Strawberry Cheesecake

Strawberry CheesecakeI dropped a packet of chocolate digestives under all a bag of groceries, so I decided to save them by turning them into a cheesecake. I have always wanted to make a cheesecake, just so I know how. I found this recipe via Pinterest, but I halved the recipe for a smaller crowd.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cup dark chocolate digestives, crushed
  • 30g butter, melted

Cheesecake

  • 2 300g packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 200g sugar
  • 30ml plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5ml pure vanilla extract
  • 30ml double cream

Strawberry Top

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1/2 pint fresh small strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 45ml water
  • 30ml sugar
  • 2.5ml corn-starch
  • red food colouring, optional

Method

Crust

  • Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325º F/160ºC. (I almost baked this at 180ºC which is why I’ve highlighted it)
  • Put a tea kettle or large pot of water on the stove to boil for the water bath.
  • Mix together the crust ingredients and press into 7” springform pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.

Cheesecake

  • In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed.
  • Add the whole eggs and the egg yolk, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition.
  • Beat in the vanilla and sour cream.
  • Place the spring-form pan in a larger roasting pan.
  • Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. If your cheesecake pan is not leak-proof, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
  • Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 70 to 80 minutes.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature.
  • Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Strawberry Top

  • Puree frozen strawberries in a small food processor or with an immersion blender.
  • Press blended strawberries through a fine mesh strainer in to a small saucepan. Add water.
  • In a small bowl, mix together sugar and corn starch. Stir into the puree in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Continue cooking and stirring until thickened and clear. Add food colouring, if desired. Cool to room temperature.
  • Arrange strawberries in a single layer around the cooled cheesecake.
  • Drizzle cooled glazed evenly over strawberries on cheesecake.
  • Store, covered, in refrigerator.
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Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes

Cinnamon CupcakesWho doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? It is completely one of my favourites. The trouble is that I often just don’t have the time (or inclination) to work at creating a dough and let it proof and i would love to just bomb it all in a bowl and off you go. I found this recipe, and it’s definitely a winner. It gives you just enough cinnamon sugar flavour without all the hard work.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (150g) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Ingredients – Icing

  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Line 18 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
  • Set out the butter and eggs for 30 minutes to allow to come to room temperature.
  • Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat butter in a mixer on high for 30 seconds. Gradually add the granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture alternately with the milk into the egg mixture. Beat until just combined.
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into the prepared cupcake liners. Sprinkle one teaspoon of the brown sugar over the batter. Top the brown sugar mixture in each cup with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture over the batter.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the oven and transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
  • Mix the milk into the icing sugar a little at a time and then dollop or drizzle onto the cupcakes.

Original recipe source.

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Mochaccino Layer Cupcakes

Mocha Cupcakes

I decided that I wanted to make some cupcakes that are a bit different, so I went hunting for a recipe. I think I underestimated how little patience  have these days and how out of practice I am with baking and the precision it requires. I have added some notes on where I went wrong to hopefully prevent further disasters. The turned out really tasty, but the frosting was more gloopy fluffy!

Ingredients – Cupcakes

  • 1 cup (250 ml) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (310 ml) whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) brewed coffee or water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups (330 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

 Ingredients – Mocha Frosting:

  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) Semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) brewed coffee or
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups (310 ml) whipping cream, divided

Method – Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with large-size paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cocoa. Gradually whisk in cream until blended; whisk in coffee and egg.
  • Without stirring, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir until batter is smooth and blended.
  • Spoon into prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool completely.

Method – Frosting

  • In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot, not boiling water, melt chocolate chips with coffee, cinnamon and 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the cream; stir until smooth. Let cool slightly. (Don’t overheat the water, otherwise the chocolate will start to separate)
  • In a large, chilled bowl, whip remaining cream to soft peaks. (Make sure the cream is properly whipped before adding anything. If you add any of the flavours to the whipped cream before whipping your cream just wont get fluffy enough)
  • Fold one-quarter into chocolate mixture until blended; beat chocolate mixture into remaining cream.
  • Chill until stiff.
  • Peel paper from cupcakes; cut each cake in half crosswise. With a spatula or piping bag, spread or pipe frosting over bottom cake layers. Top with cake tops and decorate with remaining frosting

Original Recipe from Real Cream.

Lamingtons

LamingtonsWhen I grew up in South Africa, I loved ystervarkies (roughly translated into small porcupines), it was only much later that I learned that they actually have an English name, lamingtons. I haven’t seen then anywhere in the UK and they seem to be a brilliant little winter treat, so I found a recipe, which seemed reasonable, but it needed quite a bit of work to make it just right. 

I’m going to say this a bunch of time throughout the method, but you really have to be very careful with the sponge. It doesn’t use any baking powder so be very gentle with the mixture to not lose any of the air. 

Ingredients

For the Sponge

  • 3 eggs
  • 125 grams butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar (250ml)
  • 2 cups flour (500ml)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar (500ml)
  • 3 tablespoons coco powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups coconut (500ml)

Method

For the Sponge

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  • Grease and line a square baking tin (20cm x 20cm) with greaseproof paper.
  • Mix eggs, softened butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 8 minutes.
  • Add one cup of flour and vanilla extract at a time and mix with a cold metal spoon.
  • Place mixture into a square greased baking dish and place into the oven.
  • Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.
  • Once done, remove from the oven and let it stand until cooled.

For the Icing

  • Mix the cocoa and icing sugar together and add 1 tablespoon of water at a time – this needs to form a liquid approximately the consistency of melted chocolate.
  • Cut the sponge into cubes and place the coconut in a separate dish.
  • Dip the sponge cubes in the icing mixture and then into the coconut until it is completely covered with the coconut.
  • Let the squares stand until the icing is dry before serving.

Original recipe Reader’s Digest

Carrot cake

We decided to invite some friends over and I decided to bake a carrot cake to feed them. I couldn’t find a carrot cake recipe that I was happy with so I sort of made one up. You can double up this recipe to make 2 layers, but I decided that a single layer would be more than enough for us. I used a 20 cm cake tin, and it made a decent height layer. Next time I may use a bundt tin or a much smaller, but taller tin. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup wheatgerm
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170ºC and line a cake tin with paper.
  • Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients. I let the wet mixture stand for a about 10 – 15 minutes to allow for the moisture to be absorbed into the grated carrot.
  • Then mix together the  wet and dry ingredients, pour into the baking tin and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  • Allow the cake to cool before icing with cream cheese icing.

Nigella’s Lemon Drizzle Cake

For my birthday I realised that I need to make something for the office, so I decided to try out a fool proof recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake. Instead of using a loaf tin, I decided to try out my ring cake tin. I think a ring cake always looks impressive and they are super simple to drizzle the icing all over. Many thanks to The Extraordinary Art of Cake for sharing the recipe

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 175g self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons milk

For the Syrup

  • juice of 1 and a half lemons
  • 100g icing sugar

For the Drizzle Icing

  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 150g icing sugar

Method

For the Cake

For the cake, I used a ring loaf tin, and because I had no idea how much the cake will rise, I actually doubled up the recipe and the cake overflowed all over the oven. I also had enough to make 4 cupcakes, which I don’t recommend. This mixture is too soft and the cupcakes just fall apart. For lemon cupcakes, take a look at my other recipe

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4.
  • Butter and line your tin well.
  • Cream together butter and sugar and add eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well.
  • Gently fold in the flour and the salt, mixing thoroughly and then add the milk.
  • Spoon the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 45 mins or until cake tester comes out clean.

 For the Syrup

  • Put the lemon juice and icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
  • As soon as cake is out of oven, puncture all over with skewer and pour over the syrup.
  • Leave cake to cool completely before removing from the tin. I found that turning it over onto a plate (without removing it from the tin) allows the bottom of the cake to cool a little quicker. 

For the Drizzle Icing

  • Combine lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth and white, add a little more icing sugar if needed.
  • Make sure your cake is completely cool before drizzling with the glaze.

Rose Cupcakes

It’s my birthday! I decided to mark the occasion with something yummy, non diet and lovely to look at. Of course I haven’t baked in a while I realise my ingredients cupboard is almost bare. I had to substitute some custard powder into my icing mixture which is why the icing is more peachy than rosy. The recipe for this is from Crumbs and Dirty Dishes. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients

For the Rose-milk

  • 1 flower’s worth of rose petals (washed) (you may need to use more depending on how big or strong smelling your roses are)
  • 3/4 cup milk

For the Cupcakes

  • 120ml rose-milk
  • 275g self raising flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • A few drops of red food colouring

For the Icing

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 15ml rose-milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • A few drops of red food colouring

Method

For the Rose-milk

An hour before you want to start on the rest of the cupcakes, take the milk for both the cakes and the icing and put on a fire on a very low heat with the (washed) rose petals. After at least an hour, remove the petals and drain excess milk then split the milk into the required amounts for cake and icing again.

For the Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  • Line a tray with cupcake cases.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is very pale but not completely liquid.
  • Add one egg, beat for a few minutes then add the second egg before beating again.
  • Add one third of the flour, then one third of the rose-milk, beating for a few minutes or so after each addition. Repeat until both have been used up.
  • Add a drop or two of food colouring, just to give it a slight rose tint.
  • Spoon the mixture into 12 cupcake cases in the tray.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and cooked through. Leave to cool.

For the Icing

I’ll give you the actual recipe I should’ve followed, rather than the botch job I did. I made half the amount of icing from the original recipe and it was enough to cover all the cupcakes.

  • Beat the butter and rose-milk whilst adding the icing sugar gradually.
  • Drop in the food colouring – remember a little goes a long, long way.
  • Ice the cupcakes as soon as they are cool and the icing is ready.

Mini Chocolate Puddings

Having bought ramekins, I am now over the moon with the simplicity of using them for all sorts of things. Of course, Chocolate pudding had to be it. When I was growing up, we would call this a self-saucing pudding, but call it what you want, it is super yummy and just more-ish. This is where using ramekins really helps, it is a simple form of portion control. I allow myself only one, but I don’t feel like I haven’t had enough to satisfy. I used this recipe as a base, and halved the quantities. The results were amazing.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 40ml unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 40ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 90ml firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups boiling water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F/180° C/160° C Fan assisted. In a large bowl, sift together flour, half of the cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla; add to flour mixture. Stir batter until just combined. Spread batter evenly into an 8 cup shallow baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining cocoa powder, brown sugar, and boiling water. Pour liquid evenly over batter, do not mix.

Bake until a tooth pick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with crumbs adhering to it, 30 to 35 minutes (20 – 25 minutes for ramekins). Let cool 10 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or custard).

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I found this, the most perfect recipe for dark, rich chocolate buttercream. This is officially the only chocolate buttercream I will use from now on.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  • Cream butter until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
  • Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
  • Makes about 2 cups frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This is the basic recipe for buttercream that I use. You can use it as is, or add colours or go wild. This is luxuriously soft and gorgeous. This recipe makes enough for about 18 cupcakes, or for icing a 9 inch cake.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  • Cream butter until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
  • Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
  • Makes about 2 cups frosting.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

A friend of mine is a cupcake freak, she loves cupcakes and has tried cupcakes from all over London. This of course means that I really have to up my game for her. She’s coming around to play with my kittens (not a euphemism) and I’m making her a special batch of devil’s food cupcakes. The recipe is from Martha Stewart, but I have halved the recipe so that I don’t end up with a million cupcakes. The original yield is 32 and this recipe makes a dozen larger cupcakes. I then frosted them with my favourite chocolate buttercream frosting.

Ingredients

  • 45g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 90ml hot water
  • 190g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 225g sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 110ml sour cream, room temperature

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  • Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth.
  • In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low.
  • Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full.
  • Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  • Transfer tins to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
  • Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
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Angela’s Chocolate Birthday Cake

I had really high hopes to create a giant chocolate cake for Angela’s birthday. I didn’t in the end, but what I gave up in size I made up for in flavour,. This is the most decadent, chocolatey chocolate cake I have ever tasted. The recipe comes from Hershey’s, but since we don’t get Hershey’s in the UK, I used the generic British varieties. The frosting recipe is also from Hershey’s.

Ingredients

  •  2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Method

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Apple Sponge Cupcakes with Custard Frosting

I love apple sponge, and I also love cupcakes that are made to taste like things that are not cupcakes.  So I decided to experiment and create a brand new kind of cupcake. Apple sponge cupcakes, and what apple sponge would be complete without custard? So I played around with a few combinations and came up with custard frosting.

Ingredients

Apple sponge cupcakes

  • 1 Bramley Apple
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 75g Caster Sugar
  • 55g Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 Egg

Custard Frosting

  • 40g Margarine
  • 110g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Custard Powder

Method

Preparing the apples

  • Peel and slice the apples into thin slices, then boil with the stick of cinnamon for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the water and allow to cool.

Making the Cupcakes

  • Line a cupcake tine with cupcake papers (makes about 6 cupcakes)
  • Mix together the caster sugar, flour and egg.
  • Place a small amount of batter in the bottom of the cupcake papers
  • Place a layer of apple
  • Now top with a layer of batter. Make sure you don’t fill the cupcake liners more than 3/4 full, this batter is prone to overflowing a little.
  • Bake in the oven for 15/20 minutes. While this is baking, you can start preparing your frosting.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in the muffin tray before transferring to a wire rack.
  • Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting. The apple in these means that they take a little longer to cool.

Making the Frosting

  • Cream the margarine, icing sugar and custard powder together. My personal method for this is to cream it all together by hand first, and once its all combined, then use an electric mixer on it. I find it’s much easier to control the icing consistency and texture. If it isn’t creamy enough add a splash of milk and mix. 
Featured post

Lemon Cupcakes aka Little Drops of Sunshine

I am mad about these fresh little cupcakes for summer. they are bright and fresh and yummy. I based the recipe on a recipe from Stork, but halved the amounts to make smaller little cakes. These are beautiful and make either 6 normal size cupcakes, or about 8 small little ones. 

Ingredients

Lemon Cup Cakes

  • 57.5g (2 oz) Margarine/Butter
  • 57.5 (2 oz) castor sugar
  • 35g (2.5 oz) self-raising flour, sieved together with
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, medium
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Icing

  • 42.5g (1.5 oz) Margarine/Butter
  • 110g (4 oz) icing sugar, sieved
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Lemon zest to decorate

Method

Making the Cupcakes

  • Place all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon for 2 – 3 minutes until well mixed. Place mixture in paper cases placed in a muffin tray, if you don’t have a muffin tray you can use double cupcake papers in a baking tray.
  • Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven at 180ºC, 160ºC fan, gas mark 4 on second shelf from top for 15 – 20 minutes until soft and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire tray.

Making the Icing

  • For the icing, place all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. Spread evenly over the cakes and decorate.

Rhubarb Cupcakes

We have a giant rhubarb in our garden, and as part of my mission to try everything I decided to try making rhubarb cupcakes. I have never tried rhubarb before, and everything is better in cupcakes. Since making this, I love rhubarb. For anyone who has never tried rhubarb, its like a cross between grapefruit, strawberries and raspberries, kind of. Just try making these little loves and you’ll see. The recipe is from Sugar and Spice and all things Iced, which is probably the best blog name ever. 

Rhubarb Puree

  • About 4 cups of fresh or frozen rhubarb

Thaw rhubarb if necessary. Blend rhubarb in blender or food processor adding water if necessary. You should have about 2 cups of puree. Then simmer the rhubarb puree over low heat until it is reduced by half. It should make about 1 cup. You will use half in the cupcake batter and half in the frosting. (Just a hint, don’t lick the spoon when making the rhubarb puree, it’ll blow your head off)

Rhubarb Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

  •  1/2 cup rhubarb puree (directions follow)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºF/150ºC Fan assisted. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and rhubarb puree and mix. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Pour into cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). Cool on a wire rack. Frost when completely cool.

Rhubarb Frosting

I made only half of the frosting below and it was enough to cover all the cupcakes. And I have to admit I cheated slightly with the frosting, I added a teeny bit of red food colouring to get them properly pink.

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup cooked rhubarb puree, cooled (directions follow)
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat together butter, rhubarb puree, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it reaches your desired consistency. Then frost the cooled cupcakes.

Cheesecake Brownies

We’re moving house! While this is really exciting, it also means that I am going to put my baking on pause while we get ourselves moved and settled in. The good news though is that the new house has an amazing kitchen and I love it. Hopefully this means that I’ll be taking my baking to all new levels of amazing-ness. in the meantime, I made these Cheesecake Brownies, which as you can see didn’t turn out beautiful, but they are yummy. Recipe from the food network.

Ingredients

Cheesecake topping

  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (I went to my local supermarket who had nothing called cream cheese, so I used marscapone. That’s why it turned out the way it did. I’ve researched online, and next time I’ll use Philadelphia)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Brownie Layer

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method

Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1-inch. Spray with cooking spray.

Cheesecake topping

In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the sugar and the vanilla until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until well blended. Set aside.

Brownie layer

Put the chocolate, butter, and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat at 75 percent power for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again until melted and smooth, about 30 seconds longer. (Alternatively, put the chocolate, butter, and oil in a small heatproof bowl. Bring a small saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, not touching, the water, and stir occasionally, until melted and smooth.)

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl.

Combine the brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg whites, and vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated and the batter is thick and glossy. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir just until it disappears.

Reserve 1/2 cup brownie batter and set aside. Scrape the remaining brownie batter into the prepared pan. Pour the cheesecake mixture evenly. Drop the reserved brownie batter in large dollops over the topping. Draw the handle of a wooden spoon through the two batters to create a swirled effect. The next time I make this I’m going to swirl more.

Bake until the top is just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil and peel off the foil. Spray a knife with cooking spray and cut into 2-inch squares. I don’t know what happened, but after baking my cheesecake has all but baked into the brownie mixture, I’m not really sure what happened. I may try baking this at a much cooler oven, or for a shorter time.

Chocolate Loaf Cake

This is one of the recipe’s that is near the front of my recipe book. I’ve had it for ages, and I can remember at one point in high school I would use this to make all sorts of variations. This particular variation is the chocolate loaf cake. I am used to this recipe having cracks in the top, but my oven clearly doesnt circulate the heat very well and thus my loaf cakes tend to have a lopsided crack like this one.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Soft Butter/margarine (not melted)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 1 1/4 Cups Self Raising Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Method

My original recipe says mix all the ingredients for 3 minutes and pour into the baking tin. I’m changing it slightly because that’s impractical.

Grease the loaf tin and preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla essence until it is smooth.

Mix the remaining dry ingredients together, then add the liquid mixture stirring with a spoon/spatula.Once the ingredients are combined, beat with a mixer for 3 minutes.

Pour into the greased loaf tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

My first attempt at Lemon Meringue Pie

This is my first ever attempt at a lemon meringue pie. The irony of this is that I didn’t even really know if I like meringue. But I did it. I’ve learned lots and I wouldn’t be doing myself any justice if I didn’t post it here. Let me warn you, this is a complicated recipe, but it was the simplest one I found and can be found here. It involves making pastry, making the curd and making the meringue. It is awesome fun though, so make yourself comfortable and start baking. The meringue turnout out beautifully (if not the prettiest, but it tasted amazing.

Ingredients

For the sweet shortcrust pastry

  •  225g/8oz plain white flour
  •  pinch salt
  •  110g/4oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
  •  2 tsp caster sugar
  •  1 medium free-range egg yolk

For the lemon curd

  •  100g/3½oz caster sugar
  •  7 tbsp cornflour
  •  4 large lemons, zest and juice only
  •  6 free-range egg yolks
  •  100g/3½oz unsalted butter, melted

 For the meringue

  •  6 medium free-range egg whites
  •  300g/10½oz caster sugar

 Method

For the pastry

Notes: Don’t overwork the pastry when you take it out of the fridge,  it needs to stay as cold as possible, so before putting it in the fridge, roll it out a little (into the size of a dinner plate) before putting it in the fridge.

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the butter to the flour and then rub between your fingertips until a fine breadcrumb consistency is achieved.
  3. Add the sugar to the flour and butter. Using your hands, mix to a firm dough with the egg yolk and a splash of cold water.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
  5. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and grease a 22cm/9in fluted loose-bottomed tin. Place the tin onto a baking tray.
  6. Roll out the pastry until it’s big enough to generously fit the tin, leaving excess pastry falling over the sides of the tin onto the baking tray underneath the tin – don’t trim at this stage. (I had about half the pastry left over, but to be fair I did use a smaller tin)
  7. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Now trim the excess pastry using a sharp knife. Bake the pastry case blind for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is pale golden and dried out – remove the paper and beans for the last five minutes. Lower the oven heat to 150C/300F/Gas 2.

For the Lemon Curd

Notes: Don’t add too much water to the cornflour mixture, and when I used an electric mixer it splattered all over the kitchen. I think the next time I will just mix the mixture with a spoon to make sure it stays smooth. Also, carefully keep an eye on the curd when it’s on the heat, for a while it seems like nothing is happening and it solidifies quickly, just keep stirring and it’ll be fine. 

  1. Meanwhile, for the lemon curd, mix together the sugar, cornflour and enough water to make a paste, in a large bowl.
  2. Bring 50ml/2fl oz water and the lemon zest to the boil in a small pan
  3. Gradually pour the hot liquid onto the cornflour and sugar, whisking all the time until smooth.
  4. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon juice and butter. Return to the pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring all the time, until thickened.
  5. Pour into the baked blind pastry case and leave to cool slightly.

For the Meringue

I didn’t pipe the meringue on, I just plopped in on with a spoon and smoothed it out and I still had loads of meringue left over. I think next time I will make less meringue. Also, not matter how tempting, do not open the oven while the meringue is in, that is what caused mine to crack.  When it’s done, switch off the oven and leave the meringue in the oven to cool. 

  1. For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks.
  2. Whisk in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well and at a high speed between each addition.
  3. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag (with a plain nozzle) and pipe the meringue on top of the lemon curd.
  4. Bake for about 35-45 minutes until the meringue is crisp on the outside and soft and marshmallow-like underneath.

Banana Bread

I find banana bread so much more satisfying than muffins. it has a warm rustic, homely feel to it. This is a family recipe from when I was a child. I can remember we always used to double up the quantities and make 2 loaves because invariable we’ll have eaten one while it was still warm straight out the over.

The best way to have it while it’s still warm with loads of butter.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (115g) butter/margarine
  • 3/4 cup (170g) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • 2 cups (220g) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 180C/375F

In a large bowl, cream butter and slowly add sugar, continue beating while adding the eggs one by one. Set mixture aside.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork (they should be mashed roughly), then mix in the milk.

Sieve the flour and other dry ingredients together and then add alternately with the banana mixture to the butter mixture. I mix this with a wooden spoon to make sure it isn’t over mixed.

Pour the batter into a loaf tin and bake for 55 minutes at 180 C.

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