“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.


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!??


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


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.


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?

Sunshine ‘pull-apart’ Pie

IMG_5229I am certainly someone that its attracted to cooking magazines, particularly when they have something scrumptious on the cover. And a recent edition of Taste magazine (which is one of my favourite ‘everyday meal’ recipe magazines at the moment) captured my attention in no time at all. The ‘sunshine pie’ which featured on the cover – had everyone in our household intrigued. For the magazine had turned a humble spinach and ricotta pie into something rather spectacular! IMG_5322 Spinach, ricotta, goats cheese, cheddar, green onions and eggs, combined then sandwiched between two layers of puff pasty that had been cut into rounds. Then, with some creative knife and twist work – a lovely little ‘sun’ was ready for baking. pie And after 35 minutes in the oven – what a pretty addition to the dinner table we had! IMG_5229 These photos were taken after 30 minutes or so, as I par-cooked the pie in advance of the dinner party we were having that evening. Needless to say that when it had an extra 10 minutes in the oven before serving, it puffed up even more and turned beautifully golden brown. IMG_5230 I loved loved LOVED the three-cheese combination – particularly the goats cheese that really gave the pie a flavour hit. And I can’t help but think that the ‘twist’ method would work with lots of other flavour combinations too. Time to get my thinking cap on!

Halloween and Eyeball cupcakes

IMG_5135 This past weekend was rather fun indeed. Well Little J’s sleep regression / teething / generally crankiness was not so fun, but the Halloween costume party we went to on Saturday certainly was! We decided on a family ‘pirate’ theme for our costume, and had quite a few laughs along the way. Cranky parrot and all! IMG_5150 And well a party invitation was the perfect excuse to get creative in the kitchen. I’ve really missed baking lately, so wasted no time in heating up the oven and dragging out the mixer. On the menu? Eyeball cupcakes!! Visually impressive – but actually quite easy  to prepare. IMG_5137 Simply – chocolate cupcakes, topped with cocoa buttercream and drizzled with (store-bought) salted caramel. Finished with some eye-ball chocolates that I found at the shops. IMG_5139 Pretty much a sugar-coma on a plate! IMG_5141 Chocolate ‘eyeball’ cupcakes

  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 80 g butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs


  • 250g butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar mixture (+ extra if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • salted caramel sauce to drizzle
  • chocolate eyeballs for decorating
    1. Preheat oven to 170°C . Line 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases.
    2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Gradually add eggs and mix until just combined.
    3. Combine flour, cocoa and bicarbonate soda. Add to creamed mixture with milk. Beat until just combined.
    4. Spoon mixture into liners until each case is half full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
    5. To make the chocolate butter cream: Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar and cocoa and combine well. Beat in milk until mixture is fluffy (add extra icing sugar if needed, to get to a good piping consistency).
    6. Pipe into swirls onto cooled cupcakes, drizzle with caramel sauce and top with eyeball chocolates.

What about you? Did you ‘celebrate’ Halloween this year?

Blueberry Chia Muffins

IMG_4256 This weekend just gone, Mr BBB was away for both days. Which meant I had solo parenting duties all weekend – and no Saturday hike or Sunday brunch buddy. I did, however, spend a crazy amount of time making cardboard-box cars, nursing, painting, grocery shopping, nursing, walking, lego-ing, nursing, dancing, nursing….you get the idea! Oh and there was a trip to the vet with all in tow when the furry member of our family got into a neighbourhood scrap. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun together – but I was well and truly t-i-r-e-d when Sunday night rolled around (hats off to all the super-hero single parents out there!) I also spent a little time in the kitchen baking with Miss C.  And muffins – being relatively straightforward and kid-friendly – seemed the perfect treat to bake. IMG_4229 On the menu? Chia blueberry muffins – that turned out to be a little random when Miss C kept adding ingredients while my back was turned haha IMG_4240 She had a ball stirring all the ingredients together, and sprinkling the top with oats. IMG_4248 (^^ and sampling the yoghurt, by the looks of things….) IMG_4252 The end result? Well they were rather delicious.  Not as sweet as your regular muffins – but packed with bursts of blueberries and a little crunch from the chia seeds. IMG_4253 A tasty afternoon in the kitchen indeed. IMG_4257 Blueberry Chia Muffins (makes 10)

  • 2 cups self raising flour – sifted
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1ts cinnamon
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oats + extra
  • 1/2 cup blueberries + extra
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a muffin pan with cases.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, and make a well in the centre.
  3. Combine eggs, oil, yoghurt and milk – and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, then fold through the blueberries and oats.
  4. Spoon into the muffin cases, and top with extra oats and blueberries.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes – or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

What about you? What is your favourite thing to cook with kids?

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?

Nutty Brownies

IMG_3771 I’ve been feeling a rather nutty lately. Perhaps it is the baby-induced-sleep-interruptions, or the 4000 things that seem to be circling through my head. Or perhaps it is just a case of I’m getting older and a little more senile. IMG_3762 Either way, making these nut-filled brownies felt like the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon in the kitchen. Certainly not allergy friendly for the ‘nut ban’ days we live in, but perfectly rich and indulgent for those that have no nut allergy issues. IMG_3763 The recipe appealed to me from the pages of a recent favourite cookbook…  IMG_3688 and with a few substitutions (think peanut butter in place of macadamia butter etc), we soon found ourselves with a big batch of chewy rich brownies that did not take long to disappear. IMG_3764IMG_3775 Yes, I think these were a perfectly nutty tribute to my apparently nutty brain! What about you? Are you a fan of brownies?

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


  • 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.


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.


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.


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


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!


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


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


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.


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!


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???