Cake Pops – The Easy Way

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This is my first post after a whole year of blogging sabbatical and here’s an easy tutorial to start with. I made these cutesies the same day exactly 2 years ago for my friend’s kids’ birthday party and they are so easy to make if you already have a few ingredients at hand. These cake pops make excellent treats at birthday parties for both young and old 🙂

Ingredients:

Left over cake (any flavor) – crumbled

Any frosting – 1 or 2 Tbsp

Melted chocolate – Milk, White or Dark (Refer Notes)

Lollipop sticks

Rainbow sprinkles/ Chocolate Sprinkles

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Method:

1. Crumble the cake finely without any lumps.

2. Add the frosting a little at a time and keep mixing until the cake clumps together. Don’t add too much frosting else the cake will get soggy.

3. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a small ball. Repeat the process until you’ve made enough. You can place the cake balls in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it has hardened a little.

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4. Dip one end of the lollipop stick into the white chocolate and insert into a cake ball so that the chocolate here acts like a glue and holds the cake to the stick.

5. Immerse the cake pop fully into the melted chocolate and twirl it around until it is fully coated. (Refer Notes). Lift the cake pop and leave it hanging upside down over the chocolate so that the excess melted chocolate will drip back into the bowl.

6. Coat the pops generously with the rainbow sprinkles. You can get creative here and use any decoration you want.

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Notes:

To melt the chocolate, break the chocolate bar into bite size pieces or use chocolate chips if you have and pop them into the microwave for 30 secs and stir to melt. Put it back into the microwave for another 30secs if the chocolate hasn’t melted completely. Originally cake pops are made with Wilton candy melts (available in different colours) but using melted chocolate is just an easy inexpensive alternative.

I have used a wine glass here for the melted chocolate so that the deep cup helps me coat the cake pops fully with the chocolate.

Happy Baking!

ANZAC Biscuits

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ANZAC means Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and ANZAC Day is observed in Australia and New Zealand in April, in recognition of soldiers who served the country during the war. It is said that the wives of the soldiers used to send these biscuits to their husbands during war times as the ingredients did not spoil easily. Whether the biscuits originated in Australia or New Zealand is still under a lot of speculation but that doesn’t really matter to us now. These biscuits are super easy to bake and very much eggless too!

 INGREDIENTS

125g Unsalted Butter, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup or Honey
¾ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 tablespoon Water
1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats or Quick Oats
1 cup Desiccated Coconut
1 cup Plain Flour
¾ cup Brown Sugar or Powdered White Sugar

METHOD

Preheat oven to 160°C

Place baking sheet on two baking trays and keep aside.

Combine butter and syrup in a small saucepan. Gently heat on low flame until butter and syrup melt.

Mix baking soda and water in a small bowl and stir into the butter mixture.

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Mix flour, sugar, coconut and oats. Pour the warm butter and soda mixture into the flour mix and stir well to combine.

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Taking one teaspoon of the biscuit mixture, roll into a ball. Repeat the process and space each ball an inch apart from one another on the prepared baking trays and flatted it lightly with your fingers.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits turn golden brown on the outside. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking trays. Once cooled completely, it’s ready to be bitten into!

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 Note: I know it’s quite hard to find golden syrup , rolled oats and dark brown sugar in some places because I’ve had those concerns myself when I lived in India, therefore I have given the following substitutions which works very well too

Golden Syrup with Honey

Old fashioned rolled oats with quick oats

Brown sugar with powdered white sugar

Happy Baking! 🙂

Recipe Source: Australian Women’s Weekly, April 2005

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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The term “Upside Down” might sound complicated but look through the tutorial and you will be amazed at how easy it is to make and the technique very simple.  The pineapple slices are placed at the bottom of the cake tin first and then the sponge cake batter is poured on top of the fruit. Once baked and cooled, the cake is turned upside down so that the decorative pineapple topping comes on top:) You can also substitute pineapple with different berries and stone fruits each time you make it 🙂

Ingredients:

Pineapple Topping:

1 Medium Pineapple peeled, cored & sliced or 1 Can of Pineapple Rings ( I just used 6 rings in this recipe)

4 tbsp (55gms) Unsalted butter

½ Cup Brown sugar or White sugar

Candied Cherries (Optional)

Sponge Cake:

1 Cup Unsalted Butter at room temperature

1 Cup Self-Raising Flour or  1 Cup Plain Flour +1 ½ tsp Baking Powder

1 Cup White Sugar

2 Large Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Flavouring/Essence

Zest of one Lemon

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 Degree C

Grease a medium sized round cake pan with butter/ cooking oil and place baking paper on the base of the pan. Keep aside.

Pineapple Topping:

In a small saucepan over low flame, heat butter and sugar until butter melts and the sugar starts to caramelize (it will turn dark golden) with bubbles forming at the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and pour into prepared cake pan and spread it evenly with a pastry brush if you have or just twirl the cake tin around until the mixture spreads evenly.

Arrange the pineapple slices on top of the caramel in any decorative pattern of your choice. If you are using glazed cherries, place one cherry in the center of each pineapple ring. Set the cake pan aside.

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Cake:

Beat butter and sugar until it becomes light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla essence. Add the flour, baking powder and lemon zest into the egg and butter mixture.

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Pour the batter on top of the pineapple, smoothening the top with the back of a spoon. Place the cake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cake has risen and turns golden brown. Also a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean without any crumbs. If the center of the cake is still wet, bake for another 10 minutes or until the center is cooked through.

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Once cake is cooled completely, place a plate upside down on top of the cake pan and holding the lip of the cake pan and the plate, invert it quickly, so that the cake falls onto the plate. You will now have the caramelized pineapple on top of the cake 🙂

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Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream on the side!

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Happy Baking!

Recipe Inspiration: Joyofbaking & Jaime Oliver’s Victorian Sponge Cake

 

 

 

Hot Cross Buns

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Easter and Good Friday bring back childhood memories of church where there is a plentiful supply of hot cross buns for everyone after the service with glasses of Nannari Sarbath, a traditional Indian summer drink. But what is actually Good Friday and Easter Sunday? Good Friday is the day Jesus, the son of God, blameless and sinless, died on the cross for my sin and yours to give us the gift of salvation and Easter is the third day He rose up from the grave, victorious. As some people say Good Friday is a solemn day with no laughter and smiles but black clothes and long faces, I think it’s a day to rejoice because we know our sins (past, present and future) have been forgiven and the price has already been paid by the man on the cross.

I am not someone who is bound by tradition but once in a while indulging in some things that meant a lot to me as a child gives me immense happiness and Hot Cross Buns are one of them. Preparing the dough with the yeast, mixing the spices and fruits and while the buns are being baked smelling the aroma that wafts through the house, the joy that fills my heart is unspeakable 🙂

Ingredients:

BUNS:

4 teaspoons dry yeast/active dry yeast/instant dry yeast
1/3 cup caster sugar (this is neither the regular granulated sugar nor the powdered sugar but something in between. Pulse the regular granulated sugar in the mixer for a few seconds to get the caster sugar)
1 cup (250ml) warm milk
4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice (1 nutmeg, 8-10 cloves, 4 cardamoms)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
80g butter, chopped
1cup Mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, mixed dried fruit peel)
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup (80ml) warm water, approximately

FLOUR PASTE:

1/4 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons cold water, approximately

GLAZE:

1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon powdered gelatine
1 tablespoon water

Method:

In a bowl, combine the milk, yeast and 1 tbsp of the sugar (reserve the rest of the sugar for later). Whisk until the yeast is dissolved. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap or a clean tea towel and place it in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until the mixture gets frothy. Because we have the autumn setting in and the weather is chilly, I left the bowl near the door of the already warm oven for about 10 minutes.

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In another bowl, mix the flour, spices and salt. Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse bread crumbs (use a food processor if you don’t want to use your hands). Stir in the remaining sugar, mixed fruit, frothy yeast mixture, the beaten egg and water to make it into a soft dough.

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Dust your kitchen work counter with some flour and dump the mixture onto the counter and knead the dough until you have a soft and pliable dough in your hands. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover the bowl with oiled cling wrap or a clean towel and leave it aside in a warm place for about 2 hours to rise double in size.

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Once the dough has risen double the size, turn it onto your lightly floured kitchen counter and punch the air out of the dough and knead it for 5 mins and divide the dough into balls of equal size. Place these balls on a baking tray and cover them with plastic wrap again and leave them in a warm place for another 20 minutes until these rise almost double in size.

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Preheat oven to 220 Degree C.

Flour Paste:

Mix flour, sugar and water (add more water if it’s not enough) to make a smooth paste. Use a zip lock bag (if you do not have a piping bag) or a sandwich bag and fill it with the flour paste. Pipe crosses on the risen buns and pop the trays into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes until the top of the buns turn golden brown and the base of the buns sound hollow when tapped. Remove the buns from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack.

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Glaze: In a small saucepan, add the water, sugar and gelatin and gently heat on low flame until the sugar and gelatin has melted. Do not boil the mixture. Brush the hot glaze on the warm buns.

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Serve warm with butter 🙂

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Recipe Source: Australian Women’s Weekly

Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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The first time I baked a carrot cake was 4 years ago in India and I vowed to myself I wouldn’t bake it again!! It was so dry and I couldn’t even eat a bite. It was a big cake and quite a lot of grated carrots had gone into it so I didn’t want to throw it away. Finally I managed to make my cousins finish it off 😀 Never again I tried that carrot cake recipe until recently I had a taste off a slice my husband bought at a cafe. It was absolutely delish, so moist and bursting with flavour. Since then I’ve been researching for a good moist carrot cake recipe and found it in a dusty old cook book my grandmother gifted me ages ago.

This recipe has crushed pineapple in it, um yes you heard me right! Crushed pineapple it is 🙂 That’s the secret to this moist carrot cake being moist. It’s excellent as breaky, high tea, or even as a snack or munch between meals 🙂

Ingredients:

2 Cups Flour

2 Cups Sugar

2 tsp Cinnamon powder

1 tsp Baking powder

1 tsp Baking soda

½ tsp Salt

3 Eggs

1 ½ Cups Vegetable Oil

2 ½ Cups fresh finely grated Carrots

1 tsp Vanilla

1 Cup well-drained crushed pineapple

1 Cup grated coconut (fresh or desiccated)

½ Cup chopped Nuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:

250 gms Cream Cheese (softened at room temperature)

1 Cup Powdered or Icing Sugar

3 tbspn butter, softened

1 tsp Vanilla

Some chopped nuts to sprinkle on top

Method:

Pre-heat oven at 180 Degree C

Grease a pan with butter or oil. Keep aside.

Carrot Cake:

We need just 2 Bowls for this recipe

Bowl 1: Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Bowl 2: Lightly beat the eggs, add the oil, grated carrots and vanilla. Stir to combine.

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Add the mixture in Bowl 2 into Bowl 1. Stir in crushed pineapple, coconut and nuts. Just mix with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until everything comes together. Do not over mix.

Pour into the well greased bowl and bake at 180 for 50 to 60 minutes until a skewer or knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean without any crumbs. Cool the cake completely before inverting and pouring the frosting on it.

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Cream Cheese Frosting:

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Frost the cake and sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate.

Enjoy a generous slice with a lovely Cuppa 🙂

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Bon Appétit!!

Source: Reader’s Digest, “The Taste of Home Baking Book”, 2007

Lamingtons

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Lamingtons are proudly Australian and they are perfect in every way to be eaten any time of the year. But this year I made them for Australia Day on the 26th of January, the same as the Indian Republic Day 🙂 Lamingtons are just slices of sponge cake dipped in a light chocolate sauce and coated generously with coconut. There are various theories pertaining to the history of these lamingtons and how they came to be but it is widely spoken off as a creation by Chef Galland who worked for Lord Lamington, the then governor of the State of Queensland in the 1900’s when he dipped some leftover sponge cake in chocolate and rolled them in desicated coconut. It is said that the governor and his guests were greatly impressed with these cakes and they later came to be known as Lamingtons 🙂

Sponge Cake:

4 Eggs (at room temperature)

2/3rd Cup / 150gms – Caster Sugar

1 Cup / 150gms – Self-Raising Flour (or) 1 Cup Plain Flour + 2tsp Baking Powder + a pinch of salt

1/4th Cup / 35gms – Corn Flour

25gms – Butter, chopped, room temperature

1/3rd Cup / 80mls – Boiling Water

3Cups / 270gms – Desiccated Coconut

Chocolate Sauce:

4 Cups – Icing/ Powdered Sugar

½ Cup – Cocoa Powder

15gms – Softened Butter

2/3rd Cup – Milk

Method

Pre-heat oven 180 Degree C

Butter or line a square baking tray with baking paper. Keep aside..

1. Sift all the flours + Corn flour 3 times. Keep aside.

2. In a small bowl combine butter and boiling water. Keep aside.

3. In a clean deep bowl, beat Eggs until pale and fluffy. Add sugar and continue to beat for 8 minutes until the mixture is tripled in volume and falls back like a ribbon when the beaters are lifted.

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4. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and gently fold it in using a large spatula. Fold in the butter mixture. DO NOT BEAT or the batter will deflate.
5. Pour in pan and bake for 25 minutes or until the sponge becomes lightly golden and springs back when touched.

6. Cool completely before removing the cake from the pan and cutting it to slices. It is also better to cover the cake in cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight before slicing it. In this way we could avoid loose crumbs falling into the chocolate sauce when we dip them.

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Chocolate Sauce:

Heat water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and sit a heatproof bowl on the saucepan, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the heatproof bowl.
Add all the ingredients under the heading chocolate sauce and stir with a heatproof ladle until the butter melts and the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.

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To assemble the Lamington

Spread the desiccated coconut on a wide tray so that it is easy to roll the cake slices.

Take a cake slice and using 2 spoons, dip first in the chocolate and immediately roll it in the coconut. Keep it aside on a baking sheet to completely dry.

Repeat the process until all the slices are dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut.

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Cake can also be frozen.

Enjoy with a Cuppa 🙂

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Notes:

1. Don’t fret if you can’t find Self-Raising Flour. SR Flour is just ready-made flour with baking powder and salt in it. It can be substituted with Plain Flour with 2tsp Baking Powder added to every 1 Cup of flour and a pinch of salt.

2. Caster Sugar is a finer form of granulated sugar. It is neither the icing sugar, which is extremely fine nor the granulated sugar which is the crystalised form that we use every day in the kitchen. To make your own caster sugar, take some granulated sugar and pulse it in your grinder for a few seconds.

Tips for a perfect sponge:

  • Eggs should be at room temperature
  • Beating eggs in a deep bowl will give maximum volume than beating in a wide, shallow bowl
  • Gently folding the flour and water is very important. Else heavy handling would result in a heavy cake

 Happy Baking 🙂

 Recipe Source: Australian Women’s Weekly, January 2012

Lemon Bars

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I absolutely love citrus and the beautiful tangy taste that comes out of it. Lemon Bars are my favourite pastry and they look stunningly yellow and I assure you when you take the first bite, it would be nothing like the ordinary but beyond your imagination. It was an out-of-the-world pastry for me and I hope you would feel the same too 🙂 Lemon Bars have two layers, the base is a shortbread biscuity crust and the top layer is a tangy lemony custard filling, together they make a brilliant combination.

Ingredients:

For the Biscuit Base:

175 gms/ approx 1cup Plain Flour

50 gms/ approx 1/4th cup Rice Flour

85 gms/ approx ½ cup Golden Caster Sugar (Can use white sugar too)

140 gms cold unsalted butter, diced

1 tbsp Milk

A pinch of salt. (If using salted butter leave out the pinch of salt)

For the Custard Filling:

Zest and Juice of 3 Lemons (about 200 mls)

3 Eggs

200 gms/ approx 1 cup white caster sugar

25 gms/ 2tbsp Plain Flour

Icing Sugar, to dust

Method: 

Pre-heat oven to 200 Degree C.

Line a square baking tin with baking paper so that it’s easy to lift the pastry out of the tin easily once baked and cooled.

1. In a bowl, mix plain flour, rice flour and sugar, add the butter and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the milk and mix with a knife until the mixture clumps together. Alternatively, you can use the food processor for this process.

2. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down onto the base evenly and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

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3. Remove the tin from the oven and lower the temperature to a 180.

4. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and the lemon zest. Keep aside.

5. In another bowl, mix the eggs and lemon juice and sieve it into the bowl with the four, sugar and zest. Whisk to combine.

6. Pour over the already baked biscuit base and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is just set.

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7. Cool in the tin, dust with icing sugar, then slice and serve.

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Notes:

If you cant find lemons in the place you live, use 4 to 5 limes instead.

The lemon or lime zest can be taken by scrapping the lemon/lime against a carrot or vegetable grater. Make sure you scrape only the yellow outer skin and avoid the white skin underneath as it will be bitter.

If you are using limes instead of lemon and you are not satisfied with the colour of the lime custard, add 2 drops of yellow food colouring.

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Recipe Source: BBC GoodFood Magazine, UK Edition, August 2010

Happy Baking! 🙂