Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Baby Cake

Here we begin the first of many posts as I recap the sweets I made for Mel's sisters baby shower.

I provided a dessert table including -
White Chocolate Raspberry Tarts;
Raspberry Jelly Slice;
Choc Caramel Slice;
Melting Moments; and
Chocolate Cupcakes.

But the Main Attraction of the event was of course -

The Cake

O R A N G E   A N D   A L M O N D   M E A L   C A K E

(This is a version of the birthday cake I made for Miss Pip.)

125g butter, softened
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 large orange, rind finely grated, juiced
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup self-raising flour
3/4 cup almond meal (ground almonds)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease cake pan.

Using electric hand beaters, beat butter, sugar and orange rind for 5 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flour over butter mixture. Add almond meal and 1/4 cup orange juice. Gently fold to combine. Pour mixture into pre-greased cake pan.

Bake. Timing till vary. (The original recipe is for mini cupcakes, in which case bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.) 

If you're baking one cake, the total time in oven will be approx 1.5 hours.

I frosted it with an orange frosting :
1/3 cup butter
1 + 1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tbs orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest


Monday, 29 August 2011

Sugar Baby

So... I catered the sweets for a Baby Shower on Saturday

(Remember how I blogged about being asked to help out and then collected some of my ideas here?)

Well I took Friday off work and spent some quality time in my kitchen.

First of all, let me say I do love to bake. Most of you know that already..

But there is definately an increased pressure when you're doing it for
A) Someone you don't know very well (I have never met the Guest of Honour of the Shower) and;
B) A special event (rather than just because I had a craving for a particular cookie or cake).

Rather than go into too much detail about how and why, let me show you the end result. Because despite an entire cake sinking in the middle like a donut everything turned out well.


Three cheers to Miss Pip for being a lifesaver and making me a cake bunting and cupcake flags - Aren't they the cutest decorations you've ever seen ?! (And a BIG thanks to Jodie of LukaMish who donated her fabric scraps to this project. BTW - Jodie makes amazing products with her fabric so check it out.)

And just so that you can fully understand the mayhem that was my kitchen, here's a pic to show how much stuff I can have spread across my kitchen bench at one time -

I will be doing individual posts about each of these sweets complete with recipes. Stay tuned.


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Just a Spoon Full of Sugar...

Last  weekend (yep, a whole week ago, but it's taken me this long to blog about it) I went to Sydney to catch up with my gorgeous sister and to see Mary Poppins!

The show was fabulous. Matt Lee (one of the judges from So You Think You Can Dance) totally stole the show as the Chimney Sweep and his dancing to Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious was incredible.

Tempting as it was to buy a Mary Poppins umbrella, we didn't buy any merchandise, but we did succumb to cocktails in these light up glasses - How could we resist ?!

It was an amazing weekend, although not nearly long enough time for shopping and hang out by the Harbour.

We did however, pop into the Lindt store and sample some of their macaroons and chocolates..

Which went well with a glass of champagne and orange (at this point, Bree and I could not bring ourselves to drink the champagne by itself..)

And, despite the weather forcast predicting rain for the weekend, we were lucky enough that the rain held off and we even got to enjoy a little sunshine.

Had to throw this pic in too - We ventured into the Christian Louboutin store.... OMG - the shoes are stunning.

This particular shoe Bree's holding is worth $2,772.50 
($5,545 A PAIR - eeekkk!)

Two days is definately not long enough...

We're already planning our next Girl's Weekend.


BTW - Sorry about some of the terrible iPhone photography...

Monday, 15 August 2011

It's Raining Babies

Baby Showers..

The mere thought of one has me feeling a little unwell. When presented with an invitation to such an event, my mind goes into over-drive, desperately trying to think of a reasonable excuse for why I can't go along and play games that include tasting baby food and guessing the size of a pregnant belly.

Don't get me wrong - babies should be celebrated and I do enjoy shopping for the perfect baby shower gift.. but at a typical shower there are usually lots of children running around demanding attention and the tacky games make me cringe.

I heard Melanie Brown (aka Scary Spice) on the radio over the weekend describe her recent baby shower, which she referred to as a party in celebration of her baby - she hired nanny's to take care of her guests children and put on an amazing spread of both gourmet and finger food. She wanted a party atmosphere - "People take baby showers way to seriously... At the end of the day, I want to sit down, watch my friends get drunk and have a bit of fun". If only all new Mums-to-Be had an attitude like Mel.

So at this point, you're thinking - "Why are you blogging about baby showers if you have such a strong opinion about them," right?!

Well, I have been asked to assist with the catering of a baby shower in a few weeks. Including the cake.

What a huge responsibility.

As you know, I love to share my baked goods with people (usually those I work with) but aside from family gatherings, I have never baked for a specific purpose before.

So imagine my fear excitement when I received a text from Mel at MOSC asking if I would make the sweets for her sisters baby shower later this month. (On a side note - If you live in Adelaide and ever need your hair and/or makeup done for an event, Mel is Ah-Mazing!! Tell her I said HI!)

Mel's request was simple (or so I thought) - Cake and sweet treats required. 20 guests. Sex of the baby unknown. No theme.

Turns out that having such creative freedom can be a bad thing. Where do I start ?!

Enter my latest Pinterest Board!!

I'm now merrily pinning inspiration for cakes, cake bunting and cupcakes..

Which has me thinking - Maybe this whole baby shower thing isn't so bad?!

But I'm at a loss as to what else to make. I bake alllll the time and yet I suddenly can't think of a single baby shower appropriate treat to make.

In the hopes of finding some ideas, I'm off to do some more pinning!


Thursday, 11 August 2011

I'm Busy Today

I will be working on my To-Do List today.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Cheer Me Up Yellow

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

Today's cupcakes are inspired by my new favourite board on Pinterest - Cheer Me Up Yellow.

There's nothing like a little yellow to put a spring in your step.


Monday, 8 August 2011

Breakfast Cookies

What do you get when you cross a breakfast cereal with a cookie ? Breakfast Cookies.

I know they're an old favourite of many, but I have only recently jumped on the Cornflake Cookie bandwagon.

And, I know that traditional recipes involve sultanas, but I don't like sultanas (aka 'flies') in my food, so I replaced them with dried cranberries (one of my new favourite baking ingredients).


Ingredients (serves 20)
125g butter
140g (2/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, at room temperature
275g (1 3/4 cups) self-raising flour
170g (1 cup) cranberries
80g (1 1/2 cups) cornflakes, lightly crushed

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Use an electric beater to beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until pale and creamy.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until combined. Fold in flour and sultanas until combined.
Place the cornflakes on a plate. Use your hands to roll tablespoonfuls of the cookie mixture into balls, then roll in cornflakes to coat. Place the balls, about 3cm apart to allow room for spreading, on prepared trays.
Bake in preheated oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven. Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Spending Time With Me

Ever had a really nice weekend, when after two days you reflect and realise just how good life can be ?

I have. And right now, life is good.

Perhaps it has something to do with the brief sunshine we experienced on Saturday morning ?

I took advantage of the nice weather and took Miss Emmy for a walk at the beach.

After being unwell earlier in the week, the fresh air was just what the doctor ordered.

On Sunday morning, my 'Me Time' continued at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Markets.

Unfortunately, the weather was not as friendly but that didn't seem to impact attendance and even though I was only there to look, I picked up a few things as I wandered.

Flowers, coffee, sour dough baguette and raspberry cheesecake = heaven.

Aren't those flowers devine?

I caught up with a few friends and family over the weekend too and did a little baking, but I am learning that spending time going places alone is very rewarding. Plus, there's no arguing about what to do or when to go! 

I hope you all had an equally wonderful weekend.


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Strawberry Shortcakes

OK - They're not shortcakes, they're pancakes.. But either way, they were de-licious!

And, they were the solution to my 'too much buttermilk leftover' issue after the Chocolate Mud Cake baking.


Pancakes are the one thing I can make in the kitchen without a recipe.

As a teenager they were my easy, afternoon snack solution.

But I've never made them with buttermilk before.


The recipe ?

1/4 cup caster suger
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1 cup self-raising flour
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients in  bowl.
Whisk buttermilk & egg
Stir into flour mixture until combined


And sooooo good.


Friday, 5 August 2011

Fun and Flirty

This one was inspired by Miss Atlantic Pacific. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I LOVE her style.
And now I'm totally in search of a gorgeous pink skirt.
This is my idea of the perfect outfit for spring (yes, I'm dreaming of spring, because I have to remind myself that this miserable cold weather is not forever!)
Fun and Flirty


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Got a Craving for Chocolate ?

I promise that this cake will satisfy your chocolate cravings..

I have wanted to try this recipe for MONTHS.

It's from the Planet Cake cookbook and every few weeks I vow to pick up some buttermilk from the supermarket with the intention of baking this cake. Unfortunately, my memory seems to evade me when I'm shopping and I kept coming home without it.

So after a long wait.. I've finally made the Planet Cake mud cake and let me say - it was worth the effort!


220g butter
220g dark chocolate, chopped
25g coffee granules
125g self-raising flour
125g plain flour
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
480g caster sugar
4 eggs
7 tsps vegetable oil
100ml buttermilk.

On a side note - when I measured out the buttermilk, I couldn't believe how little 100ml actually is. I only bought the small carton, but there was HEAPS leftover. A quick Google search and I found another recipe to use up the remaining buttermilk (but that's for another post..)

OK, so preheat your oven to 160C.
Melt the butter, chocolate and coffee in a saucepan with 160ml of water
Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarb soda into a large bowl
Stir in the sugar
Add combined egg, oil and buttermilk
Then stir in the chocolate mixture until completely combined
Pour mixture into greased cake tin and pop into the oven

The 'official' recipe says to bake for 1 hour 40 minutes, but because I used a bundt tin my cake was done after just 1 hour - So keep an eye on your oven.

And, asif the cake itself was not chocolatey enough, I mixed up a quick icing with cocoa powder, butter and baileys.


There it is. Chocolatey goodness. YUM


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Healthy Lifestyle

Right now, I'm all about keeping healthy.

Found this one on Pinterest


You're a Peanut

This one's for you Miss Pip.
(Who is known to eat peanut butter out of the jar with a knife at work...
yep, we love her coz she's a lady)

Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cookies

peanut butter and choc chip cookies >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

I've been struck down by a winter virus and as a result have been holed up in bed for a few days reading trashy magazines. However, yesterday I decided a bit of easy baking would cure both my boredom and my craving for something sweet.

This particular recipe is from the latest OK! magazine.

150g brown sugar
100g butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
300g peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
225g plain flour
200g dark choc chips

OK - here we go ...

Preheat oven to 180C
Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until smooth
Add vanilla and egg
Beat in peanut butter
Then add salt, bicard soda & flour
Mix until just combined
Fold in choc chips
Roll dough into balls and place in rows on lined oven tray
Press each ball with a fork
Bake for 10 minutes
Cool on a wire rack before eating

*Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to four days

The verdict ? If you don't like peanut butter you will HATE these cookies.
It seems obvious, right ? But although I like peanut butter (particularly on toasted thick white bread) these cookies are VERY peanutty.. and I'm just not convinced that such a peanutty flavour belongs in a cookie. The jury's still out.

Pip - I think these ones are all yours :)

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