Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Women's Weekly Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

I've been out and about lately and haven't had time to try new recipes so it was an absolutely treat when Mum and Dad made a cake yesterday. I quickly gobbled up dinner so I can eat a piece (or two) of this cake! It was deeelicious and truly evil!

Since we enjoyed the Passionfruit Madeira cake, my parents decided to make another cake from Women's Weekly Cakebaking cook book. This cake is light and moist, and the peanut butter frosting is a welcomed addition. Since Dad is great at DIY and frosting is pretty much like plastering, the cake turned out looking neat and even.

The original recipe calls for 150g of peanut brittle and 2 cups of nutty caramel popcorn but my parents did not include this.

  • 185g (6 ounce) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup (225g) self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk

Peanut butter frosting
  • 125g (4 ounces) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (240g) icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup (190g) peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoon  milk

1. Preheat oven to 160*C/325*F. Grease 22cm square cake pan and line with baking paper.

2. Blend cocoa with water in small heatproof bowl until smooth and allow to cool (10 minutes).

3. Beat butter, extract and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in cocoa mixture. Transfer mixture to large bowl; stir in sifted flours and buttermilk, in two batches.

4. Spread mixture into pan. Bake cake about 55 minutes. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes before turning, top side up, onto wire rack to cool.

5. To make the frosting, beat butter, extract in small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible. Gradually beat in sifted icing sugar, then peanut butter add milk; beat until smooth.

6. Spread frosting on the cake and avoid the temptation to eat any. If desired, coarsely chop peanut brittle and sprinkle brittle and popcorn over cake.

Serves 16 (...or 3 people who really like cake and will eat it within 2 days. We gave 1/4 of the cake to our neighbour so we didn't eat all of it!)

Cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days, or in the freezer (without frosting) for 2 months.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crocheted Blanket

I loved working on my granny square crocheted blanket last year, but having sewed the ends of 280 squares (!), I was reluctant to do that again any time soon. I started this blanket in February and decided that I just wanted to crochet, crochet...and crochet without sewing the ends of yarn so round and round I went!

The cream, blue and green acrylic yarns are by Panda which was lovely to work with as it was thick and sturdy. The magenta, yellow, red and navy blue yarns are from Lincraft which was thinner and the fibres split (so annoying) but it was good value and I liked the bright colours so I put up with it. The blanket measures 106cm x 106cm.

I sought advice from the lovely Stephanie of Can Do Books where I attend sewing and knitting/crochet Meet Ups as the blanket was a bit out of shape (I thought the tension was uneven). Stephanie said that this happens when crocheting large pieces so I have to "block" it to shape it, or simply wash it to get it into shape! Since it is well and truly winter (Melbourne was covered in a blanket of fog and did see the sun until mid afternoon yesterday), I'll wait for warmer days before washing and sun drying this blanket.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Birds on a Branch Cross Stitch

I've completed another cross stitch to mount on a bamboo flip top container I bought from Tokuya. This pattern is from Rico Design's Woodland Walks, and I had to adjust the length of the branches to accommodate size of the basket.

I've also lined the base of the basket using a layer of felt and a cotton print which I zigzaged together before I edged the piece with white lace.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dad's Homemade Egg Noodles

My Dad makes egg noodles using a pasta maker which we eat fresh on the day. It is such a treat to eat fresh handmade noodles as it is made with care (and love) for me because I love noodles!

All you need is 1kg of plain flour, 5 eggs and extra water to make 2 cups of egg/water mixture and a whole heap of patience!

Step 1: Place flour in a bowl, make a well and add the beaten egg/water mixture.

Step 2: Mix and lightly knead the dough to form manageable pieces to feed into the roller of the pasta maker.

Step 3: The dough is initially put though the roller set at number 2 thickness. Continue to feed the dough into the roller until smooth.

Step 4: Dad makes about 9 pieces (9 single serves) measuring about 23cm in length.

Step 5: Change the roller setting to number 5 and feed the dough through the roller.

Step 6: Feed the dough into the cutter. Pasta makers usually have 2 thickness - thick (fettticini style) or thin but we usually make thin.

The noodles can be frozen - we place the portions in plastic containers separated by grease proof paper.

Cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente which is around 10 minutes.