chocolate & caramel layered easter cake


for the last few years now it has become a bit of a tradition that over the easter long weekend I make a huge, decadent chocolatey cake that i wouldn’t normally have the time for. this generally means that it involves multiple layers, millions of calories, cream, butter, oodles of sugar and lashings of chocolate, so when i saw this cake on the cover of the Coles Easter magazine I knew what this year’s cake was going to be…

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what you’ll need:

-320g dark chocolate

– 225g butter (at room temperature) + extra 20g

– 1 cup caster sugar

– 9 eggs separated

– 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

– 1/2 cup brown sugar

-300ml cream

– 600ml thickened cream (whipped)

– 1 1/2 tbs slivered almonds (toasted)

– 1/4 caster sugar

– 150g dark chocolate

 

how to make it:

1. Preheat oven to 170oC. Line and grease 2x round spring-form tins.

2. Melt 220g dark chocolate. Set aside.

3. Beat 225g butter, 1 cup caster sugar and egg yolks until smooth. Beat in melted chocolate. Fold in sifted flour.

4. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. fold into chocolate mixture in 3 batches.

5. Pour 2/3 of the cake mixture into one cake tin and remaining 1/3 into the other tin. Bake both cakes for 20-25 mins, remove the smaller cake and allow to cool, leave the larger cake to cook for a further 20-25 mins. let cakes cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce by adding the brown sugar, 20g extra butter and 1/2 cup cream to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat for about 2 minutes until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Put in fridge to cool.

7. Now, to make the chocolate praline shards for the top of the cake (yummy). Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Start with the praline – add 1/4 cup caster sugar and 2tbs water to saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves then turn heat to high and Allow the sugar syrup to caramelise. Pour the gorgeous amber sugar over the first of the bKing trays and immediately sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Stick the praline in the fridge for a few minutes to set. Once hard, take to it with a hammer (or knife, or any tool of your choosing) and break the praline up into small pieces. Set aside the praline while you melt 150g of dark chocolate. Thinly (2-3mm) spread the melted chocolate over the second baking tray and sprinkle wi half of the praline pieces. leave chocolate to chill in the fridge until you are ready to decorate your cake.

8. The last element to make is the chocolate ganache. Heat the remaining I whipped cream Ina saucepan. Bring to the boil and then pour over the remaining dark chocolate. Leave it to sit for a few minutes and then give mixture a stir. again let it cool.

9. To assemble your masterpiece, split the larger of the two cakes into two even layers. Spread the bottom layer with half of the whipped cream and then half of the caramel sauce. Repeat with the second layer. Place the final layer of cake on top. Spread with the chocolate ganache and decorate with the dark chocolate praline shards.

happy Easter (or birthday, or any day really).

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we’re going on an egg hunt

…or two!

this Easter thatch was lucky enough to get to go on two Easter egg hunts, which was probably a good thing as t did spend much of the first hunt chasing after ducks and watching the guys on the ride-on lawn mowers rather than hunting for (and eating) the eggs; it also meant that rod was lucky enough to come along to one of them too which is always nice.

it was so cute seeing t and his little friends light up with delight as they stumbled across the hidden eggs, especially once they worked out what they were. i loved getting to see these little people get into the spirit of the season and actually participate in the celebrations. we are so doing this again next year!

image image image image image image image image image image^^love that look on his face when he has just spotted an egg^^
image image image image^^there is always time for a play^^

happy birthday

i cannot believe it has been a whole year since I started this little blog. i may still be finding my feet and working out exactly what it is, but in the meantime i am loving the opportunity it gives me to document the life of our little family and the adventures of my beautiful little boy who keeps growing and learning and getting more and more fun by the day. it maybe also gives me something to do at 4am when the pregnancy insomnia kicks in. big love and thanks for following along on this little journey xx.

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diary of a renovation rookie: phase two

now that I can finally have a shower in my own home again (winning…), the time has come to farewell the back part of our cottage for greener and more open plan pastures.

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^^the bathroom – it still needs a coat of paint, but at least it’s functional and man-oh-man is that bath ever nice^^

this week’s mammoth tasks have been ripping up the concrete out the back of our house where the new patch of luscious green lawn will go (do not judge the not-so-green lawn, if you can call it that, in the pictures as we new it was going). t was so cute out there wearing his little work boots and earmuffs watching his daddy and nonno with the jack hammer – we only stayed for a minute or two though before we decided our efforts were better spent in doing some baking rather than just being spectators. we also saw a Berlin Wall of sorts go up in the middle of our dining room to separate most of our house from the work, we saw the back of our old asbestos ceiling (yay) and we saw the wall come down between our dining room and t’s old playroom.

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still to come, the old external wall will be knocked down and a gorgeous new light and bright extension will go in, our laundry and second toilet will get a facelift as will t’s new bedroom/man cavestudy (exactly what this room will be is a constant source of contention between rod and I at the moment). can’t hardly wait to see the finished product!!!

luscious chocolate cloud cake

i have been making this cake for years and it is always a winner in this household. i first found the recipe in my absolute favourite recipe book, nigella lawson’s ‘how to be a domestic goddess’. i gave it a bit of a shake up by omitting the cointreau and orange zest from her recipe (we’re not huge fans of Jaffas over here) and it was so delicious i’ve been doing it the same way ever since.

what you’ll need
250g good quality dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids)
125g butter
6 eggs (2 whole and 4 separated)
3/4 cup of caster sugar
500ml thickened cream
a dash of vanilla essence

how to make it
1. pre-heat oven to 180oC (160oC fan forced). line and grease a 23cm round springform pan.
2. melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. once melted, add in the butter and let it gently melt into the chocolate. stir.
3. lightly beat together the 2 whole eggs, 4 egg yolks and 1/4 cup of caster sugar until well combined and sugar has dissolved. add to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
4. in a separate bowl beat the 4 egg whites until soft peaks form. gradually add in the remaining sugar and beat until sugar has dissolved.
5. to lighten the chocolate and egg yolk mixture, gently fold through one dollop of egg whites. once combined fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate in 2 batches.
6. spoon batter into pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until the cake has risen in the centre and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7. leave the cake in the pan to cool. do not be alarmed, it is supposed to sink in the middle.
8. while you are waiting for the cake to cool, whip the cream and vanilla into soft peaks. spoon the cloud of cream into the well that has formed in the middle of the cake and garnish with cocoa powder or grated chocolate.
9. slice and enjoy.

this cake is perfect for making in advance as it only gets more dense and mousse-like after refrigeration. (just don’t put the cream on until right before you serve it). it may not be the prettiest cake you’ve ever made, but by golly is it yumm!

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^^the best part of baking, hey baby?!?^^20140409-202906.jpg

diary of a renovation rookie: the bathroom, ten days in


IMG_2075ten days in and you could be mistaken for thinking that very little work has actually been done (heck, i was). i mean other than having a concrete floor, a fresh ceiling and a toilet resting in its place very little has changed and i still feels miles away from actually being able to shower in my own home – I am however assured that we should all be finished early nest week so here’s hoping. in the meantime we have had a few minor conundrums; on saturday afternoon i (true to form) had a crisis of confidence and decided that the grey tiles we had purchased for the bathroom were too dark and would make the room seem tiny. of course, this revelation was made after the tile store had closed for the weekend so i was left to stew in my juices for two days before i could even get in to see if there was a lighter grey option or whether it wall all a moot point (luckily there was and luckily i sweet talked my way into an exchange).

the builder then broke it to me on wednesday that he thought that the toilet in the bathroom should go as it’ll get wet when we have a shower. firstly, having a second toilet was a non-negotiable for me – we only have one bathroom so we need two toilets – and i promptly advised him of such. secondly, i’m not sure about you, but the aim of the boys in my house cannot always be relied on and a daily wash down of the toilet is not such a bad thing… ps. i also think he was over exaggerating a bit and i doubt the toilet is actually going to get wet every time we take a shower.

let’s hope that the tiles go in this weekend without a hitch and i can lounge back in my glorious bath by this time next week.