This is just the thing to use up those rapidly ripening bananas in the fruit bowl. I used 3 very ripe bananas for this cake which gave it a great flavour. The recipe calls for buttermilk which results in a more soft and airy texture; but like all banana cakes, it is still quite dense and moist. The cream cheese frosting recipe I followed turned out too sweet for my liking so I added more lemon juice, more cream cheese and a decent amount of whipping cream. The resulting frosting was a little runnier than it would have been because of the cream but it firmed up after an hour in the fridge (I couldn’t wait that long to cut the first slice!). I really enjoyed this banana cake and the housemates helped polish it off within 48 hours- that says it all.
Okay, so I kind of cheated with these. Remember my Hazelnut Mocha Torte from a few posts ago? Well this is it again, but in cupcake form; and with a different frosting. They are still gluten free and still just as delicious – if not more so. The cakes had a slightly crusty surface but the inside remained beautifully moist and tender. On top of each, I spread a good dollop of Nutella and piped a small swirl of coffee flavoured buttercream. I felt like they needed the decadence of extra chocolate so I shaved some dark ghana over the top to finish them off.
The swiss buttercream was new for me and I really enjoyed the process. This type of buttercream is slightly harder than ‘simple buttercream’ involving powdered sugar, butter and a little milk – but it is infinitely better. It is far less sweet for one and also has a much more soft, airy and luscious mouth-feel. There are a few other types of buttercreams with increasing degrees of difficulty, but swiss is a good starting point for beginners like me.
It was Australia Day (aka ‘Invasion Day’) last Thursday and I felt inclined to make something Aussie to celebrate. I settled on pavlova due to a surplus of eggs from my mum’s chooks. This was actually my first time making pavlova so I was wary; but it turned out better than I expected, albeit a tad smashed looking. The crust was very crispy and melt-in-your-mouth whilst the inside remained soft and marshmallowy. It came out of the oven looking quite spectacular but as it cooled the crust broke into shards. Once it was topped with cream and fruit it didn’t seem to matter though. I also added banana and passionfruit just before serving. I’m glad I have this iconic dessert in my repertoire now because it was really yummy and a good way to use up eggs.
My gluten-intolerant Italian friend introduced me to this amazing cake when she made it for her birthday last year. I finally got around to trying it myself recently and was surprised by how easy it was to make – for a cake with no flour or leavening. The cake itself is beautifully moist and tender with the flavour of hazelnuts and real chocolate. The coffee mascarpone topping is the perfect accompaniment. I was so impressed by how it turned out that I made a second one to bring to Christmas dinner. This is a great flavour combination and a recipe worth trying!
Rice pudding is a strange thing. I remember eating it as a kid on Scout camps where it was cooked over the fire. I made it for the first time myself recently and quite liked it. Since then I haven’t been able to get enough. This time I decided to make a caramel sauce to pour over it with icecream. It works well I think. If rice pudding is your thing, you might like it too.
There has been a serious lack of baked goods in our house for a while now. I just haven’t been in the mood I guess. I thought I should end the drought with a cheesecake that I have been meaning to try. A friend brought a black-forest-inspired cheesecake to a barbecue sometime last year and since then I’ve wanted to make something similar. I don’t have a recipe, but I’ve made enough cheesecakes now that I thought I could just wing it.
The crust is made from finely crushed chocolate biscuits and melted butter. I used a tall glass to press the mixture against the sides and bottom of an 8″ spring-form pan and then baked it for 20 minutes to set. I used cream cheese, mascarpone and sour cream for the filling with sour cherries mixed through. I added a decent amount of kirsch as well to boost the cherry flavour. The jelly on top is just the liquid from the jar of cherries with some gelatin added.
The combination of chocolate crust and creamy cheesecake studded with whole cherries is a winner. I didn’t measure anything as I was making it but I can probably write a close approximation of the recipe if anyone is interested – just leave a comment if you are. I promise it was easier than it looks.
EDIT: Continue to Recipe
These have been a family favourite for many years. They’re moist and fudgey like a brownie, but not overly sweet or chocolatey. I like to pack them full of walnuts; which have a soft texture for a nut and complement the flavour of mocha well. It also makes them a little better for you so you can eat twice as many, yes?
This is my ultimate go-to chocolate cake recipe. It is relatively quick and easy to make, and always turns out wonderfully. I have tried many mud cake recipes over the years but none have come close to this one. I was very lucky to receive the original recipe from a close friend, and only made some slight changes such as reducing the sugar content and simplifying the method. You don’t have to worry about creaming butter and sugar or sieving flour multiple times for this recipe, which is one of the best things about it.
I made this as a second cake for Natalia’s birthday dinner (see previous post) when she informed me on the day that she would need two cakes. I was aiming for more of a chocolate/cherry flavour by adding cherry brandy to the mix but the dominating flavour was definitely chocolate. I did this once before in my Black Forest Cake, but I wouldn’t bother again unless I find a concentrated natural cherry extract or flavouring. It still tasted as moist and delicious as ever though, and I got some very good feedback from those who tried it (“Best chocolate cake I’ve had in Australia” said Nat’s Brazilian boyfriend Neco – and his favourite just happens to be chocolate cherry cake!).
My friend Natalia recently celebrated her 23rd birthday. For her birthday dinner I planned on making her a cake, and settled on white chocolate and raspberry which is one of her favourite flavour combinations. I chose to make a cheesecake because I figured the flavours would translate well, plus it’s always popular and a nice twist on the typical birthday cake.
I waited until the day of her birthday dinner to make the cake. In hindsight this was a poor choice as I underestimated how long it would take to set. I have used variations of this recipe twice before; both baked and unbaked. It tasted much better unbaked in my opinion but I thought it had a bit too much gelatin in it last time. I detest the typical cafe/restaurant cheesecakes because they are so full of gelatin that the textural quality of the cheesecake is ruined. It’s a fine line. You need the cheesecake to be able to support it’s own weight without collapsing, but you also want it to be as soft and luscious as possible, not rubbery and solid. I think this cheesecake came very close to that mark, but it just didn’t have time to set properly so it sank around the edges. The raspberries may have also prevented the gelatin from setting slightly as some fruits do.
The good news is that it tasted excellent. The flavour of white chocolate and raspberry was obvious. The raspberry jelly on top was smooth and fresh against the creaminess, and the almond biscuit base complemented it all perfectly. I reduced the sugar content slightly because I included white chocolate, but I still found it a bit sweet. I guess a certain level of sweetness has to be expected with white chocolate and raspberry, but I try to aim for as little sugar as is needed in my baking. The recipe has been amended to include the amount of gelatin and sugar that I think would work well.
Earlier this week was Census night, which marked 100 years of Census taking in Australia. I registered for a party pack so that I could convince a few people to come over and have some lame fun filling it out together. The pack was a goldmine of stickers, arm bands, key rings, and even a little wooden plane.
To help celebrate I made some fairly simple vanilla cupcakes with a white chocolate & raspberry frosting and covered them in 100s and 1000s to represent all the people filling out their forms around the country.
The actual Census was incredibly boring and I was left out of most questions because I no longer have a job. The best part was when it was over and we got to eat cupcakes. They were pretty good. I’ve actually never made cupcakes before so I don’t have much to compare them to, but the cake was light and fluffy with a tender crumb, and quite moist. They were super easy to make as well so I’ll be going back to this recipe for sure.