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.