Category Archives: Recipes

Elephant Cupcakes

I’ve noticed that as I’ve become busier in other areas of my life, I’ve found less time and less inspiration to challenge my baking skills. I’ve tended to bake old favourites which I know are easy enough that there’s pretty much guaranteed success.

But I know that it’s good to occasionally push the boundaries and do something new, so when Cake Decorating Store offered to send me some surprise baking goodies with the challenge to whip something up with them, I said, ‘Challenge accepted!’

When the package arrived, I opened it and saw some cute jungle animal cookie cutters, an edible ink pen, and a packet of coloured fondant.

So many options, so many choices! I gave some thought to what I could do with the materials and remembered that L’s birthday was coming up. She loves elephants so I stole a bit of inspiration from the back of the cookie cutter package and decided to make some little blue elephants out of the fondant, and attach them to the top of cupcakes.

I’d never worked with fondant before so I read up on how to handle it, how to blend colours and how to roll it out. It turned out to be easier than I expected, though I found out the hard way that it can be quite brittle once it’s dry and crack if you’re not careful! I also learned that I needed to keep the fondant wrapped well when not using it, otherwise it will dry out and become difficult to work with.

While the toppers looked great, I’ve never really liked the taste of fondant so the cupcakes themselves were the real star for me. I made some lemon cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream icing and gently pressed the cupcakes toppers on the icing. I loved the zesty flavour of the lemon cupcakes, but most importantly, the birthday girl loved them too!


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Popcorn Macarons

I don’t like popcorn. People look at me weirdly when I say that, because how could you not like popped corn kernels doused in butter? But seriously, I just think that popcorn doesn’t really have much flavour apart from salt, and it gets stuck in your teeth, and it’s kind of just like eating air. Salty air.

When I was contacted by Planet Popcorn, a Taiwanese handmade popcorn chain, who offered to send me some popcorn samples, I was all ready to politely decline, but then I saw the flavours. Double Chocolate. Basil Chicken. CORN SOUP. I was officially intrigued and happily accepted the samples. This was a good thing, because this popcorn was pretty awesome – especially the savoury flavours. The basil chicken was peppery and slightly spicy, and the corn soup tastes exactly like the hot corn soup you get out of vending machines in Japan.

Even the original flavour was good, with a very light, sweet coating around each buttery popped corn kernel, ensuring that each piece of popcorn stays crunchy. I thought that the sweet and salty flavour was perfect to go in a popcorn-based dessert, so I decided to make these awesome popcorn macarons.

I realised I hadn’t made macarons in a couple of years, and I could definitely tell I was out of practice. It didn’t help that this was the first time baking macarons in my current oven, so despite using the same recipe that I’ve used numerous times before, the temperature was a bit off and they nearly failed on me.

So even though they weren’t my best work, they still turned out pretty tasty with a gooey caramel filling and bits of crunchy popcorn sprinkled on top. The other popcorn flavours were devoured pretty quickly by everyone, with the crowd favourites being the corn soup, basil chicken, coffee and original flavours. If you want to try some of Planet Popcorn’s popcorn, head over to Westfield Hurstville between 13th-17th April to the new Planet Popcorn store where there will be giveaways, prizes and other launch offers. Don’t forget to pick up a packet of corn soup flavoured popcorn too!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

I can’t believe it’s Christmas already! The year has flown by, especially the last few months which have been crazy busy for me. I’ve been lucky enough to have some time off work before Christmas so got stuck into the Christmas baking straight away, starting off with the usual gingerbread.

A photo posted by Jacq (@jacq_in_a_box) on

I’ve still got a couple of desserts and things to make over the next few days, but I thought that I’d revisit this flourless chocolate cake that I made last year for Christmas (but never got around to blogging about…. oops). Flourless chocolate cake was a cake I made from the first cookbook I was ever gifted, and probably kick-started my love of baking and cookbooks.

This flourless chocolate cake is adapted from a recipe from the queen of delicious, fattening things and midnight snacking from the fridge, Nigella Lawson. It’s a rich, fudgey cake that I think sums up well what Christmas feasting means for me – indulgence and a little bit of gluttony. Don’t be surprised if you find me piling my plate high with glazed ham, turkey and fresh prawns, and then collapsing onto the sofa for a well-earned post-feasting nap.

You could make this cake any time of year really, but a few strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar turns it into something a bit more festive. Even if you’re greeted with a few groans from people who have over-eaten when this cake is brought out, don’t pay attention to them and make sure that everyone has a slice. They won’t regret it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas with their family, friends and loved ones over a delicious meal! Continue reading Flourless Chocolate Cake

Matcha Chiffon Cake

So it occurred to me a few months ago that it’s been AGES since I’ve posted a recipe – not since October last year in fact. It’s not that I don’t cook often because we eat regularly at home and I do bake for people’s birthdays and other special occasions, but sometimes I just can’t be bothered styling the food and taking photos of it. I just want to eat it.

So I thought it was time to get my mojo back, and even though I still haven’t quite got this food styling thing, it’s nice to be able to share recipes and baking successes – so here is my first recipe post in over 6 months.

I’ve had a chiffon cake tin for years and always had the intention of making it, but the thought of flat and dense chiffon cakes had always scared me off making them. I don’t know why I was so worried because after doing a bit of research and finding a recipe, I made my first chiffon cake with much success!

I chose matcha flavour because green tea is awesome and also because I’d just come back from Japan and was craving matcha desserts. The green tea flavour is quite subtle in this cake but what I particularly love about chiffon cakes is the light and airy texture which makes you feel like you’re eating a cloud. A green tea flavoured cloud!

I used a recipe that I adapted from Keiko Ishida’s book Okashi: Sweet Treats made with Love. The recipe calls for 5 eggs but uses a 20cm tin, so I have increased the amounts to fit my 25cm tin. This recipe worked really well for me and I’ve used it to also make a pandan flavoured chiffon cake and chocolate flavoured chiffon cake. Yep, there’s definitely going to be plenty of chiffon in my future! Continue reading Matcha Chiffon Cake

Homemade Tacos

You can tell that summer is just around the corner, with some of the 30+ degree days we’ve had lately! The heat just makes me feel like eating something cool and refreshing for dinner, and home made tacos are a great option, with minimal cooking required.

The steak filling is marinated in some spices, lime juice and tequila, and then seared on the stove until medium rare. You can also use other meats as well – I’ve tried the marinade with chicken and it tastes just as good.

The flour tortillas are also made from scratch, which admittedly requires a little bit of elbow grease. You don’t have to make your own flour tortillas, but once I realised how easy they were to make, it was well worth the effort and now I can’t go back to the store bought kind.

Once you’ve browned the tortillas, rested the steak, chopped up some avocado and tomato and squeezed on a little bit of lime juice, you have your very own home made tacos for dinner. The best thing about this recipe is that you can really throw in whatever takes your fancy – some chopped cabbage or lettuce, Spanish onion, pickled jalapenos, some corn or cheese… The possibilities are endless!

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