Raspberry, Almond & Chocolate Teacake

It seems this week has been very well suited to baking cakes and having afternoon teas!
Yesterday afternoon was yet another opportunity to bake one of the many cakes I have been meaning to cook for a while now! The weather for the afternoon was devine and made for an absolutely perfect outdoor afternoon tea.

afternoon tea and cake

Along with a beautiful posy of flowers, delicious Iced tea and the shining sun, the afternoon was perfect.

Teacake and flowers
Teacakes have been abit of a hit in my cooking regime recently, and I feel I am beginning to get the hang of baking them.

The almond meal in this recipe gave it a great texture and the flavours complemented each other effectively. I will definitely be baking this one again!

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Raspberry, Chocolate & Almond Teacake

150g softened unsalted butter, chopped
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
50ml milk
1 cup (150g) gluten free flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g almond meal
¾ cup (135g) dark choc chips
150g raspberries
1/3 cup (25g) flaked almonds
Icing sugar, to dust

METHOD
Preheat oven to 170°C (fan-forced). Grease 20cm round cake pan.
Cream butter and sugar until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat to incorporate.
Add the vanilla and milk and beat to combine.
Fold in flour and almond meal and finally the raspberries and choc chips.
Spread mix in cake pan and bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until a skewer is inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn out after 10 minutes and cool completely. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Blueberry & Orange Teacake

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The weather has been so perfect all week, beautiful, sunny days that have made the cooler temperature bearable- my favourite type of winter day. So we had planned a trip to the Hinterland for a picnic and a lazy afternoon in the sun, but of course when we woke up this morning the sky had turned grey and the golden sun had been replaced by drizzling rain.

rainy days

And so the picnic was moved indoors. Everyone came over (still with picnic baskets in tow) and we had a delicious meal consisting of quiche, grated beetroot & goats cheese on sourdough baguettes (a personal favourite) and a variety of dips and antipasto.

Somehow we kept room for dessert, an Orange & Blueberry Teacake. I had some worries the cake may not have cooked through as the oven time had been rushed when I cooked it yesterday. Knowing the recent issues we’ve have had with our new oven along with this shortened cooking time, I was understandably nervous about the outcome of the cake. Turns out I had no reason to be because it was cooked perfectly; nice and lightly as a teacake should be!

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The cake was quite a hit with our guests, everyone being suitably impressed, little did they know how easy it was to whip up!

It can be made with any type of seasonal berries or chopped fruit and is perfect for a picnic, or as ours turned out to be, an indoor lunch and special afternoon tea.

Teacake (after)

Blueberry & Orange Teacake

Adapted from Annabel Langbein’s recipe in July 2013 Delicious Magazine

Ingredients:

125g Softened unsalted butter

3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup (120g) sour cream

Finely grated zest of 1 orange, plus 2 tbsp juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

13/4 cups (260g) self-raising flour

1/2 cup (125ml) milk

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 1/2 cups (230g) blueberries

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup (60g) chopped almonds

Method:

Preheat oven to 160C. grease a 20cm cake pan and line base with baking paper. Beat butter, caster sugar and egg with electric beaters for 1-2 minutes until thick and pale. Beat in sour cream, zest and vanilla, then gradually beat in flour and milk. Combine bicarb soda and orange juice in a bowl, then stir into the batter. Spoon into pan In a bowl, combine berries, brown sugar and almonds and then sprinkle mix over cake, being sure to reach the edges of the cake.

Bake for 1 1/4 hours (do not open the oven door) or until cake has risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

It goes nicely served with dollop cream and if your lucky enough to have any leftover it can be stored in an airtight container ina cool place for up to 3 days.

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Paper Carnations

I have begun my first craft project for the holidays- making paper flowers. I came up with the idea after visiting some sweet little markets a while back where I came across some elaborate paper flowers that inspired me to make my own. And so after a little bit of research, a trip to the craft store and abit of trial and error, I have created my first bunch of paper carnations. Turns out they are so simple to make and the outcome is really effective!

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They have been the perfect gift to take to peoples houses during the christmas period and everyone I have given them to has absolutely loved them, little do they know how easy they are to make! It has also got me on the lookout for cute vases and jars I can put them in, and once the technique is mastered (which doesn’t take long at all) I have begun experimenting with fun and unique printed crepe paper:

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Materials:
Tissue Paper
Scissors
Green Floral Wire (Should be able to purchase from any good Craft store)

Steps:
Depending on what size flower you want, fold the tissue paper enough times so that you can trace a circle your desired size onto it. I found anywhere between 5-10cm gives quite a realistic flower size, but feel free to experiment with the different sizes.

It’s easiest if you find something cylindrical to trace around for the shape of the flower. Holding the layers of tissue paper together, begin to cut out the circle, being so thin, you should be able to cut out at least 40 or so folds of the tissue paper at a time.

When they are cut out, remove the amount of circles you want for your flower, I found about 8-10 circles made a nice full flower. Hold these circles together and make a hole just off from the centre of the circle and push the floral wire through this hole. Push it through further enough that you can fold it over and push it back through making a second hole. Tie the wire tightly around itself at the base of the flower.

To make the petals, work on each petal individually, starting at the top of the bunch. Take this petal and bunch it towards the centre. Do this randomly and there is no need to make it neat at all. Make sure to just be working on the base part, trying not to touch too much of the ‘petal’.

Repeat this with all the other petals, working on each individually and try scrunching each one differently as to make the flower look really full and not all bunching the same way.

So once all the circles have been scrunched you should find yourself with a lovely carnation:

Paper Carnation

Don’t worry if your first one doesn’t look perfect. It takes a few goes to get the hang of the scrunching technique, once you’ve got it though you can have lots of fun experimenting with all different sizes, papers and styles.

I hope you have fun making these little sweeties and I’d love to hear how you go :)

Below are a few more flowers I’ve made- just to give you an idea of the different papers you can have fun with!

Thanks so much for stopping by, I would be so happy to hear from you in the comments :) !!

Orange flower

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Carrot Cake

Last Sunday was one of the hottest days we’ve had on the Sunshine Coast this year. It was absolutely boiling to the point where i just wanted to stay indoors! It was also my last day of school holidays before i embark upon my last term of school ever- VERY exciting! I had the whole day to myself (a work free Sunday is quite unusual) and so I took the opportunity to cook something from my brand new cookbook which was bought for me by Mum. Surprisingly enough it is one of the first cookbooks that is mine- I find I’m always cooking from recipes on Blogs or magazines or recommended to me by friends etc so having my very own cookbook is very exciting for me!

I chose to bake a recipe for carrot cupcakes and since I’d promised to bake afternoon tea for Mum for when she arrived home from her hard day at work i thought i’d make it into a cake because its more impressive :D

It’s always more fun to make cake in a fun shape like a donut (as you can see that is the shape i chose to go with for this particular recipe) but i found it was quite a shallow cake and next time I would probably add abit more to the recipe if i was making a cake out of it again.

The cake was an absolute hit with the family and there was hardly any leftovers- everyone was unable to resist seconds! The cake itself was not overly sweet and so pairing it with the Orange flavoured icing was a perfect flavour match!This one is definitely being filed under “perfect cake for a warm summer Sunday Afternoon”

Carrot Cake with Orange icing:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups wholemeal plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups coarsely grated carrot
1 tsp vanilla extract

Orange icing:
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp grated orange zest (extra for decoration)
2-3 tbsp Orange zest

1. Preheat Oven to 180 degrees. Grease cake tin with oil.
2.In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and a pinch of sea salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, sugar, carrot and vanilla extract, then stir in flour mixture until just combined being careful not to over mix.
4. Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cake cool completely (about 10 minutes on a wire rack) before topping with icing.
5. To make icing, sift icing sugar into a bowl and whisk in orange zest and 2 tbsp juice until smooth- the icing should be quite runny- add more juice if too thick.
6. Pour icing over cake and leave for about 10 minutes or until icing is set.

Healthy Sprinkle Cookies

So i’ve been on a mission to find a recipe for healthy cookies that are as tasty as they are good for you and i’ve finally found one. Simple, fun and delicious- I am proud to present these healthy and satisfying Sprinkle Cookies.

You probably have everything you need to make these fast, simple and fun cookies in your pantry right now.
The self raising flour works to make the biscuits quite large (not as squished down as your traditional cookie) which adds to the wholesome feel of the recipe and also makes it so you don’t need as many to feel satisfied.

The recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook called Symply Too good To Be True, which is all about substituting ingredients to make your cooking healthier and more satisfyingly good for you which i am a strong believer in.

 

SPRINKLE COOKIES

Ingredients
1 egg white
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
4 tbsp margarine
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/3 cup hundreds and thousands

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 Degrees. In a medium size mixing bowl, beta egg white and sugar using an electric beater for 1 minute.
2.In a small mixing bowl, combine milk, essence and melted margarine, pour into egg mixture and stir together. Fold flour into mix.
3. When combined spoon twenty four heaped teaspoons of mixture onto baking trays that have been sprayed with cooking oil.
4. Dip a fork into boiling water then press the cookie dough flat (this helps stop the cookie dough from sticking to the fork)
5. Sprinkle three quarters of a teaspoon of sprinkles over the top of each cookie.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe by Annette Sym (from “symply too good to be true” cookbook)

Thanks so much for stopping by- would love to hear from you in the comments section below :)

Katie

Mini Baked Raspberry Cheescakes

I have an obsession with raspberries.

Of all the berries they are clearly the best- their sweeter than blackberries, they look more appealing than blueberries and strawberry seeds get stuck in your teeth. I always make sure I have a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer that I add to all the everything i can- within reason of course:) To come across a recipe like these Mini Baked Raspberry Cheescakes got me very excited  as i am always on the lookout for recipes that include these delicious berries. So of course i had to give them a go!

I made the cheesecakes for a  recent picnic with the extended family and they were such a hit (if i do say so myself) so i thought i should share them with you- especially if there are any other raspberry lovers out there!

They were surprisingly simple to whip up- very similar to a cheesecake recipe just in a smaller size. I am beginning to love cheesecake more and more but i find it quite a rich dessert to have and so i found these mini sized cheesecakes perfect being not as intense as a slice of cheesecake- abit more subtle and the raspberry on top evens out the richness of the base and filling.

I originally found the recipe in a magazine but somewhere along the way it was misplaced but this recipe is very close to what i followed:

Mini Baked Raspberry Cheesecakes:

Base Ingredients:
150g Nice biscuits
70g Butter, melted

Filling Ingredients:
250g Cream cheese
75g Caster sugar
1 large egg
20ml lemon juice
100ml thickened cream

Raspberries and Jam for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 180 Degrees C.
2. Finely crush biscuits in a food processor. Add melted butter to biscuit crumbs and process until well combined.
3.Divide biscuit mixture evenly among mini-muffin baking tray. Firmly press mixture so that it lines the inside of the muffin tray. Set bases aside while making the filling.
4. Beat Cream cheese and caster sugar in an electric mixer. When mixture is completely smooth add thickened cream, lemon juice and egg and beat until combined. Divide mixture evenly among mini muffin tray.
5.Bake cheescakes for twenty minutes. remove from oven and allow to cool. Place half a tbsp of jam in the centre of each mini cheesecake and place the raspberry on top.
6.Place in ana airtight container and refrigerate… Cheescakes are ready to serve when they are cold and set.

Strawberry Jam

I recently went along to Chevallum Strawbfest, a school fete which is positioned right near strawberry fields and consequently revolves around strawberries. It a wonderful evening and each year the organisers find more  ways to use strawberries- ranging from strawberry sundaes and pavlovas to strawberry shakes and daiquiri’s.

But the best part of the festival is the strawberries being sold for an absolute bargain. At the end of the night i picked up 4 massive punnets of strawberries for just $10.

What a wonderful excuse to make strawberry Jam!

This is the first time I’ve made jam and i was under the impression it was a difficult thing to do- instead if found it simple, quick and the process fascinated me.

So i started by roughly chopping up strawberries:

Then chopped up more strawberries:


250g of sugar was then added to 500g of strawberries (the recipe i was following said 500g but I found that much wasn’t needed and the process worked fine with less sugar).

This was the part of the process I found most fascinating, without any water or liquids added, the sugar worked to draw out the water in the strawberries and the saucepan became full with liquid and the strawberries became mushy all on their own- i was quite intrigued seeing this happen:

So after approximately 20 minutes of the jam bubbling away on medium heat on the stove it was ready to be packaged up!This jam had more chunky bits in it than most jams i have tried but more time on the stove would have reduced that (personally i quite like the chunks on toast)

I bought some cheap jars from a bargain shop which were a perfect size to fit the jam! Make sure to sterilise the jars your using so the jam can store for longer- to sterilise just pop the jar in boiling water for about 10 or so minutes.

The finished product!:

The jam making was a success and I would consider it very worth making- Only takes about half an hour but makes enough to last for weeks.

I think it would be an excellent gift idea- decorate the jars with ribbons for birthday or even red and green for a christmas gift!

Thanks so much for stopping by- please feel free to comment and say hi :) I’d love to hear what you think of what you’ve seen on this blog :)

Katie

And So It Begins

Hello there,

I have been wanting to start a blog ever since my Blog addiction began about half way through this year. Since then I have been waiting for a time in my life when it suits to officially begin my very own blog adventure- and i’m so excited that this time has finally arrived! Although i know i should probably wait until the end of my year 12 schooling- i don’t want to wait any longer! This is one big experiment on my behalf and considering how foreign technology is to me- we’ll see how it goes.

I love photography and i hope to share this passion through my blog, along with my love of baking, travelling and visiting exciting places. My aim is to share with you my distorted focus of life- the way i see the world.

So I would love any tips or pointers anyone who knows anything about blogging may have to offer. I am willing to take on any advice- no matter how basic it may seem to you i’m sure it will help me more than you think :)

Katie M