Earlier in the year my friend Jacqui gifted me with this gorgeous chocolate cake, ready to eat along with the recipe below, telling me how it’s a favourite in her extended family. We so enjoyed the cake she gave us and I’ve been keen to try it myself ever since, except for me, the ‘year’ has become the new ‘month’ and time has got away way too quickly. But as of yesterday afternoon it’s school holidays around here, and as much as I LOVE school holidays (no driving, sport, lunches, homework and washing uniforms) the thing that has the potential to drive me quite up the wall during this time is the constant question “Mum, what can I eat?”. So the ducks of need + time + energy have lined up and I’ve finally got around to making this lovely and dead-easy cake myself. This moist cake cooks evenly and comes out shiny and rich looking, but best of all it’s light and chocolatey and very easy to eat. Costing less than $3 to make with ingredients you’re bound to already have in the pantry, this cake is simply awesome. Thanks for sharing it with us, Jacqui.
- 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 level teaspoon bi-carb soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup milk
- 110g butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 eggs
- Grease and line a deep 20cm round cake tin, and preheat oven to 150 degrees.
- Beat all the ingredients except the eggs together for about 2 mins. Add the eggs and beat for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer cake mixture to greased and tin and smooth out evenly.
- Bake for around 50 mins, but start checking earlier with a skewer so cake doesn’t dry out.
- Ice with a simple mixture of icing sugar, butter, cocoa and a dash of milk, though as you can see I’ve used a jar of Betty Crocker’s chocolate icing cause it needed using up in my stores.
In my favourite baking cookbook, Belinda Jeffery’s Mix & Bake, there’s a recipe for Walnut and Caramel Bars that is awesome for many reasons, except that nobody at our place likes walnuts at all (my husband feels especially ripped off when they taunt him by randomly turning up in chocolate brownie), so I’ve avoided this recipe until now. I had a spare packet of Nestle milk chocolate chips hanging around in the pantry, and it occurred to me that this recipe could be just as good with the combination of chocolate and caramel flavours. And wow – it turned out beautifully! The base of this slice is lovely and short – pastry-like, buttery and crumbly without falling apart, and in the oven, the topping forms another three layers to create a total of four with the base: first a thin layer of caramel, followed by messy choc-chips underneath a layer of meringuey goodness that settles on the top. And I love the versatility of this one – it’s been used at our place for dessert with friends over for dinner, lunch box treats and afternoon tea following a big day. The quantities that follow make a very large slice in a 30x20cm tin, and produces approximately 40 pieces (for a regular lamington sized tin, just halve the recipe). Worst case scenario this massive slice costs just under $9 to make, but less if you stock up on chocolate chips when they’re on special or use a Homebrand variety.
- 320g plain flour
- 140g caster sugar
- 250g butter
- 4 eggs
- 140g castor sugar
- 140g brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 x 250g bag Nestle chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a large 30x20cm slice/roasting tin with baking powder.
- Throw all the ingredients for the base into a food processor and process until pastry has formed and is well-combined. Press mixture into lined tin, setting aside the food processor to use again later (don’t bother washing it up) and use fingers or the back of a spoon to ensure pastry is evenly spread in the tin. Place in oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- While base cooking, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Throw the two sugars, eggs, vanilla extract into the food processor and combine well. Add the dry ingredients from the small bowl and process again. Remove blade from the bowl of the food processor and stir in chocolate chips.
- Allow the base to cool for 10 minutes (doesn’t have to be completely cool) and spread the topping mixture evenly over the base. Bake again for 20 minutes, though start checking earlier. Once the topping seems set and brown, remove from the oven. It should still be a little wobbly as it will set further as it cools. Cut when cool. Enjoy!
Sometimes you just need recipe for a big batch of something sweet – church morning teas, a terms worth of kids’ little lunches in the freezer or munchies for a group weekend away. These fudgey muffins hit the spot in many ways are super easy to make. You’ll notice this recipe deliberately calls for home brand choc-chips – this is because they are much smaller than the more expensive ones and go much further through the batter. Which results in much more chocolatey muffins overall – and they just happen to be the cheapest option! Using the quantities below, this recipe makes 70+ muffins and costs $17 to make, which is under 25c per muffin. Enjoy!
- 7 1/2 cups self raising flour
- 1 1/2 cups cocoa
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 x 250g packets home brand dark choc chips
- 1 x 375g packets white choc melts
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees (170 degrees if fan-forced) and distribute muffin cases among two 12 hole muffin trays.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl or a large, plastic all-purpose basin.
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vegetable oil and milk with a whisk and pour into the dry ingredients.
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, but don’t over-mix – everything should be only just combined.
- Use two dessert spoons to half fill each muffin hole and place trays in oven for 20 minutes – although if you, like I do, prefer them a bit uncooked in the middle, start checking earlier.
There’s lots to love about this chocolate hedgehog recipe, picked up by my husband from an former colleague. Unfortunately we’ve lost touch with Taleah, who first made it for Steve and a bunch of others for a work morning tea over ten years ago, but we still remember her fondly, partly because of this yummy slice! And it’s a terrific summer option because it’s chilled rather than baked and tastes great cold from the fridge or at room temperature. All the ingredients are easily kept in the pantry and quite literally this slice can be made in around ten minutes – a great option for last minute hospitality or as a quick addition to a meal being given away. Costing around $4 to make, this slice makes at least 21 slices.
- 1 x packet Nice Biscuits (or other plain biscuits)
- 125g butter, melted
- 125g sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- Dash of vanilla
- 1.5 cups icing mixture
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- a blob of butter
- dashes of hot water
- Line a 30x25cm lamington tin with baking paper
- Blitz biscuits to a rough crumb in food processor (don’t go too far – you want lumps of biscuits!). Remove the blade of the processor, and all other ingredients. Combine well and press mixture into the tin evenly, using the back of a dessert spoon. Refrigerate.
- While base is getting cold, mix icing mixture, butter and little hot water to make icing that isn’t especially runny or thick. Spread over biscuit base and sprinkle with sprinkles. Cut once cold and set.
One of my favourite places to stop when driving the Hume Highway is the Long Track Pantry at Jugiong. The coffee tastes great, the food is delightfully made on the premises and there’s lovely tables to sit either inside amongst a vast array of kitchen giftware or outside in the sun with gorgeous rural views. A few weeks ago we stopped there on one of our many trips and Steve picked up one of Long Track’s free magnets containing this chocolate cupcake recipe. It quickly appealed to me because all the ingredients go in the food processor at the one time and then it’s straight into muffin cases and into the oven. At the same time I found I was lean on morning tea supplies in the freezer for the school term ahead, so I decided to give these a go. Moist and chocolatey and totally eatable even without icing, I’m sure I will be making these cupcakes again. The total cost for these is less than $5 and the recipe below makes a neat 24.
- 180g soft butter (room temperature will do)
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 9 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 cups caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees / 160 degrees if fan-forced. Distribute 24 patty cases across 2 twelve hole muffin tins (regular sized, not patty cake or mini muffin sized – though you can make them smaller if you wish).
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth, but don’t over process. Spoon into prepared muffin cases and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.
- When cool, ice with chocolate icing if desired, or sieve a little extra cocoa powder and icing sugar over the top (I didn’t do either and they still tasted lovely). Enjoy!
We recently enjoyed the pleasure that is old friends coming for an impromptu dinner. We’d had a lovely day taking things slowly: sleep ins; going for a drive in the country; and coming home for afternoon rests followed by feeling recharged enough to feel like cooking for the evening ahead. Still, I didn’t want to lose the sense of relaxation the day had brought so wanted to stick to a simple offering for dinner and dessert. A quick flick through Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express produced this recipe for Chocolate Croissants and the simplicity of just three ingredients grabbed me immediately. And they turned out to be all the things I love: fast, tasty, cheap to make and easy to prepare. I made these in the late afternoon, but didn’t bake them until we’d finished our main course, which turned out to be delightful timing – allowing dinner to ‘sit’ and then consuming them at their warmest and freshest. Serve stacked up on a platter for a free-for-all feast, or in bowls with cream or icecream. Alternatively these could be made in a more miniature form for church morning teas or a finger food dessert for a larger crowd. The quantities listed below serves 8 and costs around a total of $5.
- 4 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry, thawed and cut once each diagonally to create two large triangles per square
- 1 x 230g bag of Cadbury Choc Bits (I used milk, but use dark chocolate if you prefer)
- 1 egg, whisked in a cup
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees
- Evenly distribute choc-chips along the long end of each triangle of pastry and press them in firmly
- Starting with the long end of the triangle, roll pastry until you have all the choc-chips trapped inside. Then fold each end in to keep chocolate trapped. Then continue rolling into a log shape until all the pastry is rolled up.
- Shape the log of pastry and chocolate into a pretzel shape or whatever shape you like
- Place each on an oven tray with enough space between them to grow a little
- Using a pastry brush, cover each croissant in egg-wash
- Bake for around 15 minutes until brown on outside and mostly cooked through. Enjoy!
Bible study is at my place tonight and because I have an aversion to rosters, our group doesn’t have one for providing supper. So this afternoon, I found myself in need of a quick and easy solution! Its our last study for the year and like it is for everyone, this time of the year is busy, busy busy! So today was a great day to try out Bek Marshall’s easy Chocolate Slice. It’s a simple melt and mix number which uses standard pantry items and it only takes a couple of minutes to combine the ingredients and whack it in a slice tin. I love the outcome of this one: chewy chocolate slice, able to be iced while still warm (another time saver) and a total cost of less than $3. An absolute winner! Thanks for contributing, Bek!
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 125 g butter or margarine, melted
- 1 egg
- 3 weetbix, crushed
- Mix flour, cocoa, oats, sugar and crushed weetbix. Add vanilla, egg, melted butter and mix. If mixture is too dry add a little milk to the mixture before pressing into a 16x26cm slice tin.
- Cook @ 180deg for 20-25min
- Ice with chocolate icing while still warm. Sprinkle with topping of choice such as nuts, coconut or sprinkles.
In general, I don’t really like baking biscuits. I do love the taste of a chewy homemade chocolate chip cookie, but just the thought of repetitively rolling teaspoonfuls of mixture into little balls and cycling tray after tray through the oven, is enough to make me flip-out before I even begin. But when my friend Cathy sent this recipe the other day, I was forced to reconsider my anti-biscuit position. The recipe that follows does away with rolling balls of mixture (yay!) though you can still do that if you prefer, and is made in super-sized quantities that fit the bill for multi-purpose cooking (individually wrapped for school lunches, supper for Bible study, morning tea when cooking for a camp or just for filling the household cookie jar). Along with all these things, I fell in love with this recipe because each of the logs of uncooked cookie mixture can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for emergencies. Simply thaw the log out on 50% in the microwave, cut into rounds and bake for 10 minutes in a moderately slow oven. When I trialled this bumper cookie recipe, I chose to bake half the mixture into 48 biscuits, and freeze the other half in two logs for whenever I need them next. Using Nestle chocolate melts, this recipe, that costs no more than $12 to make (even less if you use homebrand chocolate) works out at just 12 cents per cookie and has definitely softened me up when it comes to biscuit baking!
- 500grams softened butter or margarine (I use butter)
- 2 cups/460g castor sugar
- 1 x 395 tin condensed milk (I use homebrand)
- 2.5 cups/380g plain flour
- 2.5 cups/380g self raising flour
- 190g each of dark, milk and white chocolate melts (half a Nestle Melts packet of each)
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
- Using an electric mixer or beaters, cream butter, sugar and condensed milk. Mixture perfectly fits 5L mixing bowl. If yours is smaller than this, use a plastic all-purpose bowl, readily available in laundry section of the supermarket.
- Stir in flours until combined and then stir in choc chips.
- On a floured bench top, divide mixture into four equal portions and roll into evenly shaped logs.
- Each log makes 24 biscuits, so starting in the middle, with a knife, cut the log in half leaving two portions to make 12 biscuits from each. Cut each section again to make 4 portions which will make 6 biscuits from each. Again, cut each of the four portions in half again, which will make 3 biscuits from each. Finally, cut each of these smallest portions into three equally sized rounds. Repeat the process for each log. This ensures evenly sized biscuits and production of exactly 96 biscuits.
- Roll each portion into balls, or do as I do and just place the cut up rounds straight on lined oven trays.
- For a crunchier biscuit bake until golden for around 12 minutes, and if you prefer a chewier cookie, cook for no longer than 10 minutes and remove from oven while still a little pale. Cool on tray or wire rack.
More often than not these days, I find myself in need of inexpensive and simple recipes that can be made in massive quantities. I’ve realised this is because I don’t have enough time to bake or cook for just one purpose: whatever is on the go has to meet the need of a freezer requiring a terms worth of school little lunches, morning tea for church or suppers for Bible study. I also find it’s much more cost-efficient. So when my friend Kim gave me this bumper recipe for 60 banana choc-chip muffins I was over the moon. Now that bananas have come down in price (it seems it’s not too hard to get them for $2 per kg), now is a great time to make these moist and fudgey treats. If you don’t need 60, this recipe is easily halved. An important tip about these muffins: feel free to use homebrand choc-chips. They’re much smaller than their more expensive counterparts and actually work better in this recipe. Depending on the price of bananas, all up this huge batch of deliciousness costs approximately $20. Thanks for sharing, Kim!
- 15 very ripe bananas (approx. 4kg)
- 3 1/2 cups sugar (700g)
- 5 eggs, slightly beaten
- 375g butter, melted
- 5 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 7 1/2 cups self raising flour (1.2kg)
- 4 x 250g packets choc-chips (1kg)
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and distribute muffin cases across as many muffins trays as you have and will fit in your oven.
- Put all the bananas in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until creamy.
- Put all dry ingredients in a huge bowl or plastic 6L all-purpose basin (see picture).
- In a large mixing bowl combine mashed bananas, sugar, eggs and melted butter. Tip this wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until combined, but don’t over do it.
- Using two dessert spoons, dollop one heaped spoon worth of mixture in each muffin case. Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown and cooked through. Enjoy!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be blogging about this cake! I’ve been fiddling about and am so happy with the flavour of this chocolate cake made on stevia instead of sugar. The cake that results is moist and chocolatey but isn’t at all rich. The whipped cream tops it off nicely, and although it looks dry when it comes out of the oven, it’s really not at all on the inside (the second picture shows it’s moist loveliness best). When covered in cream, this phenomenon isn’t noticed at all. This cake costs less than $5 to make and can be topped with berries of your choice for an even fancier (mostly) sugar free dessert (obviously berries have some sugar, but not much).
- 300 grams plain flour
- 100grams stevia (Natvia is my preferred brand for taste)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarb soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 200grams butter, cut into cubes and softened
- 50grams cocoa (Woollies homebrand has improved LOTS and is now quite useable)
- 200ml or ½ cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 120ml or 1/2 cup milk
- 300ml cream, whipped
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (170 degrees fan forced). Grease and line your choice of 25cm springform tin, 25cm square tin or 25cm ring tin.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, stevia, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Then, using the electric mixer on a low setting, add the cubed, softened butter. This will produce a rough crumb-like consistency.
4. In a wide-mouthed measuring cup, whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, eggs and vanilla, then slowly add this cocoa mixture to the ingredients in the bowl, beating until thoroughly combined. With motor running slowly, add milk which will make the batter take on a dropping consistency.
5. Pour the batter into tin and bake for 40 minutes. The cake will have risen and cracked a little on top. Don’t stress about this – although it looks dry, it’s actually quite moist on the inside. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then turn out to cool.
6. When cake has cooled completely, top with whipped cream and store in the fridge.