Saturday, September 29, 2012

Celebration cheesecake!

My friend recently got married over in Fiji and last night was the first time I saw her since she changed from a Miss to a Mrs. Something was in order to celebrate, however being a Friday I was again lacking ideas and energy/time. The last time we caught up we chatted about cheesecake. I remembered making the Nutella No-Bake Cheesecake for my brother and his girlfriend a while ago and it was super fast and easy. On my way home I picked up the few ingredients I needed and went home to prepare. As I started making it though, I decided I wanted something different and suddenly craved caramel. So switched ideas and started making a caramel sauce. Before long dessert was ready and in the fridge to set. 

Dinner was a middle eastern inspired vegetable and chickpea stuffed eggplant (with some champers to celebrate). After dinner we busted out the wedding photos, all 800+ of them. It was so lovely seeing their day through the photos and the excitement and love they shared for each other. With so many pictures, we decided to stop half way for dessert. It was so creamy and smooth, and the caramel made it super rich. I found it hard to finish mine, however it was the perfect sugar kick to continue looking through the rest of the photos and amazing stories from their time away.

This is such an easy dessert, I think anyone could master it (even you Ms Borgna...). I think next time i make it I'll try a fruity flavour, maybe a mango or passionfruit. ENJOY.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sometimes you just need cake

I try to be good. I try not to eat too many sweets. I try to ignore the lolly jar at work. But sometimes it's just too hard and you just need to let go and enjoy yourself. Last night I made a "healthy" pasta dish and afterwards was feeling like I still needed something. I went through a pantry and fridge check list in my head and realised i had everything I needed to whip up a carrot cake - even cream cheese for the icing. So, I popped into the kitchen and before I could say "what's up doc" I had a cake in the oven. The cake was ready 20 minutes later (I split the batter into two tins to make it cook faster, and also allowed me to have a layer cake = double the deliciousness!!) and after leaving it too cool for another 15/20 minutes, it was iced and ready to eat. As I'm generally baking for other people, it's rare I eat cakes so soon after coming out of the oven. Last night's treat was still warm however cool enough for the cream cheese icing to stay firm. It was also so soft and delicate. So so good! And worked perfectly in lunches today (which is Friday, always a day where a sugary treat is needed).

Monday, September 24, 2012

When in doubt, make brownies

Last week was a big week. Really busy at work, sick child and I was feeling sick as well. At the beginning of the week I'd organised a dinner at my place for Friday. I was looking forward to it, however once Friday came around the thought of cooking dinner made me feel exhausted. So, we opted for some really nice Thai takeaway. However, I couldn't have people over for dinner and not make them some kind of dessert. A few weekends ago I bought 2 new cook books, which I have had my eye on for ages. They were Desserts from the famous Loveless Cafe and SprinkleBakes. I hadn't had a chance to try any recipes from them, so I flipped through the Loveless Cafe cookbook pages for something that would match my energy levels (aka something simple). I came across the Peanut Butter Brownies and knew I was on a winner. The brownies were moist and rich and had a wonderful salty peanut flavour marbled through it. I would have liked the peanut flavour to be stronger, but a day later the flavours had matured and tasted so much better - so if you can, bake a day in advance. ENJOY.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sweet treat for breakfast

I've always been told that the most important meal for the day is breakfast, something to give you a good kick-start in the morning and get your body working. When I was a teenager and really conscience about my weight, I used to try and skip breakfast, but my Dad cottoned onto this pretty quick so would pretend to read the paper while I ate breakfast, but really he was watching me eat and making sure I was being healthy (couldn't get one past him).

Now I'm an adult, I'm still pretty irresponsible when it comes to breakfast. It's not a weight thing anymore, I just prefer to have a coffee in the morning, which generally gets me through to lunch time. Although, I do LOVE going out for breakfast - I'm a complicated person :-).

Anyway, last week I saw this amazing looking breakfast bake via Pinterest and I really wanted to make it for the girls (and the few boys) in my office. I bought all the ingredients over the weekend but until this morning, when my toddler dragged me out of bed at 5.25am with the line "Mummy, I need to do wee wee", I didn't really have the time to make it. So, with my early rise this morning, here is a mid-week sweet breakfast for my hard working teammates! Enjoy.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Another weekend, another trip to the markets! And once again strawberries were the item to buy in bulk, which of course I did. So, with another weekend with a fridge full of strawberries, I contemplated what to make with them. I could possibly make some strawberry and banana smoothies, or maybe a strawberry mousse cake, or even the classic strawberry shortcake. However, with no visitors planned for the week, I thought I should try something a bit simple. I instantly thought of biscuits with a buttercream filling. So with that, the task was set.

I wanted to make a chewy, golden biscuit, something similar to an Anzac, however I wanted honey to be the stand-out flavour. I played around with a few ideas and settled on a mix between an Anzac and an oat biscuit. After my buttercream success last week, I decided to go with this new method and finish it off by adding a strawberry puree. The result was a fluffy and smooth cream with the sweetness of the strawberries an absolute hero. I can see these being a delightful addition to the next high tea I bake for! ENJOY.

Friday, September 7, 2012

German stylin' for a Friday

This week at work we wrapped up the Hamburg Season, which consisted of a collection of performances by the Hamburg Opera, Orchestra and Ballet. The team have been working on this project for about 8 months and put their blood, sweat and many tears into it. As I lead a different project earlier in the year, I didn't have much to do on Hamburg, so felt it was my duty to offer them some praise in the form of cake!

I did a quick Google for Greman cakes and found one, which use to be a bakery favourite of mine that I never knew had it's origins from Germany, and also found a few recipes for the classic Black Forest Cake. I decided the team deserved both cakes, so I made both in my own style.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome Spring!

Winter is over and Spring has sprung. The weather has been perfect, making it feel like the colder months are over and we have blue skies and sunshine ahead of us. To celebrate the start of Spring, I bought 4 big punnets of strawberries (they had a special of 2 for $3!!!) from the markets. With so many strawberries, I decided to share the Spring love and give one punnet away, then I planned on using the others for some baking and weekday lunches.

When I think of strawberries, I immediately match them with cream. Strawberries and cream is such a classic dessert, everyone has something they associate with strawberries and cream. For me, it would have to be going to a school art fair with my Mum. I remember nothing about the art fair, or what else was actually there, but I do remember Mum buying us a cup of strawberries and cream each for morning tea and sitting in the sun to eat it. I think I was only 12 at the time and this was the first time I had enjoyed strawberries and cream just like this. It felt like Mum and I were doing something special together, just the two of us, without Dad or my siblings. The memory is sweet and innocent, just like the dessert.

So, with that in mind, I wanted to use my strawberries to make something that represented that memory. While the toddler was resting on Sunday (supposed to be resting anyway, he skipped his nap and decided to "play", aka trash his room), I researched strawberry recipes. I stumbled across this great looking strawberry cake via Pinterest. It had a deliciously pink colour and a new way to make a french meringue buttercream - I had to try it.

So, with strawberries ready and beater out, Reuben and I started baking post "rest". The cake itself was super easy to make and the buttercream turned out perfectly - I am definitely changing methods to this one from now one! There was heaps of batter so I made a bundt style cake as well as 6 cupcakes. Next time I think I'll split the batter to make a layer cake and add some strawberry jam in the centre. Enjoy.