Browsing Category

Food

Food, Recipes, Slices/Pies/Tarts

Salted Caramel Popcorn Brownies

After last year’s slightly traumatic Sweet Swap (I ruined my sweets 3 times in a row), I wasn’t sure if I’d sign up to The Sweet Swap again. But let’s be honest, the only thing I love more than making baked goods is receiving baked goods!

caramel-popcorn-brownie

I wanted to bake something decadent yet sturdy, as my caramels arrived to my matches a little melted last year. I settled on a fudgey dark chocolate brownie with a caramel popcorn base and topping, and salted caramel drizzle. Fortunately I made extras for my own tasting pleasure as these were AWESOME. And I got them right the first time! Phew!

caramel-popcorn-brownies3

Salted Caramel Popcorn Brownies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
Caramel Popcorn
  • ½ cup of popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup golden syrup
  • 60 g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Dark Chocolate Brownies
  • 375g soft butter
  • 375g dark chocolate
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups caster sugar
  • 1¾ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
Salted Caramel topping
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
Instructions
Caramel Popcorn
  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper, set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Put a few popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the saucepan.
  3. Once the kernels pop, add the rest of the ½ cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer.
  4. Cover, remove from the heat and count 30 seconds. This method I have learnt first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
  5. Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts vigorously, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
  6. Break up ¾ of the popcorn into small bits, this will become the base of the brownie. Leave the remaining ¼ as is in a separate bowl.
  7. Now, on to the caramel. In the same saucepan, place sugar, golden syrup, butter, vanilla extract and heat on low to medium heat until sugar has dissolved.
  8. Increase to medium heat (but watch it like a hawk, sugar burns easily) and cook without stirring for around 2 minutes (please note this is a reduced cooking time as it continues to cook in the oven).
  9. Stir in baking soda and then add popcorn and stir furiously to coat kernels all over before the caramel starts to set.
  10. Quickly press ¾ of the broken up popcorn into a lined 33 x 25 x 5.5 cm pan.
  11. Spread the remaining ¼ out onto the lined baking tray and allow to cool and set.
Brownies
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave in short bursts on medium.
  3. In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.
  4. Sift the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
  5. Let the chocolate mixture cool a bit before beating in the egg and sugar mixture, and then the flour.
  6. Pour over popcorn base and bake for 30-40 minutes (but can often take longer).
  7. When it’s ready the top should be dried to a pale brown but the middle still dark and gooey.
Salted Caramel topping
  1. Once the brownies are cool, slice into even squares. Top each square with a few pieces of the remaining caramel popcorn.
  2. Put the brown sugar and butter in a small pan and heat on medium for 5 minutes, then drizzle over the top of each brownie.
  3. Enjoy!

caramel-popcorn-brownie7

These were bundled up in little polka dot boxes and sent to:

Sandra from The $120 Food Challenge

Alex from Eating Adelaide

Lauren from Create Bake Make

I hope they all enjoyed them!

caramel-popcorn-brownie5

And what did I receive? First up was Wonka Fudge from Bryton of Bryton Taylor!. It unfortunately melted enroute but after a quick visit to the freezer they were good to go.

wonka-fudge

3 types of chocolate bark from Shari of Good Food Week! There was Christmas Inspired (white chocolate, cranberries, shortbread and pistachios) A Night at the Movies (milk chocolate, popcorn, marshmallows and pretzels) and Mummy’s Healthy Treat (dark chocolate, dried fruit and pecans)!

choc-bark

And last but certainly not least were the Raw Vegan Bounty Bars from Cassie at Food My Friend. Raw and vegan aren’t 2 words I usually associate with dessert but these were absolutely delicious!

raw-vegan-snickers

love_swah_sig

Drinks, Food, Recipes

Chai Hot Chocolate

I find most store bought hot chocolate mixes are a little too sweet and artificial tasting for my liking. But it’s so easy to make your own hot chocolate powder and I’ve turned it up a notch by adding in chai spices and finely chopped dark chocolate. You can fully customise the level of sweetness and flavourings you add, plus it makes a great gift!

chai-hot-choc

I always have recycled jars lying about the house that I have rinsed and stored, and they work as perfect storage and gifting devices. You can also find plenty of mason jars at two dollar stores. Just add a ribbon (or chalkboard label like I found) and voila! Your friends and family will love you!

chai-hot-choc-jar

Chai Hot Chocolate
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 30
Ingredients
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 2tsp ginger
  • 2tsp cardamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1½ cups cocoa powder
  • 50g good quality dark chocolate, chopped finely
  • Milk, to serve
Instructions
  1. Sift all ingredients into a medium bowl, add in the chopped dark chocolate and stir until well combined.
  2. Store the hot chocolate mix in an airtight container.
  3. To make hot chocolate, add 1 heaped tablespoon of the mix to 250ml of milk (or non-dairy substitute) and microwave on medium high for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Top with an extra dusting of hot chocolate mix, or add some whipped cream for a more indulgent twist.

chai-hot-choc2

Versions

♥ Mexican Hot Chocolate

Replace chai mix with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 pinch of chilli or cayenne powder (to taste).

♥ Vegan Chai Hot Chocolate

Substitute milk for coconut milk and top with whipped coconut cream.

Iced Chai Latte

Mix a tablespoon of hot chocolate mix with a few tablespoons of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add mix to 250ml of chilled milk and top with ice.

♥ Boozy Chai Hot Chocolate

Stay tuned for the recipe soon!

chai-hot-choc1

love_swah_sig

Food, Travel

SF Eats – Swah’s Best Places to Eat in San Francisco

sf-eats

I LOVE San Francisco and would move there in a heartbeat (anyone want to give me a visa?). The beautiful architecture, fascinating history, rolling hills and sprawling parks make San Francisco a traveller’s paradise, and the sheer quality and selection of food is second to none.

♥ Tartine Bakery – 600 Guerrero St

Prepare to queue, but it’s worth it. Try the Tres Leches Cake (layers of sweet coconut milk moistened chiffon, layered with cajeta and crema) or the coconut cake or any of the tarts. Try everything, actually. And they have foodgasm-inducing grilled cheese sandwiches (prosciutto and provolone, pictured below) after 11.30!!

tartine-bakery-sandwich

♥ Mission Beach Cafe 198 Guerrero St

Mission Beach Cafe was recommended to us as having a great brunch/lunch/dinner so we knew we couldn’t go wrong. We ended up giving brunch a whirl and it hit the spot, great coffee and hearty serves of eggs (served fried with a hash on the left, and scrambled with fried potatoes on the right). I would love to return and try their famous lavender french toast.

mission-beach-cafe

♥ La Taqueria – 2889 Mission St

Wildly regarded as one of the best taco places in The Mission District, this place is cheap, cheerful, authentic and delicious. Also check out the nearby El Farolito Taqueria (2950 24th St), another well known SF Mexican haunt.

tacos1
Image source

♥ Pizzeria Delfina – 3611 18th St

Arguably San Francisco’s best pizza and it blew our socks off. My pick was the Salsiccia which came with housemade fennel sausage, tomato, bell peppers, onions and mozzarella.

delfino

♥ Candy Baron – Pier 39

Located in the very touristy Pier 39 area, check out the seals, take a tour of Alcatraz and then on your way back swing by Candy Baron for barrels and barrels of salt water taffy heaven.

candy-baron

♥ Locanda – 577 Valencia St

This gorgeous Italian Osteria is a bit pricey but worth every cent. Highlights included a small chicken cooked under a brick with lentils and red quinoa and ricotta bread pudding with orange blossom honey, lemon thyme and verjus sherbetto. Please go here.

Locanda

♥ Miette – Locations around San Francisco

Miette is the sweetest bakery with an awe-inspiring range of delicious treats to choose from. Their chocolate cupcake was rich and moist and the vanilla icing was delicious and creamy but not too sweet, and the fleur de sel caramels I purchased were to die for.

♥ Blue Bottle Coffee – Several locations incl SFMOMA – 159 Minna St, 5th Floor and Ferry Building – Shop #7

America has an unfortunate reputation for serving rubbish coffee, but fortunately Blue Bottle saves the day with the best cappuccino in town. Their iced coffees are also amazing when it’s hot – but be prepared to queue, it seems everyone in San Francisco wants their coffee!

Blue Bottle Brooklyn
Image source

♥ Four Barrel – 375 Valencia St and 736 Divisadero St

Another brilliant coffee shop serving delicious drinks with good music. Beware, they are pretty anti-Instagram and refuse to offer free wifi – apparently they’d rather us reading paper-back books and chatting with friends then on our phones.

four-barrel
Image source

♥ Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar – 950 Mason St

Anthony Bourdain once recommended this place and I’ll do basically anything he says. It’s a tiki bar that rains inside, there is a huge lagoon in the middle of the bar on which a band plays, I drank a cocktail from a pineapple and basically had an all-round amazing time. It’s super kitsch but that’s why everyone loves it. They serve “Pacific Rim Asian Cuisine” which included a lot of dumplings, pork buns and sliders. All delicious!

tonga-room

♥ SOMA Streatfood Park, 428 11th Street

Sometimes it can get a bit exhausting trying to track down your favourite food truck around the neighbourhood. The SOMA Streatfood Park makes that simple, they have 10 of SF’s best food trucks in one place. A great way to discover the best local craft/artisan food vendors.

streatfood
Image source

Do you want even more San Francisco food, drink, shopping and accommodation suggestions? Don’t forget to grab a copy of my San Francisco City Guide!

And heading to Los Angeles too? Check out my other post LA Eats – Swah’s Best Places to Eat in Los Angeles

love_swah_sig

Cakes, Food, Recipes

Strawberry and Coconut Cake Pops

This is my first foray into the world of Cake Pops, which are cake crumbled and mixed with icing, rolled into balls and then dipped in melted chocolate. I hate to waste food, and I had a lot of left over cake and icing from my Strawberry and Coconut Ombre Cakes. So cake pops were the logical solution!

strawberry-coconut-cake-pops

Combining the different layers of strawberry and coconut created not only a tasty flavour combination, but also quite a beautiful effect with different shades of peach and pink marbled together. If you haven’t made my Ombre Cakes but still want to create your own cake pops fear not, you can purchase store-bought cake and icing from the supermarket if you’re in a rush. Otherwise bake your favourite cake in whatever flavour you like and your preferred icing and you can perfectly customise this recipe to your liking. Next time I think I might crumble chocolate and peanut butter cake together and then cover in dark chocolate. Yum!

cake-pops4

While these are a bit fiddly and time consuming to make, the visual and flavour mix of the strawberry and coconut cake is paired perfectly with a white chocolate coating. I then decorated them with edible glitter because why not?

cake-pops3

Strawberry and Coconut Cake Pops
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 20+
Ingredients
Cake Pops
  • Offcuts from the Ombre Cakes, otherwise you can buy ready-made cake from the supermarket or make your favourite cake from scratch and wait for it to cool
  • Leftover cream cheese icing from the Ombre cakes (about ¼ cup) or make a small portion of your own buttercream
To decorate
  • 375g packet white chocolate melts
  • Edible glitter, sprinkles or cachous
  • Lollypop sticks
Instructions
Cake Pops
  1. Break up cooled cake with your hands into a large bowl until finely crumbled.
  2. Add in the icing a tablespoon at a time, folding it through with your hands until the mixture comes together easily. You might need more or less icing depending on how moist your cake is.
  3. Using a small ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon, portion out the mixture and roll into equal balls.
  4. Insert a lollypop stick into each ball and arrange on a tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Transfer to the freezer to firm up for a while (I left them in there for 15 minutes).
  6. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave on a medium setting, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.
  7. Carefully dip each cake pop into the melted white chocolate. Gently tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off.
  8. Quickly sprinkle with edible glitter or sprinkles before the chocolate hardens. If you have a cake pop stand or piece of styrofoam allow them to harden upright, otherwise return the cake pops to the lined tray to set.
  9. Enjoy!

Cake pops are perfect for parties and kids go nuts for them, so it’s a good skill to add to the baking repertoire. Enjoy!

strawberry-coconut-cake-pops-cu

love_swah_sig

Cakes, Food, Recipes

Strawberry and Coconut Ombré Cakes

I’ve always been intrigued but a little threatened by Ombré cakes, but when JJ from 84th and 3rd announced a new SABH challenge for Ombré, I knew I had to step up to the challenge.

So what is ombré, I hear you ask? Ombré is the French word for colour that is shaded or graduated in tone. The technique can be applied to hair, nails, and of course, cake.

Obviously I wanted these to be pretty, but I wanted them to stand out a little from the rest of the picture-perfect-made-for-pinterest cakes I have seen flooding the internet lately. So I thought, why not make them ombré in flavour too?

ombre-cakes

I had a little brainstorm and soon enough I had scribbled down a wonky drawing of a dessert idea. The top was a white coconut-flavoured cake, the next layer a pale pink with a subtle coconut flavour, then a darker pink  cake with a subtle strawberry flavour, and finished off with a dark pink and strongly flavoured strawberry base.

ombre-cakes-1

Strawberry and Coconut Ombré Cakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
Ombre Cakes
  • 230g butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups self-raising flour
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Coconut essence
  • Strawberry essence
  • Pink food colouring
Cream cheese icing
  • 4-5 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 100g butter at room temperature
  • 250g cream cheese at room temperature
Instructions
Ombre Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 4 20cm round cake tins with baking paper and grease the sides.
  2. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
  3. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift the 2 flours and salt into a separate bowl.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix!
  7. Divide the mixture into 4 separate bowls (I used digital scales for accuracy).
  8. For the top layer, add no colouring and 1-2 tablespoons of coconut essence.
  9. For the second layer, add a tiny drop of pink food dye and 1 teaspoon of coconut essence.
  10. For the third layer, add more pink food dye and 1 teaspoon of strawberry essence.
  11. For the bottom layer, add a generous amount of pink food dye and 1-2 tablespoons of strawberry essence. Try and stir each bowl as gently as possible.
  12. Pour each batter into their lined cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  13. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Icing
  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
  2. Add the cream cheese in cubes slowly until incorporated. Continue mixing for 5 minutes until the icing is light and fluffy.
Assembly
  1. Use a round cookie cutter (approx 10cm in diameter) to cut out 5 rounds per cake.
  2. Place the dark pink strawberry cake on the bottom of your serving platter, and pipe a layer of cream cheese icing on the top. Place the second pink layer of pink and repeat the process, gently pressing down each layer.
  3. Pipe a rose on the top of each ombre cake (I use the Wilton 1M tip) and ta da!

ombre-cakes-2

The flavours complemented each other perfectly and the cream cheese icing ensured it wasn’t sickly sweet.

ombre-cakes-4

And what about the cake offcuts? Well, I hate wasting food so I transformed the leftovers into cake pops! Stay tuned for the recipe next week. **Edit – check out the cake pop recipe here**

sabh

I can’t wait to see what everyone else created!

Breakfast/Snacks, Food, Recipes

Coconut, Berry and Chia Porridge

Cold winter mornings equals porridge in my books – it’s like a big warm hug. I’ve been making this coconut, berry and chia porridge religiously for the past 2 months and I’m still not sick of it!

Using coconut milk instead of cow’s milk not only gives it a great coconutty flavour, but means it’s dairy-free and suitable for vegans. You can also easily substitute the oats for quinoa flakes to make it gluten-free too!

coconut-berry-chia-porridge

I generally make a batch of this on Sunday night and take it to work in a Tupperware container, portioning it out and reheating it each morning. Sometimes I’ll top it with some frozen berries or grated apple for a bit of extra sweetness.

coconut-berry-chia-porridge1

Coconut, Berry and Chia Porridge
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups quick oats
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • Shredded coconut (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine the oats, coconut milk, water and vanilla in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until soft, thick creamy.
  3. Add in frozen berries and chia seeds and stir for another minute until warmed through.
  4. Top with more berries and coconut to serve, or try some grated apple on top if you like it a bit sweeter.

 

coconut-berry-chia-porridge4

coconut-berry-chia-porridge2

What’s your favourite thing to eat in winter?

love_swah_sig

Cupcakes, Food, Recipes

Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes

I get my baking inspiration from a huge range of sources, from a pin I see on Pinterest, to a dessert I try at a restaurant whilst abroad. This week’s inspiration was from a block of Lindt chocolate my mother gave me when I was feeling sick. “Chocolate is very therapeutic” she said (what a wise woman).

strawberry-diamond

The richly dark chocolate contrasted well with the sharp and fruity slivers of freeze dried strawberry. It was delicious and a flavour combo I wanted to convert into cupcake form.

dark-choc-strawberry-cupcakes

Strawberries are used 3 ways in this recipe, firstly as a fresh strawberry cupcake filling, next as a strawberry buttercream and finally as an eye catching and delicious chocolate-dipped decoration.

dark-choc-strawberry-cupcakes-1

dark-choc-strawberry-cupcakes-2

Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ cup brewed coffee
  • ¼ cup flavourless vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Fresh Strawberry Filling
  • ½ punnet strawberries, finely chopped (around 1 cup)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar (tailor this depending on how sweet your strawberries are)
Strawberry Buttercream
  • 120g butter, softened
  • 4-6 cups icing sugar
  • ½ cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract
Decoration
  • Strawberries
  • Dark chocolate for dipping
Instructions
Fresh Strawberry Filling
  1. Finely chop strawberries and place in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add in lemon juice, cornstarch and icing sugar and let bubble over the heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool, if it’s still a bit chunky then squash with a potato masher.
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the milk, vinegar, coffee, oil and vanilla extract in another bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, carefully add in the dry ingredients. Mix until combined (the batter will be very thin).
  5. Fill cupcake liners about ⅔ full with mixture.
  6. Place a teaspoon of fresh strawberry filling into the middle of each cupcake.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Strawberry Buttercream
  1. Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Gradually add in 4 cups of sugar, then the milk and strawberry extract (adding gradually prevents the icing from going grainy).
  3. Beat for around 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  4. Gradually add the remaining sugar until it is thick enough to ice the cupcakes (you may not need all the sugar).
  5. Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes.
Decoration
  1. Wash and try the strawberries.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl in short bursts in the microwave until smooth.
  3. Dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate until well covered, letting excess chocolate drip off into the bowl.
  4. Place on a baking paper lined tray to dry.
  5. Repeat the process until all strawberries are done, then adorn each cupcake with a strawberry.

dark-choc-strawberry-cupcakes-7

I ran out of chocolate dipped strawberries, but fortunately these cupcakes also look beautiful as little pink  roses!

dark-choc-strawberry-cupcakes-3

I deliberately reduced the sugar in these cupcakes and increased the liquid ratio (from milk, coffee and oil) and it produced the most darkly rich and moist cupcake I have created to date.

dark-choc-strawberry-cupcakes-4

If I was to create another cupcake inspired by a chocolate bar, what would you suggest?

love_swah_sig

Design, Food, Inspiration

The Ultimate Apron Collection – My top 5 aprons for baking

I am literally the messiest baker you’ll ever meet. I get so excited whilst cooking up a storm soon enough I am covered head to toe in icing sugar, I have smears of chocolate across my top and a smudge of buttercream on my shoe. Without. Fail.

So it makes sense that I should get a new apron, preferably an aesthetically pleasing one. I scoured the internet and came up with my favourites – I think I need to buy them all!

ultimate-aprons

1. Anthropologie Cuisine Couture Apron – US$32.00

2. Arro Home Polka Apron – AU$25

3. Orla Kiely Linear Stem Kitchen Apron – £35.00

4. Jessie Steele Nautical Waves Viola Apron – US$33

5. Anna Gare Daisy Apron – AU$29.99

love_swah_sig

Design, Food, Inspiration

Typo’s new homewares range The Hall

I was super excited to find out that Typo, part of the Cotton On group, has just released their new affordable homewares collection entitled The Hall. Full of pastel crockery, brightly patterned pillows and and array of pots, I’ve already started writing a shopping list.

Some of my favourites include:

the-hall

1. Textured Mug – $6.95 2. Textured Plate – $7.95 3. Textured Medium Bowl – $19.95

4. Crochet Placemat – $7.95 5. Palm Springs Cushion – $24.95 6. Black Arrow Cushion – $24.95

7. Glass Cocktail Bowl – $14.95 8. Large Rope Basket – $19.95 9. Cement Pot Plant – $14.95

My succulent obsession is well documented so I’m excited to have many new pot options to transfer them into. And I’m foreseeing several of those crockery items making their way into my food shoots in the near future!

Untitled-1

the-hall-yellow

succulents-the-hall

Items from The Hall will be available in 10 selected stores from July but shop the full collection online right now!

love_swah_sig

Cakes, Food, Recipes

Salted Caramel and Tim Tam Cheesecake

This decadent cake combines three of my favourite things – salted caramel, Tim Tams and cheesecake. And unsurprisingly, they each complement each other perfectly. However, you just might need a lie down after eating a slice.

salted-caramel-cheesecake

This cheesecake is simple to make and just requires a bit of patience to allow each layer to set. You can cut a corner by buying your salted caramel (I used Bonne Maman Caramel Spread) or you can find my recipe for salted caramel here.

salted-caramel-cheesecake1

Salted Caramel and Tim Tam Cheesecake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Base
  • 250g packet of Tim Tams, crushed (I used dark chocolate)
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • 100g butter, melted
Filling
  • 500g cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup – 1 cup icing sugar (to taste)
  • 200ml double cream
  • ½ cup salted caramel
Ganache
  • 115 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • ⅓ cup double cream
  • 1 tsp butter
Topping
  • ½ cup salted caramel
  • A few crushed Tim Tams
Instructions
Base
  1. In a food processor, finely crush the Tim Tams. Add coconut and melted butter and pulse until combined.
  2. Press the biscuit mixture into a 23cm/9″ round spring form cake tin and put in the fridge to set.
Filling
  1. Place the cream cheese and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Add in the double cream and beating until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the salted caramel over the top and use a skewer or chopstick to gently swirl through the cheesecake.
  4. Pour onto the cooled biscuit base and put in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours,
Ganache
  1. Bring the cream and butter to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy.
  3. Pour the ganache over the cheesecake and return it to the fridge to set.
Topping
  1. To serve, release the cheesecake from it’s springform pan and serve on a cake stand or nice plate. It is best served at room temperature.
  2. Drizzle the remaining ½ cup of salted caramel over the top of the cheesecake, allowing it to drip over the edges, and finish off with some Tim Tam shards.

This cheesecake works well with any chocolate biscuit, so if you don’t like Tim Tams (you monster!) or you can’t get them in your country, substitute any biscuit/cookie that you like.

salted-caramel-cheesecake4

Dat ooze.

salted-caramel-cheesecake2

I had a little “assistant” when shooting the cheesecake outside. Molly was very insistent on sampling some cheesecake but alas she left with none.

salted-caramel-cheesecake3

What’s your favourite type of cheesecake to make?

love_swah_sig

Cupcakes, Food, Recipes

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

I’m usually rather heavy-handed with the butter and milk in my baking, so when I was asked by a client to bake some dairy-free cupcakes for an upcoming hens party, I must admit I was a little nervous.

After a lot of research on dairy alternatives and testing some recipes in the kitchen, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only are these cupcakes as good as any buttery dessert, they are possibly the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever eaten!

dairy-free-choc-cupcakes1

The large amount of cocoa powder in these cupcakes ensures they are dark, rich and chocolately, while the vege oil works amazingly well at keeping these cupcakes moist.

dairy-free-choc-cupcakes2

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1⅔ cups plain flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup soy/almond/rice or oat milk
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • ½ cup flavourless vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
Dairy-Free Chocolate Buttercream
  • 200g Nuttelex or another non-dairy butter substitute, softened
  • 6 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • ½ cup soy/almond/rice or oat milk
Instructions
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the non-dairy milk, vinegar, coffee, oil and vanilla extract in another bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, carefully add in the dry ingredients. Mix until combined (the batter will be very thin).
  5. Fill cupcake liners about ⅔ full with mixture and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Buttercream
  1. Place the softened Nuttelex in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Gradually add in most of the sugar and cocoa, then the dairy-free milk, salt and vanilla (adding gradually prevents the icing from going grainy).
  3. Beat for around 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the remaining sugar until it is thick enough to ice the cupcakes (you may not need all the sugar).

I had an overwhelmingly positive response from all the girls at the hens party, as well as my friends who were lucky enough to receive the leftovers. You would never guess they were “missing” anything!

You can also easily make these cupcakes vegan, by substituting the 2 eggs for Egg Replacer, found at most supermarkets.

dairy-free-choc-cupcakes3

I love a good baking challenge, and have been slowly challenging myself to create dairy/gluten-free recipes as well as vegan and healthier options. I’ve made a delicious Choc Raspberry Vegan Mousse, Homemade Nutella and Cashew and Coconut Protein Balls – all dairy and gluten free!

love_swah_sig

Breakfast/Snacks, Food, Recipes

Banana and Nutella Swirl Muffins

As much as I love whipping up grand triple-layered cakes and carefully piping buttercream roses, sometimes it’s nice to just bake something easy and comforting. No fancy decorations, no heavy machinery required – just a bowl, a spoon and a mixing hand at the ready.

banana-nutella-muffins

I had a few overripe bananas in the freezer that needed using up and 1/2 a jar of Nutella that was inviting me to consume it with a spoon, so these muffins solved 2 problems – plus it’s nice to whip something up that isn’t banana bread!

banana-nutella-muffins2

Banana and Nutella Swirl Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 80g butter, melted
  • ½ cup Nutella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the bananas, brown sugar, egg, and melted butter.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.
  5. Add a generous dab of Nutella to the top of each muffin and swirl the top using a toothpick.
  6. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden
  7. Enjoy!

I tried to get a bit creative and unnecessarily wrapped each muffin up in a doily and adorned it with twine. I think Pinterest has gone to my head. But it’s a cheap, easy and cute way to dress these up if you want to gift these!

banana-nutella-muffins3

And the result? The muffins hover between a light and fluffy cake and dense banana bread, with the swirl of Nutella on top a real treat. They make he perfect afternoon treat when heated up in the microwave with a little (more) butter and consumed with a cup of tea.

banana-nutella-muffins4

love_swah_sig

Cupcakes, Food, Recipes

Raspberry and Coconut Cupcakes

I was asked to create some cupcakes for a friend’s 30th that “weren’t too sweet”, and after ignoring her boring request of vanilla (sorry) I knew something featuring berries was the way to go. It also helped that the colour theme for her birthday was pink, so I could colour the icing naturally.

raspberry-coconut-cupcakes1

Raspberry and coconut is one of my favourite flavour combinations, and despite the fact they aren’t in season at the moment (and cost $8/punnet in the supermarket!) I used frozen berries which worked a treat.

raspberry-coconut-cupcakes5

Raspberry and Coconut Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
Coconut Cupcakes
  • 170g butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut (shredded or desiccated)
Filling
  • ½ cup raspberries (use frozen if not in season)
Raspberry Coconut Icing
  • 170g butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp coconut essence
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • Untoasted coconut to decorate
Instructions
Coconut Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
  3. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
  5. In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the coconut milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry.
  6. Mix until just combined, then stir in 1 cup of coconut.
  7. Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full with mixture and press in 1-2 raspberries into the middle of each cupcake. Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Raspberry Coconut Icing
  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the raspberries. Push the pureed raspberries through a sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
  3. Add in the vanilla and coconut essence.
  4. Gradually add in the pureed raspberries.
  5. Beat until icing is light and fluffy.
  6. Spoon icing into a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with coconut.

And the result? A light and fluffy coconut cupcake, filled with tart baked raspberries and adorned with a delicious buttercream flavoured and coloured with blended raspberries. It was just the right balance of sweet and tart fruit and I am definitely adding this new recipe to my regular cupcake repertoire!

raspberry-coconut-cupcakes4

And you may remember I always love a little surprise hidden inside cupcakes! Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

raspberry-coconut-cupcakes3

A final sprinkle of coconut and a wee little flag on top were the perfect finishing touches!

raspberry-coconut-cupcakes2

The birthday girl was thrilled and I had guests coming up to me all night complementing me on them. Mission accomplished! :)

birthday-cupcakes

love_swah_sig