Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Sugar Cookies

These crisp sugar cookies are from the famous Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, and decorated with green icing to add a touch of Christmas.

200g Unsalted Butter
280g Caster Sugar
1/4    Tsp Vanilla Extract
1       Egg
400g Plain Flour
a pinch of salt
1/2    Teaspoon cream of tartar

Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract in a mix master or handheld whisk until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and mix well.
Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar and mix well. (don't over mix).
The dough should be light, soft and easy to handle.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough with rolling pin.
Cut out shape using cookie cutters.
Bake for 10 min or until very light golden on the outer edges and pale in the centre. Don't overcook.
Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly on the tray before transferring to cooling rack.
Decorate with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing
1 Egg White
1/2 Tea spoon lemon juice
310g Icing Sugar (sifted)
Add food colouring  to suit.

Beat the egg white and lemon juice in mix master or hand held whisk.
Gradually add the icing sugar, mixing well.
Whisk until you get soft peaks.
If the icing is too runny, add a little more sugar.
Stir in a couple of drops of food colouring and decorate.

Kids Rated - Yummmmm

Monday, December 13, 2010

Campbelltowns Newest Pizza on the Block

Fabios Pizza, at Fillipos Restaurant Macarthur Tavern.
Fabio, The pizza chef, born in Italy, has moved to Australia with his wife in search of finding a new life. How lucky are we to have such a pizza chef land in Campbelltown. The pizza is the best pizza in town. Forget going to Haberfield, or Leichardt. Macarthur Tavern has been blessed to have this pizza chef serve authentic Italian pizza,  prepared the way a pizza should be made, cooked in a traditional wood fire oven.

Macarthur Tavern
About Fabio

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eton Mess (strawberrys & cream with a twist of meringues)

Well I saw the true Domestic Godess, Nigella Lawson, make this on her show, and quickly set out to prove to all that this is a real easy desert dish to make when entertaining many guest.

With Spring at our doorstep, the strawberry farmer in Luddenham, NSW, is selling these large red strawberries picked daily from his farm, for $10 a box.


  • Strawberries                 4 Punnets (or more)
  • Castor Sugar                2 TeaSpoons
  • Pomegranate Juice        2 TeaSpoons (but I found mine at IGA in Luddenham)
  • Thickened Cream         2 Cups
  • Meringue Nest              4 (normally purchase in a pack of 4) or a Pavlova base.

Chop the strawberries in half or quarters. (leave a hand full for decoration later)
Sprinkler the castor sugar and Pomegranate juice over the strawberries in a large bowl and leave aside.

Whip the cream (I used my mix master, or a hand blender) until the cream is thick but forms soft peaks when you lift up the hand blender.

Crumble the meringue bases with your hands and mix it into the whipped cream. (at this point mix with a wooden spoon, or on low speed in your mix master).

Slowly add half the strawberries into the cream and meringue and mix by wooden spoon. Then add the balance, and slowly mix.

Serve in a glass desert bowl, and add the left over strawberries on the top for decoration.

The above ingredients is enough for 4. But as you do it over and over again, you will soon learn how much you need to serve a party of 10.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Planet Cake

I recently took a trip to Planet Cake. A cake decorating school and supplier of some of the creative cakes in Sydney.
The two hour course was to promote their new book, "Planet Cupcake". They gave us the opportunity to make 4 cupcake creations as seen in this pic.

One is of a penguin, the other a monstor, and the two on the right using black catering paint to create a cow and zebra skin topping.

The penguin and monstor were made with Fondont from little balls stretched out to the little feature.
These designs are featured in the new book.
I wouldnt call it too easy, but it was fun, and yes worth a visit.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cinnamon Teacake

Today I'm testing out recipes from "fast E'ds" Better Basics Magazine (Fast Ed is from the Better Homes & Gardens show).
My first attempt was a disaster (I forgot to add the milk - got distracted).
Second attempt as seen in the picture (well kids loved it).

Ingredients below are set out in portions to make it easier when mixing.

You will need:
Unsalted Butter (softened)      140g
Caster Sugar                            280g
Eggs                                        2   separate yolk and whites
Vanilla Extract                        1 Tsp
Self Raising Flour                   250g (sifted)
Milk                                        125ml
Ground Cinnamon                 1 Tble Spoon

22cm Cake tin (lined bottom and sides)
Preheat Oven to 180 deg C

In separate bowls:

Portion1 (keep separate)
20g Sugar
Egg whites x 2

Portion  2 (keep separate)
90g Butter
200g Castor sugar

Egg yolks (keep aside)
Vanilla Extract  1 Tsp

Portion  3 (keep separate)
250g   Self raising flour
125ml Milk

Portion 4 (this can be done whilst the cake is being cooled)
60g Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon

50g Butter melted

1/2 cup of Mixed Berries. (you can use sliced tin apples or any fruit of your choice)


Portion 1
- add the sugar and egg whites together and whisk to your hearts content (or use a electrical hand held whisker) until soft peaks form.  Then set aside.

Portion 2
- in my electric mix master (using the beater paddle), put the portion 2 items (butter and sugar) together and beat on high for 3 minutes or until light and creamy.
- add in the egg yolks and vanilla extract then beat until smooth.

Mixer on low
Slowly add in Portion 1(egg whites) into the Portion 2 mix.
Now add in gradually Portion 3 (the flour and the milk) alternating half at a time.

Finally spoon the mixture into the cake tin.

  • At this point as an option you can add a handful of mixed berries (i used frozen berries) to the mix. Sprinkle them on top of the mixture and they will sink to the bottom whilst in the oven.

Let it cook for 30-35 minutes.
After baking let it sit in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

Now prepare Portion 4.

  • Melt the butter (i do it in the microwave).
  • in a separate bowl Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. 
  • Pierce several holes on the top of the cake with a cake skewer
  • Brush the melted butter on to the cake.
  • Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix on top.

Serve warm or cold (doesn't matter).
Serve with hot custard.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cherri's Creation

Our good friend Cherri created this beautiful two tear cake for our youngest daughter Talia.
A chocolate devil cake, with tasty icing, created with alot of hard work and time. Thankyou Cherri.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

Yes. Im made the cake rathar than the cupcakes, for my daughters birthday. Following Hummingbird, I have doubled my ingredients of my Red Velvet Cup cake mix.

The best thing to do though is to re-write the recipe with the correct quantities, as its easy to forget to double up.

I used two round (20cm) tins and shared one batch between the both.

Depending how many layers or how thick you want the cake, one batch of the double mix isnt enough for 3 layers (as the Hummingbird suggests).

I used a Cream cheese frosting (from Donna Hays book) for the top and sides, and used a butter cream for the centre just to ease the sweatness of the cream cheese (but I would probably just keep it to one type of frosting on my next attempt).

half the batch from one cake tin 
Butter cream 


Well I have tossed between two recipes with this. One from Nigella, the other from Donna Hay. Well. I tried both.  Nigella's recipe, from The Domestic Godess, includes Rosewater (I didnt particulary like), and her batches are quite small.  I prefer in this instance my Donna Hay recipe. (But trust me, both are yum). You will need special Madelaines baking pans, which cooks 12.  (I purchased 2 from Victorias Basement in the QVB, Sydney. Any kitchen shop should have them).

Eggs                      4
Caster Sugar         3/4 Cups

Plain Flour             1 1/4 cups
Baking Powder     2 Teaspoons
Unsalted Butter     180g (melted & Cooled)

Preheat Oven at 180 deg C

I use my Mix master again on low.

Beat the eggs and sugar together for 8 to 10 minutes. (yes be patient, the mix needs to turn pale and thick).

In a seperate bowl, sift the plain flour and baking powder. Then mix into the egg mix (still on low, and until you get a smooth mixture).

Add the butter and beat until its all combined.

Grease the moulds with butter. Then spoon the mixture into each mould.
I use 1 Tablespoon of the mixture in each mould. Dont flatten into the mould, as the heat will naturally flatten them whilst in the oven.

Dont over bake. 6 to 7 minutes tops. They should be golden. So test one before removing. But speaking from experience, they do burn quickly.

Remove from oven and keep in tray until cool.
Place on plate and dust castor sugar (sifted).

Makes 20 to 24

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spanish Yogurt Cake (Melane Cake)

This is a recipe from my sister in law (her duaghters name is Melane), who visited us from Spain. I googled all night to find an equivalant so that I can refer my version to its Spanish orgins. One site simply calls this cake a "Simple Spanish Yogurt" cake.

Line a bread tin or square cake tin with baking paper, or butter all sides.

Now when I refer to  cups, my sister in law used a standard coffee mug. (and trust me a similar version that I found on refers to his cup measurements from that of the yogurt container.


Plain Yogurt             1 Cup
Castor Sugar             2 1/2 Cups
Vegetable Oil           1 Cup
Plain Flour                3 cups
Lemon Rind             1 Tablespoon
Eggs                         4
Yeast                        2 sachets (can substitute with 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder)

Mix all ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric hand beater.
Pour into a bread tin.
Bake for 30 - 45 minutes. (check after 30 minutes)

Cinnamon               1 Tablespoon
Castor Sugar           1 Tablespoon

Mix the castor sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the mixture before entering into the oven.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Banana Bread

Real simple Banana Bread

What do you do with over ripe bananas? Mash them and turn them into a tasty banana bread. I have  three versions. Simple Banana Bread, Banana bread with walnuts, and Banana bread with coconut.


Plain Flour              250g (sifted)
Cocoa Powder        20g
Baking Powder       2 Teaspoons
Softened Butter       120g
Brown Sugar           130g
Eggs (large)             2
Bananas                   2 or 50g mashed
Chopped Walnuts    60g


Preheat oven 170 deg C
Prepare a bread tin (oil all sides and the bottom of the tin with butter or line with baking paper)

In a separate bowl
  • Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder
Using the mix master (with the beating paddle).
  • Beat Butter and sugar until light and fluffy (Med speed). 
Then on low speed adding the following Batter mix:
  • Add eggs (one at a time)
  • Add bananas into mix
  • Add Walnuts
  • Add Vanilla extract
  • Add in flour mix (a third at a time)

Pour into tin with rubber spatula
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes

Add Dark choc chips to the batter mix    80g
Add shredded coconut  to the batter mix 60g

I sometimes sprinkler shredded coconut to the top of the mix before I insert into the over. This will brown when the cake rises. It's a way for me to remember that I have coconut in the cake. You can do the same with walnuts sprinkled on the top to identify the cake has walnuts in it. Or you can sprinkler dried banana slices.

mmm thankyouthankyouverymuch.....

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

The trick here is to add the ingredients slowly. Follow my steps. 


  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g cups icing sugar sifted
  • 25ml cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using your mix master again with the paddle attachment (beater), 

  • Place the butter in the mixing bowl and add in only half the icing sugar sugar - mix on low speed and slowly.

In seperate measuring cup

  • combine the milk and vanilla together then add to the mix master slowly. 

On medium speed of an electric mixer, beat about 3-5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating well (about 2 minutes) after each addition, until the icing is thick enough for good spreading consistency (you may not need all of the sugar).

The longer you mix the more fluffy it gets (but it will be softer). I prefer a inbetween texture. 

Now I use my piping bag (really easy). Or use a rubber spatular to spread.

You can slice the top of your cupcakes prior to adding the frosting. with a brush, lightly brish the cut cupcake with milk (this will soften the cupcake and get rid of any crumbs), then add the frosting. 

add a teaspoon or so of lemon rind to ease the sweatness. 


Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yes I had to start my blog with a New York Magnolia cup cake. I love my Magnolia Bakery cook book, and my Hummingbird cookbook, both of which have the famous Red Velvet cupcake. No I havent made any variation to the recipe, but I prefer to follow the Humming bird method, with a creamy vanilla Frosting.  After my 2nd attempt, these cupcakes are the best ever, (Confirmed by all those that endulged in my one of many batches made.


Unsalted Butter             60 g     at room temperature (softened)
Castor Sugar               150 g

Egg                               1 of    at room temp

Cocoa Powder               10 g 
Red food Colouring        20 ml   (Queens, available from coles or any local grocery store) 
Vanilla Extract               1/2 Teaspoon

Buttermilk                  120 ml  (or use Full cream milk)
Plain Flour                 150g

Salt                               1/2 Teaspoon
Bicarb Soda                  1/2 Teaspoon
Apple Cider Vinegar      1 1/2 Teaspoon (also available at Coles)

This will make you 10 large cupcakes or 12 not so large.
There are many types of cupcake cases available in Australia, so you need to trial and error. The above quantities will make you 12 or 10 large cupcakes. Once again you need to trial and error. The UK cupcake cases are smaller than the American cases. 

Baking in an AGA
Preheat oven at 170 deg C
Then drop to 150 deg C when inserting to bake. 

In a normal oven preheat at 150 deg C.

Using an Electric Mixer with the beater attachement (that looks like a paddle)
  • Mix the butter and the sugar and beat on Medium until light and fluffy. (Be patient, should take 3 minutes)
  • Add the egg then turn up the speed to high until the mixture is well mixed

In a seperate Bowl (breakfast cereal bowl type)
  • Mix the Cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract until thick and paste like.
  • Add it to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula.

Turn the Mixer down to slow and mix the following until well mixed
  • then add half the Buttermilk.
  • slowly add half the flour
  • Repeat the process and add the balance of the buttermilk and flour and mix well. 
Stop the mixer and scrape the sides again then turn the mixer to high until  you get a smooth even texture.

In a seperate bowl or glass measuring cup (Soda Mix)
  • mix the salt, bicarb soda and Vinegar (Caution, this will fizz a little)

Turn the mixer to Low
  • Add the soda mix into the mixture. 
  • Beat slow till well mixed then turn up the speed for 2 minutes.

Final Mixture (yes red)
Spoon the mixture (i use a icecrean scoop full) into the paper cases.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
It should feel spongy when tested.

Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tray then lay onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Add topping when cupcakes are cold.  (I suggest Vanilla Butter Cream, which I'll post later).

Red  out of the oven

Red Velvet From "Crumbs" bakery in New York City. Yum Factor 5 out of 5,