Throwback Thursday – Rock Cakes

Earlier this week, Liam had one of his little friends come over for a play.  I’d had the best intentions of tidying up the night before, but it just didn’t happen.  That morning I was madly racing around trying to make the house at least semi presentable, Liam on the other hand seemed to be following me around unpacking everything I had just put away.

I’d wanted to do some baking for the kids morning tea, but when it was apparent I was quickly running out of time, I thought about making some scones, but changed my mind at the last minute and made Rock Cakes.  This recipe is from my old McAlpins baking book, so I knew it was going to be easy to put together.  When adding the dried fruit I decided to go with currants and chopped dates which were super yummy.

These tasted great straight out of the oven.  If you wanted to, you could cut them in half and add butter or jam, but we were happy to eat them on their own.  The kids enjoyed them, as did Saxon (our dog), who always does well when the kids are outside eating!

Simple & Delicious

Simple & Delicious

2 cups self raising flour

90g unsalted butter, chilled & cubed

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (I used currants and dates)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

* Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper

* Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

* Stir through the sugar, dried fruit and ginger.

* Whisk together the egg and milk in a bowl and add to the dry ingredients, mixing until a dough forms.

* Drop rough heaps of mixture (I used a soup spoon) onto the trays and bake for 10 – 12 minutes (I found mine were ready after 10 minutes).

* Transfer onto a wire rack to cool

Throwback Thursday – Wholemeal Mocha Cake

I’m still enjoying making the old recipes from my Nan’s McAlpins cookbook.  The recipes are pretty basic, and they stick to tried and true flavours and techniques.  When I saw this recipe, I thought it was a winner before I had even tasted it!  It goes without saying that a coffee and a piece of cake go together – so why not combine the two?  The addition of chocolate icing literally tops off the flavour of the cake, and I love the walnuts too.  Before I started making the recipes from this book, I’d never used coffee essence before in my baking.  Whilst it did give this cake a good flavour, next time I think I will substitute the essence for an espresso shot…  or maybe two!

chocolate + coffee = winning combination

chocolate + coffee = winning combination

 

6oz Wholemeal self raising flour

pinch of salt

3oz butter

4oz caster sugar

2 eggs

4 tablespoons milk

1 dessert spoon coffee essence

walnuts to decorate

* Sift flour & salt

* Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs gradually

* Mix in sifted ingredients alternatively with milk and coffee essence

* Pour into a greased and lined 20cm tin and bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees)  for 20 – 25 minutes.

* When cake has cooled, top with a simple chocolate icing and decorate with walnuts if you wish.

Throwback Thursday – Apricot Biscuits

Growing up we had a huge apricot tree in our backyard.  Every summer it would be laden with fruit, which as kids we took for granted and would turn our nose up the fresh fruit -instead we found it more fun to try and hit the unripened fruit over the road with our tennis rackets… that’s another story though! When we were really young it provided shade for our cubby house, this was then replaced by a treehouse when we became older, and we used to spend hours amongst the leaves having all sorts of adventures.  A few years ago Mum told me the sad news that they were going to have to pull down the tree, whilst she had tried her best to save it through many years of drought, it had taken it’s toll.  A new one was planted in it’s place and has since started to provide us with fruit (in much smaller quantities).

Mum would spend hours in the hot kitchen making huge batches of apricot jam that we would then devour throughout the year.  I know that I am biased, but Mum’s jam is the BEST, I won’t ever buy apricot jam from the supermarket as it’s just not the same.  She even blends it for me as I don’t like it to be too lumpy!  Any time a family member is making the trip up to Brisbane, she will always check if I need any jam or sauce (her homemade sauce is awesome too).

So when I saw a recipe in my McAlpins book for Apricot biscuits, it was a no brainer that I was going to give them a go. I was quite generous with the jam, going with three tablespoons instead of the 2 teaspoons indicated.  This made my biscuits very sweet, but no too overpowering.  You could certainly taste the apricot in them – which can never be a bad thing.  They were quite flat, maybe this was because of my changes to the recipe, but they still tasted nice.  For half of the batch, I added 1/4 cup of coconut which I thought really went well with the apricot flavour.  Overall they did taste good, I probably wouldn’t make them again, but I did enjoy the trip down memory lane.

Sweet sugary goodness

Sweet sugary goodness

4 oz caster sugar

3 oz butter

1 egg

2 teaspoons apricot jam

4 oz self raising flour – sifted

* Cream butter and sugar together, add egg and then jam and mix well

* Add flour and beat well

* Drop onto a greased tray using a teaspoon, allowing room to spread

* Bake in a moderate oven for 7 minutes, or until golden.

* Allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Throwback Thursday – Orange and Sultana Cake

This week’s trip down memory lane is a SUPER quick and easy orange and sultana cake.  After a week of Liam deciding he doesn’t want to sleep in his big boy bed (in reality it’s still his cot, just with one side rail removed) and the subsequent crankiness and tantrums, I was after a recipe that wouldn’t take up too much time.

I find that most of the McAlpins cakes require creaming. This one is different, all the ingredients are just popped in together, mix, and you are all done.  It certainly isn’t the best cake I’ve ever made. But for little time and ingredients it needs, it will do the job for a quick arvo tea.

 

1 heaped cup self raising flour

1 cup castor sugar

Juice & rind of 1 orange made up to 1/2 a cup by adding milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 egg

1/2 cup sultanas

 

* Place all ingredients together in a bowl and mix for 3 minutes

* Pour into greased cake tin (I used a loaf tin) and bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes

That is seriously all there is to it!!

Super simple

Super simple

Throwback Thursday – Tropical Cake

As Summer is creeping up on us (the weather we’ve had this past week makes it feel like it’s already here!), a lot of summer fruits are making their way into our basket.  This week I bought some wonderful looking passionfruit – my first for the season, and it seemed there was no better time to make this Tropical Cake from the McAlpins recipe book.

To date, I have followed the recipes from this book to the letter, resisting the urge to tweak with additional ingredients.  I admit to caving with this cake by adding two of my favourite ingredients – vanilla and coconut, because really you can’t go wrong with these two great flavours?  Let me know what you think!

 

Tropical Cake

 

8 oz self raising flour

pinch of salt

4 oz butter or margarine

6 oz castor sugar

2 eggs

2 passionfruit

1 banana

3 tablespoons of milk

My additions:

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 tablespoons coconut

 

  • Sift flour and salt
  • Cream butter and sugar, beat eggs in gradually
  • Mix in sifted ingredients alternately with milk
  • Lastly mix in pulp of the passionfruit and banana
  • Turn into a greased tin lined on bottom with paper (I used a 20cm round tin)
  • Bake in a moderate oven 40 – 50 minutes (I baked mine for 35 mins in a 170 degree fan forced oven
  • When cold ice with passionfruit icing and decorate with pieces of cherry

 

Passionfruit Icing

  • Boil the skins of the passionfruit in just a little water for a few minutes. Use some of this liquid to mix the icing sugar and you will get a pale pink icing flavoured with passionfruit

* Sift 4oz icing sugar into a bowl and add liquid gradually (approx 1 tablespoon) to make it the consistency required.

Throwback Thursday – Chocolate Whirl Cake

Yikes…  it’s Wednesday afternoon and I’ve just realised I haven’t baked anything for Throwback Thursday!  Luckily the McAlpins recipes are all pretty simple,  combine that with a happy baby and a big boy at kindy and the crisis is averted!

This reminds me of a much simpler version of the rainbow cakes we used to have as kids (this may be a project for the weekend).  The cake itself is quite plain, but the chocolate ‘whirl’ and butter icing provide the kick that it needs.

chocolate whirl cake copy 2

Click here for conversion table

8 oz (2 teacups) self raising flour

pinch of salt

4 oz margarine (I used unsalted butter)

6 oz castor sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

3 eggs

4 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon coca blended with 2 tablespoons of boiling water

  • Sift flour and salt
  • Cream margarine/butter and sugar and beat in eggs gradually
  • Mix in sifted ingredients alternately with milk and vanilla essence
  • Turn into a greased tin lined on bottom with paper (I used a 20cm round tin)
  • Pour the blended cocoa on the top and stir it around with a knife
  • Bake in a moderate oven for 50 – 60 minutes (I baked my cake for 35 minutes at 170 degrees in a fan forced oven
  • When cold, ice the top with Chocolate Butter Icing

Chocolate Butter Icing

3 oz icing sugar

1 oz butter

1 tablespoon cocoa

  • Sift sugar
  • Blend the cocoa into a thick paste with boiling water, mix in the icing sugar well
  • Soften the butter and work into the icing
  • Spread over cake or use for piping/decorating cakes

DSC_0869 copy 2

Coconut Biscuits

Looking through Mum’s tattered old recipe book, I came across a few recipes I can clearly remember from my childhood.  These biscuits were one of my favourites growing up. Nan would often send some back home with us after we had been up visiting her for the weekend.  Like a lot of Nan’s recipes, there are just a few ingredients and they are super easy.  They are incredibly light and it’s really hard to stop at one!  This batch made around 18 biscuits – and between 6 of us, there are only 3 left.

Tiff and Liam enjoyed the biscuits

Tiff and Liam enjoyed the biscuits

Click here for metric conversion table

4 oz butter

4 oz castor sugar

2 eggs

2 oz coconut

6 oz self raising flour

  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees
  • Cream butter and sugar
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat in
  • Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined
  • Drop dessertspoons of mixture onto trays lined with baking paper (mixture will be quite runny)
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until a golden colour.  Cool on trays for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks.
  • Makes approx 18 biscuits
Yummy!

Yummy!