Fudgy Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 21Behold! No, seriously, this is freaking amazing! I had SO much fun with this recipe. I usually make chewy brownies with chocolate ganache but this time I wanted to do a fudgier take on them and, of course, a peanut butter frosting. I used both dark and milk chocolate, the latter to balance the bitterness. When you bite into these babies, you get a fudgy, delicious, creamy, chocolatey taste with fluffy, light peanut butter frosting and crunchy chocolate chips. Yum? Yum.

The top is crinkly, the inside, crunchy (hello, chocolate chips!) and the frosting, well, peanut buttery. I don’t think I need to say anything else!

You can use the frosting for cupcakes, cakes, you name it. If you’re doing this, add extra icing sugar. You might need to add a tablespoon or two of milk if the frosting is too thick, but for this recipe you shouldn’t need any milk.

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Supplies:

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 1¾ cup cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup butter (120g)
230g dark chocolate, roughly chopped, for melting
200g milk chocolate chips
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or essence
½ teaspoon salt

Making it happen:

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 21. Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a 9×9 square baking tin with parchment paper, making sure it covers the sides and leaves an overhang. You’ll need this to remove the brownie slab in one go.

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 42. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 53. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a pan on medium heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Set aside.

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 64. Add the sugar to the melted chocolate and butter, whisking until it’s fully combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the vanilla and whisk to incorporate.

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 7 (2)5. Slowly add the dry ingredients, whisking until well combined. Scrape down the sides as necessary.

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 8 (2)6. Add the milk chocolate chips and stir to throughly combine.

 

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 117. Bake on the middle shelf for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clear. The top will be crinkly and the sides will be pulling away. Don’t stress if it has cracks.

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 128. Once cooked, remove from the oven and rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove the slab from the baking tin, lifting the sides of the parchment paper up, and let cool for an hour.
Once completely cool, cut the brownie slab into 16 blocks.

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 179. F̶r̶o̶s̶t̶ smother with peanut butter frosting.

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 1910. Add sprinkles (optional).

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter frosting:

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 131 cup creamy peanut butter
60g butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons milk if necessary

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 141. On low speed, beat the butter until it’s soft and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides.

 

 

 

 

Fudgy choc brownies peanut butter frosting 202. Add the icing sugar, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla essence and beat until well combined. (If it’s too thick, add 2 tablespoons of milk. I did not find it necessary for this recipe but it’s entirely up to you. If you need more frosting, add more icing sugar.)

Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries

Upside down cake 10It’s time to go retro! It’s nearly Spring in the Southern Hemisphere which naturally calls for a fruity cake. I use my basic vanilla cake recipe for this upside down cake and I always use buttermilk as it ensures the cake is moist and fluffy.

Let me give you a rundown of my most recent attempt. Off I go to the supermarket, taking a leisurely stroll and enjoying the warmer weather. I get there and start cruising the aisles for ingredients. For some reason I’m in a bit of a daze so I’m standing at the tinned food section, see a large tin of pineapples and grab it without reading the label properly. Perfect. Right next to the pineapples is tinned cherries. Again, I grab a tin and carry on with my shopping. I get home, filled with excitement (it doesn’t take much, baking does that to me), and open the tins. Crap. I’ve bought chunks of pineapples instead of rings. Oh bother. Not to worry, we’ll carry on as usual. I open the cherries and I’m like, these aren’t glacé cherries. Really? Double crap, double bother. Now, I’m so excited to bake this cake so I soldier ahead, cut the cherries in half, remove the pips and make the batter. The reason I’m telling you this is because traditionally, pineapple rings are used, be they tinned or fresh, as are glacé cherries. But no, I had to complicate things. You can use pineapple chunks, they work beautifully, as do regular tinned red cherries, just remove the pips. However, you can substitute the chunks with rings and red cherries with glacé (I recommend this to avoid the schlep).

Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Upside Down Cake 1Supplies:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Pineapple rings or chunks
  • Glacé cherries

 

  • For the cake:
  • ¼ cup pecans, crushed in your hand
  • 1¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Making it happen:

Upside Down Cake 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt ½ cup of butter in a heavy-based saucepan on medium. Once it’s melted, add ½ cup of brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it starts bubbling. Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a 25cm (10″) cake tin.

Upside down cake 112. Layer the pineapple pieces and cherries in the melted butter syrup and sprinkle the hand-crushed pecans over them (give them a decent hearty squeeze to crush them).

 

 

Upside Down Cake 53. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and stir/whisk until well-blended. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter and vanilla, stirring until thoroughly mixed.

 

 

Upside Down Cake 64. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake at 180 for 40 minutes, until a toothpick instered in the middle comes our clear. If the toothpick is still wet, back for another 5 minutes until the toothpick passes the test.

 

 

Upside Down Cake 9 15. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Hold a plate or cakestand upside down over the cake tin, pressing down firmly. Flip over, tap the cake tin gently and slowly remove. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Coconut cupcakes 9

I’ve recently developed quite an affinity for coconut, ever since I used it in truffles. I always used to underestimate its taste but I’m now a firm (actually, somewhat flabby) believer. I had some desiccated coconut in the cupboard so I modified my traditional vanilla cupcake and cream cheese frosting recipe to accommodate coconut flakes and coconut milk and the result was amazeballs! These cupcakes are smooth, moist and the perfect balance of flavours. You don’t want them to be too vanilla-y or almond-y because the coconut will go unnoticed, and similarly, you don’t want them to the coconut to overpower the other flavours. This recipe incorporates all of those flavours and brings everything together with a light and fluffy creamy frosting that will leave you wanting more.

Coconut Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 -16
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Coconut cupcakes 1Stuff coconut dreams are made of:

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • ½ cup coconut milk (+ 2 tablespoons for frosting)
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut (+ another ½ cup for frosting)

Making it happen:

Coconut cupcakes 31. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides when needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well mixed, again scraping down the sides. Add the vanilla paste (or essence) and almond essence and stir until combined.

Coconut cupcakes 42. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In three stages, add the dry ingredients and coconut milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry, mixing until just combined. Add the desiccated coconut.

 

Coconut cupcakes 53. Pour the batter into 12 individually lined muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clear.

 

 

Coconut cupcakes 6Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 100g butter, room temperature
  • 150g plain cream cheese, also room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Coconut cupcakes 71. Cut the butter into small cubes and allow to reach room temperature. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on high until light and fluffy, 3 – 4 minutes. Add the coconut milk and beat only until it’s fully mixed, about 5 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Coconut cupcakes 82. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla essence and almond essence and give the frosting one last beat. Ice the cupcakes and generously sprinkle desiccated coconut over them.  

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

This. This is everything. Cheesecake is my faaaaaavourite summer dessert. It’s winter right now, but the sun was shining so why not? Come hither old friend!

Everything about this recipe is addictive. The biscuit base is thick, crunchy and buttery. You’ll see I use extra biscuit – I like a thicker base. The cheesecake is creamy, velvety and smooth. I highly recommend using vanilla pods for this one, but you can use vanilla essence in its place. 2 teaspoons should do it.

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

Cheesecake ingredients

For the biscuit base:
150g melted butter + more for greasing the cake tin
300g Marie biscuits (or digestive biscuits)
75g caster sugar
For the cheesecake:
460g plain cream cheese, room temperature
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons corn flour
250ml sour cream, room temperature
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

Directions:

Cheesecake 1 21. Allow the cream cheese and sour cream to reach room temperature. Melt the butter in your microwave or on the stove. Break up the biscuits and blitz them in the food processor for 2 minutes until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the caster sugar and butter and blitz until well combined, about 30 seconds. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin with butter and pour the biscuit mixture into it. Level it with the back of a tablespoon until it’s smooth on top. Place the cake tin in the fridge for half an hour.

Cheesecake 3 22. After 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F). Slice the vanilla pod in half, lengthways, and, holding the upturned end or ‘hook’ down, scrape out the vanilla seeds. Set aside. In your food processor, combine the cream cheese and caster sugar and process for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Pour in the sour cream, corn flour and vanilla seeds and process for about a minute. Pour the cheesecake batter into your springform cake tin and bake in the middle shelf of your oven for an hour.

Cheesecake 5 23. Once it’s done, it will be golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. If it’s still too wet, bake for another 10 minutes. Once it’s done, leave the oven door slightly ajar and allow the cheesecake to cool down completely, about two hours, before transferring it to the fridge for a minimum of two hours but preferably overnight.

 

Cheesecake 6 24. You can serve it with an array of toppings – ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberry compote. It’s up to you and it’s fun to be able to play around! You can also serve it as is. It’s packed with so much flavour that nothing is missing! Serve at room temperature.

 

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Chocolate cupcakes 1 2The cat and I decided to bake. I had fully intended to have a very lazy day. I had it all planned out: curling up with a book on the couch with the Food Channel on in the background. Then I thought “why should I watch Cake Boss all day when I can bake my own cupcakes?”. Indeed. Also, the cat took up residence on the kitchen counter and would not stop meowing. I took that as another sign that I needed to bake!

This is a classic chocolate cupcake recipe but instead of using buttermilk or sour cream, I used Bulgarian yoghurt. You can use any of the above in equal quantities and the result is moist, delicious, chocolatey cupcakes. I topped them off with a basic vanilla frosting to balance the chocolate. This recipe makes 12 – 16 (there are, however, only 8 left 24 hours later!). I blame the cat. Had she not screamed at me from the kitchen counter, I probably would not have baked. That last part may or may not be true.

Chocolate cupcakes ingredients 21 cup (100g) flour
¾ cup (75g) cocoa
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup (80g) white sugar
½ cup (80g) brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons Bulgarian yoghurt
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Chocolate cupcakes 4 2Preheat your oven to 180°C (375°F).
Whisk the butter and sugar on high until well mixed.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk on low for 10 seconds. The batter will be crumbly.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom well.
Whisk in the yoghurt and vanilla essence, beat on low for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom and give it one last beat, about 5 seconds.

Chocolate cupcakes 5 2Fill the muffin cups half full and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes our clear.

 

 

 

 

 

For the vanilla frosting:

4 cups icing sugar
4 tablespoons room temperature butter
2 tablespoons Bulgarian yoghurt (or sour cream or milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Chocolate cupcakes 7 2In a medium bowl, sift the icing sugar and add the butter. Beat on high for 1 minute until fully mixed. Scrape down the sides and bottom. Pour in the yoghurt/sour cream/milk and beat again on high until fully blended and smooth. Add the vanilla essence, scrape the sides and bottom again and beat once more to fully mix in the vanilla essence.

 

Chocolate cupcakes 9 2Decorate as desired. I used blue food colouring and red sprinkles.

Again, for the cupcake batter, remember you can use buttermilk or sour cream instead of Bulgarian yoghurt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been using this choc chip cookie recipe for years. It’s foolproof, creamy, chocolatey and chewy.  They are easy to make, don’t take long – 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes in the oven, and taste delicious. I use dark chocolate in my baking because it has a stronger flavour than regular milk chocolate. However, I was craving peanut butter, so I added half a cup. Be still my beating heart. Delicious! I will never make regular choc chip cookies again!

Yields: 12 large     Prep time: 5 minutes     Baking time: 15 minutes

Peanut butter choc chip cookies ingredients80g melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup peanut butter – I favour crunchy but you can use smooth
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 2 1Preheat your oven to 170°C (340°F). In a large bowl using a whisk attachment on medium, cream together the butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugar until smooth, about 20-30 seconds.

Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. The mixture will be crumbly.

 

 

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 3 1Beat in the eggs and vanilla and stir until fully blended. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 3 21Line your baking trays with parchment paper, put 1 large teaspoon of batter in your hand, form a ball and place on the baking tray. Leave a large gap between the cookies as they expand quite impressively! Bake at 170°C for 15 minutes until golden brown around the edges.

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 4 1Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Makes 12 large cookies (there aren’t 12 in this picture because we got hold of them and demolished a few!).

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter choc chip cookies 5 12

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have a very good sweet tooth. Very. It’s good at demanding cake, cupcakes, tarts – anything sugary. The problem is that it’s just The Husband and I so when I bake, we end up eating ourselves into near-diabetic comas. I will look for any excuse or reason to bake. Oh look, it’s sunny, I should bake. The Stormers won the rugby, let’s bake! (I don’t follow rugby at all and have no idea who our captain is but it’s as good an excuse as any.) Do you see where I’m going with this? So when, last week, my step-mom was planning The Father’s 60th birthday, I jumped at the opportunity to provide the cake. I have a bit of a love affair going on with red velvet – I love it and, in turn, it loves my hips. No lies. Now, at the risk of sounding rather obnoxious, these red velvet cupcakes are the superlative choice for special occasions. They have a mild chocolatey flavour and the buttermilk provides a creamy taste and keeps them perfectly moist.

If you’re wondering why vinegar is used – it’s actually quite a common practice in baking. Vinegar, when used with baking soda, acts as a raising agent. Don’t worry about the cupcakes tasting weird, there are so many other flavours so you can’t taste it at all.

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

Red velvet cupcakes ingredients120g/½ cup butter
1½ cups white sugar
2 eggs
½ cup cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
250ml/1 cup buttermilk
2½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Red velvet cupcakes 1 1Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). In a medium-sized bowl, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high for about 2 minutes until it’s well blended and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low after each addition, until fully blended.

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 2 1In a large bowl, sift the cocoa and pour in the food colouring, mixing with a spoon until smooth. Add into the batter, scraping down the sides with a spatula and beat on low for 10-20 seconds. Stir in the vanilla. Stop beating and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, loosening the batter at the bottom.

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 3 1In a separate bowl, sift the flour and sprinkle half of it into the mixture, beating on low. Pour in half of the buttermilk, mix, sprinkle the remaining flour, beat, and finally add the remaining buttermilk, beating until fully mixed.

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 4 1Add the salt, baking soda and vinegar and stir well with a spatula or wooden spoon until mixed. Beat on high for 30 seconds – 1 minute until fully mixed.

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 5 1Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them ⅔. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clear.

 

 

 

 

For the frosting:

Red velvet cupcakes 7200g butter, room temperature
230ml plain cream cheese, also room temperature
5 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 10Cut the butter into small cubes and allow to reach room temperature. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on high until light and fluffy, 3 – 4 minutes. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla essence and give the frosting one last beat. Decorate as desired. I used a large piping nozzle (thicker than my thumb) in a large plastic piping bag to make thick swirls, then sprinkled some edible glitter and hearts, but you can decorate the cupcakes however you like!

 

Red velvet cupcakes 8 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 9