A chocolate heaven cake and a giveaway to the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show

choc heaven cake 3

It’s nearly time for the Good food and wine show in Melbourne again.  I have gone almost every year. I love to get new ideas and inspirations from well renowned chefs and new produce I am introduced to.

This year Melbournians will get the chance to see popular UK chef Ainsley Harriott.  He has been appointed the face of this year’s Good food and wine show in Melbourne.  He will be present all 4 days during the show 5-8 June .  Ainsley will share tips and handy ticks during his live cooking demonstrations.

I have followed his career for many years and have collected a lot of his cook books.  I have also managed to cook many recipes from his books.

In celebration of  his appearance in this year’s show I have decided to share one of my favourite recipe of his.  The chocolate heaven cake.  This cake is to die for.  It really is heavenly.  Hubby says it’s light, fluffy and rich all at the same time.

choc heaven cake 2

Recipe:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  •  1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 200ml sour cream , at room temperature

Frosting

  • 350g dark chocolate
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225ml milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 180degC (160degC fanforced)
  2. Prepare 3x 20cm round baking tins
  3. In a heatproof bowl, break the chocolate into pieces and melt over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat, stir until smooth and cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs, mixing well after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate and mix until smooth.
  5. Sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and cocoa.  Fold into the creamed mixture in alternate batches with the sour cream.  Mix well between each addition.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 tins and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cakes are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle of one of them comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once the cakes are completely cold, make the frosting.  In a large bowl, melt the butter with the chocolate chunks set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Melt until smooth, stirring occasionally.  In another bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk until completely smooth.  Add the melted chocolate and butter and mix until combined.  Set aside for about 30 minutes to thicken slightly.
  8. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate and spread with a little frosting.  Cover with another cake and more frosting.  Top with the remaining cake and lightly press all the cake layers together.  Use a palette knife to spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

choc heaven cake 1

Would you like to attend the Good Food and Wine show in Melbourne?  I have a double pass to the show to giveaway to one of my readers.

It is simple to enter.  Just leave a comment below and share this post on Facebook and twitter.  This competition is only for readers who are able to attend the show in Melbourne.  The competition does not include flights or accommodation.

Competition ends midnight 24th may 2015.  I will contact the winner via email.

For more information on the Good food and wine show click here

Good Luck,

Cherrie

My Easter 2015. Time spent with Family

Easter

Easter 2015.

Easter this year, like most years, is spent with family.  During the Easter season, I am most thankful for the family and my friends around me.  Most of my days are focused on work and duties on being a wife and a mother.  I am constantly busy planning our days and weeks ahead that sometimes it is hard to live in the present.

This year, I spent 5 days focused on what is important.  My Family.  I love to have my table laden with food that has been prepared with love.

Here is how I spent my last few days :)

Good Friday is always spent at my Mother in law’s home.  We are always well fed.  But for some reason (mostly due to the consumption of (numerous) glasses of wine) I forgot to take photos of the delicious roasted salmon and barbecued vegetables we ate.

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For dinner I had my #luxbitefamily over for a pot luck dinner.  Nothing can go wrong with a bunch of foodies and chefs over for dinner.

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We had a feast.  It is very rare that we are all able to get together for a meal.

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I baked my Easter Hummingbird cake.  It’s moist and light.  I love this cake and I’m happy to say that it went down a treat with my co-workers.

On Easter Saturday, the day was warm and the sun was shinning.  A perfect day for a drive with Hubby, Kiddies and my parents.  We took a day trip along the Victorian coast to Torquay.

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Easter Sunday.

My dear friend, Hilda, whom I have known for many years, came over with her family for lunch.  We used to work together back in my corporate days. We have kept in touch after I left and we are still so close.  So close that she became Thomas’ God mother.  Along with my parents, we enjoyed lunch together.

I was lucky to have received a pack from Murray Valley Pork.  I roasted up a pork shoulder that was boned and rolled.  The skin came out super crispy and the meat was so tender and moist.  My tip to achieve this is to pump up the heat of your oven to 220degC for the first 20 mins to get the crackling going then turn the heat down to 180 and cook for 20mins for every 500g of the pork.

 

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Dessert was meringue nests with cream and strawberries.  I have to say the meringues came out really well.  I used Mary Berry’s recipe this time round and I think it turned out to be the best I’ve made.  Hilda also brought some of Phillippa’s hot cross buns and crepe cakes from Mille & B.

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Easter Monday.

easter13Family time at Nature Play at Royal Park.  We discovered this park a couple weeks back. It’s a great park for all ages of children.  There is also a wet area for hot days.  But on this day, we kept ourselves dry.

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The Simnel Cake I baked for Hubby.  I don’t eat fruit cake and marzipan so it’s all for him.

Tuesday.

I had the day off so we went out for breakfast and a movie.

We try to eat locally to support great businesses in our area.  Unfortunately, there are not many in our area but when we do find a good one, supporting them is important so they survive.

Before heading off to watch a family movie, we had breaky at a local cafe, Red Beetle. Cafe.  Their food is honest and hearty.  It is affordable and will warm up your tummy.

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I am happy to have spent days with my family to create happy memories.  These days are precious.

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

Triple Choc Fudge and Cherry Baked Cheesecake

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Cookies!

I love all kinds of cookies.  Not only do I love to eat them, I also love to bake with it.

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This recipe using Byron Bay Cookies Triple Choc Fudge is amazing.  The fudge cookies gives the cheesecake a fudgey-ness that makes the cheesecake very decadent.  Please try!  If you have any left over filling, like I did, simply place it in the fridge and let it set just like mousse.  Best eaten with a spoon straight out of the fridge :)

Ingredients:

480g Byron Bay Cookies Triple Choc Fudge (for base) and an extra 120g for mixing

100g butter melted and extra for greasing

250g dark chocolate melts

500g spreadable cream cheese

1/2 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tbs plain flour

300ml thickened cream

120g cherry jam

300ml thickened cream (whipped) for serving (optional)

Fresh cherries for serving

Lightly grease and line the base of 22cm spring-form pan with baking paper.

Process the cookies until fine crumbs form.  Add melted butter and process until well combined.  Press mixture into the base of pan.  Refrigerate for 30minutes.

Preheat oven to 180degC (160degC fan forced)

Melt chocolate in a bowl over boiling water until just melted.  Stir and set aside.

Using an electric hand beater, mix cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, and add flour.

Add melted chocolate and cream and crumble the remaining 120g cookies.  Stir through mixture and swirl through cherry jam.  Spoon mixture onto biscuit base.

Place cheesecake onto middle rack of oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool in oven with door ajar for 1 hour.

To serve cheesecake, release from spring-form pan and transfer to serving plate.  Decorate with cream or fresh cherries.

IMG_6991Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Deanna’s Ice Cream Birthday Party with Harry

Deanna Ice cream birthday party

Do you know it’s International Ice cream month? No? well, you do now…

It just so happens July is also Deanna’s birthday month. What better way to celebrate than having an ice cream party. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter here in Melbourne, ice cream is always welcome with my family.

Deanna was lucky enough to create her very own flavour to celebrate. Harry’s ice cream asked us to create a flavour that they would make for us in their factory in Brunswick. After many discussions between Deanna and myself, we came up with…

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Cotton Candy ice cream with marshmallow pieces and strawberry swirl. It definitely is a fun flavour with a touch of a princess :)

Along with the Cotton candy ice cream, we were also sent Pavlova and sticky date flavoured ice creams. O.M.G. that sticky date! I had various toppings that our guests were able to add.

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We had our family over to help celebrate and had lots of fun doing it.

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Thanks to Harry’s Ice cream, we were able to have our creation made up in a couple of weeks. It usually takes 6 months of research to develop their perfect flavours before it hits the freezer shelves of Woolworths supermarkets. You can see Harry’s full range here or you can also see my recipe of Leche Flan Ice cream using Harry’s base ice cream recipe here.

Deanna Ice cream birhday party10

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Mini Limoncello Meringue Pies

 

mini lemon meringue tart4

I’m happy to say that our lemon tree is now giving us constant supply of lemons.  Having said that though, I need to keep finding ways of using up all the lemons.  So far, I’ve managed to use them up in mostly sweets and desserts. Hey, what can I say? My family love desserts :p

mini lemon meringue tart3

I found this recipe in one of my many Women’s Weekly cookbooks.  I’ve made lemon curd many times before and I usually use the same recipe but I thought I’d try this one as it also uses limoncello.  I like this recipe too.  It’s not as tart and it’s a little sweeter.  This recipe states that you should make the curd the day before, unfortunately, I wasn’t quite so organised.  I let the curd chill in the fridge for a few hours before using it.  It was still a little runny but it didn’t affect the flavour or the final outcome.

I used a blow torch for the meringue on top, however if you don’t have a torch, you can place in a hot oven (240degc) for a couple of minutes until the meringue gives a nice brown colour.

 

mini lemon meringue tart

 

Recipe:

  • 260g plain flour
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 185g cold unsalted butter, chopped coarsely
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp iced water, approx.
  • 3 egg whites
  • 165g caster sugar

 

Limoncello curd:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 90g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 tbs limoncello liqueur

 

Make the limoncello curd:

  1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium heatproof bowl until pale and thickened slightly.
  2. Add the zest and juice, stir over medium saucepan of simmering water about 10-12 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove from heat, gradually whisk in butter until combined between additions.
  4. Stir in limoncello; cover, refrigerate overnight.

 

Make the pie :

  1. Process flour, icing sugar and butter until crumbly.  With motor operating, add egg yolk and enough of the water to make ingredients cling together.  Turn dough into floured surface, knead gently until smooth.  Wrap pastry in plastic.  Refrigerate for 30 mins.
  2. Grease two 12 hole mini muffin pans.  Roll out the pastry between sheets of baking paper until about 5mm thick.  Cut out 6cm rounds then press into holes of the pan.  Prick base of cases with a fork.  Refrigerate 30mins
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220degC
  4. Bake cases about 8-12mins then stand for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
  5. Beat egg whites ina small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gradually add caster sugar, beating until dissolved between additons.
  6. Divide the limoncello curd into cases.
  7. Spoon meringue mixture into piping bag fitted with 1cm plain tube.  Pipe meringue over curd.
  8. Use a blow torch to brown the meringue.

 

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Easy Rice Crispies Easter Nests

Easter Nest3

I love making little treats for the kiddies.  I try to find recipe that are quick and can be made in a moments notice, provided you have the ingredients of course.

Since Easter is coming up fast, I’ve  decided to make these Easter egg nests for a treat.  It’s also perfect if you want to bring a little something to a friend’s place to eat after a meal.

This has only 4 ingredients and the kids can help decorate them.  You can garnish these nests with anything you like, it doesn’t have to be for only an Easter treat.  Use your imagination :)

 

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Recipe:

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups Rice bubbles (rice krispies)
  • Mini Chocolate Easter eggs

 

  1. Prepare a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.  Set aside
  2. In a saucepan melt butter over low heat then add the marshmallows
  3. Continue stirring until the marshmallow has melted.  Careful not to burn the bottom of the pan
  4. Add the rice bubbles and stir until all the cereal has been coated with the marshmallow mix.
  5. Using a tablespoon that has been lightly coated in oil, spoon  the mixtures into the cupcake cases.
  6. Use the back of the spoon to make a little dent in the centre.
  7. Place in fridge for about 15-30 mins to set a little
  8. Garnish with Easter eggs

 

Easter Nest

Happy Easter.

Cherrie

 

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