Last Sunday was pretty, frosty, and warm in the middle. The best kind of wintry Christchurch day. Even better when wrapped up with warm in the middle scones.
One of the boys at work made yummy scones for a morning tea, and I have been craving date scones ever since. These are based on the tried and true recipe from the Edmonds Cookery Book, spiced up to match the current wintery climate.
These scones puff up to be nice and fluffy, with the dates making them moist and sweet. Perfect served warm and smothered in melted butter.
Cinnamon and Date Scones
1.5 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup chopped dates
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
30g butter (finely diced)
2/3 cup milk
Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and salt into a bowl. Add butter and rub into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add milk and mix together with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Add the dates and lightly knead to combine.
Floor a work space and pat the dough out to about 2cm thick.
Lightly dust an oven tray with flour. Cut scones dough into 6 even-sized pieces and spread out on tray. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar .
Bake at 220°C for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.
I made a pretty cake! And I’m rather in love with it.
I haven’t made a full sized cake in a while because I haven’t managed to find any good excuses to. We don’t have much need [want yes, need... not some much] for frosted double layer chocolate cakes for just the two of us. I tend to make cupcakes to take out as they are more nibble sized and my co-ordination skills sometimes lead to smooshed baking in transit [like a poor lemon meringue pie that I recently destroyed as I collided the lid of my cake carrier into the once fluffy meringue].
But with my sister down for her birthday and a long weekend… I gots to make cake!
This is currently my go to chocolate cake recipe and its hard to revert back to any others, so much so I have a permanent stash on guinness in the pantry. And I am loving mascarpone frosting. I even made a cupcake version of this blackforest style cake for our wedding complete with cute little cherry perching atop each one.
Blackforest Cake with Raspberry Mascarpone Frosting
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
- 265 ml guinness
- 125 grams unsalted butter
- 125mL of ricebran oil (or other vegetable oil)
- 75 grams quality dark cocoa powder
- 400 grams caster sugar
- 1 125g punnett of sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 275 grams plain flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter and line two 6″ cake tins.
- Pour the Guinness into a large pot (this will need to hold all the ingredients), add the chopped up butter and oil, heating until the butter is completely melted.
- Take of the heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
- In a small bowl, beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the guinness mixture, whisking as you add it.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, whisking until combined and lump free.
- Pour the cake mix into the two tins and bake for 40 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack.
Raspberry Mascarpone Frosting:
1 cup icing sugar
1Tbs Freeze-dried raspberry powder
Add all ingredients into your mixer’s bowl. Combine on low at first [stops you getting cream splatters everywhere] then crank it up to high [whip setting]. Beat until it has a firm buttercream like consistency. Adjust sugar/raspberry to taste. If it is too firm you can add more cream to loosen it. This is a large batch so beware it makes enough for the cake and a little extra.
Assembling the cake:
- Once cool, slice the tops of the cakes so they are flat.
- Spread the first cake with a layer of cherry or raspberry jam, followed by a thick layer of frosting.
- Carefully align and place the second layer on top.
- Using a palette knife, spread the cake with a thin layer of frosting then refrigerate for 10-15min to firm up [this traps in the crumbs but can be skipped].
- Apply a second thicker layer to the cake and smooth out the top and sides [though I like an imperfect rustic finish].
- Decorate with additional piped frosting and cherries.
- Eat mmmm…
Blog neglect much? 365 days to be exact
So here’s for some speed blogging #ayearofinstagrampics.
My last post was written on a snow day (still hanging out for snow this winter, theres still hope it’s only been 6 days) about a yummy carrot cake and I made a snow man.
Then there was baking, baking, macaron frustration (still not perfect #damnyouhollows) and more baking…
Decorating the study, de-blueifying the lounge and small house tinkering…
Christmas (and Christmas baking)…
Baking for our wedding…
Honeymooning in Port Douglas…
… with a stopoff in Sydney to see
Ikea my brother (and Ikea). It’s the first time I have been to Ikea since France so I made the most of it and managed to fit all of my hoard in my suitcase (I baffled a few flight attendants/ customs officials with my carry on 1.15m photo shelves). The boy’s luggage only weighed in a 13kg *sigh* wasted Ikea opportunities.
We had baby chickens at work. This resulted in one perching on shoulder while I made pirate noises…
And most recently Game of Thrones has left me ……. Is questioning life an over-reaction? Did they really all just die? Must read the books, cannot survive until next season. Oh and in more blog related news we are currently doing up the hallway, mid-way post to follow shortly.
Pinkie promise no more neglect!
Life has been super crazy, hectic busy of late [in case the flagrant blog neglect hasn't already given me away]. But today is a snow day! And with no work or pre planned list of ‘to-dos’ I am currently snuggled up in bed watching snow drift by and day dreaming about what I can bake and cook today. But while I am enjoying watching Christchurch became a beautiful snow-capped city, venturing out into said snow to go to the supermarket is not high on my priority list. Which axes the lamb and
fennel soup, lemon cake, anything requiring real chocolate [as this never makes it to the pantry shelves and operates on a buy as needed basis]. Nostalgia for our cold, snowy christmas in Munich is leaning me towards gluhwein, gingerbread and pork hmmm decisions…. I have suspicions my big plans are likely to be hampered by our small kitchen and crap-tastic dishwasher, that and the cosiness of being in bed. But there will be baking, and cooking, and sneaking back to bed – Watch this space.
For now though, I want to share with you my carrot cake recipe. I made this a couple of weekends ago in a ‘I have 100 million things to do… but really want to make a big pretty cake for no valid reason other than to eat it’ moment. And this is said cake, which I am touting as the best carrot cake and sticking to it. It’s a recipe I have been working on and tweaking for a while but am now totally satisfied with. It is super moist, spicy and light. Plus anything with cream cheese icing is a winner in my eyes. Now I’m off to take photos of the snow and rummage through recipes, enjoy the cake x
¼ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp Salt
4 medium Eggs
265 ml Vegetable Oil (Rice bran is best for a light cake)
2 Tbsp Hot Water
250 g White Sugar
100 g Brown Sugar
2 Carrots, peeled and grated
Preheat oven to 170°c. Grease and line with parchment paper a 24cm/25cm springform pan.Sift Flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl or mixer. Whisk eggs and oil together lightly until pale and creamy. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in hot water, followed by the sugar. Fold in the grated carrots. Pour mix into the pan and bake for 1 hour, test with a skewer and if it comes out clean, its done!
I love fresh capsicums and they tend to find their way into most meals in our house. However, every now and then when I’ve gotten overexcited while doing the groceries and bought too many, I find a couple of sly peppers hiding out in the back of the fridge thinking they have escaped. This is a great way of using up any extras you might have lurking in the shadows. This pesto comes courtesy of Annabel Langbein, whose book Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook is brilliant, full of easy, fresh, workable recipes made with great NZ produce.
I’ve been procrastinating on writing this post [see date label to realise just how much procrastination has taken place]. See, what I should be bringing you is cupcakes filled with this delicious curd and then topped with a silky, fluffy, white swiss meringue buttercream. But I am at war with said topping so while I am perfecting it here is the yummy, tangy filling that played nice [SMBC take note]. So nice in fact that I made a second batch to, reluctantly, give as thank-you gifts. Original recipe is courtesy of smitten kitchen, but second time round I tweaked the method to get a more silky texture and dropped the sugar level for a nice zesty flavour. Yum, now what else can I curd? Other than the frosting…
arrrgh there has been a serious cause of blog neglect going on. But I have excuses, dozen upon dozens of serious life organisational excuses. But all those house/job/venue hunting errands that have been consuming my sundays and all my brain space have ticked themselves off.
So I’m back and do I have a fabulous, gorgeous, over the top, mindblowing culinary accomplishment to share with you to make up for the abandonment? . . . Well no, I have a good ole’ beef chili. But this is the sort of beef chili that is completely satisfying to make and devour at the end of a frantic tick all the boxes day. Its so straight forward yet worth it that I even had the energy to not only cook it, but also photograph and write about it.
Phew what a week! Now that we are back it Christchurch its back to reality and the ticking off of the get a job/car/house/wedding venue/decent dye job list. But in amongst the visits to bank managers and hair salons [the french do most things well but not blonde highlight, oh no they do not] I have managed to spend some time in the kitchen, and first on the list was a cheesecake for my darling daddy. Who then proceeded to hide all the photos off my camera in the hopes that I would have to make another one, luckily I know the password to his computer so I can share this dense flavoursome cake with you. This cheesecake has a lime and vanilla filling with a gingernut base and blueberry topping.
I heart Munich. Everyone always asks what is our favourite place from our travels, and I just can’t answer them. We have been to so many uniquely awesome places that you simply cannot compare them to each other. But then I went to Munich, and it wins. Not because it is the biggest or fanciest or anythingiest. Just because I love being in it. It has this warm cosy feel to it, everywhere there are majestic old buildings, forested gardens and little squares. Being there for christmas, we got to see the city at its magical best. Nowhere does christmas like Germany. We stepped out of the airport and straight into the midst of a christmas market, and within an hour of being in the city had proceeded to consume hot steaming mugs of gluhwein, bratwursts (yes, plural) and had a giant gingerbread stashed away for later.