Raspberry & Vanilla Mini Bundt Cakes

Raspberry & Vanilla Mini Bundt Cakes | The Secret Life Of Bee

These little bundt cakes are all kinds of delicious. They are soft and pillowy and not too sweet. I love folding raspberries and blackberries into my batter, but you can also use any seasonal fruit you have on hand if you like. The glaze is lemony and delicious but they are just as good with a dusting of icing sugar if you don’t have time for the glaze.

Raspberry & Vanilla Mini Bundt Cakes | The Secret Life Of Bee

This mini bundt tray was a gift from Le Creuset and I am absolutely in love! I have used it several times now. It bakes like an absolute dream. Everything baked so evenly, so golden and came out spotless. You also barely need to wash it. I just wiped mine down with some paper towel. It is an absolute treat for parties, birthdays and whatever occasion you can make an excuse for!

Raspberry & Vanilla Mini Bundt Cakes | The Secret Life Of Bee

Raspberry & Vanilla Mini Bundt Cakes

makes 36

Ingredients:

  • 430g flour
  • 400g sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 225g butter, room temperature
  • 300ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 200g fresh raspberries
  • 100g fresh blackberries

For the glaze:

  • 2-3 cups icing sugar
  • fresh lemon juice

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and bicarb in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter, buttermilk, and oil and beat on medium speed, until smooth.

Whisk egg yolks, egg, and vanilla together. Add egg mixture to flour mixture until mixture is homogenous and thick. Fold in the raspberries and blackberries.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag.

Pipe batter into mini bundt tray. About 2/3 the way up. Bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Flip out the mini bundts onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the glaze sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add a drizzle of lemon juice and whisk. Keep adding lemon juice until you have a thick pouring consistency.

Once completely cool dip each bundt into the glaze and flip it back onto the rack and allow to set. Enjoy!

Raspberry & Vanilla Mini Bundt Cakes | The Secret Life Of Bee

Raspberry & Vanilla Mini Bundt Cakes | The Secret Life Of Bee

Raspberry & Vanilla Mini Bundt Cakes | The Secret Life Of Bee

*Mini Bundt Tray supplied by Le Creuset, get your own here now!

 

fluffy vanilla waffles for your valentine

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

Spread the love this Valentine’s Day and make these fluffy vanilla waffles for someone near and dear to you. I don’t buy into Valentine’s Day and all the fluff and fuss of expensive roses and an over priced meal in a restaurant. What I love about this day is the general message of spreading love and happiness. Doing something at home like cooking a special meal for your other half or drawing a handmade card for your mom- that’s what Valentine’s Day is about for me.

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

These vanilla waffles are indeed love at first bite. They have a super crispy crust to them and a fluffy vanilla scented centre. I love them with berries and honey while the husband opts for butter and maple syrup. They are a vehicle for delicious toppings like caramelized cinnamon bananas or plain Jane as they are with a dusting of icing sugar. I had some of the best waffles of my life at a brunch spot in Brooklyn, NY with fried chicken and maple syrup. They were sensational, but that’s a wee bit too much admin for me first thing in the morning! If you don’t have a waffle maker it’s really not a bad little investment. It also makes a mean batch of french toast!

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

Fluffy Vanilla Waffles 

makes 3 large waffles

Ingredients:

  • 170g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 25g sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 340ml milk, warm
  • 75g melted butter

To serve:  fresh berries, honey, icing sugar, whipped cream or ice cream and of course an ice cold bottle of bubbly

Method:

Heat your waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, milk, vanilla and butter.

Whip the egg white until fluffy. Add in the cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form.

Whisk together the wet and dry ingredients, and finally fold in the egg whites with a spatula until combined.

Ladle the batter into the waffle iron and cook until golden brown and crisp.

Serve with a dusting of icing sugar, fresh berries, a drizzle of honey and a cold glass of bubbly.

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Krone Rosé Cuvée Brut supplied by the lovely folks from Twee Jonge Gezellen.

mixed berry tart

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

This mixed berry tart is the perfect dessert for a summer gathering and with Christmas around the corner i’m already starting to plan our menu and test out some old favourites. Summer in South Africa brings with it my happiest time of year. Berries are in season and beach days are in full swing!

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

So because we spend Christmas at the beach and not building a snowman we love having a seafood braai with plenty of fresh salads, a lot of white wine and something fresh and light for dessert. This berry tart satisfies the sweet tooth rather perfectly with its super creamy luxurious almond cream filling and bursts of fresh tart berries. It’s also supremely easy to make so more time to frolic in the sea and concentrate on nursing your wine bottle glass.

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

I know blind baking is a pain but just do it. Especially with this tart. You really want a nice crispy tart shell to contrast the velvet like filling. If berries aren’t your thing or not in season you can use plenty of other fruit! Plums and apricots would be a dream! Poached pears are also a winner! Spice them up with some cinnamon and red wine and tummies will be very happy indeed.

Mixed Berry Tart

serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Pastry:

  • 200g flour
  • 100g butter
  • 5g salt
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 5ml cold water
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 egg

Filling:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 25g self raising flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • two handfuls mixed berries of your choice

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Begin with the pastry dough. Whisk flour, sugar and salt together. Add butter and work with your fingers into a wet sandy consistency. Add the egg and vanilla and bring together into a dough. Add the tsp of cold water if necessary. Roll dough gently into a ball, flatten slightly, wrap well in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 min.

To make the filling- Whisk the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk. Finally add the flour, ground almonds, lemon zest and brandy. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry dough. Line the base and sides of a greased 20cm tart shell. Press well into the corners and trim the edges. Fill with baking paper and blind bake the pastry case with either rice or baking beans for 10 minutes. Remove beans and baking paper and blind bake further for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Fill the tart shell with the almond cream and scatter with seasonal berries. Press them into the filling very lightly so they stick out a bit.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and set. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

*If you’d like to own one of these gorgeous Protea Dreams platters provided by Sugar and Vice then just click HERE!

raspberry financiers

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Financiers make me nostalgic for Paris. I miss walking into my local boulangerie first thing in the morning and being hit by the sweetest smell in the world. Freshly baked bread and pastries that would make a diabetic weep. The French take such pride in their pâtisserie. From the identically sliced figs on a massive tart to the expertly glazed raspberry on a macaron. It’s perfection.

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Financiers are it for me. They’re my Achilles’ heel of the pastry world. Specifically raspberry financiers. The slightly tart and super fresh raspberry is the perfect accompaniment to the buttery,  and indulgently rich ground almond based treat. I know it’s a forbidden word but deal with it… They’re incredibly moist. So don’t over bake them. It would be a crime of pastry passion.

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Lastly when you get to the recipe and you think i’ve made a typo with the amount of butter… I haven’t. Just deal with it. Butter is life. While at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris I learned it was possible to use several kilograms of butter in one meal. God bless the French. For financiers I like to make my own almond flour. I find freshly grinding the almonds make the little cakes more moist. OMG I said it again. Breathe. If you don’t have a Nutribullet or a little coffee grinder don’t bother- bought will do just fine. Now make these babies and share them with people you really love.

Raspberry Financiers

makes 18

Ingredients:

  • 300g butter plus extra for greasing
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g flour
  • 9 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • pinch sea salt
  • 250g fresh raspberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease 3 x 6 mini cupcake trays or similar moulds.

Brown butter in a saucepan and set aside to cool.

Place ground almonds in a large mixing bowl. Sift in the icing sugar and flour. Mix together.

Whisk the egg whites lightly just to combine them, not whip them.

Add them to the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix thoroughly.

Finally add the vanilla, pinch of salt and the cooled butter. Mix well.

Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour before ladling it into the moulds.

Press three raspberries into each mould and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Turn out onto a cooling rack and try resist eating them all at once.

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

Raspberry Financiers | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

kumquat & gooseberry ice cream

kumquat & gooseberry ice cream | The Secret Life of Bee

I recently received the most gorgeous bouquet of kumquats from my neighbour with very sexy ankles. I ate one immediately and it burst with flavour! The kumquat is ever so perfectly sweet and tangy. You can eat these delicious little citrus treats peel and all. The peel tends to be even sweeter than the flesh. Their bright colour and zingy flavour made me think of warm weather, the beach and summery things like ice cream. 

kumquat & gooseberry ice cream | The Secret Life of Bee

The kumquat’s tart and tangy flavour profile also got me thinking about the tub of gooseberries in my fridge. They turned out to be a match made in heaven. Both flavours sang together as they bubbled away into a zesty compote. Making a compote and then stirring it into the vanilla base gives this ice cream a wonderful texture and pockets of sweet and sour.

kumquat & gooseberry ice cream | The Secret Life of Bee

As mentioned in the recipe if you don’t have an ice cream machine do not fret! Pour the vanilla mixture into a ziplock bag and freeze. Remove and break into chunks and whizz in a food processor, blender or with a stick blender if that’s all you have! Most of the time you can get around any fancy equipment required in a recipe with a little bit of a MacGyver attitude.

Kumquat and gooseberry ice cream

Ingredients:

  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml cream
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 4 free-range egg yolks

For the compote:

  • 200g kumquats, deseeded, sliced into quarters
  • 200g gooseberries, sliced in half
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100ml water
  • splash of brandy

Method:

Place kumquats, gooseberries, caster sugar, water and brandy in a saucepan. Slightly mash the fruit into the sugar and leave for 30 minutes.

Place saucepan on medium heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the fruit is soft and jam like. Around 15 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and place in the fridge to cool completely.

*prep an ice bath

Pour the milk and cream into a medium saucepan. Slice the vanilla pods and scrape in the seeds. Pop in the pods as well and bring to a simmer.

While the milk and cream are heating whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until pale and fluffy.

Just before the milk mixture starts to boil pour about a cupful into the eggs and whisk as you pour to temper the eggs. Pour the rest of the hot mixture in and whisk well.

Return the mixture to the heat and using a spatula cook the mixture gently until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. (85˚C for those with a thermometer.)

Sieve the mixture into the bowl and place in an ice bath. Stir until completely cool to stop the cooking process. Pop in the fridge if necessary.

Transfer the ice cream base into an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.

*If you do not have an ice cream machine pop the mixture into a ziplock bag and freeze. Once frozen break into chunks and pop in the food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Scoop ice cream into a bowl once completing either method. Fold cooled compote into the ice cream base to form compote ripples and freeze.

Scoop and serve with fresh gooseberries and kumquats.

kumquat & gooseberry ice cream | The Secret Life of Bee

kumquat & gooseberry ice cream | The Secret Life of Bee

kumquat & gooseberry ice cream | The Secret Life of Bee

 

açaí super smoothie

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

The açaí palm provides two of my favourite things on earth, açai berries and hearts of palm. The açaí berry is jam packed with antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It’s also delicious. The first time the husband took me to Rio we went to a juice bar near the beach and he got me this massive dark purple açaí smoothie. It was incredibly beautiful and super scrumptious. The berry is quite tart but has chocolatey cocoa undertones which makes it a delicious addition to any smoothie or juice. It also has a magnificent colour.

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

I received the most beautiful glass bottle of milk from Consol last week. Not only do I just adore the nostalgia of milk in a glass bottle but the milk inside was the most delicious and creamy milk i’ve ever tasted. Thanks to the sexy Swiss cows from Deneys Swiss Dairy i’m ruined for all other milk. And let’s face it, milk just tastes better in a glass bottle. This awesome colab is getting people to focus on bringing back the pure things in life. This gorgeous glass bottle is pure packaging. It keeps the milk fresher for longer and with no nasty chemicals that could alter the taste of its contents. So chuck out those plastic cartons and decant your milk into a beautiful glass bottle. It’s better for you, it looks darn pretty and it feels like a treat!

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Also- can we have a minute for these amazing strawberries I found at the market. They were almost too pretty to eat… almost. To give the different layers of the smoothie some slushie consistency I sliced and froze a bunch of strawberries and bananas. They also make fabulous sorbet in seconds if you blend them up with a splash of coconut milk. The chia seed layer is a yum and fun textural element but also super duper healthy. These babies are laden with B vitamins, thiamine, niacin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. I mean. I’m feeling healthier just typing this!

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Açaí Super Smoothie

makes 1 large smoothie

Ingredients:

Banana layer

  • 1 banana
  • 125ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Slice banana thinly and freeze slices until hard. Remove from the freezer and place all ingredients in a blender or nutribullet. Blend until smooth and reserve layer in the freezer.

Chia seed layer

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 125ml milk

Soak chia seeds in milk and vanilla until they become porridge like and reserve in the fridge.

Açaí layer

  • 7 strawberries
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 heaped Tbsp açaí powder
  • 125ml milk

Slice strawberries thinly and freeze until hard. Remove from the freezer and place all ingredients in a blender or nutribullet. Blend until smooth and reserve layer in the freezer.

To assemble smoothie:

Mash some fresh strawberries at the bottom of the jar. Top with banana layer, chia seed layer and then açaí layer. Finally decorate with fresh fruit, toasted nuts and seeds.

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by the awesome folks at Consol Glass

 

 

rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries

Rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries | The Secret Life of Bee

A pavlova is a beautiful dessert piece for the Christmas table. It’s a breeze to make and assemble and you can even make the meringue base the day before if you’re pressed for time and too busy stuffing a turkey and frying potatoes in duck fat.

Rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries | The Secret Life of Bee

Dressing the pavlova is the best part. It’s really up to you what flavours and textures you’d like to go with. I’m a big fan the classic berries and cream. I love the tartness of the berries with the sweet meringue, add a hint of vanilla to the cream and i’m in tastebud heaven. I do not add any sugar to the cream itself. A traditional Chantilly cream would have vanilla and sugar in it but I feel the meringue itself is sweet enough.

You could go the tropical fruit route and fill your pavlova with mango slices, kiwi and fresh granadilla. Or something rich and luxurious like a chocolate cream with salted caramel, poached spicy pears and toasted hazelnuts. It’s a blank canvas so you can play as much as you like. My favourite part of a pavlova is that it acts as table decor! It’s beautiful and will stay crisp for quite sometime if you dress it at the last minute. Be the host with the most this festive season and make this glamorous dessert for your loved ones.

Rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries | The Secret Life of Bee

Rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries

Ingredients:

  • 160g free-range egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1l whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • fresh berries
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • brandy
  • raspberry jam

Method:

Preheat oven to 120˚C.

Separate eggs. Pour whites into a clean and dry mixing bowl or into the bowl of an electric mixer. You can wipe the bowl with a dash of vinegar to be sure there are no traces of grease. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until light and foamy. At this point gradually shower in the caster sugar bit by bit. Continue to whip until thick and glossy. Finally add the corn flour and vinegar and finish the meringue off to stiff peaks. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without fear of it landing up all over your floor. Fold in the teaspoon of rosewater gently without knocking any air out of the meringue.

Rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries | The Secret Life of Bee

Dollop the meringue into a circular shape on a baking tray lined with a silicone mat or baking paper. Make sure the sides are quite high and then using a spoon spread some meringue in the centre of the circle to hold your filling.

Bake the meringue at 120˚C for 2 hours and then leave to cool.

While the meringue is baking make the berry coulis. Place your choice of fresh or frozen berries and lemon juice into a small saucepan. Add a scant tablespoon of caster sugar and cook down until the berries begin to disintegrate. Finish with a generous splash of brandy and then blend using an immersion blender.

Rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries | The Secret Life of Bee

Once the meringue is completely cool whip the cream and vanilla until soft peaks.

Spread some of the raspberry jam into the centre of the pavlova. Spoon the cream on top of the jam and then drizzle with the coulis and top with fresh berries.

Rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries | The Secret Life of Bee

Rose water pavlova with whipped cream & boozy berries | The Secret Life of Bee