to dribble chocolate over the remaining cookies, these are the ones we kept for ourselves and I certainly didn’t mind!

 

Love Sonia

 

Eliza’s Baby Biscuits

Reaching 5000 views on my blog was a huge milestone for me, I had hoped to reach 5000 by the end of the year but to reach it in September was amazing. To celebrate I gave away a dozen cookies via my facebook page and the lucky winner was Bec, who also has a gorgeous little munchkin that too loves cookies. Because Eliza is so little she can’t have sugar yet so I was set the task of some sugar free cookies for her. This what I came up with.

1 cup plain flour

85g unsalted butter, softened

2 tbsp apple sauce

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

 

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a large bowl cream butter until smooth, sift in flour and spices and mix to combine, add the apple sauce 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough is soft and a rollable texture. Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until just turning golden around the edges and firm to the touch. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

This recipe was challenging for me to say the least, sugar is in basically everything I cook. If not straight up sugar, a variant like honey, glucose or sweetened condensed milk. Tasting the dough and even the baked cookies I wasn’t sure it was edible for even a baby but turns out when you don’t have a severe sweet tooth like I have, they are delicious. By all reports Eliza loved her butterfly biscuits and I am glad she did as this will give me a good base recipe to use in the future.

If you like me have a sweet tooth but want to make these cookies with a twist you could use honey instead of the apple sauce or even some sugar replacement. If you are a dried fruit fan you could try some dried cranberries or raisins to naturally sweeten the biscuits up. Why not give this recipe a go for the little people in your lives.

 

Love Sonia

White Chocolate Mud Cake

Sometimes we save recipes for certain occasions and sometimes we save them for certain people. This one I have been saving all year for my Dad. This recipe is from exclusively food and works amazingly every time. Iced with a golf theme, this cake was the all round perfect cake for my Dad.

300g white chocolate Cadbury Dream white chocolate
200g butter
250ml (1 cup) milk
165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g (2/3 cup) self-raising flour
150g (1 cup) plain flour

 Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (145 degrees Celsius fan-forced). Grease a 20cm square cake pan and line the base and sides of the pan with baking paper. Place chocolate, butter, milk and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when chocolate and butter have melted, and stir mixture until completely smooth. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs to chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Stir flours together in a large bowl. Add one cup of chocolate mixture to the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms. Repeat with another cup of the chocolate mixture Add remaining chocolate mixture and stir until mixture is smooth. This gradual method of combining the wet and dry ingredients helps prevent lumps. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. When the cake is ready, a fine-bladed knife inserted into the centre of the cake should come out without any batter attached. Loosely cover cake with greaseproof paper or a clean tea towel and allow it to cool to room temperature in pan. 8. The cooled cake can be iced with the white chocolate ganache immediately, or stored and then iced on the day of serving. Store cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. The cake is suitable to freeze iced or uniced.

 

Sour Cream and White Chocolate Ganache
200g white chocolate
88g sour cream

Melt white chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring frequently. When chocolate has completely melted, remove from heat and quickly stir in sour cream. Use immediately, or if your ganache is quite runny, set it aside at room temperature to thicken slightly before using

 

Classic Vanilla Buttercream

225g unsalted butter, softened

3-4 cups pure icing sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Food colouring if desired

2-3 tablespoons milk

Cream the butter in a mixer for 3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add 3 cups of icing sugar and beat on lowest speed until combined, add vanilla extract and 1-2 tablespoons milk and colouring if desired. Beat until smooth and glossy. Add extra icing sugar if a stiffer consistency is needed likewise add milk if a runnier mix is needed. Spread or pipe as desired.

 

This cake is one of my favourites, I have made it for Daniel’s family a couple of times before and they like it as much as I do. It isn’t an all the time cake thought because of the amount of naughty ingredients and time consuming cooling period. This cake takes about 3 hours to cool before you can ice it. I have found 6” cakes to be easier to gift for birthdays as they look prettier decorated and is just the right amount of cake for a couple of people. I reduced this recipe by a third to make it fit the 6” tin. Even in a 6” tin it still took an hour to bake. Then 3 hours in the tin cooling.

 

I had decided a long time ago that I was going to make Dad a golf themed cake for his birthday this year, the one I had in mind was a lot more elaborate than this one but I think for a days work this one hit the mark. To make the grass I coloured the icing with 10 drops of regular green food colouring and about ½ a teaspoon of mint green gel food colouring, this made for a bright green colour. I purchased a Wilton #233 piping nozzle which is designed for grass and flower centre piping. Once fitted to a multix disposable piping bag ( I don’t use fancy bags when using colour in case it stains) I was ready to go, I filled the bag with icing and then used the remaining icing to coat the cake with a smooth layer of green to work on. Patchy in some parts and a little thick in some to cover little dents. I used a palette knife to spread the icing and then the long edge to smooth the icing for the “green”. Once the cake was covered I set to work with my piping bag. Piping the edges of the “green first so I got the shape I was after then filling in the rest of the top of the cake. I then started from the bottom of the cake and worked my way up to the top of the cake piping all the way around. I had to stop twice to re-chill the bag as the icing was melting due to the heat of my hands. I made a golf ball out of white fondant and pricked it all over with a toothpick to create dimples. The golf flag was a tooth pick with a flag made out of a left over envelope. In total the icing took about an hour, so not a task for the non committal.

 

The cake was beautiful as always, soft, fudgy crumb with a luscious white chocolate flavour. If gets better as time goes on and is at its best on the third day. It is best eaten at room temperature. The sour cream ganache recipe is the specified icing for this cake and is divine. The sour cream cuts through the sweetness of the white chocolate and makes an incredibly moreish icing.

If you or someone in your family loves white chocolate, please try this cake, don’t let baking and cooling time put you off, just bake it in the morning and finish it in the afternoon. The perfect cake for birthdays, parties or weddings. Check out exclusively food for size variations of this cake and make it to suit you. Apologies for the lack of photos, sometimes I really just want to bake without stopping every 30 seconds to take photos, this was one of those days.

Happy Birthday Dad!

 

Love Sonia

 

Peaches and Cream Cake

I loved the sound of this cake as soon as I saw it. I can’t verify the flavour but have been told on multiple accounts that it is to die for.

 

1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup cream

¾ cup caster sugar

410g tinned sliced peaches, drained and chopped

100g flaked almonds

 

Preheat oven to 180’C. Grease and line a 23 cm cake tin. In a large bowl combine sugar and flour. In a mixing jug or small bowl combine eggs, cream and vanilla and beat to combine. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir gently until combined. Fold through chopped peaches and pour into lined tin. Sprinkle top with flaked almonds. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

The smell of this cake baking is enough to make you want to bake it again and again. The praise received by its recipient’s makes you want to bake it for yourself so you can find out what all the fuss is about! I baked this for my step-mum Debbie to take to a dog show over the long weekend, thinking it would do for morning tea over a couple of days, little did I know that the cake was so tasty that word spread and it was finished before afternoon tea on the first day. Luckily I baked a few biscuits to go with it so no one went hungry.

 

This cake was super easy and I am considering re making it with some raspberries thrown in for good measure. After all the compliments I would really like to know how good it really is! I love cakes that are as easy as this, no butter, no creaming, no waiting, just whack it all together and bake. The hardest part was finding the ingredients in the supermarket as apparently inCanberra it is the done thing to move the aisles around every few weeks or so!

 

I can only give you a description of the cake as per the taste testers description. A soft middle with an almost custardy texture around the peach filling with a crispy almondy top. With many a comment of “it’s to die for and sensational” I would suggest this one is a winner. Those luckily enough to live in Canberra, why not try it out this next long weekend!

 

Love Sonia

 

Lemon Glaze Cookies

The perfect bite sized lemony goodness your week needs!

 

2 ¼ cups plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

1 cup icing sugar

5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

 

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, mix until smooth. On low speed add the flour mixture and blend until just incorporated. Drop tablespoon sized balls onto the baking sheet about 5cm apart, gently flatten with your hand. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until biscuits are just set and slightly golden. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks to completely cool. Once they are cool make the glaze. In a medium bowl whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice . Dip each cookie top into the glaze. Let cookies set until icing has set. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Makes approx 30 cookies.

 

From the blog Handle the Heat, this girl has amazing recipes, one day I’ll get around to trying more of them! I have my heart set on a raspberry lemonade slice she has on there, keep your eyes peeled once it gets a bit warmer. I made these biscuits at the start of August but never got around to writing about them. I took some to Sydney for Daniel’s family and we took some on our short holiday to the south coast. Their amazing lemony flavour is just so refreshing and tangy it’s hard to stop at just one. The biscuit is amazingly soft and just melts in your mouth and the icing rounds it out so perfectly.

 

I had no issues with these biscuits, just don’t make them last thing at night because you really do need to let the icing set before packing them away, I had to put pieces of greaseproof paper between them to stack them because as usual I was baking at 10.30 at night. It doesn’t harm the cookies, just results in a flattened cracked look on the icing, not as pretty as they should be.

 

I loved these, Daniel loved these and his family did too so I am sure that your family will love these just as much as all of us. Give them a try next time you have some lemons that need using up, you’ll be glad you did.

 

Love Sonia

 

Coca-Cola Cupcakes

I know it sounds weird but they are amazing. From my favourite book, Nigella’s How to be a domestic goddess, these cupcakes can be made into a whole cake instead and either way it is an incredible chocolate cake unlike anything you have ever tasted before!

1 1/3 cups plain flour

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

½ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1/3 cup coca-cola or coke zero

Icing

1 ½ cups icing sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons coca-cola

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 180’C and put a baking sheet into the oven. Place 12 cupcake lines into a 12 hole cupcake tin. Have some spare in case you need more. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring jug. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and coca-cola, heating gently. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well, then add the liquid ingredients, beating until everything is well blended. Pour into the cupcake liner to about 2/3 full. I got 18 from this mix. Place tray on top of the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, they are cooked when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Immediately make the icing to pour over the cupcakes. Sift the icing sugar  and set aside. In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine butter, cocoa and coca-cola and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Spoon in the icing sugar beating as you do so, until you’ve got a good spreadable but running icing. Pour over each cupcake while they are still warm. Before the icing sets hard stud the top of each cupcake with a walnut or coke bottle lolly.

I have been afraid of this recipe since I received this book for Christmas last year. Something about adding soft drink to a cake didn’t sit quite right with me. As I am not a straight coke drinker I substituted coke zero for the regular coke and it worked out perfectly. I rack my brains every time a special friend’s birthday comes around trying to come up with the perfect cake for that person. This year for Daniel’s best friend Jono I was really struggling. I had planned on baking apple pie spring rolls but they required immediate eating so were a no go. After half a day of magazine flicking, flagging, digging and corner folding I resorted to Nigella giving me the cake I was after. This cake, although listed in the children’s section is very much a decadent adult worthy cupcake.

The faint hint of coke and the soft dense crumb of this chocolate cake make it impossible to stop at one. This recipe made 18. One was eaten before it was even iced, to test that they were cooked of course! I took 11 to Jono for his birthday, enough for dessert and one each for him and his girlfriend for morning tea the next day and the remaining 6 were ours to eat and share. They were even better the next day and I gave 2 to people at work to try.

There was nothing difficult about this recipe, I had them baked and iced in the time that it took Daniel to go to the car wash and back. Easy enough to take to a morning tea or afternoon tea and make the same day. They are scrumptious enough for dessert or just as a midday treat. I used silver wrappers but brown or red would work equally as well. The coke bottle lollies can be hard to get a hold of in supermarkets but most if not all lolly stores have them and I managed to pick up a packet of about 50 for $2. Big W also have them but in a much larger packet. I wouldn’t recommend trying this recipe with diet coke but if anyone is game enough to try let me know!

I would make these again any day, maybe the whole cake next time!

 

Love Sonia

White Rose Chocolate Cake

So naughty it will have you eating bits of icing that you swear fell off the side of the cake. Adapted from Australian Good Taste Magazine September 2012. This impressive cake is both beautiful to look at and delicious to eat! A fitting farewell to a colleague.

 

200g dark chocolate, melted

Chocolate sponge cake

6 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 cup caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 cup self raising flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

White chocolate icing

5 egg whites

1 ¼ cups caster sugar

500g butter, room temperature, chopped

300g Cadbury Dream white chocolate, melted, cooled slightly

 

Preheat oven to 180’. Spray a round 7.5cm-deep, 20cm cake pan with canola oil. Line the base and sides with baking paper. To make the chocolate sponge, use an electric beater to beat eggs, egg yolks and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes  or until thick and pale. Combine flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl, sift one-third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture. Use a large metal spoon to fold until just combined. Repeat in 2 batches with the remaining flour mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes to cool. Turn out onto a wire rack.

Meanwhile, to make the white chocolate icing, use a wooden spoon to stir the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a large bowl. Use an electric beater to beat on high for 5 minutes or until soft peaks have formed and the meringue mixture has cooled slightly. Add the butter, one piece at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is thick and creamy (it may look curdled). Beat in the chocolate until the icing is glossy. Use a large serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into 4 layers (I only did 3). Place one cake layer cut side up on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread with icing. On the next piece spread 1/3 to ½ of the melted dark chocolate over the layer and place the chocolate side down on top of the first layer. Continue layering with icing and the chocolate until all layers are used. Spread half the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. Chill for 30 minutes or until the icing is firm. Spoon the remaining icing into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted nozzle. To pipe a rose, pipe from the centre outwards in a spiral pattern. Continue piping rosed in 2 rows over the side and top of the cake to cover completely. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until the icing is firm.

A massive recipe for a massive cake that required a massive effort. Not the ideal weeknight cake, more of an all Saturday cake but when an impressive cake is required on a weeknight I am never one to shy away. I did have Daniel questioning my intentions as 10pm approached and I still hadn’t iced the outside of the cake. I did however complete it and get a reasonable amount of sleep. When I saw this cake on the cover of good taste I immediately dismissed it, thinking it would be way too difficult but after a little reading into the recipe I deemed it doable.

This cake was a farewell celebration cake for our colleague Bernadette who has just started a new path in her life and has moved out west to Wagga Wagga. Having always been cranky with me for making such sugary and moreish treats to bring to work I figured, what the hell, a cake with 500g of butter in the icing is a perfect send off!

I loved this cake and would recommend you to make it this spring. The issues I had with this cake were, only being able to get 3 layers from the sponge, I had Daniel cut it for me because as anyone who knows me well knows I have very poor hand eye coordination and this extends to cutting in a straight line horizontally through a cake. The 3 layers still looked beautiful and really I’m not sure I would have had enough icing to do another layer. That was the other main issue, running out of icing. I’m not sure where I went wrong but I defiantly didn’t have enough icing to put flowers all over the cake. I did one single row around the side and some on the top. It would be nice to have it magazine perfect but hey, I did the best I could in the time I had. Flowers or no flowers this cake was delicious! I also think it would be amazing with vanilla sponge, but that’s just me, I prefer everything in vanilla!

Sorry about my lack of posts lately, Daniel and I have been on a bit of a health kick, hence the lack of baking, but don’t worry, everything I make will be up here and as the festive season approaches you will be overcome with the recipes I have for you!

 

Love Sonia x

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Another Nigella masterpiece that makes me look like a domestic goddess. Chocolaty, sweet and delicious, what more could you want from a birthday cake?

 

200g plain flour

200g caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarb soda

40g cocoa powder ( I use Dutch processed)

175g unsalted butter

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

150ml sour cream

 

Preheat oven to 180’C, butter and line two 20cm cake tins. Combine flour, baking powder, bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream in a food processor or electric mixer and mix until you have a thick smooth batter. Divide batter between the 2 tins and bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean, this should take between 25 and 35 minutes. Remove the cakes, cool for 10 minutes in their tins, then turn out onto wire racks.

 

75g unsalted butter

175g chocolate ( I used half milk, half dark)

300g icing sugar

1 tablespoon glucose syrup

125ml sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler, cool a little and add the glucose syrup, followed by the sour cream and vanilla, when this is all combine sift in the icing sugar and whisk together. The icing would be thick, creamy and glossy. Using your serving plate, make a square out of 4 strips of baking paper and place one of the cakes on top. Spoon a third of the icing on top of the cake and spread over the surface of the cake. Sit the other cake on top and press down lightly to sandwich together. Spoon another third of the icing on top of the cake, and swirl. Spread the sides of the cake with the remaining icing  and leave for a minute until slightly set. Carefully remove paper strips to reveal the clean plate. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

I made this cake for Daniel’s middle brother Justin. I had promised him a cake and chocolate was the request. I looked through my piles of magazines, nothing struck me as worthy, but flicking through my Nigella book, I found it, the cake that would be perfect! 2 chocolate cake layers sandwiched with incredible chocolate icing then covered with more icing, Amazing! I am not normally a fan of chocolate cake, I love chocolate and anything made with chocolate but I am not a fan of things with a chocolate flavour, there has to be real chocolate. This icing does the trick, it combines a relatively basic chocolate cake with a light creamy real chocolate flavour and makes this an impressive cake.

I made this cake in Sydney and took all the things I needed with me, as Daniel hauled it in to the car he was asking if I needed it all, but if I was to create magic away from my own kitchen then I still needed my own things! The cake worked beautifully, it was easy enough to make, I needed Daniel’s help at one point to help combine the chocolate to the rest of the mix because I was making a mess but otherwise it was trouble free. The combination of chocolate and sour cream is a match made in heaven, I have known for a while it works beautifully with white chocolate but had never considered putting it with milk and dark chocolate but I think it will become one of my new favourite combinations!

There was nothing really tricky about this cake, anyone could make it if they had the patience. It does help to have 2 20cm pans but if you had to you could bake one cake and then the other, I just don’t know what would happen to the batter in that time. Nigella describes this cake as having an almost packet cake appeal, perfect to look at, perfect flavour, the recipe is called sour cream chocolate cake and also old fashioned chocolate cake and claims it is the only chocolate cake her daughter will eat. If it’s good enough for Nigella’s family then it is good enough for mine!

Enjoy this cake, guilt free, cut a slab, pull it apart, eat each layer or all mixed together but enjoy it what ever you do because the next chocolate cake you eat will disappoint after this one!

 

Love Sonia

Banana Cake

What do you make for someone that love banana bread, that suits a small tin, and says it’s your birthday, lets eat cake? Banana cake! With cream cheese icing of course!

 

125g butter

330g sugar

280g very ripe banana, mashed

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

100ml buttermilk

225g SR flour

½ teaspoon bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 160’C. Grease sides and base of a 22cm round cake pan. Line with baking paper. Place butter, sugar, banana, vanilla and eggs in a food processor or bowl of mixer. Process/mix for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, add butter milk and combine. Sift flour and bicarb soda together in a large bowl. Add flour mixture to batter mixture and mix to combine. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

 

90g cream cheese, softened

45g butter, softened

210g icing sugar

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sifter icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add lemon juice and beat to combine. Spread icing over top and sides of cooled cake. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days.

 

I have very little to say about this cake, super simple to make. However I haven’t tasted it but I am assured it is beautiful. I made this in a 6 inch tin which my Grandma sent me down from up north, I had been unable to find one in little old Canberra and she found one in an even smaller country town. Needless to say it needed testing out and what better excuse than my lovely step-mum’s birthday. It is hard to divert from chocolate cakes for birthdays because everyone loves them, but knowing how much Debbie likes banana cake/bread made this an easy choice. I halved all the ingredients for the cake and cooked it for about 45 minutes in the 6 inch pan, it worked perfectly. I made the whole lot of icing which was a little too much but I would rather have too much than a gap in the side!

I decorated the cake with pink paw prints made from fondant. I rolled out the fondant and cut it with little circular cutters and left them to dry over night. The cake I also left out covered by a large bowl so that the icing could “dry”, hoping to avoid the kaleidoscope that was Daniel’s mum’s cake earlier this year. It worked! The paw prints pushed neatly into the icing and stayed put without leaking colour everywhere.

I am sorry for having no comments on flavour, texture, moistness but I hope this thank you makes up for it!

“THANK YOU so much for the yummy cake – it was delicious and that icing was to ‘die for’!  I brought the rest of it for morning tea and everyone here loved it! YUMMMMMM”

If you want to impress someone this much I suggest this banana cake, give it a go, maybe even for Father’s Day this weekend.

Love Sonia