Monday, November 28, 2011

2 Year Blog Anniversary!

Sunday marked the 2nd anniversary of my blog! I am so thrilled to be blogging for this long, and I hope for more years to come. I am very very grateful to my readers and I still love reading and commenting on your incredible posts too. You guys are wonderful supporters and friends too.  Thank you so much! Here is to another 2 more years of baking, sweets and creativity!

For this cake I baked 2 Vanilla cakes (recipe here) and stacked them. I then used 3 batches of buttercream icing (recipe here) which were dyed 3 different shades of pink.  I love the girly look that the piping gives. It reminds me of a 1960's ruffled chiffon ball gown for some reason! Perfect for a celebration.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Snowmen Cupcakes

I am a huge fan of Christmas and believe that it's not complete without an abundance of Christmas-themed sweets. These little melting snowmen are perfect for you bloggers in the Northen Hemisphere who luckily get to experience a perfect white Christmas! It's like living in a snowglobe, right? I'm jealous!












Ingredients

white fondant
black fondant
fresh carrot (or orange/red fondant)
mini M&m's
Zappo sour string lollies
12 cupcakes of any flavor (lightly iced in buttercream so the fondant can stick) I used fruit cake 

Method
Roll white fondant out about 3cm-5cm thick. Consider rolling the edges of the fondant out thinner to look like the snowman is really melting away.  Cut out circle shape and place on top of the lightly-iced cupcakes.  Now roll white fondant into little balls for the snowman's head.  Once it is the right shape (not too big because the stringy lolly needs to wrap around his head) stick it top of the fondant-covered cupcake.  You can use royal icing or buttercream to help you, but I didn't need it.  Stick his head slightly off center because you will need room for the scarf and buttons.  Now cut the stringy lolly to your desired thickness.  Using scissors, snip the ends of the stringy lolly to create a scarf effect.  Wrap the lolly scarf around the snowman's head.  Place 2 mini M&M's under the scarf. You can use an icing to help you stick, but again, I didn't require any.  Serve!

I am sharing these on Sweet as Sugar Cookie's Sweet for a Saturday #45 link up. Share your treats there too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chocolate cupcakes - gluten free, dairy free, nut free and cane sugar free!

Wow, it's been another big break from this blog. I've had a huge health change which has really impacted my relationship with cooking, baking and food. About two weeks after my birthday I was diagnosed with a chronic auto-immune disease which means I now really have to change my diet. For the next few months, I'm avoiding gluten, dairy, cane-sugar, nuts, preservatives, colourings, dried fruit and the list goes on. At first you can imagine how this put me off baking. But I've finally gotten back to feeling positive and found a delicious chocolate cupcake recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth.  They're sweetened with natural agave (look for it in health food stores) and contain no gluten or dairy.   The good thing is they actually taste perfectly normal! I was dreading tasting them, but honestly they taste just as yummy as regular cupcakes!

Please note, that from now on I will be more consistent with blogging. I will also be posting regular recipes too because my family still loves their buttercream, chocolate, nuts and general deliciousness..

Ingredients (which you can find at grocery stores and health food stores)
5 tablespoons dairy free butter (ie. margarine, nuttlex)
2/3 cup light organic agave syrup
30g unsweetened vegan chocolate (or chocolate sweetened with agave)
2 organic eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (ensure it doesn't contain sucrose)
1/2 cup gluten free self-raising flour
1/2 cup organic unsweetened gluten-free cocoa

Method
Preheat oven to 170 degrees (fan-forced).  Prepare 12 hole muffin tray.  In a saucepan on low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together.  Remove from heat and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and cocoa together.  Add agave to the melted butter mixture, followed by the eggs which you can whisk in; then add to the dry ingredients.  Mix together well and spoon into muffin tray.  Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, spread some unsweetened organic chocolate on top cupcakes for icing.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS POST:
What chocolate do I use?
For general eating, I love the chocolate from an Australia company called "Conscious Chocolate."  Even though it's incredibly expensive, the texture and taste makes it worth it! I also used their chocolate for the icing on these cupcakes.  For baking, however, I use the chocolate from "Loving Earth"   simply because it's cheaper and the texture is better for baking.  

What is agave and where can I find it? What brand do you use? 
Agave is a nectar from an agave plant.  It doesn't have a strong, identifiable taste in baking unlike honey or syrup.  Whilst it is a natural product and from a plant, it still has calories and does affect your blood sugar levels. I bought it at an organic/health shop.  Look for your closest one via the internet.  I use light agave syrup from "Loving Earth" .  

What gluten-free flour do you use?
I use a shop-bought flour from the "Gluten Free Company" which contains potato starch, white rice flour, and some raising agent.

Will you post more gluten-free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, organic recipes?
Yes I am required to eat like this for the next 3 months or more.  If you want me to find a recipe suitable for your allergy/health, simply leave a comment below.

Will you still post regular recipes like before?
Yes! My family loves regular recipes which contain normal flour, cane sugar, nuts, cream etc etc! Also I will be able to eat these ingredients again one day.


More recipes

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