"if you wish to be glamorous, become a cake baker" -The Joy of Cooking

Monday, May 30, 2016

Cupcake Strong

I must admit not only do I really enjoy baking cupcakes, I'm pretty damn good at it to.

A baker can only produce delicious results by using the best of the best ingredient wise. I feel my cupcakes taste best when I use unsalted butter, real Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and high quality cocoa powder.

I also swear by Five Roses Flour.  It's the only flour I find bakes the best.  I'm not sure if it's because my mother always used it or if there really is a difference but every time I stray away from it to try out another brand, i'm never as happy with the result.

Then there are the tools that I LOVE and make my baking life so much easier. I would be sad to bake without these:

An Ice-Cream Scoop! 

Makes really quick, neat & tidy work of scooping out batter & getting all the cupcakes uniform size so that they bake up evenly


I also have to mention the pans I use. I absolutely love using Wilton brand muffin tins - in my opinion they are perfect,light weight, bake nicely, are affordable!! And easy to store

In case your curious Piazza is the brand of ice-cream scoop I prefer to use. Really sturdy, light weight and has a perfect release mechanism that easily dispenses the batter in the cups

Also makes a great cookie scoop.  This brand is available at Williams-Sonoma They have a Large, Medium & Small Size. I use the large for cupcakes and the medium size for cookies

Of course cooling racks are a must - I have no brand preference but I do like the racks to be fairly large so that I don't have to pull out a million small ones whenever I bake a large quantity

A cupcake is not a cupcake without a nice buttercream swirl. The Wilton 1M tip is my favourite for this

I like to use a fairly large piping bag (no coupler) that way I'm not constantly refilling as I ice the cakes.  I like this reusable one from Ateco

I do have a brand preference for icing sugar when making my buttercream, which might sound totally nuts but i'm dead serious. For some reason I find Redpath icing sugar is never clumpy, while other brands I've tried always have large, dry, hard clumps of sugar.  Instead of passing it through a sieve I dump my sugar into a big bowl like this and whisk it just to ensure that there are no lumps whatsoever! 

Ready to pipe! As I mentioned already I don't usually use a coupler for this.  I like to just place my 1M tip directly into the bag and start swirling

This is how I usually do my cupcake swirl: I'll first start by piping a rosette onto the cupcake 

Then i'll go over that first rosette again with a smaller one right on top

I like the end result of the doing the double rosettes a lot. It gives the cupcake swirl a lot of height and looks really pretty, plus more buttercream is always a bonus!

A cupcake has to have sprinkles. Any will do, I usually get mine from Bulk Barn. I really love these confetti sprinkles for birthday cupcakes

Not sure if you can see the vanilla seed specks in this photo. When making vanilla cupcakes I like to use both vanilla bean paste & extract to not only get maximum vanilla flavour but the visual effect of vanilla bean throughout both the cake & buttercream in my opinion takes them to another level

When I bake cupcakes they tend to be for a special occasion and need to be delivered to a party location.  This Cupcake Courier   keeps them fresh, safe and easily transports up to 36 cupcakes


So that is just a few of the tools I NEED in my life that for me, make all the difference and makes baking go so much smoother, quicker and neater!

Also Click HERE for this YouTube clip of one of my FAVOURITE bakers ever,  Gesine Bullock Prado's recipe for vanilla cake.  I bake this one ALL the time and everyone loves it.

Happy baking & cupcaking ;) xo


Monday, May 23, 2016

Blackberry Cobbler


I'm not sure how, but up until this point I never made a cobbler before in my life.  I felt it was time.  A cobbler has everything going for it: ridiculously easy to make and the topping was perfect with the juicy fruit and softly whipped cream. It's homey and old fashioned goodness, yet it could also be impressive enough to serve when you've got company coming.  Ice-cream would be amazing with this too.

As the recipe suggests you don't have to stick with just blackberries you could mix in any kind you like or omit them totally if you don't like blackberries and use what ever fruit you like or in season. I used this recipe here if you're interested in making one too.

Pretty blackberries

a naked lemon! 

This is the sugar, flour, zest & salt added to the berries

Whisked dry ingredients - I just used a bowl & fork to whip up this recipe

Melted butter :)

Mix the dry & wet ingredients just until it forms a soft dough and gently spread the dough over the blackberries and bake


Friday, May 6, 2016

Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding


 A while back now on this blog I posted about a sticky toffee pudding mold that I had found one christmas season at Williams-Sonoma. ( Click here for that post)

It is one of my favourite desserts to make, although I wouldn't say that recipe is very hard, it is a little time consuming and you must make the toffee sauce that goes with it in order to get the full effect and unfortunately you also must have a special pudding mold and a food processor to make it.

So if you want to whip one up quickly, with no special equipment,  I LOVE this version from Nigella Bites.  It's one of those cakes where you pour boiling water over the batter and when you think the sloppy mess won't turn out into anything it creates a yummy moist cake layer on top with a yummy thick, fudgy, toffee sauce on the bottom.

Click here for the recipe.

 spread the batter on the bottom of baking dish

Evenly sprinkle the dark brown sugar over the batter and add the bits of butter on top of that

Boil water 

And pour over the top of everything - the hot water mixed with the butter & Sugar create the sauce on the bottom of the cake

Magically this sloppy mess turns into this:

Ta-da!!



So good and so easy to make



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Sometimes nothing in the world can beat a simple, homemade chocolate chip cookie.  These cookies are the soft, chewy kind which I think are my favourite.

This recipe is adapted from William-Sonoma's Bake Good Things

Preheat your oven to 350


you will need:
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt 
1/2 cup room temp unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar - firmly packed
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips

in the bowl of a stand mixer add the sugars and butter and beat on medium speed until smooth

in another bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda until well combined. Add the vanilla and the egg to the butter mixture and beat them until well blended, then slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl and beat on low until just combined

Then add in the chocolate chips.  The recipe actually called for 2 1/2 cups of chocolate but I found it was way too much, and I always like adding more than called for in a recipe,NEVER less! not sure if this was a typo but really just add as much as you like, I just mixed it all in the kitchen aid but you could do it by hand if you're up for it

I love using a medium ice cream scoop for cookie dough. It ensures all the cookies are uniform size so they bake up beautifully even


I slightly flatten the mounds of dough with the palm of my hand, I like to add a few more chocolate chips just on top and a little sprinkle of kosher salt.  I think flaky Maldon salt would be incredible sprinkled on top but I didn't have any on hand

I baked the cookies for 14 mins 1 tray at a time, I first start checking the cookies at 10 mins to see how they were doing, then transferred them to a cooling rack once they came out

The recipe says it makes 30 cookies, I got 24 from mine. I guess it just depends how big you scoop your cookies out.

Click here to take you to Williams-Sonoma Taste Food Blog for the original recipe

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Lemon Pavlova


Here is what I made with the leftover 8 egg whites I had from the lemon curd.  I had to make this pavlova after seeing THIS episode of Simply Nigella.  It's soooooooo good, like lemon meringue pie but more light & airy.

Whisk the whites with a pinch of salt until foamy 

Wait! Don't forget to first set the oven to 350!

Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of sugar to the foamy whites a spoonful at a time, if you can find it super fine sugar is best 


Whisk until the whites are stiff and glossy and hold a stiff peak

Next add 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp vinegar and 1 Tbsp corn starch to the bowl and fold gently into the whites 

Dollop the meringue onto a baking sheet lined with parchment

Smooth it into a round disk about 20cm in diameter


place the pav into the oven and immediately turn it down to 300, this is done so that the outside will form a crisp crust from the immediate blast of hot air and as the oven comes down in temperature it allows inside to bake up soft and pillowy, like a giant marshmallow with crispy shell

Bake the pav for 1hr 45min. When it's done open the oven door and let it cool completely like this, don't worry if the pavlova caves in the centre, mine did. Sometimes it happens when the oven door is open too quickly I think next time I would just prop it open slightly with a wood spoon so that it can release the hot air more gently. It will still look and taste amazing though!

when you're ready to serve place the pavlova on a serving platter, spread the lemon curd all over the top and then softly whipped cream over that.  I forgot to take a pic of it before I served it to guests I had over the weekend, here is what a slice of it looked like. It's so good it was all I had left and that didn't last long either.