Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Matcha swiss roll

I haven't made a swiss roll since I was in school doing a class in Home Economics.  Unfortunately, that said swiss roll didn't roll very well and I ended up with swiss 'fingers' instead.

This swiss roll however, turned out much, much better.  Very easy to roll and the matcha flavour was set off nicely with the whipped cream and anko (Japanese sweet bean paste) inside.  I got the recipe from a book by Junko, a clever lady who came up with the idea of making patterns on swiss rolls.

I have to say, though, that you have to be rather organized to make the different batters for the different parts of the pattern.  Other than that, it was quite straight forward to do.  The only thing I would do differently is pour the batter more carefully over the pattern to eliminate all the little air bubbles around it.

Happy Birthday, Diane!  I hope you enjoyed your cake. :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Shortbread cookies {Recipe}

Can you believe it's February already?!  Where did January go?  Gosh, the year is getting off to a quick start and we've only just finished our Christmas cake!  Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I thought these cookies would be perfect as a gift for someone you love or just for yourself.  They are YUMMY!  I made the cookies using a puppy cutter (isn't it cute?!).  It's part of the Red Puppy Appeal which is for the Guide Dogs here in New Zealand.  I got it at Bayleys for a $5 donation. Look at how cute the puppies are... and of course you can always decorate them with royal icing.  But they taste just as good as they are. :) 

The basic recipe for shortbread is very easy.  It is a 1-2-3 ratio of sugar-butter-flour.  The flour is a mix of plain and corn flour.  Cornflour makes for a crisper cookie.  Then you can get creative and add other things if you like.  I added some chocolate chips to half the batch.  You can add nuts or dried fruit too if you prefer.  You can also leave them plain and dip them in melted chocolate.  Mmmm!

Recipe for shortbread cookies

100g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
260g plain flour
40g corn flour
pinch of salt

  1. Beat the butter until creamy.  Add the sugar and beat again until mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Sift the flour, cornflour and salt together and add into butter mixture.  Add chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit, if using.  Combine gently together using your hands to form a dough.  Roll into a ball, flatten and wrap in cling film.  Chill for about 20 minutes or until firm.  Alternatively, if you want to cut them into rounds, you can roll the dough into a log, wrap in cling wrap and chill.
  3. Preheat oven to 170 degree C.  Roll out the chilled dough to about 1 cm.  Cut shapes and place on lined baking sheet.  I like to chill the shapes for about 5 minutes before baking them to make sure they keep their shape.  Alternatively, if you have rolled the dough into a log, slice to form rounds.  
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until firm.  
  5. Cool for a few minutes to firm up on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool down.  You can dip them in melted chocolate at this point or eat them as they are.  
For a Valentine's gift, cut heart shape cookies and bake.  You can also make cookie pops by inserting a cookie stick into each cookie before baking and decorate with some fun Valentine messages or the name of your loved ones.  See my post here on what they look like.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

A brand new year already!  Happy 2014!  May your year be filled with an abundance of love, good health, prosperity and all things sweet!  :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Oat and cinnamon pancakes {Recipe}

I am a fan of pancakes in general but I loove these pancakes.  I came across this recipe a few years ago on another blog,, and have made them almost every weekend since.  That's a lot of pancakes!

I know this blog is mostly about baking and decorating but I think these pancakes are worthy of a post here. Plus it does have the word cake in it so that must count right?

The original recipe is from Julie le Clerc, who is a well-known New Zealand chef and has written many fabulous books.  I have mentioned her before in my other posts when I make some of her fabulous cakes.  I have adapted this recipe slightly as I am experimenting with using spelt flour instead of plain flour.  Spelt flour is not gluten free, but it is more easily digestible than normal flour, so I have been trying to work this into our everyday food.  I have also added blueberries or bananas to the mixture if I have them on hand.  I have also topped them off with blueberry or strawberry compote if I have that too.  Very adaptable!

Recipe for Oat and cinnamon pancakes (Adapted from Julie le Clerc's Cafe@home)
Makes about 8-9 pancakes

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cup milk (may need a bit more if mixture is too dry)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white spelt flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
Blueberries/bananas (optional)

1.  Soak the oats and milk for 10-15 minutes.
2.  Add sugar, oil and egg to oat mixture and mix well.
3.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder.  If the mixture is too thick or dry, add more milk.
4.  Ladle a large spoonful into a pan on medium heat.  At this point, you can add slices of bananas or
     blueberries if you like.  Turn over once you see bubbles forming. 
5.  Serve with butter and honey/maple syrup/berry compote.  Enjoy!

I hope you try them!  They are delish! :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas cakes

Merry Christmas!  How are your holidays going?  We had a nice, quiet Christmas with lots of food, eggnog and cake.  Yummy!

This was also my first year to try and perfect the fruitcake.  I have made fruitcake before, but usually it is the cheat's version where you heat the fruit with liquids to plump them up rather than soaking them in brandy for weeks.  Well this time, I decided to try and do a traditional fruitcake which required me to soak the mixed fruit for 3 weeks (I know some people soak theirs for months, but this was hard enough trying to remember to stir it everyday!).  The mixture smelled divine after 3 weeks of soaking in brandy.  I also managed to squeeze in doing a cheat's version to compare the two since I had leftover fruit mix.  The second fruitcake required me to heat the fruit with brandy and juice for 10 minutes and they plumped right up after that.   My verdict is both versions are equally good so you can always skip the 3 week or 3 month soak for the 10 minute one. :)

The round fruitcake is the cheat's version and it is very yummy and moist.  Best part is it contains no butter, only oil and is just as moist and tasty as the traditional one.  This recipe is from Julie le Clerc's Favourite Cakes.  She calls it her last minute Christmas cake.  Very appropriate!

The next fruitcake I made is one from Little and Friday treats by Kim Evans. 

This is from her first book and she has added chocolate to the recipe, but I could not taste it.  It makes for a lovely and rich cake as well.  I also made her marzipan, a first for me as I am not a fan of commercial marzipan.  I was very surprised at how easy it was to make the marzipan.  The only thing I may omit the next time I make the marzipan perhaps is the orange blossom water.  I am not a big fan of it.

I wasn't intending to decorate my cakes as I was focussed on getting them right but I used the leftover marzipan to make a simple decoration on it.  I think it turned out nice.  The marzipan was easy to colour too.

I hope your holidays went well.  Thanks for stopping by! :)