Red Velvet Cake

12 February 2017

"Red Velvet is red.
White Chocolate is white.
I have made you this cake,
'Cause I think you're alright."  

With Valentine's Day fast approaching some of you might be thinking the way to someones heart is through their stomach.. and if you are asking my opinion, I wholeheartedly agree. I have yet to experience a time where cake was not welcomed. It's a go too thing for me.. and if you happen to be on my friends-who-I-like-to-make-cake-for list, well then, you know the drill!

Are you sad? Cake. Are you happy? Let's have cake. Are we celebrating, commiserating. plain old being alive-ating.. there's a cake for that!

We don't actually celebrate Valentines in the traditional sense. No cards, flowers, chocolate... promises we don't intend to keep. But surrounded by the hubbub of the day, I guess we are influenced to acknowledge each other more, maybe make a special effort to remind each other how we feel and pretty much let husband know that things haven't changed since the first time I told him I loved him. The auld softy that I am!

This Red Velvet Cake helps with that..  yet takes a break from the norm and incorporates a luscious, yet light White Chocolate Buttercream. It screams Valentine's Day- just LOOK how much I love you, right? I made you a cake.

Eaten as part of a healthy diet, this provides way more than your recommended daily amounts of sugar. I'd say a slice covers your sugar intake for the week... But what does it matter? Calories don't count when you're in love!!

Red Velvet Cake 

Line and spray two or three 8 inch round baking pans and leave to one side. Turn your oven to 180C/160C fan/350F or Gas Mark 4.  

125g of soft butter
125g of caster sugar
275g of self raising flour
3 large eggs (free range)
125ml buttermilk
60g cocoa powder
2 tbsp (30ml) red food colouring (liquid)
1tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

Cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Dry whisk the flours.
Add the eggs into the butter/sugar mix, one at a time and mix until the yolk has disappeared. Repeat for the other 2 eggs. Scrap down the sides of the bowl as you go.
In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder, vinegar and baking soda together to form a paste.
Add half the flour to the egg mixture, then half the milk and then the rest of the flour, just mix until combined. 
Scrap in the cocoa paste and mix until combined.
Finally add in the food colouring and mix until red throughout. 

Be careful not to over mix as you want it to stay nice and light and fluffy!

Divide the mixture between your two/three tins and pop into a pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until darker on top or your cake tester comes out clear. Allow to cool in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack. 

Cool completely before filling.

When cool, level the cakes and keep any off cuts in a separate bowl. You could make cake crumbs out of these and use in your decoration.

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

225g soft, room temperature, unsalted butter
500g sifted icing sugar
50g white chocolate (melted)**
up to 60ml cream/whole milk

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until it is very soft and pale. (TIP: pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds until very soft.)
Add in the icing sugar a few cups at a time.
If the buttercream is very thick, add a tablespoon of cream or milk in until the desired texture has been reached. 
Add the white chocolate. 
Mix the crazy out of it until light and fluffy. The faster and longer you mix this, the lighter and fluffier it will be. 

** I dipped the strawberries in white chocolate as a garnish. I melted 120g of white chocolate and reckon I had about 50g of melted chocolate left over. 

Putting it all together...

Start layering your cakes topside down, sandwiching in between with buttercream. Cover the outside of the cake with the remaining buttercream and garnish with cakes crumbs and dipped strawberries. 

Banana and Blueberry Bread

06 February 2017

Straight into February, no messing about here.

We've been eating up leftovers, over ripe and needing using ingredients around this house like no one's business! We have made meal plans each week since January and we are keeping it going. My year of the environment is really starting to take affect.

Our house is now producing less waste and I am growing more conscious of what we buy, consume and put in our bodies. I am also very conscious of what we are not using and just hate seeing things, especially food, go to waste. Ripe bananas are the perfect example.

It takes two ripe bananas, a handful of blueberry and some store cupboard ingredients to make this yummy loaf. The perfect way to use up what is going off in the fruit bowl. With a really tender crumb, that's even better the next, this load is ideal for a treat yo' self breakfast!!

Banana and Blueberry Loaf

2 ripe bananas
125g caster sugar
250g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
125ml almond milk
100g blueberry

Preheat your oven 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4.
Line a 2lb loaf tin with some parchment or loaf liner.
Mash the banana in a bowl. Add all the ingredients, except the blueberries, into the bowl and mix with an electric mixer until just combined.
Fold in the blueberries, until spread throughout.

Bake in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden and crusted or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear.

Allow to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool fully before slicing.

Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Espresso Frosting (Dairy Free)

20 January 2017

Time of the month again round these parts folks... and no this is not me over sharing but rather an introduction (or a gentle reminder to those seasoned reader) to the 20th of each month where The Cake Slice Bakers and I pick a recipe from  a choice of 4, from our latest book to bake and share with you all. This month we are still hopping through World Class Cakes by Roger Pizney and I have to say I am loving it.

Dietary restrictions dictated the recipe this month, but what I found was that the Devil's Food Cake (pg 44) I did decide to bake up, lent itself beautifully to a dairy free option. A very good friend of mine has a son with severe dairy allergies and I always want to come up with variations for him.. I figured I would give this a go in his honour and boy, was I delighted with the outcome.

I did not follow the direction for the frosting that accompanied the cake batter recipe. While I have no doubts that the frosting was delicious, I couldn't in good conscience use half a dozen egg yolks in a single frosting. January is always the month we tighten up and start our new year budget.. and the budget didn't stretch to six egg yolks going into ONE frosting. Another time maybe, but not this month I'm afraid.

I adapted an espresso glaze to suit the dairy free conditions of the bake, and bobs your uncle.. these donuts were born. They are also part of my "baking on a budget" notions, with all ingredients bought in Aldi and proof, again, that name brand ingredients can bake a perfectly perfect bake!

Devil's Food Cake- adapted from page 44
Makes 18 donuts or 2 8' round cake layers

35g cocoa powder
65ml boiling water
85ml almond milk
125ml vegetable oil
230g caster sugar
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350F, 180C/160C fan, or Gas mark 4. Spray a 12 or 6 cavity donut pan with baking release spray and set to one side.
Mix the cocoa powder with the hot water and leave to cool.
Cream the sugar with the oil and add the eggs followed by the vanilla. Mix together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together.
Slowly add the milk to the cocoa/water  and mix until combined.
Alternating between the flour and the cocoa powder, mix the two into the egg and oil mixture until fully combined.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag and pipe circles into your donut pan, until 2/3 full. Pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes before popping out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Espresso Glaze- enough for 12 donuts

125g dark 70% chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil
450g icing sugar
4-5 tbsp strong coffee

In a heat proof bowl melt the chocolate and the coconut oil.
Add the icing sugar and coffee and using an electric mixer, whisk until combined to a shiny glaze.

Once the donuts are cooled, dip in each one to totally glaze over the top of your donut. Leave to dry for a few minutes on a wire rack.

I absolutely adore how these turned out.. I am so delighted that the cake recipe adapted so nicely to suit a dairy allergy and I have another recipe to add to my allergens list! The things you learn with The Cake Slice Bakers!

Bird Seed Breakfast Cookie

04 January 2017

Happy New Year my lovelies. Is anyone else glad that 2016 ended and the joys of the new and unexplored in 2017 came through? I was so tired by the end of 2016 I had to rest. But I am full of the feelings of new now and while I usually feel apathetic about January, I am looking forward to a good month ahead.

I am not one for resolutions but do firmly believe in positive intentions. I am choosing a word this year and focusing myself therein.

I have chosen "environmental".. and I feel it is an overarching concept.

My idea is to positively and consciously enter 2017 with efforts to protect, supplement and enhance my environment. And as a consequence, the wider environment.  I plan to reduce, reuse and recycle where possible. I plan to de-clutter my home, donating what we no longer use or need and in turn de-clutter my mind and heart. I plan on buying and making consumer choices based on what is good for our environment, our planet and the people that live on it. Shopping local and supporting my community.

I am sure a lot of you do a lot of this kind of thing already, but for me 2017, is going to be the year where I think seriously before I do.

And I guess it's gonna take some energy sooo... (enter seemless seque...)

These bird seed breakfast cookies are perfect for setting you up for the day! Healthy, nutritious and super delicious, almost like I am writing a jingle for them... They are chock full of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, all super boost foods. They are vegan, gluten, dairy and refined sugar free and they make a great on the go breakfast, perfect to pop into lunch boxes for work or school or to crumble over your favourite yoghurt.

Taking just a half hour to make, they are super quick and easy to knock out for the week ahead! Give them a go. You can substitute the nuts, berries, seeds for what you like here really just ensure your quantities stay the same!

Bird Seed Breakfast Cookies

190g smooth peanut butter
100ml coconut oil, melted
85ml honey or maple syrup

180g whole grain porridge oats (ensure yours are gluten free)
1 mashed banana (or 1 beaten egg, but then they won’t be vegan)
115g raisins (or other dried fruits you like)
125g seeds of your choice (I used sunflower, ghia and pumpkin seeds)
125g nuts of your choice (I used pecan, pine and flaked almonds)
40g ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt (but omit the salt if you use salted nuts above)

Preheat your oven to 150C(fan) 160C, 325F or Gas Mark 3. Line two flat baking trays with parchment and leave to one side.
Combine the peanut butter, coconut oil and honey (or maple syrup) until smooth. Add in the mashed banana (or beaten egg if using) and mix again.
Place all the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds etc) into a large bowl and toss in the cinnamon and sea salt. Mix through the wet mixture until evenly coated and a big sticky mess.

Drop about tablespoon sized scoops of the sticky mixture onto a baking sheet and flatten them down using a piece of parchment to protect your hands. The cookies won’t spread when they are baking so you should fit 8 on a regular baking tray.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

Let cookies to cool completely on the baking tray before removing. Keep them for up to a week in an air-tight storage container.

Tell me what your plans for 2017 are? Have you any resolutions made or do you make a positive intention like me?

Here's to new beginnings! 

Christmas Spiced Cookies

18 December 2016

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

It's been getting a lot colder these past few days so with that in mind I am going to post of few ideas over the next few days to help you stay warm, treat your friends to some goodies and help get those festive juices flowing. Christmas notions be buzzing all up in here!!

It's  my favourite time of year, now that the cookies have started! And with all the hustle and bustle, it's never too late to try bake something simple for the festive season. Especailly with kids, so simple... These cookies might be just your thing. Even if you don't glaze them with the icing, they are a lovely, buttery soft, melt in your mouth morsel of mmmmm.. This week is always my busiest week as I finalise gifts and edibles for friends and family. And I am so glad I made these to nibble on as I keep going...

I hope you'll enjoy them too!

Christmas Spiced Cookie

225g soft salted butter
225g plain flour
125g cornflour
85g dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mixed spiced

Preheat the oven to 150C/ 300F or gas mark 2.
Dry whisk the flour, cornflour, salt, sugar and spices until fully mixed.
Work in the butter a little at a time until it forms bredacrumbs and you can squash it into a dough ball.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut out as many cookies as your cutter will let you (I get about 18)
Place each cookie, a few cms apart on a lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm and just starting to colour.

Allow to cool on tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing. 

The Icing Glaze - make two batches

250g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk- slowly added using a teaspoon at a time
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 -3 drops lemon juice (optional)

Sift the icing sugar to remove any lumps. This is important now as lumps are hard to get rid of after.
Add all ingredients to bowl and mix until combined.
Add more milk as needed.. see below for tips.

  • You need to start with a thick icing for outlining your cookies, so add LESS milk. Just add a teaspoon at a time. It should flow very slowly back together if you run a spoon through the bottom of the bowl
  • Once you have outlined your cookies and need to fill in or ‘flood’ your cookies, so suing the same recipe, add MORE milk (as much as you would need) to make your icing glaze really runny.
  • If you want to colour your icing and are using liquid food colouring, use LESS milk. If you are using a gel food colouring, your milk can stay the same.

Using a piping bag and narrow tip, outline your cookies with the thicker glaze. leave them to dry a little while you make the other batch of glaze.

Flood your cookies, by squirting in some of the runnier icing and using a toothpick to help you make it all the way to the corner. Let them dry before stacking and gifting.

If you have leftover thicker icing and once the cookies have dried out, you could squeeze over some extra in a haphazard fashion like like I did for extra decoration. Again, leave to dry out before stacking and gifting.

 So will you give them a try? I think if you are looking for something festive.. and fun and more importantly EASY.. these are the ones for you!

Have a great week folks!

Double Chocolate, Mint Chip Baked Donuts

11 December 2016

I shared these over on my Instagram and they got such a huge reaction that I said I would show you how to do it also... You know, because you guys have nothing else to be doing, two weeks to Christmas!!

Anyway I am in full swing with making and baking gifts for family and friends and while these dounts were supposed to be shared with friends, they never actually made it there.. ooops.. insert embarrassed emoji here.. but were enjoyed by friends who happened to call.

Don't you love that feeling when you have baked and the house is really tidy and super Christmassy. And you get to thinking, now... NOW is the time for impromptu callers who will think I have it all sorted and my life together! But they never do call that day, do they?

They call the day after, with day after donuts and the house not as neat as before. But I am not fussing.. I had donuts and they were happy. And friends called over and that made me even happier than having the house neat and dounts baked put together!!

Chocolate Donuts- 
helps if you have a donut pan…

225g caster sugar
2 eggs
275g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g coco powder
50ml hot coffee (I used decaf for the kids)
100g melted chocolate (at least 50%)
125ml buttermilk
125ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4 and spray two 6 hole donut pans with bake release, leave to one side.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until fully incorporated and looking light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla.
Sift your flour, coco powder and baking powder together and leave to one side.
Melt the chocolate in with the hot coffee. Stir until smooth.
Add one third of your dry ingredients to the eggs and sugar and combine slowly.
Add the milk.
Add one third of your dry mix again, mixing until just incorporated.
Add the oil.
Add the coffee and chocolate and mix again, slowly until just combined.
Fold in the remaining one third of the dry ingredients by hand using a rubber spatula. This way you ensure it stays light and fluffy and you don't over mix the batter.

Scoop the mix into a zip lock or frosting bag, snip off the end and squeeze the batter into the rings of the donut pan. Fill to about two thirds full.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer inserted inside comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove  from pans and allow to cool fully before dipping.

Chocolate Dipping Sauce

100ml (thick) double cream
150g dark chocolate (at least 60%)

Break the chocolate up and put it in a heatproof bowl. 
Heat the cream in a pot on the hob, but do not let it boil… rather come to just before the boil. A slight simmer, with small bubbles breaking on the top.  
Pour the cream over the chocolate and cover the bowl with a plate to retain the heat. 
Allow the warm cream to melt the chocolate for about 5 minutes and then stir it all together. 
Allow it to cool down, slightly and when your donuts have sufficiently cooled… dip the neat rounded side in to fully coat that side of the donut. 

You will need to lick your fingers. 

Sprinkle the tops with Andes Mints baking chips or your choice of chip or sprinkle and ENJOY. 

Tell me what you are making for family and friends... I love to hear how others incorporate homemade into their Christmas traditions! I am sharing more ideas etc over on Instagram... why not join in the fun and follow!?

Until next time folks... Have a great week! X

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookie

04 December 2016

It's got to be short and sweet today lovely readers.. There's a whole lot of Christmas baking and decorating to be done and I have to say I am in full festive swing. I have my Christmas fruit cakes baked and topped up..  I will share that post with you shortly, but today I just wanted to show something super simple to bake.  If you were so inclined to bake something for friends or family this winter.

I am a really big fan of homemade, in case you hadn't already guessed and I just love to give cookies and macaron out as gifts. They are so cute wrapped up in bags with bows and I genuinely believe people like a break from the aul' box of Victoria biscuits and tubs of sweets. I always make up a couple of batches, tie a few bags together and send them around the neighborhood. These are perfect for folk you want to knowledge this festive season, without spending a fortune!

The cookies below are crisp on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. The cranberry offers a nice tart taste, to balance the sweetness of the white chocolate and sugars. They make a good Christmas cookie. Perfect as gifts and sharing.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookie 
makes 36 cookies  approx 

115g soft, salted butter
95g 100% vegetable fat or shortening
200g white granulated sugar
220g soft brown sugar
2 large free range eggs
2 tsp vanilla
425g self raising flour
100g porridge oats (optional)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g of white chocolate chips
150g dried cranberry bits

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas mark 4. Line your cookie sheets with some parchment.

Beat the sugars, butter and shortening together until it looks like mashed up breadcrumbs.
Add both the eggs and then the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
Dry whisk the flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda ( and oats if using) together and then add to the wet mix. Mix until just together.

Add the chocolate chips and cranberry pieces and mix until it's a soft dough consistency. This mix is not sticky, but more like really soft playdoh.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll them into golf ball sized balls. So.. being the way I am... I weigh these out to be about 40g balls (give or take a gram on either side)... If you think I'm going to pick off a gram or add a gram, you damn near lost yo' mind!

Space them out on your trays as they spread...

Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them to be. 10 in my oven is crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in the inside. Yum!

Try leave them on the sheet to cool for at least 15 minutes. Which, let's face it, never happens.. Just be careful when they come out. They are hot.

Let me know what kinds of things you are baking or making for your family and friends this year.. Or is there anything you would like to see here, anything I can help you out with?

 Let me know in the comments below, or send me an email! I would love to connect! Enjoy the beginning of the festivities my dears!

Tis' the season and all.
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