God I love cake. I love relaxing on the couch eating cake. I love eating cake in summer. I love eating cake while wearing comfy coral jeans. Show me a person who doesn’t like cake, and i’ll show you a really sad person. The saddest person in the world. But, I would like to think that even the most dedicated cake hater might declare an amnesty on this little baby. Its a moist pineapple and coconut cake. Moist and crumbly and sweet. What could be wrong with that?
So I feel like I begin every post here with an apology for not posting more frequently. This time i’ll keep it short and sweet.
And give you a big piece of this!
Its a Caramel Croissant Pudding from a recipe by Nigella Lawson. I thought that since it’s the festive season I would spice it up with a little splash of Captain Morgans Spiced Rum. Which I then used in a delicious apple cocktail that i’m going to show you later.
Its pretty much just a normal easy peasy bread and butter pudding but its lifted by the addition of buttery, flakey croissants. The caramel custard that gives it a deeper, richer flavour. If you’re scared of making caramel, I totally understand. I’ve thrown out enough caramel that turned mysteriously black and stinky in the blink of an eye and i’ve also been disappointed by many an anaemic looking caramel that had barely turned vaguely golden before I panicked and took it off the heat.
So, make sure that you have everything ready before you start to make your caramel custard. That means tearing up your croissants and squishing them into the baking dish.
Once you’ve done that you need to bite the bullet and make your caramel. I’ll share with you my two tips for nervous caramel makers:
1. Go slow! It might take significantly longer but I would rather have the heat a little lower and have more control over it than blast the heat and watch in horror as my caramel turns into a black smoking mess
2. Keep a close eye on it! It might seem like it is taking forever to turn golden but you can guarantee that the moment you leave your pot to go answer the phone, brush your hair, do whatever else you want to be doing, that will be the moment that you will be in trouble!
The only problem you might have is that when you pour the cream in the caramel will solidify. If you just keep it on the heat and keep stirring it will melt down again and be absolutely fine. Trust me!
and it will look like this!
And then, after it has been baked it will look like this…
and smell delicious!
Isn’t that one of the greatest things about baking? When the whole house smells delicious? Sometimes I find myself wanting to bake something just for the scent I know will permeate the house. Who needs scented candles or disgusting fake air fresheners when you have an oven?
So, my lovelies, what do you like to smell as its cooking? Weird question, I know!
p.s. I know I said i’d give you a cocktail recipe but you might just have to check back tomorrow!
Caramel Croissant Pudding with Spice Rum (Adapted from Nigella Lawson)
5-6 croissants – stale is better
200 grams caster sugar
4 tablespoons water
250 ml thickened cream
250 ml full cream milk
4 tablespoons spiced rum
4 medium eggs (beaten)
Tear the croissants into pieces and arrange in a large baking dish. One that can fit 1-2 L will be ok.
Place the caster sugar and water in a medium sizes saucepan on a medium heat
Let the mixture bubble away but do not stir! You can swirl it around the pan to distribute any dark spots. Wait until it turns a deep gold (the recipe says 3-5 mins but it seems to take much longer for me! Just keep going until you reach the colour you like)
Turn the heat down to low and pour in the cream. It will spit a bit so be careful. Whisk in the milk and rum as well. Remember that it will solidify but if you put it back on the low heat and keep whisking it will dissolve.
Take the pan off the heat and pour in the eggs (while still whisking! You don’t want the eggs to cook!)
Pour the caramel custard over the croissants and leave to steep for 5-10 mins
Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.
Its still super freakin cold. In case you didn’t get the memo Sydney peeps. Its the kind of weather that makes you want to have the oven on all the time just to heat the house. The kind of weather that makes you stay in bed until midday, get up for some hot chocolate, then go back to bed. The kind of weather that just requires snuggles. And this pudding.
And butterscotch caramel.
ohhhhhhh butterscotch caramel.
Its no secret that I like Donna Hay recipes. Although I find the magazine a little light on, it is great for simple dishes that work pretty much every time. This recipe came from the June/July 2011 edition of the Donna Hay Magazine but I dug it out the other day when I was sorting through my mountains of cooking magazines. I’m such a sucker for a gooey, sumptuous sweet on the front cover of a magazine. I must be an advertisers dream.
I did originally make this when I bought the magazine last year but it just wasn’t delicious enough to warrant a blog post of its own. I put that down to my own laziness as I couldn’t be bothered making lots of little portions so I just made one big one. That ended up with what seemed to be a lower caramel/pudding ratio. Of which we know no good can come. So this time I made a couple of small changes.
1. I used my kitchen aid! Yay! This baby is seriously the best thing since sliced bread. I love that I can switch it on and leave it to mix and come back with it all tripled in volume and ready for the next stage.
then I used a whole jar of butterscotch spread
is there a more delicious sight than that?
No? Glad we’re on the same page here.
The mixture was much lighter and more aerated after using the kitchenaid rather than just my normal hand mixer. Look at those little clouds of cocoa!
so light that the cooked little cocoa caps just pop up off the top of the ramekin.
Juuuust enough for some caramel butterscotch to peek out
And that isn’t even the best part. Don’t believe me?
the molten pool of caramel butterscotch at the bottom is the best part
you can dip the crunchy/fluffy chocolate pudding top back into the butterscotch for extra deliciousness
or if you’re EXTRA fancy you can top it all off with a scoop of ice-cream.
So what do you think my lovelies? Can there ever be too much when it comes to butterscotch and chocolate? Hint: if you say yes, then I have no idea how you made it this far…
Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding – Adapted from the June/July 2011 Issue of Donna Hay Magazine
1 jar Butterscotch spread (I bought mine from Dijons Castle Hill and Harris Farm Broadway)
1/3 cup (80ml) thickened cream
200g dark chocolate
1/2 cup (90g) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60g) almond meal
optional: ice cream to serve
1. Place the butterscotch in a bowl with the cream and mix well until combined
2. Spoon the butterscotch mixture into the bottom of 6 1/2 cup capacity ramekins
3. Melt the chocolate and butter together and mix until combined
4. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high for 8-10 mins or until the mixture has doubled in size
5. Fold in the chocolate mixture and almond meal then divide the mix between the ramekins
6. place the ramekins on a baking tray and cook at 200 degrees celsius for 12-18 minutes or until risen
7. Stand for a few minutes then top with a scoop of your favourite ice cream!
In case you missed the memo… right now it’s all about the cake pops.
I’ve always been in awe of bakers like Bakerella who can churn out these delightfully creative and dainty delicacies. I can do a little bit of decorating when I can be bothered, but i’m finding that with an ever increasing workload I just don’t have the time I used to have to do these fiddly recipes. So cake pops got put on the back burner for years. A little bit like macarons did up until recently when I conquered my fear of them. But, in the spirit of trying new things, I decided to have a crack at cake pops. And who better to guide me through this challenge, than my good friend Jen from Stick It! Bakery. Jen makes these beauties in so many different styles and flavours that I have no idea which would be my favourite. Perhaps the packman ones? Or the ninjas? Or the lego heads? Or the cute little bobble men from Despicable Me? HOW CAN I CHOOSE?! So we started with the basics.
first you need to make a cake, let it cool and then break it into chunks in a large bowl
ours was chocolate.
Didn’t think so.
then you use your little fingers to crumble the cake into little crumbs
I really liked this part.
then you mix in enough chocolate icing to make it stick together in a big lump.
Also a favourite part of mine!
then you get a little lump of cake, not too big or too small (just nicely fitting in the palm of your hand)
and roll it into a ball
just like these babies
then you need to get all your bits and pieces together
and melt your chocolate
dip the top of each stick into your chocolate and insert about 3/4 of the way into your cake ball
the chocolate helps the stick to stay in place and stop your cake from falling off and rolling away
then you need to melt up some more chocolate
Jen uses a mug as you need something deep enough for you to dip the whole cake ball into it as week as a little bit of the stick.
the first coat of chocolate!
You need to dip the whole cake ball in then hold it at a 45 degree angle and spin it slowly to allow the excess chocolate to drop off the ball and run a little bit of the way down the lollypop. This will again help the cake stick to the pop and not fall off or roll away.
unless you’re an octopus, you’ll need something to stand your pops up in while they dry.
These florists blocks work a treat.
And look at all those holes. That girl must have made thousands of cake pops!
After the first coat is dry, you need to dip your cake pops back in the chocolate for a second coat.
This is when you can apply any extra sprinkles or sparkles that you want to add.
Here we put sugar pearls in a saucer then firmly pressed the top of the cake pop into them.
and voila! Cuteness!
we also added sugar hearts both (big and small) and sugar flowers and sprinkles
Aren’t they pretty?
This was a fun activity and I kept thinking how great it would be to do this with a group of friends. I had my own private class with Jen but she does group classes and has a range of different styles of cake pops that she can teach you how to make. She even makes naughty ones for hens nights! Now I might be the lamest person alive, but I can see that being the perfect warm up for a ripper hens night…
So there is no recipe to go with this post, I couldn’t give away the secrets of Jen’s delicious chocolate cake pops. You will just have to book a class and find out for yourself! Hopefully though, the pictures and instructions will help you if you decide to brave it on your own.
And finally, a giant THANKYOU to Jen for putting up with me for the day, and teaching me the basics with so much patience and care that I feel I might be able to tackle these babies alone next time. Perhaps…