Category Archives: baking

Baking with Tracey

So, I found this recipe on Pinterest, and because chocolate and coconut is such a winning combination, I decided to make them myself.  I tweaked the recipe slightly from the original, because I found that the cookies spread out WAY too much (even though they still tasted amazing).

You will need:

240g semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks

55g butter, unsalted

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups chocolate chips

½ cup plus ½ cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), packed

Directions

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat chopped chocolate and butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until just melted.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
Mix in melted chocolate.
Add in flour mixture until just combined.
Stir in chocolate chips and ½ cup shredded coconut.
Using a large cookie scoop or 2 tablespoons, scoop cookies onto prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Gently press a pinch of coconut onto the top of each cookie.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will have a shiny crackled surface.
Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

I used milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet because I prefer the taste.  Mine tend to spread out more than the original recipe, and I’ve never figured out why, but who cares when they taste this good?  The perfect chewy chocolate cookie.

ChocolateCoconutCookie

The latest

I am being a very bad blogger these days.  In my defense, I was overseas for two weeks.  You can read all about that here.

But recently I have made a couple of cakes.

A marscapone meringue layer cake for a friend who was leaving work:
Meringue Marscapone

And some neapolitan cupcakes just because:
Neapolitan Cupcake
(extremely tasty – I ate four)

Baking central

I thought I’d show you a few of the cakes I have made in recent times.

There was this Chocolate Peppermint Crisp Cake, which I made for a friend’s birthday:

Chocolate Peppermint Crisp Cake

And this carrot cake, for an occasion that I can’t remember right now:

Carrot Cake

I also made these red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting when we had some visitors coming one afternoon:

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking with Tracey

This weekend just passed I decided to make a cake.  Not just for fun; I was having lunch with some friends and it was my job to bring dessert.  So I decided to make this Red Velvet and Raspberry Supreme cake from Sweetapolita.  Rosie’s website is my go-to when I need cake inspiration.

So I baked the cake, aiming for six layers.  I made one small change to the recipe – I used sour cream instead of mayonnaise as that’s what I had in the fridge.  I can only assume it was a suitable substitute as the cake turned out wonderfully.  I also decided not to do the whipped cream layers, mostly because I am not a fan of whipped cream on anything (except maybe hot scones).  So I doubled the marshmallow cream cheese frosting and used that in every layer instead.

RedVelvet01

I put fresh raspberries on every second layer of marshmallow cream cheese, and they really added to the overall taste.

RedVelvet02

It turned out pretty well, I think, although I suspect my piping skills leave a bit to be desired…

RedVelvet03

But who cares when the cake is this tasty?

RedVelvet04

I think next time I might also increase the cocoa in the recipe, as this wasn’t quite chocolatey enough for my liking. It’s not my favourite red velvet cake recipe, but it’s pretty damn good and the marshmallow cream cheese is spectacular. SPECTACULAR.

Cooking with Tracey: ANZAC Biscuits

The story goes that the women back home made these biscuits and sent them in tins to the soldiers fighting in the trenches in WWI.  They have no eggs or milk so keep for a while, and it doesn’t matter if they get a bit hard.  I am not that fond of them but the boy loves them and requested I bake them for him on the weekend.

Anyway, to make them you will need:

300g plain flour
250g rolled oats
130g dessicated coconut
300g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
250g unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
130g honey

Preheat oven to 150C.  Cover two baking trays with baking paper.

Sift the flour and combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Place the butter and honey in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until butter is melted.  Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir thoroughly until combined.

Roll mixture into 16 balls and place on the trays 5cm apart.  Press gently to flatten.

Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.  Allow to cool slightly on trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

ANZAC biscuits

Cooking with Tracey

Over the weekend, I baked a cake.  I took inspiration from a friend’s post on Facebook and made a chocolate oreo cake.  I got the recipe from here.  I used Rosie’s Chocolate Cake recipe from here.  For those of you who, like me, are not in the USA and do not have access to Cool Whip, on the advice of my friend Karen, I simply substituted 2 cups of whipped cream (made with caster sugar and vanilla for sweetness).

I then took the extra step of covering the cake in chocolate fondant, and decorating with fondant butterflies.  It looked awesome:

Oreo Cake

And tasted just as awesome:

OreoCake

In retrospect, I would have made only half the chocolate frosting to go under the fondant. It is a LOT of chocolate and very sweet. But without the fondant, you could definitely make the full amount (and use it all) and it would be fine.  The oreo filling is not that sweet thanks to the cream and cream cheese.

Also: if, like me, you are unable to drink coffee, you can simply substitute a cup of boiling water in the cake recipe.  That’s what I did and it turned out delicious.  And as Rosie says in her instructions, do use two pans.  If you try the bake the cake in just one pan it will not rise properly.

I recommend eating this cake for morning tea as you will be on a sugar high for hours afterwards.  But on the plus side, there’s no butter in the cake recipe.  Balance, people.  It’s all about balance.

Say cheese!

On Saturday I decided to bake a cheesecake.  I’ve never made one before so why not?

Here’s what you’ll need, for those playing along at home.

Ingredients:
250g plain sweet biscuit crumbs
125 g butter, melted

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup caster sugar
750g cream cheese, softened
3 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 160C.

Lightly grease a 22cm springform tin. Mix biscuits crumbs and melted butter together in a bowl and using a glass, press into bottom and up sides of tin. Refrigerate for one hour.

Cheesecake 07

Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixture until thick and pale (about 10 minutes). The more you beat them, the lighter the cheesecake will be.

Cheesecake 06

Add cream cheese, lemon rind and juice to eggs and beat until smooth and creamy (about 5 minutes).

Cheesecake 08

Pour mixture into prepared based and bake for about 45 minutes.

Cheesecake 09

Allow to cool in oven with door open, then refrigerate for several hours, or overnight if possible.

Slice and enjoy. Decorate with cream and strawberries if you have them.

Cheesecake 10

Shoe Challenge 16

This is the dress I bought last week.

Saved 120627
Leona Edmiston “Rose” dress; Wittner suede wedges (saved already and worn to death)
Worn to: work

I did not save any more dresses this week, nor did I save any more shoes.

I did bake red velvet cupcakes though.

RedVelvetCupcakes

There’s no such thing as too much cream cheese frosting. Right?

Baking with Tracey

Yesterday I decided to bake red velvet cupcakes. I have a new recipe book – Bake, by Alison Thompson – and decided that I should test it out.

Here is what you’ll need for the cake.

Ingredients
250g (9oz) unsalted butter (softened)
600g (1lb 5oz) caster sugar
4 eggs
100g (3 1/2oz) cocoa (unsweetened)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
80ml (3 fl oz) liquid red food colouring
400ml (13 1/2 fl oz) buttermilk
600g (1lb 5 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 160C or 320F. Line 2 8 inch round cake pans with baking paper.

Using your paddle attachment on the mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes, until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating between additions.

RedVelvet01

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa, vanilla and red food colouring (I ran out of red so had to substitute 30ml of rose pink, it still turned out fine), then add this to the butter mixture.

RedVelvet03

Mix on low speed to combine well. Add half the buttermilk and half the flour (sifted), mix on low speed, and the rest of the buttermilk and flour, mix on low speed until all combined. Add the bicarb soda and vinegar, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes (make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl).

RedVelvet02

RedVelvet04

Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins, and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took about 65 minutes to be properly cooked. Cool in tin for 30 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool completely.

To make cupcakes, spoon mixture evenly into 24 cupcake papers in a muffin tray. Bake for about 20 minutes.

RedVelvet05

For the Cream Cheese Frosting, you will need 2 quantities of this:

Ingredients
125g (4 1/2oz) unsalted butter, softened
250g (9oz) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
600g (1lb 5oz) pure icing sugar

RedVelvet06

Put butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract in a bowl, sift icing sugar in, beat with paddle attachment on low speed until combined, then on high speed for two minutes.

You can either split the whole cakes into layers and fill each layer with cream cheese frosting, then cover the whole cake with it, or ice the cupcakes individually.

RedVelvet07

My cake is only two layers because I used half the mixture to make the cupcakes.

RedVelvet08

 

Even more hungry

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I got my long-awaited-for KitchenAid Artisan Mixer?  Well, I thought the four-day Easter weekend would be the perfect opportunity to give it a good road test.  So I made a six-layer neapolitan cake.  And oh boy was it good.

I took my inspiration from Sweetapolita‘s Neapolitan 5-Layer Birthday Cake, and tweaked the design ever so slightly.  I made mine six layers (well, why wouldn’t you?) and did vanilla frosting instead of strawberry.  That was just too much pink for me.

I made a standard chocolate cake, an angel food cake, and then discovered I didn’t know how to make a strawberry cake.  So I found Rosie’s Stawberry Layer Cake and used that recipe.  Mine turned out not quite as pink as hers, but it’s definitely strawberry flavoured which is the most important thing.

And then the frosting.  Sweet baby cheeses, who knew it could be so hard?  I decided to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream ( I blame Rosie – I was using her cake recipe and it just seemed to make sense to use her frosting recipe too).  So I measured out the 4 million eggwhites and 35 cups of sugar, chopped the 18 kilos of butter, and began.  Getting the sugar to dissolve in the heated eggwhites without cooking them was the easy part.  When I put the bowl in the mixer and started whipping the meringue, I very quickly realised that actually, my bowl is too small and I was in danger of there being a river of meringue running through my kitchen.  No problem, I split the mix into two and kept going.

The first batch turned out perfectly.  I filled my cake layers with it and it looked like this:

Cake 02

Which as far as I’m concerned was a good start. Then I tried to whip up the second batch of buttercream. I tried for three days straight. Eventually, I gave up and tipped it out. All those egg whites! All that sugar and butter! But it was beyond saving.

Since I’d used almost all my available eggs and certainly wasn’t going back to the shop for more, I had to use a different frosting for the outside of the cake. So I made this recipe I found on Tasty Kitchen, and it’s strange because it has flour in it but goddamn it’s good! It is known as That’s The Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had. And it is awesome.

And then my cake looked like this:

Cake 03

And then when we finally cut into it last night it looked like this:

Cake 04

And the world rejoiced at the gloriousness of it all. As did I.

Shoe Challenge 2

I managed to save another four pairs of shoes this week, so I’m doing really well so far.  Eight down, 86 to go.

Save 120319
Wittner black patent heels; Jane Lamerton dress

Saved 120320
Diana Ferrari brown peep toes; Jane Lamerton dress

Saved 120322
Steve Madden red wedge peep toes; Jane Lamerton dress

Saved 120324
Orbit pink flats; jeans from who knows where.

And next week when I am not so lazy, I will make a collage photo rather than posting them individually.

At the same time as doing the shoe challenge, I am also doing the wardrobe challenge.  Same principle: save your clothes by wearing them at least once in a year, or lose them. Hence the dresses in the photos above.

Because I am so clever, I also foolishly bought three more dresses this week. Like I don’t have enough to try and save in the next year. I’ll show you those as I wear them.

In other news, I finally got the KitchenAid Stand Mixer that I have been drooling over for years. I had enough points on my credit cards to get one for free!

Mixer 01

I am extremely thrilled. I baked cupcakes this afternoon, just to test it out. Very pleased with the result.

Pie

pie

I had my first ever attempt at making lemon curd tart yesterday. I have to say, it turned out pretty well. The recipe I have didn’t have the meringue on top but I added that for fun, and it really works.  The only disappointing thing is it didn’t require nearly as many lemons as I was hoping for; I have loads left over and no idea what to do with them.

Wow. Just… wow.

I saw this on Cake Wrecks the other day and I was so amazed I had to show it to you all.  Rosie over at Sweetapolita bakes the most amazing cakes.  Don’t believe me?

Check this out.

Fondant Asparagus Cake 2

Fondant Asparagus Cake (sliced)

Yes, those are handmade fondant asparagus spears.

Wow.

Check out the Sweetapolita blog for more amazing cakes.  The rainbow cake is another one of my favourites.  Okay, here’s the picture.

Rainbow Doodle Birthday Cake 3

p.s. Thank you Rosie for allowing people to post pictures from your FlickR photostream!

Bake-a-holic

That’s me.  I bake for no good reason.  Well, aside from the fact I occasionally want something of the baked variety, then I have to bake a whole batch of whatever that is, and I’m left with lot of leftover baked things.  Like this cupcake:
Red Velvet Cupcake

Which is a delicious red velvet cupcake with vanilla icing. I found the recipe on Tasty Kitchen ages ago and fully intended to bake the cupcakes for some event, but I’ve not been to any events. Today however, I decided I MUST have a cupcake, so I made a huge mess in my kitchen and ended up with 24 of these little buds of deliciousness. Except now I’ve eaten two and don’t want any more. I shall take some to work tomorrow, I’m sure someone will eat them.

Also: remember last time I posted I mentioned how sick I’ve been?  Well, I am spending most of this week at home (two days of working from home, two days of sick leave) (shut up, baking is working) in an attempt to get better.  It’s only Tuesday and I’m not sure it’s working yet.  Maybe by Friday I’ll be feeling better.  A girl can dream!

p.s. the recipe for the cupcakes made 24.  The recipe for the icing made enough for 12.  What to do?  And don’t say make more icing – I have run out of icing sugar.

Why yes, I am crazy, thank you for noticing

Today, for reasons I still don’t fully understand, I agreed to make the boy a Massaman Curry.  From scratch.  Including making the curry paste myself.

Now, I don’t know if you know much about making curries, but it seems to me that there are always at least 123 ingredients, usually half of which I have to go and buy because I can’t find them in my house.  Like Cardamom pods.  And shrimp paste.  Not two ingredients I use regularly.  But anyway.  I assembled the 258 ingredients required for the Massaman curry paste, and started chopping and slicing and dicing and pounding and mincing.  And that was just the five different spices required.  Not to mention the 20 (TWENTY) dried red chillies, or the onion, or the ginger, or the lemongrass, or any of the other things which I can’t remember right now.

So I chopped and minced and soaked and dry-fried and roasted and blended and whizzed and now I have one cup of Massaman curry paste.  The recipe for the actual meal part calls for two tablespoons of curry paste.

I don’t have any coconut milk so we’ll be having the curry tomorrow.  If it turns out well I’ll take a photo for you, because I know you’re all dying to see the results.

Hey, the man is coming tomorrow to do the deck staining!  At last!  It will all be finished and then we can get the table and chairs out there, just in time for some warmer weather.  I can’t wait.

Oh, I invited my parents for dinner on Saturday night.  Does anyone know why?

Also: my little cousin turned 30 yesterday.  Thirty.  Man I  feel old.