This form does not yet contain any fields.

    Entries in white (19)


    Woody's Black and White Brownies Rose's Alpha Bakers

    Woody's Black and White Brownies (with a touch of green) 'The Baking Bible'

    Join me on Facebook or view my Flickr gallery 

    Stuart's Brownie Review Stuart's video brownie review Flickr. 

    Little Stuart is eight years old and has autism, each week he asks me "is it chocolate yet?" This week it is chocolate!! Woody's Black and White Brownies. 

    Stuart wanted to take the brownies to school tomorrow, so the we had to veto the bourbon in the ganache topping and no nuts (nut free school).  This caused an hour or three problem as Stuart kept repeating "the recipe says bourbon" but we settled on mint largely due to Stuart loving 'Peppermint crisp' chocolate bars. :)

    peppermint crisp bar a popular chocolate bar in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa... often used in desserts. 

    Chocolate and butter were melted in a double boiler and scraped into the mixing bowl of the stand mixer.

    Cocoa and sugar were added and mixed until incorporated.

    Eggs and vanilla were beaten in, the mixture became thick and glossy.

    Cream cheese was added and beaten until small bits remained and the mixture was spread evenly in the lined baking pan. I added a handful of choc chips, well just to surprise Stuart really. 

    Hmm, I wondered at this stage were you supposed to be seeing the little bits of cream cheese?

    Brownies were baked until the batter was set one inch from the edge.

    Next was making the white chocolate custard base that would be a compontent of the white chocolate buttercream. I used small callettes so I didn't have to cut chocolate into pieces.

    I had never made a custard from melted white chocolate and butter until this recipe, interesting technique. 

    White chocolate and butter are melted over a double boiler.

    Whisked eggs are added and cooked until slightly thickened (you have custard), it's then strained and cooled.

    white chocolate custard ready to be cooled

    Butter is whipped until creamy, custard gradually mixed in. Beaten to stiff peaks form and covered and popped away for a couple of hours. 

    Frosting is them rebeaten briefly and vanilla added.

    Time to spread frosting on cooled brownie base. 

    Next up "dark chocolate ganache glaze", cream and chocolate are melted together (there is bourbon in this bit if you are using) and ganache is spread on frosting. I sprinkled the crushed peppermint crisp chocolate bars on top at this stage. 

    The brownies are back to fridge now to chill at least one hour before unmoulding and slicing.

    Straight from the fridge the texture is like this. The brownies are much easier to slice. Once returned to room temperature the white chocolate frosting is extremely soft and will squelch out as you bite. I'd like a firmer white layer more in line with denseness that is "a brownie". The brownie base is great, fudgy without being cloying. You can still see the little pieces of cream cheese, not sure what that is about but hey "it's good'.  

    Stuart studying his brownie, he absoloutely loved them... as did his Dad.

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    Would I bake again? All the elements yes, but not together. Great tasting brownie. Great tasting white chocolate custard frosting. Just not the two together.  

    Would I change anything? Yes, I would make the brownie base alone and top with ganache. Maybe incorporate the cream cheese fully because it's not visually appealing.

    The Baking Bible available from Amazon and all discerning book retailers. 

    You might also be interested in chocolate twirly swirly decorations 


    Kourambiethes Rose's Alpha Bakers

    Kourambiethes (Greek Biscuits) 'The Baking Bible'

    Join me on Facebook

    Aristotle wore an icing sugar moustache. 

    With a portly build and chubby hands, I was trying not to stare at the child sized more like a four year old than the eighteen month year old his parents professed him to be. That's how it began, my first after school job babysitting Aristotle in the back of the Greek delicatessen. 

    It was pre Christmas rush, time for freshly baked Kourambiethes. Trays of snowy white crescents and clove dotted balls drifted past, aromas of spiced oranges and roses trailing in the air... then again, it could have been Aristotle's breath!

    Today's bake from 'The Baking Bible' is Kourambiethes (Greek biscuits/cookies), a light shorbread usually made with the Greek brandy Metaxa in the recipe (orange juice if going alcohol free), with or without nuts these are always delicious and never more so than Rose's recipe that uses whipped clarified butter.  

    The recipe starts with clarifying the butter. Lots of butter!!

    Cubed butter is melted.

    Foam can be skimmed off the top of melted butter as your going if desired, using a spoon or a small slotted spoon being careful not to remove too much of the butter.

    Butter is strained through the muslin to remove all milk solids. 

    Chilled clarified butter is unmoulded ready to be chopped, transferred to a mixing bowl with icing sugar.

    My butter weight was short, perhaps due the ummm, zillion (or at least six) folds I made in the muslin. I had to melt more butter to strain to make up weight. I used food safe muslin, using food safe muslin rather than fabric from a fabric store ensures no chemicals unsafe for human consumption are used.

    Oh, better toast the almonds... these are what Australian's call slivered almonds this may differ in other countries, but it's what I toasted and then chopped.

    toasted chopped almonds

    Ten minutes mixing and you have a white fluffy butter mixture, egg yolks, brandy, vanilla are added before the chopped toasted almonds are mixed in and finally the flour and baking powder.

    After chilling the biscuit mixture is shaped into balls (I made the traditional crescent shapes too).

    Often garnished with a whole clove, you see these cookies at Christmas time and Pascha (Greek Easter), though I have had them at Greek Weddings too. 

    Keeping with tradition, I added a whole clove to the center of the round cookies. Despite the "tooth ache drops" smell when you open your cloves pack it won't taste like that once baked, what you get is a lovely touch of spice and a gentle spice aroma. 

    Wish you could taste these, the texture is so light and airy! Don't forget to remove your clove :)

    Would I bake again? Yes, love the light airy texture the clarified butter brings.

    Would I change anything? Yes, I like stronger flavours so I would add either rose water, orange water and orange zest. Salt... I'd add salt, all a bit sweet. Spices; would be nice with nutmeg, cardamom or experiment with teas and coffee. Break with tradition and change the nuts, have a peanut Greek biscuit, pipe on chocolate or perhaps top warm pistachio biscuits with freeze dried cherry dust. 

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a month I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    The Baking Bible available from Amazon and all discerning book retailers. 

    You never know when you will need to make a fondant toe... a Cinderella stepsister toe cupcake


    Fourth of July Cheesecake Rose's Alpha Bakers 

    Today's post is Fourth of July Cheescake 'The Baking Bible' or "how I can wreck an amazing cheesecake with bad blueberries'

    Join me on Facebook

    Ahhh I know better, I do, I do, don't use fruit/veg out of season.  And yet I went ahead and used the most expensive and awful winter blueberries with glass half full "oh, maybe it will be ok" mentality. It wasn't, ok that is.

    But, but, but it was the Fourth of July bake and kind of had to be (well did) have to be red, white and blue.

    I tasted the fresh blueberries, a locally grown winter crop. I was sad, they were bad (so I say apparently chanelling my inner Dr. Suess), that's when I decided to halve the recipe. Because we all know half a bad tasting blueberry topping is better than a full size???? Yep, I know doesn't make sense but at the time...

    "Hmmm" (this was me thinking), I don't have a half sized cheesecake pan, ok I would go with the mini cheesecake size like what I used for the Stilton Cheesecakes a few weeks ago... then I'd have the cooking time too.

    Divided (with a calculator, don't judge!!)

    Half the recipe makes exactly twelve mini cheesecakes. I prepared the pan, shortening on bases, disc of non stick baking paper and cooking spray the sides.

    exactly 12

    Half the red velvet cake batter ready to spread/baked in a flattish pan.

    I used a cookie cutter to cut cheesecake bases.

    Followed the rest of the recipe as in the full sized cheesecake by brushing bases with raspberry jam. Joined the base to the cake, made the dreamy creamy white chocolate frosting.

    Blueberries were bitter, yet tasteless with an "accidentally ate a garden weed" after taste. I made a compote with some of the blueberries hoping for sugar magic, there was no magic :( Now had blueberry compote that matched the fresh berries, it was bitter, yet tasteless with an "accidentally ate a garden weed" after taste.

    I spooned some compote onto frosted cheesecakes and topped with three whole berries (I only had 12 berries left whole) and got a friend to taste (keeping in mind I already knew berries were bad but there is always hope taste tester will love it!!!!)... yep, they didn't love it. A smiley face when they tasted the cheesecake and a "pulled face" when they got to berries.  

    Good news only enough berries for four cheesecakes and taste tester was appeased by taking the "naked" remaining cheesecakes home.  

    The cheesecake it's self is amazing, rich yet light in texture. The recipe is unusual with a higher proportion of sour cream to cream cheese and it's many egg yolks what you have is a "custard" a "cheesecake custard". A definite do again, ummm when it's summer here and blueberries are in season. 

    Australia Day is January 24th and our flag is red, white and blue too... perfect cheesecake for our summer celebration. 

    To see the full sized cheesecake with it's lovely blueberry topping 'Faithy' one of the other alpha bakers version here 

    Happy Baking :)

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a month I will post about what bread I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    The Baking Bible  is available from Amazon and all discerning book stores.

    Would I bake again? Yes, I want my step son (a passionate cheesecake lover) to try it. Definetly for Australia day too, the light texture is surprising and sure to be a hit. 

    Would I change anything? I will invest in a half sized cheesecake pan... American cheesecakes are huge compared to what we usually have here.  

    You might also be interested in making a fondant raven or crow for Poe


    Only a Time Lord knows what season it is cupcake

    'Only a Time Lord knows what season it is' Doctor Who cupcake

    Join me on Facebook

    You haven't even got time to put away your Christmas hat and it's time for Easter, well that's according to Australias major retailers. Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs have been on sale since January 5th. Easter Sunday is April 5th, Easter now runs a quarter of the year???

    Waiting in the queue at the supermarket... on the right of me a clearance rack of candy canes, on the left of me freshly baked hot cross buns, not forgetting the racks of foil wrapped chocolate easter eggs and the gaudy (or romantic... but it's the supermarket queue and romance isn't in the air) Valentines day cards.  

    But I did love Peter Capaldi in his first season as the Doctor in BBC's Doctor Who. So today we have a Time Lord figure. He started when I was practicing figure modelling and ended up being a center display cupcake for a Doctor Who cookie platter. 

    "Practice" it's boring I know, but it's how you get better. 

    I started with a print out of Peter Capaldi photos as the Doctor.

    Here is an earlier model of Peter Capaldi when I was toying with the idea of full caricature. The day was warm and he was still very soft and his hair is not attached as I was checking height.  I chickened out on the over blown features and went for a partial caricature... even then he had an eye removed and replaced after it looked, umm well I think the technical term would be "squiffy":) 

    You have to be fast!!! When working with fondant you have to be fast, drying time is in minutes for modelling. I used a 3 parts fondant to one part modelling chocolate to give me another 5 to 10 minutes to finish face. 

    Green: the green fondant here shows you the basic "eggish" shape most heads start with. I get ready with all the other pieces, such a nose, ears, eyebrows etc. You will have a series of wedges, beans, ovals and snake shapes. Then you start putting together and sculpting your head. I apply pieces with a small damp brush then use modelling tools and fingers to shape. You can give yourself a few more minutes by keeping pieces covered in glad wrap.

    If you don't use modelling chocolate mixed with fondant you might find yourself with the dreaded "elephant skin" as the fondant icing dries. 

    I use Bakels white fondant almost exclusively, colour with gel paste. CMC powder was mixed in the black and red fondant to firm.  

    Have fun, happy baking and do give modelling a figure a try :) 

    Proving I'm a bit of a sucker for a huge topper ... make  Eric the Valentine Emu

    or try a 'Love Caramel Cupcake' 


    Marshmallow Fluff in Australia

    Marshmallow Fluff is the number one item being searched for by Australians on this blog.

    Join me on Facebook

    Wooo Hoooo!! I found Marshmallow Fluff today at my local shopping centre. Ok, this doesn't sound too exciting if your in the US and your local supermarket has loads of the sticky, sweet spreadable marshmallow; yet we Australians are dying to get our hands on it. I can see whoopie pies on the horizon... happy baking :)

    The Unique Pasta + Deli is situated on the corner of the fresh food court at Knox City. 

    A well stocked continental delicatessen with fresh pastas, sauces and antipasto. The staff are friendly and well informed plus I did spy pretty, pretty macarons in the front cabinet. Almost forgot... they have Marshmallow Fluff!!!

    Shop 1048 

    Knox City Shopping Centre

    Cnr Burwood Rd and Stud Rd 

    Wantirna South 3155


    Phone 9837 5498


    Little Bo Peep Cupcake - Steaming Fondant

                           little Bo Peep cupcake with steamed fondant finish

    Join me on Facebook

    Been watching 'Cake Boss'? Always wanted to try steaming your fondant but worried your flowers will droop, your bows flop and your bits fall off? It's easier than you think, trays of fondanted cupcakes to your giant tiered creation literally take seconds to steam to that shiny finish you have always desired.

    A quick look at steaming today...

    my portable steamer for cakes... and my clothes when the fibromyalgia prevents me from ironing!

    Firstly, the steamer unit; we are talking "clothing steamers" here, the type you would use to get the wrinkles out of a business shirt or your work jacket. Clothes steamers are either freestanding (like the ones Buddy uses on Cake Boss) or portable like the one I use.

    I use a small portable steamer unit.

    Make sure your steamer head is clear from any blockage.

    All the steamers work in pretty much the same way; you put water in the tank and turn it on. Make sure your hose isn't tangled and your steamer head is clear from any blockage and you are ready to steam!! You will know it's ready to use when you see steam coming from the head.

    Steam: Not standing too close to your cake and using light sweeping movements, (similar to if you are spraying painting) move your steamer head over your fondanted cake. This only take seconds. You will now have a shiny cake.


    You don't want to melt your cake so don't linger on any one spot with the steamer... light sweeping movements only. As you can see on the quick demo cupcake I made, even the finest modelling paste pieces like the bow and crook won't collapse and your lashes/eyes and bit and bobs won't fall off when light steaming has taken place.

    Avoid any risk of water spotting by making sure your hose is not kinked, a kinked hose will lead to a build up of steam and water droplets that will stain your cake. Ditto with the steaming head; blockages lead to water droplets. 

    Practice!! Practice steaming on dummy fondanted cupcakes/cake if it's your first time, it's the best way to get  to know your particular steamer and will save you any heartbreak down the track. 

    Colors intensify/change with steaming. If you are matching a clients fabric sample for example you will need to check the steamed colour change. 

    I've used the cute little boiled lollies on the demo Little Bo Peep Cupcake today to remind you of what the surface of your steamed cake will feel like after steaming; a little bit sticky/tacky. Your cake will fingerprint easily, dust etc will attach to the surface, something to keep in mind if you will be transporting your cake. 

    Isomalt gems, sugar work, boiled lollies and candies are not meant to be steamed, but if your steaming at the venue, the cake is about to be devoured then of course you can steam.

    That about covers it, steamed fondant finishes can look fabulous whether it's shiny, shiny, primary colours or a gentle sheen on ivory.

    Have fun and happy steaming :) 


    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


    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) 


    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 :)


    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!!  


    Snow Cherries

                                             snow cherry cupcake

    Join me on Facebook... I'd love to see you there.

    A quick little fresh cherry decoration today, that I think is so pretty... hope you do too.

    It's summer in Australia and fresh cherries are in season. "Snow cherries" are a lovely decoration for your cupcakes, cakes and plated desserts for all your Christmas occasions. 

    You'll need...

    room temperature cherries with unbroken skins

    white fondant

    white disco glitter

    small dry artists paintbrush

    small piece of dampened new foam

    Thinly roll out your white fondant, cut small sections and shape. Dampen one side of your fondant shapes with the foam. Pop a cherry in the centre of each piece of fondant and fold up to  attach. Using the dampened foam again, dampen the outside of the fondant and sprinkle with edible disco glitter. Brush off excess glitter that falls on the cherries with the dry brush. Allow to dry.

    Cherries will keep at room temperature for 6 hours (though I have held them as long as overnight). 

    Happy Baking :)

    or what about making mini choc pudding cupcakes?

    you might also be interested in...

    Ode to Bounty Bars Coconut Chocolate Cupcakes


    An Australian Kind of Christmas Cupcake

                    an Australian kind of Christmas cupcake

    Without a large showing for Halloween and no Thanksgiving, Australians go into "Christmas mode" very early. Christmas work parties are on, shopping centres are crowded and puddings are being boiled. 

    Blue skies promise a hot and sunny Christmas and your not Australian if you haven't sat outside perspiring on a 40 Celsius (104 F) Christmas day, swatting away flies and eating a steaming hot bowl of your Aunt's special Christmas Pudding. 

    Regardless of the hot weather we hold onto our British heritage, so along with the BBQ prawns and couscous salad there will be a hot roast turkey dinner or two, puddings, shortbreads, fruit mince pies and national dishes from the many different nationalities that make up Australia. 

    It can all make for a hodge podge type of meal, but I love it and it's "us"... we have hot roast turkey and duck fat roasted potatoes and all the trimmings plus we have cold seafood and salads. Chocolate peppermint ice-cream pudding for dessert, with left overs and hot puddings to be served on Boxing Day. 

    Today's Koala holding onto a Christmas pudding cupcake is topped partly with fondant and part fondant/modelling chocolate. The 50/50 fondant modelling chocolate is easy to work with when making figures, I do like white fondant for the white details. Happy Baking :)

    The modelling chocolate recipe I used is here

    Hubby Mark is 41 and still hasn't seen snow... but he does love Frosty the snowman.