A Simple Chocolate Bar Cake

My kids always have something sweet in their lunch box. I’m sure some mums don’t agree with this, providing only wholegrained, raw food, pure & natural options. But I’m more of an ‘everything in moderation’ sort of gal. And, I’m quite comfortable with sweet, particularly when it comes straight from my kitchen.

Here’s one of my favourite, quick and easy, lunch box recipes – simple chocolate pound cake. And…it freezes really well too!

Chocolate Pound Cake
from taste.com.au

2 tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
150g butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
2 eggs

Chocolate frosting
50g butter, chopped
1/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup icing sugar mixture
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 3cm-deep, 17.5cm x 27cm (base) slice pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing 3cm overhang at long ends.

Combine sugar, butter, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa and 1 cup cold water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 2 minutes or until mixture doubles. Transfer to a large bowl. Cool for 15 minutes.

20130525-225548.jpg

Add flour and eggs. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until pale and smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn, top side up, onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make frosting: Place butter, caster sugar and 2 tablespoons cold water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Gradually add butter mixture. Stir to combine. Cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until frosting thickens. Beat with a wooden spoon until spreadable. Spread cake with frosting. Serve.

20130525-225637.jpg

I cut this into squares that fit perfectly into the boys’ lunchboxes and then pop it into the freezer in an airtight container leaving a little space between each piece so they don’t freeze together.

Advertisements

Super Easy Birthday Cup Cakes

Late this afternoon my nearly 10 year old decided he’d like to take cupcakes to school tomorrow for his class to celebrate his birthday.

Cringe….I love baking but it was time to prepare dinner not whip up a batch of cakes.

But then I found this super easy recipe where it’s just a matter of adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring and adding to the cupcake papers.

20130527-023517.jpg

20130527-023537.jpg

I like to use a mini ice cream scoop to neatly and evenly transfer the batter from the bowl to the cupcake paper.

Here’s the recipe. You’re going to want to keep this one up your sleeve!

Classic Cupcake
from taste.com.au
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup milk
125g butter, melted, cooled
2 x 59g eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Queen Natural Vanilla Essence

Icing:
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a 12 x 1/3-cup capacity muffin pan. Alternatively, line holes with paper cases. Combine flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Add milk, butter, eggs and vanilla to flour mixture. Using a large metal spoon, stir gently to combine.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Make icing: Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Add water. Stir until smooth and well combined. Spoon icing over cakes.

The recipe indicated that this recipe would make 12 cupcakes. I doubled the mix and ended up with 36 medium cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes. That’s plenty for all the kids at school plus a few for us to enjoy at home.

20130527-024313.jpg

Walkie Talkie Birthday Cake

Tonight was the ‘night before birthday party’ cake creation time!

Earlier in the afternoon I made a basic butter cake, one that I had made before and knew I could easily shape into the required walkie-talkie shape.

Even so I was a little daunted, concerned that in the end the cake would just look like a big black blob of icing. But the rolled black fondant worked a treat, together with a few embellishments. I added hand grips on the side made out of small sausages of extra fondant, a speaker/mic made out of an extra layer of fondant studded with holes made with a fine skewer, buttons above the speaker made with simple smarties, and a ‘screen’ created using some black and white fondant combined to create a grey icing. For the antenna I simply rolled a piece of fondant into the approximate shape and then cut an angled end for the top. I then squared off the roll to make it look as realistic as possible.

20120728-213315.jpg

And the best thing is the cake got the thumbs up from the birthday boy. It was just what he was imagining! Phew! Sometimes I think my kids have expectations that way out weigh my abilities!

Coconut Raspberry Slice

The boys are back to school today so I’ve made a yummy slice for their lunchbox treat. It’s probably more suitable for eating at home… but I wanted something special to pop in with their lunch so I could send them off to school with a smile. Both boys are more fond of staying at home than going anywhere!

I’ve made a similar slice to this before but I think this one is more delicious, despite the fact that I accidentally left out the self-raising flour.

20120708-231334.jpg

Coconut Raspberry Slice
from ABC Far North Queensland Site

90g butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup plain flour
1/4 cup SR flour
1 tablespoon custard powder
3/4 cup raspberry jam

Topping
2 cups coconut
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 eggs

Line a 32 x 28cm lamington tray with foil.

Then line base with a strip of baking paper, allow paper to extend over the narrow end of the tray

Cream butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add egg, mix well. Gently beat in flours and custard powder.

Press mixture into tray.

20120708-231723.jpg

Spread jam evenly across base.

20120708-231839.jpg

For the topping put all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Sprinkle across Topping.

20120708-231947.jpg

Bake at 180 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.

20120708-232046.jpg

Allow to cool completely before removing from tray.

Cut into squares, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

20120708-232129.jpg

Donna Hay’s Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake

I love chocolate desserts. I’ve posted quite a few over the years including chocolate pudding, decadent chocolate mousse cake and more chocolate pudding not to mention all the different types of brownies.

So how excited was I when Donna Hay’s General Store delivered a gorgeous little package containing their latest addition to the cake mix baking range, the Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake.

20120706-190943.jpg

This, my friends, delivers a decadent, rich chocolate cake in just 15 minutes of preparation. Definitely faster than other chocolate truffle cakes I’ve made in the past. Plus it’s packaged up to make it so much easier, minimising the amount of measuring.

20120706-191358.jpg

But this is no instant cake. Once the batter is made in a few easy steps, the cake cooks for 45 minutes and then needs 3 to 4 hours to set. But the simplicity and end result make it worth the wait.

20120706-191645.jpg

So, does this taste like a packet cake? Absolutely no way! Is it as good as a ‘made from scratch truffle cake’, like this one? Maybe not, but it’s a very close second and for the ease of preparation it gets a big tick from me!

It’s available for around $8 from supermarkets throughout Australia.

Warm Apple Pie

Dessert in my house is normally fruit, yoghurt, or if we’re going all out…ice-cream!

But after a roast chicken dinner I made an extra special effort and baked an apple pie.

20120301-072523.jpg

Apple Pie
from http://www.taste.com.au

1 3/4 cups (260g) plain flour
1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
185g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tbs milk
Demerara or caster sugar, to sprinkle

For the filling:
8 large Granny Smith apples
Juice of 1 lemon
45g unsalted butter
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Sift flours and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Add butter and rub lightly into flour with your fingertips. Lift mixture high above the bowl as you rub, to incorporate air into the pastry and make it lighter. Continue until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir through sugar. Lightly beat 1 egg (ONLY ONE….I got caught here and added both) with 1 tablespoon chilled water, then drizzle over flour mixture. Start to bring the dough together by cutting the liquid into the dough with a blunt knife, then form into a smooth ball with your hands, adding a little more water if necessary. Divide dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.

To make the filling, peel and core the apples, and cut each into 8 pieces. Toss immediately with lemon juice in a large bowl, to prevent apples from discolouring. Place the butter and sugar in a large frypan over medium-low heat. When butter has melted, add apples and spices, then stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until apples have softened. Set aside to cool.
Roll out the larger pastry ball on a floured workbench to a 30cm circle (about 2mm thick). Roll pastry around rolling pin, then unroll over a 22cm metal pie dish. Gently press into corners and allow excess to overhang. Place filling in base with a slotted spoon. Roll the small pastry piece to a 25cm circle. Beat remaining egg with milk, brushing some on rim of the base. Top with small pastry.
Lift the pie dish and cut excess pastry from edges with a sharp knife. Crimp edges of pastry together with your fingers. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C, place pie dish on a baking tray. Brush top of pie with more beaten egg, sprinkle with demerara or caster sugar. Cut four small air vents in the centre of the pie and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

20120301-072927.jpg

I added a drizzle of custard…

20120301-072959.jpg

Smartie Cookies

This week’s lunchbox treat is a little sweeter than usual…

20120227-212546.jpg

Smartie Cookies
from Woman’s Day

125g butter, chopped, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 x 180g packet Smarties

Preheat oven to moderate, 180°C. Lightly grease 3 baking trays.
Using an electric mixer, in a small bowl cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add egg, beating well. Fold in sifted flour, coconut and Smarties (I left these out at this step and instead pressed these into the top of the rolled and flattened biscuits). Add a little water if mixture is too dry. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls. Arrange on prepared trays about 3cm apart. Flatten slightly.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Let cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.