Chocolate Goodness – Chocolate Cake with Orange Syrup

It’s a Sunday afternoon and I’ve got time on my hands.  Little Aiden is sound asleep and Liam is being entertained outside by his grandparents.  I stop myself from sitting down with a coffee (I’ve already had 4 today) and instead decide to do some baking.  Luckily Mum has a huge stash of fresh eggs, following a delivery from my Uncle’s chooks (will miss the fresh eggs when we head back home next week) as this cake needs 8 of them.

This is a Donna Hay recipe (from Simply Essentials – Chocolate) so it is pretty straightforward.

I found the syrup took around 20 minutes to thicken to the consistency that I wanted.  Also I only added zest from two oranges (they were super sized), as there weren’t enough to have 1/2 a cup – which seems like an excessive amount.  Unfortunately the cake had cooled quite a bit before I had the chance to pour on the syrup as it was then dinnertime and both the boys were vying for my attention (I always go to the one crying the loudest).  It still absorbed the syrup, but it would have been a lot better if it was added whilst still warm.

Mum and I loved the combination of orange and chocolate – and didn’t feel it needed the extra zest in the syrup. I also drizzled some left over syrup over our piece which made the cake super moist.

Adding extra syrup makes this cake super moist

Adding extra syrup makes this cake super moist

8 eggs

1 1/3 cups caster sugar

2/3 cup cocoa powder sifted

1 cup plain flour sifted

75g butter melted

Orange syrup

1/2 cup orange zest

1 cup water

1 cup orange juice

1 1/2 cups sugar

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees
  • Line a deep 20cm round cake tin with non stick baking paper
  • Place the eggs and sugar in bowl of mixer and beat for 7-8 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy
  • Add the cocoa, flour and butter, folding gently until just combined
  • Pour mixture into the cake tin, bake for 1 1/4hrs or until cooked when tested
  • While cake is cooking, make the syrup
  • Heat the zest, water, juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved
  • Allow the syrup to simmer for 8 minutes or until thick
  • Cool the cake in the tin for 5 minutes, turn out and place on serving plate.
  • Pour the syrup over the top of cake and serve warm
Yum - eat warm with ice-cream!

Yum – eat warm with ice-cream!

Linking up with the Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

It’s a scone off!

I love scones.  They are the perfect morning/afternoon tea, and super easy to put together. For the last few years I’ve used a traditional recipe (source unknown) and apart from the couple of times when I used plain flour instead of self raising (I blame baby brain) they have never failed. In the past I’ve also tried Lemonade Scones (made using a can of lemonade and cream), but there is nothing like the traditional recipe in my opinion.

After devouring Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ – something I wish I was, but constantly fall short on – I was keen to try her recipe ‘Lily’s Scones’ which rather than using self raising flour, use plain flour combined with bicarb soda and cream of tartar.  What better way to compare the two than to have a scone off!

My little helper as well as my family have enjoyed this challenge.  We’ve had a few debates over which scone is better, I think they have been watching too many cooking shows with comments about the ‘crumb’, ‘texture’ and ‘overall appeal’ being tossed about.

Always eager to help out!

Always eager to taste test!

We found Nigella’s scones to be VERY light and fluffy – thanks to the cream of tartar, although they rose, I felt they could have been higher. The egg wash gave them a good colour and they tasted great.

Nigella's scones

We didn’t find a huge difference in taste, it was really the different textures that set the two apart.  Personally I prefer the original recipe, they rise well and have a great texture and taste.

Original and still the best?

Original and still the best?

Both of the recipes are below – you be the judge!

‘Lily’s Scones’ – How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

500g plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

50g cold unsalted butter diced

25g trex, in teaspoon lumps (or use another 25g butter)

300ml milk

1 large egg beaten for egg wash

  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees
  • Sift the flour, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl
  • Rub in the fats until it looks like breadcrumbs
  • Add the milk all at once and mix briefly with a knife
  • Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough
  • Roll out to about 3cm thickness
  • Dip cutter into some flour (6 1/2 cm round cutter) and cut out scones.
  • Bring excess dough back together to cut out more scones (I made 11)
  • Place on a lightly greased baking tray quite close together and brush with egg wash
  • Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes or until risen and golden

vs

Traditional Scone Recipe – origin unknown

3 cups self raising flour

pinch of sale

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter diced

2 1/4 cups milk

extra milk for wash

  • Preheat oven to 230 degrees
  • Sift flour and salt into large bowl
  • Add butter and rub in until mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Add approx 2 cups of milk and mix together with a butter knife.  Add additional milk as needed (I find I sometimes don’t need to full 2 1/4 cups of milk)
  • Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough
  • Roll out to around 3cm thickness (I don’t use a rolling pin, instead using my hands to pat out/shape)
  • Dip cutter into flour and cut out scones
  • Bring excess dough back together and cut out more scones (I usually make 10 -12 scones)
  • Place on lightly greased baking tray close together so they are almost touching and brush excess milk over for glaze
  • Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes or until risen and golden

The week that was….

Well week 2 of baby watch has concluded with STILL NO BABY!  The positive news is that although she is now in hospital until bub arrives, Tiff is now officially full term (a milestone I seem to fall short of!)

37 + 1 week belly!

37 + 1 week belly!

Last Sunday Tiff and I took the boys to Echuca for the morning.  It bought back a lot of memories, we used to spend EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND their as kids visiting our grandparents.  I was planning to take Liam on a paddle steamer ride, but decided an hour long cruise was just TOO long for an on the go toddler.  Instead we went on a horse and carriage ride which he LOVED….

Liam loved our carriage ride

Liam loved our carriage ride

We also went back to Little People’s Art and did some more painting.  Liam chose to paint a Lion this time (when I say chose I was showing him what he could paint and he roared when I said Lion), although he got distracted playing with the trains and I ended up painting most of it, he added the final touches to our masterpiece!

 

Liam is being very affectionate to his little brother at the moment – he can sometimes be a little too enthusiastic though…

Cuddles x

Cuddles x

 

Love x

Love x

We’ve had a lovely time catching up with friends this week.  I’m very lucky to have a great group of friends, some of which I’ve known for 20 + years and although we haven’t seen each other since we were last home 10 months ago, when we catch up it’s like no time has passed.  Catching up with everyone is also a great excuse to have a lot of coffee dates!

Mmmm Coffee...

Mmmm Coffee…

 

On Friday Aiden was Four Months old!  Our little man has come so far, doubling his birthweight already and really interacting with us now.  Luckily I packed the Milestone Cards from Little me Little you.  I love them and just wish I had discovered them earlier and could have used them for Liam as well.

Four Months old

Four Months old

I’m pleased to say I’ve completed my 3/4 year resolutions this week.  This morning I was able to run 2.8km before I had to stop in case I passed out.  Super excited about this achievement, as I’ve never been much of a runner.  My goal is to be able to run the 5k Mothers Day Classic next year.

It’s been over 9 years since I moved to Queensland and i think I’d forgotten how seriously Victorians take their football. Aiden and I went into the shops earlier this afternoon and it was like a ghost town with everyone watching the footy. There were even a heap of stores that had closed early so their staff could watch the footy.

 

I hope you have all had a great week xx

 

Saturday Mornings

Being a stay at home mum, it can sometimes seem like each day is the same.  The boys still need to be fed/dressed/bathed and entertained no matter what the day of the week.

There is something special about Saturday mornings though that I love.  It’s still the three of us when we wake up, as Scott will have already left for his morning ride, everything just seems to be more relaxed. I love being able to spend time together, and Liam being the Daddy’s boy that he is just follows Scott around all day.

This morning I took the opportunity of having Mum look after the boys whilst I went down to the park for a run/walk.  Although it was FREEZING (think jumper, long pants) it was still a beautiful morning and has started my weekend on a positive note – especially since I was able to run 2 laps of the lake without stopping (2.8km – woohoo!!)

All I need now is a coffee and I will be having the perfect Saturday morning!

What is your perfect morning?

 

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Caramel Chip Cookies

While I was at the local Woolies the other day (replacing the ingredients I have been using from Mum’s cupboard!), I came across ‘Caramel Bits’ by Nestle.  I have seen them a couple of times before, but usually when I’m doing the grocery shopping I don’t have the luxury of spending time looking different products.

Impulse buy

Impulse buy

On an impulse I grabbed a bag, thinking I could substitute them for chocolate chips in another recipe – admittedly I was thinking of adding them to brownies since they are my latest obsession.  Normally I don’t pay attention to the recipes on the back of bags/containers etc, for some reason I am a snob and think they will be rubbish – this time I thought I would give it a go.

It’s a very straightforward recipe and method, trying a couple of the caramel chips on their own, I found them to be very sweet and was concerned how the cookies were going to turn out.  In the end the cookies were pretty good. Quite plain, and if I was to make them again I would add some nuts to them – maybe pecans or walnuts? Even coconut would be a good addition.  The family thought they were good, and as always my little helper Liam tried one and liked it.

Overall, I was happy with them and will try not to be such a recipe snob in the future!

125g butter softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 cups self raising flour – sifted

250g caramel bits

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees and grease and line 2 baking trays with baking paper
  • Place butter, brown sugar, and egg in bowl of an electric mixer, beat until mixture is pale and creamy
  • Stir in flour, add caramel bits and mix until well combined
  • Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls, place on prepared trays about 4cm apart and flatten slightly.
  • Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until golden.
  • Set aside on trays for 5 minutes to cool and then transfer onto wire rack to cool completely

caramel chip cookies

Throwback Thursday – Wholemeal Cinnamon Cake

Vanilla and Cinnamon – a winning combination in my opinion.  Whilst this isn’t a traditional tea cake, the taste and texture certainly reminded me of one.  The buttercream frosting was super simple to make and complemented the cake perfectly.  I omitted the sherry from the buttercream & went with vanilla instead.  Another great recipe from the McAlpins book.

For metric conversion, please click here

Yum...

Yum…

8 oz (2 teacups) wholemeal self raising flour

Pinch of salt

1 dessertspoon cinnamon

4 oz butter or margarine

5 oz sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

3 eggs

1/4 pint (6 tablespoons) milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

* Sift wholemeal flour, salt and cinnamon

  • Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup, beat in eggs gradually
  • Mix in sifted ingredients alternately with milk and vanilla essence
  • Turn into a greased 7 1/2 inch tin lined on the bottom with paper.
  • Bake in a moderate oven 50-60 minutes (I baked mine at for 30 minutes in a 160 degree fan forced oven)
  • When cold cover the top with butter cream and sprinkle with cinnamon

Butter Cream

5oz icing sugar

2 oz butter

sherry or vanilla flavouring

  • Sift sugar
  • Soften butter slightly and beat to a cream, using a wooden spoon (I chose to use my kitchenaid mixer!)
  • Add sugar by degrees, then flavouring, working in well.
  • Use as a filling or for piping on cake

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