Monday, 31 May 2010

Zabaglione Ice Cream with Biscotti

"Zaba-what??" said a bleary-eyed Mr Ladybird early one Sunday morning as I read out this ice-cream recipe title. "Zaa-bag-lion-e!" I say in a terrible fake italian accent (along with some over the top hand gestures for good measure).

I came across this Delia Smith recipe not long ago and thought it was worth a try. If you enjoy almond biscotti and the flavour of marsala (fortified wine best known for its addition to tiramisu), you'll love this! I think of my mum when I serve this because I know she'd love it - she adores almonds :)

415ml double cream
6 large egg yolks
75g golden caster sugar (or regular caster sugar)
100ml marsala
90g almond biscotti, crushed plus
extra whole biscotti

1. Whip the cream to the floppy stage then refrigerate.
2. Meanwhile, whisk togethereg yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy.
3. Whisk in the marsala one tablespoon at a time.
4. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water) and whisk for 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens to custard consistency. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon.
5. Remove the bowl from the heat, cover and set aside for about 30 minutes to cool completely.
6. Gently stir the mixture and fold in the whipped cream.
7. Transfer to an ice-cream machine and churn for 10 minutes, then add the crushed biscotti and continue to churn for around another 20 minutes.
8. Transfer to a container and freeze.
9. Transfer to the fridge 30 minutes prior to serving, and serve the ice-cream with extra biscotti.


  • Until relatively recently, I thought double cream was the same thing as thickened cream - but it's not! Thickened cream is cream that's been thickened with vegetable gum or gelatin. Double cream is not as readily available in supermarkets, and is slightly more expensive, but it is sooo worth the result.

  • If you can't get biscotti, use almond bread instead (as pictured above).

  • If you're using purchased biscotti, choose one that doesn't contain almond essence. It tends to have a weird aftertaste - definitely of those fake flavours to avoid...

Till next time!

Ladybird x

Monday, 24 May 2010

Cupcakes for Charity - The Heart Foundation

As a regular baker, I often think about how I could use my skills for the benefit of those in need. With cupcakes being so popular in my office, I thought.."Why not sell them and put the money towards a good cause..." So with that, I have come up with the concept of Cupcakes for Charity.

My aim is to do a Cupcakes for Charity sale at least twice a month, and each time I will choose a different charity. For the first instalment of Cupcakes for Charity I chose the Heart Foundation. Cardiovascular disease remains one of Australia's biggest health problems... The Heart Foundation relies on gifts and donations to continue its lifesaving research, education and health promotion work, so it is a very good cause.

It seemed only right that the cupcakes be decorated with love hearts. Cupcakes with heart.. awww! ;)

Ladybird x

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

When a birthday rolls around in our office it means a cake or cupcakes are just around the corner. I made these on Wednesday night to celebrate a team mate's birthday...

I went the extra mile and topped mine with buttercream and ready to roll (RTR) fondant, but they would taste and look just as good topped with piped buttercream.

Some food snobs think cupcakes are plain boring, but for me you can't beat a classic vanilla cupcake. It's an item every baker has to have in their repertoire, right?!

Cupcakes - a Planet Cake recipe, makes 12
175g unsalted butter, softened
160g caster sugar
1 tsp natural vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp Madeira (optional)
2 eggs
160g SR flour
100g plain flour
200ml milk

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
2. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and a pinch of salt until light and creamy.
3. If adding madira, add now until well combined.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Sift the flours together. Fold in the flour and milk alternately into the creamed mixture.
6. Spoon into paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cupcake.
7. Leave to cool in tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.5c icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
dash of milk

1. Beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
2. Add a dash of milk to thin out the icing if desired.


Ladybird x

Monday, 17 May 2010

Macadamia & Chocolate Brownies

Leftover sour cream and nuts in the fridge.. Chocolate in the cupboard.. Ooh it's brownie time - yeah! Well... that's something along the lines of what I was thinking last night when I made my favourite brownie recipe. My sugar intake is definitely less than it used to be, but I think I love baking too much to cut sugar out altogether for good. I guess there has to be a healthy balance :)

I love using macadamia nuts instead of walnuts in my brownies.. Somehow I've never been much of a fan of walnuts in brownies... I think it tastes weird. Anway, here's how to whip up these bad boys. I served mine with a little cream instead of icing- after already having used a quarter of a kilo chocolate in the brownie I thought they were just fine without extra choc on top, but it's up to you :)

30g butter
250g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
80g unsalted butter, extra
2 tsp vanilla essence
1c soft brown sugar, firmly packed (a bit less if you don't like things too sweet)
2 eggs
1/2 c plain flour
1/2 c chopped roasted macadamia nuts
1/3 c sour cream
Icing: 125g dark chocolate, 60g unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree celcious and grease and line a brownie pan, or a small rectangular pan.
2. With a heatproof bowl placed over a pot over simmering water (not touching the bowl), melt the butter then add chocolate and stir over low heat until the chocolate is just melted. Remove bowl from pot and set aside for a ouple of minutes.
3. Meanwhile, beat the extra butter along with the sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
5. Stir in sifted flour, then chocolate mixture, nuts and the sour cream.
6. Transfer mixture to pan and smooth.
7. Bake for 45 minutes and cool in pan.
8. To prepare the icing, melt the chocolate and butter over simmering water then cool to room temperature and beat until thick and spreadable. Spread over the cooked brownie.

Enjoy :)

Ladybird x

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Perfect Banana Cake

Anyone who likes to bake even on a semi-regular basis will have a favourite banana cake recipe up their sleeve for when they have a few old bananas in the fruit bowl. I have used the same banana recipe for a long time, and I thought it was time to try an new one. I came across this one which was perfect as it calls for 4 ripe bananas, and that's exactly how many I needed to use up!

This banana cake is wonderfully moist.. I highly recommend giving this one a try :)

125 g unsalted butter
1/2 c caster sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 medium bananas, mashed
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 c milk
2 c self raising flour, sieved

125 g unsalted butter
3/4 c icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
small handful shredded/shaved coconut, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcuis and grease a 20cm round springform tin.
2. Mash bananas in a bowl, add vanilla, cover and set aside. In a small bowl, combine milk and bicarbonate soda, set aside.
3. In a large bowl cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs and mix until well combined.
5. Add banana mixture and mix until well combined.
6. Gently and gradually fold in flour and milk alternately.
7. Transfer to tin and bake for 1 hour, or until skewer comes out clean.
8. Leave in tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire rack.
9. For the icing, mix the butter and sugar till very creamy then add the lemon juice.
10. Spread over cooled cake and top with coconut.

  • Bananas should be very ripe.
  • Bake with cold ingredients (butter, milk, eggs) at room temperature for best results.
  • To toast coconut, dry roast in a pan over low to medium heat. Remove from pan once the coconut reaches a light golden colour.
Ladybird x
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