Friday, August 1, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake- Annabel Langbein

For some reason I just can't seem to get the motivation to post on my blog. I'm still baking but because life is so busy and at times chaotic, blogging is the last thing I feel like doing. However one of the things I love about this blog is that I have a record of some great recipes that I use all the time. This is one of those recipes I don't want to forget about so here it is! As I have said over and over Annabel Langbein is one of my favourite cooks. This recipe is so easy and so satisfyingly good! Yesterday was Dons birthday and as she is gluten free, this was the cake Harry and I chose to make for her. We served it with the most delicious and incomparable Lewis Road Creamery Cream and strawberries (imported as they are out of season here). This cake is rich and dessert like so it really helped having the strawberries to cut through the richness of the cake. Apparently it lasts for ages....I'm taking some to ballet tonight to share the love so I don't think it will last for too long here.

Gluten free Chocolate Cake

  • 250g best-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 2 tbsp strong, hot black coffee
  • 200g butter, chopped
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups ground almonds
  • 6 eggs, separated
Preheat oven to 170°C. Line the base and sides of a 23cm-diameter springform cake tin with baking paper (I just greased the sides and lined the base).
Combine chocolate, brandy and coffee in a pot over a low-medium heat and stir until the chocolate has melted. Add butter, sugar and vanilla and stir until butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in ground almonds. Lightly beat egg yolks and stir into the chocolate mixture.
Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl and beat to firm peaks. Stir a big spoonful of beaten egg white into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Spoon into prepared tin and bake until risen and set (about 55 minutes). The cake will still be a little gooey in the centre. It may look a little cracked as it develops a crust and can be quite fragile, but this is normal.
Cool completely in the tin, then transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if using. It will keep in an airtight container for more than a week and also freezes well.  

Harry's cake decoration with strawberries making up a love heart

Harry and Mama with his thoughtful present to her

Friday, February 14, 2014

Buttery Orange Cake and a Looooonnnng Break

I know it has been months and months since I posted. If I am to be totally honest my blogging mojo has kind of waned a bit. I have still been baking and even taking photos but when it comes to sitting down and actually focusing on blogging about it I just haven't had the motivation or desire to do so. So I figure that maybe I have to change tack and aim to still blog but do so less frequently? Who knows? All good intentions maybe? It doesn't help that life seems so busy...I think that is the working mothers cry internationally. I'm lucky I have a much older son who, at 16 years old, is pretty independent, but my 9 year old is still dependent and as he dances 3-4 times a week as well as ballet competitions etc etc our lives are pretty much taken up with all of that. 

Anyway I whipped this cake up for work on Waitangi Day for those of us working on a public holiday while the rest of NZ enjoyed the sunny day, which explains the paper towel and very average photos...taken on my phone before it all disappeared. However this cake was anything but average. I loved the texture and the flavour. I didn't glaze it like the recipe said and instead iced with some orange cream cheese icing to use up half of a container of cream cheese before it expired. 

Buttery Orange Cake

250g unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp orange rind
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 c plain flour
¾ cup (180ml) orange juice 


Preheat the oven to moderate (170°C/150°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 23cm round cake pan, line base with baking paper (I used a 20cm square tin).

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined between additions. Fold in sifted flour and orange juice in 2 batches. 

Bake about an hour.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ante Turns 1! The Very Hungry Caterpillar.....

Ante turns 1

Very hungry caterpillars waiting for their cake

Amazing cake made by Bex (Ante's mum)

Harry, Holls and Grayson


Marcel and Bubba

Bex and Ante

Jack- now a black belt in Karate


Dion and Tia



Fiona and Kiwi

Tarn and Beau beau

Kiwi and Billy

Tam and Jimmy

Selfie with the sister in laws

Mons and Cooper
Our most precious nephew Ante turned one the other week and we got to celebrate it on a beautiful sunny day with all the whanau. The theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his mum Bex made the amazing cake. I whipped up some cupcakes and after doing a search online I found these cute little fondant caterpillars. I think my ones turned out pretty well.

Baking for Nightshift- Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

This is one delicious banana cake. I have to say I am not a big fan of banana cake at all, in fact it's my least favourite flavour. However I have made this a few times since I found this recipe. What I like about it is that it's a pure and simple and unadulterated banana cake with no frills, spices or additions. AND it tastes great....that could have something to do with the fact that sitting on top is a layer of cream cheese icing maybe? It makes a big cake which is made in a tray tin so although it isn't tall it's certainly big enough. You can find the recipe here. The girls at work that night loved this cake and one of them adores banana cake so surely that has to some sort of endorsement?

A Bit of Ballet for the Oldies

Cupcakes for the dancers and their support 'crew'

Warming up

Sophie about to start her Barefoot

Saskia mid dance with sweet old Margie going for a wee wander

Lexi also warming up

The gorgeous Krystal doing her Classical

Stephanie doing Free Movement

Mikayla doing her Classical- looking stunning in that gorgeous tutu

Ms A introducing Harry

Harry doing his Classical

Stephanie with her Grade 3 Character

Zoe with her own dance number form the Grade 2 exam

Sophie with her Classical


Finally Lei and Cushla with Harry and Saskia

Lexi busting out the moves

And Oli doing the same
Last weekend Dons and I organised for some of the ballet kids to do a wee show for the lovely oldies at a rest home where Dons works. So a small group of us hatched together a 'show' and the lovely Ms A (ballet teacher extraordinaire) brought her two little ones to be a part of it too. The kids did so well and I was so proud of them trying to put a little bit of fun and enjoyment into the lives of others. And it worked. The oldies loved it and just beamed, clapped and cheered along with the staff who also seemed to have a good time. I love that the kids have such a sense of wanting to do something good for other members of the community. Before the show they all went around the residents and introduced themselves and had a little chat. At the end the little ones got up and busted some moves much to the delight of the oldies. All in all a lovely experience and one which left Harry feeling great. Of course a huge thanks must go out to the parents too who gave up their Sunday afternoon to bring their child!