This month’s theme on SABH is Cake & Three Veg. I toyed with the idea of a chocolate-beetroot cake or a chocolate and avocado mousse but after eying off the lonely carrots rattling around the bottom of my fridge I decided to perfect my carrot cake recipe.
The initial plan – a two layered dense and moist carrot cake sandwiched together and covered in coconut cream cheese icing. If you are making a cake, then why is there a photograph of cupcakes Swah? I am sure you are wondering. Well, there was a little disaster.
I find a lot of dessert blogs consistently produce profesional looking, beautifully shot and styled desserts without ever touching on the inevitable situation of a dessert-related-complete-freaking-disaster. I must admit I rarely encounter anything too disastrous in my kitchen. I am organised and meticulous when baking and generally escape unscathed. Not this time.
I followed my tweaked recipe to a T, baked the 2 cakes in the oven and let them cool down over night. I whipped up a batch of my cream cheese icing with coconut essence, it tasted delicious. I put my first layer down onto my pretty cake stand, then spooned over 1/3 of the icing. Wonderful. I then placed my second layer on top. The perfectionist in me noticed it was slightly off-centre and I stupidly trying to gently lift it up and readjust. One of the great things about this carrot cake is how moist it is, however this worked against me when trying to shift things.
“Icing will fix everything!” I thought as worrying cracks started forming in the top layer. I had iced the top of the cake and was working my way around the sides as carefully as possible when slowly but surely, my beautiful cake started collapsing in slow motion. Sob!
But don’t worry this delicious cake didn’t go to waste! The remnants were piled into a tupperware container and promptly devoured.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- ½ tsp bicarb soda
- 2 cups self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups finely grated Carrot (about 4 large carrots)
- ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
- 600g sifted icing sugar (4-5 cups)
- 100g butter at room temperature
- 250g cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 tsps coconut essence
- Shredded coconut to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bases of 2 x 20 cm cake tins with bake paper and grease the sides with butter.
- Beat the brown sugar and oil together until combined. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift in flour, spices and bicarb, and add grated carrot and pecans. Stir to combine.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the 2 cake tins.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool slightly in their tins before turning out onto a tray to cool completely.
- Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
- Add the cream cheese in cubes slowly until incorporated.
- Add in the coconut essence and continue mixing for 5 minutes until the icing is light and fluffy.
- Using an offset spatula, spread ⅓ of the icing on top of the first cake layer.
- Place the second cake on top (upside down) and dollop the remaining ⅔ of the icing on top of the cake. Using the offset spatula, begin to smooth the icing out across the top and over the sides of the cake.
- Decorate with shredded coconut.
Have you had any complete disasters in the kitchen recently? How did you manage to salvage it?
I often get asked by friends and family for my tips on nabbing a cheap fare. Sometimes you get rewarded for planning ahead and careful organisation, other times you just get lucky and manage to grab an awesome fare! Regardless, these ideas will help make securing a cheap deal much easier.
♥ Book early
Take advantage of earlybird sale fares by booking your flights as far out as possible. By planning ahead and booking early you can make some serious savings, particularly if you are travelling close to Christmas or during school holidays.
♥ Be flexible with your flight dates
Flexibility with your dates of travel is the key to finding cheap flights. The more flexible you are with your travel dates, the more you can take advantage of cheap flights when they go on sale. But don’t worry, you can still get a great deal if your dates are more restrictive – it just takes a little more work!
♥ Fly with lesser known airlines
Consider flying lesser known or emerging airlines such as Etihad, Vietnam Airlines or China Southern. This also gives you a good opportunity to enjoy a stopover in another country along the way.
♥ Sign up to airline newsletters
Airline newsletters are a great way to find out about early-bird specials and the latest sale fares to the most popular international and domestic destinations.
♥ Follow airlines on social media
Like airlines on Facebook and follow them on Twitter – they sometimes offer exclusive sales to fans and followers.
♥ Fly outside of peak travel periods
Research your chosen destinations’ peak and off-peak times and try and plan around major holidays. Ticket prices are set according to demand, so the cheapest tickets can be found on the days with the least demand. Consider flying mid-week to get a cheaper fare.
♥ Consider alternate airports
Expand your search to include secondary airports. Small budget airlines often don’t fly to major airports, but to nearby secondary ones. Those budget airlines are often much cheaper than the bigger ones. Also consider avoiding large international airports such as London and start your Europe trip in Frankfurt or Amsterdam to avoid the high airport taxes.
Several food bloggers and I (Tara, Sophie, Mel, Christine and Megan) were in Adelaide prior to the start of EDB and decided we needed to trial one of Adelaide’s many dessert bars. After a quick scour through Urbanspoon a few days prior, we settled on the newly opened Astonish Patisserie.
We were warmly welcomed and led to a table where we promptly buried our noses into the delicious sounding menu. We finally decided on the Chocolate Magma Cake, Pavlova, Panna Fire, Half-Cooked Cheese Cake and macarons (all for research purposes of course!)
Half Cooked Cheesecake $15.00
This was a delicious combination of biscuit crumbs, fruit and “half cooked cheesecake” which was almost like a creme brulee. I probably stole more than my fair share of this!
A deconstructed pavlova consisting of meringue, cream, strawberries and mint. Light and heavenly! I think I will be making a similar dessert to this a lot over summer.
Chocolate Magma Cake $14.00
This cake featured Belgium chocolate soft cake with a side vanilla chantilly and blue berries. It oozed oh so sexily when cut into but I felt it was a little dry on the inside. Needs more ooze!
Macarons, assorted flavours
Well they looked pretty but I can’t eat them. Hmf.
Pana Fire – $18.00
There was a lot of drama surrounding this dessert with the bombe alaska lit at the table. This dessert featured vanilla pana cotta, rhubarb jelly, pistachio bombe alaska and brandy snap. There were a lot of contrasting flavours going on here which I found a little overwhelming, however I loved the pana cotta and the brandy snap!
We had a wonderful afternoon with great company and delicious treats. I really hope this dessert bar trend spreads to Sydney soon.
I am back now from an amazing and exhausting long weekend in Adelaide for the Eat Drink Blog Conference. I am yet to go through my photos on my DSLR yet (I still haven’t even gone through my Vietnam ones… *cough*) but for now you can check out some highlights courtesy of Instagram.
I stayed with my friend Alex for the first night and I was provided with a hooded English flag onesie to sleep in – the height of fashion!
Knowing I had a weekend chock full of eating ahead I went for a healthy lunch on Friday at Galaxy which featured a delicious eggplant and potato filo and generous helpings of salad.
I then met up with a group of bloggers at Astonish Patisserie and we feasted on a variety of amazing desserts including a half-baked cheesecake, chocolate fondant, macarons and pavlova. It was all delicious!
I waddled to meet a friend at Botanic Bar for a cocktail (loved it) before meeting my other friends at Est Pizzeria - the pizza was delicious but the star of the meal was the wood fired gnocci. Oh my goodness.
I was so full I could barely breathe but that didn’t stop us from going to Chocolate Bean for dessert! Look at the array of gorgeous treats! And they also had an amazing gingerbread hot chocolate but I could only manage a sip, I was on struggle street.
We first had a tour of the Adelaide Central Market. I was dying of jealousy, why don’t we have something like this in central Sydney? Come on guys!
We hopped on buses, some off to the Barossa and my group was off to McLaren Vale! It was a gorgeous day.
We visited the D’Arenberg winery and did a wine blending class! I don’t usually drink red so I fear my “special blend” may be hideous. Regardless, I have lugged it home and am forcing my Dad to drink it.
My favourite part of blending was that we got to play with dry ice!!
And then we got to drink bubbles! My favourite.
Then it was back to the hotel for a quick outfit change and off to the Hilton for an amazing dinner. The menu was insane! I loved pretty much everything except the ginger snow cones, which confused me.
We were up early again for Day 2 and were greeted with a delicious array of pastries from Red Door Bakery
We did a food styling class with Fiona Roberts which was fun. I need more props!
Then we went downstairs to the markets again, where they had opened for us on a Sunday to serve us a VERY special lunch. I ate so much amazing bread, butter, cheese and cured meats.
There was a delicious chocolate fountain by Providore and MORE dry ice! Yes!
After a few more talks it was suddenly afternoon tea time and despite being completely stuffed I managed to sneak in a few cupcakes and cake pops from The Cupcake Table!
What an amazing and filling weekend. I had so much fun, learned a lot, met loads of new people and I cannot wait to return to Adelaide again soon. Thank you Tourism South Australia!
Hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween and eating lots of treats. I didn’t have time to bake for Halloween this year (sad face) but fortunately my awesome and talented friend Alison created some spectacular cupcakes using my recipes that she has allowed me to share with you!
She used my Devilishly Decadent Devil’s Food Cupcake recipe for the chocolate cupcake base with my Vanilla Buttercream tinted orange and black fondant for the decorations. Another tasty option is to use my Lemon Buttercream recipe and substitute the lemons for oranges. Chocolate and orange is always a winning combination!
And Henri, the cat filled with ennui… and Party Mix, is now back with another video in time for Halloween! He is not a fan of Halloween, “No one ever dresses as crippling self-doubt” hehe.
I’ve been wanting to give Love Swah a little “sprucing” for a while now and with the Eat Drink Blog conference coming up this weekend I needed to get it done ASAP! Let me know what you think of the new look (and if you find anything broken let me know… sometimes it happens).
I am also making matching business cards to hand out at the conference. Due to the last minute nature of these cards they are going to be handmade… made with love of course.
I look forward to meeting you all soon in Adelaide!
Hola, life is pretty insane at the moment. I have started a new job, taken on a mountain of freelance work, am in the midst of redesigning this blog (and making it some business cards, finally!), have several baking projects coming up and am now a product photographer for a few awesome hair brands! I am looking forward to catching up/meeting a lot of you at next weekend’s Eat Drink Blog Conference and hoping I will have managed to squeeze some sleep and exercise in during the lead up.
When I have some (rare) downtime, I have been trawling Pinterest for some design inspiration (when I am not watching new Dexter or Revenge episodes of course, omg TWIST!) and thought I would share some works that caught my eye.
I love high tea and have blogged about it here and here. The idea of spending an afternoon with your girlfriends sampling an array of sandwiches, scones and pastries whilst sipping on tea or bubbles is heavenly!
When I heard this month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop was High Tea I knew I had to create something tasty, eye catching and most importantly, bite-size. I got out my nice teacups that usually only stay in the cupboard (terrified I am going to break them) and presented a little impromptu high tea on my dining room table.
- 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 toasted coconut (shredded or desiccated)
- 170g butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 cups icing sugar
- 1 cup toasted coconut
- Untoasted coconut to decorate
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 2 x 24 mini-muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Spread 2 cups of coconut onto a baking tray in an even layer. Please note 1 cup goes into the cupcake batter and 1 cup is reserved for the icing. Toast until golden brown which will only take around 2 minutes (watch like a hawk!)
- Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
- 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.
- Mix until just combined, then stir in 1 cup of toasted coconut.
- Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full with mixture and bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
- Add in the vanilla, coconut milk and toasted coconut.
- Beat until icing is light and fluffy.
- Spoon icing into a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with coconut.
Hello everyone I am home! I had a wonderful time in Vietnam and took over 1000 photos (!!) Whilst I sort through those, I will share with you some Instagram snaps I took to give you a little taste of my trip. Highlights included:
♥ Floating down the Mekong delta in a rickety boat, wearing a silly hat.
♥ Meeting far too many snakes in the Mekong Delta, and then drinking SNAKE WINE
♥ Waking up with a Vietnamese family in the middle of the Mekong. I was surprisingly perky considering I slept huddled under a mosquito net, praying that no geckos would fall on me. Meeting this darling old lady who owned the house was a great experience.
♥ Travelled back to Ho Chi Minh City by yet another boat, drank a coconut
♥ Ate delicious pho at Pho 2000 (Bill Clinton ate there once, as demonstrated by the countless photos lining the walls)
♥ I explored the Viet Cong tunnels and booby traps in Cu Chi (very claustrophobic). Back in HCM I finished my dinner and looked in the kitchen to see a kitty lounging on the prep bench (health and safety?!) But it was ok cause I got to play with him and he combed my hair with his claws. His name was Tommy.
♥ Had a fantastic time at the Nha Trang mud baths!
♥ Nha Trang beach was eerily beautiful
♥ Stayed in a gorgeous hotel in Hoi An and thoroughly enjoyed the pool (it was so hot!!)
♥ Woke up at 4.30 to go sunrise bike riding, fortunately there was a strong black Vietnamese coffee with a thick layer of sweetened condensed milk waiting for me at the end.
♥ Ate amazing food in Hoi An, tried betel nut and then wielded a knife at cooking class
♥ Fell in love with a stray, hungry kitten in The Forbidden City in Hue. Probably got cat rabies.
♥ Explored the grounds of Tu Duc’s Tomb
♥ Was disappointed to find out my hotel in Hue did not allow Liza Minnelli-esque prostitutes.
♥ Had a perfect example of why Hue is considered the rainiest city in Vietnam. The storm rolled in as we cruised down the Perfume River and soon enough our scenic boat ride wasn’t so scenic anymore.
♥ Returned to our hotel to find out entire street flooded!! Oh dear…
♥ Boarded our private junk boat for an overnight trip on the spectacular Halong Bay. I briefly enjoyed the sun deck before hiding in the shade.
♥ HALONG BAY IS AMAZING
♥ I stole the captain’s hat
♥ And then watched the sunset
♥ Our chef onboard the boat created the most beautiful vegetable sculptures. He demonstrated how to make the lotus out of a radish and a fishnet out of a carrot. A bit beyond my knife skills I’m afraid!
♥ Loved the hustle and bustle of Hanoi
♥ Said goodbye to Vietnam and hello to Hong Kong for a few days. First stop, the Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung for truffle dumplings!
♥ Tried an amazing cocktail featuring earl grey caviar and foam, and took in lovely views before flying home.
What an amazing trip! I am terrified to look at my credit card bill…
I’ve spoken of my love for Jessica Hische before and was super excited to hear she has collaborated with Paul Buckley (the Penguin Art Director) to produce a series of Penguin book covers featuring an illustrated drop cap designed by Jessica. Each book will also have “a foil-stamped paper-over-board case and a decorative color stain on all three edges.”
A is for Austen.
B is for Brontë.
C is for Cather.
Hello everyone I am home! I had a wonderful time in Vietnam and took over 1000 photos (!!) Whilst I sort through those, I will share with you some Instagram [...]
Hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween and eating lots of treats. I didn’t have time to bake for Halloween this year (sad face) but fortunately my awesome and talented [...]
Food and typography are 2 of my greatest loves in life (after cats) and when a friend showed me the work of designer and illustrator Danielle Evans I was smitten. Using [...]
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