Best Ever Chocolate Cake

best ever chocolate cake

If I could put my childhood in a cake, this would be it. My mum used to make it regularly – it’s moist, chocolatey without being too rich, keeps well in the cupboard for a week, is perfect for lunchboxes AND is super easy to make.

I got the recipe from Mum’s old recipe book. Falling to pieces, covered in daggy contact paper and hand written, I love looking through it. Here is her recipe:

best ever chocolate cake

Best Ever Chocolate Cake

125g butter
1 cup water
3 Tablespoons cocoa
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoons bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.
Mix butter, water and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
In a large mixing bowl sift flour and sugar.
Remove butter, water and cocoa mixture from the heat and pour over the sugar and flour mixture.
Add eggs, vanilla, milk and bicarb. Mix well.
Pour into one large greased shallow oven tray, or two greased lamington tins. This is a shallow cake that is cut into squares.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Allow to cool before icing with chocolate butter cream icing.

Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 Tbspns cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
125g butter

Beat butter using an electric mixer until as white as possible.
Add half the icing sugar and all the cocoa and beat well.
Add remaining icing sugar and beat well.

best ever chocolate cake
{yes, it’s a little undercooking in the top there… just how I like it!}

Store in an air tight container in the pantry. It won’t last the week…. because you’ll eat it all!

What’s your favourite childhood food memory?

Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake

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Recently I offered to take a dessert to a friend’s birthday celebration, and asked her what she liked. The answer was “anything white chocolate and raspberry, or cheesecake”. Well, you know where I ended up with that, right?

I decided on this recipe because I love baked cheesecake AND it’s simple enough to cook with kids. I can HIGHLY recommend it, the cheesecake was UH-MAZE-ING. I am now looking for any excuse to make it again.

Raspberry & white chocolate cheesecake

Preparation Time

20 minutes

Cooking Time

60 minutes + 4 1/2 hours chilling and cooling time (well worth the wait)

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 1 x 250g pkt plain sweet biscuits (I used Granita)
  • 1 x 100g pkt hazelnut meal
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 3 x 250g pkts cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 140g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (Queen brand)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 x 180g pkt good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 150g frozen raspberries

Method

Steps in blue are good for kids to help with.

Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease.

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Place biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed.

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{Food processors are noisy!}

Add the hazelnut meal and butter, and process until well combined.

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Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Use a straight-sided glass to spread and press mixture firmly over base and side of pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Use an electric beater to beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla paste in a bowl until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until well combined. Use a spoon to gently fold in chocolate and raspberries.

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{Don’t expect the toddler to be happy about giving up the chocolate. It took a fair bit of negotiating to get the block back!}

Pour mixture into the biscuit base. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour* until just set in the centre. Turn oven off. Leave cheesecake in the oven, with the door ajar, for 2 hours or until cooled completely (this will prevent cake from cracking). Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.

*I left my cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes and it STILL looked wobbly. I took it out of the oven anyway, thinking that I had a disaster on my hands. Fortunately when it came to the big reveal it had turned out perfectly. I stuck strictly to the cooling and chilling times.

 

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My friends loved this cheesecake and so did I. It was perfectly creamy and just divine. It served eight people generously, with a few pieces to spare.

Are you a cheesecake fan? What’s your favourite flavour?

I’m joining in with the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, hosted by Christina at the Hungry Australian. Make sure you pop by and check out some of the other delicious offerings!

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Rainbow Cupcakes

Rainbow Cupcakes

This week our six year old niece came over for the day and I knew I’d need a few tricks up my sleeve to keep both a six year old and a two year old busy and happy. What could be better than baking and decorating rainbow cupcakes!?

Here’s how we did it:

1. Have your child slaves pop the cupcake liners into the a 12 cup muffin tin and preheat the oven.

2. Help them to whip up a packet mix of vanilla cupcakes.

3. Divide the cake batter into four bowls (or as many bowls as you have colours) and try to minimise the splatter as your the kiddos go to town with mixing.

4. Colour each bowl of batter using food colouring.

5. Drop a teaspoon of each batter into each cupcake liner.

Making Rainbow Cupcakes with Kids

6. Bung em in the oven, set the timer and get reading for some more colour mixing!

7. Make up your icing according to packet directions. I added a little extra butter and icing sugar for my over enthusiastic cake decorators.

Making Rainbow Cupcakes with Kids

8. Divide the icing into separate bowls and mix in the colours before spooning into individual zip lock bags and snipping off a corner reader for piping. Or you can just spread it straight onto the cake. Sprinkle with your favourite cupcake toppings.

Making Rainbow Cupcakes with Kids

The girls had so much fun with this and each step was easy and really hands on for them. I brought out the cake making when they were starting to get to logger-heads, the pulled out the decorating when they started up at each other again. It was a great way to break up the day, and give it a sweet finish.

Making Rainbow Cupcakes with Kids

Have you baked anything with your kids lately?

Five Minute Carrot Mug Cake

If you haven’t seen the five minute chocolate mug cake by now, then I don’t know where you’ve been!? My favourite version comes from the talented Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella (she also has an amazing recipe for a five minute peanut butter chocolate chip cookie… just sayin’ ). The other morning I was faced with a desire to use up some carrots and also eat a hot breakfast. Google came to the rescue with this surprising Two Minute Breakfast Carrot Cake. Breakfast? Cake? Hmmm.

The recipe turned out to be almost sugar free, totally egg free and easily adaptable to be gluten and dairy free. AND I had all the ingredients in my pantry. Winning! I have never been known to follow a recipe though, have I? I decided to make it sugar free (remove the sultanas and coconut if you want fructose free), and add in a little extra nutrition with some oats and chia. Here is my version of the recipe I found here:

Five Minute Carrot Mug Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs flour (all purpose or gluten free alternative)
  • 1 Tbs natvia
  • 1 Tbs rice syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tbs rolled oats (optional)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1 Tbs Oil (I used macadamia)
  • 3 Tbs milk (or dairy free alternative)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tsp sultanas (optional)

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Method

  1. Combine the dry ingredients first, then add the wet ingredients and the carrots and sultanas, stirring to combine. If you want to make this a super quick breakfast you can prep all the dry ingredients and all the wet ingredients in separate bowls and store them in the fridge overnight, then throw it together in the morning.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a small microwave safe bowl or a mug (I used a ramekin)*.
  3. Microwave for 2 minutes on high**.
  4. Eat!

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*This recipe was enough for me to make two small single serve cakes. I had one for breakfast, Paul scoffed half of the other one and declared it “not bad” (high praise from this skeptic of my random cooking experiments) and I ate the other half for afternoon tea.

**Note that microwaving times may vary. My cake was cooked well well at 1 min 30 seconds.

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How good does the banana ice cream look with the original recipe? Dairy free, no added sugar and looking divine. I must try that when I have some very ripe bananas (a rarity in this house).

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Would you try this cake? What vegies need using up at your house?

Winter Minestrone with Cheesy Scones

winter minestrone and cheesy scones

I have been sick lately – just your boring, run of the mill sick. Cough, cold, sore throat, achey body. Boring. I finally went to the docs and got prescribed some medicine, but what I really felt like was a natural boost. I found myself on the door step of Nourished Kitchen (thanks to the heads up from Sarah Wilson in her new I Quit Sugar Cookbook) and this perfect cold and flu antidote – Winter Vegetable Minestrone.

I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit. If you’re looking for the cleaner, greener, gluten free version, then go to the original. My version is the ‘Mummy is sick and needs soup today” kind. Of course I needed cheesy scones on the side too…

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 cup macaroni noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 3 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 handfuls green beans, diced
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 box frozen chopped spinach portions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Boil the pasta until tender, and set aside.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium-high flame until melted and sizzling. Add frozen chopped onion and fry until fragrant and translucent. Add minced garlic, chopped carrots, chopped celery, cubed butternut squash and diced green beans frying with the onion until fragrant.Stir the dried Italian herbs into the mixture of vegetables.
  3. Pour 2 cups of stock into the pot, taking care to scrape the pot with a spatula to dislodge any flavourful bits of vegetables. Stir in crushed tomatoes and frozen spinach portions. Simmer the broth for thirty minutes or so.
  4. Stir in the cannellini beans and cooked pasta. Generously season the soup with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and allow it to sit for approximately five to ten minutes, allowing the flavours to meld. Serve with parmesan cheese and cheesy scones.

Cheesey Scones

I literally threw these together, barely measuring. You can’t go wrong!

  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 45g butter
  • 80g grated cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup softened butter and extra grated cheese for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in butter and stir in cheese.
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, then mix to a soft dough. Add milk if it is not soft enough. Place on a floured surface and kneed lightly.
  4. Pat dough out to approx 2cm thickness. Cut into rounds using a floured cutter (or the nearest small glass).
  5. Spread the softened butter on top of the scones and sprinkle with extra grated cheese.
  6. Place the scones on baking paper on an oven tray and bake in the oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, or until tops are golden.

Serve up your soup in the most retro serving dish you can find – I used the very same bowl that my mum used to serve us minestrone when I was a kid. It made this soup that much more comforting.

What do you like to feed yourself when you’re sick?