Friday, June 21, 2013

Cheesecake makeover

It was my birthday recently and I felt like celebrating with something pretty, but fresh and tastey. It's been a while since I've made a cheesecake, so thought I'd whip out my favourite recipe and give it a makeover. What resulted was a wonderful white chocolate and strawberry cheesecake. As always, the cheesecake was light and fluffy, but had a delicious sweetness from the white chocolate and a fresh buzz from the strawberries. It was a great way to celebrate entering the final year of my twenties.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Racing through the years

I love traditions. I love the nostalgia that surrounds them and the excitement when people talk about them. One book which seems to be linked to a tradition for a lot of people I know is the Australian Women's Weekly Kids' Birthday Cake book. I get told stories of Mums handing their children this book each birthday to pick a cake for their special day. Some kids were even lucky enough to have almost every cake in the book made at some point for them or their siblings.  Hearing the excitement when friends retold their experiences growing up around this tradition, I wanted to create something similar with my son. A few years ago, I was given the latest edition of the Kids' Birthday Cake book. I love the options available and knew it was my time to shine!

The weekend before my son's birthday we sat down and looked through the pages of the book. With every new cake, he declared he wanted that one. We finally settled on a rocket ship cake. I should have known that was not his final choice. A few days before his birthday we drove past a soccer field and he announced he wanted a soccer ball cake... he doesn't play or watch soccer but said he liked it. Then finally the day before his birthday we went through the book again, this time I gave more direction and picked a few he could have. We finally decided on a race track cake, but in the shape of a number 4. Phew - sorted, and just in time to make and quickly decorate the cake before it needed to be adorned with candles and consumed.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Time to get my baking shoes on

It's been a busy week. Lots of work on and not much time to do it. Weeks like these, sometimes you get to the Thursday night, knowing you're so close to the weekend, and you just want something to treat yourself. Then you also see that there's nothing nice in the fridge for lunchboxes the next day and the decision's made - it's time to bake!

Last weekend I made fluffy pancakes with maple syrup and bacon for breakfast. I LOVE this combination, it's amazing. The only thing that can top it is to add some caramelised banana slices (done easily on the grill or fry pan with a little bit of sugar to assist in the caramelisation). After breakfast, we had a fair bit of maple syrup left over. And yes, I realise it can be stored easily, however I had the delicious taste of maple teasing my tastebuds and vowed to make my next baking venture in maple! 

So, back to Thursday night and the need to bake something... a bag of pecans sitting in the cupboard just waiting to be used, left over maple... it was a no brainer!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Good food and food company

I believe good food makes people happy. Good food and good company make for a fantastic night. And good food, good company and a great bottle/s of wine is always memorable. I started getting into baking when I wasn't the happiest in life, it acted as an escape for me and also gave me something to be passionate about and enjoy. Eating the food was also amazing, however did cause a fair bit of weight gain - so a lesson, moderation ;-).

I find my baking can make others happy. I am filled with pride when I present a layer cake to a friend or family member to celebrate their birthday. I love hearing the mmmmmmm from people when they take the first bite of a treat I've lovingly prepared. And I love when friends or family ask me to bake something for them, as it shows my passion has transferred to them and they want to share good food with their friends or family. (My photography is not great though, so I think that should be the next thing I work on...)

This recipe is for my uncle. He has shared many cakes and desserts with me and during the week asked if I could make something special for a lunch party he was throwing. Blueberries are just coming back into season here, so I decided on a blueberry sour cream cake with a white chocolate cream cheese icing. I was later told it was a hit!