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Lovers Shortbread

Lovers Shortbread recipe

Lovers Shortbread

This has got to be the simplest shortbread recipe I have ever had the pleasure of making. It takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes until you can eat your heart out, they taste fantastic and freeze extremely well, what more could you ask for?  I am told these are a Lebanese shortbread, not sure where the Lovers shortbread comes from.

Folks, you really must make a batch of these, we used walnuts but you can make them without anything on top, with almonds or even a little dollop of your favourite jam. I reckon these are going to become very popular. Makes 2 dozen large short bread bisciuts.

What you need

  • 375g salted butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
  • Walnuts, cherries or whatever you are going to top them off with.
  • Lots of icing sugar to sprinkle on top

The process

  1. Heat your oven to 190 Celsius.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and then pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds or so. You want it to be soft enough to beat with an electric beater.
  3. Add the icing sugar and beat it very well on high for about 5 minutes until it becomes very pale and creamy, almost white.
  4. No toss in the flour and baking powder in 3 portions mixing after each addition.
  5. Thats it, now all you need to do is form little balls of the mixture, roll them gently in your hand (yes round balls), place them on your baking sheet, press a little hole in the top with your finger and fill the hole with a nut, a lttle jam or even a piece of chocolate.
  6. Pop them in the oven for about 7-10 minutes and then turn off the oven and leave them inside for another 15-20 minutes.
  7. If you notice some of them browning on top you can open the oven to let out some of the heat and close it up again. We made batches that were very pale that melt in your mouth and also had some browned ones that were more like biscuits with a bit of a crunch that I must confess I enjoyed even more.
  8. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool before covering with a generous amount of icing sugar.

(http://cookbook.co.za/baking/famous-cookie-recipes/lovers-shortbread/)

Black Cherry Tiramisu

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Black Cherry Tiramisu

This is a non alcoholic Tiramisu that worked so well the friends and family were groaning at the table, taking “just one more little piece”. It really is very simple and the only thing you need to be a little careful with is not turning the egg yolks into scrambled eggs but I have a fool proof method for that which will make sure your Black Cherry Tiramisu is perfect every time. You wil;l need a 30cm round pie dish or similar (makes enough for 10 people)

What you need

  • 1 x 200g packet lady fingers (Bonomi is the brand I used from Picknpay)
  • 2 x tins black cherries in syrup (pitted)
  • 3 x tablespoons caster sugar
  • 6 x egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 500g Mascarpone cheese (or 250g mascarpone and 250ml fresh cream beaten stiff)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The process

  1. Open the tins of black cherries and add the syrup to a pot on a medium heat. Add the caster sugar and stir until the caster sugar is completely dissolved then remove and allow to cool while you make the mascarpone mixture. (if you want an alcoholic version, add 2 tots of cherry liqueur now.

Follow these steps for the mascarpone exactly to ensure your egg yolks don’t scramble

  1. Put a small pot of water onto the stove and bring to the boil, remove it.
  2. In a glass mixing bowl add the egg yolks and caster sugar and beat to combine. Now place the bowl over the hot water in the pot and continue to beat until the mixture turns a pale yellow (more white than yellow). It will thicken and when you lift the beaters it should leave a light trail along the top (about 3 minutes of beating)
  3. Remove from the pot of hot water and beat for another 2 minutes until it has cooled a little.
  4. In another bowl combine the mascarpone and vanilla essence (or if you like it a bit lighter like I do the mascarpone and beaten fresh cream and vanilla essence) Mix until smooth with no lumps.
  5. Add the egg yolk and sugar mixture to the mascarpone mixture and fold together until well combines and smooth.
  6. Dip the lady fingers one at a time in the cherry sauce and line the base of your pie dish with ladyfingers.
  7. Add a layer of the creamy mixture and half of the cherries (halve them for a complete layer) and then sprinkle over a little cinnamon.
  8. Repeat the process one more time ending with a layer of black cherries over the top.
  9. Chill in the fridge for about 4-6 hours (this can be made the day before.

Folks, this is seriously delicious, the cherry flavor seems to fool you into thinking it’s not so rich and every mouthful is so tasty you will be hard pressed to stop before you are groaning. 

(http://cookbook.co.za/dessert-recipes/black-cherry-tiramisu/)

bellyofecuador:

MINI RED VELVET CUPCAKES I am obsessed with red velvet everything. It seems that the rest of the world is too. I’m pretty sure it has little to do with the cake itself and almost everything to do with the icing. Good thing I have perfected my cream cheese icing to something I’m really proud of. It’s probably the one thing I serve people in which I don’t have any hesitation or worry in the back of my head that they won’t like it. The time spent perfecting my icing has meant I have not always paid enough attention to the cake itself, until today. I finally decided to try out a new recipe (from Smitten Kitchen) and whew, I was rewarded with heaven. I’m bringing these to a going away party for some friends tonight, and   hopefully they’ll be a hit. They already have been one with my stomach. And A’s.  As you can see from the pictures, this recipe yields a TON of mini cupcakes. Definitely reduce the recipe if you’re not making them for a big event. This recipe can also easily be made into a full sized cake or cupcakes. This batter yields around 35 regular sized cupcakes, with the liners filled only 3/4 of the way. Bake between 20 to 25 minutes, but check in on them sooner in case your oven cooks faster. As always, the cake/cupcakes are done whenever a cake tester comes out clean, regardless of how much time a recipe instructs you to bake something. Ingredients:  
Cake:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 3 1/2 cups cake flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process) 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 cups canola oil 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons of red food coloring dissolved in 4 tablespoons of water 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1 1/4 cup buttermilk 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
Frosting:2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature4 tsp. vanilla extract2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Directions:
Make Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease cupcake pans. 2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl. 3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer or hand held mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine. 4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds. 5. Divide batter among cupcake pan, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.
Make Frosting:
1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. 2. Mix in the vanilla extract. 3. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Taste to see if you want more sugar. I don’t like my icing too sweet, but you might.4. Put in fridge while cake is cooking. Take out a few minutes before icing so that it softens up a little.
Zoom Info
bellyofecuador:

MINI RED VELVET CUPCAKES I am obsessed with red velvet everything. It seems that the rest of the world is too. I’m pretty sure it has little to do with the cake itself and almost everything to do with the icing. Good thing I have perfected my cream cheese icing to something I’m really proud of. It’s probably the one thing I serve people in which I don’t have any hesitation or worry in the back of my head that they won’t like it. The time spent perfecting my icing has meant I have not always paid enough attention to the cake itself, until today. I finally decided to try out a new recipe (from Smitten Kitchen) and whew, I was rewarded with heaven. I’m bringing these to a going away party for some friends tonight, and   hopefully they’ll be a hit. They already have been one with my stomach. And A’s.  As you can see from the pictures, this recipe yields a TON of mini cupcakes. Definitely reduce the recipe if you’re not making them for a big event. This recipe can also easily be made into a full sized cake or cupcakes. This batter yields around 35 regular sized cupcakes, with the liners filled only 3/4 of the way. Bake between 20 to 25 minutes, but check in on them sooner in case your oven cooks faster. As always, the cake/cupcakes are done whenever a cake tester comes out clean, regardless of how much time a recipe instructs you to bake something. Ingredients:  
Cake:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 3 1/2 cups cake flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process) 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 cups canola oil 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons of red food coloring dissolved in 4 tablespoons of water 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1 1/4 cup buttermilk 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
Frosting:2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature4 tsp. vanilla extract2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Directions:
Make Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease cupcake pans. 2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl. 3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer or hand held mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine. 4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds. 5. Divide batter among cupcake pan, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.
Make Frosting:
1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. 2. Mix in the vanilla extract. 3. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Taste to see if you want more sugar. I don’t like my icing too sweet, but you might.4. Put in fridge while cake is cooking. Take out a few minutes before icing so that it softens up a little.
Zoom Info
bellyofecuador:

MINI RED VELVET CUPCAKES I am obsessed with red velvet everything. It seems that the rest of the world is too. I’m pretty sure it has little to do with the cake itself and almost everything to do with the icing. Good thing I have perfected my cream cheese icing to something I’m really proud of. It’s probably the one thing I serve people in which I don’t have any hesitation or worry in the back of my head that they won’t like it. The time spent perfecting my icing has meant I have not always paid enough attention to the cake itself, until today. I finally decided to try out a new recipe (from Smitten Kitchen) and whew, I was rewarded with heaven. I’m bringing these to a going away party for some friends tonight, and   hopefully they’ll be a hit. They already have been one with my stomach. And A’s.  As you can see from the pictures, this recipe yields a TON of mini cupcakes. Definitely reduce the recipe if you’re not making them for a big event. This recipe can also easily be made into a full sized cake or cupcakes. This batter yields around 35 regular sized cupcakes, with the liners filled only 3/4 of the way. Bake between 20 to 25 minutes, but check in on them sooner in case your oven cooks faster. As always, the cake/cupcakes are done whenever a cake tester comes out clean, regardless of how much time a recipe instructs you to bake something. Ingredients:  
Cake:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 3 1/2 cups cake flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process) 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 cups canola oil 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons of red food coloring dissolved in 4 tablespoons of water 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1 1/4 cup buttermilk 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
Frosting:2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature4 tsp. vanilla extract2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Directions:
Make Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease cupcake pans. 2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl. 3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer or hand held mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine. 4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds. 5. Divide batter among cupcake pan, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.
Make Frosting:
1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. 2. Mix in the vanilla extract. 3. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Taste to see if you want more sugar. I don’t like my icing too sweet, but you might.4. Put in fridge while cake is cooking. Take out a few minutes before icing so that it softens up a little.
Zoom Info
bellyofecuador:

MINI RED VELVET CUPCAKES I am obsessed with red velvet everything. It seems that the rest of the world is too. I’m pretty sure it has little to do with the cake itself and almost everything to do with the icing. Good thing I have perfected my cream cheese icing to something I’m really proud of. It’s probably the one thing I serve people in which I don’t have any hesitation or worry in the back of my head that they won’t like it. The time spent perfecting my icing has meant I have not always paid enough attention to the cake itself, until today. I finally decided to try out a new recipe (from Smitten Kitchen) and whew, I was rewarded with heaven. I’m bringing these to a going away party for some friends tonight, and   hopefully they’ll be a hit. They already have been one with my stomach. And A’s.  As you can see from the pictures, this recipe yields a TON of mini cupcakes. Definitely reduce the recipe if you’re not making them for a big event. This recipe can also easily be made into a full sized cake or cupcakes. This batter yields around 35 regular sized cupcakes, with the liners filled only 3/4 of the way. Bake between 20 to 25 minutes, but check in on them sooner in case your oven cooks faster. As always, the cake/cupcakes are done whenever a cake tester comes out clean, regardless of how much time a recipe instructs you to bake something. Ingredients:  
Cake:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 3 1/2 cups cake flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process) 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 cups canola oil 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons of red food coloring dissolved in 4 tablespoons of water 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1 1/4 cup buttermilk 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
Frosting:2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature4 tsp. vanilla extract2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Directions:
Make Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease cupcake pans. 2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl. 3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer or hand held mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine. 4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds. 5. Divide batter among cupcake pan, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.
Make Frosting:
1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. 2. Mix in the vanilla extract. 3. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Taste to see if you want more sugar. I don’t like my icing too sweet, but you might.4. Put in fridge while cake is cooking. Take out a few minutes before icing so that it softens up a little.
Zoom Info

bellyofecuador:

MINI RED VELVET CUPCAKES

I am obsessed with red velvet everything. It seems that the rest of the world is too. I’m pretty sure it has little to do with the cake itself and almost everything to do with the icing. Good thing I have perfected my cream cheese icing to something I’m really proud of. It’s probably the one thing I serve people in which I don’t have any hesitation or worry in the back of my head that they won’t like it. The time spent perfecting my icing has meant I have not always paid enough attention to the cake itself, until today. I finally decided to try out a new recipe (from Smitten Kitchen) and whew, I was rewarded with heaven. I’m bringing these to a going away party for some friends tonight, and   hopefully they’ll be a hit. They already have been one with my stomach. And A’s.  

As you can see from the pictures, this recipe yields a TON of mini cupcakes. Definitely reduce the recipe if you’re not making them for a big event. This recipe can also easily be made into a full sized cake or cupcakes. This batter yields around 35 regular sized cupcakes, with the liners filled only 3/4 of the way. Bake between 20 to 25 minutes, but check in on them sooner in case your oven cooks faster. As always, the cake/cupcakes are done whenever a cake tester comes out clean, regardless of how much time a recipe instructs you to bake something.

Ingredients:  

Cake:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons of red food coloring dissolved in 4 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Frosting:

2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

Make Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease cupcake pans.
2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer or hand held mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
5. Divide batter among cupcake pan, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.

Make Frosting:

1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. 
2. Mix in the vanilla extract. 
3. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Taste to see if you want more sugar. I don’t like my icing too sweet, but you might.
4. Put in fridge while cake is cooking. Take out a few minutes before icing so that it softens up a little.

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