Classic Buttercream

Sometimes it’s the simple basic’s that are the often the best.

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Every baker should have a go-to Buttercream recipe that is simple, quick & easy to whip up that tastes as good as it looks!

So this is my TWO ingredient Classic Buttercream.

First beat 250g of room temperature butter (I use Lurpak) until it’s very pale. Then add 2 & 1/4 cups of pure icing sugar (not the mixture stuff!) but add it only 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until it’s nice & fluffy!

Then you can tint it with all sorts of food colours to create anything your wee heart desires.

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Neapolitan Marble Cake

It’s a classic which is now rarely seen,

but the swirls of pink, chocolate & vanilla are well worth the effort.

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It has been a chaotic week! Last Wednesday was Mini-Me’s birthday so off we popped to Melbourne Zoo which lays claim to being the oldest zoo in Australia! We treated her to an exclusive behind the scenes member’s tour before exploring the zoo at our leisure until just after lunch when she got to have a close encounter with her all time favourite animal by feeding the Giraffe in it’s enclosure. She was just so deliriously happy & her delightful giggle is simply magic to my ears as well as my heart.

The rest of the week was spent in absolute panic as I madly threw together her party which we hosted at our mountain top home on Sunday. Twenty hyped up children having the time of their lives & the snow machine went down a real treat! Their limbo moves were super impressive & let me tell you, those tiny ballerinas have a mighty mean swing on a piñata! Food was plentiful but, of course, the star of the culinary show is always the birthday cake!

Mini-Me loves Neapolitan Ice-Cream so I took my inspiration from that to wow her when we cut open the cake.

Bung into your mixer bowl 125g of room temperature softened butter along with 3/4 cup of caster sugar & a teaspoon of vanilla. Cream that until it’s nice & fluffy.

Add in 2 eggs, but one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Fold through 2 cups of self raising flour & a pinch of salt alternating with 1/2 cup of milk.

Divide the mix into 3 bowls. Leave one plain, add 1 tablespoon of cocoa to another & a few drops of pink food colouring to the third. Give them a jolly good mix.

Layer the 3 batters into a well greased cake tin & use a sharp knife or a bamboo skewer to create swirls.

Whack in a 175c oven for an hour.

You can serve this cake plain, dusted in icing sugar, with buttercream or even covered in ganache! Let your imagination run wild!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Finally, at long last, a Gluten Free cake that is rich, moist, fabuliciouzly tasty & above all else, not crumbly!

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You know, I used to be pretty darn good at making cakes before we knew about my illness with Gluten. I used to take so very much pleasure in my cake baking but since needing to be Gluten Free, I just haven’t had that same passion. I lost my cake mojo. Try as hard as I might, using Gluten Free flour just doesn’t cut it. I tried this recipe, with much trepidation, expecting yet another bitter disappointment, only to be pleasantly surprised with the results this time! This tastes like real cake! HOORAH!

Start by lining a loaf tin with baking paper, remember to use spray oil first to hold it in place.

Measure out 3/4 cup of caster sugar.

Grab a mixing bowl & bung in 280g of dark chocolate along with 160g of softened butter. Pop that over a pan of simmering water to melt gently, then stir in 6 egg yolks & half of that caster sugar. Take it off the heat & set aside to cool.

In a second mixing bowl, beat the 6 egg whites to a soft peak consistency. Now you can opt to get an arm workout if that’s what floats your boat, but I choose to use my electric beaters. Then, ever so gradually, add in the rest of that caster sugar whilst continuing to beat until it’s thick & glossy, just like meringue.

Back to the chocolate mix bowl & gently fold through 1 & 1/2 cups of Almond Meal followed by the meringue mix. Be really careful not to totally knock out all that luscious air you’ve worked so hard to beat in there!

Pour the batter into the loaf tin & bake for an hour in a 160c oven. If you choose to make cupcakes with this batter, as pictured, simply halve the cooking time.

Pineapple Cheesecake

Fabuliciouzly creamy with a tropical twist;

this Pineapple Cheesecake is definitely a hit with my fam-bam!

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I start by crushing 2 cups of Cornflakes (I use Gluten Free ones) with my mortar & pestle to get them nice & fine. Then I melt 150g of butter in a saucepan over a low heat before pouring that on top of the crushed Cornflakes & giving it a jolly good mix to ensure all the crumbs are nice & moist. Next, simply press that lot into a loaf tin & pop in the fridge to set.

Grab yourself a mixing bowl & bung in 250g of cream cheese. Beat that with a hand held mixer to get it lovely & soft. Gradually add in 1/3 cup of lemon juice, then a whole tin (397g) of sweetened condensed milk & keep beating until gloriously smooth.

Open a tin (440g) of crushed pineapple & drain it well of the juice. Gently fold the pineapple into the filling before pouring over the top of the now chilled cornflake base then whack back into the fridge overnight to set.

When ready to serve, invert the loaf tin onto a board, then back onto your serving platter, decorate with whipped cream & strawberries then It’s Chompin Time!

Old Fashioned Butter Biscuits

Light as air first bite gives way to melt to the roof of your mouth buttery smoothness,

Sometimes you just gotta go old school!

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Baking bikkies with my Mini Me is just one of those simple pleasures in life that are what memories are made of, you know?! I just adore it when we’ve donned our aprons, are covered in flour & her delicious wee giggle is filling the kitchen with joyous bliss.

Bung into the bowl of your mixer 125g of softened butter, 1/2 cup of caster sugar & 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste. Mix until it’s pale & creamy before cracking in an egg & continuing to mix until it’s well combined.

Next, throw in 2 cups of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder & 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix until it forms a nice soft dough.

Pinch bits of the dough out with your fingers & roll into wee balls before placing on a baking paper lined tray. When all the balls are done, very gently press a fork to just flatten each top.

Whack those into a 180c oven for 15 minutes.

Allow the biscuits to cool on the trays, then dust them in icing sugar before devouring greedily!

Basic Macaroons

They’re a fancy bakery favourite but you’ll be really surprised how easy you can make these slightly chewy, crispy crusted delicate biscuits at home.

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The first trick to get all of your macaroons at the same size is to grab some sort of round object that’s about 4cm in diameter. I ‘borrow’ one of Mini-Me’s toy’s, a layer of a wooden ice-cream from her timber high tea set but ssshhhhhhh don’t tell her! Then trace circles onto baking paper leaving about a 2cm gap between each one. Spray some oil on a couple of baking trays to help the baking paper stick without moving & set those prepared trays aside for later.

Next, we’re going to beat 3 egg whites in a mixer until soft peaks form before adding in 2 tablespoons of caster sugar along with whatever food colour floats your boat & beat that until the sugar dissolves, that means you can’t feel any grains of sugar between your fingers anymore.

Then, simply fold through 1 & 1/4 cups of sifted icing sugar with 1 cup of almond meal gently in two separate batches, being extra careful not to knock out all that lovely air you’ve worked so hard to beat in there!

Scoop that luscious mix into a piping bag fitted with just a plain nozzle & fill in the circles drawn on your trays. The next trick to an awesome macaroon is to gently tap the trays on the bench to spread them slightly before dusting with some more icing sugar & then leave them sit there for 15 minutes – this is what allows that signature crunchy crust to form in the air drying!

Whack those in a 150c oven for 20 minutes after which allow them to stand for an extra 5 minutes before very carefully peeling them from the paper & bunging them onto a cooling wire.

Meanwhile whip up a standard chocolate ganache by simply popping 100g of dark chocolate callets into a bowl & pouring in 2 tablespoons of thickened cream. Sit that over a pan of simmering water, make sure that the water never touches the bottom of the bowl or your chocolate will seize & be useless, then gently stir while it melts. Sit it aside to cool slightly so it thickens up a wee  bit before spooning small amounts onto the bottom of a macaroon & using another one to sandwich on top.

When you serve up these fabuliciouz wee beauties you can stand back & bask in the glory chef!

Lamington Truffles

Happy Australia Day!

Last year, on the Facebook Page, I introduced my new creation of a great Aussie classic with an updated twist. It was so popular that I’m now sharing it onto the website to help you all celebrate our National Day tomorrow.

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Start by crumbling up a sponge cake into a bowl & mixing through 1/2 cup of vanilla frosting (Both can be bought from the shop ready made to save time if that floats your boat).

Pinch off bits of mixture & roll into balls. Pop them on a baking paper lined tray & bung in the freezer for an hour.

Melt some good quality dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat & start rolling your frozen balls in the hot chocolate before then rolling through desiccated coconut on a plate.

Return the balls to the freezer for a few minutes to set the chocolate before devouring greedily this Australia Day.

Vanilla Glazed Pineapple Cake

A sweet treat from the tropics that any guests for tea would be extremely impressed by & you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to whip up!

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Bung into a mixing bowl 2 cups of self raising flour, 1 cup of raw sugar & a 450g tin of crushed pineapple (including the juice) then give it all a jolly good mix.

Pour the batter into a well greased cake tin & whack in a 180c oven for 40 minutes.

After baking, allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling wire. When completely cold, it’s time to glaze!

Grab a mixing bowl & in goes 2 cups of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of warm water & a teaspoon of vanilla paste then stir away until it’s nice & smooth.

Pop a baking tray underneath the cooling wire & simply pour the glaze over the cake allowing it to seductively drip down the sides, don’t worry as the tray is there to catch the overspill mess.

Now that is a mighty easy, awesomely fabuliciouz cake to be proud to call homemade!

Gingerbread

Fabuliciouzly Festive Gingerbread in just 3 easy steps!

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Did you know it was Genghis Khan (1162-1227) who introduced the West to Gingerbread way back in the 10th century?!?! Well, it wasn’t exactly what we’d recognise today as Gingerbread, but was more of a spiced honey bread that his troops had included in their rations. It gained popularity in Arabia & eventually caught the attention of the Crusaders & badda bing badda boom, next thing ya know it’s all the rage in England!

These days we have 2 types of Gingerbread – the crisp dough we use to make biscuits & houses along with the soft cake which is what this recipe is I’ve baked for you.

Step 1 – grab a saucepan & bung in 1 cup of milk & 1 cup of treacle. Stir it over a low heat to combine well before setting aside to cool slightly.

Step 2 – grab a bowl & beat very well 1 cup of softened butter with 1 cup of caster sugar until they’re light & creamy. Then add in 3 eggs, 1 at a time, giving a jolly good beat after each one.

Step 3 – grab another bowl again & in goes 3 cups of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda, 1 teaspoon of mixed spice & 2 tablespoons of ground ginger. Mix it all up thoroughly.

Now it’s just an easy case of combining it all into a luscious batter. Start with your butter mixture bowl in front of you, add in the dry mixture bowl & stir together before pouring in the milky mixture & simply beating it all together until a nice smooth batter forms.

Pour the batter into a 20cm square cake tin that you’ve lined with baking paper & whack in a 180c oven for 1 hour.

Now the trick is to let the cake cool in the tin once you’ve pulled it out of the oven before turning out onto a board & slicing into squares. I also like to give them a quick dust with icing sugar, just for that wee extra Christmassy touch.

Classic Fruit Cake

Nothing says Christmas in Australia quite like a good old fashioned Fruit Cake.

My go-to recipe for years is simple, moist & only 3 ingredients!

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I shared this recipe on my Facebook page last year, before starting this blog, and it was enormously popular! In fact, it was still being shared & baked only last week!

Simply bung a 1kg bag of dried fruit into a large mixing bowl before pouring over 2 cups of very strong black coffee then pop the bowl in the fridge to soak the fruit for 2 days.

On the 3rd day, remove the now plumped up juicy fruit from the fridge & throw 2 cups of self raising flour into the bowl. Give it a jolly good mix to form a stiff batter.

Pour that lot into a greased cake tin & whack in a 150c oven for 1 & 1/2 hours to bake.

Easy! There, you have my simplest Christmas Fruit Cake ever!