Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

The first time I made this cake, I was multi-tasking. I was baking brownies, choc-chips and this cake kind of at the same time. Note to self: be very very careful when multi-tasking (multi-baking?). You see, I sort of forgot to line the cake tins. And that never works out very well. What was supposed to be a beautiful cake turned into a crumbly, gorgeous smelling mess. I quickly troubleshooted and whipped up a batch of my vanilla buttercream frosting to create a haphazard version of 'cake balls' (which by the way, tasted good but would have been better if I had set out to make cake balls from the start, and used a proper 'cake ball' recipe...). 

Anyway, when thinking up cake ideas to bake for my Dad's Birthday, I knew I had to redeem myself and make this cake properly!! Which I totally did. And man is it fabulous. It smells like heaven when it's baking, all buttery and sweet. It was so hard not to slice it up and gobble it down as soon as it came out of the oven, but thankfully everyone got to enjoy the decorated version with a decadent, silky smooth chocolate frosting. Definitely a favourite, and perfect for a Birthday!

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

For the cake:
230g butter, at room temp
180g plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting pans
180g cake flour
1 tbs. (could not find a gram measurement, but probably around 8g) baking powder
350g sugar
4 large eggs
2tsp vanilla extract
300mls milk

For the frosting:
500g dark chocolate (alternatively use ½ milk and ½ dark)
50g cocoa powder 
90mls boiling water 
340g unsalted butter, at room temp
50g icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted 
Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚ F). Line the base of two 23cm (9 inch) cake tins with baking paper. Grease and flour the sides of the tins, tapping out the excess. Set aside.

Whisk together the flours and baking powder in a medium bowl, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl at regular intervals. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk, until each addition is just incorporated.

Split the batter evenly between the two cake tins (I use digital scales to get the measurements exact). Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden and a skewer/toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Note: You can also rotate the tins halfway through if needed.

Transfer pans to a wire rack and cool 20 mins. Run a plastic knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen, then invert onto racks and remove the baking paper. Cool completely before icing.

To make the icing: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set up over a saucepan of just simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Remove  from heat and let cool for about 25-35 minutes, or until room temperature.

Meanwhile, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl, stirring until the cocoa is dissolved. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. On low speed, gently beat in the melted chocolate until combined, about 1-2 minutes. Add the cocoa mixture and beat until well blended. Note: if your icing/frosting is too soft/runny, stand at room temperature or place in the fridge until it is workable.

To assemble: Place the cake on a cake stand or serving platter. Add 1 cup of the frosting to the centre of the cake and smooth out to an even layer, leaving about a fingertips gap around the edges (the weight of the second layer should push the frosting to the edges). Gently place the second cake on top, and use the remaining frosting to ice the sides and top of the cake as desired. Serve and enjoy!

Cake can be refrigerated, covered for up to 3 days. Let come to room temp 30 mins before serving. 

Chocolate Coated Nut Toffee

This toffee is terrible. I'm not talking about how it tastes, but the fact that it is so good that you won't be able to stop at one piece!! So it is definitely terrible for your waistline. Aside from that, there is really no reason not to try this decadent treat. This crunchy, sweet and buttery toffee is perfectly accompanied by toasted almonds and covered in smooth chocolate and pecan topping. In one word: AMAZING. And don't expect any left overs - this is one of those delicacies that is very speedily demolished!

Chocolate Coated Nut Toffee

Note: See here for the original recipe and a great step by step tutorial with pictures to help you long the way!


165g almonds, with skin on
230g butter, chopped
200g sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
350g milk or dark chocolate melts
30-40g pecans


Line a baking tray (a size of about 30 x 22cm/ 13 x 9 inch) with foil.

Toast the almonds: spread the almonds in a single layer on a heat-proof plate and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Spread in an even layer across the prepared baking tray. Set aside.

Finely chop the pecans. Set aside.

Combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium-large heavy saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon over medium high heat, until butter is melted. Cook for a further 7-10 minutes or until the toffee is about the same colour as the almond skin (it may start smoking/steaming).

Immediately pour toffee mixture over the almonds to cover them. Take the chocolate melts and carefully spread an even layer over the top of the toffee – be careful not to let your fingers touch as it is very hot! Wait about 1-2 minutes then smooth out the now melted chocolate using a palette knife/spatula. Sprinkle over the chopped pecans.

Cool toffee completely (if it is a warm day you may have to put it in the fridge to firm up properly). Once cool, break up into pieces.

Store in an air-tight container in a cool place or in the refrigerator.

Source: Adapted from The Yummy Life

New York Cheesecake

This cheesecake is amazing. It is my classic go-to cheesecake recipe, and is particularly awesome when you are not looking for a particular flavour. The dilemma for me is usually that some people like certain flavours in cheesecake, others don't. So for a larger gathering of people, something more 'neutral' is often required. This cheesecake is perfect for such occasions. And don't be fooled into thinking 'neutral' = bland or boring. This dessert  has a gorgeous buttery crumb crust encasing a smooth, incredibly creamy and lightly fruit scented filling.  I chose to serve it with ice cream, but the options are endless. You could serve it with cream, fruit syrups/coulis, sorbet or even just by itself. This cheesecake is seriously that good!

New York Cheesecake


250g sweet biscuits/cookies (I used 150g shredded wheatmeal and 150g Marie biscuits)
150g butter, melted

750g cream cheese
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
230g caster sugar
3 eggs
190g sour cream
65ml lemon juice


Grease a 24cm ( 9.5 inch) springform tin well, and place on an oven tray. Set aside.

 Using a food processor, process the biscuits/cookies until fine and the size of small breadcrumbs. Add the melted butter, and process again until well mixed and the biscuit crumbs cling together. Transfer mixture to the tin and press over base and sides (I use a glass to help push the crumbs down – see here for helpful tips). Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (this is ideal, however a hand mixer will also work), beat the cream cheese rinds and sugar until thoroughly combined and smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and the juice until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Pour mixture into the chilled tin/base, smoothing the top with a spatula and gently tapping on the bench. Bake cheesecake for approximately 1 hour 25 minutes or until set (when the tin is shaken gently, no parts of the cheesecake wobble significantly). Cool for about 20 minutes in the oven with the door open (to prevent rapid temperature changes causing cracks in the cheesecake), then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cover and refrigerate cheesecake for 3 hours or overnight (or until well chilled and set).

Serve chilled, as desired.