Archive of ‘Baking’ category

Coconut & vanilla banana loaf

I saw this recipe on my sisters’ Facebook feed the other day, and it looked rather delicious! I’m always swayed by a good banana loaf, so I made it immediately!

Perfect for those manky bananas which have sat on the bench for a few days too long, this recipe adds extra flavour with vanilla and coconut, which definitely ups the ante from your basic banana loaf.

Made by Kiwi chef Chelsea Winter, this one really is one for the recipe box.

Coconut & vanilla banana loaf

From Chelsea Winter

Note from Chelsea: The bananas really need to be over-ripe – as a banana ripens, some of the starch in the banana turns to sugar, and also the flavour intensifies – which is what we want.


  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 big bananas)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened yoghurt
  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and flour a medium sized loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients except coconut into a bowl, and stir in the coconut to combine. Add to the creamed mixture along with with the banana and yoghurt and fold until just combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for around an hour and 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Serve warm with butter – and golden syrup if you like! Yum!

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Easter Edition: Chocolate hot cross buns

It’s Easter time! And in terms of baking it only means one thing… hot cross buns!

Chocolate hot cross buns have always been preferred to me, not being a fan of ye old fruit variety. It was last year I finally decided to bake my own, not happy with the consistency of bought ones. Looking at the recipe below it does look kinda long and complicated, but I promise once you do it a few times it becomes second nature, and you may as well do a double batch as they go super fast!

Okay… so I kinda bunged up the crosses, next time they’ll be better!

Here is the recipe I have tried multiple times with success, made easier with the handy-dandy bread maker!

Chocolate hot cross buns

From Rainbow Cooking

Note: Recipe makes 16 buns, and uses a bread maker.


  • 3 teaspoons Surebake yeast
  • ¼ cup milk powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 450 gram (3 ½ cups) high-grade flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons (30 gram) butter
  • 1 cup water (250 ml)
  • Approximately ¾ cup chocolate chips

Spices and peel

  • 2 tablespoons glazed peel
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves

Ingredients for crosses

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • At least 5 tablespoons water

Ingredients for glaze

  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 45 gram sugar


  1. Measure all the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, into the bread maker’s bread pan.
  2. Set on the “dough only” or “pizza” cycle and start.
  3. After the cycle is finished, leave the dough for half an hour in the unit to rise.
  4. Knead the dough lightly down.
  5. Divide dough into 4 parts and divide each of these 4 pieces into 4 again, so that you have 16 pieces of dough. (Some people use a scale to ensure even division).
  6. Add 2 teaspoons choc chips (a 10 ml medicine measure works well) to each piece of dough and work it in lightly.
  7. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place in a greased oven pan.
  8. Cover the tray with plastic and leave to rise in a warm place, until 1½ times the original size. This can take about an hour.
  9. Crosses: Combine the ingredients for the crosses in a small snap-lock bag and mix well. Snip off 1 tiny corner of the bag. Pipe the paste over the buns to form crosses.
  10. Glaze: combine ingredients for the glaze and boil together for 1 minute. Brush mixture twice over buns.
  11. Bake in a warm pre-heated oven of 200°C for approximately approximately 12 to 15 minutes, until brown but not burned. They should sound hollow when tapped with a finger.
  12. You can glaze the buns if you like sticky chocolate hot cross buns.

Serve hot from the oven, either as is, or with butter or hazelnut spread.


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Edmonds yoyo biscuits

I made these yoyos last week for Valentines Day for my other half. We usually never do much for Valentines Day, (happy corporate endorsed, love themed, merchandising day anyone?!) preferring to have spontaneous little treats all year long. But this year I couldn’t resist, and made these little cookies which went down a treat.

I toyed with the idea of shortbread hearts, but wanting to lay off the cheese I decided to make yoyos instead. With pale pink butter-cream filling, they were quite simple but weren’t too twee.

Here is the recipe for you:

Edmonds Yoyos

From the Edmonds Cookbook

For the cookie

  • 175 g butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 cups high grade flour
  • 1/2 cup custard powder

For the filling

  • 50 g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons custard powder


  1. Preheat oven to 180C or 350°F.
  2. For the cookie, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy and add vanilla essence.
  3. Sift the flour and custard powder and mix sifted ingredients into butter mix.
  4. Roll small teaspoons of dough into balls and place on greased tray. Flatten balls slightly with a fork.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  6. For the filling, beat all filling ingredients together until combined.
  7. To assemble, sandwich two cookies together with a little butter filling and serve.


I added a drop of red food colouring to the butter-cream icing for a touch of Valentines whimsy, and probably would do again if it wasn’t V Day, so much cuter!

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Christmas Pavlova

The humble New Zealand pavlova seems to be notorious in baking circles. It involves scandal (Australia keeps trying to claim it as their own); specifics (it must be beaten for at least 10 minutes on a high setting otherwise it will fall); and tradition (it’s a staple at the Kiwi Christmas table). With all that baggage, it’s no wonder I hadn’t yet attempted it myself!

Supposedly named after famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this dessert is a sort of baked meringue with a soft, light inside and a crisp crust outside. Usually topped with whipped cream and decorated with seasonal fruit – my favourite being strawberries and blueberries – this dessert has to be nearly at the top of the list of all Kiwi dessert aficionados.

Affectionately known as a ‘pav’ around here, I mastered my first one for Christmas last year, trying out Annabel Langbein’s delicious recipe. Here it is for you:

From Annabel Langbein

Fantasy Pavlova

To make a pavlova you really need an electric beater and egg whites that are not too fresh. If they are, the pavlova will weep.


  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white vinegar


  • 3 punnets fresh mixed berries, eg raspberries, blueberries and hulled and halved strawberries


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and mark a circle about 16cm diameter with a plate.
  2. Place the egg whites into the clean bowl of an electric beater. Add the salt and beat until stiff. Slowly add the sugar with the beater running. Beat for about 10 minutes at high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy – it should be thick enough not to fall from the beater.
  3. Last of all, whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. Use a big spoon to drop dollops of meringue into the circled area of baking paper. Form into a circle of meringue, making swirls with the spoon on the top rather than flattening to a neat tidy disc.
  4. Bake at 180°C (not fan bake) for 5 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 130°C and cook a further hour. Turn off oven and leave pavlova to cool in the oven.
  5. Pavlova can be cooked a couple of days ahead a and stored in an airtight container, or frozen.
  6. To serve, spoon Berry Compote over pavlova and scatter over mixed berries.


I made my pav two days in advance to be organized, and it really did keep well in a tin ready for me to complete on Christmas Day. I also didn’t make Annabel’s berry compote above – I smothered my pavlova with whipped cream, then drizzled it with melted chocolate and then chopped up a punnet of strawberries as decoration. Bliss!

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Chocolate Guinness cake

Welcome to my new baking section! I haven’t done as much baking as i’d like lately… but my brand new oven I had installed a few weeks ago will now change that! Expect some more yummy posts in time for Christmas! All recipes have been tried by myself, so you can be assured they’re not too fancy-pants (read: the ingredients can be found at your local supermarket) and do actually work. That’s always a bonus!

I made this amazing cake for my best friends Birthday a few months ago. A big fan of Nigella Lawson, I wanted to make a cake which didn’t have a pinch of something i’d use once and the rest of it would sit in the back of my pantry forever more. I was thinking chocolate, and a few minutes googling later I found Chocolate Guinness Cake – a mouth-watering recipe.

And the verdict? It was amazing. Drool-worthy. A new favourite! And it wasn’t too heavy and sickly like some rich chocolate cakes are – most likely due to the Guinness which made it quite damp. I added a white camelia from our garden for decoration, and it made it look like a million dollars it was so simple. My bestie loved it, which equals success!

I suggest you try this for your next celebration, it is bound to impress!

Nigella Lawson’s Recipe


For the cake

  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 8.83 oz unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda

For the topping

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter – in spoons or slices – and heat until the butter’s melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
  4. When the cake’s cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the confectioners’ sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved confectioners’ sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
  5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.


What I didn’t do was add the cream into the icing – I felt this would make it quite heavy, and the icing tasted perfect without it. Also be aware this is a very large cake so use a large cake-tin! Enjoy!

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