Thursday, December 27, 2012

Coconut Cake with Mango Curd

And with the blink of an eye, Christmas is over.

The lead up to Christmas this year was quicker than ever before, and suddenly, Christmas Day and Boxing Day happened too.

Christmas this year was at my brother and sister in laws house, and it was a jam packed affair with about 22 people in the house. Trying to stay out of the torrential rain. We had a makeshift outdoor area though:

My brothers wife put on a most delicious lunch. Baked vegetables, turkey, ham, chicken, bread, gravy.......deeeeeelicious.

For dessert, my sister always brings vanilla ice cream that she adds a whole bunch of delicious chocolates in to (crunchies, m&ms, malteasers, turkish delight etc) - I told her there was too much turkish delight in this years one, but other than that it was tops!

My contribution was a coconut cake with mango curd (apologies for the poor photos - I'm not going to lie, I'd had a few bottles of wine by this stage):

And I also did a bowl of watermelon, cherries, and strawberries dipped in milk & white chocolate:

It was a delicious affair - and I managed to take the left overs to our celebration on Boxing Day with the boyfriend's family. So much food. I now feel sufficiently fat.....bring on the new year!

Also, check out this little chubba - my nephew Peter, celebrating his first Christmas. SO CUTE:

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas!

Coconut Cake with Mango Curd via Hungry Rabbit

1 large egg
5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2-1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), sifted
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5-3/4 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (about 8 ounces) (I cheated though and bought pre toasted coconut cause I'm a rebel like that. So feel free to take the easy option!)
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with flour. (I used 12 inch cake pans, and I made a double batch of cake to feed our army of people)

2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about 2 minutes.

4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. Add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.

5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.

6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature.

7. While cakes are cooling, spread coconut flakes on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cool to room temperature.

Mango Curd

2 fresh mangoes, pureed
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime/lemon juice
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Combine mango puree, sugar, lime juice, salt and yolks in a medium-size bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 12-15 minutes.

2. Remove bowl from simmering water and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through a sieve into a container; place pa piece of plastic wrap directly on top of mango curd. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

I used Whisk Kid swiss meringue buttercream to frost. It was deeeeelicious!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Cake Pops

Anyone who tells you cake pops are easy to make is a bloody liar.

This is my first attempt at cake pops, and I tell you what - more of them fell off their stick when being dipped in the chocolate than stayed on their stick.

It's ok though - I persevered and ended up with this:

I won't lie to you - I used a Duncan Hines devils food cake mix for these bad boys. It was delicious, and for $2.50, why wouldn't you use it?

I baked them in a super mini muffin tin, because rolling cake pops in to evenly sized balls is for chumps.

Anyway, these are for my work mates, a little christmas cheer to inject in to our dreary Council chambers office.

I'm contempmlating making some for Christmas Day (I drew the dessert card for what to bring on Christmas - but then again, I always bring dessert!) - I've also had a request from the brother to make a choc mint ice cream cake. And I really want to make a coconut cake too. Looks like I'll be a busy bee!

Merry Christmas, friends x

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Barbie cake

Yesterday was my niece's birthday.

You'd never guess she turned 16........

She absolutely adores Barbie. Like, a ridiculous amount.

I bought her a Barbie cupcake baking kit, and a bottle of something that probably is meant for 18 year olds, but we won't tell anyone about that gift.

I also baked her a Barbie cake:

Vanilla cake, with vanilla buttercream, covered in fondant. She was suitably impressed with it.

As she is such a wordly age of 16, she's now allowed to learn to drive. She went for her L's this morning, and I received a text message from my sister with this photo in it:

My reply? May god have mercy on us all.

Apparently I volunteered to give her some driving lessons - if you don't ever hear from me again, assume the worst....... :)

Happy 16th Birthday Maddison!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bakers Block

I think I'm having bakers block - does that exist? If not, it does now.

Much like writers not being able to think of anything to write, I can't think of anything to bake. Well, I mean I can, but stuff that I haven't baked before. Things that I haven't baked, but that my plain taste boyfriend will eat.

I baked some brownies last night. I've been struggling with brownies. I want the perfect recipe. I remember making some brownies a while ago that were really really good from the Masterchef magazine, but boyfriend said that they were 'too rich'. Blasphemy! No such thing!

The brownies I baked last night have real potential to be amazing. The recipe proclaimed them to be 'the best brownies ever'. I'm sometimes hesitant with recipes claiming to be 'best ever'. Anyone can say something is the best ever. I could say this blog is the best ever. That doesn't make it so.

Anyway, the batter looked delicious, I have bought expensive chocolate to use to give it the best chance possible. I poured it in to my brownie pan. This is when I hesitated. The pan sure did look full. Almost to the brim. Hmmm. I put it in the oven and hoped for the best.

Cue burnt edges, but a pretty good centre. I think it might have something to do with the oven at my boyfriends (my?) house too. I'm not used to cooking in it, and I seem to be ruining a lot of things lately which isn't like me. Anway, the brownies are ok, but could be better.

I don't want to post a photo because they're uuuuugly.

Now I'm looking for inspiration for other things - I'm going to leave brownies and come back to them later down the track. I have a billion things bookmarked on foodgawker, but just can't decide.

Mini apples pies with sour cream? Nahhh we're coming in to summer.
Home made pizza dough? We had pizza for lunch on Saturday.
White cupcakes with almond buttercream? I've done cupcakes to death really.
Two bite nutella cookies? Delcious, but not very involved.
Cake pops? A great idea, except candy melts are as rare as hens teeth in Australia.
Coconut cake? Hmm....coconut cake.....I'm going through a 'coconut is the most amazeballs flavour on the face of the earth and anyone who thinks otherwise is a jerk' phase. Maybe we'll see coconut cake on the blog next......I have a funny story about coconut cake to accompany it. I think we have a winner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Each month at my office, we have a staff lunch in our department. We have split in to two teams, and each month, one team cooks, and the other team cleans and vice versa.

This month, it's my turn to cook.

Our lunch also happens to fall on Halloween this month!

The invite I created to email around the office.

I decided that since it's Halloween, I'd like to trick my co-workers. Enter this chocolate fudge pie:

It's secretly healthy! Can you guess the main ingredient?


They'll never know...... :)

Recipe via Chocolate Covered Katie

Chocolate Fudge Pie

2 packets of firm Tofu
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk of choice
scant 1/8 tsp salt
8-10 oz chocolate chips (a bit over 1 1/3 c or more)
2-3 tablespoons agave or other sweetener
Melt the chocolate (either on the stove or in the microwave), then throw everything (except optional ingredients) into a food processor and blend until super-smooth. Pour into a prepared pie crust, or serve in bowls. Fridge until chilled. This gets firmer and firmer, the longer it sits. (It’s firmer if you use firm tofu and more like mousse pie if you use silken.)

I used the following recipe for the crust (also from CCK)

Pie Crust

1 tbsp cocoa powder (or cacao powder)

1/2 cup raw cashews (or almonds, walnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened) (See nutrition link below, for substitution notes.)
20 pitted dates
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Transfer to your pie dish and press in to the pan. Pour your filling on top - simple as that!

I melted some dark chocolate and put it in a zip lock bag and piped on the spiders web. So easy!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Parramatta Lanes

A few weeks ago, I caught wind of the fact that there was going to be an event taking place in Parramatta called 'Parramatta Lanes' as part of the Crave Sydney Festival.

I immediately knew that the besties and I would be partaking!

We plonked ourselves in some deckchairs and watched the passing parade. We listened to the band (The Cope Street Parade) playing some funky tunes above the La Toosh crepe stall, and just enjoyed the eclectic vibe from all that was on offer in Darcy Lane. There was a woodfire pizza van which I purchased a slice of peperoni pizza from ($5) - it was good, really nice flavour from the sauce and plenty of peperoni slices - they didn't skimp! I was seriously hungry at this point so just hoed in to it without taking a picture haha. Sorry!

After Darcy, we headed down to Batman Walk, which had a French theme to it. Lovely props and some musicians on the accordion and guitar. I decided to stop and purchase a meatball Panini ($4) from the Cafe Sotto tent. REALLY good – although could have done with an extra meatball as I only had one meatball and a bit of sauce on my large square of bread. But the flavour – rich and tomato-y, with a subtle creaminess from the slice of cheese and a bitter zing from the rocket.

As I wolfed down my meatball Panini, we headed to the next lane – red cow. Gelato served from the back of a vespa by Coco Gelato, and a projector screen set up showing a movie, with cushions and chairs to relax in. We skipped past the gelato, deciding we would come back later, and went on to Erby Place.

Erby Place was my favourite part of the Parramatta Lanes. A delightfully decorated cocktail bar (Grasshopper Bar) with fairy lights and lanterns, and milk crates to sit on and hang out with your friends. If there is something that I like, it’s a good sit on a milk crate.

We each got a cocktail (only one though cause we were all driving. Booo!) and some dumplings. I got a 'triple prosperity' which was rum with I think pineapple and orange juice for $12. Refreshing, served in a little jam jar, and if you bring your jam jar back, it's only $10 the next time!

The dumplings were awesome -vegetarian dumplings filled with a hot soup which we happily slurped down. I'm not sure how much these were because Liz bought them - thanks Liz!

We sat around and enjoyed the vibe for a bit longer, and contemplated gelato when we remembered that wowcow was just a stones throw away – I couldn’t resist the moo of the cow and went with a strawberry & chocolate frozen yoghurt topped with flake. Creamy, delicious, and way too good to remember taking a photo before I demolished it!

I definitely recommend a trip to Parramatta Lanes – it’s on again this Thursday and Friday evening from 4:30pm – 9:00pm. I think I shall pay them another visit for a few more cocktails!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Salted Caramel Macarons - Adriano Zumbo Box Mix

I was strolling through the supermarket this morning, purchasing items for the coming weeks meals. I wanted to be super healthy this week, and had put all the fruit, vegetables and meat in my trolley. I decided that maybe I should take a quick look in the cake aisle though, just incase there was something good on special.

Rookie mistake!!

The Adriano Zumbo box mixes were on special this week for $6 - as if I was ever going to walk past such an attractively decorated box of macaron mix, especially when it's salted caramel flavour!!

I got home, unloaded the groceries and set to work.

The box includes a packet of meringue mix, which you add 1/4 of a cup of water to and beat until it's very stiff. Then you add a packet of caramel infused almond meal and fold until just combined.

The box also includes piping bags for both the macaron mix and the buttercream to sandwich them together, and a circle template so you can trace circles on to your baking paper and get the perfect size and shape for each macaron.

Macarons ready to be baked

Macarons after being 'sandwiched'!

Heaps easy to make, took hardly any time at all, and while they were never going to taste as good as the ones Mr Zumbo & co create, they're a pretty delicious morsel for someone who doesn't live close to the any of his shops!