About Me

My photo
What can I say?? I just love to bake!! Ever since I would go to Grandma's house as a little girl and bake highlight cakes or help Ninny make her famous vanilla cookies, I've been obsessed with baking! Not only from recipe books, but freestyle too! With a father as a chef, i suppose it is in my genes! Some of my favourite memories from growing up were those moments after dinner when my dad would get his sweet tooth pang and have me help him whip up a batch of toffee fruit kebabs, or irish caramels! I used to love how he never followed recipes, he always just knew what ingredients worked with one another and how to play with quantities. So, from an early age, i had learnt from the master and i was well on my way to bake on my own! When i was 7 years old, i used to bake chocoloate cakes to sell to the mothers of my friends when they came to watch our Saturday morning minkey hockey games! Before i knew it, i was being commissioned from my school teachers to bake cakes for them at $2 a pop! This blog holds just a few of my favourite tried and tested recipes which I've thoroughly enjoyed both baking and eating! So enjoy!!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Happy Cakes!

Vanilla Cupcakes are my all time favourite!  They're a classic and lets be honest, everyone loves cupcakes... kids and adults alike!  This recipe makes a delightfully light and fluffy vanilla cupcake, not too buttery, just right!  You can have so much fun when it comes to frosting and decorating too!  I've posted a few snaps of my own designs, and be sure to watch this space and there will be many more to come!

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Preperation Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 12

 - 120g plain flour
 - 140g caster sugar
 - 1½ tsp baking powder
 - A pinch of salt
 - 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
 - 120ml whole milk
 - 1 egg
 - ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting:
 - 250g icing sugar, sifted

 - 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
 - 25ml whole milk
 - A couple of drops of vanilla extract

- Hundreds and thousands or other edible sprinkles, to decorate

1)  Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases
2)  Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.

3)  Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

4)  Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

5)  Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

6)  Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.

7)  A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

8)  Whilst the cupcakes are cooling, begin to make the frosting.  Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

9)  Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time.

10)  Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.

11)  Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
12)  When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the vanilla frosting on top and decorate with hundreds and thousands - or go nuts with your own designs!!  See below for inspiration...!
Easter Bunny Cupcakes!        
                                                              Little Piggy Cupcakes

Tea Cup Cakes

Hooting Owls!
                                                                      Bumble Bee's!
                                                            Bon Voyage Cupcakes

It's a Boy!  Babyshower Cupcakes
                                                              Lilac Flower Cupcakes

The Ultimate Cupcake Assortment!

The Single Rose

Yellow Water Lillies


Good 'ol Pavlova

This is a great pavlova recipe and contrary to popular belief, it's actually very simple to make!!  Being Australian, there's always an occassion requiring a pav, so you can always make it a few days ahead of your BBQ and store it in an airtight container until you're ready for it.  Who doesn't love a good pav??

Cooking Time: 1hr (+ 3 hours or so / overnight to cool completely)
Preperation Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8-10

 - 3 large egg whites
 - 175g castor sugar

For the topping:
 - 175ml double/whipping cream
 - 350g mixed berries (or any fruit of your choice to decorate)
 - A little icing sugar

1)  Preheat oven to 150'C

2)  Place the egg whites in a large CLEAN bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks and you can turn the bowl upside down without them sliding out (it's very important, though, not to over-whisk the egg whites because, if you do, they will start to collapse).

3)  When they're ready, start to whisk in the sugar, approximately 25 g at a time, whisking after each addition until all the sugar is in. Now take a metal tablespoon and spoon the meringue mixture on to the prepared baking sheet, forming a circle about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter

4)  Then spoon round blobs next to each other so that they join up to form a circle all around the edge. Now, using the tip of a skewer, make little swirls in the meringue all round the edge, lifting the skewer up sharply each time to leave tiny peaks. Now place the baking sheet in the oven, then immediately turn down the heat to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C) and leave it to cook for 1 hour.

5)  After 1 hour, turn the heat right off but leave the Pavlova inside the oven until it's completely cold. I always find it's best to make a Pavlova in the evening and leave it in the turned-off oven overnight to dry out. Some of the best bakers in the world believe that the secret of successful meringues of any sort is to let them dry out completely, which is what this method does perfectly. To serve the Pavlova, lift it from the baking sheet, peel off the paper and place it on a serving dish. Then just before serving, spread the whipped cream on top, arrange the fruit on top of the cream and dust with a little sifted icing sugar.

See, not that tricky after all!!

The Best Ever Chocolate Brownies!

These Chocolate Brownies have been tried and tested... many times!  I adore this recipe so much, it was even entered into an amateur brownie competition and it won with flying colours!!  

Cooking Time: 45 - 50 mins
Preperation Time: 20 mins
Serves: 12 - 15

 - 200 grams butter
 - 200 grams plain chocolate
 - 600 grams caster sugar (or 500grams if you want to bluff yourself about living more healthily... )
 - 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 - 4 eggs -- large
 - 250 grams plain flour
 - 4 tablespoons cocoa

1)  Preheat oven to 180C, Gas 4

2)  Prepare a small rectangular roasting tin or oven proof dish approximately 8 x 12" (20 x 30cm). Grease or line with baking paper.

3)  Melt the chopped butter and chocolate over a pan of simmering water OR in a microwave. Cool slightly.

4)  Stir in the sugar and vanilla.

5)  Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until well blended each time.

6)  Sift the flour and cocoa together, add to the mixture and beat for about 1 minute, until smooth.

7)  Pour into prepared tin, and bake for about 45 - 50 minutes. The mixture needs to be just cooked, so start testing with a cocktail stick at about 40 minutes - it should have moist crumbs, but not wet batter, still clinging to it.

8)  Cool in tin until completely cold before removing from tin.

I cut this size into 24 pieces (8 x 3), but it could easily make more smaller pieces as it is rather rich. Alternatively, you can make a half quantiity and bake in a 7 x 7" tin for about 40 minutes (test after 35 min)

Grandma's Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin scones are my favourite kind!  This is my grandmas's recipe, but i'm willing to share it because they are THAT good!

Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Preperation Time:  15 minutes
Serves: 8-10

 - 3 cups self-raising flour
 - 1 cup boiled, mashed pumkin
 - 55 g butter
 - 1 egg
 - 1/2 cup castor sugar
 - 1/2 cup milk

 1)  Preheat oven to 180'C

 2)  Cream together the butter and sugar

 3)  Mix in the pumpkin and egg

 4)  Add milk, then slowly mix in the flour

 5)  Turn dough onto a floured board and knead for a minutes until you form a nice smooth ball

 6)  Roll out to 1.5 inch thick and cut out into small circles (either use a cookie cutter or just roughly cut with a butter knife)

7)  Place scones onto a tray covered with baking paper and brush each one with a little milk on top.

8)  Bake for 15 minutes and serve warm with a little butter and jam.  Delish!

Thursday, 26 August 2010


These traditional Australian biscuits are one of my very favourites!  Originally made to send overseas to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps serving in Gallipoli, they are now an iconic Australian treat which come out more often then just Anzac Day (April 25th)!  The trick to a good Anzac biscuit is get them crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside... Good luck!

Cooking Time: 8-10 mins
Preperation Time: 15 mins
Serves: 20

 - 85g porridge oats
 - 85g desiccated coconut
 - 100g plain flour
 - 100g castor sugar
 - 100g butter
 - 1tbs golden syrup
 - 1tsb bicarb soda

1)  Heat oven to 180C (fan 160C) / gas 4.

2)  Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl.

3)  Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup.

4)  Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.

5)  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.

6)  Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading.  (They spread quite a bit)

7)  Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

KISS ME Biscuits!

As i'm getting ready to move back to my hometown of Tasmania from 5 years living in London, I've noticed I have a lot of cooking ingredients that need to get used up before I leave... I'd hate to see them go to waste you see. (Any excuse to bake!) So... what is one to do??  I had flour, castor sugar, a drop of vanilla and a big jar of sprinkles!  Hmmm... KISS ME biscuits come to mind!  An easy-peasy faultless recipe, and a favourite with those who are young at heart!

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 25

 - 1 Cup caster sugar
 - 200g butter
 - 1tsb vanilla essence
 - 3 cups plain flour
 - 1 tsp Bicarb soda
 - 2 eggs
  - (optional - 1/2 cup raspberry jam)

 - 2 cups icing sugar
 - 1-2tbs water
 - pink food colouring (optional)
 - 100's & 1000's sprinkles

1)  Preheat oven to 180'C

2)  Place sugar and butter in a bowl and mix with an electric beater until well combined

3)  Add flour, vanilla, bicarb and eggs

4)  Mix and knead with your hands until you form a slightly tacky dough

5)  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes

6)  Line baking trays with baking paper

7)  Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out your dough to about 5mm thick

8)  Cut out with a cookie cutter of your choice and place on your baking tray, leaving about 2mm space in between cookies

9)  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies start to colour slightly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cook completely before icing

10)  You can either ice them as they are (like i did) or you can match them into similar sized pairs and stick them together with a little jam.  Ice on top as normal!  Have FUN!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Coconut Slice

If you're like me and you get a standard daily sweet tooth craving after lunch, then this recipe will do the trick! It's a traditional favourite, perfect to whip out with a freshly brewed cuppa around 4pm!

Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Preperation Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 21

 - 7 tbsp raspberry jam
 - 3 egg whites
 - 100g caster sugar
 - 150g desiccated coconut
 - Toasted coconut flakes (from health food shops), optional
For the base:
 - 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
 - 200g self-raising flour
 - 50g caster sugar
 - 2 egg yolks

Nutritional Info per serve:
9.6 g fat (7.1g saturated)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease a deep, non-stick baking tin (about 17.5 x 27 x 4cm deep).
2. In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the sugar. Mix in the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons cold water to form a moist dough. Press evenly into the base of the tin, then spread the jam on top.

3. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the sugar and coconut. Spread over the jam, then scatter with the coconut flakes, if using. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden. Cool in the tin, then cut into 21 squares to serve.


A white choccy, vanilla rendition of Brownies! Num num num!!

Cooking Time: 35-40 minutes
Preperation Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 12-15

 - 140 g white chocolate, roughly chopped
 - 125 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
 - 175 ml (3/4 cup) sugar
 - 2 eggs
 - 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) pure vanilla extract
 - 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
 - Pinch salt
 - 250 ml (1 cup) shelled pecans, chopped
1)  Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F).

2)  In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, place chocolate and butter (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth.

3)  Remove from heat. Add sugar and stir until well incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla, stirring briskly so that you don’t allow the eggs to scramble. Don’t worry if the mixture looks as if it is starting to split. Add flour, salt and pecans and stir until well combined and the nuts are evenly dispersed.

4)  Spoon mixture into prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and the centre is still soft. Let cool completely.


Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Need a chocolate fix?  Look no further.  Unlike a normal, boring chocolate cupcake, these ones have a special surprise ooozy nutella centre!  Sooo ridiculously good, and not at all chocolate over-kill (honest!).  Whenever I'm on cupcake duty for events or friends birthday's, these are always high in demand!

Cooking time:  20 mins
Preperation time:  15 mins
Serves: 12

 - 100g plain flour
 - 20g cocoa powder
 - 140g caster sugar
 - 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
 - a pinch of salt
 - 40g butter, at room temp.
 - 120ml milk (the recipe said whole milk, but I just used semi and they turned out okay!)
 - 1 egg
 - 120g nutella
 - chopped hazelnuts to decorate

For the icing:
 - 250g icing sugar
 - 80g butter, at room temp
 - 25 ml milk
 - 80g nutella

1. Preheat the oven to 170 C / 325 F / Gas mark 3

2. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and mix together. You can use an electric hand whisk for this. It should be a slightly sandy/grainy texture.

3. Pour the milk into the mixture and mix. Then add the egg and beat until it's all incorporated.

4. Spoon the mixture into cupcakes cases in a muffin tin, filling to about halfway or 2/3 full. They rise quite a bit. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

5. Leave to cool completely, then cut out a little circle in the centre of the cupcake. Pop the loose piece of cake out, insert a dollop of nutella, then put the cake piece back ontop so you have a filled cupcake.

6.  To make the icing, mix all the above ingredients together until incorporated and continue mixing for about 5 minutes. The more mixing, the fluffier the icing! Use a palette knife to ice the cupcakes, then top with a few hazelnuts and serve!


What would Good Friday morning be without freshly baked Cinnabons?!  They are at their very best freshly out of the oven, so prepare them ahead of time and whack them in the oven when your brunch buddies arrive... they'll love you forever for it, i can assure you! 

**You could always get a little more creative and put some sultanas or diced apple on the dough before you roll them into pinwheels.  Go on, go crazy!

Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Preperation Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 12

Here's what you'll need... 

 - 15g dried active baking yeast
 - 7 tablespoons caster sugar
 - 1 tablespoon salt
 - 450ml warm water
 - 800g plain flour, divided
 - 2 eggs
 - 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
 - 8 tablespoons caster sugar
 - 1 dessertspoon ground cinnamon

And here's how you make them...

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 7 tablespoons sugar in warm water. Once dissolved, stir in the salt and half of the flour. Beat the mixture for 2 minutes then beat in the eggs and oil. Stir in the remaining flour, a little at a time and beating well after each addition.

2. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, (this will take you about 5 minutes). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, (this will take about 40 minutes). In a small bowl, stir together remaining sugar and 1 dessertspoon cinnamon; set aside.

3. Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces. Take each piece of dough, roll into a log and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up the log into a pinwheel and place the pinwheels in a lightly greased 23x33 cm (9x13 in) baking tin. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, (this will take about 40 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden.

5.  I like to make a cinnamon icing mixture (icing sugar with cinnamon, mixed together with a little water) and drizzle ontop of warm cinnabons to serve! Num num num!!