Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Sweets - Giant Ice-Cream Sandwich cake

The weekends are when I get a chance to experiment with recipes and put aside ideas that I want to try for the next special occasion. I loved this recipe I saw for a giant ice cream sandwich cake via Oh Happy Day. I think it would be perfect for all the summer entertaining we do.

Take a look.....

For the Ice Cream:
3.5 quarts (from 2 1.75qt containers) vanilla ice cream, softened

Line a 9×13″ baking pan with cling wrap and scoop out the ice cream into the pan. This helps it out with softening more if needed and makes it easier to spread out. If the ice cream still needs to soften let it sit for about 5 minutes then use an offset spatula to smooth it out evenly in the pan. Fold in the edges of the cling wrap and top with one more piece of cling wrap. Freeze for at least 3 hours, preferably 6 or overnight just to make it as frozen as possible, and easiest for you to work with.

For the Cake:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 cup well shaken buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F and prep a 9×13″ baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and a strip of parchment with overhang so you can lift the cake out of the pan easily.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder until it’s nice and combined. In a large measuring cup, 3-4 cups is perfect, measure out the buttermilk, then the oil, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat with a fork until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a silicone spatula to mix everything together. Add half the batter to the prepared pan, sooth it out with an offset spatula, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you have two pans then by all means bake up both pans, but if you’re like me and only have one then cover the second half of cake batter with plastic wrap while the first cake is baking. Once that cake is baked let it cool for 10 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack, then prep the pan with the parchment and non-stick spray and bake the second half of the batter.

When that one’s baked let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes before using the parchment handles to transfer it to a cooling rack and let the cakes cool completely.

When you’re ready to assemble the cake, pick the prettier of the two and use the fatter end of a chopstick or a paintbrush handle, something along that size and poke holes in the cake, alternating rows of 4 then 3 holes with each row spaced about 1″ apart. It helps if your cake has been peeled away from the parchment then placed back on there. Once you have all the holes poked place an upside down white chocolate chip in each hole and gently push it into the cake.

Place the other cake onto whatever you’re serving it on (I use the baking sheet flipped over) top down then carefully unwrap your ice cream and place that on top of the cake. If the edges need to be cleaned up use an offset spatula to smooth them out. To finish up the cake place the other layer of cake on top with the chocolate chips facing up and serve! If your ice cream is too soft or you still have time to kill then just place the cake in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.

What do you think? It reminds me of the good old Monaco Bar. Yum!

You can find so many more great ideas and recipes on their site here

Recipe and photos via Oh Happy Day

Around here lately....

I've been embracing the Spring weather and getting out and about catching up with friends. 
I always feel more social in the warmer weather! ;) 

I finally made it up to The Newport to check out their renovation and have lunch there. I love the fresh new look. The gardens feel very "Palm Springs" and has inspired me to start my own cactus garden.

The other place I hadn't been to for years was the Art Gallery of NSW to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition and to have lunch. I forgot what a lovely place it was and such a great place to catch up with a friend. We loved the exhibition (my favourites were her self portraits) and it has made me want to watch the Frida movie made years ago with Salma Hayek and read up a bit more on her.

I've also been Spring cleaning and changing up a few things in each bedroom. Moving beds around and changing artwork, adding a couple of new things into the mix. It feels good!

I'm feeling pink this week and love the new prints above our bed. Prints found here

I had a browse through Kmart the other day and this rug and a couple of baskets came home with me for Noah's room.

I've also been mixing up where I've been walking through the week but it's always near water and the view is always beautiful. Love the sun sparking off the water. The water looks so tempting but it is way too cold for me. I don't usually go in the ocean until December!

How have you been lately?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Nursery Love.

There is something so exciting about setting up a nursery and dreaming of what's to come. 
I follow Kyree over on Instagram and this week she revealed her baby's room. 
The gender is going to be a surprise so this room can be adapted to either sex. I love the neutral tones, the cosy corners and all of the little details on the shelves.

You can see the full tour and her mood boards over on Kyrees blog here

I've shared a few photos of the nursery below -

Did you find out the sex of your baby while pregnant?
 For our first we kept the surprise and then found out early with our other two.

Friday, September 16, 2016

All things chocolate - Nestle Chocolate

I was sent a whole box of Nestle Chocolate products the other day to try out, so I have been searching for recipes for all things chocolate!

The options are endless! Cake, slices, tarts, brownies, hot + iced chocolates, chocolate bark.......

Here are a few recipes that made it on my "must try" list - 

We tried the original in Serendipity in New York and it was amazing!

Chocolate spoons - You could do so many different toppings. 
Also in dark chocolate, white chocolate and my favourite milk chocolate.

How pretty is this white chocolate bark with rose, strawberry and pistachios?!

Ombre chocolate covered strawberries. Yum!

I love the idea of plonking this giant melty cookie on the table and everyone digging in!

I'll be back to share what I end up making.  Do you have a favourite chocolate recipe?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My favourite 'Pins' this week.

I always love a quick browse on Pinterest and thought I'd share with you some of my favourite pins this week.....

How beautiful is this cake?!
 I love the restraint in the decorating, the kids and I just usually use sprinkles over the top of ours ;)

My love of typography is going nowhere, I still swoon over a huge gallery wall like this one.

With Spring here my mind is turning to the outdoors and sprucing up the garden. Love this look.

How cool are these rainbow ice blocks? They look super healthy too!

I love the simplicity of this nursery. All calm, neutral and oh so cute.
As the boys get older it is hard to have the control over how their rooms look as toys and their own style come into play. Oh well it was nice while it lasted ;)

Cheers! I love finding inspiration for photos and documenting an occasion in a different way. 
Love this one.

I'm always on the look out for new salad ideas. 

I'm wanting to give our lounge room a bit of a shake up. 
Do you ever get the urge to change everything around once a new season arrives? I've been looking for a new rug for the longest time but just haven't found "the one" yet.
Love the layered rugs in this photo.

Plants, plants and more plants. 
I'd love to have them everywhere but I do try to be a little practical ;)

Do you love a good "pin" session? What's your favourite category to pin?
I always pin recipes I know I'll never make but it's comforting to have them there, just in case! ;)
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