Easy No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake

This is my favourite cheesecake recipe which was kindly given to me by my high-school friend, Antonia. The filling has a silky texture with a delicious punch of lemon, and sets without needing gelatin. It’s a perfect no-stress summer dessert as you can make it the night before and leave it to set without a second thought.

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Ingredients (serves 8-10)
Juice and rind of 1 large lemon
400ml condensed milk
250g cream cheese, softened
300ml thickened cream
1 x 250g packet Arnott’s Granita biscuits (or equivalent)
75g butter, melted

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Method
Grease and line a 25cm round springform tin.

Crush the biscuits in a food processor and add the melted butter. Use the crumb mixture to line the bottom and part way up the sides of the prepared tin, pressing it in firmly with the bottom of a glass to ensure it is even.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream until it is very thick but not fully whipped.

Gently combine the cream into the cream cheese mixture and stir until just combined. Add in the lemon rind and gradually add the juice (to taste).

Pour into the crumb lined tin. Cover the top with foil and secure with a rubber band.

Refrigerate overnight or until set (at least 7 hours).

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Recipe from Antonia

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Cream Tart Number Cake

I love the look of these number cakes (also known as cream tarts or alphabet cakes) that are all over Instagram and was thrilled when my sister asked me to make her one for her 21st Birthday.

While they’re a bit fiddly to make and decorate, I was surprised by how quick they are to make; largely as they take so little time to bake in the oven. I also love how customisable they are – you can use any letters or numbers you choose, pick your decoration colour scheme, and change the flavour of the filling to taste. I went with a traditional almond biscuit with a vanilla custard filling and decorated with strawberries and pink and white flowers, meringues and macarons.

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Ingredients (makes two A3-sized number cakes, serves approx. 20)
Pâte Sablée (biscuit layers)
– 225g butter, room temperature
– ½ cup icing sugar
– 1 egg
– 2¼ cups flour
– 1 cup almond meal
– 1 teaspoon almond essence
– 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Vanilla Custard Filling
– 6 cups thickened cream
– 3 100g packets Cottee’s Instant Vanilla Pudding mixes
– 1 cup icing sugar
– 3 teaspoons vanilla essence

Other
– Cut out A3 sized numbers (I used a 1 and a 2 stretched to fill an A3 page each in bolded Arial Black font)
– Extra large square silver cake board
– Fresh, pesticide-free flowers
Macarons
– Meringues
– Sugar flowers
– Strawberries (halved)

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  1. To make the biscuit layers, place all pâte sablée ingredients into a food processor and blitz until combined.
  2. Remove the dough from the processor and knead gently for 30 seconds until smooth. Halve the dough, press each into a disc shape, cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC.
  4. Roll one of the pieces of dough between two pieces of baking paper until it’s big enough for your number template (approx. 5-6 mm thick). Carefully cut out the first number from the dough, keeping the excess pieces. Place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Repeat with the same number and the excess dough (remember that you need two of each number).
  6. Bake the two biscuits for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before VERY gently transferring one of the biscuits onto to the silver cake board and setting the other aside.
  7. Take out the second half of the dough from the refrigerator and repeat steps 4-6 for the second number.
  8. To make the vanilla filling, whip the cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer until peaks form. Alternately add the pudding mix and the icing sugar while beating, until the filling is combined and very thick.
  9. Spoon the filling into a piping bag with a medium-sized round nozzle and pipe even dollops in rows on each number (as below) IMG_9951
  10. Gently sandwich the biscuit pairs on top of the filling and repeat step 9.
  11. Decorate with flowers, macarons and meringues.
  12. Enjoy!

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Notes:

  • The biscuits can be made the day ahead and kept in an airtight container, but don’t pipe the filling or assemble the cake until the day of serving.
  • If any of your biscuits break, don’t panic, simply ‘glue’ the biscuit back together with some of the vanilla filling prior to piping the filling on top and decorating – no-one will ever know!
  • Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days but the biscuit layers will go soft.

Biscuit recipe adapted from ‘Cream Tart’ recipe on Home Cooking Adventure.com

Vanilla filling recipe adapted from ‘The Best Whipped Cream Frosting’ on Two Sisters Crafting.com

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Giant Cookie Cake

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For my birthday this year, I decided to bake something a little different. As much as I have enjoyed making (and eating!) my layered drip cakes (here and here) over the last couple of years, this year I was after something simpler. Enter the cookie cake.

I have admired the brightly coloured array of delicious looking cookie cakes on Sally’s Baking Addiction (my baking porn website of choice) for years, and finally got around to making it. Boy, am I glad I did! As promised, this ‘cake’ is so quick and simple to make and produces a deliciously chewy and flavoursome giant cookie. The recipe is also very easy to adapt – you could use M&Ms, or mix up the choc chips depending on your taste.

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Ingredients (serves 12-14)
170g softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg + an extra yolk
5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
Chocolate frosting for topping (optional)

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Method
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Spray a 23cm (9-inch) pie dish or cake pan thoroughly with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for about a minute or until combined. Mix in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla on until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as required.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours and baking powder. On a low speed, gradually mix into the wet ingredients until combined. Add in 1¼ cups chocolate chips and mix for until evenly dispersed.

Gently press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden brown (use a skewer in the centre to check it’s cooked). Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, use a sharp knife or metal spatula to loosen the sides of the cookie cake from the pan and transfer to a cake stand or serving plate.

Decorate as desired (I made a quick chocolate buttercream using butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder and piped it on using my Wilton 1M tip), top with the remaining chocolate chips and serve with vanilla ice-cream. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake’ on Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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Silky Chocolate Mousse

This is one of my favourite desserts because it takes so little effort and you can make it well ahead of time – the perfect set and forget dinner party dessert. I like a hint of Bailey’s Irish Cream in my mousse, but this can be omitted if you’re serving it to children or swapped for any other liqueur of your choice – creme de menthe for a choc-mint or Cointreau for a choc-orange mousse would both work well.

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Ingredients (serves 8)
300g good quality dark chocolate
50g butter
3 eggs, separated
1-2 tblspns Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
¼ cup caster sugar
300ml thickened cream

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Method
Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat until smooth. Remove from heat.

Stir in egg yolks, one a a time, and Bailey’s liqueur. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool.

Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until it dissolves between additions.

Beat cream until thoroughly whipped and thick. Gently combine with the chocolate mixture and then fold in the egg white mixture in two batches, taking care not to over-mix the mousse.

Divide mousse among eight ½-cup serving dishes (I use glasses). Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until set (at least 2 hours).

Serve with fresh raspberries. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly Best Food Desserts.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

These adorable mini lemon meringue pies make entertaining simple. I use bought miniature pastry cases, filled them with the simplest ever homemade lemon curd and topped them with a dollop of meringue – delicious! The best part is, the recipe makes more lemon curd than is required for the pies so you will have plenty to use in cakes, on scones, to give as a gift, or to eat with a spoon (no shame!)

Note: for best results, make the lemon curd the day ahead

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Ingredients (makes 32 mini pies)
For the lemon curd
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 4-5 lemons)
zest of 2 lemons
½ cup butter, melted

30 x 5cm tart shells (I use the Baylies Epicurean Delights brand)
2 egg whites
½ cup caster sugar

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To make the curd,whisk together the sugar and eggs in a large microwave safe bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in lemon juice, zest and melted butter.

Cook in the microwave on full power for 50 second intervals, whisking after each interval. You will know your lemon curd is ready when it coats the back of a metal spoon (approximately 3-5 50 second intervals).

Pour into a sterile jar or container and allow to cool to room temperature before covering it with a lid and storing it in the refrigerator.

To assemble the pies, preheat oven 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

Place egg whites in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating until it dissolved between additions. Spoon meringue into a piping bag with a large star tip nozzle.

Place pastry cases onto a baking tray and carefully fill each with lemon curd. Pipe stars of meringue onto each pie.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.

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Lemon curd recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction and meringue recipe from 9 Honey Kitchen.

 

Easy Red Velvet Waffles

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and that always gets me in the mood for all things red velvet. Over the years, I’ve posted several red velvet recipes; my favourites being red velvet crinkle cookies and red velvet cupcakes. Today, I present to you my red velvet waffles with a cream cheese glaze. These are extremely quick and easy to make as they use a boxed cake mix, although you could certainly make a cake batter from scratch if you prefer. These waffles are perfect to spoil a loved one (or yourself!) this Valentine’s Day.

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Ingredients (makes 6 waffles)
1 x Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake mix (or equivalent)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food colouring (or until you are satisfied with the colour)
Cream Cheese Glaze
115g cream cheese, softened
60g butter, softened
1½ cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup milk
To serve
Raspberries
Sugar hearts (optional)

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Whip together the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in the icing sugar, vanilla and milk and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Make cake batter according to the instructions on the box (I use the vegetable oil and milk options). Add cocoa, vanilla and food colouring and whisk until smooth.

Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturers’ instructions. Spray the waffle iron with cooking oil and then pour the waffle batter onto the iron so that the grid is covered. Cook (I use level 3-4) until the waffles are cooked through and crisp on the outside.

Repeat with the remaining waffle batter.

Serve waffles warm drizzled with the glaze and topped with berries and sugar hearts. Enjoy!

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Inspiration from Pinterest, glaze recipe adapted from Kevin Is Cooking.

 

 

Baileys Waffles with Whipped Cream

My family has a thing for Baileys. It’s our go-to after dessert liquor, holiday staple, and even the name of our dog!

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Our adorable Bailey girl ♥

These waffles celebrate all things Baileys and are the perfect decadent Christmas morning breakfast (or any other breakfast, because every day is worth celebrating, right?!) They would also work well for dessert, perhaps served with chocolate sauce (#cleaneating).

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Waffles (makes 8 large square waffles)
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons white sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 cup milk
1 cup Baileys Irish Cream

Whipped Cream
1 cup thickened cream
¼ cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons icing sugar

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Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Whip the egg whites in a medium bowl with a handheld beater until stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, oil, milk and Baileys. Pour into the well in the centre of the dry ingredients and mix until there are no more lumps.

Gently fold in the whipped egg whites.

Heat your waffle iron to a medium-high heat and spray generously with cooking oil. Pour the mix into the waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining mixture.

While the waffles are cooking, make the Baileys whipped cream by beating the cream, Baileys, vanilla and icing sugar with an electric mixer until very thick.

Serve waffles with whipped cream and berries. Enjoy!

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Adapted from Buzzfeed Tasty ‘Bailey’s Waffles’

Chocolate & Mint Drip Cake

I made this cake for a combined Birthday/Bon Voyage dinner last weekend. I love the combination of chocolate and mint and am always keen to try out large layer cakes when cooking for a crowd.

Keep pieces small to ensure it’s not overly rich – maybe try out this technique from the genius Katherine Sabbath!

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Ingredients (serves 16-18)
Chocolate Layer Cake
2 boxes Betty Crocker moist devil’s food cake

Mint Buttercream Frosting
200g butter, softened
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 cups icing sugar
2-3 drops peppermint oil (or to taste)
a few drops of green food colouring

Dark Chocolate Ganache
170g dark chocolate melts
¾ cup cream
1 ½ teaspoons corn syrup

Toppings
2 x Flake bars
3 x Peppermint Crisp bars
3 x double Aero bars
1 x packet Darrell Lea BB’s chocolate mint balls
1 x packet dark Maltesers

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Method
Make 4 cakes, according to packet instructions, by halving the batter from each cake mix and baking in 20cm cake tins. Carefully trim cooked cakes where necessary to ensure they are perfectly flat, and use the best 3 (freeze the 4th for another time).

To make the frosting, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar and beat for at least 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the remaining icing sugar along with the peppermint oil and food colouring and beat for a further 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Attach your base cake to a cake board or serving tray by using a small amount of frosting as glue. Spread a layer of frosting onto the top of the cake and then top with the next cake layer. Repeat.

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Spread frosting onto the top and sides of the cake – don’t worry if you get crumbs in it, this is called the crumb coat. Using a spatula or protractor (as I did!), scrape off excess frosting so you have a thin smooth layer. Refrigerate cake for 30 minutes or until frosting is firm.

Add a second layer of frosting onto the top and sides of cake, again scraping off the excess and creating a smooth finish.

Place chocolate melts into medium bowl and set aside. Heat cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat just until it almost starts to simmer. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes and then stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in corn syrup. Allow to cool until slightly thickened.

Use a spoon to add a few purposeful drips over the top edge of the cake. Then spoon more ganache on top of the cake, allowing it to drip at varying points around the cake.

Top cake with Flake pieces, peppermint crisp shards, Aero pieces, Maltesers and bb’s. Alternate Maltesers and bb’s and make a ring around the base of the cake.

Serve by cutting into small pieces. Enjoy!

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Pavlova Wreath

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I made this pavlova wreath for a friend’s Christmas in July themed Birthday lunch. It’s a great, light way to finish a meal (perfect after a rich Christmas feast!) and looks festive without being kitsch. It’s great for Christmas Day as you can make and decorate it well ahead of time, giving you more time to focus on the main course and mingle with guests.

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Ingredients (serves 10-12)
6 large free-range egg whites
350g caster sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour

For the topping
600ml cream
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
½ – 1 tablespoon icing sugar (to taste)
2 punnets of strawberries
⅔ punnet of raspberries
½ punnet of blueberries
½ punnet blackberries
Mint leaves (optional)

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Method
Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Line a large baking tray (or round pizza tray as I used) with baking paper and draw a 30cm circle in the centre.

Whisk egg whites with an electric mixer in a large, clean bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, whisking on maximum speed until stiff and glossy. Once all of the sugar has been added, continue mixing for 10 minutes or until all of the sugar has been dissolved (test this by rubbing the meringue mixture between your fingertips and ensuring it is smooth). Mix the vinegar and cornflour in a cup and stir it into the egg whites.

Spoon dollops of meringue mixture onto the prepared circle on the baking paper as below:5xNnVspLSUuZc9DoPgiObg_thumb_d68

Transfer to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 140°C (120°C fan-forced). Bake the pavlova for 1 hour–1 ¼ hours, until the outside is hard but still white. Turn the oven off, prop the oven door open with a matchbox and leave the pavlova inside for an hour to cool and dry.

To assemble, whip the cream, vanilla and icing sugar until thickened. Gently spread over the top of the wreath and top with fruit and mint leaves. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Christmas Pavlova recipe on BBC Food.

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Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

As the weather cools down, I am craving hot chocolates and crisp nights around the campfire, both of which are infinitely improved by the addition of marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows are on an entirely different level to store bought. Their texture is  impossibly soft, light and dreamy with none of the powderyness that even the best quality store bought varieties have. These are perfect for eating as is, roasting over a fire, popping into a steaming mug of hot chocolate, or combining with chocolate and graham crackers (or equivalent) to make s’mores. Do yourself a favour and make some, stat! These marshmallows are so good, I am already thinking of how I can use the base recipe to make different flavours and variations (how good would Baileys marshies be?!)

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Ingredients (makes ~30)
½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons flavourless, powdered gelatine
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1 ½ cups caster sugar
⅔ cups liquid glucose
½ cup water, extra
1 cup icing sugar, sifted

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Spray a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with cooking oil and line the bottom with baking paper.  Place the warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer, add gelatine and vanilla and stir to combine. Set aside.

Place the caster sugar, glucose and extra water in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Allow to boil, without stirring, for 6–7 minutes until the temperature reaches 115°C on a sugar thermometer. With the electric mixer on high, add the hot syrup to the vanilla gelatine mixture in a thin steady stream, and beat for 5-10 minutes or until white, thick and glossy.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Using a spatula sprayed with cooking oil, smooth the top of the marshmallow.

Refrigerate for 1–2 hours or until set. Gently tip the marshmallow, top-side-down onto a clean, flat surface dusted with icing sugar. Peel off the baking paper and sift icing sugar over the top. Dust a large knife with icing sugar and cut marshmallows into squares. Enjoy!

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Can be stored in the fridge for ~1 week

Adapted from Donna Hay’s ‘Caramel Swirl Marshmallows’

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