Monday, August 27, 2012

The Big Cake Bake - Knock-their-socks-off Lemon Drizzle Cake

Baking has always been a big part of my life. Having a mum who loved to bake definitely fuelled my passion for the basic boring ingredients like flour, butter, eggs and sugar that always managed to team up together in so many ways to produce the most wonderful warm, wafting smells and the most delicious textures.

Baking is such a comfort food. Which is why I love it.
Someone once said that baking actually is a sign that you're trying to get some control over your life, especially when everything is happening at once.
Which definitely makes a lot of sense to me! Because I've baked so much more ever since I've had the kids.
Of course, cakes happen in my household because I do bake for my family to eat them.
BUT the best time to eat cake is when the kids are not around. When they're sleeping. When you've finally got that chance to sit down somewhere comfortable, make your favourite cuppa, cut that slice... and eat it.
Sweet mama!

I love sharing the calories too. So cake giving is definitely a great feeling to me!
It's a lovely way, together with giving a meal, to bless someone.

So when I heard about the Big Cake Bake from someone very lovely, it sounded like so much fun!
Essentially, the Big Cake Bake is organised by the Australian Red Cross and the idea is to get together, bake your fave cake/pie/slice/cupcake/dessert in aid of a good cause.
There was the whole concept of having a morning/arvo tea. cake sale bla bla bla to raise funds in August, with the official event happening today (August 27th 2012)... but I raise my hand up to claim the 'Best Procrastinator of All Time' award and if you know me by now... you know that time is never on my side. I don't really make any excuses. Life just happens.

So this is my very small way of contributing to this lovely cause.
I've decided to put up my MOST delicious cake recipe that I've baked this month.
This cake never fails. It is one of those cakes you can bring ANYWHERE and watch as people go 'wow' once they've had the first bite. The tangy. The bang. The sweet.

Knock-their-socks-off! Lemon Poppy Seed Drizzle Cake

250gm butter
350gm castor sugar
4 large eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
350gm SR flour
1 cup poppy seeds
Pinch of salt
8 Tbsp milk

Juice of 3 lemons
200gm icing sugar

Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
300gm icing sugar
Handful of poppy seeds

This recipe makes a 22 or 23" tin cake. If you want to bake it in a loaf pan, just half everything.

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Get cake tin ready.
2. Cream together butter, sugar until fluffy. Add eggs in.  Add lemon zest. Mix well. 
3. Fold in flour and salt. Mix in milk and poppy seeds.
4. Pour batter into tin. Bake for 1 hour or until cake skewer comes out clean.

To prepare the syrup
1. Mix sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat gently until all the sugar dissolves.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, puncture small holes all over the cake with a skewer and pour syrup all over. Leave cake to cool.

To prepare the icing
1. Mix icing sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until it becomes a lovely thick, smooth and white paste. Make sure cake is completely cool before pouring and drizzling the cake with icing.
2. Sprinkle poppy seeds all over the icing.

You're done! 
And this was the only picture I've taken of this cake so far. It doesn't do it any justice but I can assure you that this will be your go-to lemon drizzle cake from now on!
If I do take more pictures when I bake this cake again, I'll be sure to update this post. Also, if you do make this cake, do let me know whether you liked it!

So, essentially, the last thing I really want to do before you head off?
I would love for you to think about a donation to the Australian Red Cross to support them and the work they do.
It is so easy to sit here, in front of my heater with my laptop... or cook in my kitchen and know that I've got ready supplies of fresh, good food and water available around me and in my community.
LOTS of people don't.
Like any donation, it doesn't have to be big. But it has to come from your heart.
It can just be the cost of a cake slice. Or a coffee.

This reminds me of my Dad. He always used to take out all his loose change from his pockets or if he was feeling more generous, he'd take out a huge note from his wallet when someone from a charity approached him with a tin. I don't think there was a time he said no. He didn't really ask questions about what organisation he was donating to or where his money was going. He just gave. Which, to some people, might be a little too easygoing. But I think he came from a view where he knew he was in a better position than those who needed the money and so, he just gave.

Also, if one cake was not enough for you, I'd be heading over to these lovely ladies too!
Julia, Tamsyn and Rhi have also joined in the fun and have two amazing looking and delicious cake recipes to share, in support of the Great Cake Bake too. They'll be getting their recipes up soon. 
Tamsyn from Max & Me has done an incredible Chocolate & Raspberry Pavlova.
And oh me oh my... Thanks Tamsyn! I think you've settled my hubby's birthday cake this year!

Alright then, have a very beautiful week ahead!  :) x

Friday, August 17, 2012

Oh my goodness. We're halfway through August.

Lots of things happened this week!
Some lovely catch ups with old friends and family. 

I've been to some amazing food places:

.: Saturday brunch at Cafe Beaumarchais (Sassafras) :.
.: Saturday dinner at Anada (Collingwood) :.
.: Brunetti dessert (Carlton) :.
.: A birthday celebration at Mecca Bah (Docklands) :.
.: Another brunch at Pillar of Salt (Richmond) :. 

I must say that I think I've definitely been spoilt silly the whole of this week! 
Unknown man eagerly tucking into his breakfast at Cafe Beaumarchais

Each place was lovely. We are blessed to have such fantastic food everywhere.
And the coffee.
Don't even get me started!
I used to hate coffee before I moved to Melbourne.
And now...

But essentially, I really enjoyed the time spent with friends.
And... guess what? Apparently, more family will be visiting soon!
So that means more eating will be happening in the future.
We love celebrating with food.

So before that happens, I plan to be a complete homebody and rest and relax with nice, simple homecooked food before the madness descends.

I've been watching: 
.: The Olympics :. (2 weeks is enough methinks)
.: Mary Poppins :. (Please tell me that we're not crazy for watching this all the time!? Clari, aged 4, completely adores her)

I've been reading:
.: About raising chooks :. (Our fence is fixed and hubby is keen on the idea of having his own chickens. Bless. Good luck to him because he also wants to build the coop. Taking this into consideration, we might probably see a coop appear in about... I don't know. A year?!)
.: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes :.
.: Acts :.
.: And last but not least, being happy in a daggy house. Haha

And how could I forget!?!
Prep Transition started.
She is totally ready. I am totally not ready. 

Business has been brisk too at Chibi Run and at the end of every day, I can't help but feel thankful, grateful for all the orders. For everyone who has supported Chibi Run in one way or another since it first opened, thank you SO much.
A little does go a long way.
It's just such a breath of relief and gladness when we do our monthly budgets and find out that all the extra income has helped us in being able to put good, proper food on our table, classes for the kids, petrol, home loan and most of all, helped me stay at home to be with the kids and not feel stressed at all about staying at home. Because. Of course. It would be so much easier (financially) if I went straight back to work. It'd just be everything times two. Easy peasy. But that's not what we decided on from the start.

And so... with that, the weekend has arrived.
Happy weekend to you! :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mail Art

I sat down and did some snail mail art last week.
But I can't show more details until it reaches its destination because I wouldn't want
to spoil the surprise for the person who might read this blog.

Snail mail art is lots of fun!
I used a lovely old love(mae) catalogue I hoarded in my stash and cut it out.
A few washi tapes, twine, good ol' glue.
Was a little hard to cut into all those pretty pictures!

Alright - stay tuned for what came out in the end!

Have a very lovely week ahead :) x
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