Banana Fudge Layer Cake for Great Food Blogger Bake Off

 

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I think you all must know by now how much I love to bake.  I try to bake at least once a week for my family.  It can be anything from bread to cakes and cupcakes and of course everything in between.

Last month, I invited a group of other food bloggers for a bake off pot luck.  Everyone had to bring a savoury bake and a sweet show topper.  We were all a little nervous and the flurry of tweets and instagrams ( #GFBBO) prior to the gathering showed just that. But just like every other food blogger pot luck, everyone delivered the goods (literally).

For my savoury bake, I baked Paul Hollywood’s bacon and cheddar loaves.  I’ve baked them before and you can find the recipe here.

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I decided to bake a Banana fudge layer cake. I got the recipe from the Great Australian Bake Off cook book but it is also featured in the Great British one.  I just made a tiny change. I added whipped cream in between the layers. I thought it just lightens the whole cake.  This cake is perfect for occasions as it looks spectacular but most importantly, it’s not difficult to make.

banana fudge slice

 

Recipe:

For the sponge:

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste/extract
  • 3 tsp milk, at room temperature

For the filling and topping:

  • 175g brown sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 75ml plus 200ml double (or thickened) cream
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
  • Preheat oven to 180degC.
  1. In a large bowl or electric mixer beat the butter until creamy.  Gradually beat in the 2 sugars until the mixture turns paler in colour and becomes light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add eggs, beating well after each addition.  Sift the flour into the bowl and fold into the mixture with a large metal spoon.  Combine the vanilla and milk and fold in.
  3. Evenly divide the mixture into 3 x 20cm prepared tins.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until light golden brown.
  4. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the fudge mixture by putting the sugar, butter and 75ml of cream in a saucepan over a low heat.  Stir frequently until the butter has melted.  Turn up the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the mixture from catching on the base of the pan.  Take the pan off the heat and vigorously stir for 30 seconds.  Add the sea salt flakes.  Leave to cool.
  6. Whip the cream until soft peaks
  7. To assemble, spread one third of the cream on top each cake, then layer the banana slices on top of the cream.  Choose one cake to be the top layer and place the banana slices decoratively on top. Now slowly pour or swirl the caramel fudge over the bananas letting some of the caramel drip over the edges.  Now carefully, place each cake on top of each other, making sure it is straight.

Tip: For even cake layers, weigh the cake batter and divide evenly into thirds.

Our savoury table:

savoury collage

 

Our sweet table:

sweet table

 

For pics of what fantastic bakes we had that day look up #GFBBO on twitter and instagram

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

A Cake Decorating Class and an AppliancesOnline.com.au 8th Birthday Competition

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As many readers may know, I love baking and decorating cakes for family and friends.  I’m far from being an expert so any tips and tricks I can get is always welcomed.

I was invited by AppliancesOnline.com.au to attend a cake decorating class at Let Them Eat Cake in South Melbourne.  Owner Christopher Montebello and staff demonstrated their decorating skills and answered all the questions we had.  And trust me, we had plenty.

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Australia’s largest online retailer of appliances is celebrating it’s 8th birthday by launching a national cake decorating competition to find it’s official birthday cake.  The national competition encourages Australians to get creative by baking and decorating an appliance themed cake, to celebrate the birthday.  Entrants will go in the draw to win one of eight sunbeam food processors valued at $399.

To enter, create your cake and upload a picture via Appliances Online Facebook, instagram or twitter. Tag @appliancesAU and use the hashtag #AOLbirthday

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During our class, we were shown how to decorate cake to make it look like a blender. CakeDecoratingClass1

Doesn’t it look real?!

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Christopher also showed us how to write with royal icing.

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Not bad huh?

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Here are some cake decorating tips:

1. Buy fondant pre-made.  It can be difficult to achieve the right consistency when making fondant from scratch.

2. Sketch your concept before you start decorating and keep it simple.  The simplest ideas are often the best.

3. Use fruit or mud cake.  Fondant works best with firm cakes such as fruitcake or mud cake.  Make sure you don’t use sponge cake as it won’t support the weight of the icing.

4. Heat the marzipan.  If you’re using marzipan, take it out of it’s foil package and microwave for about 10 seconds to make it easier to work with.

5. Applying the fondant.  Knead on a clean board that’s been sprinkled with icing sugar.  If adding colour, apply sparingly and knead into the icing.  Roll out with a rolling pin and keep applying sugar throughout the rolling process.  Drape fondant carefully over the cake and then smooth gently with dry hands, starting at the centre of the cake, moving outwards.  Make sure to get rid of any air bubbles. Trim any excess fondant with a sharp knife.

6. Experiment and have fun with leftover marzipan and fondant icing which can be used to create simple figurines and flowers.

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Don’t forget to enter Appliancesonline.com.au’s competition.  Ends December 8th. So get on it now!

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Filipino Fiesta Party with Style

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It was party time!  What better way to celebrate a milestone birthday than to share it with family and friends and plenty of delicious food.  I invited over my food blogger friends and asked them to bring along a Filipino dish of their choice.  Some of them have eaten Filipino food but certainly not one of them have ever cooked or baked it before.

I have held many parties and dinner parties before but I have to say, most of my focus is usually on the food.  This time though, I wanted to have more style and pazzazz at my do.  As this fiesta, the guests were bringing a dish (or two or three) each, I didn’t have to worry whether there will be enough food.  As food bloggers, we tend to over cater.

Thanks to Fleishman Hillard PR company, I was provided with a party kit which included fun retro straws and napkins, deco tea light holders and candles for ambience and a stylish wine bucket to keep the wine and drinks cold.

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candles are a great way to create an ambience

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Use a stylish ice bucket to keep your drinks cold

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Wonderful Pistachios are a wonderful addition to the nibbles

The food my friends brought along were amazing.  I was really impressed at their effort, most especially because they have never cooked Filipino food before.  We also ordered a HUGE lechon.  The meat was so tender and moist and the skin/crackling was so crunchy.  It was amazing.

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The table was laden with wonderful and delicious Filipino food. My friends rock!!

My birthday cake was the highlight of the night.  My very good friends (aka #CakeSquad) Shellie and Thanh, made me a ube, pandan and coconut ombre cake, topped with macarons.  AMAZING!

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If you follow me on istagram and/or twitter, you will know that I share my birthday with my little boy.  We celebrated his birthday with family.

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Thomas with his spider man birthday cake I made for him

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photos taken by my bro @epu3on

Here are a few tips from Style and Fashion Host Melissa Hoyer to keep guests and yourself happy whilst entertaining,.

  1. Parties are all about the people so get the guest list right.  Aim to have groups of people with common interests and that you know will “gel” together well.
  2. Three week rule: I suggest inviting your guests at least 3 weeks in advance.  Hosts should give an email address for their guests to RSVP to, that way, the confirmation is saved and you can go back to it when you finalise the guest list.
  3. Be present and available.  This can be hard when you’re constantly refilling the buffet table and justling trays of food.  More importantly, everyone has come to see you and if they see you stressed then they will become uneasy
  4. To theme or not to theme: Themed parties puts a gimmick in every guest but really gives your guests the opportunity to talk about something to other people at the party.
  5. No one goes hungry on your watch: I’m always thinking about my guests, making sure they are having fun and are relaxed.  Keep an eye out for clinking ice cubes.  Offer to refill drinks, as you carry around platter of delicious nibbles such as cheese, pistachios and gourmet dips.
  6. Provide light nibbles that are easy to serve and source: I’m pretty sure that generally people love going to parties because of the sheer hospitality they recieve.  I’m also sure that hosts put on parties to have fun too.   My typical platter of nibbles includes bowls of flavoured Wonderful Pistachios, brie, Camembert cheddar and Jarlsberg and lots of dip flavours like chili crab, guacamole baba ghanoush and beetroot.
  7. Is it OK to ask people to bring something?- Of course! Most people will want to bring something.  I often tend to ask to bring a bottle of something they like drinking.  As a host, be confident to put the request in the invite subtly.

Thanks to Fleishman Hillard for the party kit and for the Wonderful Pistachios,

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Chocolate Easter Masterclass at Cacao

When I was invited to attend a chocolate masterclass at Cacao in St. Kilda, I didn't even think twice and accepted the invitation straight away. Cacao Fine Chocolates and Patisserie are manufacturers of macarons, chocolates, cakes and pastries. This Easter, they have created a great chocolate display featuring Humpty Dumpty. It took over 50 hours and 120kg of chocolate!

I met up with Shellie early to enjoy Cacao's iced chocolate. OMG, it was out-of-this-world good.

Tim Clark is an acclaimed pastry chef/chocolatier and co-owner of Cacao Fine Chocolates. Tim taught a few bloggers the art of Easter chocolate making. We learnt how to temper chocolate correctly and we made a gooey salted caramel and milk chocolate spread.

We learnt the secret of how the filling is placed inside the chocolate egg.

We even got our hands dirty and helped temper and mould the chocolates eggs and we were even lucky enough to take home our creations.

I attended the chocolate masterclass courtesy of Tink PR and Cacao Fine Chocolates.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Orange Chocolate Madeleines for a high tea.

As a person who is always working, it is hard to find time for family and friends. I have dedicated quality time with my husband and my children. For readers who follow me on twitter and Instagram, you will know I have the hash tags #mummyanddaughtertime and #familytime where we go to the park or do some baking together.

When possible, I try to make time for friends, though it can be hard sometimes. I've missed on a lot of feasts and celebrations. So when I had the opportunity to host an afternoon high tea, I jumped at the chance and planned straight away.

The usual gang of food bloggers came along and brought their treats with them. I am so lucky to have friends that know and CAN bake. Needless to say, there was sugar overload and had great conversations about all things, including the ingenuity of the whoopie cushion.

Here's some of the goodies that we ate that day.

I made some sandwiches and the infamous hotdog and cheese :)
Macaron tower and Guinness gingerbread by Shellie. Gorgeous!
Lemon drizzle cake by Adrian. Stunningly decadent.

Eclairs and profiteroles by Thanh. A good bake:)

Coconut & mango friands and spicy cheese biscuits by Agnes. Perfect combinations.

I made mini chocolate cakes

I also made the orange and chocolate Madeleines. I got the recipe from women's weekly cookbooks but I added the orange zest and dipped them in dark chocolate for that extra decadence.

Recipe:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 2 tbs icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1 tbs hot water
  • zest of an orange
  • Melted dark chocolate

 

  1. Preheat oven to 200degC (180degC fan forced)
  2. Grease 2 Madeleine pans with a little butter
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, caster sugar, icing sugar and vanilla paste until thick and creamy
  4. Meanwhile, sift flours twice. Sift the third time over the egg mixture. Add the orange zest and pour combined butter and water down the side of the bowl then fold together.
  5. Drop rounded tablespoons of mixture into pan holes.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  7. When cooked, tap the pan firmly onto baking paper covered wire racks to cool
  8. When cooled, dip one end into the melted chocolate. Place onto baking paper for chocolate to set.

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

 

New Moro Seleccion Hojiblanca Olive Oil launch at Bohemian Bar and Restaurant.

Australia's number one brand of olive oil, Moro, has launched a new specialty mono varietal extra virgin olive oil, Moro Seleccion Hojiblanca (Ogh-hee-blanca).
Company Director, David Valmorbida says the new Seleccion Hojiblanca has been developed to provide an extra virgin olive oil with a very specific taste, made using only a single variety of olive, the Hojiblanca. It is perfect for dipping, drizzling and finishing dishes such as seafood and vegetables, but it is also ideal for sauteing and baking both sweet and savoury dishes.
I attended the launch of the new olive oil at the Bohemiam bar and restaurant. As we arrived, David, himself lead us through the tastings of 3 different olive oils. We were taught how to properly taste olive oil in order to appreciate the different tastes and textures of the olive oil.

How to taste Olive oil.

Step 1: With the glass covered by the lid or your hand, cup and rotate the glass in your other hand to warm it up. Swirl the oil on the sides of the glass to increase the surface area for the oil to release the volatile scents.

Step 2: Before tasting the oil, uncover the glass and smell the olive oil. This will give you your first indications of the quality and type of oil.

Step 3: Put a small amount of oil in your mouth and let it warm up for a moment or two so the taste spreads throughout the mouth.

Step 4: Begin inhaling or sipping air in quick gasps. This helps to oxygenise the oil and intensify the aromas.

Step 5: After completing the tasting, allow a minute or two for the full flavour of the olive oil to rest and develop in your mouth.

We were also treated to a range of dishes that featured Seleccion Hojiblanca Olive Oil.
Olive oil spheres

Grilled octopus, potato and paprika

Vegetarian paella

Seafood paella

Set bacalao mousse, red pepper, egg yolk and cod skin

Confit pork ribs, artichoke, cabbage and coriander

Homemade ricotta, beetroot, dehydrated black olive

Olive oil ice cream, chocolate and almond sponge

The New Seleccion Hojiblanca Olive Oil will be available in a 500ml bottle and a four litre tin at major supermarkets and selected independent supermarkets and delcatessens from late August 2012.

I attended the product launch at Bohemian bar and restaurant courtesy of Dig Marketing Group and Moro.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Lindt Chocolate Creation Class

Last year hubby and I were lucky enough to attended a Lindt chocolate Creation Class.  The class was hosted by Maitre Chocolatier Thomas Schnetzler, where he teaches you everything about chocolate and we got to decorate our own chocolate blocks and fill in macarons to take home. It was a delicious and informative night full of chocolate tasting and learning. It was a delight to attend.

Upon arrival we were treated to iced chocolate topped with chocolate shards.  Smooth and creamy.

Before starting the class we dug into a chocolate mousse.  It was silky and decadent.
Thomas went through the different stages of the the chocolate process.  From the cocoa pod to the finished product.
We also got to taste a few samples. Delish!
We decorated our own Lindt chocolate blocks with lots of different toppings.
Our finished decorated blocks ready to be taken home.
We also filled and decorated macarons to take home.  They were delicious too!
Lindt Chocolate Creation Class are held monthly at their Chapel street Cafe in Melbourne and Martin place cafe in Sydney.  The cost is $110 per person and bookings are essential as places are limited.
Hubby and I were invited to attend the Chocolate class by Entwistle PR.
Bon Appetite,
Cherrie