Monday, August 4, 2014

Vanilla and Almond Biscotti

These delicious biscotti are super crunchy, perfect for dunking in a hot drink.
They are easy and I've baked them many times now with success.
One of my workmates said it tasted like what his Italian mother would bake.

Combine dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, raw sugar, almonds and salt flakes.

I discovered this beautiful Little Pod vanilla paste when I visited the Cake Bake Sweets Show, and as you can see its well loved and used. 
Whisk the vanilla with a couple of eggs and combine with the dry ingredients.

Shape the sticky dough into a log.

Bake in a low oven.

Allow to cool, even better overnight.

Slice and lay on a tray to bake again on both sides.

The end result is a crunchy flavoursome biscuit perfect for the snack jar as it keeps well, or great to give away as gifts.

Vanilla and Almond Biscotti
Adapted from

1 cup flour
!/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp salt flakes 
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 150C.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Combine dry ingredients.
Whisk vanilla with eggs and mix into dry ingredients.
Shape the sticky dough into a flat log on lined tray.
Bake for 50 minutes.
Leave to cool, even overnight if time allows.
With a sharp knife cut into slices, about 0.5cm-0.8cm.
Lay on tray and bake for 20 minutes, turn over and bake for another 20 minutes.
Cool on rack.
Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Stuffed eggplant with lamb and pine nuts

Recently I was searching for an eggplant recipe when I stumbled upon this Ottolenghi one.
It is incredible. 
Think melt in your mouth slow cooked eggplant. Flavoursome lamb. Sour tamarind based sauce.

And it is easy.
Bake your eggplants.

Prepare your lamb. Onion, cumin, paprika, cinnamon softened.

Lamb mince, pine nuts, tomato paste, parsley. 

Pour over a watery sauce of tamarind, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon.

Top with the lamb and roast, covered for one and a half hours.

It is delicious.
Apparently the recipe is in Ottolenghi's 'Jerusalem' if you are lucky enough to have a copy.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Surprise-Inside Bunny Cake

I was gifted this surprise-inside cakes by Amanda Rettke book , who you can find at I am Baker.
And what an extraordinary baker Amanda is - page after page of creative exciting delicious cakes.

For my first attempt I decided to try the bunny cake for Easter.
I probably should not have started on a 'challenging' cake, and you are allowed to laugh out loud at my attempt, but I can assure you it was lots of fun.
I have discovered that I love baking cakes, then cutting them out, then sticking them together and covering them with delicious buttercream!

The process is baking the cakes.

Cutting out the shape for the nose.

Using buttercream and crumbled cake to create the eyes.

Then assembling your cake.

Next piping on some fluffy bunny fur, this would have been much easier if my piping bag didn't break!
Making some cute bunny ears with melted white chocolate, and a sprinkle of milo.

Hehe, a bit wonky but still kinda cute and my kids loved him. 
If you want to see what he was meant to look like you can see one here at I am Baker.

This is definitely one book I am excited to have and I am looking forward to some more fun creations.
Thank you to Harper Collins and Amanda for this kind gift.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Sometimes you meet someone and you instantly feel comfortable, and realise you share a passion. 
I totally felt this way when I met Graham Prichard at the Cake Bake and Sweets Show.
As you can probably tell, I am obsessed with sourdough, a bread making journey that I love, and it was a very special experience to learn even a little from Graham.

Graham shared a recipe for sourdough Hot Cross Buns, and a wealth of knowledge in all things sourdough.

So of course I baked sourdough Hot Cross Buns, which I adapted to my own recipe, something I am learning to do more and more with sourdough. 
Your own starter is quite unique and you learn to work with it.

I combined my ingredients of milk, flour (combination of white and wholewheat), starter, sugar (rapadura), salt, and cinnamon into a rough dough.

The butter and dried fruit which I soaked in sherry were then kneaded in.

After a few more resting times and gentle kneading the dough was divided into nine, shaped into buns and put in a square cake tin.

I left the buns in the fridge overnight.

The next day I brought them back to room temperature and then added crosses and baked them.

While still hot they were brushed with a honey glaze.

Served with some butter, they were packed with flavour and were lighter then I expected, just beautiful.

Especially with some Easter craft in the background!

The Cake Bake and Sweets Show overall was quite enjoyable, plenty of workshops and personalties to see, as well as stands which mostly had some very impressive cake decorating. 

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns
Inspired by Graham Prichard

150g white bakers flour
60g whole wheat flour
110g milk
110g starter
30g rapadura sugar
2.5g salt 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
30g butter
70g dried fruit (soaked for a couple of hours in a little sherry)
extra flour and water for the crosses
1 tsp honey and 1 tsp hot water combined for the glaze

Combine the flours, milk, starter, sugar, salt and cinnamon until a rough dough is formed.
Combine fruit (including any soaking liquid) and softened butter and knead into the dough.
Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Knead for two minutes and rest for another 15 minutes.
Knead again and leave for 30 minutes.
Fold the dough over itself in both directions, the dough should be soft and smooth, and leave in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap for a couple of hours.
Divide into 9 pieces, shape into buns and place in a square cake tin.
Leave covered with cling wrap in the fridge overnight.
Place on the bench for 2-4 hours (depends on how cold your kitchen is!).
Combine 2 tablespoons flour with a little water and a dribble of oil until you get a nice consistency and pipe crosses on the buns.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 25 minutes.
Brush with the honey glaze while still hot.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ginger custard and cinnamon plum spelt sourdough layered cake - Cake, Bake and Sweets Show

I was given The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard for Christmas and have not stopped baking, it is full of inspired recipes.
When I heard Dan was coming to the Cake, Bake and Sweets Show in Sydney I was stoked for the chance to be able to see him in action.
And was very pleased to be asked by the show if I would like to let everyone know that it was coming to town very soon!

So this creation of mine was inspired by Dan Lepard's recipe for apple custard layer cake, same concept, different cake.

I decided to use my sourdough starter on its own (without the addition of yeast), and I sweetened it with honey alone. They were combined with egg and milk.

I used half white bakers flour and half whole spelt flour, and some salt flakes.

They were combined to make a rough dough.

Slices of softened butter were then rolled into the dough and then kneaded two minutes on two minutes off until it was smooth.

The dough was left in the fridge overnight.

The plums were combined with rapadura and cinnamon.

I made a custard infusing the milk with fresh ginger slices.

The dough was divided into three and flattened into discs.

The dough discs were layered with the custard and plums.

After two hours the cake was baked.

The combination of flavoursome cake with the tangy plums and gingery custard was so good!

Served with some yoghurt, yum.

Layers of sourdough cake, ginger custard and cinnamon plums.
I think Dan would be most happy with my adaption to his recipe!

The Cake, Bake and Sweets Show sounds amazing, I'm really looking forward to it.
It is on in less then two weeks, maybe I will see you there?

Ginger Custard and Cinnamon Plum 
Spelt Sourdough Layered Cake
(recipe adapted from Apple and Custard Layer Cake in The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard)

Honey dough
160g sourdough starter
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
150g white bakers flour
150g whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt flakes
75g sliced butter, softened

Mix together starter, honey, egg and milk.
Combine the flours and salt then add in the wet mix until you get a rough dough.
Leave for 10 minutes.
Flatten out and top with sliced butter, roll up dough then knead two minutes on two minutes off about 5 times until the dough is smooth.
Place in an oiled bowl covered with cling wrap in the fridge overnight.
When ready to use cut the dough into thirds and flatten into 23 cm discs.

Ginger Custard
200ml milk
3 slices fresh ginger
1/3 cup rapadura sugar
1 egg
2 tsp cornflour

Heat 200ml milk in small saucepan with ginger until just before boiling.
Leave to infuse for 5 minutes then remove the ginger.
Whisk rapadura, egg and cornflour together, then slowly whisk in the milk.
Return to saucepan over low heat stirring until it is thick. 
Transfer to a bowl to cool for 10 minutes.

Cinnamon Plums
1 dozen plums
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp rapadura sugar

Cut plums into sixths removing seeds.
Combine with cinnamon and sugar.

Preheat oven to 180 celcius.
Line a 23cm tin with baking paper.
Layer the disc of dough topped with 1/3 of the custard and 1/3 of the plums.
Repeat so there are three layers.
Leave at room temperature for 2 hours.
Sprinkle over a little rapadura and bake for 50 minutes 
(if it is browning too quickly cover with some foil).
Leave for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
Allow to cool or eat when still warm.
Delicious with some natural yoghurt.