Easy Banana Bread Recipe

Banana bread was always a staple in my house growing up. Whenever there was a ripe banana in sight my mom would make her gorgeous banana bread. Over the years she’s changed her recipe, but it still tastes the same. Beautifully moist, dense and extremely moreish. We’d eat it with lashings of butter and it always, always tasted better when it was a few days old wrapped in tin foil to let the flavours develop.

My husband also loves banana bread and when we first met I used to make it at every opportunity. He complains now that I never make it any more, but there is a reason for this. Our 4 year old has a huge love of bananas and along with his dad…they must go through at least 15 bananas a week! If and when I remember to hide them, there will be a noticeable shortage of banana bread in the house.

Every so often, we do get a few bananas going a little ripe. When this happens I quickly freeze them, so as to have then on hand when the need arises. Here’s a take on my mom’s delicious banana bread. Check out her other recipes on her Facebook page. You’ll find more home comforts and traditional South African recipes. 🇿🇦 ❤️

Easy banana bread recipe

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed (the ripe the better!!!)

100mls vegetable oil

200g brown sugar (the recipe calls for white, but brown sugar gives the banana bread a denser more flavourful loaf….sorry mama)

2 eggs

175g all purpose flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Easy Banana Bread Recipe

Method:

Using a mixer, wooden spoon or simply a fork, mix together the brown sugar and oil.

Easy Banana Bread Recipe

Add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Throw in the flour, bicarb. Give it  a mix until there are no lumps, then add the mashed banana.

Easy Banana Bread Recipe

Pour into a lined loaf pan (I use a silicon mould, no greasing required) and bake at 180 degrees C for an hour.

Let cool, unmold and serve with butter….my husband enjoys it slathered with peanut butter too x

Easy Banana Bread Recipe

 

Madame Lalaurie, the magic of NOLA and Sugar Blood!

Madame Lalaurie Cake

Ever since I can remember I’ve had a strong connection to New Orleans. As a little girl I read everything I could get my hands on about her history. I would get lost in books about the Deep South and spend hours reading about the culture and history and of course the ghost stories and legends. The architecture, the landscape, the folklore, ALL OF IT just takes my breath away.  I remember being so terribly saddened when Hurricane Katrina hit as one of my first thoughts was that this beautiful and historically rich city would be lost forever. 

 

The Spanish Moss that is so prevalent in New Orleans gives me all the feels. I literally get a lump in my throat every time I see it and I have to hold back the tears when I see trees adorned with this magnificent foliage. 

I’ve never actually been to NOLA, (although I feel in my bones that I have) I got as far as Shreveport. But I’ll get there someday….along with a list of other places my soul belongs (India and Egypt being among them) I just have to!

When the collaboration ‘Cakes that go Bump in The Night’ came up I just knew I wanted to be apart of it. I decided to base my piece on the legend of Madame LaLaurie. The story is horrific, heinous and just downright evil. I really did think twice about even creating this piece on the subject. It’s a teeny bit controversial. But it happened, it was awful and just plain wrong, but history needs to be told. We can’t just forget the injustices and horrific treatment of fellow human beings. 

Madame Delphine Lalaurie Cake

Delphine LaLaurie was born in 1780 and a New Orleans Creole Socialite in the French Quarters. She was a successful business woman and owned many slaves. Unfortunately she was a sadist and took pleasure in torturing and murdering them as well. Over the years the stories started to get larger than life and more hideous, but then again no one will ever truly know what went on in the LaLaurie Mansion. Delphine was eventually found out when a fire that was apparently set by her kitchen slave who had had enough, brought the attic door to the attention of the local authorities. When the door was finally opened, the horrors of what had been going on came to light. Madame LaLaurie escaped to Paris where she took on another name, and lived there until her death in 1849.  Her remains were sent back to New Orleans where she was buried. 

I absolutely LOVED Kathy Bates in American Horror Story and I think she did an amazing portrayal of Delphine LaLaurie. I also really enjoy sculpting faces from fondant and modelling chocolate so whenever the opportunity arises I go for it. I still have a long way to go until I feel like my work is even to a standard that I am truly happy with, but I’m proud of my efforts and I’m looking forward to future projects to try to perfect my faces.  Avalon Yarnes of Avalon Cakes is an amazing inspiration when it comes to sculpting faces and I’ve learned so much from her and I continue to do so ALL THE TIME.

I used a mix of modelling chocolate and fondant to sculpt the face. It’s easier to work with, less expensive than using 100% modelling chocolate and when combined with fondant it still makes your work seamless.

To make the ‘blood’ I used a mixture of glucose syrup, red food dye and coca powder. Mix mix mix and you’re good to go. 

Please check out the other cakes in the Cakes that go Bump in the Night Collaboration. They’re fantastic! And while you do, I’ll be dreaming of eating warm beignets in the Deep South 😋 x

 

BAKED Peanut Butter Cheesecake RECIPE

It was my husbands 34th birthday a few days ago and every year I make him something peanut butter related. It’s a running joke in the family about his peanut butter obsession and the fact that he eats so much of it, that he might develop a severe allergic reaction. He doesn’t seem to think it’s so funny…and to be honest I think it worries him slightly 😜 He even has a monthly subscription on Amazon   for his addiction, and even then we still have to supplement his need for the stuff on our weekly Tesco shops. Last year was a peanut butter layer cake with a rich chocolate ganache and decorated with loads of Reese’s candy. The year before that was a Peanut Butter Pie, and this year it’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake.

Cheesecake is a bit of a specialty of mine. I LOVE a good cheesecake, and I’m not gonna lie, if you call it a cheesecake and it’s not been baked…we’re gonna have words. Baked cheesecakes are the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a dessert that’s quick and easy and just needs a few ingredients, only to have to pop it in the fridge for a few hours to set. Then, my loves, we call it a pie, or a tart,  or as we call them in South Africa, a fridge tart. I digress, 

I ALWAYS include sour cream in my cheesecake recipes. The sour cream adds that extra bit of fat, and it makes a gloriously smooth mouth feel that is present in every good cheesecake. Another rule…ALWAYS use full fat cream cheese. It adds to the richness and the flavour. The texture and consistency is much smoother as well. I’ve tried with different brands and trust me when I say as I always like to find a good bargain, but I’m still a firm believer that Philadelphia Cream Cheese, full fat is the way to go. 

Generally I make West Coast Cheesecakes which include sour cream in the mixture as well as a sour cream topping which is added after the cheesecake is baked. You then add it to the baked cheesecake and then give it a few more minutes in the oven to set the top. I didn’t bother with that step in this particular Peanut Butter cheesecake recipe, only because the cheesecake was going to be covered in a rich ganache topping anyway. Anyway…here’s the recipe. Give it a go and let me know your thoughts!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Recipe Peanut Butter Oreos

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 2 packs Peanut Butter Oreos
  • 100 grms Butter, melted

Blitz the Oreos in a food processor and add the melted butter. Mix together and spoon into a 9inch springform tin. You can absolutely use regular oreos or even digestives with a bit if cocoa powder…but I was kinda working with a theme here 😉 

Peanut butter cheesecake crust recipeReece's Peanut Butter Cheesecake Recipe

 

 

Preheat the oven to 160 C. 

A slow bake is crucial for a lovely creamy cheesecake. You may want to even wrap your tin in a couple layers of tin foil and place in a water bath to get that extra moist bake. I just made sure to keep checking on my cheesecake. You really don’t want to ovebake or the cheesecake will develop a graininess and result in a dry crumb.

Reece's Baked Peanut butter cheesecake 

The beauty of this recipe is that you throw all the ingredients in to one bowl and give it a mix. Do not over mix. You really want to avoid incorporating too much air into the batter.

Baked Peanut Butter Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients for the cheesecake

  • x2 280g tubs of Full fat Cream Cheese
  • 250mls Sour Cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 eggs
  • 250mls smooth peanut butter
  • 175g soft brown sugar

Add all ingredients to one bowl and whisk until everything is incorporated. Save those 3 egg whites and make yourself a healthy omelette. You’ll feel less guilty eating a slice of this cheesecake after that…or is that just me? 😬🙈

Side note; you really want to avoid using the 100% all natural peanut butter. It messes with the recipe. I used Sunpat Crunchy….smooth is recommended for most peanut butter recipes but Kyle always insists on crunchy, so its usually what we have on hand. I do enjoy crunchy peanut butter for the added texture, and its somewhat more of a meal..but smooth just glides over your toast so much better…AMMA right?! 💕

Baked Peanut Butter Cheesecake Recipe Reese's

Pour the batter into your Crust and chuck it in the oven for a good 45 minutes. To be honest guys, I never really time my cakes. I check back a lot. After 45 minutes I did turn the cake to make sure that it was all baking evenly. I took the cake out when it was still slightly wobbly in the middle as it will still continue to cook after it’s been taken out of the oven. Don’t be scared to take it out too soon. That gentle wobble is crucial for getting a perfectly baked cake! Trust me! I ended up with a lusciously smooth, creamy and pretty damn irresistible cake if I do say so myself!

Baked Peanut Butter Cheesecake Recipe Reese's

I let this baby cool at room temp for about an hour then in the microwave I melted 50g of dark chocolate with 100mls of double cream. 

 

I gave this a good mix, then poured it over the cake and spread the chocolate over the sides. I chopped up some salted peanuts, Reese’s pieces, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and minis and decorated the outer edge of the cheesecake. 

Reese's peanut butter cheesecake recipe

Reese's Peanut butter cheesecake recipe

Kyle was extremely happy with his birthday treat and had an extra large slice. It went down really well with the rest of the crew as well. Give it a bash guys! Let me know how you get on and please feel free to get in touch with any questions, comments or suggestions you might have. I enjoyed my slice with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and it seemed to pair just beautifully 😏 although I do suggest a cup of tea 💓

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Week in the Life of a Mad Caker (Client complaints, Croup, and all that fun stuff)

This week was one of those week’s that I had to mentally prep for on Sunday night. I checked my diary….then checked my emails…then checked my diary again. Just in case! Because this week was a busy one. One of those busy ones that the panic doesn’t set in just yet, only because the excitement of actually being organised overcomes all that. Yeah I’m weird like that..and I LOVE lists. They excite me. I love writing down every little thing that’s needing done, and then checking them off one by one. There’s something so satisfying about it. And if I’ve done something that wasn’t on the list, you bet your butt I’m gonna write it down only to cross it off…that’s not just me right?!

So the week started off with my Monday shop….20lbs of butter, 15kgs of sugar and about 8 dozen eggs..at least. I made my list of what to bake. 12 cakes…and about 70 shortbread. So I’ve totally got this right?! ermm…not so much. I should have started baking but I was tired…so I left it. I’m the best at procrastinated, and work very well under pressure. So I baked on Tuesday….and no, baking on Tuesday doesn’t mean you’re going to have a stale cake on Saturday. I tend to back, slice and freeze. Freezing my friends, is THE best thing you can do for your cake, especially if you do it as soon as you’ve let the cake cool a bit, tightly wrap in cling film/Saran wrap and bam, Bob’s your uncle. Freezing your cake when it’s still warm will keep all that moisture in your cake and once thawed will be even better and much less dry (do you notice how I’m trying not to use the word ‘moist’ here) than a cake that’s not been frozen at all….True story. This whole frozen cake stigma has GOT to go. Just don’t leave them in the freezer for months on end. No one likes freezer flavoured cake..and yes, that’s a thing.

Anyway, once the cakes were baked it’s really a matter of getting all fillings made up, decorations done and children enterained, And cleaning as you go is a HUGE must…looking at my kitchen mid week you’d probably think I don’t actually heed my own advice.

Anyway, first cake to go out the door…this sweet little washing machine cake. I LOVED making it, even though I despise square cakes and I avoid them where I can. And getting them perfectly square, I’m having heart palpitations just thinking about it. Anyway its a double tall 6 inch vanilla cake filled with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  To make the folded towels I rolled out a bit of gumpaste, cut it into squares and used a clean an fluffy dishtowel and made an impression on to the paste to give it some texture. I scored the edges with my knife folded each square.

Washing machine cake

Next was this adorable Wall-E cake. The design was sent to me by my customer. I changed it up just a teeny bit and made all my figures with modelling chocolate. The figures take some time, so I usually make them a week or 2 before on my ‘days off’, thus trying to avoid the monster that emerges within when I’m panicking about time. Its extremely unfair on my family , especially my unsuspecting children.  Kyle just lurks in the shadows and stays out of my way except to thrust hot cups of coffee into my hands every so often to tame the beast.

Wall-e 4th birthday cake

After Wall-e there were bout 5 dozen cupcakes to go out, which at this point I didn’t even bother about taking photo’s. After awhile priorites are just making sure to get the kids fed and the cakes done. Did I mention that the element in my oven blew? Yep, so now I’m using the top oven…tiny, and no fan. So I can only use the one rack at a time and constantly rotate my cakes to ensure even heat distribution! So 70 shortbread took 3 times longer to bake. But I made it work….

Next up was Saturday’s wedding cake for the beautiful Heather and her groom John. They opted for a 3 tier rustic cake adorned with fresh flowers arranged by Isabel Ross of B’Izzy L’izzy’s. Isabel kinda sorta took over the cake decorating and I just watched. I’m not gonna lie, it was kinda nice after a hectic week…..and I totally trust her so I had nothing to worry about.

3 tier rustic wedding cake with purple florals  3 tier rustic buttercream and florals cake

So now the weeks coming to a close….did I mention my son has croup?! I didn’t initially realise what it was until I heard it had been going around, and despite me being known to be a total symptom checker on Google….this time it really was for real! So he’s being awfully clingy and what can you do but just drop everything for kisses and cuddles and 2am wakeups. I was just really thankful that Kyle’ s days off coincided with my hectic enough week already…I digress.  My last 2 cakes of the week are probably my 2 favourites. They were made for twin girls celebrating their 8th birthday’s. When I finished these (after a 6am wakeup to decorate a smash cake and put finishing touches on these babies) Jaxon decided that he wanted these for his birthday. And if my children love it, and I get a ‘wow mom!! You’re the best cake maker EVER’, I feel pretty confident that the child receiving the cake will be pretty pleased too 😀

 

2 tier rainbow sprinkles and butterflies cake Fair food 2 tier birthday cake with corndogs, lollipops, donuts and popcorn

Oh and did I mention the complaint during all this?! 🙈🙊…Yeah I usually don’t disclose this information to those who could be potential clients…but guys. I’m human. I have my off days, don’t we all? Complaints don’t happen often, thankfully, but now if and when they do happen, I handle them without letting it negatively affect my day. Or week….or month. I was really proud of myself when handling this particular complaint. Because the old me would’ve cried for days, thrown a fit and threatened to throw in the towel because im just not good enough. I would’ve allowed somebody to bring be down with the sharp end of their words to the point of breaking me.  But I’m at a hugely spiritual point in my life that when people are just mean and disrespectful I just shower them with more love and empathy. Because they need it. We all need it.  And kindness gets you everywhere. And it takes no huge effort on my part, and I get taught a lesson in humility as well. We all screw up. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing a specific job. It happens to us all. And we can all use a lesson in humility once in a while 😉 And before you ask, I’m not going to show you pictures. Not because I’m embarrassed. I fixed my mistake… And I know we can’t please everyone…But I’m not here to bring anyone down. I’m just here to love ❤ 

Y’all must be wondering how my house gets cleaned through all this…..it doesn’t. that’s what mondays were invented for. Yesterday I cleaned the house from top to bottom. 5 loads of laundry, 2 loads in the dishwasher, toilets cleaned, house hoovered, floors mopped, dusting done, clothes put away, beds made, counters bleached, dinner and gin and tonics to relax. And wow! A clean and organised home is the answer to a clear mind. Early bed and meditation and I’m ready for the next week!

On that note, I’m off to work on this week’s wedding cake…and with that will come a new product I’m working on for my Donut Eat Bakery business. Watch this space…..

I would love to hear from you guys so please feel free to leave a comment! I always try to respond in a timely fashion 🙂 xx

 

 

 

 

 

How I made my Noah’s Ark Cake

I know, I know, I’ve been a bit scarce of late. I promise there’s a reason for this…a few actually. Mainly, I’m tired. Not in the ‘I haven’t had enough sleep and my kids are driving me crazy’ kinda tired, although that’s not far wrong either 😉 Tired as in my soul is tired. But I’m getting there. And guys, what the actual eff? Continue reading “How I made my Noah’s Ark Cake”

Cake International Birmingham 2016 My Marie Antoinette Cake

cakemastersawards2016
Myself and Victoria at the Cake Masters awards
Myself and Michelle Green of The Business of Baking. I was DELIGHTED to meet this amazing woman xx

Today is one of those days that I feel like that successful mom. You know those mornings that you wake up to a clean house, the kids are dressed (okay just the one, but believe me that’s progress in my books), you’ve got showered, dressed, hair and makeup done. The coffee pot is brewing away and scrambled eggs and bacon are cooking on the stove and it’s not even 9am on a Saturday morning?! Yeah I’m relishing in this too as it NEVER happens.

Continue reading “Cake International Birmingham 2016 My Marie Antoinette Cake”