Monday, 28 May 2012

Healthy(ish) Muesli Slice {recipe}

Today we had a day at home as my husband stayed at home from work sick and my youngest kidlet, Ollie, was also under the weather.  What to do during a morning at home? Bake of course! I am very conscious of being a good role model for the kids and I don't like them eating much junk food so I decided that Will and I would make something healthier than cakes and biscuits.  We came up with a muesli slice that turned out really well so I thought I would share the recipe.  There are loads of different muesli slice recipes out there, and this one is our interpretation.  There are endless combinations, so feel free to substitute different ingredients.  In the future I am going to experiment with making the slice with less butter and see how it holds together.  I'll keep you posted!

My little helper.  :-)

{Muesli Slice Recipe}

1 cup rolled oats
3 cups rice bubbles
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped (we use the unsweetened ones that can be purchased at good nut shops)
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
4 tablespoons honey (we used yellow box honey)
4 tablespoons peanut butter (we used a smooth no added sugar no added salt variety)
125g unsalted butter, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar

Line a 20x30cm lamington pan with baking paper.

In a large bowl combine the oats, rice bubbles, coconut, seeds, currants, cranberries, and apricots.

Put the honey, peanut butter, butter and sugar in a medium bowl and melt it in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until it is well combined and slightly thickened.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir until combined, taking care as the mixture will be very hot.  Press the mixture into the prepared pan, pushing it down with the back of the spoon so that it holds its shape once set.  Put in the fridge for a minimum of an hour before cutting. Store the slice in the fridge.

Susie xx

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A long time between drinks ~ {chocolate orange mud cake and whipped chocolate orange ganache recipe}

It has been a LONG time in between posts for me.  I apologise for that.  You see, I have been on a quest to lose weight and increase my fitness.  Losing weight + experimental baking = epic fail, hence I haven't been doing much experimental baking!  I have, however, found the need to bake a few bits and pieces of interest over the past few months that I thought I would share with you.

I had a request from a customer for a chocolate orange mud cake which is a flavour that I haven't made before.  I would never give a customer a cake that I hadn't first tested myself so I decided to whip one up for Mothers' Day and can I just say, it was absolutely fabulous!  So fabulous that you all need to know the recipe for this marvellous taste sensation!

After doing a lot of research I decided to adapt a favourite mud cake recipe that I always use, the Planet Cake recipe.  I have recently converted to this as my go to mud cake recipe after trying a lot of others out. It is robust and predictable, it carves easily, and has a lovely in between type of chocolatiness (my own special word!) that will suit most tastes.  I did once prefer a more chocolatey recipe but found that a lot of people prefer something less nausea inducing, and so I have rested upon this recipe.

When it came to frosting the cake I wanted something a bit different to what I would usually use.  When I decorate a cake with fondant I cover it with ganache to make it super smooth and flat.  I wanted to still use ganache as I needed to test the orange flavour, but I didn't really want to use a hard ganache like I would normally, so I decided to change the chocolate to cream ratio and whip it.  My goodness.  The result was an amazingly tasty, mousse like ganache that was sublime.

The ganache was the usual combination of hot cream poured over good quality dark couverture chocolate.  I added orange zest to the cream while heating it so that the orange flavour would infuse the cream.  After the chocolate and cream are combined you wait until the mixture is at room temperature before whipping it until it thickens to stiff peaks and becomes paler in colour.  It is really important that you wait until it has cooled properly, and that you do not over beat the mixture, or it may split.  Believe me, you will know if it splits!

There are two ways that you can fix ganache if it does split.  Try this first - add a tablespoon of cold cream and vigorously stir it in to the mixture with a wooden spoon.  If it comes together this way you are in business.  If not, start the whole process again by gently reheating the mixture until it is combined.

I had planned to fill and cover my cake, however my husband is always telling me off for putting too much frosting on cakes so I decided to just cover it.  He was right.  This is a very, very rich frosting and should be used with caution!!!  I went for a rustic look which I think is fabulous with ganache.  Rustic is my way of saying slap it on and spread it around! This was achieved by spooning a generous amount of ganache on to the centre of the cake and gently, using a circular motion, easing the ganache to the sides of the cake.

All who ate the cake were impressed, but most importantly I, who haven't eaten a slice of cake since Christmas, was in heaven!  The orange flavour was perfect and cut through the sweetness of the chocolate  to produce a beautiful balance of flavours.  I sound like I should be on Masterchef!

This is what the cake looks like when smeared all over the face of an approving one year old!

If you are an orange chocolate fan then this recipe is certainly worth trying.  Let me know what you think!

{Chocolate Orange Mud Cake Recipe}

Adapted from Planet Cake

This recipe is enough for a tall eight inch cake, which is the standard cake tin size.


220g unsalted butter
220g dark couverture chocolate, or baking chocolate from the supermarket
25g instant coffee
160ml freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of two oranges
125g self raising flour
125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
480g caster sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
7 teaspoons vegetable oil
100ml buttermilk at room temperature

~ Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius (140 if using a fan forced oven).
~ This cake has a very long baking time.  Placing a small dish of water in the base of the oven will prevent the surface of the cake from drying out.
~ Grease and line an eight inch round tin so that the baking paper sticks out of the top of the tin by about 2cm
~ Place the butter, chocolate, coffee, orange juice and zest in a medium saucepan.  Melt over low heat until combined.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
~ Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarb into a large bowl.  Add the sugar to combine and make a well in the centre.
~ Combine the eggs, oil and buttermilk in a small bowl, and then add to the flour mixture.
~ Add the chocolate mixture.  Stir gently until loosely combined, and then mix using a paddle attachment on low for 30 seconds.
~ Leave the mixture to settle slightly before pouring in to the prepared tin.
~ Bake for 50 minutes, cover with a piece of aluminium foil to prevent the surface of the cake from burning, and then bake for a further 50 minutes.
~ Completely cool the cake in the tin before removing.
~ If you do decide that you would like to fill and cover the cake it is best cut while chilled so refrigerate overnight before cutting.

{Whipped Chocolate Orange Ganache Recipe}

There are a multitude of recipes for ganache with different ratios.  This recipe is simply the ratio I used.


270g dark couverture chocolate or baking chocolate from the supermarket
400ml pure cream (do not use thickened cream!!!)
Zest of one orange

~ Place broken chocolate into a heat proof bowl
~ Place the cream and zest in a small saucepan over low heat until just boiled
~ Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to sit for 10 minutes
~ Gently stir the mixture until well combined and then cool to room temperature
~ Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whisk until the mixture pales in colour and forms stiff peaks.  Do not over whisk or the mixture will split.  See above tip if it does!

Slather your cake with this lovely frosting and enjoy!

Susie xx