Cream Puffs Ring Cake

Two Saturdays ago had been a whole day of intense baking. Benedetta and I made two very very different cakes for very different reasons. Both cakes have been taken from Taste.com.au site, this one with slight alterations and the other one, the Pavlova Cheesecake, we had to follow word for word… kinda 😛

This cake was a request from Benedetta her friend’s birthday, so I sadly didn’t try any of the finished product. However I did try each component individually 🙂 This is a really simple dessert.

INGREDIENTS:

60gr butter

185ml water

115 gr flour

3 eggs

300gr custard (ready made)

300gr thickened cream

1 tbsp icing sugar

100gr of chocolate buttons (dark or milk)

1 packet of Oreos (crushed/blitzed into crumbs)

Turn oven on 210°. In a saucepan, melt the butter and the water. When it comes to the boil, sift the flour into it and mix with a wooden spoon. It should become a ball. Let it cook for a couple of minutes, mixing occasionally to move it around the saucepan. Transfer the pastry into a bowl. Add the eggs and beat with an electric whisk until combined. It will be sticky and thick.

Put the pastry in a piping bag. You don’t need a nozzle for this. I greased and lines a round cake tray and piped the pastry into it, following the shape of the tray. In hindsight, I would’ve left a little space between one ball and the other, as they grow in the oven. But it looks really good anyway.

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Put in the oven for 40minutes and let it cool.

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Pour the cream in a bowl, add the icing sugar and beat until whipped and place in a piping bag with a star nozzle.

Cut the cake in half horizontally. Be careful as each piece will detach from each other. Try to keep it as intact as possible.

Fill the base with custard. Pipe the cream on top of the custard in order to see the stars on the outside also, once the cake is covered.

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Cover with the top layer. Melt the chocolate (either in the microwave, 30secs at the time or on the stove). With a fork, distribute the chocolate on the top of the cake so that it falls on the sides also. The messier the better!

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To finish off, cover with the crushed Oreos! YUMMMMMMMMMM the alternative to cookies and cream 🙂

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Ciao for now! xox

Martian-Alien Cake

This is definitely the most futuristic, alien, outer space cake I’ve ever made or ever even thought of making 🙂

It all started from a recipe in @Taste, a magazine sold in Coles supermarkets. Amazing taste and texture: really soft, moist and pretty to look at, which for me ticks all the boxes for an incredible dessert! However the looks of it are completely different from the original… I added my touch to it 🙂

This cake was made for a double birthday celebration. I don’t have pictures with the candles but both birthday people had candles for each of their ages and had the chance to blow their own. They only had to share the cake and the birthday song 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

For the cake-

200gr white chocolate chips/buttons

200 gr butter

125ml boiling water

215gr sugar

225gr flour

1 tsp baking powder

45gr desiccated coconut

200gr pie fruit apples

200gr greek yogurt

4 eggs

1 cup of frozen raspberries

For the buttercream-

350 gr butter (room temp)

300gr icing sugar

115gr raspberry jam

2 cups frozen raspberries

For the coating-

2 egg whites (room temp)

2 cups icing sugar

green and blue food colour

For the Rock Candy/meteorites-

1 cup of glucose syrup

3 1/2 cups of sugar

1 cup water

blue food colour

I started with the rock candy as it takes the most time! Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and let boil until it reaches 300°F, can take 20-30 mins. Be VERY CAREFUL! Hot sugar doesn’t agree with bare skin.

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Once it has reached the temp. take off the heat until it stops bubbling. It should look like lava 🙂 Line a tray and pour the sugar into it solidifies. I left it overnight and then broke it with a meat tenderiser.

IMG_3053 IMG_3058 IMG_3055It’s pretty cool as it looks very much like glass.

Now start making the cake. Turn oven on 170°. In a microwave proof bowl put in the butter, chocolate and water until melted. In a separate mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and pour the white chocolate mix. Add the rest of the ingredients while beating the batter.

Now, grease and flour two 20cm round pans, pour the batter and bake for 50 minutes. Let cool completely.

While waiting for the cake, start making the buttercream. Take out the frozen raspberries so to defrost before adding them to the cake. Beat the butter, add the sugar and the jam until smooth. Put aside.

Now that the cake has cooled down, place one layer on a service plate and spread buttercream on it. Distribute the raspberries on top and cover with the second cake layer. Cover the whole cake with buttercream. A thin layer is enough. Place in the fridge to set for 10mins. Spread another layer of buttercream and let it set again in the fridge.

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Make the royal icing coating. Beat the egg whites. As they start foaming, add sugar little at the time to incorporate it evenly. Once it has reached a marshmallow-y consistency and look, put one drop of green and a drop of blue, swirl with a toothpick and pour on top of the cake.

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To have that really cool marble effect, DO NOT spread the icing. Slightly tip the cake from one side to the other, moving the plate so that the icing will naturally fall over the edges. The drop effect was also really nice, making it uneven.

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Now have fun with the rocks you made before. Place shards in the middle. We sprinkled the smaller pieces around the cake also.

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How yummy does that look????? A friend of mine at the party confessed he hates cakes with fruit inside…. he ate 5 slices! 😉

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Ciao for now! xox

 

Meringue Kisses

So my birthday has come and gone sadly enough. Apart from making myself a birthday cake (which will the next post!) I thought it would be nice to give away some little gifts to whoever came to my birthday 🙂 I finally found cellophane bags so I can put in all the sweets and treats that I wish to whenever I feel like giving someone a simple but thoughtful present and they are super handy and only cost $1 for 30!

INGREDIENTS: (make close to 60 depending on how big/small you make them)

4 egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 cups sugar

2 drops of lemon juice

100 gr chocolate

as many sprinkles as you like

Turn oven on 80°. Beat the egg whites. When they start foaming and building slowly add the sugar and the lemon juice. Once it is reaching still peaks add the cream of tartar.

Now put in a piping bag, again you decide which nozzle to use. For the first ones I used a star point and the second batch just a normal round one. Pipe the meringue on the baking tray, lined with parchment and put them in the oven for about 1.5 hours. Turn off the oven and leave them in there.

The reason the first batch came out brown is the temperature was actually 120°. However I wanted them to stay white so keep the temp as low as possible. If they don’t cook properly they will come out and stick to each other, so don’t be impatient like me most of the times and wait the necessary time 🙂

Once they are cooked and cooled, melt the chocolate in the microwave (30 seconds at the time) and get your sprinkles in a small bowl.

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Place the bottom of your meringue on the chocolate enough to coat the sides and the bottom. Then dip in the sprinkles and leave to set 🙂

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These are really simple and easy to make and they are really appreciated when received 🙂 Now place in a gift bag and spread the love!

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Enjoy. Ciao for now 🙂 xox

 

 

Fluffy Marshmallows

I just had to do this! Like many of the other things I have made these months and years, this was something that I really wanted. However, either couldn’t find it or the ones in the shop are just not as good.. I had just arrived back to Brizzy from a two week work road trip in Darwin where the weather was insanely hot and humid. Coming back to Brisbane was a shock passing from 35° to 6°C! So what do we want? Hot chocolate with MARSHMALLOWS! I took this recipe from the taste.com.au site with one or two changes 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

2 eggs whites

1 tbsp glucose

500gr sugar

200 ml cold water + 2 tbsp powder gelatine

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 corn flour

Line a tray with parchment and sprinkle with icing sugar.

 

In a saucepan combine glucose, sugar and 200ml cold water over low heat until it boils. Turn up the heat to medium and let the sugar syrup reach 110-120°.

 

Sprinkle gelatine in a heatproof bowl of 200ml water, let it sit for 5 minutes. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to make the gelatine dissolve and add to the sugar syrup.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peak and slowly pour in the syrup mixture.

 

Add a tsp of maple essence. You can add what you like really vanilla, nuts just to make it a bit different. Beat the mixture for at least 10 minutes ( I put a timer) as it will be very liquid initially. After the set time it should have thickened and look smooth and fluffy. Pour into the tray and let it set in the fridge for at least an hour.

Now combine the corn flour and the icing sugar. Using a sieve sprinkle a layer on top of the marshmallow tray. Take an extra empty tray and sprinkle the rest of the powder on it.

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Take the marshmallow block out of the tray and cut into cubes, as big or small as you wish and roll each cube in the sugar to completely cover it.

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And there you have it. Read to eat! Don’t keep for more than a couple of days.

Enjoy. ciao for now! xox

Tiramisù

It was International Food night in the office this past Monday. I honestly had forgotten all about it, I hate to admit. I had literally just got back from a food shop when my team leader asks what I was gonna make for the dinner. PANIC! Well… I had all the components to make the quickest and yummy tiramisù, except for the mascarpone which Mike had to go pick up 😛 such a good boyfriend!

This is probably the simplest dessert ever! There is no baking time or any real skill to it. I used a pyrex (30×15 approx) so you could see the layers 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

500gr pack of Savoiardi- Sponge fingers

3 tbsp of instant coffee

500ml hot water  (if you need more make more)

3 eggs- separate yolk and whites

100gr sugar

250gr mascarpone

250gr pack of chocolate buttons

1/2 cup cocoa powder

Start making the coffee. Mix the boiling water and the instant coffee together and put aside to let it cool completely. Blitz the chocolate buttons into small pieces, close to crumbs.

Beat the egg yolks, the sugar and the mascarpone together until pale and fluffy. Set aside.

 

Whisk the egg whites reaching hard peaks. Fold with a spatula in the mascarpone mix.

 

Now the fun part starts. Smear a small amount of cream in the bottom of your serving tray. Dip a sponge finger in the coffee. Do one at the time and make sure you soak them for ONE SECOND! This is important. These cookies soak up liquid like sponges (hence the name I guess) and really quickly. You want to avoid having a soggy tiramisù!!  Place them in the tray as you wish, one next to the other to cover the surface.

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Now cover with a layer of mascarpone cream. Top that with the blitzed chocolate.

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Repeat the process with the second layer and finally finish with a layer of cocoa powder. I poured the cocoa powder in a sieve to sprinkle it on top. At least it evens it out and its neater. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Needless to say it was yummmmmmmmm

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Ciao for now xox

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Bread

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been vegetable shopping at the Gabba fruit market which has incredibly cheap cheap deals. I mean how crazy is paying for a huge box of mixed vegetables and fruit for only $5?!  I love it since it’s also a bit of a mystery box situation.. you only see the vegetables that are on the outside which usually are the biggest like capsicums, tomatoes etc but you don’t know what could lie beneath it all! I find that GREAT! Every week you get to have different meals and recipes and this week it was banana bread. I found four bananas that needed to GO GO GO 😛

Another great thing of this recipe is that you can mix all the ingredients with just a fork, no need for a mixer. Sorry KitchenAid 😦

INGREDIENTS:

3-4 bananas, smashed

1 egg

50 gr butter, melted

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 tsp walnut essence (optional)

1-2 cups of walnuts, chopped

Turn oven on 180°. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until evenly combined. Line a loaf tray with parchment, pour the batter and leave in the oven for 1 hour. Take out and let cool completely before munching on it 🙂

Simplest recipe ever! Seriously and its a great snack or way to start the day, paired with coffee or a good fruity smoothie!

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enjoy! Ciao for now!

 

 

Honeycomb chocolate

There is nothing better than this little treat to satisfy a sweet-tooth’s needs and wants.

I’m going to be honest and say that this recipe was quite tricky to make and as they say “third time is charm”. Yes, it took my three tries to get this right, as the first and second time I burnt or over stirred the soda in the caramel. I took the recipe from a weight watchers magazine (quite ironic since there is nothing slimming OR healthy about this recipe).

I would highly recommend having a cooking thermometer handy when you make honeycomb as the temperature is crucial!

When the caramel is too hot (or burns) the soda will make it bubble but, because of the heat it will also solidify at a quicker rate and this will happen.

 

So don’t let the caramel actually grow that much (like in the pic), it should bubble in the tray. Don’t over stir. If the temperature is right, you should have ample time to stir and pour. The first times I stirred and let it grow and puff IN the pot which then ruined the whole thing as it became crumbs by the time I poured it in the tray.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup water

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp bicarbonate soda (sifted)

200gr chocolate buttons/bar

Line a tray with parchment and set aside.

In a deep pot combine the sugar, water and the golden syrup at low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Mix the caramel with a wooden spoon.

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Rise the temperature to medium heat and place a thermometer in the pot. When the caramel reaches 120-150° take off the heat immediately and mix in the soda with a wooden spoon. This should make the caramel bubble, so try to mix the soda in as quick as thoroughly as possible and then pour it in the tray as evenly as possible. NOTE that once you pour it, it will be very difficult to spread it as it will have started setting and you want to avoid bursting the air bubbles. So when you pour, don’t stay in one spot but pour along the tray.

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Let it rest for at least an hour or until it is completely set, then you can peel off and turn.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Pour over the honeycomb and spread evenly to cover the surface and let set. I put it in the fridge as it is still very extremely hot here.

Once it’s set cut into pieces. It will never come into equal shapes, but it is easier if you use a knife. As soon as you will cut into it, it will break in different pieces on its own, without too much effort.

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And there you have it.

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Enjoy. Ciao for now xox

Nutella Krapfen-Bombe alla nutella

It is carnival back in Italy and I’ve been missing some of the treats and desserts that you usually eat at this special time of the year. These are originally Austrian, but we still eat them our style! 😛

I tried making both fried and baked. No doubt the fried ones were WINNING! much much better as they are were lighter (ironic right?!) and just tasted like home. I still have to get the look/aesthetics right but the taste was all there 🙂

INGREDIENTS: makes 20ish (depends on how big or small they are)

500gr flour + extra

7 gr yeast (1 sachet)

100 gr sugar

250 ml milk (warmed)

1tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 pinch of salt

Nutella

Veg oil to fry

In a bowl, mix warmed up milk and yeast together and let sit for a couple of minutes. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. The batter will be pretty sticky, but you can knead it from within the bowl to give it a bit of a round shape. Put in a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Let it rise for 1-2 hours.

Once it has risen to double or even triple its size, roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut circles with a glass.

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Let the circles rise another half hour covering them with a clean cloth.

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You will need to sandwich the circles, so spoon a 2tsp of Nutella on 10 of the circles leaving 10 plain ones. With some water, dab the outer border of the Nutella circles and cover with another plain circle. Let them rise another half hour, covering with a cloth.

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Fill a pan with 2 fingers of oil and heat. The oil has to be very hot so just use a leftover bit of batter to check the temperature. Careful not to deflate the dough, so pick up the krapfen delicately and put two at the time in the pan to fry. They will be very quick, less than a minute on each side and dry on a kitchen towel.

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Cover with icing sugar, or better yet caster sugar, and eat 🙂 They are really yummy!

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Enjoy Ciao for now! xox

Lemon Meringue Profiteroles-Bignè

Second day in a row of baking, it has been a great weekend so far! Another dinner and more food to eat and prepare! I have made these desserts separately and in different ways but I’ve combined them and they actually worked really well together, had a very balanced taste, with very lemony flavours inside the profiteroles and marshmallow top 🙂

INGREDIENTS:Makes 15-16

For the Curd 

Juice of two lemons

3/4 sugar

3 eggs (beaten)

60gr butter

For the profiteroles 

50gr butter

125ml water

80gr flour

2 eggs (beat

For the meringue/marshmallow  

3 egg whites

3/4 sugar

1 tsp lemon juice (you can get this from the previous 2 lemons)

1 tsp cream of tartar

en)Make the curd first of all. Place a saucepan on medium heat and mix in eggs, sugar and juice. Leave on for 2-3 minutes or until it simmers and starts become of a dense consistency. Stir continuously. Take off the heat and sieve in a new clean bowl to eliminate the over cooked egg bits. While still hot, melt in the butter until completely dissolved. Cover with cling wrap and let it cool.

For the profiteroles. Turn on oven at 180°. In a saucepan on medium heat, place water and butter. Once it starts simmering, add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon . It should become a ball quite quickly and let it cook over the stove for a minute or 2, then remove it from the heat.

Add the eggs and quickly mix . it will be very liquid and clumpy at the beginning but keep on mixing until it is all well combined and has a sticky consistency but compact.

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Pour the pastry in a piping bag. I used a macaroon tray to make them all the same size. However, what I usually do, is line a normal flat tray with parchment and then pipe the profiteroles there. I sprayed the tray and piped in each space.

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Seen as they have those pointy tops, wet your finger with some water and gently tap the tip down to make it rounder. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.

 

Place on a cooling rack and with a knife make holes at the bottom of the pastries where the curd will be piped in.

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While they are cooling make the meringue. Beat the egg whites, and slowly add in sugar, cream of tartar and lemon juice until it reaches a fluffy and stiff consistency.

Pour the curd in a piping bag (it will be quite liquid since I didn’t put it in the fridge and added an extra lemon, but it’s perfect for this!) and pipe in the pastries 🙂

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Turn the oven to grill. Place all the pastries on a tray (doesn’t have to be greased or lines) and pipe the meringue on them.

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Place in the oven for 2-3minutes. Keep an eye on them or they could burn (like my first ones, I used some testers to see how long it would take). They smell amazing and the whole house smelled like cooked marshmallows 🙂

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Aren’t they cute!?

So there you have it. enjoy ciao for now! xox

Next I think I will try making Bagels 😀

Chocolate Spheres w Ice-Cream

Organised a lovely dinner with some friends and neighbours to change pace in my weekends.. Started with a main Sardinian dish which was amazeballs and then ended on a lovely chocolate, ice-cream, toffee sauce note 🙂

Being the first time I made them, I would definitely change some things such as making the spheres thinner, however first time round, it was so hot outside, the spheres kept on cracking overtime I tried to pop them out of the silicone mould. Anyways, they were delish nonetheless!

INGREDIENTS: makes 6

380gr chocolate (dark or milk your preference)

vanilla ice-cream

300ml double cream

1 cup brown sugar

60gr butter

In a metal bowl over simmering water melt the chocolate.

Take the round moulds and, I did this one at the time since I’m not a pro yet, pour a tablespoon of chocolate in and rotate it so that it covers all the surface. Do so in all spheres.

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Once you have covered all of them in chocolate, tip over on a cooling rack, putting a parchment underneath not to dirty the counter, to eliminate the excess chocolate and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

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Since they were cracking in my attempt to take them out the first time, I added some more chocolate inside but I don’t think that is necessary in a cooler weather. Pop the spheres out from the mould, delicately.

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With the extra leftover chocolate, with a spatula or a spoon, spread it on a piece of parchment and put in the freezer. When it is set, crack in uneven pieces that will go on the plate as a base of the sphere.

Place a pan over very low heat. Place due halves on chocolate on it and with a circular movement slightly melt the edges and then put them together to make a complete sphere. Place them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Once they are set, again take the sphere and melt one side of it over the pan, always with a circular movement to melt it evenly. The hole has to be big enough for a teaspoon to fit in. Place in the freezer to set once again.

Now, fill the spheres with ice-cream and place in the freezer until you need to serve them

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Make the toffee sauce by putting cream, brown sugar and butter in saucepan and let it simmer till it thickens and is all evenly mixed and combined. Might take 20 minutes.

Now put all these pieces together: Place the cracked sheets of chocolate at the bottom of a place, place the chocolate sphere on top. Make sure that the toffee sauce of boiling hot in order for it melt the chocolate cap. Pour the toffee sauce on the chocolate. Now mine didn’t melt straight away as I made an extra layer, but if you make it thin enough it should work out perfectly. I’ll have to try it again.

 

It still looks pretty damn amazing to me or my friends were all impressed :IMG_0814

Enjoy, ciao for now! xox