Date Pudding Cakes with Salted Toffee Sauce

salted toffee sauce

 

 

 

Salty and sweet is the best combination. Some companies have really done well with it (Reeses Pieces). So when salted things became a big hit it felt a little like cheating. You mean to say that just by adding a pinch of salt caramel is so much nicer? It felt too easy. Then I remember the most amazing sea salt ice cream I had in Australia and I don’t care anymore. I’m adding salt to everything sweet!

I’m also a big fan of date puddings. Dates are natures caramel. This recipe has natures caramel, salt and toffee flavours. If that seems a bit decadent, it’s because it is! I made it into little muffin servings and they freeze well.

salted toffee

 

Date Pudding Cakes

  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 55g butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 desert spoons golden syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ c milk

Soak dates in hot water for 1 hour. Drain, then mash with a fork

Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix through the golden syrup and vanilla.

Sift flour and baking soda together. Add half the flour, then all the milk, then the second half of the flour, mixing well after each addition. Stir through all the mashed dates.

Spoon mixture into a greased muffin tin. Fill ¾ of the way up the sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 170°C. Serve warm.

Salted Toffee Sauce

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 115g butter
  • ½ cup cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 generous pinches of salt

Combine all over a medium heat. Stir continuously as it simmers for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Keeps well in a glass jar for 5-7 days in the fridge.

toffee sauce

Making the Moneta

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When I embarked on this project it would be the first time I had attempted clothes making in two years! And a stretch fabric no less. Needless to say, I was mildly terrified.

Thank fully this pattern is at a beginner level. It took me about 6 hours of sewing, plus extra cutting out the pattern pieces. There were two parts that I found a little difficult: hemming the neckline and attaching the bodice to the skirt with elastic. The latter was my own fault, having not bought any of the clear elastic which would have made it much easier. The neckline was fiddly and attempting it at midnight was probably not the best idea. When I tried it again in the morning it was easy!

One thing I didn’t consider when using a digital pattern is the amount of time spent putting the paper together. If you get a digital pattern go get it printed on a large A2 sheet or similar. It will save yourself hours!

I really like this dress and will probably make another one. It even has pockets!!!

The pattern is available over at Colette Patterns.

Jaffa Cupcakes

chocolate orange cupcakes

 

Lately I have been obsessed with orange. Orange juice, orange shoes, oranges! What better way to continue my orange obsession than with Jaffa cupcakes?

Jaffas are these dinky little sweets with orange flavoured chocolate and coated in a bright orange shell. You can find them at any cinema or kids birthday party. Not to be confused with the derogatory term for Aucklanders (as in ‘them bloody jafas’).

orange icing

I decided to go for a chocolate orange cupcake with orange buttercream. I used gel food colours to get super bright icing. And giant sprinkles to make a wintery Sunday feel like a party day. Anyway, onto the recipe!

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 1/2 c milk
  • zest of two oranges
  • juice of one orange

Method:

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla one at a time to avoid the mixture splitting. In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and baking powder. In another bowl, melt the dark chocolate and milk together. Mix in the flour and melted chocolate in alternate parts. Make sure to mix well after each addition. Stir through the orange juice and zest.

Fill cupcake cases 3/4 full. Bake at 170C for 15-20 minutes, or until the cake springs back lightly to the touch. Ice when cool.

Orange Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 450g icing sugar, sifted
  • 4 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp milk

Method:

Beat butter until pale (about 3 minutes). Add half the icing sugar and beat well. Add the second half and continue to beat for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the liquids (and any colouring) and beat until combined. Now it is ready for icing.

chocolate orange cupcakes

These were super fun! Look out for some more chocolate orange recipes in the near future.

Ttfn :)

Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Icing

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Cupcakes have been my jam lately. I feel like I have made a batch for this event or another every week. The most common question I have been asked about them is how to do rose icing.

You need to buy a Wilton 2D tip. I think that if you have another brand it will be called a ‘drop flower tip’. Use this tip in your icing bag with some buttercream.

Start in the centre of the cupcake and spiral outwards. I first press the icing in the centre then lift the nozzle about 1-2 inches off the cake as I spiral. Keep an even pressure until the very end. It is a super easy icing technique and leaves the perfect icing to cake ratio.

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I am a fan of moist cakes. These banana cupcakes are moist and light and pair wonderfully with dark chocolate buttercream.

Banana Cupcakes:

  • 125g butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2-3 bananas (overly ripe ones are best)
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt 

In a bowl, mash bananas then mix in yoghurt and vanilla. In another bowl, sift flour & baking powder together.

Soften butter and beat for 1-2 minutes. Add sugar and mix on high until creamed. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined. Alternate adding flour and banana. Stir until just combined.

Fill cupcake cases 3/4 full and cook at 170°C for 15 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool

 Dark chocolate icing

  • 125g butter
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Sift over cocoa and icing sugar. Mix on high until it is soft and airy. Add milk to your preferred consistency.

Pipe over the cooled cupcakes

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These should make 12-18 depending on the size of your cupcake cases.

Let me know if you try them! Ttfn :)

Basic Chocolate Brownie

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When I was a youngen I was a little obsessed with brownies. There was this one I made once that was the most incredible chocolate brownie ever. It only used cocoa (no chocolate!) and was just so damn chocolatey and tasty. Every time I bake I kick myself for not saving that recipe.

I made these brownies for a LAN the boy was going to and they disappeared so quickly!

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Brownie:

  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Melt butter in a saucepan. Take off the heat and stir in sugar & vanilla. Mix in eggs one at a time. Sift over the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

Pour into a lined slice tin. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Sprinkle with some icing sugar and cut into 24 pieces.

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Mm just writing this is make me hungry!

Have an awesome week! Ttfn :)

Basil and Cheese Scones

Do you ever just get a hankering for some delicious scones. I remember many a Sunday lunch with my dad bringing out some freshly cooked scones. They are a favourite in my household, especially this combination for savoury scones.

Easy scones

Basil and Cheese Scones:

  • 80g butter
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves
  • 3 cups flour
  • 5 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1 cup milk

In a food processor whizz up the butter and basil. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Whizz until the butter has been ‘cut’ into the flour. (You can do this by hand but I am a lazy baker and this way is soooo much easier.)

Transfer to a bowl and gradually add the cheese and milk. It should come together in a slightly sticky dough. On a floured surface shape the dough into two rounds, then cut into triangles.

Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes.

Basil and cheese scones

 

These are best served warm.

Scone

Ttfn :)

Easy Chocolate Mousse

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Do you ever want a fancy dessert but lack the time or ingredients? I felt that way earlier this week so decided to come up with a chocolate mousse recipe that has two ingredients! TWO! It was perfect as the calm end to a busy weekend.

This is delicious and incredibly rich. It makes 4-6 serves, depending how much you want to eat in one sitting. The quality of the chocolate makes a massive difference. You good quality, dark chocolate for the best tasting mousse.

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Chocolate Mousse:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 250g chocolate
  • 1 Tim tam (optional)

Separate the eggs. Whip up the egg whites until soft peaks form. Melt the chocolate. Allow to cool slightly, then add the egg yolks. Combine well. Pour whipped egg whites into the chocolate and fold in. You want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. This is what gives mousse its distinctive texture.

Pour into ramekins and place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve with a layer of crushed tim tams for something a little different.

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I hope you had a fantastic week.

 

Ttfn :)

Nectarine upside-down cake

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Nectarine upside-down cake:

  • 2 Nectarines
  • 25g Butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Cut fruit into even slices and line the base of a greased loaf tin. Be aware that the fruit will shrink a little when cooked. Over a medium heat combine butter and sugar. When melted together pour over the fruit.

  • 175g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup milk

Mix butter and sugar until just combined. Add vanilla and eggs. Sift flour and baking powder together. Mix half of the flour into the batter. Stir through the milk. Then add the remaining flour. Pour over the fruit.

Cook at 180°C for 25-30  minutes

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Chocolate Caramel Slice

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Chocolate caramel slice is the stuff of legends. Every cafe, every family, every bakery has a slightly different version. And I think mine is the best!

Using ground almonds instead of flour creates this delicious fudgy texture, while remaining firm enough to be finger food. Mm delicious.

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Oh, and have a bragged about how easy it is yet? Each layer has about two steps. Mix the ingredients and then press into the tin. You could make this with your eyes closed! (Although I wouldn’t recommend it. The caramel requires heat and nobody should get burned just to prove how simple a recipe is.)

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Chocolate Caramel Slice:

  • 150g almond meal (aka almond flour, ground almonds)
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg

Mix all the ingredients together and press into a lined slice pan (18x22cm ish). Cook at 180°C for 5 minutes

  • 75g butter
  • 1 can (395g) condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Combine in a saucepan over a medium heat until thick. Pour over the base and cook at 180°C for 3 minutes.

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

Melt chocolate and oil together. Pour over slice and allow to set.

Cut into fingers and serve for afternoon tea.

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Can you tell I wanted to get my pretty plate in the shots? I have been slowly acquiring lots of cute crockery and am yet to figure out a way to use them for photos. They all feature floral patterns, much to the boys dismay.

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What is your favourite treat for a Sunday afternoon?

Ttfn :)

Super Easy Donburi Curry Sauce

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There is one place The Boy and I go if both of us feel too tired to cook. Renkon is the most delicious donburi. My fave is Katsu Curry so tonight I tried to create a quick and easy version at home.

The chicken was dipped in a mixture of egg and coconut milk, then coated in breadcrumbs and cooked in the oven. Add some stir fried veges and udon noodles – you have got yourself a meal!

The part I was really happy with was the sauce. It made enough for about 4 people AND used things we commonly have in the pantry. Awesome!

Japanese Curry Sauce (or a poor-mans imitation):

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • ½ can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of: curry paste or powder, turmeric, garam masala, chilli flakes, stock powder, salt and pepper, extra spice of choice (paprika and cumin work wonders)

In a frying pan, saute the onions and garlic in the oil and sugar. Allow them to caramelise a little. Add butter to the pan and when melted stir through the flour (imagine this is the start of a roux). When the butter/flour mixture is in bubbling lumps add all the other ingredients. Stir occasionally and simmer until it has reached your desired thickness. For a smooth sauce, pulse in a food processor before serving.

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See? It is super easy. I’m thinking about keeping a container with the spice mix ready to go so that when the 5pm panic hits we have a quick, delicious meal. It is also a recipe that is easy to adjust. I don’t often actually measure the spices because who has time for that?

What is your favourite meal to throw together after a long day of work?

Hope you are having an awesome week.

 

Ttfn :)