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

 

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

 

Cheesecake Strawberries

The perfect two bite dessert, if you can stop at one that is!

2 punnets large strawberries

1 block Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 scotch finger biscuits (or other plain sweet biscuits) crushed

Wash and dry the strawberries. Remove the tops and make a small hole in the top for the cheesecake to go in. In a mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth then add the icing sugar and vanilla and combine until smooth. Taste the cheesecake to see if you want it any sweeter. Using a teaspoon, push the cheesecake filling into the top of the strawberries and smooth over the top. You can use a piping bag for this but I found a spoon easier. Press the top of the cheesecake into the biscuit crumbs and then they are ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining strawberries. If not serving immediately cover tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. 

I have been wanting to make these for a long time now. After reading lots of recipes, I just decided to combine what I though would be the best combination. This is beautiful, nice and sweet and the crumbs on top make it seem like the perfect cheesecake . I made 2 half batches one Thursday night and one Saturday night, both equally delicious. Somehow between Daniel and I we managed to eat the whole half batch each night, so don’t be under any impression that you can just have one and then put the rest in the fridge, because you can’t they are just way too delicious! 

This is just one of those recipes that you must must must try and because it is so quick it is perfect for weeknights. Enjoy!

Love Sonia

Chocolate Mud Cake

One of my favourites and an almost fail proof recipe. Chocolate mud cake. If you don’t already have a go to recipe then this one is for you!

250g chocolate (125g dark chocolate and 125g milk chocolate)
250g butter
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules/powder
188ml (3/4 cup) water
325g (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) plain flour
30g (1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
550g (2 1/2 cups) caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons (40ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk

Ganache
150g milk chocolate
150g dark chocolate
84ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (not fan-forced). Grease the side and base of a deep 23cm or 24cm  round cake pan. Line base and side of the pan with non-stick baking paper, extending the paper a few centimeters above the top rim of the pan. Place 250g chocolate, butter, coffee and water in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate and butter have melted, remove mixture from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm/room temperature. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a very large bowl. Add the caster sugar to the bowl with the flour mixture, and stir the ingredients together until well combined. In a medium bowl, place eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk the wet ingredients together until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg and flour mixture in a three batches, stirring until combined after each addition. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (24cm pan) or 1 hour and 30 minutes (23cm pan). Insert a thin-bladed knife or wooden skewer into the centre of the cake to test whether it is cooked through. If the knife/skewer comes out clean or with moist crumbs (not gooey batter) attached, the cake is ready. Remove cake from oven, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to cool in the pan. When the cake has cooled to room temperature, remove it from the pan. Place chocolate and cream in a medium heavy-based saucepan over very low heat. Stir frequently, and remove from heat when chocolate has just melted and mixture is smooth. If necessary, allow the ganache to cool slightly at room temperature to obtain a spreadable consistency. Spread over cake and store in an airtight container in the fridge, serve at room temperature.

Worth every minute of the never ending hour and a half of cooking time. Whatever you do, don’t do what I did and whack this in the oven at 9pm. At 10.30 you’ll be wondering if it is all worth it. It is the next day once it is cooled and iced but when bed is calling it never seems like the best idea! I first made this cake for my little brother’s 18th a couple of years ago. It was demolished in one sitting by my family although I am still convinced the staff at the restaurant had some too!  I made it again this year because he came to visit.

The perfect mix of milk and dark chocolate in both the cake and the icing, this is not a cake for anyone who is easily embarrassed about buying junk food at the supermarket. Tucked under my arm was 4 blocks of chocolate, cream, butter, sugar, eggs and buttermilk. Thank god for self serve these days! The batter is really easy to make, just make sure you line the cake tin well and the baking is easy too. Don’t’ use a 20cm tin thinking it will be ok, because it wont, it needs the extra room or a 23cm or 24cm tin. This cake in a 23cm tin ends up about 10cm high. Test this cake carefully with a skewer after about 50 minutes. The cake will most likely still be really wobbly but it may need turning depending on your oven. I allowed the cake to cool in the tin for about 3 hours before I put it in a container. Joys of picking up younger siblings from night clubs hey! You don’t want it to be steamy when you put it in the container, you want to keep as much of the moisture in as possible.

There is nothing hard about this cake apart from waiting until the designated eating time! The icing is delicious, it covers the cake like a silky chocolate cape. The recipe calls for a lot of ganache but it isn’t wasted in any way, because the cake is so tall a lot of icing is needed to cover the whole cake, and the tiny amount that is left over will find a nice new home in your tummy! This cake can be left plain like I did or covered in strawberries or any other kind of berry. Covered in chocolate curls or drizzled chocolate would work well and so would something crunchy like a nut crumble. I served this with ice cream the first time and with ice cream and tinned mandarins the second time, the mandarins really help to cut through the richness of the cake. Daniel decided the cake is best warmed for 20 seconds in the microwave and served with custard. I took some to work and it was well received there too.

If you have a birthday coming up for someone who just loves chocolate cake then give this a go. Decadent, delicious and oh so naughty.

Love Sonia

Carrot Cake

Yet another beautiful Donna Hay recipe that I just had to share with you. Made especially for Trish’s birthday this beautiful cake is sure to be a winner at your house.

1 ¼ cups brown sugar

¾ cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 ½ cups plain flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarb soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 ½ cups grated carrot (about 5 carrots)

60g chopped pecans

½ cup sultanas

Frosting: 250g cream cheese, softened. 1/3 cup icing sugar, 1 ½tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 large lemon).

Preheat oven to 180’C. Place the sugar and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs gradually and beat well. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, cinnamon and ginger over the sugar mixture. Add the carrot, pecans and sultanas and mix until just combined. Pour into a greased 20cm round cake tin greased and lined with baking paper. Bake for 55- 60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in tin.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese in a mixer or process in a food processor until smooth. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice and beat/process until smooth. Spread over cooled cake. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

I like to try different cakes for birthdays, as dangerous as it is, with the possibility of ruining someone’s birthday cake, it is such an amazing feeing when you cut into it and it looks and smells amazing. This one was no exception, having never made this cake before I was a bit wary, especially because it was going to make a trek to Sydney in the back of the car to an awaiting table full of people who had been promised cake. Things didn’t go to plan when I walked around to the back of the car and my beautifully decorated cake was now some kind of psychedelic mess. Never the less we trundled inside to an awaiting table of people. After a beautiful roast dinner it was time for the moment of truth. Cutting the cake. Not scary for most people, but scary for me seeing as I had never made this cake before, the decorations had already run and I was terrified that the colours may have run inside the cake. I held my breath as Trish served up the first slice and as she turned the bowl around,perfect! Just the right amount of icing, soft moist cake with a smattering of sultanas and pecans. I couldn’t have asked for a better result!

This cake is relatively easy provided that you have about 2 hours to make it. With all the carrot peeling and grating, chopping up pecans, measuring and mixing this isn’t a quick cake to make. But for a birthday or special occasion it is worth every minute. The icing is delicious as with most cream cheese icings, it goes perfectly with the cake and with them both combined it has just the right level of sweetness. If you are looking for a good Saturday afternoon cake, this one is for you. I have to warn you though, the batter doesn’t taste very nice and there is no really amazing smell that comes from the oven during baking. Don’t let this phase you, it saves up all the flavour for the final product!

I decorated the cake with fondant flowers that I coloured in 5 bright colours, unfortunately the colours ran into the icing and after about 6 hours the fondant started melting too. It still tasted beautiful, it just wasn’t as pretty as I had first hoped it would be. Next time I will use dried fondant flowers in the hope that the colours won’t make a 70’s style cake! If you have a few hours free this weekend or just a love for a brilliant carrot cake give this ago, I promise you, you will never use another carrot cake recipe!

Love Sonia

 

Blueberry Friand Slice

Not your typical slice, but just as enjoyable. Blueberries with a softcakey base, just beautiful for morning or afternoon tea.

1 ¼ cups icing sugar mixture

½ cup plain flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup almond meal

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (1 lemon)

150g margarine, melted, cooled

4 egg whites, lightly whisked

150g frozen blueberries

Icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 160’C. Grease and line a 16cm x 26cm slice pan,allowing a 2cm over hang on the long sides. Sift sugar, flour and baking powdertogether in a large bowl. Stir in almond meal, and lemon zest, Make a well inthe centre, add margarine and egg whites. Stir until just combined. Pour into aprepared pan, sprinkle with blueberries. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewercomes out clean. Stand for 10 minutes. Lift out and cool on a wire rack. Cutinto pieces, dust with icing sugar and serve. Store in an airtight containerfor up to 5 days.

Wanting to make a slice for a bit of a change I trawled the internetand came up with this little beauty. Not exactly what I was looking for but wowwas it tasty. Easy enough to whip up on a weeknight to take to work for morningtea or for lunchboxes this slice is sure to please everyone, even those whopretend not to like blueberries. You can use fresh blueberries but as they areabout $10 a punnet in winter frozen ones do the trick, just pop them instraight out of the packet.

There is nothing difficult about this recipe and most of the things Ialready had at home. I just needed almond meal and a lemon. My favourite kindof baking is creating something new and exciting, not to mention delicious withthings that I already have, I find recipes that have 12 ingredients Idon’t have a bit of a turn off to be frank, I like to think I have a verywell stocked pantry, and if I don’t have it, it can’t be that good.This recipe is also good for people who don’t have a mixer or theirs hasblown up just at the wrong time, just a bowl and a spoon are required to bakethis yummy, impressive slice.

Everyone at work was impressed with how moist and tasty this slice was, even after a couple of days, (once it had retired to the place that all cakes and treats go in our house, the coffee table) it remained beautifully, sweet, soft and delicious. I can whole heartedly recommend making this, (Grandad I’m looking at you, you can make it for Gran while she is out of action) no matter what your baking skill level is, this one is easy enough for first timers and holds enough satisfaction of a perfect result for a seasoned baker.

Love Sonia