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Showing posts from June, 2011

3 surprising tips for perfect Dulce de leche {Recipe}

Dulce de leche is the ‘new black’ for pastry chefs –filling gourmet macarons, biscuits and cakes.
The luscious milk caramel, much loved by Latin Americans, is taking the world by storm and I am unashamedly smitten.  Why?  Because I don’t have to make toffee first!
It’s simple to make from scratch.  All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes, a generous sized pan and patience.
Wear comfortable shoes Take it from me, comfortable shoes are a must! I made my first batch of dulce de leche after traipsing around a shopping centre for a couple of hours in cowboy boots that offer no cushioning support.  Pink cowboy boots are lovely to look at but they’re not really designed for all day wearing and certainly not for kitchen duties.  Half way through the caramel and I was regretting my decision not to change footwear. (Since I was working with hot liquids I felt I couldn't just kick them off – safety always comes first in the kitchen!)
Use a large pan I learned the hard way that you need a gener…

The Earl of Chocolate Cake

Making one cake for the man you love is hard. Try making three to celebrate his 40th birthday!

Unlike a normal cake order where the client specifies the flavour, shape, filling and decoration, Mr Di-licious simply said “Surprise me”. Humph....I think that’s worse.

One cake down and the next needed in only a few days, inspiration finally struck one morning in the shower – make him an Earl Grey tea flavoured cake. Brilliant!

My first scan of the web found lots of tea cakes but they were more church picnic than milestone birthday.

It’s a celebration cake and in my world that means a creamy filling and chocolate.

Chocolate and Earl Grey?  Suspend belief and take it from me: it works mate... it does!

Time was short so instead of experimenting, I let my eyes do the walking through Google Images to find a recipe I could use.

I was instantly smitten by a cake by Cultivate Online: The Queen’s Earl Grey Fudge Cake - a chocolate and earl grey tea cake, filled with earl grey flavoured cream cheese…

Oh yes, I’m the cake procrastinator

Tomorrow afternoon we’re loading up the car to head to Ballarat for the weekend.

Before then I have to:
Make a cake (first time recipe)Make cake fillingMake ganacheMake pralineMake sticky date puddingsMake butterscotch saucePick up drycleaningGrab last minute baking groceriesPack a cake decorating tool kitPack for me and OlivePack for the dogPick up birthday gift for sister in lawDo kinder drop off and pick upGo to playgroupUse up the mince in the fridgeEnter the competition to win a personalised apron for Olive
So what did I do last night? Procastinated with a capital P:
Vacuumed the houseCleaned the ovenCleaned the scuff marks off the half wall in the kitchenCleaned the back door windowsReduced my email inbox from 11 pages to 2 pages (I must learn to delete as I go!)Drafted and redrafted this postFinally decided on what cake recipe to makeWrote out the recipe in shorthand and last minute shopping listWent to bed after midnight!And here I am again this morning pffaffing on the computer…

A very special birthday

Yesterday was Mr Di-licious' birthday.  But not any ordinary birthday, the big 4-0.

Sadly for him he is in the middle of exams and unable to celebrate in the way he would like.  So last night it was a simple acknowledgement - Beef Bourguinon, a special bottle of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (2004 Ladbroke Grove Killian) and cake.

Mr Di-licious has some eclectic tastes: country music, two earl grey tea bags per cup and last but not least, chocolate cake and lemon icing.

So inspired by Sweetapolita, I produced a chocolate layer cake, filled and covered in lemon buttercream and drizzled over with a puddle of chocolate ganache.

Since it was only the three of us I made a tiny six inch cake.  And you know what?  Six inches was plenty!  The cake is very sweet so a small slice is all you really need.

I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe (I promise to share it with you one day!) and made a simple buttercream flavoured with lemon juice and zest.

After torting and covering the cake I …

Salty Sweet Peanut Cookies

When I was a teenager I loved dipping french-fries into the chocolate sauce of a McDonalds sundae. My friends were horrified.

Unbeknownst to me I'd had my first gastronomic epiphany: pairing salty and sweet.

I’ll admit I’m perplexed by the American obsession with a PBJ (sorry, I just am) but a Snickers bar – I’m all for that.

And one of my most loved cupcake creations is a rich chocolate cupcake, dressed in whipped chocolate ganache and sprinkled with sea salt flakes.

So it should come as no surprise that a salty sweet peanut cookie would ring my bell.

How to be a Domestic Goddess is one of my favourite cookbooks to read – I just love the way Nigella writes. Unsurprisingly, she's nominated these cookies as one of her favourites (and most addictive).

They are everything they promise to be – salty and sweet with ta luscious greasiness that only vegetable shortening can give a biscuit.

I do question Nigella’s suggestion of pressing down the cookie batter with a greased glass di…

Pawesome chocolate cupcakes

Who doesn’t love a teddy bear?

I still have my first teddy. My late grandfather gave it to me when I was born and I in turn passed it onto Olive when she was born. It’s certainly seen better days but it fills my heart with joy to see her cuddle a memento from my own childhood.

When invited to bring some cupcakes to a teddy bear picnic birthday party, I just had to do something cute.

And nothing could be cuter than bear paw prints. The fondant ‘badges’ look impressive and are easy to rustle up ahead of time.

They’re as simple as one, two, three:

1. Colour your fondant 2. Roll out and cut big circles, medium circles and small circles.
3. Using water and a paint brush, stick the paw print onto the large circle.

If you want to get fancy, you could squeeze the medium and small circles to create ovoid shapes for a more organic paw print design.

Maybe you could make these ‘pawesome’ cupcakes for someone ‘beary’ special to you?

Chocolate Teddy Bear Paw Cupcakes
Cake recipe by Jennifer Graham, The…