brandy snap biscuits

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

The humble brandy snap biscuit. To your rescue when you have dinner guests arriving in 5 minutes and you haven’t prepped dessert. Brandy snaps are quick to make, delicious to eat and super entertaining for your guests to watch you burn your finger tips on. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

I used to think I was so fancy when I was little. I would make brandy snap baskets and serve sorbet in them for family dinners. They’re so versatile. Sorbet and ice cream is a treat served in their crunchy clutches. Filling them with whipped cream and berries is my other favourite as done here because sometimes the simplest desserts are the best. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

Shape wise you can really play around. Moulding them into cylinders works great for fillings. Moulding them around a small glass will create a little basket shape to put things in. Of course you can also always leave them to harden as is in disk form and top a dessert with them for some great textural crunch. 

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

I’m not going to lie. You’ve got to put your big girl/boy pants on and just deal with the heat. There’s a sweet spot temperature wise when they are perfect for moulding. You have to let them cool ever so slightly once out of the oven or they will be too soft and you cannot let them cool too much or they become brittle and break. So aim for somewhere in between the two. I use a very skinny rolling pin to make the cylinders but you can use whatever random utensil or handle you have in the kitchen. Give it a light spritz with some spray & cook and you’re all set. 

Brandy snap biscuits

makes about 10

Ingredients:

  • 50g butter
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 50g brown sugar 
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

whipped cream & berries to serve

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with a silicon mat or baking paper.

Mix butter, golden syrup and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Melt slowly over low-medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Whisk the ground ginger, salt and flour together to mix well. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the liquid butter/sugar/syrup mix. Stir together to form a stiff batter. Finally add the brandy and lemon juice. Mix well.

Spoon two tablespoons of mixture onto the silicon mat fairly far apart. I do two at a time as they spread a lot and this gives you enough time to mould them before hardening.

Cook the two brandy snaps for about 8 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Mould them around a handle making sure to press the two end together so they stick together and close the cylinder. Let cool until hard.

Pipe them full of whipped cream spiked with plenty of brandy and sweetened with a touch of icing sugar. Serve with fresh berries and enjoy!

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

brandy snap biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

Anzac biscuits- like my mamma made

Anzac biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

As winter approaches I find myself wanting a hot cup of tea and something to dunk into it. These Anzac biscuits are one of my all time favourite biscuits for dunking and general munching. I have been making this recipe with my mom since I was too short to reach a counter top. Apart from their obvious baked, crunchy yumminess I think I loved this recipe as a child because the raw mixture it utterly delicious and I would eat half of it before it made its way to the baking tray. That and the foamy bubbling awesomeness when you add the bicarb to the butter and syrup makes this such a fun recipe to teach eager little budding cooks.

Anzac biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

Our dear and ancient cookbook that the original recipe hails from is half glued shut with bits of batter and syrup. It also might be missing a few several pages out of it. The original recipe is from “The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits” by The Australian Women’s Weekly. I have no clue where our sticky copy of this beloved old book is now but the recipe is so easy you’ll know it off by heart after the first try. To be honest most Anzac biscuit recipes are very similar and just differ by the amount of coconut or sugar some people add. So don’t fret about this recipe ever not turning out if you add a bit too much or a tad too little of something. I add a good dose of vanilla and some sea salt to mine which the original recipe doesn’t call for but I think are lovely additions. Now put the kettle on and get baking!

Anzac biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

Anzac biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 215g brown sugar
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 60g desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 125g butter
  • 45g golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method:

Preheat oven to 150˚C.

Combine the flour, sugar, oats, coconut and salt in a large bowl.

Place butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan and stir over heat until the butter is completely melted. Mix the bicarb of soda into the boiling water and add to the saucepan. Stir well until completely combined and foamy.

Pour butter mixture into the dry ingredients, add the vanilla, and mix well.

Roll tablespoon size balls of the mixture and place evenly spaced out onto a greased or lined baking sheet.

Bake at 150˚C for 20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool and firm up slightly on the baking tray before transferring the biscuits onto a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Anzac biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

Anzac biscuits | The Secret Life of Bee

persimmon bread with pistachios & cranberries

persimmon bread | The Secret Life of Bee

I went to Franschhoek with some friends this weekend and the road was lined with fruit sellers holding big bags of bright orange persimmons. Of course we pulled over onto the side of the road and bargained our way to two bags of the ripest most beautiful sunset coloured persimmons we could find. These persimmons look like fat squat orange tomatoes. This is the Fuyu persimmon. It is sweet when hard and increases in sweetness the riper it gets. You can eat it as is or use it in salads, sorbets or bake with it etc. The other type of persimmon is the Hachiya persimmon which looks more like an elongated Roma tomato and must be extremely ripe when eaten or else it’s terribly sour and astringent.

persimmon bread | The Secret Life of Bee

This persimmon bread will make your kitchen smell amazing. It’s jam packed with so many layers of flavour. The sweet persimmons pair beautifully with the cinnamon and vanilla. The splash of Whiskey adds a lovely smokey dimension and the dried fruit and pistachios add some great texture. I came across this recipe from David Lebovitz which he adapted from Beard on Bread by James Beard. I’ve tweaked it to my liking with the cinnamon and vanilla and removed the nutmeg. I’ve also played with the nuts and fruit I added and so can you. You can adapt this recipe to your liking as it is very forgiving much like a banana bread or pumpkin loaf. Make sure your persimmons are nice and ripe. Not on the verge of bursting like a Hachiya persimmon should be but like an over-ripe tomato- slightly soft and squishy to the touch.

persimmon bread | The Secret Life of Bee

I have also used two types of flour in this loaf. Half all-purpose and half wholegrain. This BIO-WHEAT wholegrain flour is amazing. My mom bought it for me to hint for a batch of rusks and i’ve totally fallen in love with a bag of flour. This stone ground flour is produced in the Overberg and the farm is GMO free and organic. It’s flavourful, textured and healthy. Ok- enough about flour. Get baking!

Persimmon bread with pistachios & cranberries

makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients:

  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 200g wholegrain flour
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 280g persimmon pulp (one very full cup)
  • 115g butter, melted
  • 70g raisins
  • 70g dried cranberries
  • 70g pistachios
  • 30ml whiskey

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C and line a large loaf tin with baking paper and brush with butter.

Cut the persimmons in half around their middle. Use a spoon to scoop out all of the flesh and mush with a fork.

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to mix. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.

Add the eggs, melted butter and persimmon pulp and mix.

Finally add the raisins, cranberries, pistachios and whiskey.

Pour into prepared tin and bake in the oven for +- 40 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Leave to cool on a wire rack before turning out and put the kettle on because a slice of this is destined to be enjoyed with a hot cup of tea.

persimmon bread | The Secret Life of Bee

persimmon bread | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

 

fig and frangipane tart

fig and frangipane tart | The Secret Life of Bee

Homemade frangipane is one of the most delicious and versatile fillings you will ever make. Butter, eggs, sugar, ground almonds and a sprinkle of flour. That’s it. This simple creamy almond filling marries incredibly well with fruit and you can use it in tarts, galettes, stuff pastries with it and so much more! You can also spice it up with some rum or Calvados and add extracts like vanilla and orange blossom.

fig and frangipane tart | The Secret Life of Bee

I adore figs. I do not adore how much they cost most of the time. Luckily it’s season and I bought a kilogram of figs from a local grocery store for R39! That’s insanely cheap. So we have had a lot of fig filled salads, desserts and even cocktails in our house the past week. I do really love the way figs cook. Their skin allows them to hold their shape but they get oozy and juicy and create little pockets of tender goodness. Get a forkful of that with some crisp pastry crust and frangipane and you’re in heaven.

fig and frangipane tart | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig and frangipane tart

serves 8

Ingredients:

Sweet shortcrust pastry:

  • 75g icing sugar
  • 30g ground almonds
  • 150g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 75g butter, cold
  • 30g free-range egg, beaten (about 1/2 a large egg)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Frangipane:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 25g self raising flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • figs
  • flaked almonds
  • jam of choice

Method:

Begin with the pastry dough. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut the butter into little cubes and then ‘rub’ into the dry ingredients using your fingers. Once you have a wet sand like texture add the beaten egg and vanilla in the centre. Mix until the dough barely comes together. Turn out onto a clean work surface and bring it together into a ball. You do not want to over work this dough. Flatten slightly and wrap well with cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge.

To make the frangipane- Whisk the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Add the egg and whisk. Finally add the flour, ground almonds and lemon zest. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Roll out your pastry dough and press into a greased tart pan. Blind bake the tart shell for 10-15 minutes until golden. Let the tart shell cool.

Spread some jam of your choice (apricot and raspberry work beautifully with the figs) onto the base of the tart shell. Spoon over the frangipane, spread and flatten it neatly with the back of a spoon. Cut the figs in half and press them into the frangipane. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 30-40 minutes until the frangipane is golden and set. Allow to cool before slicing.

fig and frangipane tart | The Secret Life of Bee

fig and frangipane tart | The Secret Life of Bee

fig and frangipane tart | The Secret Life of Bee

 

baked cheesecake

Baked Cheesecake | The Secret Life of Bee

Cheesecake and I go way back. My mum and gran made cheesecake often when I was little. They let me get involved all the time and I was an expert biscuit crusher. I was first taught the fridge version and made my way up to baked when I was old enough not to burn myself or the house down. I love both types. But there is something incredibly luxurious about the texture of a baked cheesecake. Like silky velvet on your fork with a buttery biscuit crunch.

Baked Cheesecake | The Secret Life of Bee

It’s rich and devilishly moreish. It’s also a super easy dinner party dessert as you have to make it the day before freeing you up to focus more on your other courses or on wine drinking. It’s important to let it set in the fridge overnight as that’s what gives it the velvety texture. You can serve your cheesecake with all kinds of sauces, crunchy toppings or fruit. It lends itself to so many flavour combinations. It also keeps well in the fridge covered up for a few days. Cheesecake for breakfast is the way forward. Figs are in season and one of my favourite fruit and pair so well with the salted caramel. Be sure to use sea salt flakes for those surprise little pops of flavour.

AV6A4447-2

Baked Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 packet (200g) ginger nuts
  • 80g butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1kg best quality cream cheese
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250ml cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Maïzena
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Salted caramel:

  • 60ml water
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 28g butter
  • 125ml cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

serve with seasonal fruit

Method:

Prepare a 23cm springform pan by greasing it with butter and then lining the outside with two layers of heavy duty foil.

For the salted caramel- Bring the sugar and water to a boil and watch closely until it turns a rich caramel colour. Do not stir it up until this point, just swish the pan around if necessary. Add the butter off the heat and whisk. Be careful- it will bubble up. Finally whisk in the cream and vanilla and sprinkle in sea salt flakes. Set aside to cool in a heatproof dish.

For the base- crush the biscuits and pour in melted butter. Press into the base of a greased 23cm springform cake tin. Place in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 165˚C.

For the filling- in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and then cream. Add one egg at a time and beat in thoroughly. Finally add the Maïzena, lemon juice, lemon zest and the vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Place the springform tin into a large, deep, oven dish. Pour mixture on top of the base, fill the tray half way up with water and bake the cheesecake in the bain marie for 1 hour and 15-30 min depending on your oven. The centre should still have a slight wobble.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the bain marie. (This helps prevents cracking by cooling it slowly) Once the water is cold remove the cheesecake and the layers of foil and let it set in the fridge overnight.

Bring the cheesecake up to room temperature before serving. Slice using  a sharp knife dipped in boiling water. Drizzle with salted caramel and serve with fresh figs or berries.

Baked Cheesecake | The Secret Life of Bee

Baked Cheesecake | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

chocolate banana bread

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

So I have been seeing a lot of chocolate banana bread on my favourite blogs and sites lately. Chocolate and banana go darn well together and I have always added roughly chopped chunks of dark chocolate to my banana bread. That and a handful of pecan nuts. Heaven. So I thought let’s see how my recipe does with some added dark cocoa powder…

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Well. Well well well. This little loaf didn’t last long. The smell is the first thing that hits you. Intense, rich chocolate with hints of vanilla, cinnamon and sweet banana. I am sold. As if all this is not enough I guess one could say this is a double chocolate banana bread because the chunks of dark chocolate inside are splendid little surprises of molten goodness. Chop your chocolate quite roughly and unevenly so you end up with some large gooey chunks and smaller melted in ones. Bliss.

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 230g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 45g dark cocoa powder (I use NOMU)
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 150g muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste ( I use NOMU)
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 120g butter, melted
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa in a bowl and whisk to mix.

Mash 3 ripe bananas in a separate bowl using a fork. Add the muscovado sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix. Add the eggs one at a time and then the melted butter.

Sprinkle in the dry ingredients and mix until just together. Finally add the roughly chopped chunks of chocolate.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin and bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost clean. You want to keep the cake moist and those chocolate chunks gooey!

If you can- leave to cool on a wire rack and then turn out. If you’re like me you’ll get involved the second it leaves the oven!

It’s ever so good with a swish of butter or a delicious nut butter like almond or macadamia nut. Yum.

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Chocolate Banana Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

 

orange curd & granadilla tartlets

Orange curd & granadilla tartlets | The Secret Life of Bee

I adore making little tartlets. I’m big on crust. I find one giant tart never gives me the right crust to filling ratio. That’s what I love about individual little tartlets. That and they always look so darn cute. Like a little tea party in your kitchen.

Orange curd & granadilla tartlets | The Secret Life of Bee

These tarts are very special as the granadilla you see here has come from my beloved little vine. I have been speaking to and nurturing this precious plant for months and am over the moon with the amount of fruit it yielded and also with the taste. They have the most incredible sweet pulp and the colour of their skins is incredibly vibrant. I’m like a proud mom. So not to mess with the exquisite fresh granadilla I used it as a topping for the curd. The curd is very sweet and needs the fresh tartness of the granadilla to balance it.

Orange curd & granadilla tartlets | The Secret Life of Bee

Orange curd & granadilla tartlets

Ingredients:

Sweet short pastry dough:

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 300g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g butter, cold
  • 60g free-range eggs (1 extra-large egg), beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Orange curd:

  • 2 large oranges, zested & juiced
  • 140g butter
  • 300g sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 eggs
  • 20g cornstarch
  • Grand Marnier (or orange liquor, dark rum and even brandy!)
  • fresh granadilla pulp

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Begin with the pastry. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut the butter into little cubes and then ‘rub’ into the dry ingredients using your fingers. Once you have wet sand like texture add the beaten egg and vanilla in the centre. Use one finger to swirl the dry ingredients more and more into the centre. Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and barely bring it together into a ball. You do not want to over work or over heat this dough. Flatten your ball slightly and wrap well with cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge.

For the filling- zest and then juice the two oranges. Place the zest, juice, butter and half the sugar into a pot and bring to the boil. Whisk the remaining sugar with the egg yolks until pale and creamy. Add the remaining eggs one at a time and finally whisk in the cornstarch. When the orange mixture has reached a rolling boil, pour a little into your egg mixture and whisk to temper the eggs. Add a little more at a time until you have added three quarters of the mixture. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot and whisk the whole lot over medium high heat until it thickens and comes to the boil. This will take a few minutes so be patient and don’t stop whisking!

Transfer curd to a shallow dish and whisk in a heavy handed splash of Grand Marnier and let it cool slightly. Cover with cling film in contact with the surface of the curd and allow to cool in the fridge.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface until a couple mm thick. Fill greased tart molds with pastry dough making sure to press the dough into the corners and cut off neat edges. Fill with ceramic baking beans for the neatest finish or just prick the bottoms well with a fork. Bake until golden brown and crisp. Leave to cool.

Fill a piping bag with the orange curd. Pipe the curd into the tart shells when completely cool. Spoon over heaps of fresh granadilla pulp and serve!

Enjoy!

Orange curd & granadilla tartlets | The Secret Life of Bee

Orange curd & granadilla tartlets | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

vanilla choux buns

Vanilla Choux Puffs | The Secret Life of Bee

These little airy puffs of choux pastry filled with vanilla crème pâtissière say I love you with every little bite. Pile them up and serve in between you and your Valentine with a bottle of bubbly.

Choux pastry / pâte à choux is really a very easy pastry to master. There are two tricks. ‘Drying’ it out sufficiently in the pan and watching the consistency when you begin adding the eggs. You do not want a very wet dough. It must stand up on it’s own when you swish a finger through it so sometimes that means leaving a little egg behind when you’ve got a shiny, silky smooth pastry.

Vanilla Choux Puffs | The Secret Life of Bee

Vanilla Choux Puffs | The Secret Life of Bee

Once made the pastry is pretty robust. You do not need to pipe it out straight away and also if you pipe some dodgy looking choux you can scrape them back into the bowl and try again! You can also pre pipe them- freeze them and cook from frozen! Easy peasy! They are super light and fluffy and can be filled with anything sweet or savoury!

Vanilla Choux Puffs | The Secret Life of Bee

Vanilla Choux Buns

Ingredients:

Choux

  • 125ml full-cream milk
  • 125ml water
  • 110g butter
  • 5g sugar
  • 5g salt
  • 140g flour
  • 250g eggs (approx 5 large eggs)

Crème Pâtissière

  • 500ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 60g egg yolk (approx 3 yolks)
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 40g Maïzena

Method:

Preheat oven to 220˚C and line two baking sheets with silicon mats or baking paper.

Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil. Take the pot off the stove and add the flour. Return to the heat and mix the dough thoroughly with a spatula, drying it out. 3-5 minutes.

Place dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the dough on its own for a few seconds to release some steam and cool down.

Whisk the eggs and pour them into a little jug.

While the mixer is turning, slowly add the eggs a little at a time. Mix the dough thoroughly between each addition. It will split and then come back together again. You do not want the dough to be too wet so you may not need to add all of the egg. I often leave a tablespoon or two behind.

Fit a piping bag with a 10mm piping tip and then fill with the choux pastry.

Pipe mini ping pong sized balls onto the baking sheets and place in the oven. Switch the oven off for 10 minutes. Turn back on at 160˚C and cook for a further 20 minutes. Remove choux and leave to cool.

Vanilla Choux Puffs | The Secret Life of Bee

For the crème pâtissière- bring the milk and vanilla to the boil.

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until pale and creamy. Add the Maïzena and mix.

Once the milk reaches a boil- pour a splash of milk onto the yolk mix and whisk. Keep adding milk a little at a time. Then pour the mixture back into the pot and cook the pastry cream while whisking until it thickens and begins bubbling- about 3 minutes.

Cover with cling film on contact and place in the fridge to cool.

Jab little holes into the bottom of your choux with a piping tip and then fill with the pastry cream.

Dip the choux in your choice of topping- chocolate ganache, white chocolate or simple cupcake style icing.

Vanilla Choux Puffs | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

vanilla sponge cake with buttercream icing

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

So over one glass four glasses of wine with a friend recently, we got chatting about baking. Specifically baking for the every day home cook. Sometimes it’s great having an amazing, seriously involved recipe that takes you 36 hours to execute and the result is drool-worthy. But other times you just need something convenient and yum without creating Hiroshima in the kitchen.

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

I have never used a cake baking kit before but was so pleasantly surprised at the result. The NOMU Vanilla Cake Kit created a delicious vanilla sponge cake that baked evenly and perfectly. I also liked that the kit required eggs, butter and milk. So you’re using all the good stuff that makes a cake super yummy, except they just make your life easier by measuring all the dry ingredients for you in a perfect ratio.

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

This was a very special cake for a very special bride to be and I could not have been happier that it turned out beautifully and was totally delicious. So find an excuse to bake this cake ASAP and you won’t be disappointed!

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting

*This recipe makes one cake. I used 2 cake kits, doubled the ingredients and made extra icing for the featured cake.

Ingredients:

For the icing:

*The nifty NOMU Baking Kit comes with three clearly marked sachets. One cake mix, one caster sugar and one icing mix sachet.

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Method:

Preheat oven to 170˚C. Grease 2 x 20cm cake tins.

Using a hand held or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on high until very pale and fluffy.

Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and milk. Mix.

Finally sift in the cake mix sachet and gently combine until just mixed together.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tins and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

For the icing: 

Beat the butter on high speed until pale and creamy.

Sift in the icing mix and beat until well combined.

Add two squirts of vanilla paste for extra flavour and the beautiful look of little vanilla seeds throughout the icing.

Once the cake is completely cool begin assembly. Place a dollop of icing onto a cake board or cake stand to ‘cement’ down your cake. Place the first layer down and top with a very generous amount of icing and spread evenly to the edges. Place the second layer on top and ice the entire cake with a very thin layer of icing. This is called the crumb coat which glues down stray crumbs so you have a neater and cleaner finish. Place the cake in the fridge for the icing to set.

Remove the cake once the icing has set and proceed with the final layer of icing. For smooth edges use an off-set spatula or palette knife and dip in warm water. Decorate with flowers, glitter, gold dust, mini meringues and lots of LOVE!

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

ground almond seed bread

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Finally. It’s a miracle. I made gluten free, guilt free, low carb seed bread that doesn’t taste like bird food and cardboard had a baby.

I’ve made quite a few low carb seed breads and they never seem to satisfy me or trick my mind into believing I’ve just had a piece of bread.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

This one happened by pure accident, a lack of ingredients and an attempt to say no to dough. I’ve always freshly ground my own flax seeds into a faux flour and used that as the base for my seed breads. Yesterday morning was a tad different as recently being back from the holidays our cupboards were looking rather sad and empty and I was craving a piece of toast for breakfast. So all I had as the main ‘flour source’ was ground almonds and some psyllium husks to bind things together.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

It looked a bit dodge while mixing and trying to get the consistency right but once it baked and cooled I was so surprised at this little loaf. Real bready flavour, great texture and most of all a healthy and nutritious loaf that is delicious with a myriad of toppings!

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Ground Almond Seed Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 1 cup mixed seeds (I used a mix of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, linseeds and pumpkin seeds)
  • 3 tbsp psyllium husks
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup water

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease a small loaf tin.

Quite simply mix all of your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Scrape mixture into the greased loaf tin and place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes.

When cool enough to handle turn the loaf out of the tin and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Serve with your choice of meal or toppings.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

My breakfast that I was craving. A simple fried egg on the fresh out of the oven seed bread with a generous swish of butter.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Smoked salmon and cream cheese is always a winning combo with a generous squeeze of lemon and some freshly ground black pepper.

Another delight is fresh avocado on a base of rocket pesto with sumac and toasted seeds. Sumac is a spectacular Middle Eastern spice that is normally used to top hummus and other meze style dishes. It’s slightly lemony in flavour and adds a kick to many a dish!

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

This bread is so versatile you can use it with sweet toppings too. Cream cheese with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey hits the spot with your afternoon tea. And for the husband- peanut butter and honey. One of his favs.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee