cranberry lime muffins

This is what I did today.

I browned some butter.

Zested a lime.

Listened to some Eminem… yeah, I did.

I buttered a muffin tin.

Whisked together some eggs and milk and vanilla.

Whisked together some spelt flour and baking powder and plain flour and salt. And sugar. Can’t forget the sugar.

I took photos without the flash because they look less harsh that way. Maybe a little fuzzier and retro looking. That’s ok.

See my blue fingernails? I don’t usually paint my nails because I work in hospitality but my two week (almost – had to work yesterday:) break meant I could. Hence. The green and red tea towel matches the cranberries and limes. My favourite apron, complete with pocket for my camera, and the moccies I always cook in.

I opened the curtains and was glad the heater worked.

I stirred the contents of three bowls and a saucepan together – and then I washed those dishes while these muffins baked.

I made myself a cup of coffee. Mmm… coffee…

And then I ate me some muffins.

Sometimes, I forget that I have to look after myself, forget trying to fill other people’s holes, and let God fill mine. Sometimes, I have to remember that I have something to offer as well, but I have to take time to be me and do stuff for me otherwise I’ll lose it. Sometimes, you just need to make some muffins and some coffee and sit down and eat them. Because it’s good.

Sometimes you just need to bake for you. Not for anyone else, to get anyone’s attention or friendship or love or acceptance or gratitude. Just for you, because you love to bake, the physical action, the ingredients, sights, smells, tastes. Just because.

Brown Butter Cranberry Lime Muffins

Adapted from Joy the Baker

100g butter, unsalted

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon (or capful) vanilla extract

zest of one lime

1 1/2 cups plain flour – I used 1 cup wholemeal spelt and 1/2 cup plain white. Good.

1 teaspoon salt

170g dried cranberries (or 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, if you have them)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan (I never usually do this but I was out of paper cases. By all means, use them if you’ve got them.

If you’re using dried cranberries, pour them into a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

Place the butter in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Melt for about ten minutes on medium-low heat. Keep a close eye – you want the butter to be brown, not burnt. Swirl the pan every few minutes. It’ll get frothy and emit a beautiful nutty smell. Take off the heat.

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and lime zest together.

Whisk the sugar, flour(s), salt and baking powder together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour all the wet ingredients in (not the cranberries!) and stir together.

Drain the cranberries and fold them in thoroughly. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes in the tin, then invert and cool on a rack or board. Eat at once, or when at room temperature.

blondies

 

Blondies are amazing. Blondies are like brownies without the chocolate mixed in. Blondies can be any flavour or combination you like. Blondies are very popular.

They are so great to share, because blondies are a one bowl recipe, so easy it’s not even funny, and when you put mnms in there like I did, they’re colourful and a bit crazy while still being a neighbourhood staple type treat. Like camp – colourful and a bit crazy but familiar and comforting at the same time.

See? One bowl, only a few dishes.

Not even that many ingredients – but you can add as many extras as you like.

Like MnMs.

Make them. Do. At camp this week I’m on meal crew which means I make lunches for all the leaders every day. I love it. I love working with food, it’s my thing. A clean kitchen makes me happy (props to the girls who did all the cleaning up today!) and baking helps me destress. Truth.

I cook for a lot of different reasons, and part of those is because, let’s be honest, people love it. And I love people. Put the two together and people like me because I bake for them. Sometimes I bake so people will like me. (ps – this works). Sometimes this is a bad thing. Sometimes I should just trust that I am beautiful enough in my own way not to manipulate people into liking me, because they will anyway, just for me.

For anyone out there who’s reading this and understands the concept of the enneagram and you’re a two, you may understand. If not, I just want to say that I find personality types useful in discerning how to be a better person and become closer to God.  It’s also helpful for understanding other people.

These are easy to make and share. Wrap them up and put them in a container, take them to work or uni or school or whatever. Hand them out to random people. Just Do It.

Blondies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

So as you can see from the photos, I made two types. Both were from the same recipe, however I did a couple of things different the second time.

So the first time I used a packet of mnms – that’s 200g of mnms there – and mixed it in at the end, and that was all.

The second time, I felt that I needed more mixture, so I added an extra 65g of melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of cocoa, because you can never have enough chocolate. Then I put in half a cup of dark chocolate chips and a packet of mnms, 200g again. Yum!

125g butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

1  cup flour

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line an 8″x8″x2″ baking tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter and mix it with the brown sugar, well. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Sift in the flour and salt. Stir in any additional mix ins.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake about 20 minutes. Slice into squares and serve to your friends.

strawberry cupcakes

I know that it’s winter here in Melbourne. Living, as I do, in the hills, it gets cold here. We have a wood fire and piles of wood ready to be burnt, and as the weather gets colder I’m increasingly appreciative of our ducted heating system. Sometimes, all you want to do is snuggle down in bed for a few more minutes hours.

However, when it’s sunny outside and there are local strawberries for sale and you want to play pretend, summer is not a bad season to pretend to be in. Especially when all the American food blogs are talking about strawberries, cherries, barbeques and summer dresses.

I like winter. I do. But sometimes, you just gotta go with the summertime flow.

So I bought the strawberries, knowing that there would be a few gunky ones – more than a few, I think I was able to use about half of them – and decided to bake them in cupcakes. When it’s summer and the berries are amazing, I’m guessing you’d just roast them maybe, or make jam or even just eat them straight out of the punnet – but it being winter, I thought cupcakes were in order.

Contrary to some opinion, I don’t think that a muffin is a bald cupcake. I’m not saying they’re good for you, I just think that muffins have a different texture, a different feel. However, cupcakes definitely need a little something on top. And so, I decided to make some buttercream.

Mind you, it being almost seven and time to go meet some friends for pizza and camp prep sesh (yay for camp! yay for hanging out with kids for two weeks! yay for sleep deprivation! wait. What? Oh yeah, cupcakes.) I decided it had to be quick buttercream, one quartered from that goddess of cake decoration, i am baker.

And then I took them to said meeting and they were gobbled up quickly. Yum.

Strawberry Cupcakes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I halved this recipe because I only had a punnet of strawberries, and I used a plain and spelt flour combination because I’m quite fond of spelt at the moment. I also diced the strawberries and folded them through the batter.

3 tbsp butter

3/4 cup flour (I swapped in half a cup for wholemeal spelt. Good Idea)

pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar

small egg

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

250g strawberries, diced

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and put cupcake liners into a muffin tin. I only made seven cupcakes out of this recipe.

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat until silky smooth.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add gradually while beating until just incorporated. Gently fold in the diced strawberries.

Divide among your cupcake liners. You want them to be in between three quarters and fully loaded. Bake for five minutes on 180 degrees, then lower to 160 degrees and bake another fifteen or so minutes. Cool in the pan and then unpan them and ice them. (I put them in the fridge for a few minutes to cool right down.)

Quick Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from i am baker

I, as I mentioned, quartered this recipe, which originally would have been able to frost two eight inch (20 cm) cakes. I still had leftovers.

65 g butter

1-2 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp rosewater (This was my addition – a pink flavour to compliment the pink strawberry cupcakes)

Put the butter, milk, vanilla and half a cup of the icing sugar into your mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the sugar while beating, until you have a smooth, spreadable consistency. You may not need all the sugar.

a day in the life

I had a pretty good day on Friday. Sleep in, picnic, walk in the park, cupcakes and pizza. I thought I might share some pictures because I like taking pictures and I took a lot. I’m getting in the groove because I figured before I ask for a super fancy camera for my birthday, I’d better know whether I was going to use it. Right?

Right.

And, yes, that means that right now I use a point and click. Hey, a girl’s gotta have some sort of pictures on her food blog, right?

Right again. So.

This is my bed. I like to make my bed in the mornings… yeah, the picture’s a little wonky. Sorry. I had to get up early to drive my brother to work experience. I then slept another three hours. I love sleeping in.

I saw a beautiful sunrise this morning. I didn’t take photos because I was driving.

After I got up, at approximately noon, I messed around on the internet and wrote you some words. Then I took in the washing and took some photos of some flowers.

Pretty!

I went to the library to borrow some books… and to scan in a design for a camp I lead on in September. It’s called… September Camp. Surprise!

I can’t show you the design because it’s a secret still. I think.

Then I went on a picnic in the park.

I got coffee and a toastie from this place called Yarra Coffee. Good coffee – you can buy beans there too! – and great food. I got the #5 toastie, with avocado, tomato, fetta, pesto, baby spinach and possibly one more ingredient I can’t remember. I had a choice between olive and rosemary sourdough or plain. I chose olive and rosemary. Yum!

Toastie

Coffee

Converse

I went on a walk around the lake and listened to the Joy the Baker podcast with Joy and Tracy from Shutterbean (available from Homefries). I love going for walks! Me and my roommate went on walks around the lake pretty much every day for a while there last year.

Beautiful day for a walk. I really loved the look of these rushes. Oh! Unfortunately, I wanted to feed some scraps and duds to the ducks but I wasn’t allowed. Sad face.

I was going to make muffins but decided to make cupcakes instead when I saw local strawberries for sale.

And then I went to hang out with friends and eat pizza. And talk about camp. Excited!

How was your Friday?

white chocolate macadamia cookies

My brother is staying with me for this week. My family, as I’m fairly sure I’ve mentioned before, lives in the country, and I barely live in the city of Melbourne, out in the outer outer suburbs, where there are trees and views and long drives to anywhere. J’s doing work experience reblocking houses this week. (He’s basically digging holes for a week. Underneath houses.)

Me and J fought growing up. I mean, I have a sister, so obviously we fought, especially since we’re only two years apart. But me and my brother fought more. When I was bigger, I’d win. When he got bigger… we stopped fighting. As much. Because he used to win All. The. Time.

Now he does karate and I used to do karate and so it’s reduced to play-wrestling and him tickling the shiz outta me. (I’m not ticklish! I just have sensitive skin….yeah…)

Macadamia white chocolate cookies used to be a major staple at our school canteen. And I used to be the one who made the snacks at our house. But J didn’t eat them all – mainly because I have two other brothers and a sister. Five kids and two adults can polish off a tray of biscuits faster than you can say ‘Those are for school!’

(Ps, I sometimes shorthand write recipes I find on the internet on leftover conference promotion cards. No biggie. That’s one there on the side, peeking in.)

Well. Except for the fact that Mum was very good at keeping snacks for snacks and leftovers for leftovers – if you had leftovers for lunch and they were meant for dinner that night, watch out!

In any case, make these cookies and they won’t last long in any house.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Pps: It looks like I made two batches of cookies. Not so. For some reason, my camera started shooting blue pictures. Sorry!

125g butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

about 2 tbsp milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup plain flour (I used wholemeal spelt. They were delicious.)

1/2 tsp bi carb soda

pinch salt

130g chopped macadamia nuts

approximately 180g white chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Melt the butter in a saucepan. If you are patient, unlike me, melt it until it is browned. If not, don’t stress, they taste delicious anyway.

Pour the butter into a glass or ceramic bowl to help it cool straight down. Mix in sugar, then milk, egg and vanilla. Gently stir in flour and bi carb soda and salt, then fold in nuts and chocolate.

Plop approximate tablespoons of the mixture evenly around a baking tray, and bake for ten to fifteen minutes (mine took about eighteen to twenty.. It could have been my oven. Check them after ten.)

Share with your entire household. If that’s just you, don’t feel guilty.

it’s nerd-tastic

Confession time again: I am a huge nerd. I’m not really the computer-game-playing type nerd, nor the maths nerd or the science-y nerd. I’m a book nerd. I adore reading and books, stationary, writing. I love to read. I used to stay up till all hours, reading. Once I started reading, then forgot the time and forgot to tell my parents good night. It was pretty late (for me – I don’t know how old I was, but young enough that ten thirty was pretty late) by the time I got up and said, I’m sorry, I forgot to say good-night.

Actually, I still stay up till all hours reading sometimes.

I also used to spend my lunchtimes at school reading in the library. Not for my entire school life, but I didn’t always have friends to hang out with, so I’d go to the library and read. And chat to the librarians.

I got to know my librarians really well.

I’m now out of school, at uni, doing well. I still love to read. I still like my librarians. And since I’m home this week, I went to visit school with my sister.

Yes. We visited our old high school. We are major nerds. Also, our dad works there (hi, dad!) so we’ve always been friendly with the teachers. We went around and visited people and marveled at the fact that there were many people we didn’t recognise.

There were a lot of them. Some were people who’d grown up, some were entirely new.

And I brought brownies to share.

Teachers are known sugar addicts (wouldn’t you be, if you had to deal with teenagers all day?) – we used to have chocolate fundraisers for various things, and we’d only have to ask Dad to bring a box to school. They’d be gone within the week. A few days, usually.

So I knew the brownies would be well-recieved. Plus, Dad likes showing off his daughters, especially since they bring treats, so he offers them around.

“Want a brownie? My daughter made them.”

These brownies are legendary. They’ve been around the web for a while now – it seems as though every man and his dog has made and written about them. For good reason.

The chocolate in them comes from cocoa, but don’t stop reading there – it’s really amazing. There’s a little over a cup and a half of cocoa in there. That’s a lot of chocolate. And mixed with the butter, sugar, a little flour and some eggs, you’ve got yourself a dense, fudgy, cakey brownie that pleases many palates.

Especially around report-writing time.

The Best Cocoa Brownies

From Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet via various sources around the web

I doubled this recipe because I had a slightly bigger pan and because I’d heard around the web that they were a little on the thin side. My doubled recipe made in a 9×13″ pan (I think…) made over sixty small brownies. They are the perfect size to freeze and eat later, and also the perfect size to share.

288 g butter (I’m sure 290 or 285 would also be fine)

482g raw sugar(2 1/2 cups)

164 g cocoa (1 3/4 cups)

pinch salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs, cold

1 cup flour

(1 1/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces, optional)

Preheat oven to 170 degrees and put a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Line a baking tray with baking paper, leaving overhang so you can lift out the brownies once they’ve been cooked.

Put the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a heatproof bowl – pyrex or metal or glass – and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the butter is melted. For me, I didn’t feel I cut the butter into small enough pieces, so for a little while there it didn’t look as though it would work. Fortunately, eventually, the butter melted and it looked grainy and sludgy and black and not smooth. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon, then beat the eggs in one at a time, vigorously. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Now it should be just right – smooth and silky.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in pan and then lift out, leave until cool and then cut into squares.

Eat. Or freeze and pretend to yourself that this makes you eat less.

hungry girl lunch

Today I got up fairly early. I have gotten up earlier, and on a regular basis, but today was slightly different. I’d stayed at my sister’s because I had an exam today. My last.

Yay! No more uni for five weeks!

So, today I had an exam. Then I had some errands to run – tickets to pick up, spare tyres to order, you know, everyday stuff like that. (not mentioning that it’s the second spare tyre I’ve had to get in the past couple of months. Me and my car, we’ve had some ups and downs.)

ANYway, by the time I got home it was past one, and I hadn’t eaten since seven. I’d had two coffees, but coffee does not a meal make. Well, maybe breakfast sometimes. Anyhow, I had this plan to fry some eggs and eat them on toast with butter and cheese. I was so hungry and so ready to eat but then I remembered that our stove blew (it’s electric. Luckily the oven’s still ok, otherwise I’d be going stir crazy).

Anyway, I wanted eggs. And carbohydrates. And cheese. And when I thought about it, some mustard, salt and pepper, tomato wouldn’t go astray.

So, taking inspiration from The Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen, I made a miniature strata for lunch.

Take a ramekin and rub it with butter. Lots of butter, if possible.

Tear up some bread (turkish bread is really nice…I used bread from the bakery0

Add some cheese and tomato.

Some more bread and cheese

Now crack two eggs in a bowl (I did one, but then added another later)

Add some dijon mustard…

Salt

and pepper

and milk

Whisk and pour over the bread

Crumble some cheese over the top and bake for about twenty-five minutes in a 180 degree oven

Try not to burn your mouth!

swedish visiting cake

Every now and again, I get this urge to declutter. I have to get rid of my stuff and recently, it’s been gnawing at me a whole lot more. It’s not just the ‘oh, I have to tidy and I don’t really use that stuff anymore’; rather, I’m feeling like I need to live a lot simpler and enjoy life the way it was meant to be.

Plus, I have way too much stuff.

So recently, I’ve been sifting through the piles of stuff that I own and sorting them into piles. Stuff I want to keep, stuff I want to keep but don’t have room for at the moment, stuff I don’t want to keep, stuff I want to form into something else, stuff I’m using and stuff I’m not using. It’s a pretty big job and it doesn’t help that a lot of my stuff is still at my parents’ house. Yay, more stuff to go through.

My sister and I are planning to have a garage sale. We both have stuff to get rid of, but not enough for a sale each. (Although going through my stuff, I’m not so sure about that…:)

I come from a family of packrats. Hoarders. My Opa kept stuff in the back room, in his two garages and the tiny shed in the backyard, all over the back yard… my mum is queen of ‘we might use it later’ which is a mindset I’ve adopted. I’m also a collector, of sorts; I like pretty things, those free postcards, business cards, ribbons… I like to remember things.

I write things down and put them on my walls… I have a lot of paper related products lying around that need to go. Where, I’m not sure. They’ll probably end up in the recycling bin. Or possibly the fireplace, not sure yet.

With the help of Love and Trash, Courtney at be more with less, the bloggers at SuperForest and a whole bunch of other influences (including Jesus and some of his followers) I am on a journey to live simply so that others may simply live. On that note, let’s talk about cake.

This is a simple cake. It comes together in about ten minutes, takes about half an hour to bake and is simply delicious. It’s called a Swedish Visiting Cake and so in another, yet somehow related train of thought it immediately brings to mind not only visitors, but visiting – getting to know your neighbours, connecting with real people instead of a computer screen.

And yes, I’m aware that you’re reading this off a computer screen.

The point is that by learning to live without, others can live with. And you don’t even notice the difference, except that you’re happier, more content with yourself and with the world. Surprising, isn’t it?

So make the cake. Bring it to a neighbour’s house and share it over stories, stories that remind you that each person you encounter is the star of their own story, just as you are the star of your own.

Swedish Visiting Cake

Adapted from Baking: from my home to yours

zest of one lemon

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp salt

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste/scrapings from one vanilla bean/two teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup plain flour*

125g butter, melted and cooled

 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and butter your pan. Traditionally this is made in a cast-iron skillet. I don’t have one so I made it in a springform tin – I suggest using a nine-incher, as my ten-incher cake turned out a little thin. Not that I’m complaining…

Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until incredibly lemony and you can just help yourself licking your fingers. Or not. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the salt and vanilla and whisk until incorporated.

Fold in the flour, then the butter. Pour into your pan and sprinkle the almonds over the top. Bake about half an hour.

Share with strangers.

*The first time I made it, I made it with spelt flour and it was amazing. I think you could also do this with a mix of almond flour and perhaps another type of flour for the gluten-free among us. Just a thought.

sour cream lime biscuits

It’s cold. Really cold. The wind is whistling, the rain is falling, I’m all snuggled up in bed with the blankets pulled up and the heater on, writing this. It’s total soup weather. I should get on that.

Oh, but hey, biscuits.

Winter is one of the best times for baking. You get to warm up the house a little more, move around and get warm and you also can eat more without feeling guilty because you have to be in a bathing suit in the next few months. Unless you’re a swimmer.

I’m not really a swimmer. I love the beach, but my favourite season is winter. Hot chocolate, snuggling up, rugging up in layers of tights and socks and skirts and forgiving clothes. Long walks and pretty leaves, and when the pretty leaves are gone, the stark trees into the grey sky. It’s black and white picture weather, it’s swirling in the street weather, it’s scarves and beanies weather. It’s my kind of weather.

And yes, up here in the hills, the wind whistles. I never had doubts that the wind whistled, it’s just that I always thought it happened at night, when it’s dark and stormy and you’re snuggled in bed under a mountain of blankets, warm and safe. I heard the wind whistling yesterday morning, at around ten o’clock. I was in the kitchen, getting myself that hot chocolate to go with my blanket and pyjamas, and I heard the wind whistling through the trees, and I shivered.

Then I got my hot chocolate and curled up on the couch. Then I made some cookies.

I think I like these better than the lime melting moments I told you guys about before. They’re heartier but somehow not as rich. Smooth, a little crumbly and with a sweet little glaze on top. Limey but not too acidic.

They would be a good biscuit to take to a party, or to your neighbour’s house to say hello. They add a splash of lime green brightness to a grey winter’s day. Make them, and smile at a stranger today.

Sour Cream Lime Biscuits

Adapted from Indulgence Cookies

250g butter, softened

2 cups caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

3 tablespoons finely grated lime zest

3/4 cup sour cream

4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the glaze:

juice of 1 lime

about 3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted – you could need more, depending on how you like your glaze.

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

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the zest and sour cream and beat until just incorporated, then stir in the sifted dry ingredients.

Form tablespoon sized mounds of dough into rounds, and place them on the trays, about two inches apart. Flatten slightly, and bake 18-25 minutes, until nicely browned.

Cool on a cooling rack, then glaze.

Stir together the lime juice and the sifted icing sugar until you have a stiff but still workable glaze.

Drape over each cooled biscuit, and share with your friends.

happy birthday chocolate cake

Woah. I haven’t been here in a while. Is that a spiderweb I see in the corner over there? Gee, someone needs to do some vacuuming.

It’s been a bit of a birthday week this week. My Oma (that’s grandma for all of you who aren’t Dutch [or German?] out there) turned 80 [!] (double [!] – I revealed a lady’s age!) and there was a party and there were relatives who flew in from all over the wide brown land (I actually don’t really like that poem… sorry…) and there was cake.

But not this cake.

Because then my friend had her birthday today and I made this cake for her.

It’s chocolate. It has cream cheese icing. It’s soft and moist and crumples up when you smoosh it on someone’s face, as I found out this evening.

I was the smooshee, rather than the smoosher, in case you were wondering. My hands were full with camera so I couldn’t defend myself. And it was totally unexpected because Leah was threatening my sister with the smooshing so when the cake came my way…

You get the idea.

So we had a birthday feast with onion soup and birthday cake and cookies and much junk food, some tunes and a fancy camera to play with.

But back to the cake…(and yes, those are cookies there and yes, I will be posting about them… I thought I might give you guys a break from cookies)  it is really beautiful, soft and moist and crumbly, shiny dark and yummy. The cream cheese icing I think went really well but was a little too overpowering so I would definitely use less next time. And use an electric beater so there aren’t any lumps in it. [whoops].

It is the most beautiful chocolate cake. But make sure you grease the pan really well because mine stuck just a little bit to the sides.

There are also baby chocolate cakes… because the original recipe made a layer cake and I had no time for layers. None whatsoever. So I made a slightly larger than usual cake and eleven cupcakes.

Yep. Eleven Exactly. If my cake pan was a nine incher, I feel I would have just tipped over into twelve (and the perfectionist in me was really disappointed in my eleven!) but it turned out fine. Especially when m ‘n’ ms were added.

If someone you know has a birthday, make these. In whatever format you use, they will taste delicious. I promise.

Or you could do this.

Chocolate Cake

I always seem to try a different chocolate cake recipe. It’s not that they don’t all taste delicious, I just feel like there’s always a new recipe to try and while the ones I’ve already made would be fine to use, I love the excitement of a new recipe.

This one, I adapted from i am baker – I didn’t have vegetable oil, so I used olive. I didn’t have buttermilk or even vinegar with which to make buttermilk, so I used sour cream and milk. I didn’t sift my dry ingredients (but I implore you, even if you are not a sifter, like me, to sift your cocoa. You will appreciate it.)

1 3/4 cup plain flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup good cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

about 1/2 cup sour cream

the rest of the cup measure filled with milk (as in, about 1/2 cup milk)

1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil, if you’re not like me and you keep essentials like that around the house)

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed coffee
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Prepare your cake pans – I used a ten inch springform tin and eleven cupcakes.

Sift (if you’re a sifter) your dry ingredients into a large bowl. Combine the sour cream, milk, eggs and vanilla in another bowl, then make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Whisk until just combined. Add in coffee carefully and slowly and whisk until combined.

It’ll be pretty thin but don’t stress – it comes out just fine.

Pour into your cake pan(s) and bake large cake about 35-40 minutes, cupcakes 20-25 minutes.

Cream Cheese Icing

I just kinda threw this together… It is infinitely adaptable. I would maybe add a splash of milk next time and just glaze the cake a little.

250g cream cheese, softened

juice of half a lemon

about 3/4 cup icing sugar

Again, I’m not a sifter but I would suggest you sift the sugar for this one. Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer until smooth, then add the sifted sugar and lemon juice and beat until combined.