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    Chocolate Black Forest Pavlovas

             Chocolate Black Forest Pavlova with chocolate sauce

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    Love the "retro" of a black forest cake, ditto these chocolate mini pavlovas with the hidden chocolate centre and morello cherry top.  Hope you enjoy them too :) 

    Morello cherries make a lovely addition to the batter of dark chocolate cupcakes, studding a sweet focaccia or as in today's posting topping a chocolate pavlova. If you are in fresh cherry season, fresh pitted cherries poached in a little sugar syrup can substitute for the Morello cherries if desired.

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    2 eggwhites

    pinch cream of tartar

    1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine)

    1 tablespoon dark dutch process cocoa powder (sifted)

    1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

    Chocolate Sauce

    125g (5.3oz) chopped good quality dark chocolate

    125 ml (half cup) of thickened cream

    2 tsp Kirsch (optional)


    1 jar *morello cherries in syrup

    2 tsp kirsch (optional)

    125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream 

    Dark chocolate grated or curls to decorate

    . Preheat oven to 120C. Draw four 7cm (2.75 inch) circles on non stick baking paper, reverse paper so ink lines will be facing downwards when you use it to line your baking tray. 
    . Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until meringue is thick and glossy. Add cocoa & vanilla. Beat until just combined.
    . Spoon meringue onto lined baking tray, using circles as a guide.  Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 120C. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until meringue is dry and crisp. Turn off oven and jar door open a little with the handle of a wooden spoon. Allow to cool completely in oven.

    Place chocolate in a bowl. Place cream in a small pan over medium heat and bring to just below boiling point. Pour over chocolate, then stir until smooth. Stir is kirsch if using.  Let cool until it thickens slighty, break hole in the top center of each pavlova and put a spoonful of chocolate sauce.  

    Whip cream with an electric beater until medium stiff peaks.

    In a separate small bowl, add the Kirsch to 2 tablespoons of syrup from the jarred Morello cherries. Swirl of little of syrup through the cream, spoon onto the  tops of pavlovas (you may have some leftover), top with whole Morello cherries and decorate with chocolate curls and serve with any leftover cream, syrup and chocolate sauce.

    Inside the pavlova, chocolate sauce with chocolatey marshmallow with crisp sugary shell.

    Meringue base recipe adapted from SuperFood Ideas magazines Chocolate Pavlova Nests Nov 2005

    Happy Baking :)

    You might also be interested in POP POP yes bubble wrap chocolate!


    Pigs might Fly cupcake

    I woke up this morning and my husband told me that he was giving up watching hours & hours & hours of TV sport in order to spend time talking to me.

    TV's volume controls did not allow the sound to reach a level that damages brain cells and wet towels are A. not thrown in the tub B. not draped creatively around the bathroom C. NOT THROWN IN THE TUB!

    There is some kind of "greeting" given before "What's for dinner?" "Is there anything to eat?" "Is there any food?" (what does that mean anyway, "is there any food?... have you opened a fridge/pantry cupboard?). Did I mention the wet towels were not thrown in the tub?

    And Pigs might Fly! 


    Half a Master Chef

    What makes a Master Chef? Perhaps it's how many elements that are put on a plate?


    Gorgeous chocolate plated dessert by chef Matt Moran from his Sydney bay side Restaurant Aria.

    For those MasterChef fan's this is dessert from the final of Masterchef Australia. 

    I set about making about half of the plated desserts elements ... the chocolate tart (miniature versions), chocolate sauce, the chocolate glacage (chocolate glaze) and quenelles of the mousse like chocolate. 

    What's missing are the chocolate macaron's, double baked macaron crumb, chocolate pipe and chocolate sorbet. 

    Valrhona Jivara Chocolate is used in the recipe, quite a small amount 60g, but it's worth seeking out if you are going to recreate the dessert. Jivara is a fine French milk chocolate (40% cocoa solids) with caramel/vanilla undertones and just a hint of malt.

    The resulting tarts were just amazing, step son Dan said he "would kill someone for this". 

    Want to give it a try? Visit the MasterChef Australia site for the full recipe and instructions. 

    MasterChef Australia: Top rating reality cooking competition based on UK's long running MasterChef.




    Curse Mr. Kelly and Save the Chickens cupcake


    There is many "classic teenage moments",  and this is one of them ;-)

    My girlfriend Cindy had prepared the families favourite chicken casserole, it was a day when she, as a flat out mother of three she was pleased to be on top of things, that was until it was time to serve dinner. Teenage son "What's for dinner?" Cindy "Our favourite chicken casserole", from that moment it goes down hill... Teenage son over the six hours since she last saw him has decided, after learning about chicken farming at school that he no longer eats chicken, at least not factory farmed chicken and how could his Mum "do it".

    Developing a social conscience & the power to disrupt the family that does along with it, lol I love. Cindy wasn't as enamoured, she cursed the teacher Mr.Kelly for raising the subject at school as she rushed to the shop to buy a block of tofu ;-)

    My stepson Daniel, sits his first VCE (high school final) exam tomorrow. Good luck Dan and thank you...

    Mr. Kelly & Mr. Pearson Media teachers at Wantirna College. You have both been inspirational, wonderful teachers. Daniel wouldn't be there without you guys. Thank you from the bottom of hearts for everything you have done.

    PS I watched lots of films you have recommended and enjoyed them, but come on Copycat is not that good a film! Someone just has a "thing" for Sigourney Weaver... admit it! 


    All that Glitters

    Time for a little bling!  Make your cupcakes glitter and shimmer with these products available from cake decorating stores.

     1. Blue fine sanding sugar: Sanding sugar is available in coarse or fine in a wide range of colours. 2. Lustre dust: Available in metallics, lustre dust can be dusted on dry or mixed with a little vodka for a metallic paint. 3. Cachous: Assorted sizes and colours of metallic cachous, try mixing different sizes on the same cake. 4. Pure edible Silver Leaf 23 carat: Pure silver leaf available in sheets. Apply with a fine dry brush to lift pieces from the sheets.  5. Pure edible Gold Leaf 23 carat: Available in leaves, pieces and shaker containers.6. Edible glitter: Wide range of colours, use as whole flakes or push through a fine sieve to make the whole cupcake shimmery. 


    Midnight Mint Mini Cupcakes


    Dark and minty, the perfect after dinner mint experience.

    Makes 24 mini cupcakes

    Chocolate cake


    1 ½  cups self-raising flour
    ½ cup cocoa powder (preferably dark dutch processed)
    ¾  cup caster sugar (superfine)
    ¾  cup milk
    60g dark chocolate (2oz) melted
    125g butter (4.4oz) melted, cooled
    2 large eggs beaten
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

    2 Peppermint crisp bars choppedNestle Peppermint crisp bars... a profusion of thin cylinders of mint-flavoured toffee enrobed in milk chocolate. Popular in Australia crushed or chopped as an ingredient in or on cheesecakes, pavlovas, cakes, cookies and the like. 


    Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 24 cup mini muffin pan with paper cases.

    Combine sifted flour and cocoa with the caster sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.
    Add milk, butter, chocolate, eggs and vanilla to flour mixture. Using a large metal spoon, stir gently to combine.
    Divide mixture into the paper cases. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, careful not to overbake. Stand in pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

    Peppermint Ganache

    ½ cup cream 
    200g (7oz) dark eating chocolate chopped
    2 drops of peppermint essence or oil

    Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat, add chocolate, stir until smooth & add essence.

    Dip the top of cooled cakes, one by one into the ganache. Sprinkle with chopped Peppermint crisp bar. 

    *the ganache will lose it's gloss once set, if you are not serving the cakes within an hour but want "gloss" a teaspoon of corn syrup stirred in after the chocolate has melted into the cream will preserve the gloss.



    Yummy Soup! Recipe management software for Mac.

    Tried many, own several, but I love this recipe management software from Hungry Seacow Software most of all for it's easy, fast, complete drop & drag import of recipes from all the major food sites. A host of other features including full screen view for those of us (me!) that can't read a recipe off the screen to bake unless it is LARGE. 

    At only $20 USD for a family pack I highly recommend  it.  

    System requirements; Mac OSX Tiger 10.4, Leopard 10.5, Snow Leopard 10.6 15 day free trial


    Vampire's don't Sparkle, but Dead Fairies Do Cupcakes

    vampire |ˌvampʌɪə|
    1. a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long pointed canine teeth.

    Sorry Twilight fans, but vampires don't sparkle. An evil elf maybe, or even a dead fairy...

    Dead fairy kits (truly) are available online from Silver Crow Creations

    Each kit contains two skeletons, two pairs of wings, glitter glue, stick on "jewels", gifts for the fairies to hold if you want to use them as Day of Dead figures. Plus you can sew a little skirt for them if you like, the kits also include tulle, needle and thread. 

    I used them to top mini muffin sized frosted cupcakes, baked in black foil liners and topped with black sanding sugar. 

    Macabre, I love them!


    Weird Science


    If the names: Ferran Adrià, Heston Blumenthal, Wylie Dufresne roll off your tongue you already know what a syringe, and three white powders are going to produce. 

    If not, welcome to world of culinary Molecular gastronomy. Since the 1990's some of worlds greatest chefs have passionately embraced the use of science, technology and cutting edge equipment to produce food in new surprising flavours and structure.

    Hot coffee and iced coffee in the same cup yet both elements stay separate, inside out boiled egg, a sculpture of fruit foam tasting more like fruit than fruit itself but disappearing on your tongue, it's all possible with molecular gastronomy. 

    Curious? Then why not start out with "fruit caviar or pearls", gel on the outside, liquid on the inside.

    Liquid, usually fruit, but it can be alcohol to tomato juice go through a spherification process to produce small balls or "caviar" to be used desserts, savoury dishes and cocktails. 

    For my first attempt I made red plum fruit caviar.


    Fruit Caviar technique

    500ml of chilled Red Plum juice (or 500ml of any liquid)

    1.5g Sodium Alginate

    1g Sodium Citrate

    500ml chilled water

    3g Calcium chloride

    Combine the first three ingredients in a jug, whisk together. In a separate bowl stir the calcium chloride into the water until dissolved. 

    Using a syringe or an eyedropper, drip drops of the fruit mixture into the calcium chloride bath. Allow to set for up to 5 minutes before rinsing in cold water. They are now ready to use. I paired the plum caviar with mini matcha & black sesame pavlovas but they could just as easily topped tarts or cupcakes. 

    Starter spherification kit from The Red Spoon Company



    BOO! Halloween Cupcakes

    Ghost cupcake picks for Halloween, cute and scary thanks to little toy axes and red cake gel. 

    To make your own:

    RTR icing white (in Australia also called plastic or fondant icing)
    Chup a chups round lollipops 
    Wilton red cake gel
    Black food colour
    Toy axes
    Cupcakes baked in standard black baking cups 
    Light coloured frosting
    empty egg carton

    Pierce small holes in the bottom of an egg carton, this will be your “stand” for drying your ghosts.

    Unwrap lollipops, and roll out your RTR white icing unit 2-3mm thick, cut circles out with a cookie cutter and drape over lollipops.

    Stand you lollipops in your egg carton stand whilst you make the eyes. 

    Colour a small amount of white RTR black.

    Roll small balls of white RTR icing (eyes) and gently press onto ghosts, roll and even smaller balls of black and press into position on the white eyes.

    Let dry 24-48 hours depending on the weather. 

    Attach axes with small balls of white RTR on the back of the ghosts, let dry.

    Push your finished ghosts into the frosted cupcakes and take a tube of red cake gel to make the "blood" splashes. Don't forget to put a bit on the blades of the axes. BOO!

    You might be also interested in quick and easy creepy cockroach cupcakes...

                    cockroach cupcakes