Archive for July, 2014

Surprise Cakes – Daring Bakers Challenge July 2014

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Surprise Heart Cake

For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!

Surprise Heart Cake

I’m glad this months challenge is done! On Friday night, I spent a few hours, cooking, colouring, carving and icing the surprise cake for the daring bakers challenge.

Surprise Heart Cake

It doesn’t look anywhere near as beautiful as the heart cake made by Amanda Rettke in her Surprise-inside Cakes book, but I am glad with how mine turned out, considering this was my first time, I was in a rush, and I probably chose the wrong cake recipe. (I used a cupcake recipe, but this had too much air and made bubbles, which doesn’t help with the carving)

For a great tutorial on how to make the actual cake, please see this website.

I didn’t want a huge cake (as I didn’t really have an event to make this for), so I made 2x quantity of cupcake mix, and cooked up a loaf tin plus a few cupcakes (which I coloured in varying pink shades). I placed both the loaf cake, and cupcakes in the freezer once they had cooled, so I could carve them better. And once I had a 3D heart carved out of one of the cupcakes, I made the indents in both halves of the loaf tin (which I had cut with a circle cutter).

Surprise Heart Cake

Creating the ruffles was the easy part! (there are heaps of tutorials on the web). As much as I didn’t feel I had the energy to make the cake, I am glad I managed to make it. Challenge complete!

Assembly

Assembly

Assembly

The mess

Anita’s Homemade Granola

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

I’ve never been much of a fan of most breakfast type cereals, including muesli and porridge, but one day Thomas Dux was handing out little trials of granola and yoghurt. Both tasted amazing, and their marketing had worked brilliantly – I was in the door buying granola and yoghurt (the yoghurt I had liked is no longer being stocked, but I have now come across the FiveAM yoghurt which I love, and I am trying to make my own yoghurt as well).

The granola was Irrewarra Sourdough’s granola, and it is strangely addictive. So addictive that I was sad each time I finished a pack. So I decided it was time to make my own and I tried many different recipes on the internet. Many were not sweet enough, others fell apart easily, and some just lacked a bit of flavour.

I ended up coming up with my own version, which is now loved by my family, so much, that when a batch is finished everyone gets sad…

Anita’s Homemade Granola

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

100g honey
50g light agave syrup (or honey)
80g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
5 teaspoons cinnamon (ground)
5 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
140g (3/4 cup) vegetable oil

500g (5 cups) rolled oats
400g (3 cups) mixed nuts (I use 220g raw almonds and 60g each of macadamias, hazelnuts and walnuts), chopped (if desired)
40g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
40g (1/4 cup) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
65g (1 cup) shredded coconut
40g (1/4 cup) sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 160C (fan forced). Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Mix together the oats, nuts, seeds and coconut in very large bowl.

Whisk together the honey, agave syrup, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla essence and seeds and salt in a bowl until well combined. Add the oil and whisk again until well combined.

Pour the honey mixture into the oat mixture and stir with a spoon or spatula until well combined.

Divide the mixture onto the two trays and push to fill the tray. Once the mixture has filled the tray, make a line in the centre of each (this helps make the cooking more even). Make sure to press the mixture down firmly.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the granola is nice and golden (checking and rotating trays after 10 minutes). Wait until the granola has cooled completely before breaking into edible sized pieces.

When breaking the pieces apart, you may find the edges break easily, but the centre portion may have some give or stickiness. If this is the case, put the broken pieces back in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Again, wait until completely cooled before transferring to a container for storage.

Poached Pears

Recipe adapted from Taste

4 brown pears, free from blemishes and bruises, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
lemon juice (optional)
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split, seeded

Place sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add pears and a split, seeded vanilla bean. Allow the pears to simmer, covered with a square of baking paper, in the liquid for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Turn occasionally to ensure even cooking. Serve pear warm or cooled with a little poaching liquid.

Stewed Rhubarb

This made quite a tart rhubarb, although when served with sweet granola and poached pears it was nice. It you are not serving with other sweet ingredients, more sugar will be required.

100g rhubarb
50g sugar (more may be required, it depends on the tartness of your rhubarb)

Cut rhubarb into 5cm lengths (approx), and place in a saucepan with sugar. Cook 5-10 minutes or medium heat until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is tender.

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