Category Archives: Recipes – Sweet Treats

Tiered Baileys Chocolate Coffee Cake with swiss meringue buttercream frosting


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I adore this recipe as it makes the whole house smell of Baileys 🙄. The cake itself isn’t too rich and sweet, with the subtle coffee aroma puntuating the smooth irish creme liqueur. The swiss meringue has a buttery, full bodied sweetness which goes very well with the cake.

In making a tall three-tiered cake, I opted to make 6″ sized layers (my prefered size for non-wedding cakes). I transported it on an 8″ cake disc placed in two cake boxes – upturning one of them as the lid of the other. (Miss 9’s casual comment as the solution to my problem!)

Please do serve them in smaller portions – you can always go back for seconds.  Cut rectangular 1.5cm thick slices and drop it onto a cutting board. Further cut into fingers of 1.5cm width. Baileys cake with a hint of coffee, tastes exceptional with tea.

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Ingredients for 3 x 6″ layers, for a three-tiered Cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Equagold)
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp instant coffee granules (Moccona)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup oil (rice bran)
  • 1 cup Baileys Coffee Irish Cream liqueur
  • 1/2 cup Baileys, extra for imbibing
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (Equagold)

Ingredients for the ganache filling: 

  • 120g chocolate drops (I used Equagold 70% Ghana dark chocolate)
  • 150ml cream
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, for sprinkling over the icing (I used Solomon’s gold Smooth Dark kibble)

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Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Prepare three 6″ cake pans by oiling and lining with baking paper.
    2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on low to break up any lumps and then slowly add in the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    4. Prepare the Dark Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing while the cake is cooking.
    5. Allow the cake to rest and cool for at least 10 minutes before flipping onto a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature.
    6. While the cake is cooling, warm the cream till it barely comes to a boil on the stove. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate. Let it sit in the cream for 5 minutes then stir to combine. Once combined, leave it to cool for 30 minutes before drizzling.
    7. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake decorating turntable.
    8. Imbibe the top of the bottom cake layer with Baileys and then spread on ganache icing.
    9. Layer on the second cake and repeat with Baileys and ganache.
    10. Place the top layer on and ice the cake with swiss meringue buttercream. You can achieve the ‘naked cake effect’ by putting just enough icing to cover, without covering every little bit of cake.
    11. Holding a metal ruler or rectangular scraper at 45 degrees to the cake, turn the turntable so that your icing spreads cleanly around the cake.
    12. Pipe blobs of icing using a large round (wilton 1M) or jagged tip on top.
    13. Decorate with freeze dried berries, chocolate pieces etc.
    14. Refrigerate so that the icing hardens – the cake tastes absolutely better the next day.

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Oreo macarons with white chocolate ganache


Oreo macarons with white chocolate ganache

I used to make Oreo macarons with crushed Oreos in the Mac shells. The process is a bit tedious and result not as consistent. Here is a simplier version, by making a simple spleckled shell with an oreo chocolate ganache filling. Still very yum!

Macarons shell ingredients (makes about 40 macarons)

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 150g almond meal
  • 110g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 38ml water
  • 1g meringue powder
  • 2 drops of gel colouring, I used black

Filling

  • 120g 28% cocoa White chocolate
  • 60ml cream
  • 4 oreo cookies, blitzed into crumbs

Instructions

  1. Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
  2. Heat cream and pour over white chocolate that has been broken up into small pieces in a bowl.
  3. Wait for a minute before stiring the chocolate ganache. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes for it to set.
  4. Mix in Oreo cookie crumbs (about 4 cookies, blitzed into crumbs beforehand).
  5. Spread or pipe a teaspoon of your chocolate ganache on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
  6. The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to soften the shells and also for the flavour to fully develop.

Oreo macarons with white chocolate ganache

Oreo macarons with white chocolate ganache

Marshmallow


Marshmallow, homemade, freeze dried fruit
Home made marshmallows are fun bites to have at any party and as gifts. These squishy bites are cloud-like and melts in your mouth! Perfect for cake decorating or donut-adorning. By adding the fruit powder you prefer, a multitude of flavours can easily be made.

I used Fresh As’s blackcurrant powder here, to give the beautiful purple hues. Check out their range: strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, mandarin, mango, passionfruit, lime…even kaffir lime! Try variations with cocoa powder and freeze dried instant coffee powder too.

Ingredients:

  • 10g gold strength gelatine leaves (about 5 sheets)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 60g water
  • 70g egg whites (about 2 size 7 eggs) 
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 15g Fresh As Blackcurrant powder

Mallowpowder for dusting:

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 50g corn flour

Directions:

  1. Mix the ingredients for mallowpowder.
  2. Line a small tray (15cm x 10cm) with baking paper. Dust a thin layer of mallowpowder on the paper with a fine sieve. Reserve the rest for dusting later.
  3. Soak gelatine sheets in a container with cold water.
  4. In a small pot, combine 200g sugar and water. Place a candy thermometer in, making sure it touches the sugar. Bring to a boil, till it reaches 130C.
  5. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and 10g sugar together until soft peaks.
  6. Once the sugar water reaches temperature, pour it into the egg whites in a thin stream, all the while whisking. Keep whisking for 3 minutes.
  7. Squeeze excess water out of the soaked gelatine sheets and add to the marshmallow. Whisk till it is combined.
  8. Add fruit powder and whisk for a further 5 minutes to cool the mixture down.
  9. Spread onto prepared tray and use a pallet knife to smooth the top. Leave to set for 4 hours or more. 
  10. Dust mallowpowder on your knife before cutting, and cut in downward motion for clean cut sides. Dust cubes of 3cm x 3cm with more mallowpowder.
  11. Store in a tight lidded box. 

Sugar is ‘water loving’ so it might get sticky if you leave it at room temperature for too long. Try freezing the marshmallow cubes to add to hot chocolates and coffees later on. 

      Marshmallow, homemade, freeze dried fruit

      Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


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      What kind of chocolate chip cookie do you dream about when a craving surfaces? Mine’s soft and chewy, buttery and chocolatey all in the same bite. Warm out of the oven, I can never resist sneaking one before it has cooled down. I especially love having multiple kinds and sizes of chocolate bits in it with it all melting differently, resulting in gooey chocolate yumminess. 

      How flat they go will depend on how warm the butter in the mixture is – the colder it is, the rounder and perkier the cookies will be. Better even, leave the dough in the fridge for 48 hours before baking and they will be perfect. You can add any nuts, chocolate or goodies you like to this recipe – just be creative!

      Ingredients

      • 250g butter, unsalted (room temperature)
      • 1½ cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
      • 2 eggs, size 8 
      • 2½ cups plain flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • ½ teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup chopped up good quality chocolate (into a variety of sizes) 

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 200c fan bake.
      2. With a stand mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar and vanilla until well combined.
      3. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is well combined.
      4. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
      5. Add flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix well.
      6. Stir in the chocolate bits.
      7. Using a small ice cream scoop, portion and place cookie dough about 5cm apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
      8. Place dough in the fridge for a minimum of 30 mins and up to 48 hours to firm up. (You can even freeze them!)
      9. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. If using two trays at the same time, switch the trays around half-way through to ensure even cooking.
      10. Cool the biscuits on the tray for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Eat them warm then make some more!

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      They are good as ice cream sandwich cookies too!

      Kohu Road – creamiest dairy-free coconut ice cream  


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      If I am going to indulge in a treat, my motto is to go for the best that I can afford. I reckon if I am going to use up my calorie quota on ice cream, it should be an indulgent experience in itself. One of my favourite is Kohu Road, artisan ice cream made locally, in West Auckland.

      Kohu Road uses natural ingredients to make their award winning products. You might have come across their Peanut Butter ice cream that was launched earlier in 2017. My favourite is still Dark Chocolate, made with 72% cocoa dark chocolate making it the most decadent ice cream you can buy. I gave up making my own chocolate ice cream when they first launched in 2007.

      For the past three years, they have been secretly developing a new range. Finally, launched in July 2017, is their new Dairy Free coconut ice cream.

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      “We’ve cut out the dairy to leave our customers feeling lighter, healthier and wanting more.” Charlotte Stein, Marketing Executive of Kohu Road gushed as she passed me the new 500ml packs.

      Made with coconut cream, the ice creams are creamy and smooth. Look at that shine! Far superior than any other dairy-free desserts I have ever tried. After tasting these, I would in fact choose these over the normal range. Ice cream identical in both taste and texture, yet with less calories, sugar and fat. Why wouldn’t you?

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      This is one of the only products in the world to use monk fruit as a sweetener. Monk fruit is 200 times sweeter than sugar, meaning a lot less is required to sweeten the ice cream.

      The ice creams are also 100% pure, containing no additives, preservatives or stabilisers – only natural ingredients.

      So what did we think after tasting them?
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      Vanilla

      These are so light and smooth – they picked up a gold medal at the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards: ‘Dairy-Free’ category with judges commenting “clean and refreshing, with a good texture”. Very coconuty and made with vanilla extract and seeds, this is a very nice palette-cleansing ice cream.

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      Chocolate

      At first taste, the deep cocoa aroma fills your senses. Next the creamy coconut glides smoothly around your tongue. All the same smooth sensation of the Dark Chocolate dairy ice cream, but without the heaviness. Earlier in the year they hosted a sensory experiment with food bloggers and journalists and the majority were unable to tell that this flavour was dairy-free.

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      Strawberry

      The burst of freshness and lightness surprised me – this flavour is our family’s firm favourite. Judges at the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards commented “creamy texture and well-balanced strawberry and coconut flavours”. This was a gold award winner and ‘Best in Category’ in the ‘Dairy-free’ category. With 22% strawberries in each tub, it reminded me of the strawberry ice creams at berry farms. Super fresh tasting and I would not have believed it to be a dairy-free dessert.

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      Green tea

      The distinctive flavour of Japanese matcha green tea sings out, just like their dairy range. I love matcha and am very happy that I now have more ways to consume matcha.

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      Where to find:
      Exclusive in Farro Fresh for the month of August and will be in select Countdown and New World from October 2017.

      I dare say Kohu Road makes one of the best ice creams in the world. Now I have even more choices for the ‘light’ dessert days!

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