Just Max

Just Max Blabbering.

Nothing too interesting - nothing too controversial

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chocolate Velvet Cake

Yes, another recipe. I don't know about you, but I've tried many different chocolate cake recipes and they don't often work out very well. They're either dry, flat, bland or anaemic looking. So here's my newly found, no-fail recipe that had my boys begging for more. This recipe is from the Women's Weekly 'Cakes' cook book and although I'II copy it word for word, I used low fat ingredients where I could and it worked a treat.

Chocolate Velvet Cake

125g butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (never use Nestle - they chop down forests for their cocoa beans)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water

Chocolate Glaze

100g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
60g butter, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup sour cream

1.     Preheat oven to 180/160 (fan forced) degrees celsius. Grease deep 22cm x 32cm rectangular cake pan
2.     Beat ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium; beat about 3 minutes or until mixture is smooth and paler in colour
It looks pale - but don't worry - it'll taste great
3.     Spread mixture into pan; bake about 45 minutes.

4.     Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes and then remove and put on wire rack

Don't worry if it cracks a bit - the glaze will cover it
Chocolate Glaze

5.     Stir ingredient in small saucepan over low heat until smooth; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to small bowl; cool 10 minutes. Refrigerate about 20 minutes or until glaze is spreadable.
6.     Decorate with sprinkles or mini M&Ms

This is a seriously good cake that even the fussiest people will love.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The Age 'Good Weekend' magazine have a weekly column called 'Upfront' whereby someone interesting responds to 27 questions. I don't pretend for a moment that I am interesting, but since I'm bored I thought I'd give it a go.

My earliest memory is... looking through the bars of my cot at Nain's house - wondering when someone would come and get me.
At school I... got away with bad behaviour / laziness / rudeness / bullying / disrespect etc. and that's just as a teacher!
I don't like talking about... boring shit
My most treasured possession is... my laptop - the ticket to the world
My mother always told me... 'don't play between your navel and your knees!'
In the movie of my life, I'd be played by... Ruth Jones ('Nessa' from 'Gavin and Stacey') or Catherine Tate
I wish I had... the skinny gene
I wish I hadn't... thought I could wait to have another child
My most humiliating moment was... hearing that my husband had split his pants in front of the Premier of QLD
My guiltiest pleasure is... alternating between mouthfuls of jelly snakes and Cadbury Bubble chocolate
My last meal would be... lots and lots of carbs. And then a pizza, topped with another pizza. Then a 'Death by Chocolate' dessert and a bottle of Frangelico.
I'm very bad at... demonstrating diplomacy, finding my way around and understanding plots in crime shows
When I was a child I wanted... a happy family
If I could change one moment of my life it would be... 'Yeah, Tim. Gatton sounds great! Let's move there right now!'
The book that changed my life is... 'Grug goes to School' - the first book I read by myself
It's not fashionable, but I love... Mark Latham
If I could live anywhere, I'd choose... Edinburgh, Scotland.
My worst trait is... I don't have much patience with stupid people, bogans and people with offensive bumper stickers
My best trait is... I like to laugh
My greatest fear is... enclosed spaces, drowning, spiders, Tony Abbott...
If only I could... have more time to play
The hardest thing I've ever done was... become a mother - a wonderful yet incredibly exhausting experience
I relax by... wearing my pyjamas and reading in front of the television
What I don't find amusing is... bigoted views and scare mongering about 'Boat People'
I'm always being asked... 'Muuuuuuum..?'
If I wasn't me I'd like to be... my fat, lazy and happy Labrador - Dougal.
I often wonder... when will I have time to wonder about all the weird shit that happens?

This was fun. Have a go yourself and let me know what you come up with.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I love Ginger Nuts

Recently I stated on Facebook that I love Ginger Nuts. I won't even begin to mention the rude and entirely inappropriate response I got from this - mainly from red heads. Anyway, I was actually referring to Ginger Nut BISCUITS - and here's my favourite recipe.

Ginger Nut Biscuits (from 'The Essential Baking Cookbook' by Bay Books)

2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1 tbs ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
125g unsalted butter
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tbs golden syrup

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line tins with baking paper
2. Sift the flour, bicarb, ginger and mixed spice into a large bowl. Add the butter and sugar and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
It should look something like this...
3. Pour the boiling water into a small jug, add the golden syrup and stir until dissolved. Add to the flour and mix to a soft dough with a flat-bladed knife
4. Roll into balls, place on the trays (leave room for spread) and flatten slightly with fingertips
This size or smaller if you're not as big a pig as me
5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until well-coloured and firm. Cool on tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
6. Once cooled, you can ice with lemon icing if you like - I prefer plain but if you're fancy schmancy, feel free to ice.
So there you have it. If you're a spice person you could always add more of the ginger and mixed spice, but they're good as they are. Enjoy!