Category Archives: Cakes and baking

Walnut and date cake with Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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I made a birthday cake for a good friend of mine, she isn’t a chocolate person but loves caramel so my inspiration for the cake was finding something that went well with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

For the icing, I use this recipe by Made From Scratch http://madefromscratch.co.nz/banana-layer-cake-with-salted-caramel-buttercream/

The cake is altered from a recipe by The AWW

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Ingredients

125 gm butter softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1 cup plain flour

1 cup self raising flour

1 1/4 cups of plain yogurt

1/2 chopped dates

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, grease and line a 20 cm cake tin. Mix together the dates, walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together with a electric beater until fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in both flours and yogurt. Fold through the date mixture and pour into your line tin. Smooth the top.

Bake for about 1 hour, then cool in tin for 10 mins before turning out.

For this cake, I sliced it in half then spread a layer of caramel then caramel buttercream through the middle. I then iced it,and piped the top and finished with an extra drizzle of caramel. 

Chocolate and raspberry marshmallow slice

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I adapted a recipe from the NZ House and Garden magazine that was for Chocolate mint marshmallow slice. Here is my version.
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Ingredients
Base
250 gms (one packet) of super wine biscuits
2 tbsp cocoa powder
150 gms shredded coconut
300 gms melted butter

Filling
400 gms Marshmallows
250 gms dark chocolate drops
2/3’s cup milk
6 tsp gelatin
4 tbsp warm water
1/4 cup raspberry powder (plus more for dusting)
2 cups of cream lightly whipped

Method
Line the base of a slice tin (about 18cm x 28cm) with baking paper. Place biscuits, coconut and cocoa in a food processor and pulse until finely crushed. Add butter and mix well. Press into tin and chill.

Combine marshmallows, chocolate and milk in a medium saucepan and heat gently until melted and smooth.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over water and let swell for 5 minutes.

Stir gelatin and raspberry powder into marshmallow mixture until gelatin is dissolved. Cool 5-10 minutes until thickened then fold in whipped cream.

Pour mixture over base and chill at least 3 hours before slicing. Dust with more raspberry powder.

Almond and Chocolate puddings

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I am trying my best to have a healthy diet lately but some days nothing but chocolate will do. I looked for inspiration on the Desserts by Green Kitchen ap and amended the recipe from there. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free (if you don’t add the yogurt to serve) and refined sugar-free.
This recipe makes 6 ramekins or would work equally as well in muffin tins which you could then turn out on to a plate.

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Ingredients
250 mls nut milk (I used Almond)
4 tbsp nut butter (I used Almond, but you could use smooth peanut, or hazelnut)
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 tbsp honey or raw maple syrup
100 gms 70% cocoa chocolate
1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp cocoa powder (make sure it is gluten-free if you need it to be)
1 tsp cinnamon
Fresh berries to serve
Natural yogurt to serve

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees, grease your tins/ramekins if you want to be able to turn your pudding out, I didn’t worry about it.
Put the milk, butter & vanilla into a microwave bowl and heat for 1 minute, stir and heat for a further minute. The milk and butter should be well combined. Stir through the chocolate until melted and smooth and set aside.
Separate the eggs and beat the yolks with the honey until pale in colour. Set aside and whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Mix the almond meal, cocoa and cinnamon through the milk, butter and chocolate mix. Fold through the egg yolks then the egg whites.
Pour into the ramekins and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and dollop with yogurt (if using) and decorate with berries.

Ottolenghi Carrot Cake

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This recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi. He is an Israeli born chef living in the UK. His recipes are flavourful and delicious with a focus on real food and real ingredients.
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Ingredients
Ingredients, cake:
160g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
270g sugar
200g sunflower oil
1 egg
1 additional egg separated
1 extra egg white
50g walnuts, chopped
50g shredded coconut
135g carrot, grated

Icing
50gms icing sugar, sifted
70g unsalted butter (room temp)
One tub (250gms) cream cheese (room temp)
1 tbs maple syrup or honey

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line an 8inch (20cm) cake tin.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon & cloves in a bowl, & set aside.
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Beat together the sugar & oil until combined. Add in the egg & egg yolk & beat until completely mixed in. Pour in the flour & mix until combined, then add in the carrots, walnuts & coconut & mix until blended.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the eggs whites into the cake batter, 1/3 at a time. Pour the batter into the tin & bake for 1 hour, to 1 hour & 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean (it is ok if there are a few cake crumbs, just no wet batter)
Allow to cool on a wire rack completely before icing.
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Icing
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, Add the cream and maple syrup until well mixed and there are no lumps
Ice the cake, and decorate as you wish. I used dried apricots, walnuts and sunflower seeds but be creative.
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Banana cake with Caramel Swiss meringue buttercream

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I made this recipe last night for a work celebration (at my real job!) It is the cake on the left, with hazelnut brittle in the front

The Banana cake recipe comes from Little and Friday, and it is amazing. The link is attached here http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10795656 I then made Caramel Swiss meringue butter cream, and Hazelnut brittle to top.

The caramel buttercream came from this recipe by Call Me Cupcake. She is one of my favourite food bloggers, take a look through the rest of her posts! http://call-me-cupcake.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/banana-cupcakes-with-caramel-frosting.html
banana cake

Make the Caramel one day ahead to allow it to cool as otherwise it may split the buttercream.

Swiss Meringue buttercream
2 cups of sugar
500mls of cream
3 egg whites
120 grams sugar
135 grams butter, softened and chopped

Place the first measure of sugar in a small bowl, and add water until the sugar resembles wet sand. Bring to the boil but do not stir, brush down the sides with a pastry brush if any sugar starts to burn. Boil until the sugar has turned golden in colour, if the sugar is colouring at different rates you can swirl the pan (but don’t stir!)
In another small saucepan heat the cream to boiling. Remove both from heat and slowly pour the cream into the sugar while stirring. It will puff up so be careful. Beat until smooth and set aside.

When you are ready to make the Buttercream, pour the egg whites & sugar into a clean, heatproof stainless bowl (I use my mixer bowl if you have a metal one) and place over a double boiler on the stove. The water under the bowl should be simmering. Whisk the eggs and sugar constantly so that they don’t curdle, watch the temp as you don’t want scrambled eggs. Rub some of the mixture between your fingers to ensure the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from heat and whip until white, fluffy and cool. This could take up to 10 minutes. Start adding the chopped butter a few cubes at a time. If it looks like curdling keep whipping. If it cools too quickly pop it back on the heat. If it is too hot and the butter is melting rather than mixing pop it in the fridge. Once all the butter is added, slowly add 1 cup of the caramel you have made and mix well

Hazelnut brittle
1 cup of hazelnuts
1.5 cups of sugar
hazelnut

Place the hazelnuts into a tea towel and crush using a mallet (or your rolling pin) Place into a tray that is lined with baking paper or a silicon mat. Remove any loose skins.
Put the sugar into a small saucepan and add enough water to look like wet sand. Place on the stove and boil (as you would making the caramel above) Once the sugar has turned amber in colour, pour over the hazelnuts to ensure they are all coated. Leave overnight to set.

Mini Fruit Meringues

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These are a great idea as favours or little treats for dessert tables. I definitely recommend the Fresh As (http://fresh-as.com/) fruit powders as they add a beautiful natural flavour. Alternatively you could use different flavoured essence.

Ingredients
3 large egg whites
pinch of salt
100 gms caster sugar
100gms of icing sugar
3 flavours of fruit powder (I used Raspberry, Strawberry and Passionfruit as this is what I had a home), and 3 colours of gel food colouring.
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Method
Preheat the oven to 100 degrees
Ensure your mixing bowl is clean from dirt or grease (whip it out with vinegar to be sure) Place the egg whites in the blender with a pinch of salt and whisk until soft peaks form, slowly add the caster sugar until smooth stiff peaks form. Fold in the icing sugar, and split the mixture into 3 bowls. Sift in 1/4 cup of fruit flavouring into each bowl (one bowl for each flavour) and add a little gel colour. Fold until the fruit powder is mixed, and the desired colour is reached.
Pour each into a separate piping bag, and use different nozzles (or the same if you like) Pipe onto a lined baking tray
Bake the meringues in the preheated oven until dry (around 2-3 hours, or until you can take one off the tray without leaving a footprint)
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Banoffee Tartlets

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I cheated with these and used store bought pastry cases. Definitely easy (and still cost affective) if you only need a few. If you are making several, perhaps use your own sweet or chocolate short crust recipe.
Makes 12 (just double the ingredients if you need more)
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Ingredients
12 premade pastry cases
30 gms butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
20 gms of dark chocolate
1 tsp golden syrup
1 medium banana
Whipped cream to top

Method
Stir the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat until melted. Pour in condensed milk and continue to cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until it boils and thickens. Remove from heat stir in chocolate and syrup and mix until smooth.
Thinly slice the banana into 24 slices. Put one slice in each pastry case and then pour over the toffee mixture. Place in the fridge to cool. Top each case with another banana slice and pipe over whipped cream.
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Flourless Chocolate Cake

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This cake is great for anyone who requires a gluten free option. It is rich, fudgy and could be served warm with icecream or yogurt or the next day with a little whipped cream.
It does sink once it comes out of the oven but don’t panic, it just adds to the charm. You could always use the natural crust to fill with berries in summer or dust with icing sugar like I have.
Adapted from NZ House and Garden – Sweet

Ingredients
270 gms dark chocolate chips
150 gms butter
2 tsp of instant coffee (mixed with 1/4 cup hot water) or use 1/4 of your favourite Nespresso like I did.
3/4 caster sugar
1/4 dutch cocoa (ensure it is gluten free as not all cocoa is)
150 gms ground almond
5 eggs, separated
Icing sugar and/or powdered raspberries for dusting
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Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, grease and lin a springform tin.

Microwave the chocolate, butter, coffee and 1/2 cup of the sugar in the microwave on 30 sec intervals, stirring between each interval until melted. Mix in almonds and stir until smooth. Leave to cool.
Add the egg yolks to the cooled mixture and beat until mixed. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy and then slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beat until firm peaks. Mix 1/3 of the egg mixture into the batter until smooth, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
Pour into the tin and bake for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean (there may be some moist crumbs, just ensure there is no wet mixture)
Cool in the tin, then place on a plate and dust with icing sugar
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Berry Brownie Bites

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I made these for a baby shower as I wanted little cakes without doing standard cupcakes. I was craving the chewy texture of brownies (and if you leave out the raspberries and add walnuts and white chocolate chips to these brownies is my standard fail-safe recipe) so I thought I would jazz it up a bit and this is what we have.

I have to apologise that I didn’t note the recipe for the chocolate buttercream. From memory it had ganache (chocolate and cream melted together) butter, cream cheese, cocoa & icing sugar but perhaps google a recipe, Sorry!
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Ingredients
250 gms unsalted butter
125 dark chocolate chopped
2 cups caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup dutch cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of frozen raspberries
chocolate buttercream frosting for piping
1 cup of raspberry jam
raspberry powder for dusting

Method
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and lin an 18 x 28cm tin.
Heat the butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan until melted. Remove from heat and add the sugar. Stir until dissolved. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
Sift in dry ingredients then mix thoroughly. Pour into the pan and sprinkle raspberries over the top.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. Once cool, remove from the pan and spread with raspberry jam. Slice into squares and pipe frosting however you wish, I did four points on each brownie. Dust with Raspberry powder

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The easiest chelsea buns ever!

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I made these up at Dad’s bach (holiday home) with minimal equipment, if I can do it with no mixer you can too. Kneading is good to the soul (and the arms muscles!)

At the Bach
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Ingredients
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon active yeast
3 1/2 cup high grade flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoon melted butter

Filling
50gms butter melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sultanas
3/4 cup chopped dried figs (or other dried fruit)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

Glaze
1/4 cup melted butter
juice of 3 lemons
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
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Method
Place the warm water and sugar in a cup and stir to dissolve the sugar, sprinkle yeast over the top and leave for 10 minutes or until frothy. Combine 3 cups of the flour, salt and second measure of sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in milk, melted butter and yeast mixture. Mix until a ball forms (add flour if needed) then tip out onto a floured bowl. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place into an oiled bowl and leave to raise until double in size.
While the dough is rising, combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Punch the dough then knead lightly and roll out to approx 30 x 25 cm. Spread with the filling and roll up along the long side.
Cut into even sections and place in a round cake tin, leave to raise to double their size.
Bake at 190 degrees for 25 mins.
Combine glaze ingredients and pour over hot buns. Serve warm.