Caramel and Banana Layer Cake

Being the party animals that we are, we decided to ask a couple of friends over to our place for New Years Eve.  Even though we were all still getting over the excess of food and goodies we had been consuming during the past week, I still wanting to make something yummy – and a little naughty for our New Years dessert. I’ve made this cake a few times now and the recipe is from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2.  This time I decided to add banana to the layers in the attempt to bring a little bit of goodness to an otherwise sweet and yummy dessert.

It was a lovely night, spent with some great friends.  Alas our toddlers partied more than we did, with the adults happy to sit back and watch them expend what seemed to be a never ending supply of energy…..  If only they could have passed some on to us, we were all in bed by 11pm!

I hope you are all having a great start to the year

xx

caramel and banana layer cake

1 1/4 cups plain flour

6 eggs

3 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

125g butter – melted

2 cups thickened cream

vanilla essence

2 tablespoons icing sugar

1 banana – sliced thinly

caramel sauce – cooled

Caramel Sauce

– 3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup of single or pouring cream (I’ve also used thickened cream in the past and it has still turned out fine).

 

– Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Line and grease a 18cm square tin

– Sift the flour three times and put aside.

– Put the eggs, caster sugar and brown sugar in a bowl and beat together for 8-10 minutes with an electric mixer until mixture is pale and thick and has tripled in size

– Sift flour over the mixture and fold together gently, then fold in the butter.

– Using a spoon, put mixture into tin, and bake for 25 minutes.

– While cake is baking, make caramel sauce by stirring together brown sugar and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat and simmer for around 8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.  Let the sauce cool slightly in the saucepan, before transferring to another container and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool completely

– Cool cake in tin for 5 minutes and then turn onto a cake cooling rack – leave until completely cooled before slicing cake in half

– Beat together cream, drop of vanilla essence and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar until cream is whipped

– Spread half of cake with cream, cover with half of the banana slices, and half of the caramel sauce

– Carefully place top layer onto the cake and repeat.

– I like to leave this cake for an hour or so in the fridge, then remove around 15minutes prior to serving.  It’s best eaten the day of/day after making.

Hazelnut and Caramel Slice

Caramel Slice is one of my FAVOURITE treats, especially Donna Hay’s version which is made with 2 tins of condensed milk to give it a truly decadent caramel layer.  After our 1600km car trip, we were greeted with plate of this slice to for morning tea.  I didn’t think Caramel Slice could be improved, until I tried a piece of my Mum’s slice – instead of plain chocolate on top, she instead used hazelnut chocolate….. yum!!

This Caramel Slice recipe is from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2, next time I make this recipe at home, I will be definitely be using hazelnut chocolate.

hazelnut and caramel slice

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup brown sugar

125g melted butter

1/3 cup golden syrup

125g melted butter

2 x 400g tins of condensed milk

220g block of cadbury hazelnut chocolate

3 teaspoons vegetable oil

* Combine plain flour, coconut, brown sugar and 125g of melted butter and stir together. Press into a slice tin, fully lined with baking paper hanging over the sides

* Bake in 180 degree oven for 15 minutes – remove and allow to cool

* Combine 125g melted butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan over a low heat and stir for approx 7 minutes until mixture has thickened slightly

* Pour caramel mixture over the top of base and bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and put into the fridge until slice has completely cooled

* Place chocolate and vegetable oil in a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second bursts until chocolate has melted.

* Pour over slice and place in the fridge until almost set – it’s much easier to cut into slices when it isn’t fully set.

Enjoy!

Christmas Baking – Caramel Fudge

I always have been (and probably always will be) a sucker for anything with caramel in it…. who isn’t though?  This is the first year I’ve had to think about Christmas gifts for teachers (daycare and swimming), and what better way to say thank you to someone than give them a gift that you have made!

This is a really easy recipe, with just a few ingredients.  You also get a good arm work out from all the stirring that’s needed, which is a good way to feel less guilty when you try a piece!  This is another recipe from Nestle’s Australia’s Favourite Baking book, so naturally they suggest using all Nestle ingredients.

Caramel Fudge

125g butter – cubed

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

1 tin of condensed milk

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup of white chocolate melts

* In a medium sized saucepan over a low heat, add the butter, golden syrup, condensed milk and brown sugar.

* Mix continuously for approx 10 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly and colour has changed to a golden brown.

* Add white chocolate melts and mix together.

* Pour into 7 x 25cm loaf tin, fully lined with baking paper and pop into the fridge for a couple of hours, or until set.

* Slice into small pieces – it’s quite rich so you don’t need a huge slice.

Salted Caramel Macarons

When it comes to packaged foods/mixes I am a bit of a snob.  I think it goes back to when we were kids and Mum and Nan would always say ‘packet mix’ cake/biscuits/meals were never as good as the real thing.

When looking through my sister’s pantry, I came across a ‘packet mix’ for vanilla cupcakes, and to be honest, they looked really good! As she is one of the least domesticated people I know, I offered to make them for her, until I noticed the expiry date was two years ago.

This then inspired me to checkout the packaged goodies at the supermarket earlier this week.  It was a strange feeling, I actually felt guilty standing in front of them, and could hear Mum and Nan commenting already!

The ones that caught my eye were by Adriano Zumbo. Like many people, I was introduced to him and his crazy recipes through MasterChef. I can remember watching the contestants attempting to construct his macaron tower and thinking it was an impossible task – especially since I have never made macarons!  Spying a box for ‘Salted Caramel Macarons’ I made the decision to take the plunge.

The dreaded 'packet mix'

The dreaded ‘packet mix’

These were SUPER easy!  I’d also like to think my years of watching MasterChef have paid off.  Whilst the instructions were excellent, I remembered it was important to let them sit before putting into the oven and to not over mix.  The template was a great idea, and I was so proud when an army of perfect little domes came out of the oven.  He suggest cooking time of 14 – 18 minutes, I found 14 minutes was plenty of time in my oven.

Adriano also says the addition of sea salt to the caramel is optional….  I went for it and am so glad I did.  Even Scott my toughest critic was impressed!  The mixture made around 22 complete macarons. I would have had a couple more, except a little boy I know stole a couple from the tray whilst I was distracted feeding his brother – when a toddler goes quiet, you just know something bad is going down…..  They were so good that I even broke my ‘one piece rule’ and went back for a second!!  Now my next challenge will be making them from scratch….

These are fantastic - so happy with the result

These are fantastic – so happy with the result

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