Spiced White Chocolate Bundt

Lately I've had a real obsession with making bundt cakes. Partly I love the fact that they are so easy to whip up for a last minute dinner party dessert, but mostly I love the beautiful shaped tins you can buy for them. My absolute favourite are the copper tins which can be really hard to find (and also cost a small fortune). A couple of years back I went on a holiday to Paris and saw them in all the cooking shops, and I'm still really regretful that I didn't just fill my suitcase with them. 

cherry-stems-002.jpg

 

I also really love how easy they are to decorate. They look spectacular with minimal effort such as when drizzled with a little ganache and piled high with fruit. 

Recently I did a little collaboration with a wonderful friend of mine Zosia Fabijanska, and Rachael Warren from Stems For Her where we shot and styled lots of wintery treats. One of the cakes we shot was the bundt that I'm posting the recipe of today! Really excited to share these beautiful images with you! 

Also, in other news. We have recently been featured in Design Files! I had the best time working with the super talented and lovely ladies who work there and all the photos and recipes are being featured every Tuesday this month.

 

Spiced White Chocolate Bundt 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg 
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • 250g white chocolate
  • 185g butter
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk 
  • 3 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 and liberally oil your bundt tin.
  2. Over a low heat melt together the butter and white chocolate.
  3. Sift together the flour and spices. 
  4. With a fork lightly beat eggs.
  5. In a large bowl mix all the wet ingredients into the flour.
  6. Stir to incorporate but do not over mix.
  7. Pour into prepared bundt tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. 
  8. Let rest for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. 
  9. Decorate with your choice of ganache, or caramel and pile high with fresh fruit. 
All these beautiful photos are taken by Zosia Fabijanska and floristry is by Stems For Her 

All these beautiful photos are taken by Zosia Fabijanska and floristry is by Stems For Her 

Autumn/Winter flavour launch

Its been another busy few weeks for Cherry Cakes and we have some super exciting news to share. Today we are lunching our new Autumn/Winter range of cakes! This is something I've been chipping away at for a while now so I'm really pleased to be able to share it with you. Its taken lots of test recipes and playing with ideas and flavours, but I've finally settled on a new menu. I really wanted to come up with some exciting flavours that make the most of some of the amazing local produce around Melbourne. There is a big focus on seasonal ingredients and all the cakes are deliciously earthy and perfect for the cooler months.

We will be taking orders for the new flavours starting today. Also once a month I'll be putting tasting packs of three flavours that you can purchase to help you decide which one you like best for your celebration! Get in contact for more details xx 

 

 

Menu

 

Persian Love Cake 

Cinnamon and Cardamon spiced white chocolate cake with raspberry rosewater Italian buttercream and Pistachios.    

 

Peanut butter and Jelly Stout cake. 

Earthy and rich chocolate stout cake with raspberry jam, and layers of both peanut butter and fresh raspberry Italian buttercream. 

 

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Roasted pumpkin cake spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, with balsamic candied pecans, and vanilla bean Italian buttercream. 

 

Dark berry Elderflower cake

Blueberry and blackberry buttermilk cake, with layers of blueberry jam and vanilla bean and Elderflower Italian buttercream. 

 

Chocolate beetroot Cherry Cake.

Earthy chocolate and beetroot cake, sandwiched with sour cherries, and vanilla bean Italian buttercream. 

 

Cherry Business

They say that if you do what you love for a job, you'll never work a day in your life. Over the past year I've learnt that this just isn't true. In fact, if anything its the exact opposite. When you do what you love for a job you never really take a day off. That's been my experience in starting 'Cherry Cakes', but to be honest I don't think I'd have it any other way. It has truly been a roller coaster of a year in starting a small business, and there have been many (steep) learning curves. Despite this I become more excited with each week that goes by of all the possibilities that lay ahead. 

This is in fact why I've started blogging again! I wanted to share with you some of the exciting adventures that I'm embarking on, share some recipes and just chat about all the things I'm dreaming up (and I'm dreaming up a lot!)

This week has been pretty exciting and full of action. I started on Sunday with a photo shoot with Zosia Fabijanska an amazingly talented photographer who I've been collaborating with (and who's photos feature in this blog post and the rest of this site.) We were originally put in contact for a photo shoot last year, which we had planned to be a one off thing. However, had such a great time working on it that we ended up collaborating on shoots monthly. We quickly became pals and the shoots just became this really amazing fun time of drinking coffee, doing food styling, talking lots, and eating delicious feasts together. This week we worked on a shoot thats all about white wedding cakes that are a little less traditional. The idea was that you can have a white wedding without it looking too conventional. 

 

As well as this I've been working on my cafe orders, emailing brides, and was lucky to have my business featured in Time Out Magazines article on top ten places to order cakes in Melbourne. I was super excited to be included in this and can't wait to see the photos. I'll share the link when its published.

 

Last but not least is Flour market, which is happening this weekend! Beardy (my lovely partner) and I will be packing lots of cakes and setting up stall bright and early Saturday Morning. I'm a big fan of this event and always love the chance to chat with customers and just hang out with my partner while selling cakes. I'm bringing some old favourites along such as my Persian Love cake, and Monte C C cookies, as well as some new treats like Pumpkin Spice cake with caramel. If your free, pop on by and say hello. I'm always happy to see pals there and chat to new ones.

For now though I best get some sleep, as I've got a lot of baking to get done this week! Looking forward to sharing some new recipes with you soon!  

Watermelon Rosewater Cake

Last weekend my boyfriend and I headed off early Sunday morning to Sweet Fest. For some reason we decided it would be best to get there as the gates were opening to avoid the rush. Half asleep we stood in line dreaming about coffee while I wondered what I was doing awake so early on my first weekend day off in what felt like forever.  When we got inside though, I was pretty happy to have pulled myself out of bed.  Waiting to greet us were stalls and stalls full of cake. Our biggest problem of the day was deciding what to eat first. Happily I settled in to watch some demonstrations, drink coffee and munch on some doughnuts.

Before we left we made a couple of purchases to take home for treats later in the day. One of which was the Black Star Pastry Watermelon Cake with Rose Scented Cream. Later that day Jo came over and we sat in the sunshine, drinking beers and eating the treats I had brought back.

cherry_cakes_watermelon_illo.jpg

All in all it turned out to be a pretty great day. So I decided to make a version of the watermelon cake for next time we get together for a picnic or rooftop bbq. I found a recipe in Gourmet Traveller and tweaked it a tiny bit to use some ingredients I had on hand.  I’ll be honest, the recipe is a little bit fiddly at times, but it isn’t hard at all. I think this one just requires a bit of patience. My favourite part of making it was layering the watermelon on top of the cream. It felt like playing a delicious game of Tetris trying to make all the shapes line up.  

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Watermelon & Rosewater Cake

Almond Sponge

  • 150g almond meal
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 135g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat over to 200 degrees.
  2. Sift together almond meal and icing sugar.
  3. With an electric whisk or in a KitchenAid with the whisk attachment whisk the egg whites on high speed.
  4. Slowly add the sugar until a thick glossy meringue is formed. This should take about three minutes of whisking.
  5. Gently stir through the icing and almond mix.
  6. Spread the sponge on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Once golden remove from the oven and let cool.

Rosewater Cream

  • 300g of cream
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 2tbs of rosewater

Method:

  1. Whisk the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the rosewater and continue to whisk until thick, but not split.

Assemble / FRUIT TOP & FILL

  • ¼ seedless watermelon
  • 3tbs rosewater
  • 40g almond meal
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 punnet white cherries
  • Edible flowers
  • 3tbs caster sugar

Method:

  1. Cut the watermelon into thin slices.
  2. Pour rosewater over it and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Let sit for twenty to thirty minutes, and then pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Cut the sponge in half.
  5. Place one piece of the sponge on a chopping board and cover with 1/3 of the cream.
  6. Sprinkle with half the almond meal.
  7. Layer with watermelon. You may need to cut it to fit.
  8. Sprinkle with the remaining almond meal and then spread with another 1/3 of cream.
  9. Place the second piece of sponge on top.
  10. Using a serrated knife cut the cake into squares, making sure to wipe the knife clean between each cut.
  11. Cover the top of each square with the remaining cream and decorate with fruit and flowers. 


Wagon Wheels

Today my day off has been filled with coffee catch ups, bike rides in the sun and baking. I’ve managed to get a few jobs done between puff pastry dough rolls for a recipe I’ve been working on, and trying to fit a couple of naps in too. I love a lazy day off filled with long blacks and maybe a few wines to end the day.

I spent a lot of time today dreaming up cake recipes as well, so hopefully we should have some really fun things to share with you over the next few months. I keep getting inspired by the beautiful pastel colours of Jo’s illustrations (especially the recent ice creams) so hopefully I will be whipping up some whimsical looking treats in the same style soon. There just never seems to be enough time for all the treat ideas I want to be making!

This week I’ve been working a bit on a wagon wheel recipe. I think it might be my new favourite treat - chocolate dipped marshmallow and jam cookie sandwiches. Super fun to make and pretty nostalgic as well. The great thing about this recipe is that it's a combination of a few recipes we've already featured on the blog. So if you have made the sugar cookies and marshmallow before, this will be a breeze.

 

Wagon Wheels

SUGAR COOKIES

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 125g granulated sugar (I just use caster sugar)
  • 125g butter diced
  • 125g golden syrup
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Method:

  1. Crumb the flour with sugar and butter. This can be done with your fingertips, the paddle attachment of a KitchenAid or a food processor. You basically just want the mix to look like breadcrumbs.
  2. Make a hole in the middle of the mix and add the egg, vanilla and syrup.
  3. Mix everything together.
  4. Pour out onto the table and pull the mix together with your hands. Try not to overwork it, but you may need to scrunch it together a bit to make it all come together.
  5. Roll out between two pieces of baking paper.
  6.  Use a cookie cutter to cut rounds. 
  7. Place shapes in the fridge on a tray lined with baking paper to rest for 30 minutes to an hour until firm.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 14 to 18 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

VANILLA MARSHMALLOW

  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 1 tbs and 1 ½ tsp of powdered gelatine
  • 1 1/2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of glucose syrup
  • 1 cups of caster sugar

Method:

  1. With electric whisk, beat egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  2. Place sugar, quarter a cup of water, and glucose in a pot (choose a pot bigger than you think you will need as it may bubble up a lot).
  3. Stir on low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Turn heat to high and cook until it reaches soft ball stage or 115 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  5. While sugar is cooking place gelatine in the extra quarter cup of water and stir.
  6. Once sugar has reached soft ball stage, pour over the gelatine mix to dissolve.
  7. Place the mix in a food processor with a whisk or use electric beaters and beat on high speed until it doubles in volume and becomes thick (about five minutes).
  8. Slowly add the whipped egg whites to the mix and continue to whip until cool.
  9. Spoon into a piping bag with a round nozzle
  10. Pipe round into the middle of half the batch of cookies so that it fills 2/3 of the surface.
 
 

Wagon Wheel Assembly

  • ½ cup strawberry jam
  • 400g dark chocolate
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Place (or pipe) a small dollop of jam on top of the piped marshmallow.
  2. Sandwich cookies with filling with the cookies that have no filling to make a cookie sandwich.
  3. Place in the fridge to set for half an hour.
  4. Over a pot of simmering water slowly stir together the chocolate and oil until melted though and smooth.
  5. Dip each cookie into the chocolate mix and shake off any excess.
  6. Place the dipped cookies on a tray covered with baking paper and leave in the fridge until chocolate coating is firm. 

Strawberry Cronut

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I’d make cronuts for a blog post. Jo and I always joke that I pride myself on keeping up to date on food trends, but this time I was a little bit behind. It's been years now since people started going crazy for the cronut and I only ate my first one a couple of months ago. Let's be honest - it was pretty delicious. When I went to research recipes however things started to get confusing. Turns out that there are hundreds of cronut recipes out there, but only one original recipe that is patented by the chef who invented them. Apparently they can’t actually be called a cronut unless they're made in his bakery, in the same way that sparkling wine can’t be called Champagne unless it actually comes from that wine region. 

On my search for a good recipe I stumbled across a lot of  ‘cheats recipes’ made from store bought puff pastry or by using a rough puff pastry instead of doing the two-three day process of making the croissant-like pastry of the cronut. To this I say - go ahead! If you find a recipe that works for you and saves you three days of your life from folding and rolling dough, please by all means make it. Being a bit of a purest however I didn’t take that path. Instead I waited till I had a couple of days off, camped out at home, and put a whole lot of love into rolling dough. 

When I had made my first ever batch of cronuts I was surprised (and quite sad) to realise that the quantity it produced was pretty small. I only got four cronuts after several days work. So I’ve upped the quantities for you so that you don’t encounter the same problem. Both Jo and my boyfriend were the happy recipients of these treats, but next time I’m hoping to make a few more to share the love. 

I hope you enjoy making them. Please don’t be too intimidated. They actually aren’t that hard, but mainly just time consuming. If you're not up for the challenge though, no one will judge you if you choose to pop down to your local patisserie to pay $4 for one instead.

Strawberry Cronut

 

Cronut

  • 2 ½ tsp of dry yeast
  • 90ml warm water
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 3 ½ cups of bread flour
  • 4tsp sugar
  • 3tsp salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 60ml of vegetable oil
  • 230g cold butter

Method:

  1. Mix together the yeast, water and first batch of sugar in a bowl and wait until you can see the mixture is bubbling. 
  2. Warm the milk so that it is tepid. Add the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add the yeast mix, flour, and vegetable oil, mixing until a smooth ball forms. 
  4. Place in a bowl and leave in a warm place covered with cling wrap until tripled in size. 
  5. While the dough is rising take the butter and place it between two pieces of baking paper and flatten with a rolling pin. I usually just bash it a couple of times, and then reshape it when it feels pliable. The aim is to form a neat square about half an inch thick. If the butter gets too hot or starts to melt place it back in the fridge to chill. When making croissant dough you want both the butter and dough to be the same texture, so that when you roll them together the dough doesn’t break but forms even layers of butter. So if your dough feels quite soft make sure your butter isn’t too chilled, however if your dough is quite tough, make sure your butter is equally firm. It can be tricky to get the right balance, and takes a bit of practice.
  6. Once the dough has risen enough, place it on a bench that has been sprinkled with flour. Roll the dough out into a large square and place the butter in the middle. Pull the edges of the dough around the butter so the it is completely enclosed by the dough. 
  7. Using your rolling pin, start at the middle of the dough, and work your way out to the sides, roll the dough into a rectangle.
  8. Take one third of the dough, and fold it into the middle of the dough. Then take the other side, and fold it on top. This is called a pastry turn. Make sure you brush off any excess flour in between each layer when doing this so you don’t get lumps. Once your first turn is done, wrap the dough up in cling wrap and place it in the fridge to rest for half an hour.
  9. On the next pastry turn, rotate the dough so that you are rolling in the opposite direction and fold again in the same way. This will need to be done until six turns have been completed. Once the last turn has been done, place the dough in the fridge overnight to rest.
  10. The next day take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about ten minutes. 
  11. Roll the pastry out, and using two cutters (a large one for the doughnut and a small one for the doughnut hole) cut out your cronuts. 
  12. Using a little bit of water, stick two doughnuts on top of each other to make a double doughnut (this creates even more layers!)
  13. Leave to rise for at least two hours. 
  14. Heat either a deep fryer or a pot of oil (if so be super careful) to 170 degrees. 
  15. Cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. 
  16. Let drain on baking paper.
 
 

Cinnamon sugar

  • ½ cup of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Once the doughnuts are out of the fryer and drained, mix together sugar and cinnamon and coat the doughnuts. 
  2. Set aside to cool.
 
 

STRAWBERRY CUSTARD

  • 2 cups of cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup of caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1tsp of plain flour
  • 1tsp of corn flour
  • 8 Strawberries finely diced 

Method:

  1. Scrape the vanilla bean into the cream and add the pod. Bring to the boil.
  2. Remove the cream from the heat and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and both flours.
  4. Slowly add the hot cream, a little at a time, whisking between additions.
  5. Strain and then pour the mix into a clean pot and return to medium heat.
  6. Cook while constantly stirring until the mix starts to bubble.
  7. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and cover with cling wrap.
  8. Chill the custard in the fridge until cold and set.
  9. Remove from the fridge and stir through the strawberries

Glaze and Garnish

  • 200g icing sugar
  • Red food colouring
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Strawberries to garnish

Method:

  1. Whisk together icing sugar, a few drops of red colouring, vanilla bean paste (and some warm water if still too thick) to form a thick paste.
  2. Pull the cronut in half, leaving a top section and a bottom. 
  3. Place the strawberry custard in a piping back and pipe a ring of custard on the bottom section of the cronut. Sandwich the top piece onto the custard. 
  4. Taking another piping bag, fill it with the icing sugar mix. Pipe a thin line around the top of the cronut and garnish with fresh strawberries. 

Blueberry Pie

I am currently sitting in the sunshine on a rare day off soaking up the last tiny bit of warmth left in the day whilst drinking a sneaky afternoon wine. This week has been crazy between work, dinners with friends, baking cakes, planning parties (Jo and I are going to do a special feature later in the week about party planning and birthday cake) and everything else. It's nice to stop for a moment and take a few minutes of well needed down time. 

This week Jo and I decided to post a desert for the busy people (so essentially ourselves.) We wanted a treat that you can throw together the day before a dinner party or whip up when you're on your way to a picnic with friends. I think it's important to realise that easy doesn’t always mean less tasty! So this week there is no folding of dough to make pastries that take all day, no candy thermometers, no Italian meringue buttercreams, just plain and simple blueberry pie. 

I have loved this recipe for a long time as it just feels so homely to make. It's something that I almost always have the ingredients for in the pantry. The pastry is super easy and can be stored in the fridge for a week (in case you want to make more pies) or frozen in batches (so you are super prepared at any time to whip up a treat.)

Blueberry pie is old school; it's romantic; but most importantly it's delicious.

 

Blueberry Pie

Pastry

  • 2 ½ cups of plain flour
  • 3tbs brown sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 125g cold butter
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Method:

  1. Crumb together butter, flour, sugar and salt. You don’t want the consistency as fine as sand, but instead with a few lumps, to make the pastry flaky. 
  2. Add the buttermilk and stir until incorporated and a dough starts to form.
  3. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.

Blueberry Filling

  • 2 ½ cups of frozen blueberries
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1tbs of plain flour
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1tbs brown sugar to garnish

Method:

  1. Mix everything together and set aside to let the berries thaw.
  2. Roll our 2/3 of the pastry and line a fluted edge tart shell with the dough. It should be about half a centimetre in thickness.
  3. Add the blueberry mix. 
  4. Roll out remaining dough, and cut into thin strips. Weave the strips to make a thatched pattered on top of the pie
  5. Place in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.
  6. Sprinkle pie with brown sugar.
  7. Bake in an oven heated to 180 degrees Celsius for half an hour or until golden brown on the top and sides.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Coated Pretzels

Chocolate chip, peanut butter, chocolate covered pretzel cupcakes are obviously not a diet food.  However I'm pretty sure by now you've realised that this blog is not the place to come for healthy eating advice. I personally have been known to eat raspberry Nutella sandwiches for breakfast, and drink wine for dinner from time to time (umm, I don’t know why you're judging... I just listed two fruits - raspberries and grapes!) I can only speak for myself here (although I do know that Jo has a pretty big soft spot for pistachio nougat and CC sugar cookies.)

So we all indulge from time to time. I think it's an important part of life. I actually really love learning what different people love to eat for a treat. My boyfriend goes wild for homemade doughnuts and is always dropping hints about me bringing some home from work for him, while one of my best friends loves almond croissants. One of my favourite teats in putting a handful of M&M’s in my pocket when I'm working a really long day at the wine cellar and nibbling on them when I get a chance (one time this ended really badly when I realised my pocket was also full of lint from the washing machine!)

This is the sort of treat everyone goes pretty wild for. It has all the good elements of salty, sweet, chocolate and peanut butter. Really what more could you need? I like it because it satisfies almost everyone’s sweet tooth.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Coated Pretzels

Chocolate Coated Pretzels

  • 12 pretzels
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • Baking paper

Method:

  1. Melt dark chocolate (slowly in a microwave, or in a bowl over simmering water).
  2. Lay out a piece of baking paper on a bench.
  3. Dip half of each pretzel into the chocolate and shake off any excess.

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of oil
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 ¼ cup of self raising flour
  • 200g chocolate chips

Method:

  1. With a KitchenAid or electric beaters, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly pour in oil and continue to whisk.
  3. Add half the flour, then half the milk, the remaining flour, and then the remaining milk while mixing.
  4. Mix through chocolate chips.
  5. Fill patty pans 2/3 full with the mix and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for twenty minutes or until golden on top and cooked through.

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups of caster sugar
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 400g butter
  • 2 tbs of peanut butter

Method:

  1. Place sugar and water in a small pot and begin to boil.
  2. Place egg whites in a bowl and using a KitchenAid or electric beaters, beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Once the sugar mix reaches 117 degrees (or soft ball stage) on a sugar thermometer, pour into the whisking egg whites and beat on high speed.
  4. When mix has begun to cool (the bowl doesn’t feel hot to touch) slowly add pieces of the butter. Let whisk until thick and glossy and smooth.
  5. Add peanut butter
  6. Using a star nozzle on a piping bag, frost cooled cupcakes.
  7. Place a pretzel on top of each frosted cupcake.

 

Brownie Cookies

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about cronuts, so naturally I started searching for a good recipe. It's such a perfect combination of two really great things. It got me thinking about other sweets that could be combined to make a better treat. My all time favourite treats are cookies and brownies. I love brownies because every Christmas my aunty would bake me a big batch and bring them along to family dinner. I used to think it was such a treat and felt so special that she had made them just for me. I love cookies too because they are just so simple and uncomplicated. Sometimes after making macarons or tarts all day (which can involve a lot of concentration) I crave some simplicity. So why not take these two simply delicious treats and combine them? I think you can tell where this is going...

Brownie cookies are pretty much the ultimate sweet for me. For a start, they are super simple to make, you don’t need to have a heap of ingredients and they are really versatile. For example you can turn them into cookie sandwiches by putting a peanut butter frosting between two (if you want to be a bit indulgent). Or if you're short for time when planning a dinner party, you can just fill them with ice cream and serve them as a plated desert.  Mostly I prefer them just on their own though, ideally with a long black sitting in the sunshine. 

 

Brownie Cookies

BROWNIE COOKIES

  • 400g dark chocolate
  • 80g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 300g sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Method:

  1. In a microwave or over a pot of simmering water, melt together the chocolate and butter. Stir until combined. 
  2. With an electric beater or a KitchenAid, beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla for 15 minutes. 
  3. Stir in the chocolate and butter mix.
  4. Sift in both baking powder and flour.
  5. Stir.
  6. Set aside for ten minutes.
  7. Place tablespoons of the mix on trays lined with baking paper, allowing room to spread.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool on the tray before moving.

Homemade S'mores

I’ve been really inspired by American baking recently. Over the past few months I've had such a huge urge to bake pumpkin pies, big cookies and extravagant cupcakes. I think I enjoy this style of baking so much because it's a nice change from all the delicate French cooking I usually do for work (plus it's always so indulgent to eat!) There's just something so satisfying about laying a big home made pie out on the table. It always makes me feel so self-sufficient and homely.

 I’ve been meaning to make s’mores for what feels like forever now. I’ve literally been scouring the Internet for months trying to find a good recipe. Traditionally they're a snack you eat while camping made out of graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. I did a lot searching and couldn’t find graham crackers in any of my local supermarkets. I realised they weren't readily sold in Australian supermarkets (with exception to specialty stores), so I had a bit of a problem. On the other hand, I didn’t really just want to make ordinary s’mores. They had to be a touch more special.

Recently I picked up a cookbook at my boyfriends house and found a graham cracker recipe on the first page I opened it to. I lost my mind with excitement and swiped it (on loan I promise!) straight away. It turns out making graham crackers is actually pretty simple, and the homemade s’mores looked pretty impressive in the end. 

This recipe is also a great way to make use of any left over marshmallows from our last recipe post (not that that’s really a thing - they certainly don't last long in my kitchen!) 

Homemade S’mores

S'more FILLING

  • Home made (or store bought) marshmallows
  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 250 ml cream

Method:

  1. Bring cream to the boil.
  2. Break up chocolate into small pieces.
  3. Pour hot cream over chocolate.
  4. Set aside for a minute to melt.
  5. Stir until smooth and silky.
  6. Set aside.

Graham Crackers

  • 60g butter
  • 115g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tbs milk
  • 1 ½ tbs golden syrup
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 250g wholemeal flour

Method:

  1. Cream together butter and brown sugar. This can either be done with the paddle attachment of a KitchenAid, electric beaters, or by hand with a wooden spoon if you want to be old school.
  2. Slowly add the egg.
  3. Add golden syrup and milk.
  4. Mix together flour and baking powder and add to the mix.
  5. Mix until a dough forms then wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
  6. Once the dough has rested remove from the fridge and roll between two pieces of baking paper (I added a little extra sprinkle of flour at this point because my dough was a tad sticky) until it's about 2mm in thickness. You may need to do more than one batch depending on the size of your trays.
  7. Place the rolled out dough onto a tray and use a knife to cut squares into the dough. Prick each square with a fork.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes at 180 or until golden brown.
  9. Once the cookies are baked, run a knife through the already scored lines to separate the cookies. Allow to cool, and then separate into each individual square.

Assembling the dessert

  1. Take two cookies. Spread some of the chocolate sauce you prepared earlier on one.
  2. Place a marshmallow on top of the chocolate sauce.
  3. With a blowtorch gently scorch the marshmallow.
  4. Place another cookie on top of the marshmallow.
  5. Your s’mores are now complete!

Vanilla Marshmallow

I really love making things from scratch. I always have. Even if it takes several hours longer to cook something than to just purchase it's store bought counterpart, I will often take the longer route. For some reason, being able to make things that people often buy pre-made feels like magic to me. I’ve devoted a lot of my time to working on new projects, so much so that I feel like I'm constantly gaining new skills. I've spent days crushing grapes to make wine, brewing beer, simmering jam, curing fish and hand rolling pasta. So recently when my boyfriend suggested that it might be nice to go on a camping trip with some friends, the first thing I thought of was not how lovely it would be to get away, or how much I love being outside, but rather all of the things I could possibly make to take with us. 

The most obvious thing that came to mind was of course marshmallows. So I’ve been dreaming about making them ever since and thinking about how impressive it would be to bring along a homemade batch for the trip to whip out while we're all sitting around the fire (I've had s'mores on my mind for a while now too, but that’s still in the works!)

I was a little worried that marshmallows would be hard to make at home. I’ve made them a lot at work in beautiful flavours like blackberry and violet and these recipes require a lot of steps (and lets be honest, a lot of mess!) I also didn’t really want something outrageously flavored for a camping trip, but rather something that resembled the good old fashioned type that we used to burn over the campfire as kids. 

This recipe is just that. It's actually pretty easy and low fuss. I literally made it in my pyjamas while drinking my morning coffee (my sleeves are now quite sticky and coated in meringue though!)

I totally recommend giving it a go even if your not going camping, I still think people will be pretty impressed.

VANILLA MARSHMALLOW

Vanilla Marshmallow

  •  200g icing sugar
  •  200g corn flour
  • ½ cup of cold water
  • 2tbs and 2 ½ tsp of powdered gelatine
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of glucose syrup
  • 2 cups of caster sugar

Method:

  1. Sift together icing sugar and corn flour.
  2. Line a lamington tin with baking paper and sift half the icing sugar and corn flour mix over it. Set aside
  3. With electric whisk, beat egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  4. Place sugar, half a cup of water, and glucose in a pot (choose a pot bigger than you think you will need as it may bubble up a lot).
  5. Stir on low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Turn heat to high and cook until it reaches soft ball stage or 115 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  7. While sugar is cooking place gelatine in the extra half cup of water and stir.
  8. Once sugar has reached soft ball stage, pour over the gelatine mix to dissolve.
  9. Place the mix in a food processor with a whisk or use electric beaters and beat on high speed until it doubles in volume and becomes thick (about five minutes).
  10. Slowly add the whipped egg whites to the mix and continue to whip until cool.
  11. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and sift over a little icing sugar mix.
  12. Let set over night.
  13. Using a sharp knife cut into squares, and then roll in remaining icing sugar mix.


Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies have been one of my favourite things to bake for a while now. I love that they are so versatile. You can decorate them to theme for parties and weddings, or you can just eat them plain. I sometimes also like to put frosting between two of them to make yo-yo’s or cookie sandwiches.

Jo and I wanted to share something super easy and practical with you at the start of the week.  This recipe could easily be thrown together on a week night to take to work or gift to a friend (Jo is always encouraging me to gift them to her!)

We hope you enjoy them!

VANILLA SUGAR COOKIES

SUGAR COOKIES

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 125g granulated sugar (I just use caster sugar)
  • 125g butter diced
  • 125g golden syrup
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Method:

  1. Crumb the flour with sugar and butter. This can be done with your fingertips, the paddle attachment of a KitchenAid or a food processor. You basically just want the mix to look like breadcrumbs.
  2. Make a hole in the middle of the mix and add the egg, vanilla and syrup.
  3.  Mix everything together.
  4. Pour out onto the table and pull the mix together with your hands. Try not to overwork it, but you may need to scrunch it together a bit to make it all come together.
  5. Roll out between two pieces of baking paper.
  6. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. 
  7. Place shapes in the fridge on a tray lined with baking paper to rest for 30 minutes to an hour until firm.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 14 to 18 minutes. Allow to cool completely before icing.

ROYAL ICING 

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 5 tbs meringue powder (or pavlova powder)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1kg pure icing sugar 

Method:

  1. Add water and meringue powder to a large mixing bowl and hand whisk for 30 seconds.
  2. Add cream of tartar and hand whisk for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add all of the icing sugar and mix with a KitchenAid or electric mixer with paddle attachment on slow speed for 10 minutes.
  4. Divide the mix into separate bowls to tint with food colouring. You can help prevent the mixture from drying out by covering the bowl with a damp towel.
  5. Ice cooled biscuits and allow to set.
  6. Share with pals.

Rhubarb Rose Water Mille-Feuille

Life has been busy lately. I’ve found myself constantly rushing, running from one job to the next and basically fuelling myself with caffeine to get by. I think a lot of people who are working toward any kind of career driven goals can relate to this. Jo and I are constantly discussing recipes, pictures, drawings and ideas, so much so that some nights I even dream about cake. Last week on my day off I decided to slow everything down by making mille-feuille, a dessert I love to make.  There is something so satisfying about making pastry from scratch; it really does make you stop and slow down and gain a bit of perspective. I find all the rolling and turning of puff pastry cathartic. It's something that you can't speed up. You just have to roll the dough, and then rest it, roll the dough, and then rest it, so many times. It really requires a whole day at home. I felt myself slowly unwinding with each turn of the pastry, and I was so delighted when I baked it to see how well it had turned out.

Mille-feuille translates to "a thousand leaves," or "a thousand layers," and relates to the layers of this dessert and it's flaky pastry. If you whip this dessert out at a dinner party people will be impressed for sure (it's a bit of a show stopper). I also love it because it reminds me of all the pastries I ate while I was in Paris.

There are two ways you can go about making this desert. I definitely went about it the slow way by making the pastry from scratch, but there really is no shame in buying puff pastry if you don’t have a whole day to dedicate to rolling dough (Jo always says “if store bought pastry is good enough for Jamie Oliver, then its good enough for me.” And I really must agree!)

I borrowed this recipe idea from one of my favourite celebrity chefs Rachel Khoo and tweaked it a little. I hope you enjoy making it as much as I did!

RHUBARB ROSE WATER MILLE-FEUILLE

PASTRY

  • 1 block of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 2tbs caster sugar

Method:

  1. Roll out pastry so that it is half a cm in thickness and place on a tray that has been lined with baking paper.
  2. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Place another sheet of baking paper on top of the pastry and then sit another tray on top. This is to stop the pastry from puffing up too high.  Alternatively you could place a cooling rack on top of the pastry so that it still puffs up a little, but not too much.
  4. Bake it at 180 degrees Celsius for half an hour or until golden and crunchy.
  5. Take the pastry from the oven and while it is still hot use a bread knife to cut long strips the same size. The length will depend on what size you want your dessert , but I usually go for about 4 cm by 9cm.
  6. Set the pastry aside to cool

CUSTARD

  • 2 cups of cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup of caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1tsp of plain flour
  • 1tsp of corn flour

Method:

  1. Scrape the vanilla bean into the cream and add the pod. Bring to the boil.
  2. Remove the cream from the heat and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and both flours.
  4. Slowly add the hot cream, a little at a time, whisking between additions.
  5. Strain and then pour the mix into a clean pot and return to medium heat.
  6. Cook while constantly stirring until the mix starts to bubble.
  7. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and cover with cling wrap.
  8. Chill the custard in the fridge until cold and set.

BAKED RHUBARB

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb
  • 3tbs of sugar
  • 2tbs rose water

Method:

  1. Cut rhubarb to be about the same length as your pastry (9cm).
  2. Place on a tray and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Pour over the rosewater and set aside for half an hour.
  4. Bake in an oven at 180 degrees Celsius until tender. This should take around twenty minutes, but you really want to keep an eye on it as it turns to mush pretty quickly. I usually check it every ten minutes to start with and then adjust the time accordingly. You want it to be soft, but to still hold its shape.

Assembling the dessert

  • Icing sugar

Method:

  1. Place a star nozzle in a piping bag and fill it with the custard.
  2. Take one piece of pastry as your base and add a layer of rhubarb.
  3. Pipe a little bit of custard on top to help glue on the next layer of pastry.
  4. Place another piece of pastry on top and then pipe little star shapes down the length of the pastry in two even rows.
  5. Place another piece of pastry on top
  6. Dust with icing sugar.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Doughnuts w/ Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Every so often I get super obsessed with a recipe and have to work at it constantly until I feel like I’ve perfected it. A couple of years ago I went through a sugar cookie decorating phase and some days my house was literally covered in cookies and frosting. Luckily I had lovely housemates who didn’t mind too much that we no longer had a functional dining room table because every inch was covered in treats. Lately I’ve been going pretty wild for making éclairs (the previous post will get you up to speed). They aren’t too hard to make but there is a level of finesse involved so it still feels like a challenge every time I make them.

A little while ago I got pretty hooked on making doughnuts. There is something so special about doughnuts; they really do feel like such a treat. Every Friday I make a new flavour of doughnuts for one of the cafes I work at and even though the shift is late at night, I still feel so excited to make them. I like to think of all of the customers coming in the next day and treating themselves to one of my creations.

When I began making doughnuts I stuck to really simple flavours like vanilla or chocolate glaze. The more I made, the crazier I got playing around with flavours. My latest creation, peanut butter and jelly with chocolate-coated pretzels, is by far my favourite. I was pretty pleased the first time I made these doughnuts and super happy now to share the recipe with you!

 

Peanut butter & Jelly Doughnuts w/ Chocolate dipped Pretzels

 

DOUGHNUT:

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 3tbs dry yeast
  • 2 ½ cups of plain flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  •  ¼ cup sugar
  • 1tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • 3tbs room temperature butter
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Whisk the yeast into the warm milk.
    Once dissolved whisk in 1/3 of the flour to form a sloppy paste (this is called a slurry.) Leave in a warm place to prove for 20 to 30 minutes or until it has puffed up double in size.
  2. In a large bowl mix together sugar, flour and salt.
  3. In another bowl mix together egg yolks and vanilla.
  4. Add the egg mix and yeast mix to the flour mix and stir until combined.
  5.  Add room temperature butter and mix. This can be done by hand or in a food processor with a dough hook. Once everything is combined start to knead the dough until smooth. It may look a little wet to start but it will tighten up as you continue to knead. If it remains too sticky to handle add a little flour to the bench.
  6. Once the dough is looking smooth (after about ten minutes of hard kneading) place in in a clean bowl, cover with cling wrap, and let rise for forty minutes in a warm place.
  7. After the hour, transfer the dough to the fridge and let rest for 3 to 8 hours.
  8. Once the dough has rested, remove it from the fridge, and punch down on it to get out any air (and frustrations...)
  9. Roll the dough out to 2cm thick and use a ring cutter to cut into rounds (how large you want your doughnuts will depend on the size of the cutter). Then cut a small hole in the middle of each doughnut (I use the back of a piping nozzle to do this).
  10. Place the doughnuts on a piece of baking paper in a warm place for half an hour to rise. Once they have puffed up by at least a third, and at most doubled, they are ready to be cooked.
  11. It's important to be super careful when deep frying anything at home as dealing with hot oil can be a little dangerous. If you have a deep fryer, great! If not that’s still ok. Fill a pot at least 6cm deep with vegetable oil and place on medium heat. The temperature required for frying the doughnuts is 170 degrees Celsius. This can be tested either with a thermometer or by dropping a small piece of white bread in the oil, and watching to see if it becomes golden within about 40 seconds.
  12. Once the oil is ready, carefully place a few of the doughnuts in being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until a deep golden colour.
  13. Carefully remove from the oil and lay on some paper towels to drain and cool.

Jelly Glaze

  • 250g icing sugar sifted
  • 3tbs strawberry jam
  • 2tbs warm water

Method

  1.  Sift icing sugar.
  2.  Whisk in strawberry jam and water until smooth.
  3. When doughnuts are cool dip them into the glaze and let dry.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 90ml water
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature

Method

  1. Place the sugar and water in a pot and start boiling with a candy thermometer.
  2. When the mix reaches 100 degrees Celsius, start whipping the egg whites (in a KitchenAid or with an electric whisk.) Whip them until they are very fluffy (it doesn’t matter if they get over whipped).
  3. When the sugar thermometer reaches 112 degrees Celsius, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the whipping whites. Continue to whip on high speed until the mix is cooled.
  4. Slowly add the butter to the mix and continue to whip until a smooth glossy buttercream forms.
  5. Mix in the peanut butter.
  6. Pipe the buttercream with a star nozzle as you would on a cupcake into the middle of the doughnut.

Chocolate Pretzel

  • 10 pretzels
  • 200g dark chocolate

Method:

  1.  Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
  2. Dip half of each pretzel in the chocolate and shake off any excess.
  3. Let set on a piece of baking paper.
  4. Place onto the top of the doughnut. 

 

Spring Berry Éclairs

I’m writing the first official post for this blog on the first day of spring and it feels like perfect timing to start something new. For the first day of a change in seasons, the weather has certainly risen to the occasion. When I woke up this morning I was surprised to feel something I haven’t felt in a long, long time - warm! Don’t get me wrong, I love winter. I think it’s the most romantic season of the year and the perfect time to stay inside all day to cook braised meats and then drink lots of red wine at night with your friends, or maybe a date. Today however I was so excited to put on a flowing floral outfit, get on my bike and ride around in the sunshine. I’m looking forward to drinking beers with friends, going on picnics, sparkling wine and dinner parties under the stars.

Lately I’ve been cooking a lot of éclairs. They’re something I haven’t really made since leaving culinary school as not many places I’ve worked at have sold them. In the last few weeks however I kept seeing beautiful pictures of pastel-coloured, gazed éclairs with candied nuts and fruits on top. I got so inspired by how pretty they were that I made a batch. When I mentioned this to my boyfriend he was wild with enthusiasm as apparently they are one of his favourite treats. Every time I get a chance now I’ve been playing around with different flavour combinations and packing up little boxes of these pretty treats and dropping them off at his house.

This week I thought I should make something to go with this lovely sunny weather, so I’ve made some strawberry custard filled éclairs with fresh berries on top. They really aren’t too hard to make, but there are a few little tips and tricks to help you out along the way. Hope you enjoy them and the sunshine!

Spring Berry Éclairs

Choux Dough:

  • 75g milk
  • 75g water
  • 75g butter
  • 5g salt
  • 10g sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 150g eggs (it's best to weigh them for an exact measurement, but this is about three eggs)

Method:

  1. In a small pot place the milk, water, butter, salt and sugar.
  2. Bring to the boil.
  3. As soon as the mix has boiled take it off the heat and add the flour. Stir vigorously.
  4. Once a dough has formed, return to the heat and continue to cook on medium heat for about two minutes.
    A skin may form on the bottom of the pot but don’t panic - this is a good sign!
  5. Remove the dough from the pot and place it in a KitchenAid with a paddle attachment.
    If you don’t have one of these, a hand held electric beater is fine.
  6. Mix on a low speed for several minutes until steam stops rising from the bowl.
  7. Hand-whisk the eggs until combined and then slowly add them to the mix.
  8. Continue mixing for another minute.
  9.  Scrape dough into a piping bag with star nozzle. A piping nozzle with a lot of teeth is best for this job as it helps prevents the éclair from cracking into an ugly shape.
  10. Pipe the dough in 8 or 9 logs.
  11. Bake at 180 degrees for forty minutes. If they look as though they are getting too brown towards the end reduce the oven to 160.
  12. As soon as you take the éclairs from the oven cut a few little holes into the bottom of them. This lets the steam escape and stops them from going soft. These holes can also be used later to fill the éclairs with the custard.

Strawberry Custard

  • 2 cups of cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup of caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1tsp of plain flour
  • 1tsp of corn flour
  • 5 strawberries

Method:

  1. Scrape the vanilla bean into the cream and add the pod. Bring to the boil.
  2. Remove the cream from the heat and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the yolks, sugar and both flours.
  4. Slowly add the hot cream, a little at a time, whisking between additions.
  5. Strain and then pour the mix into a clean pot and return to medium heat.
  6. Cook while constantly stirring until the mix starts to bubble.
  7. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and cover with cling wrap.
  8. Chill the custard in the fridge until cold and set.
  9. Finely cut the strawberries and stir through the custard.

Glaze, Garnish and fill

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • Mixed berries

Method:

  1. Melt chocolate in the microwave and stir until smooth.
  2.  Mix though the oil.
  3. Fill a piping bag with the custard. Poke nozzle into the hole in the base of the éclair and fill.
  4. Place the chocolate glaze is a bowl and dip the top of the filled éclair in and move it around a little to ensure all the top is covered. Remove from the glaze and remove any excess with your finger.
  5. While the glaze is still wet, arrange the berries on top so that they stick.
  6. Let the éclairs set and then feast. 
06.jpg

Hello!

Like every story there is the long version and the short one. The short version of how this blog came about is that I, Cherry Murphy, love making cakes and my good friend Jo Murphy likes to draw them. We have both been playing around with the idea of collaborating for quite a while now and have spent many dinners drinking wine and eating feasts while dreaming up plans of what it would look like.

Our journey/friendship however started quite a long time before this.  Jo and I met in 2011 when I moved to Melbourne to study patisserie at culinary school. I had grown up in a sleepy town by the ocean and decided it was time to follow my dream of becoming a pastry chef and moved to the city. Jo like myself also grew up in a small town and moved her life to the city to study design. During my first week in Melbourne I applied for a job at a cupcake shop and that’s where we first met. We worked together for several years while we both pursued our different creative careers.  For me this is a pretty fond memory where I was a dirt poor student, always tired, working far too much, but loving going into the cupcake shop to hang out with Jo (and our pal Lauren - she deserves a mention!), sell cake, and eat quite a few too many.

Although Jo and I have both changed and grown both creatively and in our careers since then, one thing has never changed, and that is our dedication to eating cake together.  Recently however, we decided that we would like to share this with other people as well. After working in lots of cafes, cake shops, and patisseries over the past few years, I’m slowly starting to set the wheels in motion toward opening my own cake shop. We felt that it would be fun to share this process, as well as illustrate it (with Jo’s lovely drawings.)

So here is our blog! A collaboration of food, drawings, good times and a way to share the things we love with others. We hope you enjoy it.