Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Nutella Cheesecake Bars

It is not low fat. 
It is not healthy.
It is however delicious.
And it will definitely require some exercise afterwards to prevent this sugar from going straight to your thighs.
But if you, like me, have a sweet tooth, then it's absolutely worth it.

Nutella Cheesecake Bars
  • 1.5 cups crushed tennis biscuits (about 1 pack)
  • 6 Tablespoons (90 grams) melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tubs cream cheese (460g), softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (100g) Nutella, slightly warmed*

Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Line a 8x8inch baking pan with aluminium foil with enough overhang on the sides. Set aside. My dish was 6x10inch which worked perfectly.

To make the crust: 
Using either a blender or a bag and rolling pin, pulverise the biscuits. 
Pour into a medium bowl and mix with melted butter and sugar. 
Press into the lined pan. Bake for 5 - 8 minutes. Allow to cool as you prepare the filling.

For the filling: 
Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract together with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 full minutes. 
Spoon filling onto the crust. Drop large spoonfuls of Nutella on top of filling and swirl gently with a knife.
(To make the Nutella easier to manage, heat it for a few seconds as it then becomes much easier to swirl.)

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set up and the edges are lightly browned. The bars will be very puffy, but will sink slightly down as they cool. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature on a wire rack and then chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.

Store bars in a covered container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. (That’s if you can manage to make them last that long. We gobbled mine up in 3 days)

Baking the crust

Dollop in the cream cheese mixture

Drop the Nutella on the top and swirl around

After refrigerating, cut up and enjoy!

Monday, 9 December 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

Christmas is all around, so obviously my nails would follow suit and get dressed up for the season...

Friday, 6 December 2013

Tata Madiba

Tata Madiba, you saved and turned our country around using peace, love and respect!
You will always be our hero.
May your soul rest in peace, and your legacy live on through eternity.

Baby Cakes

It was one of my best friend's Baby shower this past weekend so, as we don't know whether she's having a little boy or girl,  I baked up a batch of gender neutral white pearly cupcakes...

loving her adorable preggy belly!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

American Flag Free Printable

Yesterday I posted the recipe and pics from my Americana themed cupcakes. For these cupcakes I made a bunch of little American Flag cupcake toppers and thought I'd share them.  Feel free to download them here.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The (multicolour) American Dream

For a friends recent 40th, I was tasked with baking the American themed cupcakes.
As he wanted a variety of flavours I opted to do 24 red velvet cupcakes, 24 chocolate cupcakes, and 24 vanilla mulicoloured cupcakes.

Vanilla Multicolour Cupcakes Recipe

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • In a bowl sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil and continue to beat.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add half of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.
  • Share batter out into 3 measuring jugs (I use measuring jugs so that I can make sure I have the same amount of batter in each)
  • To one mixture add blue food colouring and to another red colouring. Add as much as needed to get the colour you require.
  • Slowly pour one colour ( I wanted blue at the bottom) into teh bases of all your cupcake liners. pour about 1/4 full.
  • Next, gently pour the next colour in (I used the uncoloured vanilla). Don't pour straight down the middle as it will drop below teh bottom colour. gently pour around the edges working in.
  • Do the same with the last layer of colour.
  • Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 18 minutes.

To ice I just used my favourite cream cheese icing recipe.

Cream Cheese Icing
  • 1 tub (about 230g) Cream cheese (cold - directly from fridge)  
  • 1/3 cup butter ( room temperature) 
  • 1tsp Vanilla Essence  
  • 4 - 6 cups Icing sugar

  • Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. 
  • Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined, about 30 seconds. 
  • Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar (one cup at a time) while mixing.  Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy. Keep adding sugar until you get the desired consistency. I find on hotter days I need to add more sugar as the cream cheese is a lot more melty.
  • Frost cupcakes and decorate if desired

Friday, 22 November 2013

Is November too soon?

Are you getting festive yet?
I am!
I've already done so much Christmas shopping, wrapped pressies,  have got up a wreath and am currently online buying more Christmas albums!
Is November too soon to start getting in the spirit?
I think NOT! (clearly!)

Decorating the office Christmas tree

Wrapping pressies!

Home already looking festive!

Welcome to Americana...

It's a friend's 40th  this weekend and I'm making the cupcakes. 
As it is Americana themed I've been preparing some decor and props for my cupcakes...
Will add pics and recipes as soon as I've baked them all up!

Happy Friday!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Anthology Pop Up

Durbanites, if you haven't already been there, then take a swing past Windermere Centre to explore the gorgeous new pop up shop, Anthology.

Occupying the space of the previous Food Lovers Market you'll find a light, airy, spacious pop up shop selling a collection of carefully curated items, from gorgeous 'pre-loved' clothing to inspiring art and tasty macaroons. 

The vibe is relaxed yet sophisticated, the clothing old and new, the decor fresh and clean and the art is seriously cool. (I've got my eye on this flamingo piece that I'm just begging to bring home...)

The store will be open until January so be sure to swing past before it moves on.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Halloween kisses

Halloween, although big in the states, is hardly a big deal in South Africa.

However, pretty much everyone I know loves to dress up, so Halloween gets her fair share of celebrating, despite that fact that you won't see pumpkins or skeletons decorating any lawns. It's actually mainly the dressing up that we partake in, and that's about it. (Some kids trick or treat but they have to visit quite a few houses as many folk forget to buy sweets as the shops here don't make a fuss over halloween candy)

This year we headed to a friend's beach cottage down in Umzumbe for a  little shindig. I didn't take too many pics, but I did instagram a few...

I baked a batch of angry spider cupcakes

we may not have pumpkins but we do have oranges...

Day of the dead, pocahontas and a hobo
ghostly decor

The Boyfriend and I

and of course I had to make my nails halloween appropriate

Monday, 7 October 2013

Derryn Semple Photography

My good friend Derryn of Derryn Semple Photography asked The Boyfriend and I to pose for some pics.
I admit I thought I'd feel like a tosser posing on a beach, but we didn't pose. We frolicked and had fun and in the end happened to get some really cool pictures.

If you're getting hitched and looking for a wedding photographer, give Derryn a call. (Just to make it clear, Dane and I have not sneakily eloped. Mom, Dad - relax)

Derryn joked around with us and made us feel so comfortable with a camera in our faces (usually a very awkward situation for us non-models) that we really actually enjoyed it.

A few snaps from our hour on the beach...

We love Durban.

My Gorgeous.

Dane's turn behind the camera...
See more pics here.

Meet Derryn:


Find Derryn on facebook too.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Feeling Nautical

With summer slipping in I am in a nautical mood. 
Now if only I could rather be on a yacht than in my office...

Cardigan: Betty Scott, Top: Miss Selfridge, Skirt: Mr Price, Shioes: Linx (from Zando), Sunnies: Bondiblu

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Sticky, Messy, Delicious...

This cake is not for sophisticated parties. 
This cake is not for high teas with the posh girlies. 
This cake is for indulgent moments with friends, where chocolate moustaches and licking fingers is totally acceptable. 
It is sticky, it is moist, it is messy but it is absolutely delicious! 

Sticky Chocolate Cake

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 extra-large eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup full cream milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 180C
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt.
Into the flour mixture add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on a medium speed until blended. Be sure not to overbeat.
Stir in boiling water (the batter will look really runny - don’t panic this is the secret trick).
Spay cake tin with ‘spray and bake’ and fill with all batter (will be about half full).
I use an 11 inch tin so that the cake is big but not thick, producing far more ladylike slices.
Cook in heated oven for 40 minutes.
Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Chocolate Cream Cheese icing
½ cup butter (NOT margarine) Set at room temperature to soften.
1 tub of cream cheese (230g)  - directly from fridge.
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
Place the butter in your mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
Mix the cream cheese in and continue to blend until smooth and combined.
Add vanilla extract.
Add cocoa powder to mixture
Add in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, blending in until smooth. Increase speed once all icing sugar has been added to fluff icing up.

Once cake has cooled, slice cake through the centre, ice the inside, then place the top half back on the iced bottom and ice the whole cake.
Decorate as desired. (I like to add strawberries to create a bit of a taste explosion, with the rich chocolate contrasted against the soft light strawberry)


Dress - Forever New

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