It’s Autumn, and finally the temperature in Melbourne has dropped a little!
I was lucky enough to receive a windfall of Barlett pears from my neighbour, however I noticed that the markets are full of these pears at $1 a kilo, so it was obviously a bumper year for them this year!
I’ve had my eye on this flavour combination for a while and had a couple of ideas that I wanted to throw together. Hope you enjoy it!
C’mon, I’ve baked for many, many (toooo many!) years, and yes, I’ve owned and loved using a microwave for at least 25 years.
But, babe! You know it, I know it, how come everyone on Masterchef doesn’t know it? YOU CAN’T BAKE A CAKE WITH A MICROWAVE. What is going on people?
There has been the inevitable, take over of the world, of microwave mug recipes. Late night or quick dessert fixes, I get it; I really do! I even bought my daughter a mug cake recipe book for Christmas. But, microwave sponges seem to be the biggest thing since Matt Preston, himself! I am dragging my ‘Vans’, I know, but traditional techniques are what I taught myself, so even though this recipe is from 2014…
I’m testing it out, ‘coz I have been sucked in by the hype, over 1500 people have rated it 4 stars, and I NEED to know!!
Texture was a little dense and rubbery but quite acceptable to eat warm with cream and berry compote as the recipe suggests.
“Definitely a mug cake. Great eaten warm but a little bouncy and slightly dense. Tastes great and is a perfect, quick treat for pudding. Cools to stale cake consistency within an hour.”
Do I have a good recipe for…
Not a recipe I would do gluten free. The texture would suffer even more with any substitutions
Unrefined sugar substitution suitable. Raw castor sugar or Stevia would work well.
Recipe as written, is nut free.
I would be happy to substitute any kind of vegetable or nut oil for the butter in this recipe
What would I change? Hmmm, probably it’s name! It is a great warm pudding or mug cake but would I call it a sponge cake? Probably not. It also needed 50-60 seconds in my 1100 watt microwave on high, not the 40 seconds as written in the recipe.
The flavour was great and would definitely have been great with the Chantilly cream. I personally wouldn’t want to serve the passionfruit pudding with berry coulis though.
To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with double or triple cream or even a custard. I think a matcha infused custard with white chocolate, would have been gorgeous with this little pudding!
This recipe has definitely not convinced me that I can make cake in a microwave.
I hope you have enjoyed this recipe review, and found it useful? Would love to hear what you think.
‘Chocolate beetroot cake,’ has been a phrase that has both intrigued and repulsed me for YEARS! No, I just couldn’t do it. So many opportunities to do a trial and so many reasons to not go there. Please, don’t get me wrong, I am a big beetroot fan in its many of its guises; most importantly; a burger is no burger of mine without it. But, no matter how many people said a beetroot chocolate cake was all kinds of wonderful, I just couldn’t make the leap….until today.
When I decided to listen to my family and post reviews of the recipes I tested, I knew there were 2 recipes that I have avoided for decades yet, never been able to let go of.
Time to make the plunge; this Moist Chocolate Beet Cake recipe is originally by Nigel Slater but I found it via David Lebovitz website. I followed the recipe to the letter, although I did not have an 8 inch springform so used a 7 inch and had batter left over. You definitely need an 8 inch and in fact I probably could have used a 9 inch pan.
“A beautifully textured cake, full of deep chocolate flavour and just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness of the cocoa. If you like chocolate and beetroot paired, this is a spectacular recipe! For the adventurous, definitely try it, you might find you enjoy it.”
Do I have a good recipe for…
Gluten free substitution suitable. I would feel happy to bake this cake with a gluten free flour substitute. It may have a slightly gummy feel to it though. Another option would be to substitute half almond meal and half gluten free flour. I feel all almond meal would change the texture too much.
Unrefined sugar substitution suitable. This cake would actually take on a whole new complexity of flavour using coconut sugar or rapadura sugar. The caramel flavours of these sugars would really give you a lovely depth of flavour. To avoid grittiness, process the sugar until it is finer before you use them. Raw castor sugar or Stevia would also work.
Recipe as written, is nut free.
Not dairy free. The flavour that is added by this amount of butter would make it difficult to change out for anything else.
What would I change? As a chocolate beet cake it was beautiful, I wouldn’t change it at all. Although, I found the flavour of beetroot had mellowed even more after 2-3 days.Since I am a big believer of allowing chocolate cakes time to develop in flavour, I would even consider making it 2 days ahead of serving.
I personally, would consider cutting the beetroot with some green apple to help smooth the transition between chocolate and beetroot. But hey, that’s just me!
To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with sour cream on the side to give it a punchier flavour and a creamier accompaniment. Creme fraiche was a little bit delicate in flavour and texture for me and I didn’t really think the poppy seeds did anything for it. I would consider a really airy cream cheese frosting for it as well, but it would definitely have to be whipped within an inch of its life!
Wow, so there it is; Nigel Slater’s Moist Chocolate and Beet Cake. What a great start!
I hope you have enjoyed my first recipe review, and found it useful? Would love to hear what you think.
See you next time 😉 X
PS if you are looking to get a springform pan, it is definitely worth spending a little bit more money to get one that won’t leak!
This is a link to Amazon.com, for a particularly highly rated tin by Kaiser, that won’t break the bank.
Trials and tribulations, we all have them; they never stop coming at us.
But, when we go looking for trials…well, that is another matter altogether! Usually, I am not expecting tribulations to come along with these trials though 🙂
I get asked for recipes, A LOT! And, since the only way I actually find good recipes is by trialling them, I thought you might like to see what I trial, how they turn out and how I rate them.
In fact, the internet is so choc-a-block full of recipes that it is nearly impossible for you to know if they are really any good so, if you have any recipes that you have had your eye on and you would like me to trial and rate, send them through to0! I’ll pick and choose some to bake up and post.
I’m also going to pop a little tick box section about whether the recipe is, or can, substitute ingredients for;
I have yet to come across a really good substitute for egg so at this point I don’t feel confident to add that to the list. (if you have any recipes you would like me to trial for eggless cake, PLEASE shoot it through! I’ve trialled some really bad ones blech!!!)
I am aiming to post my first recipe review on Saturday, and I would love your feedback!.
I’m so excited, I can’t breathe and yet it is still a month away….give me back Game of Thrones….puhleeeeese.
(Sorry, I needed to keep that original sentence in, even though the new season started 3 weeks ago! Sometimes, nothing but pure passion can really reflect a moment in time!)
I have been wanting to put together an inspired dessert since the last season ended and no matter how I cut it. I couldn’t stop thinking about John Snow. Okay, young, handsome, committed to the greater cause, and just a touch innocent, I am sure that had nothing to do with my choice…at all!
This dessert came to me completely instinctually, brandied dates and chocolate just kept coming up as the heart, so I went with it. Dusky and warm with a distinctly individual sweetness, mmm I can see how a little bit of Master Snow has crept into my foodie subconscious!
Wrap it all in an innocent and meltingly, smile inducing, butterscotch pudding, you know, the kind that puts a little smile on your face just thinking about it? You know, the same feelings, that your first crush used to give you?
Ha ha ha! Let’s give it a go then, I don’t see how it can’t work 🙂
I know that there is nothing medieval about this recipe at all, in fact the base pudding recipe is so common you could find it on a million websites (ok, yes I changed it just a tiny bit!). But, who cares when this recipe is so easy, you can make it, dish it out and curl up on your couch, just in time to revel in adding a whole extra layer of enjoyment to watching this great epic!
John Snow Pudding Recipe
4 dried dates
1-2 tablespoons of good quality brandy
approx 150g 50% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped
Pudding 1 cup self raising flour 2/3 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 60g melted butter 1/2 cup milk
Sauce 2 tablespoons golden syrup 1.2 cups water 30g butter
Preheat oven to 170 Celsius.
Soak chopped dates in brandy for about 20 minutes and place into the base of 4 greased ramekins.
Place all pudding ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Stir through chopped chocolate.
Divide pudding mix into the 4 ramekins
Place all sauce ingredients into a small saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until butter has melted.
Pour sauce over the back of a spoon, onto the pudding mix. Equally divide sauce into the 4 ramekins.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes.
Take it out of the oven and spoon a dollop of triple cream on top.
Fluff your cushions, grab a spoon, make sure your remote control is within reach, turn on Game of thrones, take your first mouthful…now you know!
John Snow Chocolate and Brandied dates, Butterscotch Pudding mmmmmm 🙂
Brrrriiiiiioche, even the act of saying the word is sexy and indulgent. It was the kind of bread my mother turned her nose up at, “too rich, too much butter….”, and if that is your belief, this post is not for you. However, if like me, you believe those phrases were invented purely to pique your interest, please, come into my parlour!
I had dreamed of brioche, and fantasized about it’s buttery delights long before it was available here in Melbourne. At that time, I could only use my imagination to envisage how magical this egg and butter enriched, fluffy bun must be. I would, as I grew, be able to travel halfway across the city to buy croissants, freshly baked, by a real French baker, but being ever so entranced by my croissants, I never did ask to buy a brioche! It would be many years until I would be brave enough to try my hand at baking bread, and since I never fancied myself as any good, I always left the brioche of my fantasies, right where it had always been, only in my dreams.
If I had followed my food dreams as a teen, I certainly would have apprenticed as a patissier. When I look back, the number of cookbooks I picked up when I was younger, and the number of recipes I tried to emulate astounds me. Yes, a ‘can do’ attitude will lead you to mistakes and disappointment, as I discovered when I tried to make my own croissants at the age of 16, in the middle of a hot Melbourne Summer, with no airconditioning!
However, the call of patisserie has been like a Siren song across the years, something I would succumb to and, dabble in occasionally, but always with the hard-won, knowledge that pastry making was developed for those with time and patience. Yep, something that busy working Mum’s are never in great supply of!
So, armed with Bernard Clayton Jr’srecipe for brioche, (yes, a practical and highly regarded, American baker), and an eye on the clock, I am providing a ‘how to’ guide for getting brioche’s hot out of the oven for Sunday brunch.
Bernard Clayton’s Brioche (yeah okay, I made some very, very minor changes!)
Friday or Saturday Night (approx. 20 minutes of work time) :
a) Before you start cooking dinner, (if you sleep early, or if you have very young kids).
b) Or, After you have finished dinner, and before you start anything else (maybe sitting down to watch TV?!);
4 cups plain flour
3 Tblspns (15ml) sugar
2 Tspns salt
1 package of dry yeast
1/4 cup full cream milk powder
1/2 cup warm water
230g butter (room temp)
4 extra large eggs
Into a large mixer bowl pour 1 cup of flour, the other dry ingredients, anbd water. Beat in the mixer for 2 minutes at medium speed.
Add the butter and continue beating to blend together.
Add a second cup of flour. Mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time and the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time beating after each addition.
The dough will be soft and sticky, and it must be beaten until all ingredients have been well incorporated..
Attach a dough hook to your mixer.
Turn the mixer on medium. The dough hook will seem to turn aimlessly, but soon the dough will begin to come away from the sides. Be patient. Mix for a total of 10 minutes.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 2 hrs.
Later that evening (approx. 10 minutes of work time) :
a) After cooking, eating and possibly clearing up after dinner, (but definitely before you do little kids bath and bedtime).
b) Or, after about 1 1/2 -2 hrs of clearing dinner, and other ‘stuff’ (reading, surfing or watching TV if you are lucky!);
Marvel at how your dough has risen to about double the size!
Take off plastic wrap and keep it aside.
Grab dough and give it a squish or two with your hands, or as Bernard says, “stir down dough” if you know what that means?!
Wrap dough in the plastic wrap you took off the bowl.
Put it in the fridge and go to bed. Yes, you can keep it there until Sunday if you are making dough on Friday night, or you could just bake it Saturday morning if you want!
Sunday morning 8 am (approximately 30 min of work time):
a) If you are an early riser, or have young kids, get up, make them breakfast, throw the laundry in the machine, make yourself a cup of tea, tell your partner to watch the kids, and then see below;
b) If you don’t normally get up early, sorry, you need to get up around 8.30- 9.00am (you can go back to bed in a few minutes!);
50% Cocoa chocolate bits or a bar that is roughly chopped, approximately 2 cups.
1 egg beaten with 1 Tblspn (15ml) milk to brush.
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Place one onto floured work surface, keep remaining pieces wrapped in refrigerator.
Press and roll dough into a narrow rectangle approximately 1cm thick.
Cut strip of dough into rectangles approximately 5cm x 10-15 cm. (I actually use a stainless steel ruler to cut straight lines, although I don’t actually measure!)
Place chocolate bits approximately 1 cm down from the narrow edge of the piece of dough. Pick up narrow edge, roll over chocolate bits and keep going until you have a neat little roll.
Place brioche rolls, seam side down on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
Repeat process until all the rolls are made.
Brush all the rolls with the egg and milk mixture.
(This whole shaping process takes about 2o – 30 minutes)
Turn on oven to preheat, at 180 degrees Celcius. Don’t put the rolls in yet!!!
Leave rolls in a warm place to rise for 30 – 45 minutes
a) & b) Whether you have kids or not, go back to bed, with a cup of tea and the paper, maybe? Okay, reality bites, hang out the laundry, sweep the floor, clear away the kids breakfast (or feed them the cold leftovers!) and stack the dishwasher.
Sunday Morning 10am (approx 5 minutes of work time then 20 minutes baking time)
Brush rolls a second time with egg and milk mixture and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
Leave to cool on a wire rack or just devour them steaming hot!
Left overs can be reheated in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and if you have more than you can eat, freeze them for next week’s brunch!
Et voila, a time managed indulgence for the family, or maybe just for you and a special someone.
Home made, French patisserie before 10.30am on a Sunday morning, Bliss!
If you are enjoying being blissed, please drop me a line with any feedback or comments! I would love to know what you are enjoying most and what you would like to see more of.
If you have any photos, please visit my facebook, instagram or pinterest page and post some pics of your wonderful creations!
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Please don’t judge me. I have a confession to make… it is the middle of January and I still have half a panettone left.
It is difficult to explain but no one else in my family will eat it, and since I enjoy a slice only at breakfast, lightly toasted, with a cup of tea, there is really only so much one can get through!!
However, it seems, that I may actually be the odd one out here, as there is an entire school of thought that believes panettone is a an inedible passing food fad Are they right? How many of us are actually secretly hiding, unopened or rather large chunks of left over panettone, in the pantry or refrigerator? Or is yours just out in the open, (like mine) taking up square footage on the kitchen counter?
I’m not convinced though, try telling the Italians that panettone is a passing fad! It seems that the original, flatter, and probably much smaller (aka manageable) version has been around since the fifteenth century. Hmmm, five hundred years give or take, it seems like a fairly strong trend to me!
All traditional festive foods have a legend or 10 behind them and my favourite story of the origins of this paradox, of slightly dry yet buttery fruit bread is this one;
“Does the name “Panettone” derive from Pan de Toni? According to tradition, Toni, lowly scullion at the service of Ludovico il Moro, was the inventor of one of the most typical sweets of the Italian tradition. On Christmas Eve, the chef of the Sforza burned the cake prepared for the feast. Toni decided to offer the mother yeast that he had kept aside for himself for Christmas. He kneaded it several times with flour, eggs, sugar, raisins and candied fruit, until obtaining a soft and leavened dough. The result was a great success and Ludovico il Moro called it Pan de Toni to honor its inventor.
Truly generous act on behalf of Toni I think, as I am sure that as a lowly scullion, to be able to make bread and have yeast available for his family, was not a trifling luxury. Secondly, it must have surely been a charitable master to not only name the sweet invention after Toni, but to not send the entire kitchen staff to the gallows for burning the Christmas cake in the first place!! Ha ha, I like it, and I pay due respect to all, who, when faced with dire need, fall back on creative dessert making!
The Italian cultural influence in Melbourne, which peaked with Italian migration back in the late 60’s and early ’70’s really helped give birth to Victoria’s current food and European style cafe culture. You can see the influence in our streets with the number of coffee shops per capita, it is truly astounding to most overseas visitors as to how many coffee machines they can spot in one quiet suburban shopping strip. You can also see it in the basis of so many ‘modern’ Australian menus which have strong Italian foundations. Who would have imagined that the home made antipasti found in the sandwiches of first generation migrant kids, school lunches, would now be routinely served up anywhere you care to eat? Everywhere from lowly cafeteries, to gourmet modern Australian eateries offer such a wide range of ethnically diverse dishes, that it would be strange not to see it on the menu!
It is so universally accepted that Italian cuisine is part if the strong foundation of modern Australian food, that when I recently asked an overseas visitor, “What is your favourite Australian dessert?”, they replied, ” Tiramisu.”
So, here is my recipe that I dedicate to ‘Toni’. I don’t actually know an Italian Toni, but to all my Italian friends, I hope you enjoy my Bliss, Australian take on, enjoying panettone well into January.
I am giving this blissed, ice cream cake, panettone, lovely citrus aromas by using lemon myrtle. Lemon myrtle has a flavour very, very much like lemon grass. It is green and woody with a good citrus kick to it but with none of the acid associated with lemons, so there is only a heightening of the already rich flavours in the panetonne. Lemon myrtle pairs so nicely with white chocolate that it only makes sense to marry them up and serve everything with ice cream! Since no one needs a reason for ice cream; ice cream is my choice for this new Aussie summer dessert. Heston’s recipe, from ‘Heston Blumenthal at home’, seems as good a place as any to start, given the unusual pairings and the nature of this creative dessert, so here is another great culinary genius’ recipe thrown into the Bliss grinder ;P. May be you can serve it for Australia Day? After all, who’s tradition is it anyway?
Panettone and Lemon Myrtle Ice Cream Cake
3 thick slices panettone, cut to the size of a small, loose bottomed cake tin (approximately 6 inch round)
150g 35% cocoa chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
Bring cream to boiling point. Add in chocolate, stir occassionally until melted and smooth. Leave to cool and thicken, stirring occassionally (at least an hour).
Lemon Myrtle White chocolate Ice Cream
180g Full Cream Milk
70g Caster Sugar
35g Milk Powder
420g Whipping Cream
90g White Chocolate
1 tspn Lemon Myrtle (or 1/2 tspn lemon zest, if you can’t get Aussie herbs!)
Heat milk, sugar and milk powder over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Add cream and bring to the boil.
Add white chocolate and lemon myrtle or lemon zest, stirring occasionally until chocolate has dissolved.
Turn on your ice cream machine and churn for about 45 minutes or until the beater can no longer turn.
Work quickly to;
Place a layer of panettone into the botom of your cake tin.
Spoon a layer of ice cream over it, and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
Place second layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Spoon a second layer of ice cream over the panettone, as above.
Place third layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Cover the cake tin in glad wrap and place in the freezer.
When chocolate ganache has cooled to a runny fudge sauce consistency.
Take cake tin out of the freezer and run a knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the ice cream and turn the ‘cake’ out onto a plate.
Pour a generous amount of ganache over the top of the cake and smooth it out towards the edges allowing it to run over the sides of the cake.
Place ‘cake’ back into freezer.
Place remaining ganache into fridge to firm up (at least an hour)
Use a melon baller to scoop little balls of ice cream, and place them onto a cold tray and place ice cream balls back into freezer to firm up.
When ganache has become firm but not hard, use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop spoonfuls of ganache and roll them in Dutch cocoa powder, and keep them in the fridge.
When you are ready to serve, place mini ice cream scoops and ganache balls on top. The panettone is even drier, coming out of the freezer, but in combination with the ice cream and the ganache, it is a great textural compliment and the flavours work beautifully together!
Happy Birthday Australia xxx
If you are enjoying being blissed, please drop me a comment with any feedback or comments! I would love to know what you are enjoying most and what you would like to see more of.
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Entertaining season is on us with a vengeance! Are you ready? How many family and friends’ barbecues and Christmas parties are you attending over the next 2 weeks? How many pavlovas and chocolate ripple cakes will you see this December?
After posting on facebook, a photo of an American version of a chocolatey, cream cheese and cool whipped easy to assemble, mad indulgence, my sister reminded me of the importance of keeping it real! Let’s get back to our roots, let’s not forget a good old, Aussie, chocolate ripple cake; ‘Blissed’ of course!
Arnott’s was the biscuit company of our time. We grew up with great Aussie faves such as Chocolate Ripples, Tim Tam’s, Chocolate Royals (yes, I took inspiration for the name ‘Royale’ for one of my cakes from this!), Tic Tocs, Iced Vovo’s, Nice, Marie, oh my goodness….too many to name! This simple line says it all, “Arnott’s is more than a food company, it’s a piece of Australia’s history.”
You can’t go wrong with a chocolate ripple cake and I am sure it sounds like a good idea to most, but I bet you are feeling hesitant about reading ‘wattle seed’ in the title. Biscuits, check, creamed honey check, but seriously wattle seeds? When I tell you, you can get bottles of roasted wattle seed at the local supermarket, and after you have taken your first lick of whipped cream with wattle seed, believe me, we as a nation, will all be wondering what we were waiting for!
Wattle is far better known by everyone, within Australia and overseas for the incredible masses of golden flowers it produces and the great green and gold colours which are synonymous with our sporting teams. Wattle is our national flower, so for goodness sake, why isn’t roasted wattle seed our national flavouring? Chocolatey, coffee, and hazelnut aromas are all what Melbourne cafe culture is about!! You get instant heady mocha aromas when you open the jar and then when you add it to a few spoons of Beechworth creamed honey, which is not too sweet, bursting with honey flavour and the perfect consistency for whipping into cream …. yes, you will know you are in heaven 🙂 Add some Victorian strawberries for a really Bliss-ed up version of the old chocolate ripple cake, and a new Aussie classic has been born!
I have done a little bit of a sexy version, however, feel free to leave out the alcohol and pile up the layers in little dessert or cake cups with extra sliced up strawberries for a more casual and kid friendly take.
Double or triple the quantities if you are doing a big party!
Blissed up Chocolate Ripple Cake – makes 6
1-2 packs Arnott’s Chocolate Ripple Biscuits- you will need 18 bikkies for this recipe
300ml bottle of thickened cream
1 tspn Roasted Wattle Seeds
2 tblspns Creamed Honey
1 tspn Kahlua
1 punnet strawberries
Pour thickened cream into a large bowl. Beat on low until frothy.
Add in roasted wattle seeds, creamed honey and Kahlua (or not, if you want it Kid friendly).
Whip until stiff peaks form.
Transfer cream into a piping bag with a rosette nozzle.
Pipe a swirl of cream, that does not quite reach the edge, onto the first biscuit. Place a 2nd biscuit on top and press down lightly.
Repeat the swirl of cream, top with 3rd biscuit, and finish top with a swirl of cream.
Place in an airtight container and refrigerate over night.
Place first biscuit into a dessert cup, one of those paper ones with the stiff sides is perfect.
Spoon a generous tablespoon or so of cream to cover the biscuit. Top with second biscuit.
Repeat the dollop of cream, top with 3rd biscuit and finish top with a dollop of cream.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
Top it up:
Decorate with strawberries and mint sprigs. Or rosemary sprigs, if like me, you want a more adventurous flavour combination, or truth be known, you have found that all your mint has died!
I hope to post a second Christmas inspired recipe post next week, however the best laid plans can go astray, so let me take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting my little Aussie blog. Have yourselves a very merry Christmas and see you in the new year xxx
There are philosophical certainties in this life; birth, death, taxes and….over ripe bananas. So long as your household buys bananas, there is one certainty; there will be, at some stage in your life, a couple of bananas that are more brown than yellow, sitting in a fruit bowl or basket.
Occasionally, they are thrown away, and sometimes you have the time and inspiration to make something of them. This is a first in, what I believe, will be a series of recipes featuring these sad, orphan fruits.
So what inspired me to use up said bananas last night? It was some very special little tubs of honey, all the way from Beechworth, but more importantly, bought with the change that young children carry with them when they are on school camp. My big-hearted girl, loves her Mum and was thinking of me when she visited the home of honey in Victoria, earlier this year. She brought home little tasting tubs of ‘bold’, ‘fruity’ and ‘delicate’ blends, which we have been happily eating slathered and dripping, on hot crumpets with butter 🙂 However, time ticked on, and the inevitable question came, “Aren’t you going to make something with my honey?”.
I have to admit, I wasn’t thinking about it, but as I am now known as the cake lady by most friends and family now, the question lingered, “Where to, cake lady?” I had to do something…4 generations of apiarists at Beechworth have built this business to become one of the most well known brands of Australian honey, as well as a major tourist attraction, I had to turn it into cake. No pressure, Mum…
Bananas and honey are a ‘no brainer’ combination, if I added a smidgen of crushed pistachios, suddenly the flavours should become a little more complex, the eating a little more textural; combine it all into a gorgeously, rich sour cream cake base and we get mellow undertones which make me go mmmmm 🙂 In my head, banana cake had to be made with ‘fruity’ honey, a white chocolate whipped cream to serve it with just had to be dribbled with ‘delicate” honey, and my hot lemon tea while I baked, had to be sweetened with my favourite, ‘bold’ honey :D.
Well, that was the flavours sorted, so, here we go guys;
Honey, banana,and pistachio sour cream cupcakes
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 xlarge eggs
2 mashed bananas
250g self raising flour
1/3 cup sour cream
Approx 1 tablespoon crushed pistachios (optional)
Cream butter, sugar, and honey until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time, until just combined.
Mix in mashed bananas and pistachios
Beat in half sifted flour and half sour cream, until combined.
Beat in rest of sifted flour and sour cream, beat well.
Spoon into medium size patty pans until approx 3/4 full and bake for approx 20 minutes at 170 Celsius, or until cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre.
Yep, hot out of the oven, the cake was light, moist, and had a good hit of banana. Unmistakable honey flavours and aromas came through with a hint of green, nuttiness which I was hoping for from the pistachio. Yum, yum, yum.
Now, come the part which I really have to use a different part of my brain for, the presentation. If you follow my blog, you will know this is not my greatest strength! It’s honey, so honestly, we had to have bees, and honey dribbles, with a nod to the shape of an old fashioned bee hive didn’t we?
Whip up 300ml thickened cream until soft peaks form.
Melt approximately 1/2 cup of white chocolate and stir until smooth.
Add melted white chocolate to cream and whip until stiff peaks form.
Pipe with a round nozzle a round to cover cupcake, then 2 smaller rounds on top of first layer.
Drizzle gently with honey, sprinkle with crushed pistachios if desired.
Cut slices of banana and slather liberally in lemon juice. Use a little flower cutter to cut through the slices.
Top off with a banana flower and a little sugar bee ( I made these but you can buy icing bees, and the wires are cute but end up spinning your bee all over the place!)
I am an ice cream sundae, kind of girl. And, being a Sunday afternoon, it can be kind of hard not to think about the more calorific, Soda Shop style dessert.
Okay, you caught me out, I dreamed of being one of the gang that hung out at Pop’s and wanted desparately to be able to order those ridiculous, overflowing, ice cream sodas, and to eat, foot high, ice cream sundaes. I may only have been in primary school and happened to live on the other side of the world from any Soda Shops, but I loved wishing that I could be perched on a red vinyl stool, slurping down a real American, malted milk!
The closest thing I ever got to a hot fudge sundae was a dribble of Cottees chocolate syrup on a single scoop of Streets vanilla ice cream. Ummm, sorry Mum….not even close. So guys, let’s do this for real!. Hot fudge sauce is another one of those things you never thought you could make and when you do, find it only takes you about 20 minutes flat. No preservatives, no additives, just pure indulgence through and through 🙂
Basic Hot Fudge Sauce (adapted from the Brown eyed Baker)
2/3 cup heavy cream 2/3 cup Golden Syrup ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder ¼ teaspoon sea salt 170g 35%couverture chopped, divided in half 30g unsalted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream, syrup, cocoa powder, salt and half of the chocolate to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (enough to maintain a low simmer), and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate, the butter, and the vanilla extract, stirring until smooth.
3. Pour half of the sauce into a clean jar or into a pouring jug for those who are chocolate purists.
But for those who are dedicated to Bliss-ing it up; Keep reading 🙂 I won’t bore you with too many details, just suffice to say I was at Vic Market, killing some time and enjoying the company of my best bud, hubby and foodie companion, when I spied blood oranges…
1. Stir in the grated zest of one blood orange into the remaining half of the chocolate sauce.
2. Squeeze in approximately 1 tablespoon of blood orange juice. Stir well.
3. Pour into a clean jar or into a pouring jug for those that like things just a touch more interesting!
To serve a Blissed up Hot Fudge Sundae;
I have no illusions about my ability to present food in any manner other than rudimental. I have even wondered whether there are talented people out there, who I could pay to teach me! There were 2 main reasons why it took a week for me to post this blog, even after I had made the sauce. First, because I didn’t have the time to write it, but secondly, because I seriously didn’t know how to put it together, so that would be something that my dear readers might want to look at and maybe even want to eat! So, here we go guys, and honestly I couldn’t even get a decent photo out of it. If you have a better photo of your attempt at a Bliss Sundae, please post it on my FB page for me to drool over!
1. Cut 3 thin slices of blood orange and place into the base of a shallow dessert bowl. I used a Japanese rice bowl, I just love them for desserts!
2. Place a generous single scoop of any ice cream of your choice on top of the fruit slices.
3. Drizzle with as much or as little sauce as you wish.
4. I stuck in a couple of chocolate dipped Pocky sticks for a little bit of crunch.