Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm so excited!

Yay! Like the title says, "I am so excited" I have just ordered my new kitchen toy! I need an emoticon for happy dance, lol.

I have wanted one for ages, and have been tossing up which one to buy. I have decided on this one, as it has a bigger motor, and comes with extra attachments. I shopped around and got a good price from a catering supplier in Erina, and they do free delivery. Double Yay! It will make cakes and icing so much easier. As my poor little hand held mixer cops a hiding!

The manager of the store thinks she may be able to get it to me by Friday, but if not Monday.

It was sorta scary spending so much money on one thing, Adam buys expensive things all the time, so I thought why not. And my tax cheque paid for it, well nearly all of it anyway.

I will take a photo of it set up when it arrives.

Ooh what to make first?

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Completed Tafe Project.

I have just completed a 7 week Tafe course in Cake Decorating.

It was a very unstructured class, taught by a part-time teacher, (who I think had never taught cake dec before). There were a few things that I wanted to learn, which were taught in the class. So that was good.

The course covered,
- Chocolate work (ganache, piping & making a mud cake)
- Royal Icing (making & piping)
- RTR icing (colouring & how to cover a cake)

And our final project. We basically had to choose a cake of our liking, and the teacher was there to help us.
I decided I wanted to make a girls birthday style cake, (as I will have heaps of practice on boys cakes over the years). So I ended up getting some ideas online for a castle cake.
We were meant to make the cakes at Tafe, but as we were running out of time, we made them at home.
The cakes I had to cook them separately, as they had to go on the centre shelf in the oven, and my oven wasn't large enough to do a 10" & a 7" together.

So anyway, this is the final result.

It was a good learning cake, although I probably should have chosen something a bit simpler. It has quite a few mistakes, but overall I am happy with the result.

Cupcake Hero - Red, White & Blue

I have been wanting to enter the Cupcake Hero for a while now, so I thought I might as well have a go. I am no where near as imaginative as most of the other entrants, but Hey, I don't need much of an excuse to make cupcakes do I?

So the theme for July, is Red, White & Blue. It is usually hosted by Laurie from Quirky Cupcake, but she is having a break so, Clara from I Heart Cuppycakes, and Nikki from Crazy Delicious Food are hosting this month.
Basically the cupcake must have the 3 colours in it, and if you must use food colouring, you can only use it for one of them.

I decided to make Raspberry (red) filled Coconut (white) Cupcakes with Coconut Butter Cream Frosting (blue).
Coconut Cupcakes
Crabapple Bakery

Makes 24


3/4 cup shredded coconut
2 1/3 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
3 egg whites, extra
200g softened unsalted butter (I used margarine)
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milkMethod

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius, Line two 12-hole trays with cupcake papers.

Using a food processor, process the coconut until very fine. Add coconut to a bowl with sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Mix until combined.

In a separate bowl combine eggs and egg whites. Do not beat.

In another bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the caster sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. After the last addition, beat until mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.

Add the eggs a quarter at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Add a third of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half the coconut milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process. Add the remaining third of the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly combined; do not over-beat as this will toughen the mixture.

Spoon into cupcake papers, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 18 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

I wanted to fill the cupcakes with something red, and I love coconut with raspberry, so I then got a small paring knife and cut a small cone shape out of the top of the cupcake, and filled with approx 1/2 teaspoon of my favourite raspberry jam.

Then I cut a sliver of the piece I cut out, and placed in on top of the jam.Then they were ready to ice. I had no idea what to have for the blue, so I decided to tint the icing blue.

Coconut Butter Cream Frosting


188 grams butter, room temperature (I used margarine)

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups icing sugar

1 cup shredded coconut

blue food colouring


Beat butter, scrape bowl.

Add the sifted icing sugar, beat, then add milk and vanilla.

Beat until smooth.

Add colouring, in small amounts, till you reach the desired colour.

Add coconut and mix until combined.

These are my new favourite (non-chocolate) cupcake. they are so yummy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Chocolate Fix

I was having a bad day, wondering what I was going to do with myself this week, knowing I was house bound with Harrison being contagious. And I thought, I need chocolate. I actually would of been quite happy with a hot chocolate drink, but, I had no milk. So I thought, Mmmm cookies.

I have made every type of cookie, in my recipe file, and nothing jumped out as chocolaty enough.
So I googled Chocolate Cookie, and this one jumped out.

Adapted by me.


225 grams dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
80 grams margarine
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340 grams dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan - forced)
2. Place chocolate (225 gram amount) and margarine, into a microwave save bowl, and heat on high in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until almost melted, do not overheat, (mine took 80 seconds all up).
3. In another bowl, sift flour & baking powder.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar & vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy.

5. Add melted chocolate and beat on low speed until combined.

6. Add in flour mixture, and stir with a spatula until just combined, stir in chocolate chips.

7. Drop tablespoons of dough 2-3 inches apart onto lined baking sheets.

8. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating sheets half way through, until cookies are shiny and crackly, yet soft in the centre.
9. Cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

The finished product.

- Chocolate chips (I didn't have any, so I used a combination of block chocolate, and couveture) chopped up.
- The original recipe had salt, which I used in mine, but it left a salty aftertaste, not what I wanted in a cookie.
- You will need a spatula to lift cookies off sheets.
- I was a little disappointed with the shape of the cooked cookie, I prefer a smaller higher cookie, which is chewy in the centre. But even though this cookie was large and flat, it somehow remained chewy, Yay!

So at the moment, this is my Absolute Favourite Cookie.
Adam came home and ate 3, so they must be good, as he usually thinks most of my recipes are way too chocolaty.

Harrison has Conjunctivitis

I had to take Harrison to the Dr's today, as there was green goop, oozing from his right eye. I'm not happy, as it means I'm house bound for the next few days : ( I suppose it's one of the joys of having kids.Poor bubba!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

7 days to go!

The countdown is on!

In 7 more days Adam & I are going to Sydney to see Dralion by Cirque du Soleil. I am so excited, it will be the 3rd show we have seen, we saw Quidam in 2004, and Varekai in 2006.

Best of all we have front row seats in the Tapis Rouge section of the show.

We want to buy a 4wd

After much deliberation, Adam & I are ready to buy a 4wd. Well not really buy, we are going to lease it. For months Adam has researched them and decided on the 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 series. I'm not at all keen, but that is what he wants.

Here is the photo of the Cruiser, (wer'e not getting a boat, but its the best photo I could find).

I quite like the front end, but TBH, I think the back looks like an old cruiser or jackeroo. We drove to Chullora yesterday to look at one, (it was the only one in NSW), and took it for a test drive. It drives like a truck, well Adam said it is a truck, so what did you expect. But, it was uncomfortable, and rough. I don't like it.

Anyways, we get back to the dealership, and he says do you want to look at the Prado? I was like "Yes please", I had stopped looking at Prado's over a month before, as Adam doesn't like them. So I went and sat in one, Oh my, it was beautiful. (If you can call a 4wd that, lol). It was so comfortable, it had air conditioning (the Cruiser it was an optional extra "$2500" extra), and cup holders, lol.

Here is a photo of the Prado.

So anyway, we came home very undecided. Adam still wants his Cruiser, I still want the Prado.

Later that night, I went out for dinner with some friends, and when I came home, he had printed out all the spec sheets on the Prado (Yay, he's coming round). And has started comparing them. He still isn't happy that the Prado is only 4 cylinder, (the Cruiser is a V8), but I am hoping he will get over that.

He rang this morning, and said we can go test drive one next Saturday (Yay).

So I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Caramel Mud Surprise Cupcakes

Original recipe from the Women's Weekly Cupcakes book.

Adapted by me to make them a little more interesting, and more caramelly (if there is such a word).

Makes 12 regular sized cupcakes


125 grams butter
100 grams white chocolate ( I used Nestle melts )
2/3 cup brown sugar - firmly packed
1/4 cup golden syrup
2/3 cup milk
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
1 egg
12 jersey caramel lollies


1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius / 150 degrees Celsius fan-forced
2. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with papers.
3. Combine butter, chocolate, sugar, syrup and milk in a saucepan.
4. Stir over low heat until butter has melted and mixture is smooth.
5. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cool for 15 minutes.
6. Add sifted flours, stir until combined. Then mix in the egg.

This is where my recipe changes slightly.

7. Place approx 1 Tablespoon of mixture into each cupcake paper.

8. Place 1 lolly into the middle of mix.

9. Then divide remaining mixture between papers.

10. Bake for 30 minutes, ( I rotated my tray, after 15 minutes, as one side of my oven is hotter than the other ).
11. Remove cupcakes from tray and allow to cool on a wire rack.

I have just eaten one, and Oh my they are so good and caramelly. Here is a photo. The lollies have melted, which is the result I had wanted. Yum Yum.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Harrison 8 months old

Here's a couple of photos I have taken this week, with my new Canon 50mm lense.

He is starting to be so funny, he smiles and laughs at most things, and is constantly chatting away. He will eat absolutely anything too. The second photo was taken on my Birthday, (will post some birthday pics later on) after dinner, in his portable high chair.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Caramel Macadamia Slice

1 packet vanilla cake mix
1 cup coconut
125g melted butter or margarine


1 400g tin condensed milk
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1 Tablespoon golden syrup
200g macadamia nuts
80g melted chocolate


1. Preheat oven 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with baking paper.
2. Mix base ingredients and press into tin.
3. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Combine condensed milk, butter and golden syrup in saucepan, and heat until butter is melted and mixture has thickened slightly.
5. Remove from heat, and add nuts.
6. Pour mixture over base and return to oven for 15 minutes.
7. Drizzle melted chocolate over slice.
8. Leave slice to cool in tin, then slice into bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Lemon Cheesecake Slice

This was so yummy.


250g Arnotts Nice bisciuts
110g melted butter or margarine


1/2 cup caster sugar
250g cream cheese (softened)
1 large egg
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup thickened cream (full fat)


1 1/2 cups thickened cream (whipped)


1. Line a 20cm x 30cm slice tray with baking paper. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius (150 degrees celsius for fan forced).

2. Crush biscuits (food processor or blender) then add melted butter. Press into base of tin.

3. Combine sugar, cream cheese and egg, (I used my hand held mixer, but a food processor would work too). Start off slow till cream cheese has broken down, then to medium until smooth.

4. Add lemon juice and cream and mix until combined.

5. Pour cream cheese mixture over base, and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. The slice should not have browned. And should be a little wobbly still. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tin, at least 30 minutes. The slice will continue to firm up, during this time.

6. Refrigerate until cold.

7. Spread cold slice with whipped cream.

8. Cut slice into bars, and serve. store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.