Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Pie

It’s strawberry season here in Bacchus Marsh in Victoria, Australia. Positively one of the best times of the year. Once you taste the local strawberries you’ll wonder what those things you can find in the supermarket are. The freshly picked strawberries are divine. They taste so sweet. So I’ve gone a little crazy with the cooking this season, having just last week made the Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie. I didn’t have enough strawberries or any rhubarb to make another pie so I made a strawberry cake. Certainly not “good for you”, but scrumptiously delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 85 grams unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling on the mixture before cooking
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk (low fat is fine)
  • About 10 strawberries, hulled and halved

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter a 9-inch deep dish pie pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Put it aside to be added to the wet ingredients in a moment.
  3. With your electric mixer, beat the butter and cup of sugar until well combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until mixed in. Gradually add the dry ingredients and milk, and beat on low speed until smooth, it will remain quite thick.
  4. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the strawberries on top, cut side down, so that they completely cover the batter, use more or less as required for your cake pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the strawberries.
  5. Bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 160°C and bake until the cake is lightly golden and a tester comes out clean, about an hour.
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack before removing.
  7. Eat and enjoy.

Note: You can store this at room temperature for several days wrapped or in a container.

VicVotes and Breakfast

CADA

We have a new king, well a new Premier at least, Daniel Andrews. Long live the new regime, if you consider 4 years a long time. For the first time in Victorian history the Liberal Party has only served 1 term before we ousted them from state government leadership. The federal government will tell you their politics had nothing to do with the Victorian defeat, but they’re stupid like that.

Sure it’s not just federal politics that had a hand in their demise, but they are the same party, they operate with the same values and on they have pretty much shown throughout their rule that just like their federal counterparts, our state government was more interested in the favours they could do their friends in business than operating the state for the people.

We do need more of a focus on public transport and less on big roads, we need more focus on the people and less on established big business.

So we now have a Labor lead state, let’s hope the win doesn’t go to their head, they have a lot of work to do and really 4 years isn’t a lot of time to do it. They will be supported by at least 1 Greens seat, perhaps more as the votes continue to be counted.

Breakfast

I’ve been looking for something to have for breakfast that is quick and easy and doesn’t involve bread or sugar-laced cereal. I think I’ve found it.

Last Thursday we attended a Thermomix cooking night. They call it a class, but really it’s more of a demonstration of the machine while they prepare and cook recipes readily found in the cookbooks that come with your machine. I admit, I’m not a big user of our machine, David uses it mostly, but when the presenters showed us CADA I knew I was on a winner for breakfast.

CADA is Coconut, Almonds, Dates and Apple. Topped with yoghurt it makes a delicious healthy breakfast. The recipe is pretty easy: A handful of each of the coconut, almonds and dates, put them in the Thermomix with a quartered apple and pulse until it’s at your preferred consistency. Top with yoghurt and Bob’s your uncle, as they say, so is perfect for people that want to stay healthy, and they can complement it with a healthy green drink they can find online.

The photos below are my first attempt, and I was making it for two, next time I’ll do two things differently. First of all I’ll pulse the dates and almonds alone before adding the apple and coconut. And if making for two, I’ll add another half an apple.

CADA is what's for breakfast
CADA is what's for breakfast
CADA is what's for breakfast

Rice Pudding with Orange and Toasted Almonds

Rice Pudding with Orange and Toasted Almonds

David asked me to make some rice while he was at work so he could make some fried rice for dinner. Turns out I made way too much rice. With all this leftover rice I decided I wanted to make some rice pudding.

I checked out Cooks Illustrated and found the following recipe.

I didn’t do step of the instructions as I’d already cooked the rice earlier. It didn’t seem to matter, but for conversion I used 3 cups of cooked rice.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup medium-grain rice (white) or long grain white rice
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted until golden and fragrant
2 teaspoons grated orange zest

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring 2 cups water to boil in large, heavy-bottomed pot (at least 3 quarts) or small soup kettle (4 to 5 quarts). Stir in salt and rice; cover and simmer over low heat, stirring once or twice until water is almost fully absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Add milk, half-and-half and sugar. Increase heat to medium-high to bring to simmer, then reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until mixture starts to thicken, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent sticking and scorching, until a spoon is just able to stand up in the pudding, about 15 minutes longer.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, almonds, and orange zest. Cool and serve at room temperature or chilled. (Can be covered with plastic wrap on surface of pudding and then refrigerated up to 2 days.)

Serves 6-8.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes 2

PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES

As you may recall, my previous attempt at the Peanut Butter Cupcakes, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, didn’t work out too well cause I buggered them up.

You can check the earlier post to get the recipe for the Peanut Butter Cupcakes. I’m much happier with the way these turned out. It helps I didn’t open the oven during the cooking process this time.

Didn’t go with the Chocolate Ganache this time, opting for a frosting. I still need to get a piping bag so I can make them look prettier.

Was going to take them to work to share around, but left them at home, argh.

Peanut Buttercream Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup margaine, softened
    I changed this to Nuttelex as our margarine contains milk solids
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon molasses or barley malt syrup
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 11/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons soy milk or rice milk or soy creamer

Peanut Buttercream Method

  1. Cream together margarine and shortening in a mixer at medium speed till smooth.
  2. Add peanut butter, molasses and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the sugar, mixture should become very stiff.
  4. Dribble in milk a little at a time, beating continuously until the frosting is pale tan and fluffy.
  5. You can adjust the thickness of the frosting by adding more milk or icing sugar if necessary.
  6. Ensure you wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before applying frosting.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes Take 2 Ingredients
Peanut Butter Cupcakes Take 2
Peanut Butter Cupcakes Take 2
Peanut Butter Cupcakes Take 2
Peanut Butter Cupcakes Take 2
Peanut Butter Cupcakes Take 2
Peanut Butter Cupcakes Take 2

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

PEANUT BUTTER PRETZEL GRANOLA BARS

After making Peanut Butter Cupcakes I sent the blog post to the big boss at work to prove to him I could indeed cook. He said he couldn’t stand the idea of a cupcake made with peanut butter, but liked the effort.

Later he sent me a recipe he thought I’d like, “Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars“, probably in jest, but I took it as a challenge of course.

So here it is, Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1 cup crushed salted pretzels
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, flour, puffed cereal, pretzels, brown sugar, peanuts, and flaxseed. Mix up with a large spoon
  3. Add peanut butter and mix with a spoon to create a “dough” mixing it in as much as you can for at least 5 minutes. To be honest at this point it was easier to use clean hands to mash it all together.
  4. In a small bowl mix melted butter with vanilla extract and add to dough, mixing it through.
  5. Add in honey and stir to moisten completely.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
  8. Press the dough into the pan.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top of the slice appears golden brown.
  10. Removing from oven, allow to cool completely before cutting.
  11. Cut into small bars.
  12. Try NOT to eat it all at once! Try not to eat it by yourself. Share it around.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars
Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars
Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars
Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars
Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars
Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

Still working on my photos of food, I got a ways to go with styling I know. I completely ripped off (duplicated the style not using her photo) the pretzel shot from the original post by Jessica at her blog “How Sweet It Is” more as a tongue-in-cheek reference than trying to pass it off as my own.

I’ll probably try some more styling photos while on my lunch break today, and will update the post accordingly.

I didn’t have any ground linseed, but as you can see below, as long as you have the raw product and a Thermomix you’ll be right.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Can you say “YUM!”, You’ll need to be able to if you’re going to eat these vegan peanut butter cupcakes.

I really should stop being surprised when something vegan tastes so good. I mean there are a lot of vegans in the world and they have this reputation of being lettuce, legume and lentil eaters but really they are laughing behind our backs as they munch on wonderfully delicious food.

I still didn’t get to make the carrot cupcakes, David doesn’t like walnuts and while I could leave them out, I do like them, so next time I’ll have to make two lots of cakes, and we also eat waffles, and for example if you look for waffle iron reviews, this should help you choose the best waffle iron from the avalanche of options.

Now I know these don’t look so hot, they have sunken a little in the middle and that’s 100% my own fault. I’ve watched too many cooking shows where you’re told to spin what you’re cooking so it cooks evenly and in doing that I buggered it up and let all the air out of my cupcakes that were rising so nicely. I now know not to do this with cupcakes and also that it’s not really required as we have a fan-forced oven, so in theory we don’t have hotspots in the oven, rather our oven is basked it even heat.

If by chance you go ahead and make them, I know you’ll agree they are amazing. Oh and I’d probably apply a better ganache or a frosting that complements the peanut buttery taste. Then again maybe leave them plain. I used an organic 70% cocoa dark chocolate that made the ganache a little too bitter for my liking, so I’m going to leave it out of this record of the day. Half the fun of baking is learning new things.

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Cupcakes

  • ¾ cup soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup natural chunky peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon backing soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Method for Peanut Butter Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Mix soy mil with vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the peanut butter, oil, sugar, molasses, vanilla, and ground flaxseeds until well combined.
  4. Add the soy milk mixture and ix until incorporated.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl and mix.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners two thirds full.
  8. Bake for 23 to 26 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling racks.

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Oh yeah, and this is what everyone’s kitchen looks like when they cook right?

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

You can find the cheapest price for the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World on book.com.au or check out the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World Blog.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

I recently bought the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, inspired by a friend Pamela who’s vegan and fuelled by curiosity of how can a vegan cupcake taste good enough to warrant and entire book about them.

The plan was to makes some carrot cake cupcakes, but then Nikki, Ben and the kids were coming over so I changed my mind and wanted to make some cupcakes that Elliot could enjoy as he’s not eating gluten or diary at the moment. The book happens to have a recipe for Vanilla Gluten Freedom Cupcakes that fit the bill, so that’s what I made.

Notes about substitutions are in the ingredients lists below. I couldn’t find quinoa anywhere, apparently it’s in short supply at the moment. I was and I’m sure you will be, amazed at how good these taste. Having had gluten free chocolate cake in the past I was expecting a heavy dry cake but was pleasantly surprised when they came out moist and delicious.

Ingredients for cupcakes

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
    I didn’t actually have any of this at home and used LSA (ground linseed, almond and sunflower seeds) as a near-match substitution
  • 1/3 cup corn flour or ⅓ cup almond flour
    I used corn flour
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
    I couldn’t find quinoa flour anywhere and buckwheat flour was advised as a possible substitution and was used
  • 1 teaspoon backing powder
  • ½ teaspoon backing soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions for cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line muffin tray with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine soy milk, canola oil, sugar and extracts. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed just to combine. Add tapioca flour and flax seed and mix vigorously for about a minute, until the tapioca flour is dissolved and the mixture is well emulsified.
  3. Add the corn flour, white rice flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on medium-high for about 2 minutes. It’s important to mix really well and you don’t have to worry about over-mixing because there is no gluten.
  4. Fill cupcake lines a little over three-quarters full, these won’t rise as much as traditional cupcakes so you can fill them a little more than usual.
  5. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted through the centre comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for Orange Buttercream Frosting

Of course its name is a little disingenuous cause there isn’t actually any butter or cream in the mix. And it is very important to make sure you cupcakes are completely cooled before adding the frosting; else the frosting may melt.

  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup margarine, softened
    I changed this to Nuttelex as our margarine contains milk solids
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for frosting

  1. In a small bowl, cream the shortening and margarine until well combined.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar in roughly ½ cup additions, while mixing on a medium speed, adding a splash of orange juice after each.
  3. Add vanilla and beat for another 3 to 5 minutes until smooth, creamy and fluffy.
  4. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes and Orange Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
Cupcakes pre oven
Cupcakes in oven
Cupcakes fresh from the oven
Cupcakes fresh from the oven
The finished vegan cupcakes
The finished vegan cupcakes
The finished vegan cupcakes

You can find the cheapest price for the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World on book.com.au or check out the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World Blog.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World