Category Archives: Dessert

Banana Sticky Date Pudding with Maple-Caramel Sauce

For the past month of so I’ve been getting a weekly delivery of fruit and vegetables from local farmers. This has left me with an abundance of both banana’s and carrots which prompted me to think up some recipes to use these ingredients. I wanted to do some kind of variation on a sticky date pudding and so here we are with a banana sticky date pudding! I’m going to attempt a carrot version later this week to be used at a work morning tea.

I added in maple syrup for a bit of a twist. It makes the pudding sweet, but that means you only need a small slice to feel satisfied.

The sides and bottom were slightly too brown for my liking to next time I’ll line them with more baking paper but there was no bitter burnt taste at all.

I never knew a creamy caramel sauce was this easy! I’m probably going to be sorry that I now know though since I’ll want to make it to put on everything! Will power be my friend!

Serves 8

Pudding
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 tsp bicarb soda
60g butter, slightly softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
2 very ripe bananas

Sauce
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup cream
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
150g butter, chopped

Pudding
Grease and line the base with baking paper of whichever tin you’d like to use. You could use either a 20cm round tin or a rectangle loaf tin.

Combine water and maple syrup in small pan and bring to the boil. Add the dates, bring back to the boil, then immediately remove pan from the heat.

Stir in the bicarb soda and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

In a food processor pour in the date mixture and blend with the butter and sugar until almost smooth. Add the eggs, flour and banana and process using the pulse button until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake at 180C for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. After 20 minutes I covered my pudding in alfoil to stop the top from browning too much.

Once cooked, cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then gently take it out of the tin and cool it on a wire rack.

Sauce

Combine sugar, cream, maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Watch it, as it may boil over. You can then either pour the sauce over the whole pudding, or like me, cut a slice and pour a few spoonfuls over each slice.

Serve with ice-cream.

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Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This is one of my all time favourite cake favours. I found this recipe at Smitten Kitchen and have made this recipe into the cake form a few times and have now tried them as cupcakes. I have to say I prefer the cupcakes as the cream cheese frosting to cake ratio is much more to my liking!

The mix of spices with the applesauce is delicious without being overpowering, and who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting. I have to admit to saving a few spoonfuls after frosting the cupcakes to myself.

The batter will seem a bit curdled, but it’s okay, it’s what it is supposed to look like! They will bake into lovely mounds of cupcake!

Makes 18

Cupcakes

250g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
115g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (195g) packed light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (365 g) canned/jarred applesauce (unsweetened)

Cream Cheese Frosting

300g cream cheese, softened
90g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups soft icing sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 175°C with a rack in the middle of the oven. Line 18 cupcakes pans with cupcake liners.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, around 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined with a wooden spoon. Like I said above, the batter will look curdled.

Fill each cupcake liner around 3/4 full and bake for 15 minutes (I always check at 12 minutes) until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then place cupcakes on a rack to cool completely.

Frosting

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated. Spread or pipe decoratively onto each cupcake generously.

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Chocolate Cupcakes Surprise

Is there anything tastier than a chocolate cupcake? I love cupcakes. The icing/frosting to cake ratio seems so much more than on a large cake and who doesn’t love lots and lots of icing/frosting?

I used to be one to use cake or cupcake mixes all the time, but after a few tries they just don’t taste the same as from scratch cup cakes. Those in a mix always taste somewhat artificial. I do still love frosting in a can, but I think that’s because I haven’t yet found the perfect recipe.

What is the surprise? Lindt balls!! And caramel! In the middle of the cupcake! You’ll notice once baked they sink a little, but the icing the sprinkles cover it nicely.

Makes 12

Cupcakes

150g butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup buttermilk
6 Lindt balls
6 teaspoons caramel (I used Nestle Top ‘n’ Fill Caramel)

Icing

1 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 to 3 tablespoons milk, warmed
sprinkles

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 12 cupcake cases into a cupcake tin.

Use an electric hand mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and buttermilk until smooth.

Spoon two-thirds of the mixture evenly among the cupcake cases.

Use a teaspoon to make a small indent in the centre of each cupcake. Place either a Lindt ball or spoon 1 teaspoon of the caramel into the centre of each case. Top with the remaining cupcake mixture and smooth the surface.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Keep in mind the centre has a melted Lindt ball or Caramel in the middle so go in at an angle.

Set the cupcakes aside in the pans for 5 minutes to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Spread the icing over the cupcakes and dip into a plate covered in sprinkles.

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Chocolate Mousse and Caramel Tart with Praline

This has got to be one of the most delicious things I’ve made yet! And also one of the most technically difficult. This isn’t a recipe for the faint-hearted but the length of time it takes to make is worth it. With this recipe I made 3 things I had never made before: caramel, chocolate mousse and praline. You know a tart is going to be decadent when you need to make 3 separate sugar syrups/caramels. The great thing about this recipe is that it gives you plenty of time between each stage to take your time and get it right. Each stage needs time in the fridge to set (at least an hour) so plenty of time to get the next bit of the recipe done.

Warning: Lots of photos to come!

First, the pastry:

Next, the caramel layer:

Then the chocolate mousse:

And finally, the praline:

Serves 8 to 12 depending on how greedy your guests are.

Pastry

250g plain flour
2 tbs almond meal
55g icing sugar
150g cold unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
pinch of salt

Caramel  Filling

110g caster sugar
100ml water
2 tbs double cream
40g butter, softened, chopped

Chocolate Mousse

300ml thickened/pouring cream
200g dark chocolate, chopped
3 egg yolks
1 egg
110g caster sugar
100ml water

Praline

45g slivered almonds
110g caster sugar
60ml water

Pastry

Process the flour, almond meal, icing sugar, a pinch of salt, and chopped butter (make sure it is really cold, I chopped mine and then put it in the freezer for another 5 minutes) in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and process until the mixture just comes together. Shape with your hands into a disc, making sure to get every bit into the disc, and wrap up in plastic. Put the pastry into the fridge for 2 hours.

Once chilled, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick, making sure it fits into a 24cm (3 cm deep) tart pan with removable base. Place the pastry inside using any extra pastry to patch up any holes.

Freeze for 20 minutes.

Line the tart shell with baking paper and fill with either rice, dried beans, or specialty pastry weights. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sides are just brown (I let mine get too dark). Remove the weights, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the base is a light brown. Because my sides were already quite brown I covered them with foil for the rest of the baking.

Cool the tart completely.

Caramel

Place sugar and water in a small heavy-based saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and boil, without stirring, until a golden caramel colour. This took around 15 minutes for me, but you really need to watch it closely as when it starts going brown it doesn’t take long for it to go too far.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the cream, stirring with a whisk, then add in the butter, still whisking. Add in a pinch of sea salt. Let it cool for around 5 minutes and then pour into the tart shell making sure it covers the whole base. Put it in the fridge for an hour to set.

Mousse

Beat 200ml cream using either a whisk (for an arm workout), hand-held electric mixer, or large electric mixer until soft peaks are formed, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Put the chocolate and the rest of the cream (100ml) into a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and stir using a spatula until melted, smooth and combined. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool.

Using the electic mixer (hand-held, or large) beat the egg yolks and egg in a bowl until thick, pale and a bit foamy.

To make a sugar syrup place the sugar and 100ml of water into a heavy based saucepan (the one used above for the caramel – cleaned of course) on a low heat until the sugar dissolves. You might need to give it a swirl or two. Increase the heat to high and once it starts bubbling use a sugar thermometer to measure when it reaches 121 degrees Celsius. If you don’t have a thermometer, this should take around 6 minutes. You don’t want it to start to get colour though.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and with the mixer on low  slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is thick and at room temperature (the sugar syrup would have raised the temperature).

Using a large metal or plastic spoon (not wood as it holds moisture), fold in one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture to loosen, then gentle fold in the remaining egg mixture until combined. Fold in one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate/egg mixture to loosen, and then gently fold in the remaining cream mixture.

Spoon the mousse over the caramel layer, making sure to smooth the top with an offset spatula or knife. Stick it in the fridge for an hour to set.

Praline

Bake the almonds in an oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes or until golden. Watch them closely as when they start going golden they can get to burnt very quickly.

Place sugar and 60ml of water in the same saucepan as above (cleaned of course) on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and let it bubble away until a golden caramel.

Pour over the almonds and let it set until cool. Break it up into shards and give it a whiz in a food processor.

Scatter over the mousse layer. Refrigerate the whole thing for another hour and then serve with cream or ice cream.

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One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Whenever there are birthdays in my team at work I always bring in the birthday cake, or whatever that person would like for their birthday morning tea. This time the request was for a chocolate cake. This is a super easy chocolate cake that only uses ONE bowl!

So I now think I’ve found my perfect vanilla cake recipe and now my perfect chocolate cake recipe. I’ll get the final verdict tomorrow for taste at the morning tea. I tasted some off-cuts though and they were tasty!

Serves 10

Cake
115g  unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Icing

125g unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbs milk
1 tbs cocoa powder

Pre heat the oven to 160C. Place a piece of baking paper in the bottom of a loaf pan and spray the sides with oil spray.

In a large bowl cream the butter until smooth with a hand mixer. Add the brown and caster sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. The batter will look a bit lumpy but that’s okay.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into the wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but not over-mixed. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. The tip here is to use a wooden skewer and not something metal, as even if the loaf is undercooked the metal skewer could still come out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, then remove it and place it back on the rack to cool completely.

For the icing, using a hand-mixer on high whip the butter until completely smooth and fluffy (around 1 minute). Sift in half the icing sugar 1 tbs of the milk and mix. Then add in the rest of the icing sugar and milk. At this stage I took some of the icing out (around 2 tbs) for the writing. For the remaining icing I added a tbs of cocoa and mixed that in. For the writing icing I added in a few drops of green food colouring before piping.

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Vanilla and Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake

I’ve been on a mission lately to find some great, fool-proof cake recipes as I’ve had many duds in the past. Mostly what happens is my cakes collapse or are dry. I finally found a lovely vanilla buttermilk recipe which I added lemon too, and also added on top a  lemon butter icing. I decided to try this recipe in a bundt pan.

I made this cake for a work morning tea (and we have a lot of them at my work!). I’m lucky that I have people at work who like to eat the things I bake. If I had to keep and eat it myself at home I would end up twice the size I am!

At the moment I only have a hand-held mixer to use when making cakes, and cookies etc. I am waiting for the day I get my Kitchenaid (Raspberry coloured) and have given Rich and my family notice I want it for my 30th birthday which is in March, 2014!

Serves 12

The Cake
250g (1 2/3 cup) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, softened and diced
275g (1 1/4 cup) caster sugar
80ml olive oil (extra virgin)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 lemons, zested
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk

Lemon Butter Icing
430g (2 2/3 cups) icing sugar
100g salted butter, softened
1 1/2 tbs verjuice*
2 lemons, zested and juiced

*Verjuice is unripe grape juice. If you don’t have it, it can be omitted.

Preheat the oven to 170C. Spray the bundt pan with oil to grease it which will help you remove it was cooked and cooled.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt into a bowl.

With an electric mixer (hand or stand) beat the butter, sugar, oil, vanilla and lemon zest on high for 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat them in for 30 seconds after each egg. Add half of the flour mixture, and half of the buttermilk and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the remaining flour and buttermilk, scrape down the bowl and mix on low until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the bundt pan, tap the pan on the bench a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and flatten the top with a spoon or spatula.

Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, after 20 minutes cover the cake with foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes (testing with a skewer and making sure it comes out clean – if not, cook for another 5 minutes or until cooked through).

Cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack until completely cooled.

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the butter, verjuice, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir until combined.

Move the cake onto a plate and pour or spoon the icing thickly over the cake.

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Creamy Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

Cheesecake is one of my very favourite things to eat and this one is easy peasy to make and super delicious. I came arcross it for the first time when my Aunty used to make it at Christmas time (I’m sure she made it other times during the year but I only ever went to visit at Christmas). Pairing it with the sweet raspberry sauce adds another layer of sweetness.

This is the first time I’ve made this cheesecake with the crust up the sides mainly because I love eating the crust so the more the better. In this recipe I used arrowroot biscuits but you can use whatever biscuits you like. I’ve successfully used gingernut biscuits and chocolate cookies.

The great thing about cheesecake is the ingredients are all combined into just one bowl. Easy clean-up (for master dishwasher Richard).

Serves 12

Cheesecake
250g packet of biscuits/cookies of your choice
120g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
rind of 1 lemon
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 teaspoons gelatine dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water

Process the biscuit/cookies and melted butter together in a food processor and press into the bottom and sides of a springform pan. Place in the fridge.

In a bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth, then add in the gelatine/water and beat until combined.

Add in the cream, lemon juice and lemon rind and beat until smooth.

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared base and refridgerate for at 3 hours.

Raspberry Sauce
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Serve as it is, or sieve out the seeds.

Cool in the fridge and serve on top of the cheesecake.

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