Tag Archives: Cake

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Caramel Cannellini Cakes

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I have made Chocolate Magic Bean Cakes many, many times now and they are always fantastic, but I wanted to try a vanilla version of the magic bean style cake. I chose to use cannellini beans, which  are high in fibre, high in protein, low in fat and a good source of iron. Using the chocolate recipe as a base I gave it a go, but used rapadura instead of sugar. Rapadura is the product of evaporated sugar cane juice. It is a brown, grainy sugar that has a caramel quality. Rapadura is a Wholefood as it has not been cooked at high temperatures, had the molasses separated from it, had any chemicals added to it or had the vitamins and minerals removed from it. It works really well as a substitute for refined sugar in biscuits and cakes. I buy my rapadura online for $5.95/kg from 2Brothers Foods, but it is also available in health food stores and through other online retailers. 

The result of my experimenting – caramel cakes! These are a really yummy, healthy cake and freeze well for lunch boxes.

Caramel Cannellini Cake

Ingredients

  • 420g can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed or 110g dried cannellini beans soaked and cooked
  • 1 tbls water
  • 1 tbls vanilla essence
  • 5 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp  baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 65g (1/3 cup) oil or 125g butter
  • 180g rapadura

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Place cannellini beans, water, eggs and vanilla essence in TMX and blitz 2 min, Sp 7
  3. Add all other ingredients
  4. Mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  5. Spoon into patty pans and bake 20-25 min in 2tbls/40ml patty pans or 15-20 min in 1tbls/20ml mini patty pans
  6. Alternately, pour into ring tin and bake 30 min
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Feeding the Funky Bunch: Coffee Cake

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I recently made this coffee cake for my husband to take to work and share with his co-workers. It received rave reviews (!) so I decided to share the recipe here for everyone to enjoy. Unfortunately I forgot to snap a pic before I sent it off to work with him, but will try to remember to take some photos next time I make it. This coffee cake recipe is based on a simple cake recipe from an old cookbook of my Mum’s.

Ingredients

Coffee Cake

Coffee Icing

  • 125g butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 2-3tbs liquid coffee*

*Liquid coffee: add 3-4 tbs of boiling water to 5tbs of good quality instant coffee and mix to dissolve. Basically try to use as little boiling water as possible to dissolve the coffee.

TMX Method – Coffee Cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170C
  2. Place raw sugar in TMX and blitz 3 sec, Sp 9
  3. Add butter and mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  4. Place bowl on top of TMX and weigh in flour and baking powder
  5. Turn TMX to Sp 4 and alternately add egg and flour/baking powder through the lid as follows
  6. Add one egg and mix 10 sec, add a generous tablespoon of flour/baking powder and mix 10 sec, add second egg and mix 10 sec, add another generous tablespoon of flour/baking powder and mix 10 sec, add the third egg and mix 10 sec, add another generous tablespoon of flour/baking powder and mix 10 sec
  7. Add the rest of the flour/baking powder and mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  8. Open TMX and scrape down sides if necessary
  9. Add liquid coffee*, vanilla essence and milk
  10. Mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  11. Spoon into patty pans or greased & lined ring tin

Baking times

  • mini cupcakes: 15-20 min (1tbls/20ml mini patty pans)
  • cupcakes: 20-25 min (2tbls/40ml patty pans)
  • ring tin: 30-35min

TMX Method – Coffee Icing

Allow the cake/s to cool completely before icing.

  1. Place butter and icing sugar in TMX
  2. (You can make your own icing sugar in TMX – raw sugar blitzed 20 sec, Sp 9 – but I find it nearly impossible to get rid of the slight graininess of the sugar. If you buy icing sugar ensure it doesn’t have any additives or anti-caking agents added)
  3. Mix 30 sec, Sp 4
  4. Add 2tbs liquid coffee* and mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  5. Taste and add extra liquid coffee* for a stronger flavour

Non-TMX Method – Coffee Cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170C
  2. Cream butter and sugar by hand or in electric mixer
  3. Weigh flour and baking powder into a separate bowl
  4. Mix in the eggs one at a time by hand or electric mixer, following each with a generous tablespoon of flour/baking powder also mixed in well
  5. Add the rest of the flour/baking powder and mix well by hand or electric mixer
  6. Add liquid coffee*, vanilla essence and milk and mix well by hand or electric mixer
  7. Spoon into patty pans or greased & lined ring tin

Baking times

  • mini cupcakes: 15-20 min (1tbls/20ml mini patty pans)
  • cupcakes: 20-25 min (2tbls/40ml patty pans)
  • ring tin: 30-35min

Non-TMX Method – Coffee Icing

Allow the cake/s to cool completely before icing.

  1. Cream butter and icing sugar by hand or with electric mixer
  2. Add 2tbs liquid coffee* and mix well by hand or electric mixer
  3. Taste and add extra liquid coffee* for a stronger flavour

 

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Lemon Curd Cupcakes

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Today is my Mum’s birthday, and the perfect opportunity to whip up these delicious lemon curd cupcakes as a treat for her (and us!). Inspired by the most divine lemon curd cupcake that I had at Mrs S Cafe. You need to make the lemon curd well ahead of time leaving at least 6 hours for it to cool and thicken. Additionally the lemon cupcakes need a few hours to cool before adding the curd.

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Lemon Diva Cupcakes (Recipe by Julie Goodwin)

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Lemon peel from 3 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 125ml (110g) milk

Thermomix Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced)
  2. Place peel of 3 lemons in TMX
  3. Blitz 20 sec, Sp 10
  4. Add raw sugar and blitz 3 sec, Sp 9
  5. Add butter and vanilla, and mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  6. Add 2 eggs and mix 10 sec, Sp 4
  7. Alternately add flour and milk in 2 batches (add 100g flour, mix 6 sec, Sp 3 then add 55g milk, mix 6 sec, Sp 3, then 100g flour, mix 6 sec, Sp 3 then add 55g milk, mix 6 sec, Sp 3)
  8. Scrape down TMX bowl and give one more mix 6 sec, Sp 3
  9. Spoon into cupcake size (2tbls/40ml) patty pans (makes 12)
  10. Bake 20min or until golden and springy when touched

I know the alternate mixing method is a bit of effort, but it does give a much lighter cupcake in the end.

Non-Thermomix Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced)
  2. Zest 3 lemons
  3. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in electric mixer until light and creamy
  4. Add lemon zest and mix through
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg
  6. Fold through flour and milk by hand in two alternate batches
  7. Spoon into cupcake size (2tbls/40ml) patty pans (makes 12)
  8. Bake 20min or until golden and springy when touched

Lemon Curd

This recipe is from the Thermomix App. I’ve had this app for quite a while now and regularly use recipes from it. Everything I’ve tried so far has worked really well.  It is $8.49 and currently has 145 recipes including starters, mains, deserts, baking, drinks and basics. Every few months a free upgrade is released with more recipes (usually 6-10).

Makes enough to fill two large 500g jam jars

Ingredients

  • 240g raw sugar
  • Lemon peel from 2 lemons
  • 120g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g freshly squeezed lemon juice (3-6 lemons worth)

Method

  1. Place sugar in TMX and blitz 15 sec, Sp 10
  2. Add lemon peel and blitz 20 sec, Sp 10
  3. Add butter, eggs and lemon juice. Cook 20 min, 90C, Sp 2 without MC
  4. Insert MC and mix 25 sec, Sp 6
  5. Poor into sterilised jars and seal immediately
  6. Cool completely before storing in the fridge. Will keep for up to a month.

Putting it all together

Once your cupcakes and lemon curd have cooled, simply use a sharp knife to cut out a small circle of cake from the top of the cupcake, dollop in a generous teaspoon of curd, gently push the circle of cake back in to squeeze a little curd out the top and dust with icing sugar. Voila!

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Sterilising Jars

Recycle used jars or buy new glass jars for your preserve. Wash the jars and lids thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse well and air dry. Alternately wash them in the dishwasher. Then place clean jars on a clean tray in the oven at 100C and allow to dry out for 15 min. Pour hot preserve into hot, sterilised jars and seal with lids immediately. As the preserve and jar cools the lid will be pulled in to form a seal. The lid of the jar will ‘pop’ when opened. You can also purchase plastic film seals for your jars that go over the jar before the lid is put on. I’m sure you can buy them elsewhere but I get these ones from Coles ($1.83 for a 24 pack). They are handy if your jars have been reused numerous times and the lids are getting worn.

Little People: Birthday Parties

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Rainbow Rabbit Birthday CakeDInosaur cakeEchidna Ice Cream CakeBigger DIgger CakeBall CakeTurtle Cake

I love having birthday parties for my kids. We are blessed with lots of great family and close friends and undoubtably end up holding big parties when birthdays roll around. I think it is fantastic to celebrate and have some treats at a party, but I definitely think it is good to steer away from too much ‘party’ food. You cannot fill children (and adults) with ridiculous amounts of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, huge amounts of sugary food and drink, and fatty, processed snacks and expect them all to feel good and have a great time. The kids are going to go crazy, the adults are going to get grumpy and later in the day they’ll all be feeling pretty average.

With regards to birthday cakes, I am a huge fan of homemade birthday cakes ala Women’s Weekly birthday cake cookbooks, but I especially try to avoid using artificial food colouring, packet cake mixes and processed foods. I’ve had great success with Natural Food Colouring and it is easier than you’d think. Click on the link to read more. All of the cakes pictured above were homemade – yes, those are M&M’s on the ball and yes, those are store bought chocolate finger biscuits, but other than that it’s all good stuff. The echidna was made of homemade strawberry ice cream (divine!) and the colourings on the rabbit are all natural. The turtle shell was white chocolate mixed with raspberries and the dinosaur was piped white chocolate mixed with spirulina powder.

As a general rule at parties, my kids have to ask before they eat things and listen if I tell them they are only allowed a certain amount of particular foods. Also when they get party bags they have to show me the contents first and I tell them what or how much they are allowed to have. We have always done this with our kids so they are used to it and don’t think twice about it. Certainly it is hard to change habits but it’s worth persevering with this one. It will save you a lot of hyperactivity, tummy cramps, diahorrhea or constipation, and general poor behaviour from the kids later. I know some people will argue that it’s just a party so why worry, but at the end of the day kids go to a fair number of parties, especially once they start school and enlarge their circle of friends.

Here are some ideas for how to cater a healthier (but still very fun!) party:

  • Try to make as much of the food from scratch as you can – do this yourself or ask friends and family to help out
  • Write a list of all the food you’ll be providing and try to get a balance between savoury and sweet foods
  • Remember that you will have birthday cake too so don’t go overboard with other treats
  • Try to keep artificial colours, flavourings and preservatives to a minimum
  • Make party bags with only a few lollies or treats in them and add some healthy treats or fun stuff like party blowers, bubbles, stickers, notepads, coloured pens or pencils etc

At one of my daughters birthday parties last year we served homemade chicken nuggets and chips to the kids. I totally underestimated how many chips we could cook in the oven at once and only had about 6 chips per child! My mum quickly began buttering slices of bread and I cut cheese sticks from a block of cheddar. 15 minutes later the food was eaten and the kids were asking for more cheese sticks! Sometimes we forget that the simplest things are fun just because it’s a party.

Drinks at parties don’t need to be a big deal either. You can certainly make your own drinks if you have time. Something like homemade lemonade (the EDC recipe is great if you have a TMX) is fabulous and always goes down well, but often kids (especially young kids) are just as happy with water. If that is all you provide then they usually won’t question it. Water from some type of dispenser or cask that they can operate themselves and cups with a permanent marker for them to write their name on offer more entertainment than you might think.

Savoury suggestions for your party menu:

Sweet suggestions for your party menu:

  • Magic bean chocolate cake (this makes a great birthday cake)
  • Choc coconut fudge
  • Homemade icy poles using fruit juice (mix equal parts 100% apple and orange juice to make a ‘frosty fruit’)
  • Chocolate crackles (I make mine with just melted chocolate mixed with Rice Bubbles)
  • I haven’t tried these yet but will report back when I do – Really Healthy Chocolate Crackles
  • Honey Joys – TMX recipe & stovetop recipe
  • The Natural Confectionary Company Lollies are a good, easily accesible alternative to other brands which contain a lot of artificial colours and flavours
  • Fairy Bread – choose a healthier white bread option like Baker’s Delight Hi-Fibre Lo-GI bread and sprinkles with natural colours (these are available at the big supermarkets)

This information is by no means comprehensive, in fact I plan to continue to add to my list of food suggestions for kid’s parties on the Little People page of this blog over time. And my suggestions are designed to make party food healthier while still being fun, tasty and relatively easily accessible. Of course you could be a lot stricter if you wanted to.

A couple of good resources which I haven’t tried yet but which look good are:

  • Hopper Foods: this Victorian business sells a great range of natural food colourings and naturally coloured sprinkles
  • Arch & Jax: this Perth-based business sells organic and additive free children’s party food and eco friendly party supplies

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Little Christmas Fruit Cakes

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I’ve been making these little fruit cakes for years. They always remind me of a boiled fruit cake my Mum used to make when I was a little girl. Deliciously moist and tasty, they always get made around Christmas time in our house … and quite a few more times throughout the year! The original recipe is from a great cookbook called Simple Food by Jill Dupleix which is now out of print unfortunately.

I’ve included thermomix instructions below for part of the method. I’ve tried mixing in the eggs and flour with the thermomix but the resulting texture of the cakes just isn’t as nice as if you mix them in by hand. If you do want to try mixing it in the thermomix use Reverse Sp 3 for 20 seconds after adding the eggs and 40 seconds after adding the flours.

Little Fruit Cakes

Ingredients

  • 150g butter
  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g currants
  • 200g glace cherries
  • 180g soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp bicarb soda
  • 250ml water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g self-raising flour

Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 180C
  2. Place butter, sultanas, currants, cherries, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, ginger, bicarb and water in TMX or a saucepan
  3. Mix 6min, 90C, Speed Soft in TMX or bring to the boil in saucepan while stirring then remove from heat
  4. Allow mixture to cool (if you transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool, this will usually take about 30 min)
  5. Add eggs and mix in well with a spatula
  6. Add flours and mix in well with a spatula (I place the bowl on top of the TMX and weigh flours straight in)
  7. Spoon mixture into muffin trays lined with paper cases (makes 18 cakes)
  8. Bake 20-25min

Homemade: Natural Food Colourings

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For my daughter’s recent 5th birthday, she requested a ‘Rainbow Rabbit Cake’. That is, a cake that looks like a rabbit with rainbow coloured icing. Here’s my interpretation (which she totally loved!):

 

I iced this cake with butter icing (butter and icing sugar whipped together) and made my own natural food colourings. I was so proud of the finished product. The colours looked great and contained absolutely no nasty additives.

I try to avoid additives and preservatives in my family’s food as much as possible. Children’s birthday parties are often where everyone seems to throw caution to the wind and fill kids up with not only sugar but nasty chemicals found in additives and preservatives. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have treats and yummy party foods, but there is no need to overdo it. I definitely find that if my kids eat some filling, healthy food then have some cake without food colourings their behaviour is so much better than if they’re full of lollies, chips and food colouring. I try to make at least some of our party food from scratch (have a look on my Lunchbox Legends page for some ideas) and minimise the food colourings. It really was easy to make these food colourings and would have been even quicker if I’d only had to do 1 or 2 colours!

When looking at the additives and preservatives in food colouring, common e-numbers include 102, 122, 124, 133, 210, 211, 216 and 218. All of these are considered dangerous, many are suspected carcinogens and linked to behavioural problems, hyperactivity and asthma. Many are banned in some european countries and the USA. It still amazes me how other countries completely ban these chemicals and yet they are readily found in may of our everyday foods. There is an excellent book called Additive Alert by Julie Eady, a Perth Mum, which is a must-read for everyone, especially parents. This book contains excellent information on the dangers of additives and preservatives in our foods, what to avoid and how to read food labels. Most usefully it has comprehensive, easy to use tables of additives and their effects both by name and number. You can order online for $22 including postage or buy from bookstores or Big W. I also have an app on my phone, e food additives, which is handy in the supermarket.

 

Here’s the icing colours I made:

  • Pale pink from raspberries – gently cook fresh or frozen raspberries for a few minutes then juice through a sieve. Add 1/2 tsp at a time to icing and mix well.
  • Dark Pink from beetroot – add juice from cooked beetroots to icing 1/2 tsp at a time and mix well.  (I blitzed a beetroot in the thermomix and cooked for 6 minutes, 100C, speed 1 then pureed on speed 9 and pushed through a sieve)
  • Purple from beetroot and bicarb soda – add juice from cooked beetroots to icing 1/2 tsp at a time and mix well. Add a small pinch of bicarb soda at a time to make more purple. The bicarb tends to keep reacting over time so leave for a few minutes before adding more. (I blitzed a beetroot in the thermomix and cooked for 6 minutes, 100C, speed 1 then pureed on speed 9 and pushed through a sieve)
  • Dark pink from blackberries – gently cook fresh or frozen blackberries for a few minutes then juice through a sieve. Add 1/2 tsp at a time to icing and mix well.
  • Yellow from tumeric – add tumeric powder to icing 1/4 tsp at a time and mix well
  • Orange from carrots – add juice from cooked carrots to icing 1/2 tsp at a time and mix well (I blitzed a carrot in the thermomix and cooked for 6 minutes, 100C, speed 1 then pureed on speed 9 and pushed through a sieve)
  • Green from spirulina – add spirulina powder to icing 1/2 tsp at a time and mix well (Spirulina is a green, leafy superfood. Spirulina powder available from health food stores)
  • Blue from blueberries – gently cook fresh or frozen blueberries for a few minutes then juice through a sieve. Add 1/2 tsp at a time to icing and mix well. Add a small pinch of bicarb soda at a time to change colour to blue. The bicarb tends to keep reacting over time so leave for a few minutes before adding more.

I promise you that no one will taste these additions to your icing. I have served cakes with these icings at quite a few parties now. In total over 40 kids and 60 adults have eaten them without raising anyones suspicions! In fact, my 5 year old and 3 year old girls were very impressed with how I made the colours and declared that ‘you can’t even taste it!’. These are just the colours I experimented with. I’d love to hear how you go making your own. I’ve read that spinach juice can give a good green and I’d say red cabbage would work well too. Definitely experiment by adding a small pinch of bicarb soda and watch how your colours change. Give it a few minutes to work – on this cake my outer circle of icing was fairly purple when I put it on but by the time I served the cake it had turned a very satisfactory blue. Also, I’d say if you had the time to cook down the juices you’ve made that you would get more intense colours.

There are natural food colourings and sprinkles available to buy from an Australian Company called Hopper Foods. I haven’t tried these but they do look good. There are some notes on the food colourings that they need to be kept in the freezer, have a use-by date, react to light and work better in acid environments like lemon icing. I also found sprinkles with natural food colouring (still additives but only those that are considered safe) in my local Woolworths. Another Perth business, Arch & Jax, provides organic (additive free) party supplies like sprinkles and lollies, as well as environmentally friendly party supplies. Again, I haven’t used these guys yet but they look excellent.

Hopefully I’ve given you the motivation to try your hand at making your own food colourings for your next party. Happy Experimenting!

 

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Magic Bean Cake

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Last night I was searching for a dairy-free recipe to cook for morning tea. I stumbled across this one – Chocolate Magic Bean Cake – which I recalled reading about a few months ago. It was absolutely delicious and is also gluten free and wheat free. Easy to whip up, totally delicious and surprisingly nutritious. This cake is a moist, fudgy chocolate cake made with red kidney beans! Amazing, but true. Definitely give this one a go. It is not a healthy cake that tastes pretty good, it is a fantastic cake that happens to have some extra nutritious ingredients.

The “Magic Bean Cake’ Recipe is posted online in a few locations including the Official Thermomix Recipe Community and Forum Thermomix. The method and recipe below has been altered a bit by me and tested for the Thermomix. I haven’t tried it but I would imagine it would work just as well in a food processor as long as you allow enough time to whiz the kidneys beans up as much as possible.

Ingredients

  • 420g can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed or 110g dried red kidney beans soaked and cooked
  • 1 tbls water
  • 1 tbls vanilla essence
  • 5 eggs
  • 70g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 65g (1/3 cup) oil (rice bran or vegetable) or 125g butter
  • 180g sugar or rapadura

Ensure if you are going dairy-free that you use oil instead of butter and don’t use butter to grease your baking tin

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Place red kidney beans, water, eggs and vanilla essence in TMX and blitz 2min, Sp 7
  3. Add all other ingredients
  4. Mix 20sec, Sp 4
  5. Pour into ring tin
  6. Bake 30 min
  7. Alternately spoon into patty pans and bake 20-25 min in 2tbls/40ml patty pans or 15-20 min in 1tbls/20ml mini patty pans

People have commented that they’ve replaced the kidney beans with butter beans and flavoured the cake differently i.e. lemon, orange, coffee. I’ll endeavour to do a bit of experimentation and let you know!

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Raspberry & White Chocolate Friands

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A friend of mine made these for our book club one night and they were absolutely delicious. She kindly provided us all with print outs of the recipe from Taste.com. Just last week I converted it for thermomix and whipped them up in no time. These little friands are scrumptious. They are very resilient and will still turn out fabulously if you don’t have a friand pan (like me!) and they develop this lovely chewy outer crust with a light centre. So good.

Ingredients (TMX version)

  • 125g frozen raspberries
  • 185g melted butter
  • 6 egg whites
  • 100g almonds
  • 75g plain flour
  • 200g raw sugar
  • 100g white chocolate
Thermomix Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Place almonds and sugar in TMX bowl
  3. Grind 10 sec, Sp 10
  4. Remove from bowl and set aside
  5. Place white chocolate in TMX bowl
  6. Chop chocolate using the turbo button. Pulse for a few seconds at a time until you’re happy with how it’s chopped. I like mine to be fairly chunky still
  7. Set aside in a separate bowl
  8. Place cubed butter in TMX bowl
  9. Melt 40sec, 80C, Sp2
  10. Add almonds, sugar, flour, and 75g raspberries to TMX, then pour egg whites in on top
  11. Mix 20sec, Sp 4
  12. Mix thru chocolate 10sec, Rev Sp 3
  13. Spoon mixture into friand tin or 2tbls/40ml patty pans
  14. Divide remaining raspberries among the tops of the cakes, gently pushing them into the mix a little
  15. Bake at 180C for 25min
  16. Stand for 5 min before turning onto wire rack to cool

Ingredients (non-TMX version)

  • 125g frozen raspberries
  • 185g melted butter
  • 6 egg whites
  • 100g almond meal
  • 75g plain flour
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
Thermomix Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Crush 75g raspberries and place in large bowl
  3. Add melted butter, egg whites, almond meal, flour, icing sugar and chopped chocolate, and mix until combined
  4. Spoon mixture into friand tin or 2tbls/40ml patty pans
  5. Divide remaining raspberries among the tops of the cakes, gently pushing them into the mix a little
  6. Bake at 180C for 25min
  7. Stand for 5 min before turning onto wire rack to cool
When you’re done you’ll have 6 egg yolks looking for a home. I add 2-3 eggs and make Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittatas or Zucchini Quiches. That sorts out lunchbox food for the week and after school treats for the kids! (If your school is nut-free you can’t pop these friands in lunch boxes)


Little People: Lunchbox Legends

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Lunchboxes. The constant challenge of parents around the world. How to keep your kids lunch boxes (and your own lunch boxes!) delicious and healthy. I’ll continue to add links to this page each time I post a recipe that is suitable for tucking in a lunchbox to make it that little bit more interesting and tasty.

  • Sun-Dried Tomato & Spinach Frittatas : these frittatas freeze really well. Simply place in a container or snap-lock bag and freeze until needed. I often pop them in my kids lunch boxes frozen and they defrost perfectly in time for lunch. 
  • Jam Buttons: delicious little old-fashioned biscuits
  • Happy Crackers : replace processed crackers with your own homemade healthy, delicious crackers
  • Zucchini Quiche: this quiche  freezes really well. Simply place in a container or snap-lock bag and freeze until needed. I often pop them in my kids lunch boxes frozen and they defrost perfectly in time for lunch. 
  • Chocolate Magic Bean Cake: delicious and nutritious, great for the lunchbox, afternoon tea or a birthday party
  • Sausage Rolls: Healthy, homemade sausage rolls packed with veggies
  • Wholemeal Fruit Bread: Great fresh or toasted for breakfast or a snack. I slice and freeze mine so that it is quick and easy to toast a slice when needed.
  • Garlic, Herb & Cheese Bread: Delicious warm from the oven or in lunch boxes the next day

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Moist Chocolate Cake with Caramel Icing

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This chocolate cake recipe is a definite winner. Easy to whip up and works every time. I’ve made it many times as a ring cake (pictured), as little cakes for the kids or doubled the recipe and made slab cakes for birthdays. The recipe is originally from the Country Women’s Association Cookbook, with my own tweaks and thermomix conversion. It is delicious without icing,but this caramel icing (from The Australian Women’s Weekly Easy Baking Cookbook) takes it to a whole new level of decadence.

Moist Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 210g soft brown sugar
  • 220g milk used in 2 x 110g lots or 1 cup milk (divided between 2 half cups)
  • 30g golden syrup (1 tbs)
  • 270g self-raising flour
  • 25g cocoa
  • 1tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Thermomix Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Place cubed butter, sugar, golden syrup and 110g milk in TMX bowl
  3. Melt at 90C for 3min, Sp 1
  4. If butter hasn’t quite melted, whiz for 5 sec, Sp 4
  5. Add flour, cocoa, bicarb soda and cinnamon
  6. Mix 6 sec, Sp 4 then scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 6 sec, Sp 4
  7. With blades spinning at Sp 3, slowly pour in another 110g milk
  8. Mix for a further 20 sec, Sp 3
  9. Pour into lined deep 20cm ring pan or divide between patty pans
  10. Bake 180C: 25-30 min in ring pan, 20-25 min in 2tbls/40ml patty pans or 15-20 min in 1tbls/20ml mini patty pans
  11. Allow to cool completely on cake rack before icing

Non-Thermomix Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Place cubed butter, sugar, golden syrup and 1/2 cup milk in saucepan and heat together until melted
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa, bicarb soda and cinnamon
  4. Pour melted ingredients onto dry, sifted ingredients and mix together well
  5. Add remaining 1/2 cup milk and mix in lightly
  6. Pour into lined deep 20cm ring pan or divide between patty pans
  7. Bake 180C: 25-30 min in ring pan, 20-25 min in 2tbls/40ml patty pans or 15-20 min in 1tbls/20ml mini patty pans
  8. Allow to cool completely on cake rack before icing

Caramel Icing

Your cake or cakes need to have cooled completely before you ice them, otherwise the caramel icing will just melt off. The caramel icing needs to be poured straight onto the cake or cakes as soon as it has been cooked. As it cools this icing sets to a soft, caramel consistency. As a result you will need to work fairly quickly if you are icing little cakes. I usually only ice a ring cake and tend to make little cakes without icing, just to make life a little bit easier!

Ingredients

  • 60g butter
  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 2tbs milk
  • 120g icing sugar

Thermomix Method

  1. Place butter, sugar and milk in TMX bowl
  2. Cook at 100C, 8min, Sp 1
  3. Add icing sugar
  4. Mix 10 sec, Sp 4
  5. Pour over cake, using a spatula to gently spread as necessary

Non-Thermomix Method

  1. Stir butter, sugar and milk in a small saucepan over heat until sugar dissolves
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue stirring for 2 minutes
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in sifted icing sugar
  4. Pour over cake, using a spatula to gently spread as necessary