Cinnamon sugar pancakes

I have already posted a recipe for savoury pancakes on this website, but I thought I would share the recipe again in a sweet format. I grew up with pancakes as a treat. We used to call them bazaar pancakes, and could usually by them for a next to nothing whenever the church or school or a charity event held a bazaar to raise money. It is quite common throughout South Africa, and you are sure to find a couple of retired ladies baking pancakes in aid of something or another in every small town in South Africa. My gran used to be one of those ladies, and this is her recipe…

The recipe gives approximately 20 large pancakes

2 cups water

2 eggs

30 ml white spirit vinegar

63 ml oil

2 cups cake flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ml salt

Whisk all the wet ingredients together. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. And whisk gently together until the batter has a smooth consistancy. The batter should be very runny and thin-if not the case add more water until the batter is runny (less thick than pouring cream!).

Heat a dash of oil in a pan, or use a non-stick pan. Add the batter, swirl acros the surface of the pan, and allow to bake for 5-8 minutes. The pancake is ready to flip, once all the sides have curled inwards. Flip the pancake once, and bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, place on a plate and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Repeat the process. Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!  These pancakes can also be frozen once made.

Yoghurt muesli rusks

I love, love, love rusks!  They are perfect for a quick snack with a cup of coffee, something to nibble on during a tea break, or to overcome the munchies between meals. South Africa has a long heritage of rusks, and you should be able to find good old “beskuit” (rusks) in most households.  If I find the time, I prefer to bake my own- the really good ones are quite expensive and the cheaper ones are just not that nice.  I originally found a recipe for muesli rusks on, a wonderful blog that only focuses on rusks . I’ve adapted my recipe a bit to lessen the sugar, and added and adjusted until I came up with this recipe. Many rusk recipes also require the use of self-raising flour, which is apparently not so readily available overseas as here, so for this recipe I make my own with bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.  This recipe is definitely not difficult but it does require a bit of extra sifting. It is worth the effort though, because the result is a light and crispy rusk!

This recipe gives 30-40 rusks

1/2 cup sugar

1 large, free range egg

1/3 cup honey

1 cup yoghurt

250 grams margarine, melted (or butter, if preferred)

2 cups muesli (I buy raw oat muesli with raisins, seeds and nuts specifically for baking)

1 cup dessicated coconut

1/2 cup raisins

250 grams cake flour

250 grams whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

4 teaspoons cream of tartar

20 ml baking powder

2 1/2 ml salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, margarine, egg, honey and yoghurt. Mix well, and add the muesli, coconut and extra raisins. In a separate bowl, sift the whole wheat flour, cake flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda, salt and baking powder. Sifting of the whole wheat flour will result in separation of the bran and flour. Once you’ve sifted it through, just add the separated bran to the egg mixture. Sift the flour three times, and then add to the egg mixture. It will be dry, but mix gently until all the ingredients come together and is wet. Gently press the dough into prepared baking pans (the dough should be about 3-5 centimetres thick) and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (a testing knife should come out clean). Gently turn out on a cooling tray and let cool until cold before cutting it. This should prevent excessive crumbling. Once it is cool, cut it into rusk-sized fingers and place in the bottom drawer of your oven at a low, low temperature (please help here-what is the bottom drawer called?!), and leave overnight to dry. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Chocolate chilli cupcakes with whipped chocolate ganache

Just in time for Valentine’s day!  I have been thinking about these cupcakes for the past week, and wanted to create a velvety, chocolaty, decadent cupcake with just a touch of chilli (a more grown up cupcake with a bit of a kick!) for the love in my life.

I made use of my chocolate coffee cupcake recipe (the one that started out as red velvet cupcakes!) I mentioned in a previous post, and added dried, ground chilli as well as finely grated dark chocolate. I topped it off with whipped chocolate ganache and decorated the cupcakes with red royal icing hearts and roses.  I think these cupcakes encompasses everything Valentine’s day is about-chocolate, hearts, a hint of spice and lots of love!

This recipe give 12 cupcakes:

60 grams room-temp butter

150 grams castor sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

40 grams good quality cocoa powder

100 ml black filter coffee

2 tablespoons ground chilli (add to taste)

160 grams cake flour, sifted

1/4 cup greek yoghurt

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar

pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Whisk the butter and sugar together until mixed. Add the egg, and whisk until light and creamy before adding the vanilla essence. In a separate container, mix the cocoa and coffee into a thick paste and add the chilli powder. Add the cocoa mixture to the the creamed egg, butter and sugar and whisk together. Sift the flour and salt into the batter and mix gently together with a spoon. Add the yoghurt and stir.  Mix the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar together and add to the cake batter. Gently mix together. Scoop big spoonfuls of batter into prepared cupcake cases in a muffin/cupcake pan and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes.

Whipped chocolate ganache icing:

200 ml cream

200 grams good quality dark chocolate

Break the chocolate into small pieces in a mixing bowl. Heat the cream until it almost boils. Slowly add the warm cream to the chocolate whilst stirring. Stir until completely melted. Let it cool until completely cold (I placed mine in the fridge for 30 minutes) before whisking it on high for 10 minutes. It should be like a chocolate mouse-light and fluffy. Place it in a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes.

The end result-moist, dark, chocolate cupcakes with a light, fluffy ganache topping and a lingering bite. These cupcakes should melt any guy (or girl’s) heart!

Chocolate coffee cupcakes


Last night my beau mentioned to me that there is a bit of a shortage under the menu for sweet things. And indeed, he is right!  Although I do believe that there were ulterior motives to the gentle reminder as he has the sweet tooth in the house…

This recipe started out as a red velvet cupcake recipe, but I have adjusted into a rich, moist, dark chocolate cupcake recipe with a hint of coffee. I rounded it off with light, fluffy butter cream icing, but believe it will go beautifully with chocolate ganache as well.  This recipe gives 12-14 cupcakes.

Chocolate cupcakes:

60 grams softened, room temperature butter

150 grams castor sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

40 grams good quality cocoa

110 ml cold black filter coffee (I didn’t have instant coffee but it should work as well)

110 grams white cake flour

1/4 cup double greek yoghurt

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 teaspoons white spirit vinegar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Whisk the sugar and butter together until creamy. Add the egg and whisk for another 5 minutes until light, fluffy and creamy. In a separate measuring jug, add the cocoa and coffee and mix into a think paste.  Add to the egg and butter mixture, together with the vanilla essence. Whisk together. Slowly sift the flour into the butter mixture, and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula after each addition. Add the yoghurt and mix everything together. In a separate container mix the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and add to the cake batter. Mix gently. Scoop a heaped tablespoon of the cake batter into prepared muffin or cupcake cases in a muffin pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. This is the time it takes to bake in my convection ovens, but because ovens differ it will be worthwhile to keep an eye on the cupcakes. The cupcakes are ready when a knife or cake tester comes out clean when piercing the cupcake. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing the cupcakes.

Buttercream icing:

100 grams softened, room temperature butter

2 cups icing sugar, sifted

5 ml milk

5 ml lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon caramel essence

Place the butter in a mixing bowl together with the caramel essence.  Sift 1 cup of icing into the mixing bowl and whisk, using a hand-held whisk. When everything comes together, add the second cup of icing and teaspoon of lemon juice. Whisk together again until everything comes together. Now add the milk, and whisk again until fluffy. Decorate the cupcakes using either a piping bag or knife and decorate to taste!

Home-baked caramelised onion and parsley bread

I mentioned in earlier posts that I’m not the greatest fan of bread, and generally try to decrease the carbs, but if we do eat bread, we do it properly!  There are few things as delicious as warm bread, fresh out of the oven, served with a dollop of butter, grated cheese and jam.  It reminds me of fond memories from my childhood, literally watching my gran’s oven and waiting for the bread to come out. And then of course fighting for the crust-the best part of fresh bread.

This is a basic bread recipe that I’ve adjusted to include caramelized onions, and we did this one on the braai in a  little bread pan. This recipe works just as well, if not better, in a normal oven @ 180 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes to 1 hour and gives a medium loaf.

For one bread:

Caramelized onions:

1 onion, finely chopped

dash balsamic

1 teaspoon honey

dash olive oil

Heat the olive oil over moderate heat in a pan. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes before adding balsamic and honey. Allow balsamic to reduce completely, stirring in between to prevent onions from burning. The balsamic should evaporate, leaving behind sticky, perfectly caramelized onions.  Set aside and allow to cool

1 1/2 cup brown bread flour

1 1/2 cup white cake flour

90 ml olive oil

pinch salt

1 sachet instant yeast

2 tablespoons castor sugar

1 cup luke warm water

caramelized onion described above

3 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley

Add your brown bread flour, 1 cup of the cake flour and salt to  large mixing bowl and make a hole in the middle. Throw the olive oil in the hollow. Do not mix yet!  Empty your sachet yeast in a separate measuring jug and add your castor sugar (normal sugar will also do!).  Now add 1/2 of your luke-warm water to the measuring jug and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes.  The mixture will become frothy.  Once it’s frothy, add it to the olive oil in the hollow of your flour, and gently mix with a wooden spoon.  The mixture will still be very dry.  Now add 1/4 of the remaining water, and gently start to knead the dough with your hands in the mixing bowl. If it’s still to dry, add some more of the remaining water.  Gently knead. The more you knead, the wetter the dough will become. I never finish my cup of water!  Once the dough is starting to come together (about 5 minutes of kneading), spread it out a bit and add your onions, and parsley.  Gently knead in the onion. It will be quite sticky by now, so add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Knead again gently for another 5 minutes. Your dough will become silky to the touch, and if you press it with your finger should be elastic, lessening the indentation made with your finger. Do not over knead! Once smooth, rub with a little bit of oil (to prevent it from cracking and drying out whilst rising). Cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and place in a warm, draft-free area.  Allow to rise for and hour (should double in size), before punching down (literally give your dough a little punch and press it down) and shaping it into a greased bread pan.  Allow to rise for another half an hour before placing it in a preheated oven  (180 degrees Celsius) and baking until golden brown (50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your oven). Test with a knife or cake tester. If t comes out clean your bread is ready!  Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before cutting or it might just crumble.

Now add butter to your slice of home-baked fresh, warm bread and enjoy!