Orange and Almond Baby Bundts

Hi there!

This is really just a quick update that deleted itself whilst I was writing it on my way back home from a day at the beach.

After my very successful lemon baby bundt cakes I decided to try another flavour. I saw a orange and almond version on a website somewhere but the actual recipe itself was much larger than my Nigella one which would have posed an issue for my already very full six bundt pans.

I decided to just use the Nigella recipe is my last post and instead of using lemon zest and juice I used orange zest and juice as well as a couple of drops of almond essence.

I love almond essence. It is a very strong and potent one so don't use it as you would vanilla because it can taste very over powering very quickly. Quite literally a few drops will do. Almond essence reminds me of Christmas cake; the best cake of all. The best part of the cake of course is the almond icing that goes atop of this marvellous cake. We have just finished our Christmas cake (it didn't get iced until New Years eve) and I already miss the wonderful almondyness that it had.

So for those of you who also pine after the delicious aroma of almond flavoured things then definitely go ahead and add the essence. For those of you who cut off the icing of a Christmas cake (God have mercy on your soul) then leave it out, it is still just as delicious without.

Once again this is the easiest cake recipe you will ever make. No beaters required. So great.

Unfortunately I was running off to my friends house for dinner (hence why I made these cakes) so I don't have any pretty pictures, just one I took whilst I ran down the stairs by the side of our house.

Orange and Almond Baby Bundts
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess
Makes six little cakes

125ml (1/2 cup) plain unsweetened yoghurt
75g butter, melted
2 large eggs
zest of one orange
1/8 teaspoon almond essence
150g (1 1/4 cups) Plain flour
125g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

For the icing:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sieved
juice of half to one orange
1 teaspoon of butter, melted
2 drops almond essence

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and grease and flour the baby bundt tins.

Sieve together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and zest.

In a separate jug or bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, essence and yoghurt.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently mix until no more flour clumps can be seen. Try not to overmix as this will result in a dense and chewy cake.

Fill the tins until just below the top of the centre tube (the inverse of the bundt hole), sprinkle over a little white sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean or and cakes bounce back when touched.

Leave to cool a little before removing the cakes form their tins. Soft, freshly baked cake is delicate and if the cakes are too hot when they are removed they can fall apart. Also don't leave them to fully cool in the tins as this can result in them sticking to the tins.

leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

To make the icing, use as much of the orange juice as necessary to make a thick but still drippable mixture. If it is too runny the icing will just run off the cake and only the bench creating a very sticky mess to wipe up later.

Decorate the cakes with a few long strands of orange zest if you wish!

I think these were better that the lemon cakes!

Baby Lemon Bundt Cakes

I found the best ever score at Pak n Save yesterday. Mini bundt tins with a gorgeous pattern to them and at only $7.99 for a pack of three. I bought six. Best purchase ever. I don't know how I am going to get all my new tins and books back down to Dunedin. It is gonna be a heavy ride. Who needs shoes and a hair drier when you have cake tins and cookbooks? I swear half of my luggage allowance is dedicated to bakeware.

Anyway, my good friend Cara bought me Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess for Christmas. It was an essential book and I just had to have it! What I love about this book is the way she writes. It isn't a sterile cookbook. She puts the time and effort into explaining things and reassuring you that the products of your adventures in the kitchen don't always turn out perfect and that's ok. She even points out the flaws in the pictures features, like chunks of cake missing as they stuck to the tin. The introduction is highly amusing and well worth the read. It is probably the best written cookbook I have come across. Each recipe has its own well thought out blurb recalling where the recipe came from, misadventures she may have had when making it as well as a few useful tips.

You should get it.

I had seen the mini bundt tins a few weeks ago but I withheld the purchasing of them, convincing myself that I didn't need them. Whilst flicking through Nigella I found a recipe where she used the mini tins. I was sold! So off to Pak n Save I dashed and immediately purchased the tins!

It wasn't until I was scooping the batter into the tins this morning that I realised that one of the tins was missing and had been left behind on the shelf. Ooops! So while I only made five mini cakes today I recommend making six as they kind of overflowed a bit and were a bit larger than I had hoped. Luckily I went back this afternoon and explained what had happened and the lost tin was reunited with its brothers in my kitchen drawer.

I actually made these little cakes for my brother to take two of them on a romantic sunset picnic with his thing/girlfriend (I have no idea of their official status!) this evening. I am also making Jack some mini bacon and egg pies to also take.

He owes me one.

Anyway I went to go and weigh out the ingredients when I discovered that our electric kitchen scales were deciding to have another crazy day and refused to weigh anything properly (they don't sit on a final value). I tried banging them against the bench, taking out the batteries but alas! I was just going to wait this one out. They will sort themselves out eventually. It always happens when I plan on getting up early to bake something.

I ended up having to google the weight to cup conversion for all the ingredients. Luckily it was only the flour and sugar that needed converting (the butter was from a new pack for I could estimate using the guidelines).

I'll give you both values below just in case you don't have decent kitchen scales (which you should have!!).

This recipe is so easy to make. You don't need a beater, just a spoon. There is no creaming of the butter and sugar involved, just mixing.

So great.

If you don't have mini bundt tins you could try mini loaf tins and I guess muffin tins as a last resort. Try serving the muffin versions with the icing on the bottom side of the cake (as in turn the muffins upside down to serve). It makes them slightly more interesting to look at.

I also sprinkled a bit of sugar over the top of the batter just before they went in. This gave them a lovely crunchy base which I think is great.

Baby Lemon Bundts
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess
Makes six little cakes

125ml (1/2 cup) plain unsweetened yoghurt
75g butter, melted
2 large eggs
zest of one lemon
150g (1 1/4 cups) Plain flour
125g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

For the icing:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sieved
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon of butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and grease and flour the baby bundt tins.

Sieve together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.

In a separate jug or bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs and yoghurt.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently mix until no more flour clumps can be seen. Try not to overmix as this will result in a dense and chewy cake.

Fill the tins until just below the top of the centre tube (the inverse of the bundt hole), sprinkle over a little white sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean or and cakes bounce back when touched.

Leave to cool a little before removing the cakes form their tins. Soft, freshly baked cake is delicate and if the cakes are too hot when they are removed they can fall apart. Also don't leave them to fully cool in the tins as this can result in them sticking to the tins.

leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

To make the icing, use as much of the lemon juice as necessary to make a thick but still drippable mixture. If it is too runny the icing will just run off the cake and only the bench creating a very sticky mess to wipe up later.

Decorate the cakes with a few long strands of lemon zest if you wish (I would have done this but my lemons were ugly and speckled).

Nigella says you can vary this recipe by using limes or oranges instead of the lemons. I think I might have to give them a go. This would also work really well as a syrup cake recipe. Instead of making the icing, make up a lemon syrup with say half a cup of caster sugar, the juice of a lemon and a splash of water. Simmer in a saucepan until a syrupy consistency is reached then pour the hot syrup over the cold cakes.


Black Doris Plum Syrup Cake

Sometimes baking really does make you feel better.

Today I was in one of those womanly funks that just wouldn't go away. I tried supermarket shopping, flicking through my cookbooks and I even bought a new tart tin but nothing would rid me of this bluesy feeling. 

I used this mood as an excuse to bake a cake without my mother raging at me for a) making us all fat and b) costing her the earth in ingredients. 

Recommended to me today by a family friend (as we both sat there and got our hair dids) was Julie Le Clerc's black Doris plum syrup cake from her book Favourite Cakes. It sure did look marvellous in its juicy and sticky wonder spread across the page. What attracted me most to this cake was the beautiful fluted bundt pan that it was cooked in making the most amazing pattern on the outer surface of the cooked cake. I traipsed through Mum's baking pan drawer and found one that almost equated the beauty of Julie's pan. Unfortunately our pan was a few centimetres too big for the recipe stated. I also was unable to find a 410g tin of black Doris plums, only a 820g tin. Alas!

Wanna know what I did?

I made a bigger cake.

I know they say that we shouldn't play around and that we should always use the tins specified blah blah blah. But you know what? I don't happen to have every single tin in every single size, I wish I did and I sure am close but not close enough. 

I decided to increase the recipe by a quarter. The only exception to this rule was the tin of plums, I went right ahead and used the whole 820g tin. There were just enough to do two rings of them in this cake. I also used all of the tin's juice for the syrup; you can never have too much syrup. Ok you can. Never mind. 

Below i'll give you the exact proportions that I used for my 25cm diameter bunt pan. It filled the pan almost to the top so if you do infact have a smaller pan, reduce the ingredients by a fifth and you should be sweet.

Black Doris Plum Syrup Cake
Adapted from Julie Le Clerc's Favourite Cakes 
Makes one large bundt cake (25cm)

1x 820g tin black Doris plums in syrup
230g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups plain, unsweetened yoghurt
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoons baking soda

Plum Syrup:
left over juice from plum tin
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup white sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake.

Drain the plums, reserve and strain the juice. Cut plums in half and remove the stones from each one. 

Grease your bundt pan and dust it with flour. 

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 

Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated and the final volume has almost doubled. 

Stir in the yoghurt.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until homogenous. Make sure you use a scraper to get down at the mixture at the bottom of the bowl. 

Spoon one third of the mixture into the base of the bundt tin. dot about six or seven plum halves over the top of the mixture. Spoon the next third of the mixture over the top of the plums. Place the next lot of plums over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the last lot of plums. Use a spoon to flatten the mixture in the tin.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer or butter knife comes out clean. 

Leave the cake to cool for half an hour before turning out onto a cake rack. To remove from the tin, run a knife around the cakes edges, and sort of shake the pan to loosen it. Even gently bang it against the bench.

Leave to cool completely before pouring over the syrup. Remember the rule: Cold cake and hot syrup or hot cake and cold syrup.

While you are waiting for the cake to fully cool make the syrup by placing all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmering until the syrup becomes thick and well, syrupy. This could take up to 10 minutes of strong simmering. 

In this hot weather you are going to want to keep this cake in the fridge.

Serve with a nice dollop of plain yoghurt (we used mascarpone but I think yoghurt would be much better) and enjoy!

Delicious Delicious Date and Coconut Cake

I don't make enough cakes. It's always cupcakes, slices, biscuits but no decent discs of great cake.

I am aiming to change that.

The only problem with cakes is that you kind of need a reason to bake a cake and a significant number of people so that you don't eat the whole thing by yourself.

I found out the other day that I got into the honours program for my food innovation degree. I thought that was a good excuse as any to bake a cake. I had dreams of the whole family sitting around the table to eat cake.

Alas that is not the life of the modern day working family.

I had also made chicken and sundried tomato fettucine for dinner to be ready at 6ish. My brother and I waited and waited but the parentals did not turn up. We gave up waiting and had our portions just us. Then finally at 7ish Dad walked in. Then nearing 7.30 Mum walked in. There goes the family dinner.

Oh and then Dad complained that we had eaten all the dinner. No Dad, that is what half of the chicken mixture looks like. Exactly half. Aah then their were complaints that their fettucine wasn't cooked. We thought we were doing them a favour, afterall who likes half cold stodgy pasta?

Then I watched in agony as Dad attempted to boil water and cook the fettucine, asking every thirty seconds whether it was cooked or not.

They say girls marry their fathers.

I will certainly not be marrying a man who does not know when his pasta is al dente.

Right, where was I? Aaah Cake.

Right so the time that everyone had come home, Jack's and my stomach had empties sufficiently to fit in some delicious cake. Unfortunately Mum and Dad at this exact time were beached like whales on the couch full of creamy pasta and nursing their food babies. They did not feel like cake.

Epic failure.

So I ate cake by myself. It was just as delicious as if I was eating it with company. Also no one could judge me whilst I ate a second piece. Mmmm so moist was this cake.

Oh yes, what type of cake did I make?

I recently purchased Julie Le Clerc's book; Favourite Cakes. It is full of wonderful looking cakes, from chocolate cakes to syrup cakes to cheesecakes to celebration cakes. The best part is that it only cost me $20. Win!

I love dates, they are so great. So anything with dates in it I naturally love also. I also love that delicious caramelly coconut topping that sometimes makes an appearance on top of slices or cakes.

This magical cake had both dates and the magical coconut topping! What a match made in heaven!

Mum used to make a cake similar to this one except it also had apple in it. She used to make them before she got all boring and worky and Mum and Dad actually had friends come over for lunches and the like. Seriously it was a delicious cake, who wouldn't have friends willing to come over at every possible moment if you can make a cake like that?

When I started making this cake I thought the recipe was a bit odd. The cake batter only called for 50g of butter, and you were supposed to cream this with a great deal more sugar. I tried to cream the two but it just wasn't working for me. I decided to add 20 more grams of butter. That seemed to do the trick.

So once all the egg, butter and sugar was fluffed together, you then had to ruin this beautiful aerated emulsion by pouring in all the dates and their cup of hot soaking water turning the fluff into a sloopy (yes sloopy) mess. Arrg??? so much confusion.

Anyway the end result was absolutely devine! Well worth making. It is very rich so I don't suggest you have it after a heavy meal such as our cream laden fettucine. The topping is supposed to have orange blossom water but unfortunately I felt too poor to go and buy some. If you do have some, add a tablespoon or so into the topping and let me know how it turns out! I also am having a bit of a thing with making things nice and spicy. The recipe said to add just cardamom but I went ahead and added some nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. I think it is just the time of year when everything is nice and spicy, why not let this cake join in on all of the fun?

Also, just to note that I used a 22cm tin rather than the 20cm. This means my cake was a little flatter than it was supposed to be. It just meant a greater topping to cake ratio haha.

Arabian Date Cake
Adapted from Julie Le Clerc's Favourite Cakes
Makes a 20cm cake.

170g pitted dried dates, chopped
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
70g butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly baked soft brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

50g butter
2 tablespoons cream
1/2 cup firmly packed soft brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of long threaded coconut.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake and prepare a 20cm spring form tin with baking paper.

Place the dates, water and baking soda in a sauce pan and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and beat until nice and volumous.

Stir in the cooled date mixture forming a sloppy and sloopy mixture.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg and stir gently to incorporate into the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer, when inserted, comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven whilst you prepare the topping.

In a small sauce pan, melted together the cream, butter and sugar. Heat until a medium dark to golden colour is formed. Stir in the coconut.

Spoon this mixture over the top of the cake evenly and then return the cake to the oven for another 15 minutes so that the topping turns a wonderful golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin before serving.

Serve with a nice big dollop of whipped cream. That would be great.


A Carrot Cake for Jamal

Good Sunday morning to you all!

Being the baked good enthusiast that I am, I am always looking for a good excuse to bake a cake. It just so happened that it was dear Jamal's birthday yesterday which was more than enough excuse to bake a carrot cake upon request.

The recipe I used is my Mum's recipe. She got it from one of her old books in her cupboard above the fridge. Since I don't have access to that cupboard right now (slight geographical hurdle) I can't confirm which book. Anyway it is a rather good recipe. Stays moist (yes I said it, moooiistt) for days and days (if it even lasts that long). The best bit about it is that it gives you the excuse to smother it in cream cheese icing. Om nom nom. One of Mum's secret tricks is to put chopped prunes in the cake. Prunes! They are surprisingly good in this cake as it makes it lovely and moist (moooissttt). Another thing she does is she always makes a 1.5x recipe. So that the cake is nice and tall in her 25cm tin. Haha and wait there is a third thing! Crushed pineapple. This ups the moisture content and provides a lovely fruity texture.

So here we go,

Sophie's Mum's Delicious Carrot Cake
(this is the single recipe - if you want a bigger cake just multiply quantities by 1.5)
1 1/2 cups whole meal flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups oil
2 eggs
1 cup grated carrot (about 2 carrots)
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about half a cup of chopped prunes and/or dried apricots

1x25cm cake tin or 2x 20cm cake tins lined and greased
two sheets of tin foil to place over the top of the tins


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, grated carrot and dried fruit. Mix until evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla and pineapple (and its juice) until evenly combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until combined. Try not to over mix as we don't want the cake getting tough. Just make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients lying around.

Pour into your tin(s). Now if you made two small cakes bake for 45 minutes (check at 40 minutes though). For one large cake it takes around 1 hour 10 minutes but check at an hour just to be sure as all ovens are different. If you notice your cakes going a bit too brown on top place the tin foil over the tin. This will stop the browning but not the cooking.

Let the cakes cool down before popping out of their tins. Leave to cool completely before icing (overnight in a chilly Dunedin flat works well).

Could we count this as a healthy cake? fibre, carrots, fruits! haha

Now for the icing, I doubled the recipe here as I wanted to put icing between the cakes and down the sides, If you want to cut calories (haha like you would want to) just do a single recipe and just ice the top. This recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

300g icing sugar, sifted
50 unsalted butter, softened
125g cream cheese, cold

Beat the icing sugar and butter together with an electric hand beater or free standing mixer until well incorporated and semi fluffy. Add cubes of cream cheese one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Once all the cream cheese is added, beat on high for a few minutes until the icing becomes nice and fluffy. Do not over beat as the icing can become runny (I can give you a nice long explanation as to why that happens if you want). Add a teaspoon of vanilla if you wish.

Sweet, now apply that to your cold cake(s).

I recommend checking out Kaitlin over at Whisk Kid to learn how to ice a cake properly. She will teach you how to crumb coat which is essential when using a light coloured icing (ie anything other than chocolate). What is a crumb coat you ask? Go and see for yourself haha.

I even added sparkles

Well I do believe this cake turned out quite nicely. I hope it tasted all right haha.Carrying it on a plate all the way to Jamal's flat was the host terrifying ordeal. I was more nervous that public speaking and sitting an exam combined! It got there in one piece and damage-free thankfully. I did get some funny looks though as I walked down the main streets of Dunedin.

Time for some food chemistry I do believe, hmm or maybe just food . .

See you later!

Sultana Cake

Hey everyone!

Sorry about the delay in postings. I moved back down to Dunedin and got very very distracted by Vampire Diaries (*coughstefancough*). When Miss Lucy, my flatmate moved in she brought with her some of her Nana's amazing sultana cake. Oh it was so good. I am pretty sure I ate the majority of it. It was topped with slivered almonds. Yes I know sultana cake isn't a flash work of art with twirls and swirls of delicately placed icing magic but it is an old classic and classics, although sometimes boring should be respected. Anyway I decided to try to make some myself as I was bored and not wanting to do an assignment due in two days. I figured the Edmonds Cookbook would be a good place to find a sultana cake recipe. Old ladies like that book. So I used Lucy's new edition to make the cake featured today. It wasn't until I opened by 1980 edition that I found the recipe was slightly different in a few departments. Old ladies love the older editions. Next time i'll make that version and see how the two compare. The cake is still cooking as I write this and the hallway is filled with the most delicious smell ever.

So what you will need:

2 cups sultanas
250g butter, chopped into cubes
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
3 cups standard plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Put the sultanas in a sauce pan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the sultanas well and then add the butter. In a bowl beat the eggs and sugar for 3 minutes. Once butter is fully melted, add sultana mixture and essence to the egg and sugar bowl. Mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until combined. Spoon mixture into a 23cm lined cake tin. Bake at 160 degrees for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Leave for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Then of course how long you wait until you gobble it up is up to you :)

 The original recipe in the new book

New recipe in older book. How does this work?

Anyway here is the cake in pictures:

 So boil your sultanas and preheat the oven to 160 degrees C

Beat your eggs and sugar together

Weigh out your butter

 Drain your sultanas and add the butter

 Line a cake tin (or in my case two as they were both tiny 20cm ones)

 Pour the sultana and butter mix into the egg and sugar mix and mix well

 Add sifted flour and baking powder

 Mix mix mix

 Taste test . . .

 Pour the mix into the tin(s) evenly and pop in the oven for 1 hour (if a big cake - keep an eye on them for 40 minutes if it is a smaller one)

Clean everything up . . .

Bam! and they are done

Wait 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack or tea towel

and serve! Nom nom, btw this cake has the tastiest (and richest) batter ever. Do try it.

Now time to make a cup of tea and have another piece of cake!


A Good Day to Bake Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Cupcakes

Good evening once again.

Today my friend Ashleigh ( and I had a baking date. We decided to make a layered chocolate ruffle cake. There was our first mistake: layered. The cake mixture we used (thinking we would need a lot of it) was massive! Like huge! Turns out the three layers we wanted turned into five . . .

So for fear of a toppling cake that would fit no cake box alive we decided to split it into two and three stacked cakes.Leveling the tops of the cakes was such a pain, I think I will invest in one of those Wilton cake levelers.

 So the three stacked cake was supposed to be this ruffle cake, buuuuuuttt . . . we ran out of icing sugar (as we had already used 1.5kg worth already) and so the icing was a bit too runny (second mistake!) and the ruffles looked like the hillsides of Nelson (sliding down the hill). So that failed. So instead we just iced it. Plain and boring. We had gotten to the point of CBFed and we ended up with this:

Isn't is monstrous? And that is only three layers. I added some glitter on top to make it a wee bit fancy.

Then we wanted to cover up the bottom edge's messiness . . .

So we added a wee bit of ruffle using my mini star nozzle that had icing in it left over from the cupcakes we also made (they shall come in a sec).

Ta daa!! Doesn't that look tidier now.

Ok so what about the other two layers? 

This terrible looking melted, crumby mess went from this:

To this! WIN!

Success I think yes! WINNING!!!! All I did was start by making one rose in the middle of the cake and then just piping adjacent roses until I came to the edge (a rose is piped using a 1M Wilton nozzle and starting in the middle swirling outwards). You can see in some places there are wee incomplete roses. In the gaps in between roses I just piped a curve of icing to cover the base but to also blend in with the surrounding roses. You can also see I did it along the edges too. This was a chocolate cake with a cream cheese icing (odd mix I know). Even though I crumb coated and froze the blasted cakes I still managed to get crumbs in it, also I don't think my base layer was thick enough as you can see the cake through the icing. Sort of like trying to cover a black wall with light pink paint; you need a lot of layers.

Sorry, I am quite into taking photos at the moment. I have a really average point and shoot which is extra basic (hence the cheap price I bought it for). I originally got it so that if I went out to town and dropped it no one would cry over it. Only problem is that I haven't used it in town because I don't go anymore. I am a nana.

The cake recipe we used was really big (it used 3 cups of sugar!) so here is another recipe which tastes exactly the same but has smaller proportions and makes quite a decent cake as it is. The final batter is really runny but never fear, just make sure the bottom piece of baking paper you use to line the base of your spring form tin goes up the sides about three cm or so). 

Mocha Chocolate Cake ( a recipe from Sue!)

Add the ingredients in the order stated below, beating well between each addition.

2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 cup buttermilk (or half and half yoghurt and milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla

then sift in together:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Once that is all beaten and smooth add:

1 cup of STRONG black coffee

Pour into a well lined spring form tin and bake at 180 degrees (Celsius!!) for 1 to 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer just comes out clean.

Once cool, ice with whatever you want, we usually ice this with a chocolate ganache! :) Ill pop that recipe up another day, Oh the suspense!!

So those cupcakes eh? we ended up making mini ones. Except we didn't expect to make 32 mini ones . .

By the time we got around to icing the cupcakes we had given up (or at least I had - Ashleigh made pretty, tidy swirls) so I just made big star blobs then covered them with random sprinkles. They taste delicious though. We used the Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe.

Vanilla Cupcakes:

40g Butter (softened)
140g castor sugar
120g flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
90ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder until a sandy, but even consistency is reached. Beat the egg into the mixture and beat until smooth. Then add half the milk, beat until combined and then add the rest and repeat. Then add the vanilla (adding extra for good luck :) ) and beat for a few minutes to really make sure the batter is smooth. Oh yeah don;t forget to sieve the dry ingredients first. Spoon into paper cases to 2/3 full and bake at 180 degrees (Celsius!!) for 20-ish minutes or until golden brown and spring back upon touch. Leave to cool and then ice with a plain vanilla, chocolate or other icing of your choice :) This should make about 12 (depending on how big your cases are).

Cool bananas! 

Time for a sleep I think. 

Happy baking!

Banana White Chocolate Cake: A Cake for Chris

New Years.

The most overrated celebration I think. Why get hideously drunk on NYE only to spend New Years day feeling awful? Anyway, Chris and his friends are going to Whitianga (a 2 hour drive when the traffic is good) for a few days over the celebratory period and wanted me to come. My friend Sarah (who I do not see very often) is up from Wellington for a month and her sister is having a gathering at their lovely home in Devonport (a 20 minute drive from my house). I really want to hang out with Sarah as she is a cool chick. So in short, Chris is making me feel bad for choosing my bro over my hoe, or my mate over date. Whatever. aaarhhggg. There is no choice about it, I am staying in Auckland. But as a supplementary prize to my actual presence I am baking Chris a cake. His favourite sort of cake. A banana cake. Whoop! How exciting . . .

So here is the making of a rather good banana cake recipe (complements of my friend Alex :) who gave it to my brother a few years ago).

Not a very complex ingredient list. Afterall it's just banana cake . . .

Cream 125g softened butter . . .

  . . . with 3/4 cup castor sugar. Castor sugar is finer that standard sugar and so will cream more easily and result is a fluffier cake. Some people only ever use castor sugar in their baking. Makes sense really. I always use it in cupcakes.

Cream!!!! That butter looks awfully yellow, I really should get around to popping some batteries into my actual camera rather than just using my ipod.

Then crack in two eggs, beating well after each addition. You want the volume to increase quite a bit - more egg beating = more cake!

 Cracked this egg with one hand . . . like a boss!


 These poor bananas :( You need three small ones or 2 biggish ones. These were a tad green so I had to prepare them  . . .

Poor bananas :(

Ever made a penguin banana? Peel the skin into thirds, take a bite then flop the third with the hard knobbly bit over to make the beak!! My uncle Mark taught me this. Invaluable skill this is.

Hmm delicious looking brown stuff. I cannot stand mashed banana. bleh the texture is horrendous.

Oop don't forget the vanilla :) I had a splash rather than a teaspoon.

Next sift in 3/4 cup self raising flour, 3/4 cup plain flour and one teaspoon of baking soda into the mix. Beat until just combined (don't want to overwork that gluten).

Sievy sieve sieve

Now here is where I stray. This is supposed to be an "I'm sorry" cake so I thought it needed a bit extra . . . like white chocolate.

Flip and some dark chocolate just for luck.

In the oven you go for 40 minutes at 180 degrees (Celsius!!).

Ok so who here doesn't know how to line a cake tin? Right well here I shall show you:

You will need: one cake tin of your choice, baking paper, a small knob of butter, a spoonful of flour, a pair of scissors and a pencil/pen.

Pop the bottom of the tin out and trace a circle around it on the baking paper.

Ooop cut my paper a bit big there.

Next, cut around the circle leaving around 2cm extra paper around the circumference.

 Like this.

Next, take a knob of butter and a bit of the cut off of the baking paper and use it to grease the sides of the cake tin.

Next take a spoonful of flour . . .

Pop it in the tin like this then rotate the ring until the flour has reached right around the ring.

Bang off the excess flour over the sink.

Beautiful. You won't see any cake sticking to that.

Then pop the baking paper circle into the tin (pen/pencil side down).

Pour in the cake mixture and you are ready to roll!!

 Bam!! Cake!!

It came out of the tin so easily

I failed on the rose front. It's too hot in our kitchen. the roses melted. Bleeeh.

Ok here you go Chris. Here is your banana and white chocolate cake. Nom nom.