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Archive for 'baking'

Recipe: Pinata Birthday Cake

I saw this recipe for a Pinata Birthday cake on the Australian version of Better Homes and Gardens. It’s for a children’s birthday cake, but it was also perfect for my sweet-tooth father. I was a bit short of time and didn’t make the cake. I purchased a sponge cake and filled it with strawberry jam and whipped cream. Before I did this, I cut a hole in the middle of the sponges to create a ring cake.

If I were making the cake from scratch I’d use a ring tin and make a chocolate, banana or carrot cake.

For a child’s birthday cake, purchase some of their favorite candy and fill the hole in the middle of your cake with these. You could ice the cake first or not–depending upon your child’s likes or dislikes.


My father likes dried fruit so I filled the cake centre with dried slices of apple, papaya, crystalized ginger, dried strawberries and banana.

For the next step you need a bowl that will fit over comfortably over the cake. Line the bowl with tin foil. Melt some chocolate–I used both dark and milk chocolate. The quantity you require will depend on the size of your bowl. Brush the chocolate over the inside of the bowl. Once complete, place in fridge to harden for five minutes. Add a second layer of chocolate to the inside of the bowl and chill again. Once the chocolate is set, remove the chocolate shell from the bowl and place over the top of the cake. Peel off the tin foil to reveal the chocolate shell. Decorate the top with icing writing or candy. I used fruit jubes.


To serve: arm the birthday person with a wooden spoon and get them to bash/hit the chocolate shell to reveal the treasure cake beneath.


My father didn’t really understand what to do, but you can see the small hole he’s made in the chocolate cover.


Chocolate Cake

I love chocolate cake and tried this new recipe last week. It was moist and delicious, and I was very pleased with the final result.

Chocolate Cake

1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
¾ cup water
2 cups white sugar
1 ¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups milk
½ cup sunflower or soya oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 23 – 25 cm cake tin with baking powder. Dissolve the coffee granules in water, then place all ingredients into a food processor and process until well combined and smooth. Pour mixture into the cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and frost with your favoring icing/frosting.

Shelley’s notes:
The mixture is really runny but don’t panic. All turns out well in the end.
I didn’t have sunflower oil and used olive oil instead.
I mixed my cake by hand rather than using the food processor.
My oven is a fan bake one, which lessens the cooking time. I cooked my cake for 45 minutes.

Source: Taste Magazine/Chelsea Sugar

Yummy Date & Orange Scones

Our local reality show, Nestle Hottest Home Baker has captured my attention, and I sit glued to the set each week to watch the on screen action. My favorite baker has been voted off the show, so I’ve had to shift my allegiance. I chose one of the contestant’s recipes to make for my March test recipe. They turned out really well and were delicious.


Scone Ingredients

1 cup dates chopped
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 2 oranges
1 Cinnamon Stick
A little sugar

Place these ingredients into a pot, melt and cook until it goes thick and caramelises. Note – my oranges didn’t have much juice, so I used some orange juice we had in the fridge. I added a little at a time until the dates sucked it up and I had a lovely thick mixture. Cool mixture.

4 cups self-raising flour
300ml cream (half a pint)
¼ cup sugar
1 can lemonade (Sprite)
½ tsp salt
Cinnamon sugar (make your own by mixing a few teaspoons of sugar with a little cinnamon)

Place flour and salt in a bowl. Add the date mixture and mix. Pour in cream and lemonade. Mix all ingredients into a smooth dough in a bowl. Tip out onto floured bench and cut out or shape. I just used a sharp knife and cut rough squares. Place scones just touching each other on tray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 220 degrees Celsius (425 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15-20 mins until starting to colour pale golden. Place on a tea towel on a wire rack.

Shelley’s notes: I used a fan bake oven, which cooks quicker. My scones were ready after ten minutes of cooking. My mix was quite damp and sticky. I sprinkled just enough flour on it for me to pat it into shape and cut into smaller squares.

The recipe is a hybrid of Chelsea Sugar & Good Taste Australia & Courtney from Nestle Hottest Home Baker.

Date & Orange Scones

This is the final product. I ate them warm with raspberry jam or a little butter. You could use jam and whipped cream as a topping or your favorite jam or jelly. I froze the leftovers, and they tasted just as good heated a little in the microwave after I’d thawed them out. My March recipe was a big success.

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