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    Thursday
    Apr262012

    Raspberry and Orange Gluten Free Friands

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    Goodness me, is $5.50 each too much to pay for a small gluten free friand? That's what our local department store cafe was charging when I was there with friends recently. 

    The poor little plain orange friands looked a bit on the dry side; it got me thinking about why are gluten free cafe cakes always so dry, hard and often lacking in flavour? 

    With only 1/3 to 1/2 cup of flour per recipe friands must be one of the easiest recipes to convert to gluten free. I tested the following gluten free friand conversion out on friends and family this week, concentrating on "moistness" and packing with flavour. Everyone loved them... hope you do too :)

    Raspberry and Orange Gluten Free Friands

    greased oval friand tin or muffin tin (1/2 cup 125ml capacity)

    preheat oven to 200c (392F) or 180c (356F) fan forced

    Ingredients

    6 egg whites

    185g butter melted and cooled

    1 tbl orange juice

    1 cup almond meal (almond flour) 

    1 1/2 cups (240g) sifted pure icing sugar (confectioners, make sure it's pure with no flour added)

    1/2 cup gluten free plain flour (gluten free all purpose) 

    4 teaspoons fine orange zest

    1 cup of raspberries, fresh or frozen

    Topping

    1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

    optional .... 1/4 cup freeze dried raspberry pieces

    1 cup of sifted pure icing sugar 

    1 to 2 tablespoons of orange juice

    Method

    Put the egg whites in a medium bowl in a medium bowl, use a fork to lightly whisk and break up the whites. Add the butter, zest, almond meal, sifted icing sugar, juice and *berries; stir until the mixture is combined. 

    Divide the mix between the 12 hole pan. Bake 18-22 minutes, don't over bake. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan before removing cakes and transferring to a cooling rack. 

    adapted from AWW lemon and cranberry friands

    Icing

    In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of orange juice to sifted icing sugar. Stir until smooth, add more juice if needed to created a drizzle over consistency. 

    Drizzle over icing and top with toasted almond slivers and freeze dried raspberry pieces.

                             moist and flavourful 

    Notes:

    *if using frozen berries don't defrost first, stir through in their frozen state

    *if you can source freeze dried raspberry pieces they do add a natural flavour punch; the pieces will loose their crispness after a short while however they still will taste wonderful.

    *undecorated friands freeze well wrapped for three weeks, defrost in the refrigerator before decorating.

    *friand tins are easily available in Australia, mine is a Wiltshire tin from the supermarket. Cute Mini friands  silicone moulds are available on Amazon..they really are "mini" about 3 teaspoons of batter per hole.

     Happy Baking :)

    Need to use your left over egg yolks? How about a batch of pastry cream to fill tarts, pastries and cakes.

    Or an easy Hollandaise sauce.

    Monday
    Apr232012

    Little Lime Lemon Lamingtons 

                                little lime lemon lamingtons 

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    Lemon Lamingtons??? Lamingtons are traditionally cubes of sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut, but according to the Wikipedia entry on Lamingtons 'The raspberry variety is more common in New Zealand, while a lemon variety has been encountered in Australia.' 

    Just as I was thinking "this Australian has never encountered a lemon lamington", I opened a new Australian Women's Weekly cookbook "Cakebaking" and there on page 32 is 'lemon lamingtons'. Have I missed a trend? 

    My broken ribs are still healing and in a "now we have one I baked previously" moment I whipped out a lemon buttercake from the freezer. Plus with more limes in the garden at the moment than lemons it seemed natural to make a batch of lime/lemon butter too. Put the two together and we have my version of a lemon lamington...

     

    bumper crop of limes in the garden this year

    Little Lime Lemon Lamingtons

    Ingredients

    1x plain lemon butter cake or sponge cake cut into cubes (I used a ruler as a cutting guide)

    1x batch of lime/lemon butter (recipe below)

    2 1/2 cups shredded or desiccated unsweentened coconut 

    desiccated and shredded coconut

    Method

    Pour your lime/lemon butter into a pie dish. Place the shredded coconut on a dinner plate. Dip cubes of cake firstly into the lime/lemon butter, then gently roll in coconut.

    You can serve them straight away, but I think they are nicer when you allow them to sit for a short while to allow the lime/lemon butter to sink into the cake a little.

    Lime Lemon Butter (Curd)

     Makes 1 1/2 cups

    Ingredients
    3 large egg yolks
    Zest of one small lime and 1/2 of one lemon
    1/4 cup of lime juice
    6 tablespoons sugar
    4 tablespoons butter, cold and diced

    Method

    Combine yolks,  zest,  juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.

    Remove saucepan from heat. Add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth. Strain.
    Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

    Adapted from Martha Stewart's lemon curd

    Robot Tea Infuser

    My best friend and I both love our tea infuser robots, they're not super practical for everyday use as you can only use large leaf tea inside your robots stomach. But, but, but they make you smile and do look cute just hanging around.

    Happy Baking :)

     

     

    Raspberry and Tangelo fruit butter recipes Fruit butter/curd tips and storage.

    Monday
    Apr092012

    Aunty Clare's Chocolate Frog Grog

                                         aunty clare's chocolate frog grog

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    A tiny town is Mangalore; so tiny in fact the entire town is comprised of "the pub". My Aunty Clare owned the Mangalore Hotel, where I spent many a school holiday in the hotel kitchen or waitressing in the lounge, occasionally a sheep would wander through the bar... but those stories are for another day. 

    mangalore hotel situated two hours north of Melbourne 

    When my Aunt and Uncle eventually retired to another nearby town they took with them more scotch whisky than you can imagine. Scotch whisky that turned up in all sorts of desserts, cakes and preserves. You will have to combine the thought of that whisky with Aunty Clare's that day find of "bulk bags of slighty deformed Cadbury's Freddo Frogs" to explain how I found myself in a country kitchen unwrapping chocolate frogs for Aunty Clare who was about to whip up a batch of frog grog.

    Frog grog is really just another version of homemade Baileys Irish Cream and you can replace the chocolate frogs with the same weight milk chocolate of choice, but I do love all the shot glasses lined up with their accompanying chocolate frog "chaser". 

    I started with the labels... Eat Drink Chic has vintage apothecary labels you can download here. Once downloaded pop the labels into photoshop or art software of choice to customise. 

    customise the labels

     

    Cadbury Freddo chocolate frogs 

    Aunty Clare's Chocolate Frog Grog

    makes just over 2 litres, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

    Ingredients

    2 x cans of sweetened condensed milk

    1 x can of evaporated milk

    1 and 1/2 cups thickened cream (thickened cream in Australia contains a little gelatine, you could use fresh bottled liquid whipping cream instead)

    200 grams (7oz) Cadbury Freddo Frogs 

    3 cups of Scotch Whisky

    1 tsp pure vanilla extract/essence

    1 tbl instant expresso coffee dissolved in 1 tbl of boiling water

    extra chocolate frogs for serving

    Method

    Place all your unwrapped frogs in a large heatproof bowl and melt gently over a pot of barely simmering water. 

    *tip... avoid overheating by removing frogs from heat when they are two thirds melted and stir to melt remainder. 

    Place your bowl of melted frogs on your bench and slowly whisk in the two cans of sweentened condensed milk. Then whisk in the evaporated milk, cream, dissolved coffee and vanilla extract. Once that's all combined finish by whisking in the whisky.

    Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a large jug and decant into sterilised bottles. Glue on your labels and you are all finished. Best left for at least 24 hours, before enjoying chilled over ice... don't forget the extra frogs! 

    You may have seen on facebook that our puppy has been renamed "Gallifrey" and I'm nursing broken ribs at the moment.

    I'll be back baking and blogging in May, hope to see you then :)

    More of Aunty Clare? Try your hand at making a batch of scotch whisky marmalade for your puddle cupcakes.

    Or more Grog? Try Bundy Banana Cupcakes or make yourself a toffee topper... here

    Friday
    Jan202012

    Han Solo Cupcake

    chocolate cupcake, red cocoa frosting, chocolate Han Solo in "carbonite", chocolate pop rocks

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    Lawyers, counsellers and doctors oh my!!

    Well, here I am and the shock of my marriage break up dulled by being caught up in lawyer, counsellor and doctors appointments. 

    Like Han Solo I'm trapped, not in carbonite but in a swirl of paperwork that binds me to my husband. Hopefully I'm not on my way to Jabba the Hutt!!

    Now, lets talk chocolate :) 

    Silicone ice-cube trays double as moulds for your chocolate creations, today I've used the large Han Solo mould for my cupcake topper. Your chocolate tempered or otherwise doesn't have the "high shine" finish of using hard plastic moulds, but this is more than made for with the plethora of designs that are available in silicone. 

    Han Solo ice-cube tray

    I half filled the mould with melted chocolate, sprinkled on chocolate pop rocks, then filled the rest of the mould. You end up with a "Choc Rock Han Solo Block"... or something like that.

    Chocolate pop rocks

    Use food paints and lustre dusts to colour your finished pieces. I sprinkled extra pop rocks and chocolate rocks on the frosting.

    Thank you everyone for your messages/comments of support. I have read them all, please forgive me for not replying at the moment and I'm going to give Valentines cupcakes a miss this year too... but I'll be back in March with "bunnies" and Easter goodies.

    The Lone Baker xx

     

    Sunday
    Jan152012

    Year of the Dragon Cupcake 

                   Year of the Dragon Cupcake

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    Sshhh, be quiet. Leave me alone, why do you keep talking.

    I'm trying to sleep, cry, I just want to die.

    What do you want? A cupcake to symbolise a "new start"? 

    'Year of the Dragon Cupcake' dedicated to my step son Daniel who is wise beyond his years and the most inspirational person I've ever known.

    January 23rd is Chinese New Year and fondant dragon cupcake toppers look stunning whether made as a gift, as center piece for your tray of pineapple tarts or even a bowl of Chinese candies. Here is how I made mine.... 

    I start with a rough template of what size I want.

    Then I rolled a snake shape from fondant, I'd usually use white but today I've used different colours to illustrate the different elements. Press a toothpick in now so you have a hole for later placement.

    I added scales to the dragons body with the end of a piping tip. Then rolled and shaped spikes and detail from more fondant and adhered in place with water.

    Once that was done I started to build the head, using plastic wrap to support drying pieces.

    Then I added the legs and allowed the dragon to dry overnight.

    Next morning I used a small paint brush to add copper food paint to the body of the dragon and gold lustre dust brushed over the entire dragon to finish, including the back of the piece. I painted the toothpick with edible paint and inserted it into the dragon ready to add to my cake. 

    Happy Baking :)

    Wednesday
    Dec282011

    No cupcakes today

    Life is strange, my husband that I love more than anything in world asked for a divorce today and has left me for another woman also named "jenny" there is something funny it that is there not? I loved and honoured him for nineteen years. I don't know what to say, except I wish him no malice and I hope he finds happiness. To my step son Daniel who I love more than my life.... I'm sorry this shame, dishonour was brought into you life. I love you Mark and I'm sorry that I couldn't be what you wanted, sorry too that you couldn't find it in yourself to treat me with the respect I deserved. But it's over now, lets make it as amicalable as possible... for Dan's sake and for us moving forward. I keep thinking you won't see your corn grow and what should I do with the the decades of hallmark ornaments. Love you, take care and be happy xx Thinking of my mum now and how much she believed in you... sad that you didn't realise I always believed in you too... sad }:

    Saturday
    Dec242011

    White Chocolate Cranberry and Pistachio Rocky Road

    Join me on facebook... 2012 is going to be a great year!!

    Busy, busy, busy in the lead up to Christmas? I know I have, with barely the time to bake it's time for a super quick idea!! This rocky road recipe is easily doubled... and if you need more make seperate batches. There is a splash of liqueur in it, but if making for the kids just leave it out. 

    White Chocolate Cranberry and Pistachio Rocky Road with Grand Marnier 

    makes 12 to 16 pieces

    Ingredients

    300g (10oz) white chocolate 

    25g (0.90oz) unsalted butter

    100g (3.5oz) pistachios

    100g (3.5oz) dried cranberries 

    50g (1.75oz) pink and white marshmallows cut in half with oiled scissors

    1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier (optional) 

    Method

    Line a brownie or slice tin with plastic wrap or non stick baking paper. If using Grand Marnier, mix the Grand Marnier and dried cranberries in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave on medium low 10 seconds at a time until cranberries begin to plump. Set aside.

    In a mixing bowl melt chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water until just melted. Be careful not to overheat. Stir in pistachios, marshmallows and cranberries. Pour into lined tin and smooth top with spatula. Chill for 2 hours in the fridge. Turn out and cut into squares. Package in cellophane treat bags.

    Merry Christmas!!!

    Back second week of the New Year, safe and happy festive season to everyone... and happy baking :)

    Thursday
    Dec152011

    Christmas Rush Raspberry Tuiles 

    Two ingredients (rasberries and sugar) Rasberry Tuile Topped mini cupcake

    Good griefl, I swear I had black and silver cases in "medium", but all I find was mini's. This left me with toppers that were far too large and since I'd already applied silver leaf to black choc candy coated balls I had to come up with a different topper. 

    Two ingredient 'Raspberry Tuiles' have a long oven drying time, but other than that were simple and quick to make fitting in perfectly with "Christmas rush" mode that I'm well and truly in!! 

    Now I did burn the first batch, second batch I reduced the cooking time by 20 minutes and they worked perfectly. I used a metal ruler and a sharp knife to cut strips; I then bent the strips and pinched ends whilst still warm.

    The strips dry quickly to produce a crispy tuile that is intense in flavour, colour and is also vegan and gluten free. They are best made close to serving and perfect to top a range of desserts.

    You just need raspberries and sugar for these... do give it a try and watch chef *David Carmichael the Executive Pastry Chef at The New York Palace demonstrate how the make the tuiles (recipe included).

    *Note: chef Carmichael uses 4 pints (8 cups) of raspberries, I halved the recipe.

     if you use a silpat you will end up with a waffle pattern on the shiny side.

    Happy Baking :) and Christmas preparations!!  

    Monday
    Dec122011

    A Spun Sugar Purple Christmas


    spun sugar purple christmas tree mini cupcake

    Goodness me, I must admit I haven't enthusiastically embraced my husbands choice of "purple" as a Christmas theme but I thought I should make an attempt and produced a batch of fondanted cupcakes... I stood back and they looked far too "menopause mauve". 

    Instead I'll go with purple spun sugar Christmas tree toppers for my mini cupcakes. Watch out for tea light holders in your chosen theme, they make for fab mini cupcake stands like the one I've used today. 

    cream horn form

    To make the spun sugar tree you will need cream horn forms and follow the instructions for one of my earlier posts; blue sugar springs. Instead of using a spoon to create a spring use a kitchen fork to produce threads to wrap around the form. Start of third of the way up and scroll to the top. 

    I used an empty egg carton to hold the cream horns whilst sugar is drying. Sprinkled on edible lilac disco glitter and star sprinkles. 

    Storage: like all sugar pieces trees are best made on day of serving. Sugar work breaks down quickly in a humid enviroment. 

     Have fun, happy baking :) and Merry Christmas!!

    Not enough purple for you? Try purple butterflies.

    Saturday
    Dec102011

    Basil Syrup - A tiny taste of Summer

                                             a tiny taste of summer cupcake

    Chefs and baking professionals love a stock syrup, once you start using them you will too! 

    Stock syrups are also known as sugar syrup, simple syrup, light or heavy syrup depending where you are from. Cakes are syruped to seal the cake preserving freshness, moisten the cake and can also flavour the cake. 

    With a jar of stock syrup in the fridge you can quickly poach fruit, add to salad dressings, syrup your cupcakes, act as glaze, whip up a sorbet, make fruit sauces/coulis, cocktails, and a plethora of dessert applications.

    Stock syrup is often infused with herbs, spices, citrus, ginger, vanilla, liqueurs, teas and flowers. 

    Basic Stock Syrup 

    Ingredients

    2 cups of water

    2 cups of white sugar

    Method

    Combine the water and sugar in a medium heavy based saucepan. Over medium heat bring mixture to boil, stirring once or twice along the way. 

    Cook 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

    Basil syrup

    one cup of stock syrup

    strawberries

    small fresh basil leaves

    Put one cup of syrup in a small saucepan, pour remaining syrup into a screw top jar and refrigerate for up to three weeks.

    Bring the syrup in the saucepan almost to the boil, add three basil leaves and cover... allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove basil leaves and allow syrup to cool.

    The basil after steeping ready to be removed. Whole spices, vanilla beans, and citrus peel may be left longer if desired. The syrup will pick up the colour of citrus peel with prolonged standing.

    Brush cupcake tops with basil syrup, top with either marscarpone or cream cheese frosting. Toss chopped strawberries in the left over syrup and pile onto your cupcakes. Add small basil leaves for decoration.

    Other flavoured syrups are created in the same way, try rosemary, thyme and mint. Vanilla made with a whole split bean, store the vanilla bean in the syrup for a stronger flavour. A bruised piece of fresh ginger makes a lovely syrup to use on fruit salads, so does split and bruised lemon grass... or how about a combo of the two "ginger and lemon grass". Tea bags, herbal, green or black make for flavourful infused syrup as does roasted coffee/cocoa nibs.

    Allow one tablespoon of liqueur or rum/brandy/whisky per cup of syrup, this is a great cake syrup or even in your cup of coffee (though probably best not to have it with your brekkie cup). Zest strips from lemon, lime, orange, remove after 20 minutes for a slight citrus tang, leave overnight for a stronger flavour. 

    Whole spices such as cinnamon or star anise can also be left in the syrup if a stronger flavour is desired. If using flowers keep the quantity of petals/buds small, a little goes a long way. 

    *notes; cupcake pictured today is larger than real life version, the actual cupcake and subsequent basil leaves are small. To make a heavier/thicker syrup 3 cups sugar to 1 cup water, to make a lighter syrup 3 parts water to one part sugar.

    That's it for today, hope you are all having a great weekend.

    Happy Baking :)