Posts Tagged ‘easy’

Magic Vanilla Cake

This is a picture from the week I first landed in the US, exactly one year ago.


First week in NY


I was jet-lagged and yet crazy excited to begin my new life in a new country with a new husband (only husband 😛 ) and new everything!


And here I am one year later.




What a whirlwind this year has been. It’s had its ups and downs but I would have never guessed how perfectly things would come together in the end.


I won’t lie – it’s been a BIG adjustment. Moving away from everyone I know and love, from friends and family, from a wonderful job, from all things familiar. The furthest I been away from Mom and Dad is a four hour flight. Now that’s 18 hours. That is still the absolute hardest thing to stomach.


But this has certainly been a year touched by magic. Setting up a new home, learning what it means to be married (it means sharing bacon and blankets and it can get tough), finding a job I love, travelling to some gorgeous places I’ve never seen before and meeting amazing people.




This year has taught me that making that big change can be terrifying, but if you take the leap, whatever comes of it, you will be better, stronger and happier at the end of it.


There’s magic to be found in the most unlikely places.


Like even in this cake! It has some relatively basic pantry ingredients but once you bake it, it magically becomes three delicious layers – light and fluffy top, custard-y center and dense, cake-y base! Whaaaa?!


The cake itself isn’t very sweet, and is rather light. It’s not egg-y either! Just make sure you use good quality vanilla extract.


Here’s how you pull the rabbit out of the hat 🙂


Magic Vanilla Cake

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Serves: 8-10


Magic Cake 1




115g/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus a little more for greasing

4 eggs, separated

150g/ 1 and 3/4 cup icing sugar

115g/ 1 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

475ml/ 2 cups milk, slightly warm


Magic Cake 2




  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF and grease a 8 by 8 inch baking tin with butter. Using an electric whisk, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then set aside.
  2. In a different bowl, beat the egg yolks and icing sugar until pale and well combined. Add the melted and cooled butter with a tablespoon of water and mix again. Add the flour and combine well.
  3. Add the vanilla and then gradually pour in the milk, whisking all the time. Now gently fold in the reserved egg whites a little at a time. Once everything is well combined, pour into the tin and bake for about 45-50 minutes. The center will be slightly wobbly once done but will harden as it cools once removed from the oven. Serve warm.


Happy weekend! Love you’ll! 😀


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Food cravings are like wizards.


They appear out of nowhere (POOF!) and swirl a wand about (WHOOSH!) and say to you – You need a gooey, dark chocolate cake in your life.


It looks like this, the wizard says. Exactly like this.

Chocolate lava cake 3

You have to make one this very minute, the wizard says. No, I don’t care that it’s 11 pm and you’re in your pyjamas. You want this NOW.


All that’s left to do is give into the wizard’s command. He looks like Gandalf okay? Can you say no that face?


So I put together this gooey, delicious dark chocolate batter and pop it in the oven.

Chocolate lava cake 1

Look how you can tell the centre is still soft underneath once its ready? 😍

Chocolate lava cake 2

This lava cake has to be eaten the second it comes out of the oven. When you cut into it and see the warm and intensely chocolate-ty centre ooze out, you will know everything is right with the world.

Chocolate lava cake 5

The wizard knows my soul.


Chocolate Lava Cake for two


Recipe adapted from: Buzzfeed’s Christine Byrne


Prep time: 12 mins
Cook time: 11 mins, plus cooling
Serves: 2




2 tbsp butter (unsalted and at room temperature), plus a bit more to grease the ramekins
2 tbsp caster sugar, plus a bit more for the ramekins
115 g dark chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 tbsp flour, sifted
pinch of salt
a couple drops of vanilla extract
icing sugar to dust (optional)




1. Preheat the oven to 200º C. Grease two small ramekins with butter and then scatter some caster sugar into each bowl, turning the ramekin around as you do, so that the base and sides are well covered. Tip the ramekin over once done, and throw away any sugar that falls out.
2. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave in 2-3 bursts of 30 seconds each, stirring well between each burst, until completely melted.
3. Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl with the sugar. Cream into a paste using an electric mixer and then add the eggs. Whisk for a minute until everything combines, then add the flour, salt, and vanilla extract and whisk again until well combined.
4. Using a spatula, fold about a third of the melted chocolate into the batter. Slowly add the rest of the chocolate and keep folding until you have a uniform and smooth batter. Pour into the prepared ramekins and place on a baking tray. Bake for about 11 minutes, or until the edges of the cake begin to come away from the ramekins. Leave to rest on the counter for about 5 minutes and then flip onto serving plates. Dust with icing sugar to decorate if you wish, and serve immediately.

Chocolate lava cake 4

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When was the last time you had a real, face-to-face, no holds barred conversation with someone?

One where you’d completely lost track of time?

One where you could keep going for hours and feel the lightness of only minutes having passed you by?

One where the next morning, when you try to remember what you spoke about through the night, all you can recall is a warm feeling.


It’s a magnificent thing – being able to talk about just anything with someone in a fearless, honest and crazy way.

Knowing that nothing you could possibly say would ever result in judgement. That exquisite feeling of being bound by nothing – just indulging in an unrestrained spilling of words.

Swimming in and out of a million different ideas and stories with someone.

Being wrapped up in their lives and minds for a moment, and letting them step into yours.

It’s so beautifully detailed and intricate in some ways, and yet so simple at the same time.

Throw a slice of cheesecake like this one into the mix and you will probably make a friend for life.


A spoonful of this fluffy cheesecake will make you feel like you’re eating a piece of light yellow cloud.


Using just 3 ingredients also makes this a super simple dessert to put together without having to run to the store.

There is something about its delicate, pale yellow, billowy surface that just relaxes me. Do you feel the same? 🙂


3-ingredient Japanese Cheesecake

Recipe from: Happy Home Baking

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins, plus cooling
Serves: 6-8


120 g white chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Meji – a Japanese brand)
120 g cream cheese, softened
3 eggs, separated
sprinkles (optional)



1. Line the base of a 7-inch round cake tin with parchment paper and grease thoroughly. (I used brown paper parchment.)
2. Place the white chocolate pieces in a double boiler, and stir until melted and smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix until incorporated. Remove from the heat and mix in the egg yolks.


3. In another bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff and then very gently fold into the chocolate-cream cheese mixture.


4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place on a baking tray. Fill the tray with some hot water – it can come upto half the side of the cake tin. Bake at 170º C for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 160º C for another 15 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for a final 15 minutes. Let the cheesecake cool completely before removing from the tin. Cut into slices and top with sprinkles if desired.


Simple is always best. Now grab a friend, make some cheesecake, crack open a bottle of wine and let the words flow 🙂

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Hello there!

How’s your week been? It’s Friday evening now, so however it has been, it’s going to get SO much better.

Have a drink! Hang out with some awesome folk! Go dancing! Punch some sandbags!

(I’m going to do allll those things this weekend :))

Also, do one more thing. Make these cookies.


You’ll need only four ingredients (win!) and just a few minutes (more win!).

These cookies are a touch sweet with a kiss of salt. Use any jam or marmalade you like – I used Plum jam.

It’s so much fun doing this.

Once you mix the butter, sugar, and flour together, you make these cute little balls of dough.


Then you stick your thumb in each one to make a groove! Fun, right? 🙂


You can bake these cookies on a baking tray like this.


Or you could pop them into a cupcake tray like this.


Either way, I promise they’ll be delicious.



Jam thumbprint cookies

Prep time: 15 mins, plus chilling
Cook time: 15-20 mins
Makes: about 30


175 g butter, melted (salted is preferable)
75 g caster sugar
250 g flour, sifted
jam or marmalade


1. Place the melted butter in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar. Add the flour a little at a time, gently mixing to incorporate into a dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl. Do not over mix.
2. Place the dough in the fridge for about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line a baking tray with parchment or have a cupcake tray at hand.
3. Roll the dough into small balls between your hands. You should be able to get around 30. Place each ball on the tray and very genty press down in the centre of each, using your thumb. Aim for a small groove, not a big dent. Fill the grooves with jam. Bake for 15 minutes for a fudgier cookie, and 20 minutes for a crispier cookie. Remove from the oven and cool before eating.


Read this delightful Buzzfeed article on 23 Cookies That Will Never Let You Down and come have a bite with me 🙂


Have a lovely weekend! The 30 day Paleo Challenge begins Monday! Stay tuned for lots of updates 🙂

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I’ve made a certain discovery recently.

People. Are. Lazy.

And many of those people are my friends.

One is too lazy to boil eggs. Another is too lazy to turn on a gas stove. A third has pretend palpitations if a recipe has more than 3 steps.

Incidentally all these people love cake. Cake monsters each and every one of them.

So this recipe is for you lazy ones.

Almost zero effort = Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake piece 1

You don’t need a fancy whisk. You don’t need to wash up multiple pots and pans. Heck you don’t even need to crack an egg.

Look, you can even entertain yourself with this scary cake face. It looks like it wants to eat something.
If you find this funny, we can be friends. Like totally.

Chocolate cake scary face

All you need is an arm. And the will to mix a few easy ingredients together. And of course, the desire for some sweet, sweet chocolate cake that’ll make you smile for a week.

Lazy person's chocolate cake

So move your lazy behinds. And make this cake.

One bite and you will send me many kisses. I know it.

The lazy person’s chocolate cake (One bowl, no eggs, no butter, no milk, no whisk)
Adapted from: Sweet Little Bluebird

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Serves: 10


170 g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
225 g caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp vegetable oil, plus a little more for greasing
240ml water
100 g dark chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish with some oil. Add the first 5 ingredients and mix to combine.
2. Make three depressions in the dry ingredients – 2 small and 1 big. Add the vinegar and vanilla to the smaller depressions and the oil to the large one. Pour the water over and mix everything well until you have a smooth batter.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips to evenly distribute them. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, remove, cool, and eat!

This cake is delicious as is, but if you want to really take it to next level, make this super easy, yet utterly divine ganache frosting.

Look at its glistening, gorgeous yumminess.

Baileys ganache

Baileys dark-chocolate soft ganache

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5-7 mins


100 g good-quality dark chocolate
100 ml cream
2 tbsp Baileys (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Heat in the cream in a pan, stirring constantly until small bubbles start to appear at the edges of the pan. Add the Baileys, stir well, and pour over the chocolate.
3. Mix well until the chocolate melts and you have a glossy ganache. Smother over the cake and top with sprinkles if you wish.

Chocolate cake piece 2

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You guys know HOW much I love eggs. I first revealed my undying love for them in this post on Creamy baked eggs.

I love their versatility – how you can bake, fry, boil, steam, and poach them. I love how they add their wonderful creaminess to everything you drop them in. They make soups yummier, pies glossier, sandwiches dreamier, and no self-respecting dessert is ever egg-less.

Or so I thought.

I’m the first person to stick up my nose at “egg-less” cakes. I view them with great suspicion, kinda how I view math.

Math problems

But a couple of days ago, I had to bake an egg-less cake. It was for my cousin’s birthday and some of her friends don’t eat eggs. (I need to meet them and set them straight.)

I wanted this cake to be gooey and moist. And that’s quite the opposite of what egg-less desserts usually are.

Then I chanced upon this blog. One look at the picture and I knew I had to try it.

The batter was the first sign this was going to be good.

Egg-less cake batter

The cake came out crazy moist and utterly chocolately. I could not believe that it had no eggs. How was this possible?

Egg-less cake 1

I think the magic ingredients are the yogurt and the coffee mix. Whatever it is, this has become my favourite chocolate cake and you’ve got to try it.

Egg-less cake 2

Sorry, eggs. I still love you. I promise.

Egg-less chocolate cake
Largely adapted from: Maria’s menu

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35-40 mins
Serves: 10

Inside the cake


For the cake

220 g plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
165 g sugar
110 ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp strong coffee powder dissolved in 50 ml boiling water
50 ml milk
50 g yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting

60 g butter, at room temperature
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
150 g icing sugar, plus more if needed
2 tbsp hot milk, plus more if needed
1 tsp vanilla extract
sprinkles, optional

Egg-less cake 3


For the cake

1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. I used a foil tray to bake this cake since I had to transport it, but you can also you a regular 8-inch round cake tin. Grease and line with parchment.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients. Make a gap in the centre and add the wet ingredients. Whisk everything thoroughly until well combined. You should have a smooth batter with no lumps.
3. Pour into the greased tray/tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting and assembling

1. Mix all the frosting ingredients (minus the sprinkles) and whisk together thoroughly till you have a smooth frosting. You can add more icing sugar to make it stiffer, or loosen it with more milk if you like.
2. Once the cake has cooled, transfer it to a serving plate (if you baked in a tin) and cover the top with frosting. Scatter over sprinkles if you wish. This cake is gooey, and doesn’t slice very neatly, but that’s a small price to pay for the yumminess 🙂 If you prefer neat slices, chill for about an hour before slicing.

Look at this happy face. This is why I bake 🙂

Happy face!

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I just got back from a blissful 5 days in the hills.

Every meal I ate consisted of portions of food that in any other place would be enough to feed at least five adults.

I stared in amazement at beautiful mountains and dark trees.

Told a few monkeys and at least one gorgeous butterfly how I was feeling.

Went on long drives through winding roads and felt alive. Saw some breathtaking sights.

Drank out of these darling mini bottles. Aren’t they just the perfect size?

Spent time with my baby cousins and realized they’re growing into wonderful people. Made me wish I could slow down time a little.

The problem is I’m back now and it’s back to the grind.

I’m not complaining really – but that’s because of these divine, dark, delicious things.

Will you look at them? I know you can’t compare it to a beautiful misty mountain, but I promise this tastes better 😉

So easy to put together, these dark brownies will put you in a holiday mood no matter where you are.

Make some today and be transported!

Quick and Easy brownies
Recipe from: Donna Hay

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Serves: 10


150g butter
275g caster sugar
75g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
75g flour, sifted


1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in a pan over low heat and stir until the butter has melted. Pour into a bowl and add the vanilla and eggs (one at a time), whisking well. Add the flour to the mixture and whisk to combine.
2. Spoon the mixture into a 20cm-square cake tin lined with baking paper. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until centre is just set. Cool in tin and cut into squares to serve.

Here’s a bonus picture of me goofing around. Thank you Dad for patiently taking pictures of me while I danced around tall trees. (Some of the other pictures are taken by him too.)

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