Tag Archives: cake

The Thing That Couples Fight Most About and the Best Muff Ever.

11 Aug

Apple Carrot and Ginger crumble muffinsI read an article the other day entitled ‘The Thing More Couples Fight About Than Anything Else’ or some such, and I clicked through expecting to see some of the top suspects peering back at me. I thought I’d see a little financial tiff, or perhaps a chore eruption, or maybe even a differing opinion on parenting, but you know what life changing event this article was referring to?


Many of you, i.e. those not about to renovate their bathroom in T minus 7 days, would probably have skimmed the piece of trash article and gone on your merry way, but being as I’m in the ‘other’ category I thought I’d have a little read, accept it as gospel, and freak myself out for the impending ablution room face lift.

I imagine if we had been stealing happy moments comparing tiles and taps, catching glimpses of ourselves in showroom mirrors laughing gaily at each other and having sneaky public bum squeezes, the article wouldn’t have resonated worth a damn, but being as the cracks have already started to show before we even buy a tile then I’m inclined to wonder if perhaps said article holds a touch of merit.

Alas, I’ve decided I must disregard this journalistic trash and forge ahead with the tunnel visioned view of my sparkly new bathroom.

We are stronger than renovations. If we can do toddlers, and triathlons, we can handle a bit of wall rendering and plumbing, right?


Apple Carrot and Ginger crumble muffinsI got myself a bit low over the whole business and really wanted to eat large amounts of cake to settle my nerves. I’ve always been more carrot than chocolate when it comes to cake, but I also didn’t want to undo ALL the good work I’ve been doing at the gym.

These muffins are possibly the best muffins I’ve not only made, but eaten. I was trying to harness apple, carrot and ginger goodness, but kept fantasising about crumble tops and then these were born.

Not too naughty, not too difficult and in my tummy in under an hour….. all four of them. Woops.

Apple Carrot and Ginger crumble muffins

Apple Carrot and Ginger Crumble Muffs

Yield : 12 large or 16 medium muffins

  • 1 cup white spelt flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour (if you don’t have these you can just use 2 cups of plain flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup glace ginger, finely chopped
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 3/4 cup milk

For crumble topping

  • 2 tablespoons LSA
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C, and line your muffin tray with patty cases.

Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine, add fruit, carrot and ginger and stir through.

Add your wet ingredients. Mix well and spoon into your muffin cases in your tray.

For topping, rub all together to create a crumbly texture and sprinkle on top of each muffin.

Bake for about 20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

OMG, nom nom nom. Eat while warm. Seriously. Then eat the rest cold.

Apple Carrot and Ginger crumble muffins


If you dig this post, be sure to like my Facebook page, or follow me on twitter @theholsbys, so you can be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

A wedding cake birthday cake…. Pistachio and Rosewater Cake with White Choc Ganache

12 May pistachio and rosewater cake with white chocolate ganache

ingredients for pistachio and rosewater cakeA few years ago I discovered a cupcake that captured every one of my senses and made my cake jackpot lights and bells go nuts.

I’m not a generally store-bought cupcake kinda gal but when I walked past a sign saying pistachio and rosewater cupcake, I knew one of those puppies had my name all over it.

When it came time to organise my wedding cake I knew this baby was it. The problem was I was getting married 2500 kms away from this shop. I explained my plight, thinking maybe they’d take pity on me and allow their recipe to wing its way to my cake maker in Port Douglas, QLD… alas, they merely shook their heads and said forget about it.



They also said that this cake would never withstand being larger than a cupcake as the mixture would cave in.

Dastardly bastards. They may as well have challenged me to a sword fight at dusk.

I went to my guru of cake. I described this cake to her with words like delicate, exotic and exquisite. She had never heard of such flavours in a cake.

There was only one thing for it. Express Post.

pistachio and rosewater cake with white chocolate ganache

From the second she received the slightly sweaty, partly mooshed, icing smeared flying cupcake, she was onboard the adventure. She was dissecting it on her tongue, trying to recreate the texture and flavour. She did all that and more. She not only matched the delicate flavours, but she made it better… and then smothered it in white chocolate ganache.


I didn’t throw a kids party for Kiki’s first birthday. I threw a late lunch feast for a few dear ones who love her to pieces. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to recreate our wedding cake. Maybe it’s a little bit weird, but I’ve actually been dying for an excuse to make it.

The beauty of it is it’s possibly the easiest cake ever. You make it in a food processor. No creaming, no sifting, no nuffing. You chuck everything in, and whizz.


Note : This is to make one 8 inch round cake…. oh, and this batter is so freakin’ yummy, it’s addictive.

pistachio and rosewater cake with white chocolate ganache

What you will need :

For the cake – 

  • 150g shelled pistachios
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater

For the ganache – 

  • 120g white chocolate, plus a few pieces for garnish
  • 60 ml cream
  • a small handful of pistachios, chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line a baking tin.

Very finely grind your nuts in a food processor.
Chuck in your flour, cardamom and sugar and blend to combine. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Tip into your tin and bake for 55 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for an hour before turning out (although apparently it’s also divine warm with cream)

Chuck your chocolate and cream into a saucepan and melt together. Leave to cool for a good few minutes before you spoon on. Spoon into the middle and gently push it towards the edge until it runs down the side.

I then melted my remaining few pieces of chocolate and smeared in onto baking paper before rolling it and setting it in the fridge. When you unfurl it you have curls and cool pieces for garnish. Chuck it on with some pistachios and you have yourself a cake that’s fit for a wedding… or a first birthday.

rosewater pistachio birthday cake





our-growing-edge-bannerHooking up with Our Growing Edge. This month’s host is Sonya, at And More Food.
Go see who’s tending their growing edge this month!

Self Portrait Birthday Cake… cos I’m weird like that.

24 Mar

self portrait cake ingredients (1 of 1)I  can’t believe it’s been a year since I wrote my first post. I just reread my ‘about’ and realised I must update it, as it feels like it was written by someone else.

I guess in many ways it was. I’ve had a hell of a year, don’t you reckon?

After poodling around and seeing some truly awful cakes online, I promised you I would try my hand at cake decorating to celebrate Keeping Up With The Holsbys birthday…..nothing beautiful, I promised.

Something fugly.

Well, after I threw out to you, my peeps, I got a few responses worth mentioning.

A water birth was suggested.

As I had promised no suggestion was too weird, I don’t want to point any fingers, but I did think perhaps my cake decorating chops weren’t ready to wrap around this one.

A Tony Abbott cake was definitely  unappetising, although the ears alone would have provided cake for a small African nation. Sadly, he would have left a bit of a crappy taste, but hey, let’s not talk politics so early in our relationship.

Tony Abbott's ears

Not tasty…..

A lap top? Julia Gillard?

The suggestions were not many, but certainly very varied.

When Emily from Have a Laugh on Me suggested self portrait cake, I shot it down in flames.

That’s just silly, I thought…..

I fashioned myself upon this image.....

I fashioned myself upon this image…..

…..and then my megalomania kicked in and I remembered that silly is my middle name.

This cake is most certainly not fugly. In fact, it’s kind of awesome.
It is definitely on the weirder side of awesome though.

Carving me up like a Christmas ham and feeding me to loved ones, smacks of Silence of the Lambs or something equally macabre.
My body was gone and just my head was in a container in the fridge…….. wow.

I don’t think I need to go into too much detail on how to make a Mrs H cake, as I doubt many of you will give this particular cake a crack, however, I do have a few tips if you should hanker to make baked goods in your own likeness.

Ummm, yeah, nah

Ummm, yeah, nah.

Life-like was never gonna fly, for two reasons.

1. I couldn’t fit a life-size me in the fridge without cleaning out the various unrecognisable furry things that lurk in the back, and that was never going to happen.

2. I don’t quite have the requisite decorating chops.

So, with these in mind, I chose a photo that had some recognisable accessories that I could caricature.

To create this cake I used a portion and a half of my favorite cake recipe. I made a big rectangle to carve and a small bowl-shaped one to cut in half for my boobs.

After the cake had cooled, I popped it in the freezer overnight for ease of shaping.
Then I cut out the shape I wanted.

nice cans.

nice cans.

I used cream cheese butter icing. I made a big white batch and just coloured different portions as required using red, yellow and blue food colouring. For the fringe and glasses I actually added some powdered drinking chocolate to the icing. I was hoping to make and pipe ganache, but I was up against the clock.
For a few moments I felt like I was in a surreal episode of Masterchef where Zumbo had set The Fugly Cake Challenge.

It was a fun project. When my friend arrived to help me film the Holsby birthday video, her first response was -

You have way too much time on your hands.

Au contraire.

Do you want a piece of me?

Do you want a piece of me?

I’m linking this creation up with Our Growing Edge monthly foodie link up.
You still have a week to get your submissions in and I’m loving what we have so far!

I’m totally loving finding new foodies to follow and share fantasy meals with!

If you need to refresh on what Our Growing Edge is about check this out, or this from it’s fabbo creator, Bunny. Eats. Design.
What’s floating your food boat this month? Hurry up and share it with us all.


Do you want a piece of me? Holsbys birthday video.

22 Mar

Some of you may know that I used to be an actress.

Now, all of you can see why I gave it up.

You may also note, I have not given up being a total idiot.

Somethings will never change.

I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Your comments, and clicks, emails and love, mean more to me than I can express.

I’m also well chuffed I stuck something out for a year.

Happy Birthday KUWTH. You’re now approaching toddlerhood.

Linking up with WithSomeGrace, to flog myself silly. Go see what Mama G is up to this week.

Whoring around this week with Flash Blog Friday, just so I can flash while I flog. Check out the FBF hostess with the mostess at Twinkle In The Eye

Homemade Ricotta, turned into Pineapple Curd Cake……Sunshine on a plate.

2 Nov

When my friend Genie, at Bunny Eats Design made haloumi recently, I was pretty impressed…..and then she made mozzarella to put on her home made pizzas.
Show off.

I had said this Spring I was going to make some ricotta so when I got around to it, I simply had to pop over to her and brag about.

I used to think a tuffet was your bum.  That’s what Little Miss Muffet was sitting on, right? Her butt?
Alas, no, a tuffet is a pouffe, but I think that ‘Little Miss Muffet sat on her pouffe’ just doesn’t rhyme, and is a bit weird all-round.

 In fact, I think the entire nursery rhyme is a bit weird all-round.

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on her tuffet (big pouffe)

Eating her curds and whey…

Curds and what?

What the hell are curds and whey?

Is that yoghurt? Cheese? Cheesy yoghurt?


To read about my adventures with curds and whey and the resulting cake that has been handed down three generations in my family, read this….

Have Your Cake and Eat It – Apple and Cinnamon Batter Cake

2 Jun apple cake

For me, there’s a bit of a psychology behind cake.
In my mind, cup cakes are tasty little morsels. You can easily tell yourself that you didn’t really eat cake because it’s only little……that goes by the wayside somewhat when you scoff it’s brothers and sisters in a late night frenzy, but that’s beside the point. (I’ve never done the whole twelve, that’s sheer gluttony. I have to share at least one with D Man.).
So, in my book, a cupcake is like a Clayton’s Cake. The cake you have when you’re not having a cake.

There’s no denying a whole cake. There’s something about baking a whole cake that is most gratifying. Cutting that first slice and pulling it away from it’s mother’s body and seeing the inside for the first time……it’s actually almost electrifying, but perhaps that’s only for someone who thinks a trip to the supermarket is an outing. Maybe next season’s To Do List should include ‘Get A Life’.
A whole cake says ‘I have a cake and it needs to be eaten’, and this cake is the perfect scoffer because it’s not gloopy, not too sweet, and has apple in it which is awesome fibre, and fibre is good for…….you get the point. Cake = yum.

This really simple cake is tricked up by it’s gorgeous, nutty, crunchy top. It’s the highlight. Just ask D Man whom I found at the counter, up on his step, knuckle deep in this cake, cinnamon sugar all over his face.
This cake also works beautifully with pear or rhubarb or a combination of all three.

Yeild – one whole cake

You will need -


  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups of apple, peeled and chopped


  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 chopped nuts (not in picture. I used hazelnuts and walnuts)

Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper. I used a spring form.
Cream your two sugars and butter until pale and creamy. Add egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Add your baking soda to your milk. Little by little, add your dry mix to your butter mixture alternating with the milk until all is combined. Add the apple to the batter and stir through. Pour your mixture into your prepared cake tin.

In a bowl, mix your sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts. Sprinkle evenly on top and pop into the oven for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Make a cup of tea and serve yourself a generous slab…..and then do it all over again!

D Man Turns 2 – That’s What I’m Hootin’ About!

14 Apr hoot cake 2

Kids birthday parties are like speed dating.

You say ‘Come at 2′, but no-one with kids is ever on time so everyone arrives at 3, you bang out a quick BBQ’d fajita fiesta, play in the garden, cut some cake and everyone leaves again before their kids turn into werewolves and pumpkins at about 5.30.

You chat to everyone for approximately 8.5 minutes, start 3 drinks but don’t finish any of them, eat a super quick plate of food that is shared by every toddler walking passed (and for some reason they all insist on biting out the side of your fajita and there ain’t no coming back from that!). I can’t speak for everyone but I spilled a little of everything on my white tee shirt (I know, what was I thinking, right?) and have ended the experience, tired, full, very smug that we have such wonderful friends and looking like I’m sporting Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat. I have no idea who bought what presents as whilst I was still organising food, paper was tearing and flying through the air amid gnashing of teeth and Tonka Trucks and bubble machines were shooting around the room in haste to crack open more gifts. I wish we’d made more of ceremony of it, but realistically, that’s how we’d all like to open a stack of presents….cards be damned.

When I happened across the Vintage Edition Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book, AKA (cue singing angels) the Cake Bible from my youth, I was so excited. There were so many old friends in there. Little Piggy, Dolly Varden, Leonard the Lion, Robert Robot – it was like looking through a school year book and revisiting days of yore, but when I tried to find one for D man’s 2nd birthday, none of them seemed right. The joy was being able to pick it yourself and setting your mother to task. When I showed it to D Man, he was equally excited by every picture so I thought I needed something to really knock his socks off……who could that be? Who else but….

HOOT…….. (if you are unfamiliar with Giggle and Hoot, best get up to speed – STAT)

I used the Women’s Weekly Butter Cake recipe, paired it with the Creamcheese Frosting  from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (although I found it on the Cake Mistress’ Blog a few years ago when I made her to-die-for Carrot Cake), added a little marzipan for other bits and boom – Hoot-a-licious, Hootabulous, Hooterrific cake……..it was like crack to the toddlers. You should have seen their little faces. Their eyes widened, their lips pursed and a collective ‘Hoooooot’ was sighed as the cake lust filled their little faces. I had succeeded in my mission.

If you want some crack for kids at your next party, here’s how you do it….you’ll need to start your cake a day before as one day old cake is easier to work with.

You will need (don’t think about the butter:sugar ratio too much, it’s a special occasion!!) -

For Cake -

  • 250g butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence if that’s what you have)
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups, self-raising flour – sifted (so boring, so worth it)
  • 2/3 cup milk

For Icing (I had heaps left over but too much is better than not enough at the last minute) – 

  • 250g butter
  • 375g low fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup pure icing sugar (more or less to taste)
  • red, yellow and blue food colouring
  • two white marshmallows
  • to little something’s for eyes, I used little liquorice rounds, but choc drops would work too.
  • a handful of raspberry bullets
  • a packet of marzipan or ready made fondant icing

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Have butter at room temperature, beat butter with vanilla until light and creamy, add sugar, beat until light and fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in half flour with half of the milk, stir until combined, and repeat with remaining, stir lightly and then beat lightly until mixture is smooth. Spread into lined rectangular tin. I used a 13 x 9 x 2 inch tin lined with baking paper. Bake until golden and skewer comes out clean. I was about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and put of the way of little hands that may like to sneak up over the top of the counter and grab handfuls, quickly shovel into their mouth saying ‘nyum, nyum’….learn from my mistake, people.






















I’ve tried to show pictures of how I chose to shape the cake. I looked at a few Googled images of Hoot cakes, but they were mostly professionally made and sitting up, so I got a little funky with it and carved him, a la Michelangelo’s David, but in my kitchen, with a blue floral Nana apron on. Put your cake on the tray you plan on serving it on. I used a foil covered plastic tray.

For the icing, get your cheese and butter to room temperature, throw it in a bowl and beat the crap out of it until it’s light and creamy and smooth and deliciously yummy. Pop a few tablespoons into a separate bowl to turn orange for your wings. Add blue colouring, drop by drop by drop, still beating lightly until you get the desired colour. Do the same with your yellow and red to make your orange icing for wings. Keep wings separate from the rest of the cake for the moment. Spread evenly with icing, ensuring all of the cake is covered and sides are even. Don’t worry about getting it on the foil as you can run some kitchen roll (or your well licked finger if no-one is watching) around it later and clean it up. To get a smooth finish, use a big, flat edge of a knife over the lot once you’ve covered it if you don’t have a palette knife.

Ice your wings, pop them on and roll out your fondant to create eyes and heart. Add some food colouring to extra fondant for legs and beak. Place bullets on the wings like Hoot’s stitching. The beak is a bit of luck but the fondant is very malleable so have a play until it looks right. I have no suggestions for you here. This was my second attempt as the first looked like a cat’s bum.

Anyway, D Man slept like a dream last night and Mama Bear was thoroughly overstimulated. A roaring success.

Happy birthday, my special little fire chief.


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