Monday, July 16, 2012

Lazy weekends call for baking

I love lazy weekends. I don't get them often as I have a toddler who is so full of energy I sometimes wonder if I'm feeding him crazy pills! On the few weekends I can get him to have a midday nap, I either take advanatge of the quite time and also take a nap or or flip through a variety of cookbooks to dream up my next baked treat.

The weekend just passed, I decided to bake instead of sleep. It rained all week, so something sweet was definitely in order. I had a few bananas left over from lunches so thought I'd do something with those and mix it with either chocolate or caramel. I started flipping through some books I'd borrowed from the library as well as searching some of my favourite recipe sites and found a recipe for a Banana Caramel Cake - so caramel won over chocolate!

The original recipe called for sliced bananas on top of a caramel cake, however I'm not really a fan of the texture of baked bananas so I went with a more traditional style banana cake and incorporated the caramel sauce. While baking this cake the house filled with a glorious fragrant of sugar, bananas and warmth (yes, that is a smell!). Then once it came out of the oven, I realised this is the perfect afternoon tea/dessert cake!

There are a few treats you can make that work as a sweet afternoon tea cake or a decadent dessert cake. This cake serves both purposes. At room temperature it is a moist banana cake with a sweet caramel topping. Heated up slightly and served with fresh cream for dessert, it is a sticky, rich cake that smells divine! ENJOY!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Something golden to brighten up a rainy day off

The last two weeks in Brisbane have been amazing. The weather has been perfect - sun shining bright and clouds no where to be seen. The temperature's been a bit on the cold side (for Brisbane), but the warm sun during the day has made being outside bliss. With the weather so lovely, I decided it was a great time to finally take some days off and relax. I really should have taken time off last week, as this week has been overcast and wet! I need to make the best out of the situation, so I invited my friend over for a play date with her two gorgeous girls. And when I invite guests over, I bake. With the weather not clearing, I thought something sweet and warming would hit the spot. I found the below recipe and knew I had to try it. The buns were delicious fresh from the oven and not too sweet (will use more golden syrup next time). Definitely worth a try next time you have friends over!

Monday, July 9, 2012

So Frenchy, so apply

I generally like to bake something simple for my toddler to take for lunch during the week, a little lunchbox treat. I will sometime make some cookies or a little apple or butter cake, then cut into easy pieces and freeze for easy use when making lunches in the morning. I was doing some blog research over the weekend and found a recipe for a French Apple Cake. It looked so delicious that I had to try it. The original recipe called for rum, however I didn't have any in the cupboard, but always have some brandy left over from Xmas baking (so this won't really be a lunchbox treat for Reuben, but Mummy needs treats as well). The original recipe also called for plain flour and baking powder instead of self raising flour. I have run out of baking powder, so went with the self raising. My cake turned out flatter than the one in the recipe, so think next time I will have to do it properly, will also try with rum.

Whatever the ingredients, this was the perfect after lunch treat for myself and the toddler. Enjoy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Using lemons to say thanks

For the past 6 months I have been working on a massive project at work that has pretty much consumed me. It was challenging but so much fun and a fantastic experience. Leading this project meant that I received most of the praise when things went right (and alternatively, most of the criticism when they didn't). 

I wanted to thank the other people in my team who put in just as many hours (possibly even more) and also offered their heart and soul to the project. I thought the best way for me to say thanks was with a cake! I don't make many fruity cakes, but with so many beautiful citrus fruits in season, I thought this would be perfect. Also, the person I'd like to dedicated this cake to (our wonderful graphic designer, who in my opinion saved our ass many times over with her skill and speed) is very healthy, so this cake is probably better suited to her than a crazy chocolate cake. ENJOY.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rhubarb Rhubarb Rhubarb

My brother and his girlfriend returned from four weeks overseas today. I was really excited to see them and hear the stories of their amazing adventure. Dad forwarded me an email about a week ago from my brother in Portugal informing them of their arrival home, not to worry about picking them up from the airport and that we'll all have dinner the night of their return. He then threw in a cheeky, "and looking forward to one of Cathy's desserts - can you tell her to bake" hahaha. Thanks bro ;-).

Because I was so excited about them being back, I couldn't decide on what to bake. Do I do something topical and make something from one of the cities on their travels (aka France, Spain, Portugal and London)? Or do I make something seasonal to remind them of home? Or do I do my signature over-the-top and chocolate? 

To help with this decision, I went to the markets yesterday morning. We had a great time picking all the fresh fruit and veg and going through the rows of gourmet treats. I found a bunch of rhubarb and thought a nice crumble would warms their bones, so decided on that. 

At home that night, I scrolled online and went through multiple cookbooks to find the perfect rhubarb recipe. I found some pretty exciting posts, however went with a recipe from Maggie Beer's book. I adore Maggie Beer and thought this recipe would be perfect, especially since they bought me the book on their last trip to the Barossa - fitting. ENJOY (we did!!).

Even Hummingbirds love Brownies!!

This weekend has been a quite one. The toddler and I have been hanging out and playing and of course, baking. I have a few other treats to post from this weekend, but thought I'd start with these disgustingly rich brownies from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. They are a special treat for a few different people, but all say the same thing - YUM and THANK YOU!

No need to go on, these babies speak for themselves. ENJOY!