Friday, 29 July 2011

White Chocolate, Marshmallow and Nutella Cheesecake

This was a special cheesecake for a special person. I love cheesecake altough it is one of those things which you have to have in moderation otherwise you will definitely end up feeling sick. But good cheesecake is one that is creamy, smooth and just melts in your mouth. I have to say that once had the 'perfect' cheesecake when I went to Dublin, Ireland, at a pretty little cafe called 'Stage Door' tucked away in a small corner in the heart of the city. If I remember correctly the flavours that I tried were honey and almond and toffee cheesecake. I am not sure what cheese they used to get the thick and oozy texture but they were absolutely divine mainly due to the perfection of the consistency.

When I went to America I fell in love with 'The Cheesecake Factory'- I never actually tried anything savoury there as I just went straight for the cheesecake; you can't blame me. I don't know why we don't have a chain like this in the UK, but if we did I know for a fact that I would probably have to buy a new wardrobe 2 sizes bigger. I was just amazed at the vast array of different flavours of cheesecake on offer, tempting as they may be I went for the classic 'fresh strawberry cheesecake'. I figured that the only way to tell if it is good cheesecake is to get the simplest flavour first and if they do a good job of that the rest must but pretty good too; I guess this applies to a lot of other foods in general. It was ok, not as amazing as the ones I had in Ireland but what you would expect a normal cheesecake to be like. May I also add that I couldn't actually finish a normal 'Cheesecake Factory' portion size as it was gigantic! Better for sharing I think.

The Cheesecake Factory inspired me to think outside the box, you don't just have to have plain old cheesecake, you can play with the flavours and that in itself leaves endless combinations. It was my friend's birthday and I wanted to make something containing things she liked. So I guess I ended up attempting to put everything into one cheesecake. I knew what I wanted it to be like in my head and I just had to fill in the gaps like how I would decorate it and the actual quantities for everything in the recipe. I ended up experimenting in the end and crossing my fingers that the mixture would set, and luckily it did, and as a bonus it tasted pretty good too, all the flavours worked very well together and I can't imagine the cheesecake without any one of them. All in all a success. I love 'Expat Gourmet's' take on white chocolate cheesecake. I think that anything with white chocolate is always going to be a winner.
I wanted to try making a caramelised sugar mesh ball. I knew what I was trying to create, however I have to admit iit took me more than 10 attempts to get it right as there are soo many factors which need to be just perfect. This is only for added decoration really and it was filled with chocolate Aero balls as that is another thing that my friend loves. I wanted this to be a special cheesecake so I wanted to make it look 'pretty', so only attempt it if you have patience and perseverance. But you never know, you may be a natural at sugar craft.

I even had some biscuit base left over so I decided to make a mini cheesecake too with only half a sugar mesh filled with marshmallows this time.


 300g digestive biscuits
150g butter
150g white chocolate
25g white chocolate  and milk chocolate for decorating
284ml (1 carton) double/whipping cream
400g soft cream cheese
75g nutella
2tsp vanilla extract
100g marshmallows plus extras for decorating
100ml milk
14g sachet of gelatine powder or 4 gelatine leaves (enough to set 1 pint)

Caramelised Maze Ball:
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp water
a container of cold water that would fit a saucepan
an oiled ladle (preferably metal as plastic would probably melt)
A small packet of chocolate Aero balls (or whatever you fancy)


Cheesecake Biscuit Base
1.Crush the biscuits in a bag till you create fine crumbs- I used a pestle for this, although you can use using blender too.
2. Melt the butter in a pan.
3. Add the biscuit crumbs to the butter and stir together.
4. Line the bottom of a cake tin (one with a removable bottom) with the biscuit and butter mixture. make sure you press down firmly using your fingers or the back of a spoon to make it compact.
5. Chill the base in the fridge for at least 30min so that it can cool down and harden.

Cheesecake Filling

1. Make a double boiler by placing a bowl within a larger pan filled with water. Heat and melt the white chocolate, making sure that no water gets into the bowl containing chocolate.
2. Heat the milk in the pan along with the marshmallows. Melt the marshmallows into the milk.
3. Prepare the gelatine so that it sets 1 pint of liquid (I used 14g of powdered gelatine mixed into 120ml of boiling water)
3. Whisk the double cream so that it forms soft peaks.
4. Fold in the soft cheese and the vanilla essence.
5. Fold in the white chocolate and also the milk and marshmallow mixture into the cheese mixture
6.Add the gelatine solution and whisk the mixture for around 2 minutes. Everything must be well combined.

This is how the mixture looks, it is meant to be quite runny:

7. Melt the Nutella in the microwave. Spread a thin layer over the biscuit base.
8. Add a few marshmallows to the base if you would like to.
9. Pour the prepared white chocolate and soft cheese mixture over the base.
10. Refrigerate overnight for at least 12 hrs.

Decorating: Chocolate Weave

Only decorate once the cheesecake has set and is no longer runny.

1. Melt white chocolate and plain chocolate (can use a microwave, be careful not to burn the chocolate).
2. Using a piping bag draw a grid of plan chocolate and then overlay it with a grid of white chocolate.
3. Cool in the fridge.

Decorating: Caramelised Maze Ball:

This requires a lot of precision.

1. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan, stir till they are combined.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil. Don't stir.
3. You should see the mixture slowly becoming yellow and darker. Once it turns a caramel colour immediately take the pan off the heat and dip the base into another container with cold water for 5 seconds to cool it and stop it caramelising/burning further.

4. Once it reaches a syrupy consistency pour it onto the back of the oiled ladle making a grid pattern, then drawing a rim too.
5. If the caramel hardens just place it back on the heat for a few seconds (literally like 5-10 seconds) to melt it again, remember you don't want to burn it.
6. You have to work quickly as you draw the grid as the caramel will harden quickly making it more difficult to get of the ladle. Once you finished slowly and carefully ease the caramel cage of the ladle. I had sooo many failures at this point as I found that if left for too long the caramel will harden and it will break whilst  you try to remove it. So preferably remover it whilst it is still a little malleable.
7. Leave to cool.
8. Make another one. Fill one half of the ball with whatever you want or nothing at all. Then simply place the other half of the maze on top; no 'glue' needed, it should stay in place just enough to look good.

1. The longer you leave the caramel maze lying around the more moisture they absorb and the more sticky they get. So you can't make them way in advance.
2. A tip with cleaning out the saucepan with hardened caramel is to pour boiling water into it so that it melts the caramel rather than trying to scrape away at it. 

A post from FullestofLife

Monday, 25 July 2011

Tres leches cake

I was strolling around the stalls in the famous farmer's market in La Brea, Los Angeles, drooling over all the fresh cakes, pastries, candies, and foods in general. 

Whilst I was browsing all the cakes deciding which one to get (I wanted all to be honest) I spotted the 'tres leches' cake. It was something new, and I had never seen it or even heard of it before. It was love at first sight. Then I tasted it, and I knew this was made just for me: moist, sweet and creamy. Where have I been all these years? I really have been missing out on all the tres leches!

For those of you who don't know spanish, 'tres leches' translates as '3 milks', no guesses for what's in the cake. But I  think it should be called 'cuatro leches' ('4 milk') cake as it contains- condensed milk, evapourated milk and plain milk in the cake and whipping cream for the topping. 

I know that the idea of 'wet/soggy' cake may not sound appealing to a few people, but the cake is more  acts more like a sponge by soaking up all the milky goodness and still holding its shape well. This cake is a similar concept to tiramissu; moist cake with cream, but without the coffee or liquor.

I knew that I just had to make this cake myself. So a few weeks later I had the perfect oppertunity to give it a go as it was my good friends brithday. I used the recipe from 'thepioneerwoman'- the photos looked great and the recipe was quite easy to follow.

It looks quite nice and simple with nothing on top, but since it was for a friends birthday I wanted to decorate it a little, so I dusted it with cocoa powder and added chocolate sprinkles. Still simple but effective.

No the candles are not just randomly arranged, they say 21, which I think is a better option than sticking 21 candles in there; the older the worse it becomes! 

I think that this cake is perfect for a hot summers day as it should be served chilled as it is filled with sweet dairy juiciness; a good alternative to icecream. This one is most definitely a keeper in the recipe books. 

Source of recipe: The Pioneer Woman

A post from Fullestoflife

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Italian basil, tomato and salmon macaroni cheese

This is the first savoury recipe on this blog. I think that you may have figured out that I have a pretty sweet tooth if you had a quick browse through the blog.

Macaroni cheese is one of those dishes which reminds you of your childhood days, it is always a favourite with everyone and I guess anything with cheese is tasty; the more cheese the better. I remember asking my mum to add even more cheese than there already was, I guess I was a just cheesy person; forgive me, yes it's a bad joke so no pun intended. I have had macaroni cheese with different kinds of cheeses, but the good old English Cheddar cheese is always going to be the best. However this time I thought that I would add a twist, go for an Italian theme, and as I said before, as long as it has cheese in it, it will definitely taste good; I was right. I guess that you can even try making your own version of 'mac n cheese' by experimenting with different flavours as it's such a versatile base. Or if you are one of those people who always like the good old, you can just stick to the simple basic recipe with no added extras; classic. What ever you go for I can almost assure you that you eat your plate clean.

Serves 4
Time to prepare:30mins

200g macaroni pasta
2 tbsp butter
2tbsp plain flour
450 ml milk
150g-200g Cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want it)
50g smoked salmon or normal salmon fillet
a handful of cherry tomatoes halved
a bunch of fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste


1.Preheat the oven to 180C.

2.In a saucepan boil the pasta for around 5 mins till it is around half cooked.Drain the water.

3. In another pan melt the butter and add the flour, this will make a roux to thicken the milk. Once a paste is formed add the milk slowly; make sure that you keep stirring so that there are no lumps.

4. Add the cherry tomatoes, salmon and basil (chopped). 

5.Keep on the heat and keep stirring, you should slowly see the sauce thickening. Once it is has thickened up a bit add the cheese (but not all as you want some for the topping) and mix in. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix in.

7. Now pour the pasta mixture into an oven proof dish. Add a few cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and cheese to garnish the top.

8. Bake in the oven with a lid for around 20mins. then without the lid for around 20mins.

9. Serve nice and hot.

1. You can try using different cheeses like Red Leister instead of Cheddar.
2. You don't have to add the salmon, tomatoes and salmon if you just want plain macaroni cheese.
3. Try adding bread crumbs on top before baking for added texture.

A post from FullestofLife

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Creamy coconut rice pudding with caramelised pineapple

I know that rice pudding brings back memories of horrible school dinners for most people, but not me as I loved my school lunches; I always used to spend the morning fantasising about what to have for lunch, I guess I still do that even now. This rice pudding was a concoction of mine as I had a ripe pineapple that needed using up, so I thought I could make the old classic with a tropical twist. 

The rice pudding actually came out pretty well, you could definitely taste the coconut, and I think that the pineapple was the finishing touch otherwise the rice pudding would be a bit bland. When I helped myself to a mouthful of the warm creamy coconut rice and sweet pineapple, I was taken back, it was like being transported to a tropical island somewhere. I went to Thailand a few years ago and the image of the laying on the golden sands on Koh Samet with the tranquil, clear, blue ocean in front of me came to mind. Try the recipe out; it most definitely is like tropical paradise on a plate. I can imagine myself making this recipe again in the cold winter days as it has that lovely warming and wholesome quality to it, and it's at those times which you need the exotic escape the most. 

Preparation time: 35 mins
Serves: 2-4 people (depending on the portion size)


Rice Pudding
100g pudding rice
1 pint (568ml) milk
150ml coconut milk
1tbsp butter
2tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp desiccated coconut to garnish (I used unsweetened but you can also use sweetened)

Caramelised Pineapple
A few slices of cut pineapple (I used fresh pineapple for better flavour, but I guess you could use tinned)
2tbsp soft brown sugar
1tbsp butter


Rice Pudding
1. Add the milk and pudding rice to a pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the coconut milk.
2. Keep stirring occasionally. The rice should cook and the milk should thicken. 
3. Add the sugar and butter when the rice is nearly done, and stir in. 
4. Once the rice is fully cooked serve in bowls and garnish with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut. 

Caramelised Pineapple

1.Melt the butter on a saucepan. 
2. Add the brown sugar and heat till it is bubbling (it looks a little foamy)
3. Add the pineapple slices and pan fry them. Make sure that you cook the pineapple on both sides for a few seconds. 
4. Serve immediately on top of the warm rice pudding.

You can add as much or as little sugar as you want to suit your tastes. Try adding palm sugar if you have it, as I am sure that it would go well with the flavours already in this recipe.

A post from FullestofLife

© Fullest Part of Life

Sunday, 17 July 2011

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis

Panna cotta... doesn't it sound so indulgent and fancy?! I have only eaten panna cotta in restaurants, savouring every mouthful of the creamy, smooth texture. You would never have guessed that this classic decadent Italian treat only takes a maximum of 15 mins to make! Yes it really is that easy!

This recipe is the perfect recipe if you want to impress someone with a great looking as well as great tasting dessert. And with it being summer the strawberry coulis is a great compliment to the dish, adding more flavour and colour; who can resist strawberries?

I was inspired to make this after seeing a white chocolate panna cotta recipe on  'greedygourmet', it was the white chocolate which tempted me. I used different measurements to the recipe from that blog as I didn't want to make too many panna cottas and also wanted to experiment a little bit. Using the measurements below I managed to fill 4 moulds (but I guess it depends on the size of the moulds). I found that these measurements were perfect, the consistency of the panna cotta was just right; not too creamy, runny or solid, just pure perfection.

Time to make: 15 mins actual cooking time
Serves: 4


Panna Cotta:
284ml carton of double cream
225ml milk
3 tbsp white sugar
200g white chocolate chopped into little pieces
4 leaves of gelatine or 14g sachet of powered gelatine, and the correct amount of water according to instructions ( I used a 14g powdered gelatine sachet and mixed it into 150ml of hot water as this sets one pint)

Strawberry coulis:
200g strawberries
2 tbsp sugar
50ml water


Panna Cotta:

1.Oil the panna cotta moulds (I used a oil spray as it is much easier to just spray it on the inside of the moulds).

2.Heat the cream, milk and sugar in a saucepan until nearly boiling.

3.Take off the heat and add the chopped pieces of white chocolate and stir until all melted in.

4.Mix in the gelatine (prepare the gelatine mixture according to instructions).

5. Pour into the moulds and put them into the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours, preferably overnight.

6. To serve the panna cotta dip the mould in hot water for a few seconds and use a knife around the edges to carefully tease the panna cotta out, tip it upside down onto a plate and it should come out easily. 

Strawberry Coulis:

1.Cut the strawberries and blend them with a hand held blender or a food processor.

2. Place the strawberries, sugar and water into a saucepan and heat.

3. Heat the mixture until boiling, stir continuously for around 5 minutes until it thickens.

4. Remove from the heat and use a fine sieve to create a smooth strawberry puree without any seeds.

4. Let it cool.

5. Pour the strawberry coulis mixture over the panna cotta.

6. You can decorate it further with cut fresh strawberries.

7. Serve


1. I didn't have the proper panna cotta metal moulds so I used containers that had the right shape- I even reused empty plastic trifle/yogurt cups as they have that ideal shape.

2. You could make all sorts of sauces to go with this panna cotta, for example a raspberry coulis would have worked well too. 

A post from FullestofLife

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Emmalily’s Inner Heart C’Ache

This cake was for a special friend’s birthday.  I wanted to find something unique… and being a bit corny, my friend has such an inner heart and that’s how this idea was sparked.  So I google imaged ‘heart cakes’ – and found ‘Iambaker'. I’ve done a few things differently, but the basic concepts are from there!  An amazing site too – one of my favourites!  So here goes:


300g self raising flour
360g all purpose flour
885g unsalted butter, softened, room temperature
·         375g MUST to be unsalted butter – this is for the buttercream icing. It does not work with margarine.
·         The rest can be margarine – what I used for the cakes (so it’d be lighter) and it worked. 
980g sugar
650g icing sugar (you may need more)
9 large eggs, room temperature
850ml milk
1 tsp cream of tartar
6 tsp vanilla essence
(Optional 4-7 tsp almond extract)
2 tbs red food colouring + 1-2 drops
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cider vinegar
0.5 tsp baking soda

Decorations (optional): fruit, hazelnut brittle or almond flakes or other nuts, chocolate.
This cake takes a while to make, it took me 2 nights.


To make efficient use of your time, I would recommend you to make the sponge cakes a day before you want them because you have to freeze the sponge cakes – making it a lot easier to carve, assemble, and decorate the cake.  So basically you are making things in the order of “White cake – Buttercream – Red velvet cake”.

White cake

You need 4 layers for this cake. 
I did this in a 9 inch round cake tin.  I only have one shallow tin, so I had to bake these in 4 separate batches.  If you have a deeper pan, then you could afford to do it in 2 batches and just horizontally slice the cakes into 4 layers.

To make 2 layers:

150g self raising flour
120g all purpose flour
225g unsalted butter/margarine, softened, room temperature
450g sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
240ml milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
(Optional 1-2 tsp almond extract)

To make 4 layers:

300g self raising flour
240g all purpose flour
450g unsalted butter/margarine, softened, room temperature
900g sugar
8 large eggs, room temperature
480ml milk
2 tsp vanilla essence
(Optional 2-4 tsp almond extract)

1.       350F/180C. 9 inch round cake tin.  Line in foil/baking paper.
2.       Using an electric whisk cream the butter, adding the sugar gradually.  Beat for about 3 minutes until it is fluffy.
3.       Add eggs 1 at a time.
4.       Sift the self raising and all purpose flour together.  Add to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.  Beat until incorporated (rubber spatula). Do not overbeat.
5.       Bake 20-25 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).
6.       Let cool at room temperature. 
7.       When completely cool, it is important to shave/cut off the tops and sides of the cake where it is brown/hardened. Make sure the cakes are level.


The buttercream can be stored in an AIR-TIGHT, dry place at room temperature for 3 days.  Do not put it in the fridge before you begin to ice the cake as it will harden.  I tried to use margarine to make it more healthier, but it does not work.  You have to use butter.

375g unsalted butter (1.5 blocks of 250g) room temperature, softened
650g icing sugar (Don’t worry it’s not too sweet.  Most recipes recommend the butter:icing sugar ratio to be 1:3 or 1:4.  Do it according to your tastebuds. The more icing sugar, the more firmer the icing is.)
150ml milk
3 tsp vanilla essence
2-3 tsp almond extract


1.       Cream the butter with 2/3 of the sugar. 
2.       Then add milk and vanilla.
3.       Beat until creamy (3-5 minutes).
4.       Add the rest of the sugar, 100g at a time. Beating for 1 minute after each addition.
5.       Store at room temperature.

Sandwiching Time- Part 1

1.       Having shaved/’cleaned’ the white sponges, sandwich 2 layers together with buttercream, so you have 2 lots of 2 layers sandwiched.  A buttercream layer of about 3mm is sufficient. No more than 5mm.
2.       Loosely cling-film the TWO cakes-of-2-layers separately. 
3.       Freeze for a minimum of about 3 hours.  Or leave overnight!

Red velvet cake

I wanted my inner heart to be small and cute (so the cake still looks edibly enticing), but big enough to notice it is a heart, so this is the amount of ingredients I used.  If you want a bigger heart, by all means, adjust the amount of ingredients as appropriate.


120g all purpose flour
60g unsalted butter/margarine, softened, room temperature
80g sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
2 tbs red food colouring
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
120 ml butter milk  (This is basically acidic milk: 120ml milk + 1 tsp cream of tartar) 
1 tsp cider vinegar
0.5 tsp baking soda

1.       Preheat oven 350F/180C.  Line whatever baking tin with foil or baking paper, e.g. a loaf tin would do. You’re going to fork up the cake anyway.
2.       Use electric whisk: cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time.
3.       In a separate container: mix red food colouring, cocoa powder and vanilla essence together.  Add to the batter (of butter, sugar and eggs).
4.       Add buttermilk to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with flour.  For each addition, beat until just incorporated, do not overbeat (so use like a rubber spatula at this point).
5.       In a separate container: stir cider vinegar and baking soda together.  Add to batter. Mix well.
6.       Bake for about 20-30 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).
7.       Ideally leave to cool in the pans for a few hours.  I did it overnight in room temperature.

Sleep Time!


1.       Take the white cakes out of the freezer.
2.       Using a toothpick, pin the centre of each cake. 
3.       Use a knife to outline a circle on each surface.  This will be the fattest part of the heart.
4.       You will be putting the 2 cakes together, so make sure your circle outlines are aligned!
5.       Now carve with a knife and metal spoon!  Carve so that you cut into the butter cream and go slightly (about 1cm) into the next layer of the cake.  Be careful not to cut all the way through the 2 layers!
6.       One cake (bottom) will have an upside-down-cone: this it he bottom of the heart.  To define the heart, use the sharp-pointed knife to make a sharp pointed heart tip.
7.       One cake (top) will have a blackhole-shape.  Again be careful with the centre of the shape.  You want a shape (defined) heart dent.
8.       Once you’ve finished carving, thinly layer the voids with buttercream.  This will smoother out any crumbs and make the shape neater.
9.       Make sure you know which carved shape is the bottom and top.
10.   Freeze for about 15 minutes.  In the meanwhile, move onto the next step - forking.

Forking of Red Velvet Cake

1.       It is important to shave/cut off the tops and sides of the cake where it is brown/hardened. You just want the soft red sponge bit.
2.       Judge the amount of red velvet cake you’ll need to fill the voids you just carved. 
3.       Fork the amount of cake you’ll need using 2 forks
4.       Take about 1.5 tablespoons of buttercream and add 1-2 drops of red colouring. 
5.       Mix the pink/red buttercream with the forked red velvet.

Sandwiching Time- Part 2

1.       Take the white cakes out.
2.       Fill the voids with red velvet.  Make sure you don’t over fill the voids.
3.       Apply a thin (No more than 3mm) layer of butter cream between the two cakes.
4.       On a strong plate, put the cakes on top of each other – COMBINE (hopefully aligned!)
5.       Tidy the sides a bit – get rid of any crumbs.  Apply a thin(!) layer of buttercream icing all over the cake – sides, tops.  Freeze for 1 hour.
6.       If you want the sides of your cake to be ‘clean’ ie. just plain buttercream icing, or use flaked almonds, then just refrigerate your cake for an hour.  Because it will be easier to apply your final layer of buttercream icing in a smooth fashion or make the flaked almonds stick to the icing at room temperature.


1.       Fruit: think of using different colours.  MUST HAVES are strawberries (when you cut them in half, you get a heart shape).  I used passion fruit, raspberries, blueberries, red and green grapes, cherries and kiwis.  Blackberries and mangoes can be used too.  Wash, drain, then soak in a bowl of about 1:1 ratio of vanilla essence and icing sugar (probably about 3 tsps needed) for about 10 minutes.  This gives the fruits a shiny-ness to it.
2.       Take the heavy 4 layer cake out of the freezer.
3.       Use the rest of your buttercream icing: applying a smooth flat layer all over your cake – saving a reserve of about 50-100g for fancy icing decorations.  The icing will harden very quickly due to the cake being frozen.
4.       Slap and slightly press the side decorations on – I used Hazelnut Brittle (from Lidl).  Because they’re small bits of hazelnut, it was easy (no mess!) to apply because the buttercream was quite hard (from being frozen). 
5.       Arrange the fruit.  Think of hearts and symmetry.  You can use wafers, chocolate shapes, swirls…etc.
6.       The fancy icing decoration comes last.  The ones I did are just simple and straight forward. You just need a piping mouth and bag/tube.  It’s just basically placing the mouth piece about 5mm away from the surface, apply pressure, squeeze out some icing, withdraw your mouth so that the icing tapers.  Simple.
7.       Then refrigerate!!  Especially having frozen it – ideally keep it in the fridge for about 6 hours.  Just to make sure it’s completely defrosted!  I personally left it overnight.

So that’s it folks!  Ask the cake-receiver to cut the cake clean with a sharp knife at an 90’ angle!!


The cake richness/sweetness was just right.  I’m not an avid fan of lots of buttercream – but you may or may not decide to slather the cake with buttercream. 
The fruit really complements the cake (butter/egg) and makes it more refreshing and ‘healthier’…and prettier – so there’s no such thing as too much fruit!! Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are a MUST for me.

I actually wanted to attempt ROSES buttercream icing (“roses and hearts” theme).  It looked so simple to do, but I didn’t have the right piping mouth – I just have really cheap plastic ones.  And I think you need like a particular size and shape metal  mouth.
I love almond extract.  And would recommend to add it into the recipe!

Inspired by 'Iambaker' heart cake recipe.

A post from Emmalily

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Emmalily’s Moist Aubergine Dark Chocolate Brownies

Just as amazing and ‘rich’ in flavour as any other ‘best brownie’ recipe you know.
But it’s healthy: no margarine/butter or flour!  The aubergine and eggs holds the structure.  Definitely a surprising recipe – and it only took me 1 hour from start to finish!

Serves 8 people – satisfying whatever huge chocolate craving!


1 (266g) aubergine
200g good dark chocolate (Possible modification: 150g)
35g cocoa powder
40g ground almonds
1 tsp of almond extract (Possible modification: 2 tsp)
2 medium eggs
125g clear honey
(Optional 1 tbsp brandy)


1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C/350F. Line a baking tin with baking paper or foil, a loaf tin was used here.

2. Cut and discard the stem of the aubergine off.

3.  Stab the aubergine a few times, put in a covered bowl and microwave for 8 minutes.

4. Slip/shave the skin off (be careful, it’s hot!).

5. Throw the dark chocolate into the bowl with the aubergine, where it will melt.  Mash/blend it into a puree.  Set aside.

6. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together (cocoa powder, ground almonds, eggs, honey), then mix in the chocolate and aubergine.

7.  Place int the oven. It took 40 minutes to bake, and it was just right.  (Ovens may vary, so keep checking from 30-50 mins.  Put a toothpick into it, so that it comes out clean or almost clean.)

8. Leave to cool in the tin for ~20 minutes.  It’s even lusher when it’s completely cooled.  I served mine the next day and it was very moist and chocolatey.


1. If I was to modify the recipe, I would use less dark chocolate.  It was a very chocolately brownie, and my guests said it was just right, but I don’t like too rich cakes.  I found that just one square (5x5cm) was satisfyingly enough (and I have a big chocolate capacity).  So I think about 150g dark chocolate would be about right.  

2. Another modification is that I would add a bit more almond extract – maybe just 1 more tsp – just to give it more of an aroma.  Also because almond extract really compliments dark chocolate.  

I bought a 200g dark chocolate bar from Lidl for 99p - the cheapest and good quality chocolate that I have found thus far.  

This recipe was adapted from Norfolk Kitchen Blogspot, but I only had ONE aubergine, so I adapted the amount of ingredients appropriately, and also made some other modifications. 

A post from Emmalily.

Strawberry, banana and orange cupcakes/muffins

It's summer, which means that strawberries are all around. Also there are always over ripe bananas lying around which need to be used up. This recipe makes a very moist cake, with the strawberry making the cupcakes look very colourful and pretty even without icing. The cake mainly tastes of banana, with a hint of orange and the pieces of strawberry provide moist juiciness to every bite.  I found that this recipe is better suited as a muffin than a cupcake because once you eat one cupcake you want more, hence the muffin sizing is ideal! I highly recommend this recipe as it was really yummy and was also very easy to make.

This recipe can be found on the 'For the love of cooking' blog.

Avacado Cupcakes (with butter free icing)

I bought quite a few avacados the other day, not one of the vegetables i commonly buy, and wondered what to do with them all. Since I love cupcakes i thought why not try making avadado cupcakes. I have never heard about or eaten avacado cupcakes or any dessert with avacados so didn't know what they would turn like. However the idea of having avacado in the cupcake makes it sound much healthier and you forget about the sugar and butter you are eating, instead you think about the vitamins and minerals. Did you know a diet high in avacados can lower cholesterol; I am not saying that these cupcakes are exactly healthy but I guess they are a better choice than chocolate cupcakes for example. Furthermore the best bit about this cupcake is the lovely green colour with no artificial colourings.This is definitely an interesting flavour, quite different from other cupcakes I have tasted, and I would love to know your thoughts on it.


Avacado cupcakes:
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
3 eggs
2 avacados
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt

Avacado Icing:
1 avacado
Juice of 1/2 lemon (definitely needed as this stops the avacado mixture from turning brown)
4 cups icing sugar


For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix butter and sugar well so that they combined.
3. Mash or blend the 2 avacados and mix this ino the butter mixture.
4. Add the eggs and whisk until combined.
5. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture in parts, slowly folding the flour in.

6. Line a cupcake tray with paper paper cases and add the mixture to them.
7. Bake for 20 mins. Leave the cupcakes to cool once they are done.

For the icing:
1. Put the flesh of 1 avacado into the blender so that it is smooth and there are no lumps.
2. Mix the juice of half a lemon into the avacado mixture.
3. Slowly add the icing sugar to the avacado mixture, mixing well after each addition.
4. Judge the consistency of the icing- if it is too runny add more icing sugar.
5. The best bit- ice the cupcakes.

A post from FullestofLife

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Mexican Tres Leches Flan

I have been inspired by Mexican food lately and I also love any dairy based dessert, so i guess that this recipes ties both these together. This recipe is sooooo very easy to make, you just put all the ingredients in the blender and then straight into the oven. And even better it is also very delicious.


For the flan:
1 cup milk
1 397g can condensed milk
1 410g can evapourated milk
 3 eggs

For the caramel syrup:
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp water


1.Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2.Caramelise the sugar by adding the sugar and water to a saucepan and leave to boil on a high flame. As the water evapourates, the mixture should get thicker and more syrup like. You will know when it caramelises as the syrup first turns yellowish (reduce to a medium flame as you don't want the mixture to burn), then becomes darker in colour. Eventually it should be dark brown. Add a little water if the mixture gets too thick (you want it to be syrupy). Be careful not to let the mixture burn by removing it from the heat once it turns begins to turn a darker brown.

3.Pour the caramel mixture onto the bottom of the baking dish you are going to use for your flan.

4.Make the flan mixture by adding all the flan ingredients into a blender until well blended.

5.Pour the flan mixture over the caramel syrup already in the baking dish.

6. Place the baking dish into another larger baking dish/tray, then create a double boiler by boiling a kettle of water and adding this to a larger baking dish. The water should come up to about half way on the  flan dish.

7.Carefully place in the oven and bake for 1 hr. You can ckeck if it is done by placing a knife in the centre and it should come out clean, if not leave it in a little bit longer.

8.Let it cool. Then take a plate and place it over the flan dish and turn upside down so that the flan comes out of the dish.

9.Refrigerate, the flan is much better chilled.


Optional: You can add a teaspoon of coffee granules to the flan mixture and sprinkle some on top whilst baking.

A post from FullestofLife

Friday, 8 July 2011

Banana toffee soufflé

These banana toffee soufflés turned out to be the most perfect soufflés ever! The consistency was soo light and airy, and also the banana flavour was just the extra special touch. Also they rose like a dream, and they only flattened after a good 5 minutes out of the over; not like the soufflés which immediately plumit as soon as the oven door opens.

I have to say that they tasted even better the next day, they were actually quite nice chilled and they were still light anf fluffy.

I added a toffee sauce on top of the warm soufflé, and i found that it went very well; a perfect addition for a really sweet tooth. The toffee sauce was bought from Tesco, however it would probably taste better if you made your own; then again it takes more time.

I would definitely make this recipe again. Maybe next time i would try a chocolate sauce instead, and maybe add chocolate chips to the soufflé mixture- imagine the warm goeey chocolate amongst the light soufflé; heaven.

This recipe can be found on the 'Sugarlaws' blog:

A post from FullestofLife

First post

So this is my first blog ever. I want this blog to evolve over time,slowly growing into a compiliation of recipes, pictures and thoughts. So keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming posts.