Snickerdoodles

I have heard of snickerdoodles, but having no idea what they really were (I thought they contained snickers bars!), I’d never thought about making them.  Whilst looking through Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ I came across this recipe – it looked easy & not many ingredients were needed, so I gave it a go.

OMG….. What have I been doing waiting so long to make these????  They tasted incredible, just like a cinnamon doughnut.  There was no way I could stop at trying just one, and I will admit to devouring 4 of them…  Oh well, looks like I’m off to the gym tonight!

Try stopping after just one of these beauties...

Try stopping after just one of these beauties…

250g plain flour

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

125g butter at room temperature

100g + 2 extra tbsp of caster sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp cinnamon

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line two baking trays with paper

* Combine the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt and set aside

* On a small plate, combine additional 2 tbsp of caster sugar and cinnamon

* Cream the butter with 100g of sugar until light and fluffy, gradually beat in egg and vanilla extract

* Add the dry ingredients and stir through until a smooth dough forms

* Using a tablespoon, form a small ball of dough and then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

* Place on baking tray and bake for around 15 minutes – they should be turning golden brown at this time.

* Cool on trays for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

It feels like it has been awhile since I have made something truly decadent.  When searching for a recipe to rectify this, there is no better book to turn to than ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ by Nigella Lawson.  This is now the second recipe I have made from this book, where she suggests leaving the cake for a day or so for the flavours to develop (see lemon and almond cake), and while this is VERY frustrating for me – I like the instant gratification baking brings, it it truly worth waiting!  This cake is extremely moist, and although I used a mixture of milk and dark chocolate to make up the 100g required, it was still very rich.
I highly recommend putting the cake tin on another tray, as even though I used the cake tin suggested, it still leaked over the sides…. and yes, I will admit to eating the overflowed cake pieces!

Chocolatey Goodness x

Chocolatey Goodness x

225g soft unsalted butter

375g dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dark chocolate – melted

200g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

250ml boiling water

* Preheat oven to 190 degrees and fully line a 23 x 13 x7cm loaf tin.

* Cream the butter and sugar, then gradually add the eggs and vanilla, beating together well

* Fold in the melted chocolate, being careful not to over beat

* Gradually add the flour, alternating with the boiling water which you need to add the bicarb soda to – the batter will be quite runny

* Pour into the lined tin – it’s also a good idea to place tin on a baking tray lined with foil/baking paper as there will be drips!

* Bake for 30 minutes, then turn down oven to 170 degrees and continue to bake for a further 15 minutes.  When you test the cake it will still be quite moist, so a skewer won’t come out completely clean

* Leave cake in the tin to completely cool before turning out.  It can even be left for a day or so as the flavour will improve.  Also don’t worry – the middle of the cake will sink, as it’s so moist, this just adds to it’s charm!

Chocolate Goodness – Chocolate Marsala Cake

After a wonderful three weeks, it is finally our last day in Victoria. Tomorrow morning we are heading down to Melbourne to fly back home.  Whilst it will be great to be back home and get back into our routine (also back to the great Spring weather we have been having), our departure will also be tinged with some sadness.

The boys and I have really enjoyed our stay, and it’s been wonderful for the boys to have some much interaction with their extended family.

To mark our final day and celebrate the arrival of Flynn, we are having a family celebration lunch – and I nominated myself in charge of the dessert.

It’s a family joke that my Mum LOVES to drink Marsala with Coke.  She is by no means a big drinker – or a drinker at all!  She does however love her Marsala and Coke on special occasions, and we regularly joke that she may have had too many marsala’s if she says something a bit scatty!  She is also a HUGE chocolate lover, and can put away a block of chocolate in an afternoon and still maintain a size 8 figure (something I certainly didn’t inherit).  So when I came across a recipe for Chocolate Marsala cake in ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson, it seemed the only logical cake to make!

The book does warn  the cake sinks a little in the middle, I thought the sinking was pretty minimal though, and the chocolate icing covered it perfectly.

It is a very rich and moist cake, we served it with cream which helped cut through some of the richness, strawberries or raspberries would also be a nice addition.

We all really enjoyed the cake, you could definitely taste the marsala throughout the cake and icing and it was a great end to a celebratory meal.

** Please note Mum has read through this post and is not offended by any of the comments!

A perfect celebration cake

A perfect celebration cake 

100g unsalted butter

100g dark chocolate – broken up

4 large eggs

175g caster sugar

50g self raising flour – sifted 3 times

3 tablespoons Marsala

 

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a 22cm springform tin
  • Melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave (or a double boiler if you prefer) and set aside to cool slightly
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale and mixture has at least doubled in size.
  • Gently fold in the sifted flour
  • Fold in the chocolate mixture and pour into the tin and cook for 35 minutes until the top is firm.
  • Cool on rack for 5 minutes & then pour over the marsala. Let the cake cool completely before removing from tin.

 

Just letting the masala sink into the cake

Just letting the masala sink into the cake

Icing

100g dark chocolate

1 tablespoon marsala

100ml double cream

 

  • Melt the chocolate, marsala and cream in a heavy bottom saucepan over a low heat.
  • Take it off the heat and whisk until it is smooth and thick.
  • Spread over the cake – it will have sunk in the middle a little and you can use this as a pool for the icing.

 

choc masala cake 2

 

Linking up with the Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

 

Lemon and Almond Cake

Ok, I will admit I didn’t read through the whole page this recipe was on before I started making it.  The title hooked me, I love almond cake and my sister loves lemon cake… perfect!

When I finally read through the whole thing, and the suggestion to wrap the cake in foil and leave it for a couple of days before actually eating it, I was annoyed..  When I make a cake, I want to be able to eat it NOW – maybe this impatience is the Gen Y in me coming out?

As much as it pained me to do it, once the cake was cooled, I carefully wrapped it in a couple of layers of foil and left it for two days before we tasted it.

The lemon flavour was quite intense – paired with some fresh strawberries and sprinkled with icing sugar it was really nice, and not too tart. It is a really moist and dense cake (hence the name ‘Damp Lemon & Almond Cake’ I guess),  and the texture reminded me of the Coffee Club’s Orange and Almond loaf which is one of my all time favourites.  I will make this again, just to substitute the lemon for oranges.

This cake is perfect to make on a Friday afternoon & then enjoy on a lazy Sunday.

Damp Lemon & Almond Cake copy

Nigella Lawson’s Damp Lemon & Almond Cake (from How to be a Domestic Goddess)

225g soft unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs

50g plain flour

225g ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon almond essence

grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Cream butter and sugar until almost white.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition
  • When all eggs and flour have been added, stir in the ground almonds, then the almond essence, lemon juice and zest.
  • Pour mixture into 21-23cm springform cake tin (lined on the bottom) and bake for approximately one hour.  Check after 30 minutes and if it’s browning too quickly cover the top with foil.
  • Cool in tin for 5 minutes, and then remove onto a wire rack
  • Once cool, wrap well in foil for a couple of days before eating.

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