Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Icing

IMG_20140607_143401

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.

IMG_20140607_143344

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

IMG_20140607_143338

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

Let me know if you try them! Ttfn :)

Basic Chocolate Brownie

IMG_20140607_144426

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!

IMG_20140607_144406

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.

IMG_20140607_144326

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

DSCF1380

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.

DSCF1385

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.

DSCF1386

I hope you had a fantastic week.

 

Ttfn :)

Nectarine upside-down cake

DSCF1371

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

DSCF1374

Chocolate Caramel Slice

DSCF1337

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.

DSCF1338

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.)

DSCF1343

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.

DSCF1343

DSCF1339

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.

DSCF1340

What is your favourite treat for a Sunday afternoon?

Ttfn :)

Super Easy Donburi Curry Sauce

DSCF1332 copy

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.

DSCF1334 copy2

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 :)

Homemade Thin Mints

DSCF1321

There are some biscuits that are hidden from children and consumed straight from their hiding spot in the freezer on weekday evenings. Those biscuits are Thin Mints.

Thin Mints are like the after dinner mint but in biscuit form and more delicious. If it was a choice between nutella and these bikkies, nutella would get kicked to the curb.

There are a few steps to this recipe but it is actually really easy. You should definitely give them a go.

DSCF1327

Homemade Thin Mints:

CHOCOLATE COOKIE:

  • 150g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar until just combined. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, cocoa and salt into a bowl. Add flour mixture in parts, stirring well after each addition. Chill the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before using.

Roll to ½ inch thick and cut into circles. Cook for 7 minutes at 180°C. Cool on a rack before the next step.

PEPPERMINT FILLING:

 

  • 3 cup icing sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp milk

 

Mix butter, icing sugar and extracts until well combined. Add milk until it gets to a similar consistency to the uncooked cookie dough.

Spread over cooled chocolate cookies in a layer about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick.

COATING:

  • Dark chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Melt chocolate and oil together. Combine well and allow to cool slightly (don’t want to melt that filling!) Dunk cookies in the melted chocolate and allow to harden on a greased tray.

Enjoy!

DSCF1329 copy2

I was serious about eating them straight from the freezer. The biscuit base goes hard and the mint filling is cold and it’s just so. damn. good.

DSCF1330 copy

I also bought some cute patterned crockery to use for blog photos. What do you think?

What is your favourite treat for the middleoftheworkweek blues?

I hope you have a great week.

Ttfn :)

Lamingtons (like your nana would make)

Lamingtons are a kiwi classic. They are delicious with some freshly whipped cream and a cup of tea – brilliant for a Sunday afternoon. I had thought that lamingtons were everywhere. (I am not very well travelled.) According to wikipedia, they are an Australasian thing and raspberry pink lamingtons a kiwi thing. Weird.

DSCF1306 copy

Anyway, they are tasty and really cute for a tea party. They are normally cubes but I thought hearts might be nice. I realised too late that I don’t have a heart cookie cutter so these were all cut out with a small, sharp knife.

On to the recipe!

DSCF1301 copy

Lamingtons:

  • 1 sponge cake
  • 1 batch raspberry icing
  • 1 batch chocolate icing
  • coconut to roll in

Raspberry icing:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 4 Tbsp raspberry jelly crystals
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted

Combine butter, hot water and jelly crystals in a bowl. Mix until jelly crystals are dissolved and butter is melted. Add icing sugar in parts. Stir until there are no lumps of sugar. This is ready for dipping.

Chocolate icing:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Combine butter, hot water and cocoa in a bowl. Mix until cocoa is dissolved and butter is melted. Add icing sugar in parts. Stir until there are no lumps of sugar. This is ready for dipping.

 

Cut the sponge cake into your desired shape. Dip into an icing flavour, making sure it is well coated. Remove from icing and roll in coconut. Rest on a wire rack for the icing to set. Repeat with each individual sponge piece.

Serve with some freshly whipped cream and earl grey tea.

DSCF1311 copy

These are very easy and a little bit messy to make. A great one to do with kids.

What is your favourite treat for a fancy afternoon tea?

Ttfn :)

Neenish Tarts

DSCF1277 copy

Lately I have had a hankering for the classic kiwi treats of my childhood, specifically meringues, neenish tarts and lamingtons. I have so many lovely memories of visiting my nana on a Sunday afternoon and more often than not, there would be one of these sweet treats.

Neenish tarts originated in Australia, with their early history still disputed. In New Zealand, everyone grew up with neenish tarts with a lemony filling. They are in the Edmonds Cookbook (which is in almost every single kiwi home, seriously almost every one) and in any corner bakery. There is no better way to have a neenish tart than with a can of L&P.

 For those of you who haven’t had these before, neenish tarts are little single-serving tarts with a lemon creamy filling. They are distinct for the monochromatic icing – half vanilla and half chocolate.

 DSCF1290 copy

Pastry:

 

  • 4oz plain flour,
  • 4 oz self raising flour (or 4oz plain flour and 1 1/2tsp baking powder)
  • 4 oz butter (plus a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
  • 4oz castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

 

Cream butter and sugar until pale. Add egg and vanilla essence, combining well. Sift the flours together. Gradually add the sifted flours until it forms a ball of dough. Chill for 30 minutes before using.

Press into greased molds (I used muffin molds which made quite big tarts). Bake blind at 180°C for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool.

Lemon Filling:

 

  • Juice and rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup condensed milk (approx.. one can)
  • 75g of butter
  • ½ cup icing sugar, sifted

 

Put lemon, condensed milk and butter into a pot and combine over a medium heat. Take off the heat and mix in icing sugar. Fill the tart cases with the lemon mix.

Icing:

VANILLA

 

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1Tbsp hot water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

 

CHOCOLATE

 

  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp hot water

 

Mix the vanilla and chocolate icings separately.  Spread vanilla icing over half of the tart. Once that is dry spread chocolate icing over the other half.

Enjoy!

DSCF1270 copy

DSCF1283 copy

What treats from your childhood do you miss? Would you try these tarts?

I hope you have been having a lovely week!

 

Ttfn : )