June 29, 2014

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This cream cheese pound cake is one of my staple recipes, and one that I reach for very often when I need a basic vanilla cake or just something simple to snack on.  It's great for cupcakes as well, because while it rises in the oven, it flattens down as it cools to form a perfect flat top for whatever decorations you desire.

Recipe adapted from: Bakerella
Ingredients (one 11 x 21 cm (4 x 8 inch) loaf or a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake)
115g butter
115g cream cheese
270g white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
100mL milk
210g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup berries (optional - I usually use frozen raspberries)

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between.

4. Mix in the milk and vanilla.

5. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth.

6. If desired, add the berries.  For this particular loaf, I used some frozen mixed berries (including raspberries, blueberries and strawberries) and it was so delicious.

7. Pour the batter into a loaf tin or a 20cm round cake tin.  If I'm just making this for the family, I usually just make a loaf because it's simple to cut and eat!

8. Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or until the top is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.

9. Let the cake cool before cutting.  Alternatively, if you're making a layer cake or icing the loaf, do that first!

Finally, enjoy.

June 18, 2014

Almond Apple Cake

This is a lovely cake; easy to make, moist and with a fresh tangy lemon icing.  The toasted almonds garnished on top bring it all together.

Recipe adapted from: The Australian Women's Weekly Cakes & Slices Cookbook
Ingredients - cake (20 cm (8 inch) cake)
185g butter
188g caster sugar
3 eggs
80g self-raising flour (or use 80g plain flour and 1 tsp of baking powder)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
185g almond meal
1 apple
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Ingredients - lemon icing
60g butter
185g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method - cake
1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F).  Wash, peel and grate the apple.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.

4. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, almond meal and grated apple.

5. Line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper or butter and spread the batter into it.

6. Bake the cake for about 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let it cool in the tin for a bit before turning it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Method - icing
1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy.

2. Add the icing sugar (sifted for smoothest results) and beat until incorporated.

3. Add the lemon juice and mix until the icing is spreadable.  Use a little more lemon juice if needed.

4. Spread the icing onto the cake to your liking.

5. For garnish, toast the sliced almonds (you can use slivered almonds if you prefer) and sprinkle them onto the cake once they've cooled.

June 10, 2014

Double Chocolate Cookies

These delicious chocolate cookies are one of my go-to sweets that I bake all the time.  An easy recipe that yields fantastic, rich cookies that are perfect just out of the oven!

Recipe adapted from: Simple Essentials Chocolate by Donna Hay
110g butter
130g brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g flour
30g cocoa (sifted)
1 tsp bicarb soda
125g dark chocolate (to be melted)
280g dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F).

2. Melt the 125g dark chocolate and set aside to cool.

3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

5. Mix in the melted chocolate, then stir through the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb soda.

6. Add the chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips, if you're using them) and mix until combined.  The batter may be quite sticky at this point, but that's okay - the melted chocolate will harden them up soon enough.

7. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and space them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Make sure they have some room to spread!

8. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.  Bake for less time if you want a chewier cookie, or longer if you like a little crunch.

9. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.  They taste great when warm and the chocolate's all melty!

June 1, 2014

Fluffy Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing

Hello all!  I have some delicious chocolate cupcakes with caramel cream cheese icing to share with you today.  They're nice and simple to make; I whipped these up for a work colleague's birthday.

Recipe adapted from: How Sweet It Is
Ingredients - cupcakes
1 egg
140g brown sugar
145g (1/2 cup) milk
135g (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) cream
125g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sour cream
175g flour
15g cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp bicarb soda

1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

2. Whisk egg and sugar until smooth and combined.

3. Melt the butter.

4. Add the milk, cream, melted butter, vanilla and sour cream to the egg mixture and stir until combined.

5. Add the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb to the batter and stir until combined.  Sift the cocoa powder for best results.

6. Spoon the batter into cupcake tins lined with patty pans.  I always leave quite a lot of space between the batter and the top of the patty pans because I am paranoid about overflowing cupcakes.

7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

8. Let the cupcakes cool before icing them.

Caramel Cream Cheese Icing
Ingredients: 400g cream cheese, 1 cup caramel (recipe here)

Method: Simply beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy (I use the K beater on my Kitchenaid), then add the caramel and beat until smooth and combined.

This icing is easy to make and great paired with chocolate cakes or cupcakes; it works well when piped, as shown on the cupcakes here.  You can use more or less caramel to suit your tastes, even add some vanilla essence or cream if you so desire.

I also made a couple of whoopie-pie-like morsels using an old dome-indented tin (not sure what this is called a gem scone tin, thank you Diane!  I believe my great-grandmother gave it to me) and sandwiched the domes together with the icing.