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
125 gm butter softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup caster sugar
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
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.
I adapted a recipe from the NZ House and Garden magazine that was for Chocolate mint marshmallow slice. Here is my version.
250 gms (one packet) of super wine biscuits
2 tbsp cocoa powder
150 gms shredded coconut
300 gms melted butter
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
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.
I am still on the hunt for healthy desserts, and I have so many beautiful moulds and tins that I thought jelly was a good option. You could use any fruit/berry tea that you like but it needs to be pretty strong for the flavour to come through.
1 litre of fruit/berry tea. I used T2 Tea Pumping Pomegranate. Brew according to the instructions for a strong flavour
2 cups of fresh mixed berries
A few drops of strawberry essence
4 gold gelatin leaves
Fresh berries and cream to serve
Brew the tea according to instructions, spray or wipe the inside of a jelly mould with a neutral oil (I use canola)
Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for around 5 minutes. Chop up the fresh berries and put in the bottom of the mould. Squeeze the water out of the gelatin leaves and stir through the hot tea until combined. Pour over the fruit in the mould and leave to set until firm (I left mine over night)
When you are ready to serve, dunk the mould in hot water for 5 seconds. Serve with fresh berries and cream
The hardest thing about changing my diet (less sugar, less processed food, more fruit and vege) is that I love entertaining and I set an expectation to deliver at least a 2 course meal whenever I have friends over. I am lucky I started my change in lifestyle just as berries are coming into season as there are some delicious nutritious recipes out there.
Here is a chilled berry soup, which was simply delicious served with some orange creme fraiche. You will need a couple of hours chilling time, so make ahead.
2 punnets of strawberries
1 packet (600 gms) of frozen raspberries – defrosted (simply as fresh are so expensive, but use fresh if you can get them)
2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
The juice of 1 lemon
1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt (Or cream if you were being luscious – I recommend the new Lewis Road Creamery cream)
1 pottle (250 gms) creme fraiche
The juice of one orange
1 tbsp Cointreau
Extra berries to serve
Blend the strawberries, raspberries, honey and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. There will be some pips from the fruit so if you want it silky smooth you could strain the liquid with a coarse sieve at this point (however I didn’t worry) mix through the unsweetened yogurt and pour into serving bowls.
Chill for a couple of hours. Mix the orange juice and Cointreau through the creme fraiche and chill for a couple of hours. When ready to serve dollop the creme fraiche on the top of the soup and decorate with fresh berries and a few mint leaves (if available)
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.
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 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
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.
I love rhubarb, and I know it is delicious as a crumble or in a pie but I wanted to give this recipe my own twist.
There are two parts to this recipe, roasting the rhubarb which can then be used in this dish, or topped with yogurt, or added to the top of my Vanilla Honey Pannacotta recipe. The second part is the Baklava topping.
4 cups of rhubarb chopped into 5 cm pieces
The juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup of runny honey
5 whole cloves
15 sheets of flaky puff pastry
75 gm packet of slivered almonds
75 gm packet of pistachio nuts roughly chopped
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of honey
1 tablespoon of rosewater (you can leave this out if you don’t have any)
1 cinnamon quill
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
Put the rhubarb into a roasting dish, pour over orange juice and honey then sprinkle over cloves, pour in 1/2 cup of water.
Roast until the rhubarb is soft but maintains its shape, remove from the oven and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, mix the nuts and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Pour the rhubarb into a smaller dish (around the size of your puff pastry). On a chopping board, lay down one piece of pastry and brush with butter, repeat 5 times and then place on top of the rhubarb. Sprinkle with half of the almonds and pistachio nuts. Repeat the pastry with another 5 layers, and again add to the rhubarb and sprinkle over nuts. Add the final 5 layers of pastry to the rhubarb.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden. While the pastry is baking, make your sugar syrup. Put sugar, honey, cinnamon and rosewater in a pot with 1 cup of water. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Once the pastry is cooked, pour over the sugar syrup and serve with ice-cream
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
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
1 cup of hazelnuts
1.5 cups of sugar
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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
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.
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
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
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