Banana Bread

Everybody loves banana bread. If there happens to be someone who doesn't, well I feel quite distressed for them. It's just one of those things that I can't get enough of. Pretty much a Cafe staple these days, I have often ignored other menu items in favour of this seemingly simple loaf. I must admit, I do love bananas immensely, but there is just something about using them in baking that really shows off their amazing-ness. Whether muffins, cake or bread they meld into other ingredients to create deliciously moist and flavourful things. 

Naturally, loving something so much means I have baked it more than my fair share of times. But as it is with certain foods, I was never able to produce the banana bread that I had been craving - the dense, moist loaf that seemed to be available at every cafe but which annoyingly remained something I could not seem to replicate. Thus began (as it so often does in the food world) another infamous and seemingly endless quest to find the 'perfect' recipe. 

As luck would have it, I eventually found it. Well,  I converted, tweaked and edited to produce what you see below. This is my ultimate banana bread recipe and as far as I can see, I will never, ever, ever need to find a different one. It's true, I'm in love.

(The Best) Banana Bread 


4 ripe bananas, mashed (use more to make the bread even more moist, and the riper the better!)
200g sugar
2 eggs
120mls vegetable oil
240g plain flour
1 tsp bi-carb soda (baking soda) 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
Blueberries/other berries (optional)
Chopped nuts e.g. walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line a loaf tin.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon (if desired) into a small bowl. Whisk together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, eggs and oil. Once combined, add the mashed bananas and vanilla and whisk again. 

Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, folding e through gently until smooth and combined, and there are no lumps/pockets of flour. Fold through  nuts and/or berries if desired.

Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon, or shaking the tin side to side carefully to even the surface. Bake for around 50 mins to an hour or until bread is golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Source: Adapted from Recipe Tips

Oatmeal Molasses Cookies

I've been wanting to make some kind of 'oatmeal raisin' cookie for a long time now. There is just something about the word 'oatmeal' that seems delicious to me, probably because I love oats. I still haven't quite got my head around what 'oatmeal' actually is, since I originally thought it was the equivalent of porridge. Either way, I found this recipe which has molasses as well, and that was the deal maker. Since I've had a jar of molasses sitting in the cupboard 3/4 full, it was more than time to use it again. 

These cookies have a beautiful mix of coconut, white chocolate chips and sultanas with a beautiful cake-like texture. They are quite salty - I'm assuming this is the result of the molasses. Next time I won't add the 1/2 tsp of salt (I have removed this from the recipe) and I will add more sultanas as the sweetness helps to help counteract the salt. I may also add a little less molasses. I happened to use unsalted butter just by chance, and I think I'll use it next time as well. 

Ultimately these are beautiful soft cookies that taste wonderful (particularly warmed up with a bit of ice-cream...hmm I wonder who trialed that...). 

120g flour
1 cup oats 
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
65g sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 (or more) cup sultanas/raisins/currants/dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut/ dessicated coconut/coconut flakes


Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Whisk together. Add oats and stir until well combined.

In a large bowl of a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and pale. Slowly add the sugar and beat for another minute until fluffy (make sure you remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl).  Add the egg and beat until combined, then add the molasses and vanilla and beat until mixed through.

On a low speed, add the flour mixture in two batches, mixing after each addition. Scrape down mixer blades, then fold through the choc-chips, sultanas, coconut and whatever else you would like to add.

Roll the dough into balls around 1-2 tablespoons in size, depending on how big you want the cookies. Space them at least 5cm/2in apart.

Bake for about 10 mins, until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges. Cool on trays until you can easily transfer them to the cooling rack.
Makes about 20 cookies.

* note: while I usually convert all ingredients into grams, I left most of this recipe intact, since I decided it probably wasn't necessary for precise measurement or conversion from US to metric. You can also experiment with adding different ingredients - I threw in a small handful of dried cranberries as well.

Source: Adapted from Omnivorous

Home-made Oreos with Caramel Filling

Who can say no to oreos? I certainly can't, and that prompted me to bake the home-made oreos that I posted the recipe for a while back. Turns out that just like the store-bought versions, oreos are just as amazing with different flavour combinations. So one day when I happened to have some caramel buttercream left over, I put two and two together, quite literally! It's hard to say if one flavour combo is better than another, but I can assure you that neither will dissapoint! But there is something fabulous about the addition of salty caramel that definitely makes these a must try.

Homemade Oreos with Caramel Filling


160g  all-purpose (plain) flour
50g cocoa
1 teaspoon baking (bi-carb) soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
250g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg

Caramel Buttercream Filling

115g unsalted butter, softened
450g icing (confectioners) sugar
55mls Caramel Syrup* (or as needed for desired consistency/flavour)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 190°C  (375°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor (or electric mixer). Thoroughly mix until well combined.
With motor running, add butter, then egg until a soft dough forms and comes together.
Take teaspoon size amounts of batter (about 10g each for medium sized cookies) and roll into small balls. Place on baking paper about 7cm (2-3 inches) apart, and flatten slightly.
Bake for approx. 9 mins, rotating trays after about halfway through.
Cool baking trays on racks until biscuits cool and harden. Transfer biscuits to racks.
Meanwhile, make the  caramel buttercream In a large bowl, beat butter until pale. Gradually add icing sugar, alternating with the caramel sauce, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla, beating until combined, and the icing is smooth and creamy. (More or less caramel can be added to bring frosting to desired consistency).
Pipe filling using a large round tip onto one cookie, then sandwich together with another.
Makes approximately 25-30 sandwich cookies.

*To make the caramel syrup/sauce (I'm sure you could always use store bought, but I haven't tried that):
Caramel Sauce

300mls thickened cream

250g brown sugar

60g butter, chopped

1 tsp vanilla
Combine the sugar, cream, vanilla and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. At room temperature it has a runny consistency whereas it thickens up in the fridge. For this recipe I used it at room temperature.

Source: Bec original, adapted from Smitten Kitchen originally from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

These cupcakes are delicious and super easy to make. I adapted my classic go-to vanilla cupcake recipe by adding in some oreo pieces and crumbs, and topped it with a light and fluffy whipped cream oreo crumb frosting. The soft vanilla cake paired with the chocolatey cookie crumbs is pure heaven. And the frosting gives that extra boost of cookies and cream flavour. Pretty much an instant favourite if you ask me!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes


95g self-raising flour
80g all purpose (plain) flour
115g butter, softened
225g  caster sugar
2 eggs (at room temperature)
115mls milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 pack oreo sandwich cookies, crushed by hand or blitzed in a food processor  (I used both larger size oreo pieces/chunks as well as some fine crumbs)

300-600ml cream (depending on how much frosting you like on your cupcakes)
Approx. 1 tablespoon icing (powdered) sugar (optional)
1/2 – 1 pack oreo sandwich cookies, crushed by hand or blitzed in a food processor (set some crumbs aside to use sprinkled on top if you like)
1 container mini oreos, to decorate (if desired)


Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a regular size 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Sift flours into a small bowl, whisk together then set aside.

Measure milk into pouring jug, add vanilla and gently stir to combine, then set aside.

Cream the butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until well combined and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture. Beat in each addition until just combined – be careful not to overbeat! Also ensure sides are scraped down when necessary.

Carfeully fold through the oreo pieces/crumbs until evenly combined. Spoon cupcake batter into paper cases, about ½ , to ¾ full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let sit in tins for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile make the frosting. Whip the cream and icing sugar to stiff peaks, gently fold through the oreo crumbs. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes as desired using a piping bag and desired tip (I used a fluted one). Sprinkle with oreo cookie crumbs and top with a mini oreo.

Makes 12 standard or 24 smaller cupcakes (depending on the size of your tin.)

Source: Bec original.

Honey Bubble Bars

Warning: these are addictive. I’m usually pretty good at being able to restrain myself from eating copious amounts of the things I bake. But these were a bit of an exception. Super sweet, crunchy and with just the right amount of coconut, I couldn’t stop at one. And there must be something about the honey-vanilla combo, because  MAN the flavour was amazing! To top it all off, the recipe was super, super simple, used only 7 ingredients, had no baking time, took only 10 minutes to make and I dirtied only 3 dishes! So what is there to stop you making these right now? Absolutely nothing!!

Extra note: these are the perfect alternative to Kelloggs LCM bars but this without the nasty additives. Other copy-cat LCM recipes (or 'rice krispie treats' usually contain marshmallows, which I am still keen to try in the future, but for the time being, I’m sticking with this recipe.

Honey Bubble Bars (Rice Bubble 'LCM' Slice)


110g butter, chopped
100g sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp vanilla
150g rice bubbles
60g dessicated coconut
Handful of choc-chips (optional, you could also try sprinkles, m&m's, chopped nuts etc)


Line a baking tin with non-stick baking paper (I used a 23cm square tin/approx 9x9inch)

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar and honey. Stir over medium-high heat until melted and sugar is dissolved. Stir in the vanilla.

Transfer butter mixture to a mixing bowl, then gently stir in the rice bubbles and coconut until thoroughly combined. Press mixture into prepared baking tin, press chocolate chips on top if desired (you could always drizzle melted chocolate on top instead!) then refrigerate until firm.

Cut into slices and serve!

Makes about 16-20 slices. Store in an air-tight container.

Source: Adapted from here (this recipe is also known as Little Thermomix Munchies - LTM's. While I did use my thermomix, I adapted the recipe so everyone can try it!)

Iced Cinnamon Rolls

 If you think bread smells good while baking, you are going to love it when you make these. The whole house is filled with a gorgeous 'sugar n spice' aroma. And these definitely taste just as good as they smell. These are the definition of feel-good food: soft cinnamon rolls slathered with a sticky, gooey, sweet and thick sugary glaze. But be warned, it is very, very hard to stop at just one!

Iced Cinnamon Rolls


1 7g (1/4 oz) package ( or 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
120mls  warm water (40-46°C/105-115°F)
65g plus  1/2 teaspoon sugar, divided
120mls warm milk (40-46°C/105-115°F)
75g  melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
440-500g plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

100g melted butter
140g white sugar plus extra to sprinkle on greased baking tray
1 1/2 tablespoons (about 10-11g) ground cinnamon

75g melted butter
200g icing (confectioner’s/powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
30-60mls hot water


In a small bowl, dissolve the extra ½ teaspoon of sugar in the warm water. Add the yeast, stirring until combined. Set aside for about 10 minutes, or until bubbly and foamy (note: if your yeast mixture does not foam, your yeast has expired!).

Meanwhile, mix together warm milk, remaining 65g of sugar, melted butter, salt and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or whatever mixer you have). Mix on a low speed until combined, then add the yeast mixture. Add about half the flour (approx. 220g) beating on a low speed (so the flour doesn’t fly everywhere!) until combined and smooth. Add the rest of the flour, a little at a time, until you have a slightly stiff, sticky dough (note: you may not need all the remaining flour).

Transfer dough to a well floured surface (I used my pastry mat), and knead for around 5-6 minutes, being careful not to over-knead. (You could probably use your dough hook instead, it’s up to you). Place dough in a buttered bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour or so).

Meanwhile, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Grease/butter a large baking pan (23 x 33cm/ 13in x 9in) and sprinkle with extra sugar (I ended up just lining the tin with some non-stick baking paper).

Once dough has risen, punch down, and let rest for another 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a large empty surface and form into a rough rectangle shape. Then roll out into a large, flat rectangle, about 5-6mm (1/4in) thick. Spread dough with the melted butter, and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture until covered.

Roll up the dough lengthwise, gently but firmly (this is to avoid the rolls coming apart, losing the filling or becoming misshapen). Cut dough into slices about 2.5cm thick (1in). (Note: I use cotton, or un-flavoured dental floss to slice the rolls– wrap around the two index fingers of each hand, then slide under the bottom of the rolled dough, then pull evenly upwards – see here for more info!)

Place slices into the greased pan (leaving room for each to rise) and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 45mins or so),

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Spread with the icing straight away, or when cooled.

To make the icing, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Gradually add the hot water until you reach your desired consistency. (I prefer a thick icing that I can spread onto the tops of the rolls when they come out of the oven – the icing smooths out and becomes drippy, sticky and gorgeous!)

Best eaten on the day they are made, but can be stored in an air-tight container for about 2 days (you can warm them up in the microwave to enjoy them warm again).
Makes about 12-16 rolls.

Source: Adapted from Everyday Home Cook - also see here for a fabulous step-by-step picture tutorial.

Caramel 'Butterbeer' Cupcakes

So I have to admit, I have never read Harry Potter, or seen the movies. However, when Butterbeer related recipes started flooding foodgawker, I was curious. Not really having any sort of clue what the heck Butterbeer was, I browsed a heap of these posts, and decided I definitely wanted to try them out. What is really interesting is that all the butterbeer cupcake recipes require cream soda. Now 99% of all cream soda I have ever seen is the pink, raspberry kind. (Of course, the week later I found the non-pink , non-raspberry version!) But that didn't stop me from baking these Harry Potter inspired 'Butterbeer Cupcakes'. The fizzy (soft drink) adds a beautiful lightness to the cake, which has a soft butterscotch-y caramel flavour. And due to the absence of 'butter flavouring', and butterscotch chips in Australia, I used ghee as a replacement for the butter flavouring (which I have no idea whether it added to the flavour or not) and then made a batch of caramel sauce to substitute for the caramel ganache.

 Overall these were a fabulous success as a delicious cupcake, and while I can't tell you if they actually have a butterbeer flavour, I can tell you that they now officially are my go-to special caramel cupcake recipe :)

Caramel Butterbeer Cupcakes

240g plain flour 
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
115g butter, softened 
100g white sugar
100g dark brown sugar, packed (I used normal brown sugar with a small spoonful of molasses)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring (I used a spoonful of ghee - clarified butter - instead)120mls buttermilk 
120mls cream soda (I had to use the pink kind, which still worked)

Caramel Sauce
300mls thickened cream
250g brown sugar
60g butter, chopped
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel Buttercream
115g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp butter flavouring ( I used a spoonful of ghee)
450g icing (confectioners) sugar
55mls Caramel Syrup (or as desired)
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to  180°C (350°F). Line two small cupcake/muffin tins with cases. Whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until pale. Gradually add sugar and cream until combined and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each. Add vanilla and butter flavouring (or ghee) and beat until smooth. 

Add the buttermilk, cream soda then flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating between each, and beating after each addition until just combined. (i.e. start with 1/3 buttermilk, mix, 1/3 cream soda, mix, then 1/3 flour mixture, and mix. Repeat 2 more times.) 

Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for approx. 12-15 minutes or until tops spring back when touched, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let tins stand for one minute then transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce. Combine the sugar, cream, vanilla and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a bowl/container and refrigerate until thickened up.

Next, make the caramel buttercream. In a large bowl, beat butter until pale. Gradually add icing sugar, alternating with the caramel sauce, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla, beating until combined, and the icing is smooth and creamy. (More or less caramel can be added to bring frosting to desired consistency).

To assemble: transfer caramel sauce to a squeeze bottle with small round tip. Insert tip into the center of each cupcake and apply a little pressure to 'fill' the cupcake with some sauce. 
 Transfer frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes using desired tip (I used a medium plain, round tip), or spread onto cupcakes using spatula. Drizzle caramel sauce on top if desired.

Makes approx. 18-24 cupcakes using small cupcake tin. Store in an air-tight container. Best consumed within 2-3 days.

Source: Adapted from Amy Bites