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?

Homemade Gifts: Coconut Ice

Homemade Coconut Ice

It was Grandma’s birthday recently, and she loves coconut ice. I thought it would be fun to try and make some for her. It turned out to be really easy and very delicious! I will definitely be keeping this recipe in mind for future gift ideas. I thought I might try changing the colours to match the occasion – some green and red for Christmas, or perhaps some edible glitter? Or Dad’s favourite football colours?

This recipe is no bake, and easy for children to help with.

Cooking with Kids - Coconut Ice

Homemade Coconut Ice

150 ml sweetened condensed milk
250 g icing sugar
175 g desiccated coconut
2 -5 drops pink food colouring

Grease and line a shallow baking tray/lamington tin. I use a little spray oil first so that the paper stays in place.
The secret to easy colour blending:

Divide the condensed milk into two separate bowls. Colour one bowl of condensed milk pink, using the food colouring.

Divide the icing sugar and coconut evenly into each of the condensed milk bowls. Mix each bowl until fully combined and stiff.
Press one mixture into the pan gently then top and press with the other mixture. Your paper may slide around a bit. I ended up doing this part on the bench top, then transferring it to the pan. It wasn’t a perfectly smooth shape but that just meant extra edge bits for us to chop off and nibble later!
Leave to set then cut into cubes or fingers.
To store: wrap or layer with waxed or greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from here.

I bought this cute jar from Ikea and tied it with pink ribbon before giving it to Grandma.

Homemade Coconut Ice

Do you like to give homemade gifts?

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?

Strawberry and Banana Parfait

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I recently noticed that a few of my blogger mates were writing about the Chobani yoghurt they got sent to try. I was all HEY! I want some yoghurt. A couple of emails later and I had a big box of yoghurt delivered to my door. Thanks Chobani! They didn’t ask me to write post, but I can’t help but share this little story.

I asked Pebble (non-yoghurt eater since way back) if she’d like to help me make a special fruit cup, with yoghurt AND strawberries AND bananas! “Yes, please Mummy!”, she said.

I scrummaged around in my pantry and came up with a cute little plastic cup for Pebble to make her parfait, and a more sophisticated glass for myself. Pebble helped herself to the sliced fruit, arranging it just so in her little cup. She chatted away to herself, “I can just try some yoghurt, can’t I Mummy?…… I try things sometimes…… I might just have a little bit of it……. But Mummy, I think I won’t have yoghurt today…… No, not today. I don’t think so………. Just fruit today, Mummy. THANK YOU MUMMY!”.

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And so, in the space of 20 seconds she went from Yay to Nay on the yoghurt and happily skipped off with her yoghurt free parfait. I enjoyed mine anyway, and offered to share it with her (“I don’t think so, Mummy”, she said).

Fruit cups have been a big hit in this house ever since. Sans yoghurt, of course.

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Without further ado, I give you my banana and strawberry parfait “recipe”. Though, this is hardly a recipe at all!

Strawberry and Banana Parfait

Serves 2

6 strawberries
1 banana
1 tub yoghurt

1. Slice the bananas and strawberries.

2. Layer the bananas and strawberries with yoghurt in a glass or plastic cup.

3. Eat!

This is perfect for little ones to help with. They could choose any fruit to go into the parfait, and even add some chocolate sauce, some crumble mixture, bits of broken up biscuit, honey, you name it, you can add it!

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Thanks again to Chobani for all that delicious yoghurt. The pineapple was my absolute favourite, I’ll definitely be trying that again. Who knew that pineapple and yoghurt could taste good together?

Have your kids tried any new foods lately?