Posts tagged sweet treats

The magical power of CAKE and how my kids revealed themselves to actually be competent

My mission recently has been to ‘skill’ my kids. Apparently the best way to help with their self-esteem is not to talk them up, but rather to teach and help them conquer a wide and varied set of skills. Which includes the glorious and the mundane. Sure, learn how to snorkel, read novels and ride bikes but also learn how to polish your shoes, sort through the washing and take care of yourself.

Enthusiasm for the various tasks swings wildly. Feeding the cat is low on the list. They can never remember where the cans are kept. Is it that cupboard? This one? Out in the garage?

Same with breakfast. I reckon they can sort themselves out. But they’re not so sure. What? Find the milk myself? But the container is nearly full and much too heavy for a small wee child to pour. Surely mummy would do a better job….

Which is why I was all agog the other night post-dinner when freshly flopped on the couch I remembered that there was some leftover apple sponge pudding in the fridge. “Kids,” I yelled, between sips of pinot gris, “there’s dessert for you if you can find it.” I mentioned cake, yoghurt etc and in a flash they were off. Five minutes later they returned, pleased as punch with themselves. Somehow they’d found the cake, dished out servings, heated it in the microwave and topped it with yoghurt.

Astonishing what they are actually capable of.

SO delish, and keeps in the fridge for several days.

SO delish, and keeps in the fridge for several days.

Apple sponge pudding – based on a recipe by Nola Treloar from a Country Women’s Association cookbook

25g butter
4-5 apples (any sort), peeled, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown or raw sugar

80g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup self-raising flour
Pinch salt

Heat a frying pan over medium/high heat. Melt the butter then add in the apple. Stir every couple of minutes until softening nicely. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and sugar. Mix for another minute or so, then set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a baking or pie dish. Tip the apple mix evenly over the base – include all the juices.

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and vanilla. Then whisk in the sugar, then the egg. Mix through the milk. Sift over the flour and salt. Whisk it all together into a glorious, lump-free batter.

Pour the mixture over the apples. Pop into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden.

Serve as is, or with yoghurt or ice-cream.

Serves 6-8



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My fruit-bowl runneth over with sloppy bananas

Usually when my fruit bowl is all a-quiver with a mass of mushy bananas, I cook this banana bread, which uses up a few in one go. HOWEVER it’s full of nuts, so not lunchbox-friendly, which is why this NEW banana-hoovering recipe has been making a few appearances at VSHQ.

Let’s not kid anyone – this is no bread, this is CAKE. And a yummy one too, complete with passionfruit icing. Mmmmm. Freeze a few pieces and you’ll be ahead for lunchboxes when school goes back for term 2. Sweet.

Did you see that I’ve got an additional 10% off all my gloriously practical and family-friendly cookbooks? I do. Until midnight, Thursday April 9, 2015. Just enter code ‘holiday’ at the checkout. Visit my shop to see the full range.

Nut-free, a litle piece of this in the lunchbox will be pretty popular.

Nut-free, a litle piece of this in the lunchbox will be pretty popular.

Lunchbox banana cake

50g butter, softened
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup oats
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup icing sugar
Pulp 1 passionfruit

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a 14x28cm loaf tin with baking paper.

Add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl. Use hand held beaters to cream them together until well combined. Tip in the egg and beat until well combined.

On a slow speed, mix through the combined flour/baking powder. Use a spoon to add in the oats and banana.

Scoop into your prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and the top springs back with touched.

Leave to cool completely, then sift the icing sugar (to remove lumps) and add just a little passionfruit at a time until you have a good icing consistency. Ice and leave to set.

Cut into 8-10 pieces.

Freezes well. Also makes great cupcakes.

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What’s for pudding?

I’ve been remiss and I apologise profusely. I’ve just realised that there isn’t a single sweetie on my blog! For someone with a tooth as sweet as mine that is unthinkable. So I’ll rectify it immediately with this chocolate & beetroot brownie recipe. Don’t be put off by the thought of vegie treats – I have people pestering me for this recipe, saying they prefer it to regular brownies. It is moist and delicious. The beetroot adds a depth of flavour and gives it a lovely pink tinge.

Let’s face it, it is still on the list of ‘sometimes’ foods, but at least if we’re going to eat chocolate we can ease our conscience a little.

Now I know you all cook in a Doris Day angora twin-set, so my advice is to pop on one of those cute frilly aprons and a pair of disposable kitchen gloves when you grate the beetroot. Grating it in a clean sink also makes the tidy up easier.

Chocolate & beetroot brownie

I just can't help myself, I've even got a healthy root in here.

Chocolate & beetroot brownies

Butter, for greasing
150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
100g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 eggs
½ cup caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup plain flour
110g almond meal
½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 cup peeled and grated raw beetroot (use disposable gloves and wear an apron for this!)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease and line a lamington tin with baking paper.

Use the microwave on medium heat to melt the chocolate. Stir every 30 seconds until runny. Add the butter and mix through until melted, microwaving a little more if needed. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the vanilla. Sift the flour over the top. Add the almond meal, walnuts, beetroot and chocolate and fold through until just combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Leave to cool in the pan before cutting into squares. Dust with icing sugar and serve with strawberries.


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