August 23, 2015

Pumpkin Cake

This pumpkin cake is beautiful with a great texture, and great colour!  I've found that with pumpkin cakes you really can't taste that there's pumpkin in them, it just gives the cake a nice small crumb and keeps everything moist.

This cake goes well with cinnamon, caramel or chocolate icing.  Check out how Sweetapolita styled this cake with drippy salted caramel, cream cheese icing and chocolate icing. 

Recipe adapted from: Sweetapolita
Ingredients - 3 layer 22cm cake
265g white sugar
160g brown sugar
4 eggs
240mL vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
400g pumpkin puree (you can used canned puree, however I cook and mash fresh pumpkin)
345g flour
1.5 tbsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F).  If you're using fresh pumpkin, cook it and mash it up (I just chop the pumpkin up and microwave it with some water, then mash with a fork).  Set it aside to cool.  Skip this step if you're using canned pumpkin filling.

2. Beat the eggs, white sugar and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.

3. Add the oil and vanilla, beat until combined.  Add the pumpkin and mix until combined.

4. Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt - then gradually add these dry ingredients to the rest of the batter.  Mix until everything's combined.

5. Butter three 22cm cake tins or equivalent, and line the bottoms with baking paper.

6. Evenly distribute the cake batter between the tins and bake for about 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

7. Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes then invert the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.

Finally, assemble your cake with the icing of your choice.  I baked some in friand shapes and left them plain (the texture of this cake is just so amazing!) - I've also made this cake in layers with cinnamon buttercream (see below), and I've made it with dark chocolate ganache too.

It's a great versatile recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

August 11, 2015

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are a great staple - these ones are lovely, soft and tasty.  (Of course I add chocolate chips rather than raisins.)

Recipe adapted from: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich
190g rolled oats
62.5mL water
225g butter
150g brown sugar
100g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
160g flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
100g walnuts
130g choc chips (or raisins, if you're that way inclined)

1. Combine the oats with the water in a bowl, and let them soak.

2. Melt the butter in the microwave, then stir in the brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla and salt.

3. Add the egg and stir until combined.

4. Add the flour, bicarb, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until just combined.

5. Chop the walnuts roughly.

6. Add the walnuts, choc chips and soaked oats, fold them into the dough.

7. Let the dough rest in the fridge for about an hour or more/overnight.

8. When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 175 C (350 F).

9. Shape rough tablespoon amounts of dough and place them spread out on a baking tray covered with baking paper/silicon mats.

10. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until golden on top.  These ones tend to spread out a little but not heaps!

11. Let the cookies cool for a bit then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.


July 31, 2015


I've only ever deep fried churros and Camembert before, so it was very exciting to break the oil out again and try something new!

I tossed some of these in cinnamon and sugar and dipped some in a simple lemon glaze.  One of my favourite parts of making these was frying the doughnut holes - they started off as flat circles and puffed up to gorgeous spheres!

Recipe adapted from: Handle The Heat
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one packet)
50g white sugar
250mL milk
2 tbsp butter (28g)
1 egg
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
360g flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt

For frying - about 5 cups of oil (vegetable or peanut)

For dressing - white sugar and cinnamon or lemon juice and icing sugar

1. Microwave the milk until it's lukewarm, then mix the milk with the yeast and about a tablespoon of the white sugar.

2. Let the yeast proof for a few minutes.  Melt the butter and set it aside.

3. Once the yeast as activated and started to foam up, mix the rest of the sugar, butter, egg, nutmeg, flour, vanilla and salt in with the yeast.  I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook attachment.

4. Knead the dough (or let the mixer run) for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft.

5. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl.  Cover the bowl in cling wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1.5 - 2 hours.

6. Punch the dough down and tip it out onto a lightly floured surface.  The dough is so soft!

7. Roll the dough out to less than 1cm thick (1/4 inch), then cut doughnut shapes.  I just used a large circle cookie cutter and a smaller one.  I did some big doughnuts and some small; I recommend doing larger ones (about 9cm diameter).

8. Transfer the doughnuts to a baking tray covered in baking paper, spread them out, cover with a tea towel and let them rise for about an hour.

9. When you're ready to cook the doughnuts, heat your oil to 175C (350F) i
n a large wok or saucepan.  Prepare a plate or baking tray and cover it with paper towel to soak up excess oil.

10. Gently fry the doughnuts about 1 minute per side (for large 9cm doughnuts), until golden.  I use chopsticks to turn the doughnuts - tongs or a slotted spoon would work too.  The doughnut holes will take a shorter time.

11. Once done, lift the doughnuts out of the oil and place on the paper towel, turning to soak up all of the excess oil from both sides.

12. If you're dressing the doughnuts in cinnamon and sugar, it's best to coat them while the doughnuts are warm.

Another option is a simple lemon glaze, made by mixing icing sugar and lemon juice - if you're doing this, make sure that the doughnuts have cooled.


July 10, 2015

Caramel Pecan Oat Bars

...with chocolate chips, because almost everything is improved with chocolate.  Despite being packed with caramel, chocolate and sugar, the oats make these bars seem almost - dare I say - healthy!?

Recipe adapted from: My Baking Addiction
Ingredients - 20cm x 30cm brownie tin
290g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
310g flour
2 cups rolled oats
277g brown sugar
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans
1 cup caramel (recipe here)

1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).  Line your brownie tin with baking paper.

2. Melt the butter in a large heatproof bowl.  Add the vanilla essence.

3. Mix the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, bicarb soda and salt into the melted butter until all is combined.

4. Press half of the mixture evenly into the lined brownie tin - this is your base.

5. Bake for about 8 minutes, and chop your pecans into rough chunks.

6. Take the base out of the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans over it.  Then pour the caramel on top.

7. Using your fingers, break the rest of the oat mixture over the top of the caramel.

8. Bake the slice for another 15 minutes until the top is golden.

9. Let the slice cool before slicing into bars or squares or whatever shape you like.  I dug straight in with a fork and let me tell you, it was amazing!  However, it's much easier to cut the slice up when it's completely cool.


June 28, 2015

Choc Chip Cookies (Anna Olson)

I always love trying new choc chip cookie recipes - they're such a staple cookie and each recipe brings different results.  My favourite part of this particular recipe is the dough - it has a great blend of brown and white sugar, and the corn flour makes the texture really smooth (it tastes amazing!)

Recipe adapted from: Clockwork Lemon
125g butter
90g brown sugar
65g white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
195g flour
2 tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).  Beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla, beat until combined.

3. Add the flour, corn flour, bicarb soda and salt - mix until fully combined.

4. Finally, mix the chocolate chips into the dough.

5. Create tablespoon sized balls of dough and bake for about 10 minutes.  The cookies should be golden on top.

6. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool further.  Or...enjoy them warm!

June 16, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are a classic food, and so delicious!  These ones come with a nut option and plain cinnamon sugar.  Either way, they're fantastic - soft, sweet and yummy!

Recipe adapted from: Joy The Baker
Ingredients - dough (8 large buns)
1 sachet active dry yeast (7g)
63mL water
125mL milk (at room temperature - just heat it in the microwave for a few seconds if it's straight from the fridge!)
62g white sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1 egg yolk
426g flour
Pinch of salt
113g butter (at room temperature)

Ingredients - filling
125g white sugar
46g brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup
40g butter

1. Warm the water so it's just lukewarm - about 45C/115F.  In the bowl of your mixer, combine the yeast, water and half a teaspoon of white sugar.  Let the yeast proof for a few minutes until it's frothy.

2. Add the milk, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, egg and egg yolk to the yeast mixture, mix with a whisk until combined.

3. Add the flour and salt to the mixture, and mix with the dough hook attachment for your mixture.  Mix the dough (or knead if you're not using a stand mixer) for a few minutes so it all comes together.

4. Add the butter (113g) and keep kneading the dough until everything's combined and smooth.

5. The dough may be sticky - if it's too sticky, you can add up to 1/3 cup more flour and knead it in.

6. Grease a bowl (I just use the mixer bowl I've been doing everything in) with some extra butter, then plop your dough in.  Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

7. When the dough's nearly finished rising, you can start making the filling.  Finely chop the pecans and walnuts (I only used about 1/8 cup of each type of nut because I wanted to do half the buns with nuts and half without).

8. Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon then work the maple syrup into the mixture.  I just used a spoon for this.  Also, melt the 40g butter.

9. Once your dough has risen, punch the air our and knead a bit more flour in if needed.

10. Flour your clean work surface and roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 25cm x 50cm (10 inches x 20 inches).  It seems like this will be way way too big but trust me, the dough can go the distance!

11. Brush the dough generously with the melted butter, then evenly spread the filling onto the dough.  Leave about 5cm at one of the short edges of the dough without filling - this is so you can seal the edge down when you roll the dough up.  Press the filling down gently with your hands to make sure it's stuck down.

I only sprinkled the nuts on half of the dough.

12. Roll the dough up, starting with the short side that has filling all the way up to the edge.  Try to do this as tightly as possible, press the seam down to adhere it to the rest of the dough.

13. Cut the dough into 8 even slices.  Line a brownie tin (mine is 23cm x 32cm) with baking paper and place each bun slice into the pan, evenly spacing them out.  As the rolls do rise more, they squish up and become more rectangular - if you want them to be more circular, you can use two trays and spread them out.

14. Cover the tin with cling wrap or a tea towel and let the dough rise again for another 2 hours.

15. Preheat your oven to 190C (375F) after the dough has risen again, and bake the rolls for about 30 minutes.  If you insert a toothpick into the bread part (not the filling) it should come out clean.  When you touch the tops of the buns, the top should be crusty but they should be soft in the middle - I initially thought they might not be fully baked but fear not, they were perfect!

16. If desired, brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter.  Let the rolls cool in the tin for a bit, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool a bit more.

17. When you're ready to eat, peel the rolls away from each other and consume them.  They're amazing when warm from the oven!