Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I love this cake, it’s so quick and effortless to put together and is absolutely delicious (also, because it contains carrot it’s basically a salad, right?!). It’s great at any time of year but is particularly good as a treat around Easter for someone who doesn’t like chocolate or for people who are chocolated out!

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Ingredients (serves 8-10)
1 ½ cups grated carrot (lightly packed)
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
40g (1 tablespoon) softened butter
60g cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia)
1 teaspoon lemon rind
1 ½ cups icing sugar, sifted

To decorate (if desired):
Extra chopped walnuts
The thin end of a small carrot cut into 2 halves
4 sprigs of coriander

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Method
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).

Grease an 8″ round cake pan with margarine and line the base with baking paper.

Combine eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla & sifted dry ingredients  in a large bowl & beat on low speed.

Stir in carrots & walnuts. Mix well.

Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for approx. 40 – 45mins or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, before placing it on a wire rack to cool completely.

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To make the cream cheese frosting, beat butter & cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add in the lemon rind and icing sugar and beat until smooth. Spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

If desired, decorate by placing the finely chopped walnuts around the edge of the cake and the carrot pieces in the centre of the cake with two coriander sprigs above each carrot. Enjoy!

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Recipe from Aunty Cynth

Salted Caramel Blondies

These delicious blondies taste like a cross between choc chip cookies and cake. Be careful not to over cook them as they’re definitely best when fudgy.

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Ingredients (Makes about 25 blondies)
180g unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups plain flour
Sea salt flakes
½  cup white chocolate melts
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup milk chocolate chips (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C (or 170 fan-forced). Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Mix the melted butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla extract.

Gently stir in the flour and a pinch of sea salt. Carefully fold in the chocolate, making sure it is evenly dispersed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt over the top and then bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the outside is cooked and the middle has a slight wobble.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle once more with a pinch or two of salt, and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the tin. Gently remove the blondie from the tin by the baking paper and leave to cool for a further 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack.

Once cool, cut into squares. Enjoy!

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Adapted from Callum Hann’s ‘Salted Dirty Blondies’ in I’d Eat That, 2014.

 

Caramel Slice

I love caramel slice but am constantly disappointed by the thick-bottomed, chalky and bland mass-produced stuff you buy at many cafes around the place. Instead, when I can be bothered, I make my own… and it’s amazing (if I do say so myself). The recipe originally came from my Mum’s high school cookbook and I am eternally grateful to the Annesley College Mothers’ Club for sharing it. It is very simple to make, using very few ingredients, and is perfect for occasions when you’re asked to ‘bring a plate’. The hardest part is not eating it all in one sitting (which is why I often make a double batch).

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Ingredients
Base:
185g plain flour
125g butter, softened
60g sugar

Caramel layer:
125g butter, chopped
125g sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
½ tin condensed milk

Topping:
150g dark cooking chocolate

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Method
To make the base, grease and line a swiss roll tin (or lamington tin – whatever you have, it will just alter the thickness of each layer) and preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan-forced). Rub butter into flour, add sugar and press evenly into the prepared tin. Bake for 20mins or until golden brown.

To make the caramel, put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk into a heavy-based saucepan and boil for 5 minutes, stirring all the time (pay particular attention and scrape the bottom of the pan, otherwise it will burn).

Pour over the base. Leave to cool for about an hour.

Finally, to make the topping, melt the chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop. Pour over the caramel.

Once set, cut into even squares using a knife dipped in hot water between each slice (so it cuts easily and leaves the layers intact).

Enjoy!

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Adapted from ‘Caramel Slice’ in the Annesley College Mothers’ Club Cookbook

Cinnamon Rolls

Inspired by the movie The Proposal which features some divine looking homemade cinnamon rolls, I decided to give making them from scratch a go. I did lots of research & eventually found a recipe on Pinterest which promised me a quick and easy bake using everyday ingredients. I was a little sceptical that they could possibly be considered ‘easy’, but they worked perfectly. The rolls are light, fluffy and packed full of sweet cinnamon flavour. They also fill your home with the most heavenly aroma and are especially amazing eaten fresh from the oven while still warm.

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Ingredients (Makes 12)
1 cup milk
55g butter, chopped
3 ¼ – 3 ½ cups flour
1x 35g package instant yeast
¼ cup white sugar
1 egg

Filling
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
½ cup butter, softened

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¾ tablespoon cream cheese
1 ½  teaspoons vanilla
1-2 tablespoons of milk

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Method
Heat milk & butter in the microwave (about 1 and a half minutes) or until the butter is at least partially melted. Stir using a small whisk, and set aside.

In the large bowl of your stand mixer (using the paddle attachment), mix together 2 cups of the flour, the yeast and the white sugar. When the milk mixture is warm but not hot, add it to the flour mixture along with the egg and beat for about 1 minute, or until well combined. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add remaining flour until the dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl (it should be very soft and slightly sticky). Continue with the dough kneading for another 5 minutes. Turn dough onto a floured surface and let rest while you make the filling.

To make the filling, ensure butter is soft and mix in the brown sugar and cinnamon until you have a paste.

To assemble, roll the dough into a large rectangle (around 30cm x 35cm) and spread brown sugar mixture evenly over the surface. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and punch the edges to close. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and then cut into rolls (dental floss can work well here!!).

Place into a 23cm by 33cm (or similar) pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil, cover with a clean tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for half an hour. Set oven to 180°C.

When the rolls have finished rising, bake for 15-20minutes or until light golden brown.

Make the icing by beating all ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle rolls with icing while still warm. Enjoy!

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Adapted from the ‘Everyday Cinnamon Rolls’ recipe on ourbestbites.com

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Notes:
– These rolls can be frozen at almost any point (before rising, after rising or when finished) and keep well in the freezer when covered in cling wrap and foil – then you have a delicious treat in a heart beat!
– If you don’t have a free standing mixer, use handheld beaters to combine the dough initially and then knead the dough by hand for around 7 minutes.