Chocolate Fudge Cake

This past weekend was one of those weekends that are just a little bit too crazy. Adrian was organising a Regional Youth Rally at Church and with a friday night program the evening before we didn’t end up getting into bed until 2am Saturday morning. The rally was fantastic but needless to say I wasn’t surprised to find Adrian dead to the world when I called him to lunch at about 2pm that afternoon!

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It’s weekends like these that require some very necessary self medication in the form of sugar and chocolate. What better way to give a much needed boost to my worn out Pastor husband than a delicious fudgey chocolate cake and this fudgey chocolate cake is unapolagetically opulent. Its a very simple recipe and within the hour our serotonin levels had peaked with the sugary goodness. What better way to relax on a Sabbath afternoon then with a steaming hot cuppa and deliciously decadent choccy cake.

The best part is enjoying the leftovers now with a nice little cup of tea.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
(adapted from Women’s Weekly Classic Cakes)

Ingredients:
250g Dark Chocolate
125g Butter
150g Caster Sugar
100g Plain Flour
2/3 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 and line a lamington tin (20x30cm) with baking paper.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
3. Combine chocolate mixture in remaining ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium until smooth and changed colour.
4. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to stand for 5.

Just what you need on a cool winters arvo…

Dark Chocolate and Plum Clafoutis…

 

I’ve been completely addicted to stone fruit recently… not just because they are naturally sweet and succulent.. but they are also very much seasonal which equals very much affordable… something that has been especially important since the move down to Sydney where grocery prices are exorbitant to say the least… luckily I had an excellent excuse to bake this week… worship ministry meeting!

 

 

 

Worship ministry is a ministry in our church that is responsible for the inspiring church services every week… and as corny as it sounds work a little bit like this tasty clafoutis… separately all the ingredients are pretty bland (except maybe the plums and chocolate)… but by bringing them all together using the right processes and finesse… equal a truly remarkable experience!

 

 

Clafoutis is originally a french dish from the Limousin region… traditionally made with dark, sweet cherries (pips left in for added flavour) this twist on a classic takes these beautiful ruby blood plums and transforms them into a concentrated little gem perched in a moussy and rich chocolate pillow… this recipe is so simple to make and yet the results are truly incredible… I expected a light sponge style cake but was surprised to cut into a spongey, thick and warm dessert with the consistency of thick double cream… this ones a keeper so get in quick while the plums are fresh and frugle…

 

Dark Chocolate and Plum Clafoutis
Adapted from: Donna Hay’s Seasons
Serves: 8

Ingredients
1/3 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup cream
175g dark chocolate, chopped
20g butter
5 blood plums

Method

  1. Place dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix wet ingredients in a jug.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients in the dry and stir in the dark chocolate.
  3. Melt the butter in an oven proof fry pan then fill with the batter.
  4. Slice the plums in half and top with the plums.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until puffed up and cooked through.

Happy Baking!

Carrot Cake for the Leftover Frosting…

As I promised, I have a delicious little Carrot Cake recipe that just screams “smother me in cream cheese frosting and call me a heart attack.”

Carroty deliciousness...

I know, I know, carrot’s a vegetable so it’s healthy right? Well, unfortunately, I like my sweets calorie laden and my desserts even more so!

Nametag just in case I forget it has nutritious vegies...

Alas, don’t be deceived by the addition of vegetables… this tasty little morsel is guaranteed to cling to your thighs for its dear life… I just had to be a little fancy and add some chocolate piping on top…

At the sight of all that delicious frosting I can literally hear my thighs scream for mercy...

Happy Baking!

Carrot Cake

Adapted from: The Cake Mistress (check it out)

Ingredients:

1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
Pinch Salt
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
2 cups Self Raising Flour
2 cups finely grated Carrot (around 4 large carrots)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Beat sugar and oil until thick, then add 1 egg at a time and keep beating for a few more minutes.
  3. Add salt, bicarb soda, carrots, flour and spices.
  4. Mix with wooden spoon until all combined.
  5. Put batter in well greased loaf pan or tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until light golden and cake springs back when touched in the middle.
  6. Smother with your left over frosting….. droool…

Cupcakes in red…

I had a most delightful evening the other night with my fellow ladies of theology… and I got to make some fancy pants cupcakes to take!

I have been perusing food blogs for quite some time now but have been quite surprised at the American domination… When I went to America even their pesto came as a “just add water” mix and frosty came in a jar, tub and spray can… so I was surprised to find so many wonderful baking blogs! And these little darlings just popped up all over the place…

and they are just as tasty as they look… It’s a very unusual recipe with a very unusual name… Red Velvet Cake doesn’t sound that appealing…

I couldn't help myself...

the shocking thing!? It actually had a velvety texture… surprisingly delightful… curious now aren’t you? Unfortunately I sent the last few of these cute little sweeties with Adrian to share with his friends…

I’m sure those boys are going to love little red cupcakes with love hearts on top!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

(I pinched this recipe from Willow Bird Baking)

Ingredients:

Cupcake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting
450g cream cheese, softened
220g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted icing sugar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

NOTE: Makes uber amounts of frosting so pop the leftover in the fridge and stayed tuned for a killer carrot cake to finish it off with!

Happy Baking!

The Dairy-Free Dinner Party That Was

Just over two weeks ago a friend and myself decided to throw a small dinner party a.k.a gastronomical feast, for our friends. There was however, one tinsy tiny teeny little catch… My friend is dairy intolerant… poor thing… so this three course extravaganza needed to be completely and utterly dairy-free down to the tiniest last morsel or my friend (who shall remain nameless) would have an upset…. digestive system… to put it nicely… So what do you serve at a dairy free dinner party? Good question… we decided to stick to recipes that were ‘naturally’ dairy-free, that is they didn’t contain any dairy substitutes… which proved even more difficult and quite unavoidable, especially when it came to dessert… aaaahhh dessert… now that was an interesting story…

Finishing touches ready for our guests...

A few posts back Bakerella had made these dainty little.. oh so simple… chocolate dessert cups which looked adorable and would be the perfect little holsters for our delicate and dairy-free poached pears… The concept was profound really… you take a whole lot of water balloons and blow them up, dip them in melted chocolate (the very dark 85% stuff with as little dairy as possible), let them cool and then “simply” pop the water balloons and ta-dah a dainty little chocolate cup that just screams stuff me with a poached pear and call me a delightful dairy -free dessert…

So of we went, blowing up our tiny little water balloons and melting our very expensive, good quality chocolate… getting ourselves all set to make our dainty little cups…. maybe we were just too eager or just a little giddy over the cuteness of these little chocolate sweeties… either way neither of us were thinking straight… you see instead of reading the instructions on the Bakerella site we just looked at the pictures (as all good cooks do…) and failed to see the very important step of letting the chocolate cool before popping our teeny little balloons into the chocolate…

…my husband tells me that for some strange and stupid reason, unbeknownst to me… when you take a little ball of air and pop it in some hot melted chocolate… the air expands and our teeny tiny little balloons explode and shower melted chocolate all over the kitchen… all over us.. a heavily cherished John Mayer t-shirt (had to put that one in)… the floor… the walls.. the oven.. the cupboards and even more hilarious… our faces…

Needless to say it was a disaster… you would think then we would step back… have a little think… maybe go back to the website and read the instructions… but no.. “hmmm” we though to ourselves, “I wonder why it did that” (between fits of giggles) “maybe we should try another one?” (let me just add a little side note: at this stage we had already thoroughly cleaned the kitchen of all remnants of chocolate as well as the John Mayer t-shirt)..

..so as the baking pioneers that we were, undefeated we attempted to smother another little balloon in chocolate… this one made it to the baking tray! Success!

Or so we thought…. an explosion of chocolate and yet again my kitchen… face… entire body.. walls, floor, cupboards… and the John Mayer t-shirt… were smothered in itty bitty splashes of very expensive dark chocolate…. this time we didn’t clean up… 6 more explosions later we decided to give it a rest and get on with the rest of the food prep….

It wasn’t until husband came home about 1hr before dinner party begins and suggests maybe.. just maybe.. the water balloons were meant to be filled with water… not air.. and continued to melt the rest of the chocolate and managed to muster up some dainty little chocolate cups for our dinner party (how he got the water out of those balloons and all over the kitchen floor is another story)..

To this day I am still encountering tiny little flecks of chocolate all over my kitchen…

RECIPES:

For starters we got some packet mini crostini bread things…. from the supermarket and topped them with a little tofutti cream cheese (a tasty little tofu based cream cheese), sliced tomato and a basil leaf.. they went down a treat.

Our first course was a roasted red onion tart with a little rocket salad on top… The pastry was just a simple shortcrust pastry substituting the butter with some nuttelex (another nut based spread)… I found the pastry came out a little grainy and flakey.. not sure what went wrong but I’d recommend the butter next time. The onions we roasted with a little oil and some salt and rosemary and leave them for longer than you think so they are nice and caramelised. We popped them in the tart cases and tossed a little rocket with balsamic and oil and piled it on top… for the dairy eaters a bit of shaved parmesan finished it off nicely…

The pasta was a bit of an experiment.. we roasted a little pumpkin and mashed in some salt, goats cheese, and cooked spinach until the flavour and consistency was good..

Pasta is simple… 6 people = 6 eggs + 600g flour… stir it up with your fingers till you have a nice smooth dough and let it rest…

…put through a pasta machine till nice and thin, then shape into ravioli… fill them nice and full and don’t let any air in… if you’re interested I’ll do a longer post on the delightfulness that is fresh pasta making!

We cheated and put a bottle sauce.. but we tossed through a few cherry tomatoes before spooning it over the pasta…

Finally for the pears.. we made a sugar syrup and through in a few cinnamon quills, orange juice and vanilla extract.. we peeled and pulled the core out of the base of the pear and I think they were poaching for about 2 hrs… really yummy! I think next time I might try to do them in a grape juice to get that nice burgundy colour…

Things I Learnt:

– If you heat up air it expands… and if that air is inside a tiny little water balloon.. it pops.

– Dairy free pastry is not impossible… though I wouldn’t recommend it.

– Goats cheese is dairy free and not as goaty as one might think :D..

– There is nothing better than fresh pasta made and shared with friends… and dairy free..

– Baking is for sharing and sharing creates memories…

Bake, share, love.

Welcome to my Blog…

“Nothin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven…”

Pillsbury Doughboy

Welcome to my blog…

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a 22 year old student that is desperately trying to finish her final year of theology/ministry (and graduate – God willing – with honours) which can be… quite taxing (to say the least). Never before have my beliefs, my character or my purpose in life come under question… it’s a risky business following the will of God.

Thus, I bake to escape.

Welcome to my escape. BUT like any other OCD, type A, overachieving, perfectionist female, my baking needs to have a purpose.

My purpose at this stage of my life is ministry, and it would only make sense that my baking were a ministry also.

Thus, Bake, Share, Love…

A movement that aims to inspire the baker within to focus on the people without and use your gifts and talents to bring joy to others. Bake something, share it and feel the love.

It’s quite simple really… together, I believe, we can bake a better world.

Feel like baking yet?