Category Archives: Baking

Crafting the Perfect Cupcake

A couple of years ago I was a woman obsessed, when it came to cupcakes. I enjoyed baking them, trying new recipes, and generally sharing them with my work-mates.
For the most part, they all tasted pretty good.
The hard part was making them look good.
No matter how hard I tried, the icing never looked right, and any attempts at creating delicate swirls or fluffy tops fell pretty flat.

So, as part of my 30 Things to do Before 30 Challenge, I wanted to attend a cupcake decorating lesson.

Cupcake4I was pretty stoked when my partner bought me a voucher for my birthday so I could attend said lesson.
I booked myself in for May 10th, and was pleased that I would finally be able to cross this off my list.

Continue reading Crafting the Perfect Cupcake

Thing 30

Folks, I bet you thought this day would never come.
Yet here we are.
The final thing in my list of ’30 Things to do Before 30′.
Sure, I’ve hardly done any of the things on my list.
And yup, this one is no exception.
Today is the last day for me to take action.
But I’m sure you all know by now that it’s not going to happen.

Thing 30: Pick One Recipe Book and Cook all the Cupcakes in it

Well I did pick a recipe book at least.
I believe it was called ‘The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook’.
At least, I think it was this book, because I did bring it to Melbourne with me.
It has a total of 15 cupcake recipes inside.
I cooked a total of 2.
Winning/Not Winning.

Red Velvet, because...duh
Red Velvet, because…duh
Hazelnut & Chocolate, because...why not?
Hazelnut & Chocolate, because…why not?

I can’t believe I have now posted 30 days in a row.
Also – I’m sorry.
If you’ve come and visited every day during this journey, then I both thank and applaud you.
You’ve done better than I.

Look, I know I’ve only managed to successfully cross off about half of my list.
In three years, I think that’s okay.
I still have plenty of life to live, and as much as I complain about it, starting a new decade isn’t all that bad, right?

My 30’s are going to be full of new experiences and life challenges.
I know this.
I’m not setting myself a new list of crap to do before I hit 40, so you can all breathe a sigh of relief on that note.
I will keep this list in the back of my mind though, and I do hope to cross off a few more items.
Getting a bigger place to live would certainly help here, just saying.

So for now, it’s a fond ‘so long’ to my 20’s – it’s been real.

Thing 3

Thing 3: Attend a Cupcake Decorating Lesson

Ah yes, my 26/27-year-old self was obsessed with cupcakes! I used to make them quite often and loved experimenting with different flavours.

But let’s be real – making the cupcakes is the easy part.

Decorating them? Not so much.

My icing was always too thick or too runny. It never looked as good as the ones in the shops, and I was determined to perfect the art of the icing flower.

Alas! This is another thing I am yet to achieve.

Since moving to Melbourne our kitchen has quartered in size, meaning that anything requiring bench-space is off-limits.

I was very close to signing up for a cupcake decorating lesson last year with some colleagues, but we just never got around to it. I am still totes going to do this one day though.

The folk from 'De Proeverie Tea-Room' in Brugge know how to ice a cupcake!
The folk from ‘De Proeverie Tea-Room’ in Brugge know how to ice a cupcake!

Sidenote: I promise I have actually managed to cross some ‘Things’ off my list!!

I think.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Donuts

Yes, I'm one of those people. I Instagram my food. Deal.
Yes, I’m one of those people. I Instagram my food. Deal.

On Friday morning my workmate asked if I could help her out by eating some of her Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chunk Texas muffin. Being the lovely girl that I am, I agreed and boy was it amaze!

I practically inhaled my portion and it stayed on my mind for the rest of the day. And the day after that. So I decided to make some myself! Except I don’t have a muffin pan. Never fear, donuts are here!!

This recipe actually made too much batter for my pan to handle, so I used the rest in my paddy pan, which I ended up taking to work in order to avoid the baked-good coma that would have ensued otherwise. They went down a treat with my co-workers and now I fear this may become a thing.

These taste best straight from the oven, but the combination of peanuts and chocolate is heaven at any time, so they’ll always be a winner in my books.

Recipe adapted from Baking Bites.

Gathering my supplies
Gathering my supplies

2 1/4 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp melted and browned butter, cooled
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and grease your donut/muffin pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl.

Whisk together browned butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk in another bowl until smooth.

Wet about to meet dry
Wet about to meet dry

Pour into the flour mixture and stir until just combined, then fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into a piping bag (or using a small sandwich bag with the corner cut works just fine) and pipe into your pan, filling to half-way.

For the first time ever, I did not overflow my pan! #legend
For the first time ever, I did not overflow my pan! #legend

Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven) until the tops are browned and the batter is cooked.

Remove from the oven, rest for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.

You simply cannot resist this temptation
Best served warm with a glass of Baileys and milk

This Week I’m Loving…Cranstachio Cookies!

Yes, you might be thinking this post is a cop-out, and you’re probably correct. I feel like I haven’t done a proper “This Week I’m Loving” post for a while, but inspiration has been lacking of late.

I’m totally not even sure if Cranstachio is a real thing, but let’s go with it, shall we? I saw a lovely picture on Pinterest a few weeks ago for Cranberry Pistachio cookies and decided to make some for myself.

Cookie Tower

I’ve used my go-to basic biscuit recipe as a base, which I have used for years! Perfect soft cookies every time. Except for that one time when I burnt them all, oops. I have a feeling it might have originated from an Edmonds cookbook (a staple in most New Zealand kitchens), but I have no proof so please don’t hold me to that one.
So, here we go…

Cranstachio Cookies

  • 125g Butter
  • 1/2c Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 3/4c Flour
  • 1t Baking Powder

So this is the “Basic Biscuit” recipe. You can pretty much add whatever you like to this and be as creative as you want. They are also pretty good as is, although a little plain for my taste. So to this I added:

  • 3/4c Pistachios, ground up (you can either do this yourself using a food processor, or buy them ground)
  • Green Food Colouring (I added a bit too much, but you can make them as light or dark as you want)
  • 1/2c Dried Cranberries

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and prepare a cookie tray with oil/butter or baking paper. Beat the Butter and Sugar together in a large bowl, then beat the Egg and Food Colouring into this mixture. Mix in the Flour and Baking Powder and add the Pistachios and Cranberries. Roll the mixture into small balls, and flatten slightly with a fork. Cook for 20 minutes or until brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Before Hitting Oven-Town

These cookies are light and soft with a mild hint of pistachios. These would make perfect Christmas cookies, although I think next time I would use less food colouring and more pistachios!

 

This Week I’m Loving: Pinterest Edition

In case you didn’t already know, I am a huge Pinterest fan.  Huge.  I love how there is an image available for just about anything you could imagine, and if there isn’t, then you just go ahead and Google the crap out of it and pin that sh*t yourself.  The organiser in me loves that you can set up different boards to keep your pins themed up.  And I totally love it when people re-pin something I have pinned, even though it wasn’t my original pin to start with.  But most of all I love that the pins take you (if they have been pinned properly) directly to the website or blog that the image came from, which is so neat.

Like most people I know, I spend much of my time on Pinterest re-pinning or finding lovely images to post on my 21 boards, sticking them on there (comments and all) and thinking nothing more of it.  But, I now have the satisfaction of actually using some of my pinspiration (see what I did there?) in my real life!  Who would have thought?!  So this week I’d like to share some of the pins that I have actually used in the real world.  FYI – the links will take you to the actual website the pins came from so you can check them out yourself!  Don’t say I don’t do anything nice for you.

1. Pineapple Pecan Chicken Salad, ya’ll!  Was super simple to make and tasted oh so fresh and delicious.  Will defo make again.

2. Baked Lemon Lavender Donuts.  When we went to Daylesford a couple of months ago I bought some culinary lavender and proceeded to scour pinterest for ideas to use it.  I had never cooked with it before, and although the donuts were quite delicious and tangy, they were also kind of weird.  Acquired taste, maybe?

Continue reading This Week I’m Loving: Pinterest Edition

Who Wants Donuts??

Hi there, remember me?  Yeah, I’m the one who’s meant to be writing this blog.  Did you miss me?!

With my laptop dying the other week, and my reluctance to write a full post using my phone or iPad, I have found myself out of action for a wee while.  But now I am back up and running and have a sweet desk sitch happening in my apartment (complete with faux pot plants) so I can blog until my heart is content.

I thought I would start off with one of the most amazing baked goods I have made in a long time.  Behold the baked donut!!  Right?

This recipe was slightly adapted from Shutterbean, where I totes got my baked donut inspiration from in the first place.  They are super easy to make and taste divine.  I totally won’t judge if you eat them all in one sitting.

Baked Caramel Apple Donuts

Is it a donut? Or is it a muffin?!
  • 1 1/4 c wholemeal flour
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1/2t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2c regular sugar
  • 1/2c vegetable oil
  • 2t vanilla essence
  • 3 medium apples, peeled and grated

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius, grease a donut pan and set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk eggs and sugars together until smooth.  Add oil and vanilla and whisk again.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Stir in the apples.  Spoon the mixture into the donut pan until almost full (or use a piping bag/zip-lock bag with a corner cut off).  Bake until golden (around 20 minutes) or until a skewer comes out dry.

Leave in pan to cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

**I totally put too much mixture into the pan and ended up with a half muffin/half donut, but hey they still tasted amaze!**

Don’t fill your pans as much as I did.

For the glaze, I used this recipe from food.com

  • 2T butter
  • 1/2c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2T milk

Combine butter, brown sugar and milk in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and cook for one minute.

Dip the donuts into the glaze and set aside (or shove directly into your face-hole).

Shutterbean was totally right – the next day they taste even better, as the glaze sinks into the donut.  Soo good.