Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fruit Crumble Slice

If you remember at Christmas time I delighted you all with a scrumptious recipe for Fruit mince pies. Also, I showed you how versatile the fruit mince can be with my Christmas Cassata...

...that was two months ago and I still have fruit mince left. I wasn't kidding it really does keep well and, if anything, it just gets better and better with age. 

But it  raised the question HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO USE IT UP!?!?!

I've always loved crumble. A crunchie, pebble like concoction that is usually reserved for a topping on stewed fruit. But I had other ideas and hence this slice was born.

Using the same mixture for the base of the slice as well as the crumble top, this slice is buttery, crunchie and works perfectly with fruit mince. I love that while it's cooking, the fruit bubbles up, yielding it's flavours to the top layer. It has definitely hit a note for me and I can say with utmost confidence it definitely will for you too...provided you like fruit mince of course. 

185g Butter, softened
1 cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1 3/4 cup Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 1/2 cups Fruit Mince (Bought or Homemade)

To make the Slice...
Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line a 23cm square cake tin. 

In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the sifted flour and bicarb soda and rolled oats and mix by hand until it comes together. Please note, you may need a little bit of water it the mixture is too dry. 

Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and flatten down with a spoon. Spread the fruit mince evenly over this layer and then crumble over the rest of the oat mixture to cover the fruit mince. Gently press down but not to much as to keep the crumble texture (see the pictures below). 

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is nice and golden. Allow to cool in the tin before cutting.  

First layer

Fruit mince layer

Crumble top

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I'm an early riser. 

Excessively early.

I mean 4am early. 

For those of you who don't know me, you probably think I'm crazy and the most popular question I get asked when I tell people I get up early is, 'What do you do at that hour?!?' 

Well I can give you numerous answers but what I most like to do is blog about my wonderful creations. There is such a serenity in the morning that you cannot get from late nights. Because I am the only one up I feel rather calm and relaxed and it allows me to write freely without any interruptions. 

Another perk is it sparks ideas for my new blog posts. For example...

... yesterday morning I woke up with this massive craving for Red Velvet Cupcakes. 
I've never quite understood what all the fuss was about with Red Velvet Cupcakes. I think there are more flavourable (if that's even a word) cupcakes that I would happily pick over Red Velvet. Maybe it's the colour that I, and like so many others, are drawn too. Maybe it's the coupling with cream cheese frosting that is the clincher (I know that is part of the appeal for me). 

But whatever the reason, I still love to eat them and I thought it was high time that I made some for you guys. Dead simple and I believe the perfect sized treat for a picnic.

60g Butter, room temperature
150g Caster Sugar
1 egg
10g Cocoa 
20ml Red Food Colouring
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
120ml Buttermilk
150g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Bircarb Soda
1 1/2 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
300g Icing Sugar
50g Butter, room temperature
125g Cream Cheese, cold

To Make the Cupcakes...
Preheat the oven to 160°C. 

Place the butter and sugar into an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat on a high speed until well incorporated. 

In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa, red food colouring and vanilla to form a thick paste. Add the the butter mixture and thoroughly mix. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides to ensure it is mixed in well. 

Next, sift together the dry ingredients and alternatively add with the butter milk to the now red butter mixture. Mixing well after each addition until a uniform mixture is formed. Add in the vinegar and continue to beat for a couple of minutes. 

Spoon the mixture into a prepared muffin/cupcake tin. Bake for 15-18minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before icing.

To make the Frosting...
In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and the icing sugar until well combined. Add in the cream cheese and beat on a high speed for around 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cool cupcakes. 

Serve and enjoy!

My Mum bought me a new piping set for Christmas and I thought I'd give it a test run this week. I'm quite proud with how they turn out. Almost good enough to sell. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Cherry Ripe Mud Cake

In the words of Slim Dusty, 'Oh what a terrible place is a pub with no beer.' Little did Slim know that in singing those famous words they can be applied to many situations...

...a library with no books...

...a zoo with no animals, and most importantly...

...a birthday with no cake. 

I get really excited for Birthdays. It means that, while making a mess in the kitchen, I can let my creative juices flow to create a special cake for my special someone. This time it's my boyfriend who gets spoilt with this amazing Cherry Ripe Mud Cake.

A big 23 years old, I knew he would want something chocolate (as I think it's about the only flavoured cake he really likes), something indulgent and definitely something that doesn't get made everyday (to make him feel really special). 

Mud cake was the only thing that came to mind and while it might scare most people, it really is one of the simplest cakes to make. This one is extra special with the addition of cherry ripes. Once cooked, the cherry ripe gives the soft, dense cake an added crunch. Most definitely ensuring it's place in the indulgence ranks is maintained. 

(Please note...for those on a diet, you might want to stick clear). 

My boyfriend is a mad deer hunter. But due to unforeseen circumstances he is unable to practice his passion at the moment. So, as decoration I thought I would bring the deer to him. 

For those wanting to do this (or a symbol of your own choice) simply place the picture under some grease proof paper and use a piping bag filled with chocolate to trace the outline. Once you have the outline, just fill in the gaps with the chocolate. Allow to cool before placing on the cake. 

I wasn't expecting quite the reaction I got from this decoration but I can guarantee that combined with this cake, you'll definitely be getting praise till the cows come home. 

250g Butter
1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee
400ml Coconut Milk
200g Dark Chocolate, broken up
2 cups White Sugar
3/4 cup Self-raising Flour
1 cup Plain Flour
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
150g Cherry Ripe (about 3 chocolate bars), coarsely chopped
175g Dark Chocolate
150ml Cream

To make the cake...
Preheat oven to 140°C. Grease a deep round cake pan; line the base with a single circle layer of baking paper and the sides with a double layer (this will prevent the sides from over cooking)

In a saucepan, melt together the butter, coffee, coconut milk, chocolate and sugar until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Sift together the dry ingredients and whisk into the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the eggs, vanilla and half the Cherry Ripe, mix well. 

Pour the mixture into prepared pan, scatter with remaining Cherry Ripe pieces and bake for about 1 3/4 hours or until the skewer comes out clean. For added protection, I covered the cake with foil about halfway through to ensure the cake didn't burn. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out, top-side down, onto a wire rack. 

I used a ganache to ice this cake. The instructions can be found here:

A handy hint, place small pieces of baking paper around the edge of the serving plate (as show below). Make sure they are easy to pull out once the cake is placed on top.

This little trick (which I picked up from Nigella) helps to keep the plate clean while you ice the cake.

Un-iced cake with the baking paper 

Baking Paper removed and hey presto a clean plate :)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Two-Toned Banana Bread

I love Donna Hay! 

For Christmas I was surprised with a 12 month subscription to her magazine. And can I just say that if the rest are anything like the first magazine I received the year is going to be filled with many inspiring ideas for my blog. However, for now I thought would just give credit to Donna Hay and share her unbelievable recipe for Banana and Chocolate Bread (I have dubbed Two-toned Banana Bread) which is in the February/March issue. 

Banana bread is one of those things that I think people believe they are being healthy when really (who are we kidding) it's basically just a Banana Cake in disguise. But whatever the reason, it is still incredible delicious and given that this one is half chocolate, there is definitely no health incentive at all. ..

...especially if you're like me and like it with lashing of butter. 

125g Butter, softened
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
1 1/2 cups Smashed Banana (about 3-4 medium Bananas)
1/4 cup Golden Syrup
100g Dark Chocolate, melted
Cocoa or icing sugar, for dusting

To make the Banana Bread...
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Place the butter and brown sugar into an electric mixer and beat for 10 minutes until very pale in colour. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Sift together the dry ingredients and gently fold into the butter mixture until well combined. Add the banana and golden syrup and mix well.  Place half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir through the melted chocolate.  

In a lined loaf tin, place alternating spoonfuls each mixture. Swirl slightly with a knife to get a marbled effect. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean when you test it. 

Cool completely in the pan before turning out. Dust with cocoa or icing sugar. 

I was a bit impatient when it came to cooling the banana bread in the pan. I love mine with butter and there is nothing better then warm banana bread with butter melting through it.