Sydney So Far…

I haven’t done a personal update in a while, so I thought it was time.

As many of you would have deduced by now, Man Piece and I did not end up in Melbourne, but instead moved to Sydney.

Man Piece got a job offer so we decided to just go. We’ve since found a nice little inner-city apartment and even I have found a job. I thought it would take me awhile, but I found a one fairly quickly, which was quite surprising.

But I thought I would catch you up on what I have been up to for the last two months –  Man Piece and I have been here for 10 weeks now.

And I decided to be a little creative. I have recently found some really good picture framing apps on my phone, a lot better than the ones I have used before.

So I present to you, Sydney So Far…

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Bake-off day at work

Today at work (yes, I have a new job. Of which the details I will need to blog later) we had a bake-off.

Since I started it was discovered there were a few baking extraordinaires in the mix, so we had a bake-off!

Many delicious things were brought into the office today for us all to enjoy. And for your enjoyment, here is some food p0rn…

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Pineapple cupcakes, which just looked fabulous.

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Pink cupcakes of some variety, very sweet and delicious.

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My caramel cupcakes with “cloud” frosting. Nothing like the originals, but they still tasted good. *sigh of relief* I do miss having a fully stocked kitchen of bake ware etc.

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Mini melting moments, a perfect treat size.

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Banana cake with cookie and nutella topping.

And the winner is…

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Triple chocolate cheesecake. Absolutely to die for.

Caramel mud cake with cloud frosting.

I discovered a new favourite cupcake. It’s delicious. I’m going to make it many, many more times. And it’s the best of everything – caramel mud cake. So here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

125g butter, chopped coarsely
100g white eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
2/3 cup (150g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (90g) golden syrup
2/3 cup (160ml) milk
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1/3 cup (50g) self-raising flour
1 egg

Frosting
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) water
2 egg whites

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/15°C fan-forced. Line muffin tray.

2. Combine butter, chocolate, saucepan; stir over low heat, until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; cool 15 minutes.

3. Whisk sifted flours into chocolate mixture, then egg. Divide mixture among cases.

4. Bake about 30 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.

5. Frosting: Combine sugar and the water in small saucepan; stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring about 5 minutes or until syrup reaches 116°C on a candy termometer. Syrup should be thick but not coloured. Removed from heat, allow bubbles to subside. Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. While mixer is operating, add hot syrup in thin stream; beat on high speed about 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and cool.

The original recipe didn’t actually put this cupcake with the cloud frosting, but I wanted to try something different. You could probably put whatever icing you want on them.

No-bake chocolate cakes.

These aren’t really cupcakes, but a very simple way to do a rice bubbles slice which I used to have all the time as a kid.

Ingredients

5 x 60g Mars bars
50g butter
3 1/2 cups (120g) Rice Bubbles
200g milk eating chocolate, melted

Instructions

Line a 12-hole standard muffin pan with paper cases.

Chop four of the Mars bars coarsely; cut remaining bar into slices.

Place chopped Mars bars in medium saucepan with butter; stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in Rice Bubbles.

Press mixture into cases, spread with chocolate; top with sliced Mars bar. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set.

I, however, did not put the chopped Mars bar on top, as Man Piece decided to help himself and ate one while I was not home.

Black Forest Cupcakes

I haven’t been able to bake in awhile. It has been rather hectic with job interviews, then getting a job, back and forth between Hastings and Wellington and then finally moving to Auckland and not moving into my own place straight away.

So last weekend, I took the opportunity to do a whole heap of baking to share with various people (including my new work colleagues), because 1) Man Piece was away and 2) I finally had a kitchen to call my own again.

I had also purchased a brand new cupcake stand the weekend before and was dying to put some actual cupcakes on it.

So flicking through the wonderful book that is the Australian Women’s Weekly: cupcakes, cheesecakes, cookies I found the black forest cupcakes. They sounded delicious and something I hadn’t tried before.

Ingredients

cherry chocolate mud cake

425g can pitted cherries in syrup
165g butter, chopped coarsely
100g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
1 1/3 cups (295g) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) cherry brandy
1 cup (150g) plain flour
2 tablespoons self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.

2. Drain cherries; reserve syrup. Process 1/2 cup (110g) cherries with 1/2 cup (125ml) of the syrup until smooth. Halve remaining cherries; reserve for decorating cakes. (The recipe says to discard remaining syrup, but I did not have cherry brandy and didn’t want to go and buy any either, so used the equivalent of syrup instead of brandy)

3. Combine butter, chocolate, sugar, brandy and cherry puree in small saucepan; stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; cool 15 minutes.

4. Whisk in sifted flours and cocoa, then egg. Divide mixture among cases; smooth surface. (The mixture is very wet, I ended up using a small measuring jug to pour the mixture into the cases.)

5. Bake about 45 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.

6. Decorate cakes. (In the original recipe, you would top the cakes with the cherry halves and combine 2/3 cup thickened cream with 2 teaspoons cherry brandy, then with a vegetable peeler make chocolate curls to sprinkle over the cakes. I just made some basic butter creme icing and added the halved cherries and spread over the cakes.)

Don’t they just look divine? They tasted pretty good too.