Peach and Lemon cake

Do you have something that you like the idea of, more than you actually like?

For me, one such thing is  cake. Sure I love creating and baking cakes, but the eating part – yeah not so much. I tend to find them a bit rich and sweet, and after few bites, I’m generally done.

It’s not that I hate cake, it’s just not what I tend to choose when considering the dessert menu.

And it seems that Miss C also shares my ambivalence towards cake. At parties she will politely take a slice of birthday cake when offered, if anything not to miss out on the ritual of the celebration, but moments later she will inevitably ask me quietly if she actually has to eat it.

A lolly bag on the other hand? Well she can empty that in a matter of seconds.

This little cake, however, I thoroughly enjoyed.  It was rustic, light and lemony, and not overly sweet. The little pops of fresh peach throughout were also a nice flavour surprise.

In fact, I enjoyed this cake so much that I ate the whole slice. Who knows, I might even have another slice today…

Print Recipe
Peach and Lemon Cake
Course Baking
Cuisine Cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Baking
Cuisine Cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160C, and grease / line a round cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest for 5 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and yoghurt, and mix until just combined. Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and top with sliced peaches.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
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Caramel chocolate celebration cake

img_1354It’s been a while since I put my ‘cake creation cap’ on. But when I was tasked with supplying dessert at a recent family dinner, well I figured it was well and truly time to dust off the ol’ cap and get to work.  Particularly when it was to be a birthday and “bon voyage” cake all in one.

img_1351I’ve seen lots of layer “drip” cakes doing the rounds, and decided to give one a try. I think my ganache was a little runny (resulting in rather drippy drips that were far from their picturesque pinterest cousins), but the flavour was still there. And I even went so far as to try my hand at Italian meringue buttercream in place of the usually sickly sweet American buttercream – and boy I’m glad that I did. For it worked just beautifully at mellowing out the otherwise rich caramel mudcake hidden inside – and meant that we reserved our sugar overload for the other goodies piled high on the cake – twix bars, jersey caramels, chocolate stars, malteasers and butterscotch popcorn.

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Yes, I think this was very appropriately dubbed a celebration cake – for it had a little of everything!        img_1358Caramel chocolate celebration cake

For the caramel mud cakes:

  • 400g butter, cubed
  • 400g white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 2 cups self raising flour, sifted
  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line 2 x 22cm cake tins.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, water, golden syrup and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir over low heat, stirring, until the butter and chocolate melt and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Place the cooled chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the sifted flours and stir until combined.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the caramel Italian meringue buttercream:

  • 1 sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 egg whites
  • 500g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce (or more to taste)
  1. Place the water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan, and stir to combine. Heat over a low to medium heat. Clip on a candy thermometer.
  2. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a pinch of cream of tartar if you like. Start the mixer on medium-low to begin frothing the whites
  3. When the sugar begins to boil, increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high. When the whites are at soft peaks, gradually add the 1/4 cup of reserved sugar. Continue beating until they become stiff peaks, then change to the beater attachment.
  4. When the sugar reaches 120C, turn off the heat. With the mixer running on a low speed, slowly pour the hot sugar in a fine stream down the side of the bowl with the egg whites
  5. When all the sugar is added, increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has almost cooled (this takes a good 5–10 mins).
  6. When the meringue has cooled, start adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running on medium.
  7. When all the butter has been added, increase the mixer to high to beat until the buttercream forms and is smooth. Change to the whisk attachment, add the caramel sauce, and whisk for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 200ml double cream
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Heat the double cream in a saucepan over medium heat. As soon as it begins to bubble, remove it from the heat and stir in the dark chocolate. Continue to stir until the mixture is thick and smooth, without any remaining lumps of chocolate. Place in the fridge until the desired “drip” consistency is reached.

To decorate

  • Prepared buttercream icing and ganache
  • Leftover caramel sauce
  • malteasers
  • butterscotch or caramel popcorn
  • chocolate stars
  • jersey caramels, halved
  • twix bars, halved

To assemble:

  1. Trim the tops off the cakes, so that they are even.
  2. Put a small dot of the buttercream on your serving plate, then place one of the cakes on top. Spread with a good amount of the buttercream, a little caramel sauce, then place the other cake on top.
  3. Using a palette knife, cover the cakes completely in the buttercream, starting with a crumb layer then a smooth outer layer. Place in the fridge for one hour to chill.
  4. Remove the cake from the fridge and pour the ganache over. You can do this using a disposable piping bag , or by gently spooning the ganache onto the centre of the cake and encouraging drips to fall down the sides.
  5. Top the cake with the various edible decorations, and place back in the fridge.
  6. Remove the cake from the fridge about half an hour before serving.

Mocha Brownie Cake

IMG_6714 When you have a one year old who is yet to sleep through the night, and someone offers to send you free coffee, well you are most certainly NOT going to say no.

Throw in an invitation to create a coffee-inspired recipe, and well it is pretty much a sure-fire thing.

The caffeine hero on this occasion was Di Bella Coffee, who treated me with some coffee beans and aromatic coffee capsules (that I was super pleased to find out fit into our trusty Nespresso machine just perfectly.

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Starting as a small coffee roasting business in Brisbane in 2002, Di Bella now has an international reach (although they still source 100% of their coffee beans “directly from the farmer”). I tested their Ari blend – touted to be “rich and strong with hints of raw cacao and a bright citrus finish” – and it did not disappoint. It was definitely smooth, and had a wonderful aroma.

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But I also wanted to test out its flavour in a recipe. And given that coffee + chocolate seem to be an appropriate combination when one has a little case of the sleepies, a mocha brownie cake seemed to be a logical solution.

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Rich fudgey chocolate cake, that was a little more “brownie” than your traditional chocolate cake. Completed with a little caffeine kick owing to the coffee contained within. On this occasion, we served slices of the cake as an after-dinner treat, although it would also work served warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream.

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Mocha brownie cake 

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 pods espresso (extracted / short poured)
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a square baking tin (18  x 18cm).
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add the sugar, oil, eggs and coffee, and whisk until well combined.
  4. Sift over the flour and baking powder, and fold in with a metal spoon until just combined.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan.

A big thankyou to Di Bella Coffee for the opportunity to work with a new (to me) Aussie product (and for the caffeine kick!)

What about you? Are you a coffee fan?

 

“Honey, its crunch time” Cake

It is no secret that I favour quick, healthy and easy food. Meals that are fresh, and that can be thrown together with relative ease. This cake is none of those things.

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For it involved multiple steps, a few days to make, and is positively laden with chocolate and calories. But the whole process was rather fun. From an idea, to a finished product, created mostly while the kids slept. All with a sense of gratefulness that I had found myself with some spare and un-rushed moments to get creative in the kitchen once more.

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However the hidden story behind this cake starts with peanut brittle. And the distinct lack thereof in the finished product. For when creating this cake in my mind, I had envisaged that it would be topped with peanut brittle shards (although I didn’t feel like making the peanut brittle myself…yes I am still a bit of a sugar-making-gumbie). First shop – sold out. Second shop – none to be found. Third shop – sold out. And even a fourth mercy dash to another supermarket at 7.00am proved fruitless. Seriously! There is apparently a peanut brittle shortage in Canberra!??

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Anyway I went with plan B, and created some white chocolate / honeycomb bark to decorate the cake instead.

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Then later that day, while innocently standing in line at the post-office – there it was. A bag of peanut brittle on the shelf beside me. One lonely little bag. Taunting me. And with my cake already decorated with the ‘plan B’ white chocolate bark,  it appeared that Murphy had struck again. But the end product was a little different to what I had envisaged, I was still really pleased with the overall result. Inspired by the iconic crunchie bar, this chocolate cake has a thick layer of rich honeycomb buttercream, and is covered with a silky dark chocolate ganache outer layer.

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Finished with a sprinkling of crushed crunchie bar and, of course, that white chocolate honeycomb bark.

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No peanut brittle in sight.

“Honey, its crunch time” Cake This cake is best started the day before, as it involves quite a few elements. I *cheated* and used a packet chocolate cake mix (gasp!) but you could, of course, make the chocolate cake element yourself too.

  • 1 rich chocolate cake, cooked and cooled. Then split into two even layers horizontally.
  • 150ml cream
  • 300g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 200g crunchie bars, crushed
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 380g caramel sauce (such as top n’ fill)
  • 2 cups icing sugar (+ extra until desired consistency is reached)
  1. To make the chocolate ganache, place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until almost simmering, then pour onto the chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute or so, then stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is rich and glossy. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  2. To make the white chocolate bark: Line a tray with baking paper. Melt the white chocolate, and pour onto the baking paper, spreading out to desired thickness. Top with 50g of the crushed crunchie, and place in the fridge to set overnight. Break into ‘shards’.
  3. To make the buttercream: Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy then add the caramel sauce. Gradually add the icing sugar, until the buttercream has reached a good consistency (you want it to be quick thick). Stir through 50g of the crushed crunchie bars.
  4. Begin to assemble the cake, by lining a round spring-form pan (use the one you cooked the cake in) with cling-wrap. Place one of the chocolate cake halves into the bottom of the pan. Cover with the buttercream, then place the other layer of cake on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. On the day of assembly, remove the ganache from the fridge and allow to come to ‘peanut butter’ consistency (you may need to give it a short burst in the microwave.) Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place onto your serving dish. Cover lightly with ganache to form a crumb layer, then refrigerate for 5 minutes (no more). Place another thicker layer of ganache over the cake, using a palette knife to create swirls around the edges. Top half the cake with the remaining crushed crunchie bars, and the white chocolate bark. Place in the fridge – and remove 15 minutes before serving.

What about you? What is your favourite chocolate bar?

Almond cake with amaretto syrup

Lately, I have really been enjoying simpler cakes. Less flourish, more flavour. And particularly when infused with citrus. IMG_3314 Or, as was the case on this occasion, jazzed up with the addition of an amaretto syrup. IMG_3322 The cake, itself, was a simple almond cake. Made using almond meal and self raising flour, sprinkled with flaked almonds. IMG_3315 Baked until beautifully golden brown. IMG_3318 But the syrup. That was the real star. IMG_3323 Sugar, water, amaretto – and I also added some vanilla bean for good measure. IMG_3325 Drizzled over the cake – for an extra almond / vanilla sweetness. A delightfully tasty addition to our afternoon indeed. IMG_3365 You can find the recipe I used here. What about you? Do you have a favourite cake at the moment?

ANZAC loaf with coconut icing

IMG_3731 This year, we didn’t manage to get to the Dawn Service for ANZAC day. We were there in spirit, but opted against taking a newborn (and her energetic big sister) out so early in the cold. We did, however, watch some of the commemoration services on, and I also baked a little ANZAC-inspired treat for afternoon tea. IMG_3719 In years past, I’ve made  ANZAC slice and an ANZAC cheesecake. This year, I went even simpler, and made a loaf / cake. Flavoured with the all-important golden syrup, and filled with oats and coconut too. IMG_3720IMG_3721 Topped with a rich coconut buttercream, although you could quite easily eat this loaf without the icing – perhaps warm with a little butter instead? IMG_3726IMG_3729 ANZAC loaf with coconut icing

  • 100g butter
  • 150ml golden syrup
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 180ml milk

Icing

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line the base and sides of a loaf tin.
  2. Melt the butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
  4. Lightly beat the eggs and milk, and add to the golden syrup mixture. Pour into the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.
  5. Pour batter into the lined loaf tin, and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the icing, beat all ingredients except the coconut until light and creamy. Fold in the coconut, then spread icing onto the cake.

What about you? How did you commemorate ANZAC day this year?

Dark and white chocolate cardamom swirl tart

IMG_3454This year, it took me quite a while to decide what to make for dessert for the family’s Good Friday lunch.  I trawled through many cookbooks and websites, as I normally do, but my mind keep wandering back to a recipe I had printed off early in my search. IMG_3427 And, while I usually lean towards a lighter dessert at Easter (owing to the expected richness of the other menu items), this this dark and white chocolate cardamom swirl tart captured my imagination. Or perhaps it captured my ‘newborn-induced-sugar-cravings’?? IMG_3428 Either way, I decided that it would be the contributed dessert this year. And luckily for me – I had my trusty sidekick on hand to help put the tart together… IMG_3446 (Brushing one’s hair is discretionary in our kitchen lol) The tart base was made with crushed chocolate coated digestive biscuits, mixed with melted butter then pressed into a pan and cooked for 10 minutes. IMG_3436 IMG_3441 While the tart filling was little more than two rich chocolate ganaches (one white, one dark), poured atop the cooled base, and swirled for effect. IMG_3442IMG_3447IMG_3452 When I say that this tart is rich, I mean RICH! But then again, with ingredients such as double cream, 90% cocoa, lindt white chocolate, egg yolks and sugar ….well there is no surprise that a small slice was more than enough to send our sugar senses into overdrive. IMG_3453 Served with berries to try and cut through some of the sweetness – and overall a tasty end to a lovely lunch with family. IMG_3510 You can find the recipe here. What about you? Bake anything fun over Easter?

Finding one’s rhythm (and a pistachio and raspberry cake)

IMG_3380 There’s a lot to be said about going from a family of three – to a family of four.  Particularly when the littlest member is only a few months old (and the general lack of routine and sleep that comes with such an age). Making sure everyone is fed and dressed are at the top of the daily list, along with all the other things required to keep a household happy. And healthy. Draft blog posts pile up, as does laundry and other such things. The days have a sense of monotony, and while they are not perhaps ‘action packed’ in the traditional sense, they are by no means quiet. And certainly not boring. IMG_3370 I may not yet have found my rhythm, as such, but I can feel that things are starting to slowly move in the right direction. And when I find myself with a moment, time spent baking in the kitchen is a lovely reward. Especially when a new recipe is being trialled – and we have guests to bake for! IMG_3372 While this raspberry and pistachio cake was being made, Miss C up-ended her toy basket left a trail of destruction throughout the house. She stubbed her toe shortly after, and could only be consoled with a Dora band aid (a regular band aid not being sufficient). Little J slept, mostly, although with her energetic 3 year sister running amok,  her sleep was far from unbroken. IMG_3375 Yet despite the chaos, the cake turned out beautifully – albeit a little rustic in parts. And we could only laugh at the new ‘normal’ we find ourselves in. And besides, cake makes everything better….right? (Recipe for the cake here)

An ‘enchanted forest’ 3rd Birthday Party

Somehow, just somehow, our little girl turns 3 today.

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Clichéd as it may sound, it seems like it was only yesterday that we welcomed her into the world. Yet here we now are – 3 years later – with a spirited and adventurous daughter who make us laugh every single day.

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For months now, Charlotte has been telling me that she wants a ‘Ben and Holly’ party. So I ran with the fairy and elf theme, and before long we had ourselves quite the ‘enchanted forest’ soiree.

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Despite all appearances, we kept the food relatively simple (and appropriately sugar-laden!).

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The gorgeous toadstool cupcakes were courtesy of Little Miss Cupcake (my fondant skills still being in their ‘developmental phase’) while most of the other goodies (jelly, fairy bread etc) could be made in advance…

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As for the cake – well I must admit that I cheated a little. While I made the green ‘grassy’ base using chocolate cake and fondant – the castle itself was actually a cardboard cutout!

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The little Miss was still super excited when she saw the finished product – so I’m calling it a mama win – cheats and all!

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Fortunately we were also blessed with a beautiful sunny day – meaning we could set up the backyard for the kids to run amok.

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The little toadstool set was hired from a local party company – while Mr BBB got creative and adapted a regular trestle table into “kids” size (we figured we’ve got plenty more kids parties ahead of us!!). As for entertainment, we had a lovely fairy entertainer drop by and read stories,  play games and ‘glitter-fy’ the kids.  The trampoline was also a hit, as always, and there was no shortage of snacks and dressups.

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Overall – it was so very wonderful to celebrate this milestone with our nearest and dearest. For decorations and cakes aside, it was having all her family together that really brought a smile to the birthday girl’s face!

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Wishing you a very happy 3rd Birthday my beautiful girl. May the year ahead be filled with wonder and adventure! — Oh – and just because I can’t help but take a trip down memory lane…

party Where did our baby girl go???

Lemon meringue cake

IMG_0132 It seems that lemon meringue pie is a firm family favourite in our household. And while I love making it, I can’t deny the fact that it is time consuming. Pastry made, rested, rolled, rested….you get the idea. So with my little brother arriving into town a day after his birthday, and knowing he was also a lover of lemon meringue, I decided to get creative. And make a lemon meringue cake. In place of pastry, I cheated and cooked two vanilla cakes – from a packet (gasp). IMG_0117 I did, however, make the lemon curd from scratch. And before too long, it was time to layer. IMG_0119 Cake, lemon curd, cake, lemon curd and…..cake! IMG_0120IMG_0121IMG_0122 Sandwiched together, then covered generously in light meringue. IMG_0125IMG_0126 Finished by baking for 10 minutes or so, or until the meringue was starting to colour. IMG_0139 I was really pleased with how this turned out. It took a little time, but not a lot of time, and had all the trademark lemon meringue flavours! IMG_0131 Yes, this will most certainly be added to my ‘baking repertoire’. IMG_0197 Lemon Meringue Cake

  • 2 x packet vanilla cakes
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbs corn flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tsp butter
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  1. Cook the vanilla cakes as per the packet directions, then allowed to cool.  I then sliced each of the cakes into 2 horizontal layers , but only used 3 layers for the final cake. You could therefore most certainly get away using one cake if you were to slice it into 3 layers.
  2. For the lemon curd – combine the sugar, cornflour, water and juice in a small saucepan and stir until smooth. Place over a low heat, and cook – stirring – until thickened. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks – stirring until smooth. Return to the heat,  bring to a gentle simmer  and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir through the butter and lemon peel. Set aside to cool.
  3. For the meringue – whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk on a high speed until stiff peaks form.
  4. To assemble – place one of the cake layers on an oven-proof plate. Top with half of the lemon curd. Repeat, and then top with the final cake layer. Spread the meringue over the top and sides of the cake to cover completely.
  5. Bake at 350C for 10-15 minutes or until the meringue has browned lightly. Cool and serve.

What about you? What is your family’s favourite dessert?