Category Archives: Baking

Best Oatmeal Cookies!

I’m that kind of person who gets inspiration from just anything. The other day as I was doing some shopping in the supermarket, I saw a packet of oats and there and then I knew I wanted to buy some.

The oats I used
The oats I used

 

Disclaimer: Prior to this, I had never had oatmeal cookies and the only oats I’d ever  tasted were part of my breakfast cereal.

Now to the recipe, since I was venturing into the unknown and we all know that Google is your friend, I researched on a recipe and settled on this one with some few tweaks.

Ingredients:

3 eggs well beated – I only had two

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup mixed peel – my own addition

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup margarine

1 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups oatmeal

For the desired best results start by combining the eggs, raisins, mixed peel and vanilla essence and let it stand for one hour.

The eggs and raisins
The eggs and raisins

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One hour later…

Cream the margarine and sugar.

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Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and mix well.

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after mixing well
after mixing well

Blend in the eggs raisin mixture and oatmeal and mix well.

the egg, raisin, mixed peel mixture
the egg, raisin, mixed peel mixture
the oats
the oats

The dough will be stiff. Don’t be alarmed. Roll them into balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly.

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Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly browned.

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I used only half the dough. The rest I wrapped in some cling film then put it in the freezer. For the frozen cookie dough, always remove it about an hour before using to allow it to thaw.

crunchy
crunchy

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Very delicious and crunchy, a favourite of hubby’s.

Variations: You can also add desiccated coconut or chocolate chips.

 

 

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Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cake

I love baking!!!  That said, I was a bit scared of baking a red velvet anything but over this past weekend I decided to face my fears. I googled several recipes and decided on a mixture of some.

Ingredients:

For the cake;

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon strawberry red food colour

1/2 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting;

Puratos – non dairy whipping cream used here

Sprinkles

Strawberries

The cast of characters
The cast of characters

In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Then set aside.

In a small bowl mix the cocoa powder and the food colouring and set aside.

Using a wooden spoon or a mixer beat margarine and sugar in a bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time.

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Beat in the vanilla essence and the cocoa and food colour mixture.

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Add a third of the flour mixture, then beat in half of the buttermilk.

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Beat in another third of the flour and the second half of the buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture.

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In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda, it will fizz. Add the vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine.

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Pre heat the oven, 370°F.

Line your cupcake tin with some muffin liners.

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Fill about 3/4 way.

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The recipe said to bake for 20-22 minutes but mine took about 15 minutes to bake.

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For the remaining batter I decided to bake a cake.

The cake, sliced in half.
The cake, sliced in half.

For the frosting, nothing fancy since it was just for our consumption.

Spread some whipping on one half and sprinkle some diced strawberries.

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Layer the other half and cover with the remaining whipping cream.

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For the cupcakes, I just dipped them in the frosting then sprinkled over some sprinkles 🙂

Done
Done

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I would like to mention that normally the frosting on red velvet cakes or cupcakes is cream cheese frosting not whipping cream. I didn’t have any cream cheese and honestly I’m still scared of making some O-o plus have you seen the cost of cream cheese? Jeeze!!

The cake is/was delicious.

Thoughts?

Peanut Butter Snicker Cookies

One word: Amazing!!!

These cookies are delicious. All lovers of snickers chocolate bars out there you gotta try these cookies and they even have peanut butter. I didn’t make the cookie dough though, oh I’ve just rhymed cool 🙂 . Anyway, my foodie pen pal Cici of foodie in the desert sent me the frozen cookie dough. I just sliced the dough and baked them. I made the cookies for Labour Day breakfast.

Here is her recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter (she used smooth)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 * 56 g bars of snicker bars, chopped then frozen on a wide plate so they do not touch

Instructions:

1. Pre heat oven to 160°C

2. Sift flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, using a paddle attachment on an electric beater (you can used a wooden spoon also), cream peanut butter, butter and sugar on medium for about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and slowly add the flour. Once the flour is well mixed and had reached dough consistency fold in the snickers using a wooden spoon.

4. Put the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to harden the snickers again so they do not melt. You can also freeze the dough at this point for up to 6 weeks.

5. Scoop the dough using a tablespoon or your hand and roll into a ball, place on a cookie sheet and flatten with a spoon.

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes (12 minutes gives a chewy cookie, 15 minutes gives a harder cookie)

Since I had the dough, this is what I did.

After letting the dough thaw for a short while, I sliced it into 1 cm rings.

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Line a baking tray with some parchment or grease proof paper. Lay out the rings.

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Pop them in the oven and voila.

These cookies were very delicious. Hubby loved them.

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Wholemeal Banana Cupcakes

By now some of you might have noticed that I really love ripe bananas and I like using them in my cooking. I think there are very versatile fruits, you can eat them as is, blend them with milk or yoghurt to make smoothies, bake them in cakes or muffins or even mix them in pancake and crepe batter. They can be even fried in butter to serve over ice cream as a sweet dessert, clearly the options are endless. Other than the fact that they are sweet, bananas are rich in Potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

What better way to use these fruits than with equally healthy ingredients, wholemeal flour.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup margarine

1 egg

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

3 very ripe bananas mashed

2 cups wholemeal flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg – optional

3/4 cup plain yoghurt

A handful of raisins

Pre heat the oven at 180°C. Line the muffin tray with cupcake liners. In case you don’t have the liners, grease the tray with some margarine then dust with some little flour.

In a mixing bowl pour in the sugar and add the margarine.

brown sugar and margarine
brown sugar and margarine

Using a wooden spoon, mix the two till creamy. Add the egg and the vanilla essence.

York yellow
York yellow

Once combined add the mashed bananas.

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In another bowl combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Add the flour mixture into the sugar and butter mixture in three proportions alternating with the yoghurt.

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In the third addition, mix the raisins with the flour.

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Pour and mix till combined.

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Finally divide the batter evenly into the already prepared tin.

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Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.

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Enjoy.

Black Forest Cake

If you like my page on facebook or follow me on twitter you must have seen my previous complaints about my black forest cake backfiring. It got so bad that I decided not to try again. I resulted in getting my brother to bake the cake then I do the frosting.

This past weekend we were having a bridal for a good friend of mine and I offered to bring a black forest cake. At first I had requested my brother to do the baking but on second thought I decided to ask him for his recipe. I needed to face my fears. I normally hate it when cakes back fire, though my friends think otherwise since they enjoy eating my backfired cakes, ha!

This recipe is a bit different from others that I have tried. The great thing is that it worked.

Before I go on, be warned this will be a very long post full of many photos so if you are yet to have lunch I suggest you eat first :-). Oh and another thing, making a black forest is a bit tedious, not the baking part but the layering and frosting so patience is key.

Ingredients:

For the cake;

7 medium sized eggs

220 g all purpose flour – about 1 3/4 cups

23o g sugar – about 1 1/2 cups

160 g margarine – about 3/4 cup

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coffee

2.5 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon of passion flavour essence – optional

For feeding the cake

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

4 tablespoons of water

Some juice – optional

For the frosting

Whipping cream

Strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered

Chocolate

Equipment

Electric mixer

wooden skewer or toothpick

Start with baking the cake.

Pre heat the oven at 180°C. Grease the baking tins and line them with grease proof paper. I used 2 9 inch round tins since I wanted the cake to have four layers.

the main culprits
the main culprits

Baking this cake is pretty easy since you just dump in all the ingredients then using an electric mixer you combine the ingredients and the cake batter is ready.

All the ingredients
All the ingredients

Using the handy mixer…

Cake batter
Cake batter

Divide the batter between the two tins. Ensure they are more or less the same.

ready to be baked
ready to be baked

Bake for twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. I said a prayer as I put the cakes in.

Excitement!!! I was jumping up and down. The cakes had not backfired. Thank you God.

Fresh from the oven
Fresh from the oven

Let the cakes cool for about ten minutes then remove them from the tins to cool further.

chilled out
chilled out

It’s advisable to let the cakes cool completely, this will come in handy when layering the cake. The crumbs won’t be as many.

I wrapped my cakes in clear cling film them I put then in the fridge.

Same day evening…

Layering and frosting.

Take one cake, I put mine on top of an overturned baking tin. This is to aid in layering the cake.

Start by leveling the cake.

Leveled, I guess
Leveled, I guess

Then slice the cake in half to form two almost equal layers.

tada
tada

Repeat the above steps for the second cake.

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leaning tower of black forest

Now for the fun part.

the whipping cream
the whipping cream
strawberries and whipping cream
strawberries and whipping cream

To make the sugar water, combine the icing sugar, water and juice if using. I used some orange juice that I had in the fridge. For the extra kick I guess you can put a tablespoon of rum in the mixture instead of juice.

food for the cake
food for the cake

Place the bottom layer of the cake on a board, then using a wooden skewer or toothpick poke the surface of the cake.

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Then drizzle about a tablespoon of the sugar water over the cake. This will feed the cake to ensure it continues to be moist and spongy.

Put a dollop of whipping cream on the surface of the bottom layer.

bottom layer
bottom layer

Spread it evenly on the surface of the cake.

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Spread the strawberries. I had some leftover cherries so I threw them in.

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Repeat the steps for all the layers.

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After filling in all the layers, coat the entire cake with the whipping cream.

white cake...
white cake…

It doesn’t need to look perfect since you will pile on chocolate.

When it comes to putting the chocolate, you can be as creative as you want to be. You can choose to grate the chocolate and sprinkle it all over the cake. If you are in a hurry, like I was, you can cut the chocolate into chunks and stick around the cake. Don’t worry they won’t fall off, the whipping cream acts as the glue.

Decorate the top with smaller pieces of chocolate then make a border on the cake with whole strawberries that are slightly dipped in whipping cream.

talk of abstract art
talk of abstract art

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the cake
the cake

By the way I used homemade chocolate.

The cake looks so huge, I guess it’s a 1.5kg.

When it got to cake time, I was anxious to see how the layers would look. Then the bride to be sliced the cake.

Need I say more?
Need I say more?

This cake may take long to prepare but, trust me it’s worth the wait. So go on try it out, in case you don’t succeed on the first attempt don’t give up there’s always a second, third or fourth try.

Shepherd’s Pie

I saw a tweet that led me to this you tube video. You have to admit this is quite a nice idea for a cook show. Anyway, me being me, I just had to try the recipe and the beautiful thing is that I had all the ingredients on hand.

As Peter Nduati (C.E.O, Resolution Health E.A) demonstrated the meal is pretty easy to put together and I think you can never go wrong when baking. I used his recipe with a few tweaks here and there.

Ingredients:

potatoes, onions, peas, minced meat and carrots

For the meat filling

1/2 kg minced meat

1 cup pre-boiled peas

4 carrots chopped

1 onion chopped

1 tomato cubed

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 cup water/beef stock/chicken stock

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Salt to taste

For the mashed potatoes

Handful of potatoes, peeled,washed and halved

Water for boiling

2 bay leaves

Salt to taste

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp butter

Start by boiling the potatoes.

In a sufuria, place all the potatoes, fill it with just enough water to make them cook. Add the salt and bay leaves and cover.

 bay leaves floating by

Now for the minced meat filling.

In a skillet, heat some oil then fry your onions.

After the onions are slightly cooked add in the minced meat.

Season with the garam masala. Let the meat brown and cook for about 15 minutes. Then add your tomatoes.

after the tomatoes have cooked down.

Add the carrots and let them cook. At this point you can add the water/broth.

Let the meal simmer till the fluid has been greatly reduced then add the peas.

colourful

Now back to the potatoes. Drain them in a colander, remove the bay leaves and discard. Sprinkle over the turmeric powder and add the butter. Mash to your heart’s content. Taste to check if the salt is enough.

A dash of orange- turmeric powder

Now, we are ready to assemble the dish.

Rub an oven friendly casserole dish with some butter.

buttered dish

Put one layer of the mashed potatoes as the base.

layer one

Then line the mince meat filling.

layer two

Finally top off with the remaining mashed potatoes. I have put quite a lot of the mashed potatoes on the base that the remainder wasn’t enough to completely cover the top.

Finally, grate some cheddar cheese on the top.

ready for baking

Bake in a pre heated oven at 350 F for 15 minutes.

done!

As per Peter’s recipe, there was a white sauce which i didn’t make since I didn’t have white onions. I had however made some kachumbari which I served with.

Verdict:

Delicious. Hubby loved it and so did our guest Ben.

Carrot Cake

Recently I have become the designated baker of cakes for a few functions. I thank God. So far I’ve baked cakes for a bridal shower and around 3 birthdays and thanks to some whipping cream and strawberries I’ve been able to pull the whole look together. Now the thing with my cakes is that I have only been making chocolate banana cakes. So recently my friend Nzilani asked for a carrot cake, new challenge? Why not.

I had only eaten a carrot cake once before and it’s my brother who had baked it. I decided to first bake one and see how it turns out before I can make for one dear Nzilani. After a few searches on google I felt confident enough to embark on this new baking adventure. Whoop! Whoop!

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground nutmeg

1 tbsp baking soda

2/3 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla essence

3 cups finely grated carrots

2/3 crushed pineapple (juice drained)

1/2 cup sultanas/ raisins

As usual start by pre heating your oven at 350º F

Then grease and lightly dust your baking tin. I also put some piece of parchment paper.

the tin

This cake is pretty simple to make, the only tasking part being the part you grate the carrots and crush the pineapples.

Start by putting the flour,sugar,cinnamon,nutmeg and baking soda in a mixing bowl.

flour,sugar,cinnamon,nutmeg and baking soda

Mix all the dry ingredients then add the vegetable oil.

Oily..

Add the eggs and vanilla essence next.

egg-citing

The finely grated carrots.

too bright… blame it on the flash

I bet you can buy a can of crushed pineapple from the supermarket but if you wanna be frugal like me, just get around 2 pineapple slices, chop them finely then crush whilst passing through a strainer. Set aside the juice for a relaxing drink after the rigorous baking.

Anyway back to the cake, before that, I wanna thank hubby, he did the grating of the carrots and crushing of the pineapples all the while acting as the photographer. Thanks hun.

After mixing in the wet ingredients i.e oil and eggs into the dry ingredient mixture the batter will look a  bit thick. You will be tempted to add some water but do what I did and resist the urge, I’ll tell you the reason later.

Finally add in the carrots, sultanas and pineapples.

almost there 🙂

After mixing them in I realised that the batter become light, must be the moisture from the carrots and the pineapples. So need to add any more water.

Pour the batter onto your prepared baking tin.

the batter

Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Carrot cake

Verdict:

Moist and tasty. I was very proud of the results. I’m definitely trying this again and again. Next I think I’ll make carrot cupcakes.

I’m yet to bake one for Nzilani since currently she’s not into sugar.