Choc-Banana Ice-Cream Cake

A few days ago Alex celebrated his 9th birthday. We’ve stumbled upon a plan in our family that the kids get a big birthday party hoo-ha every second year, and on the alternate years we have a family dinner AND they get to choose the cake they want.

In past years the older kids have pored over my birthday cake books to choose things like blue dinosaurs or cupcakes ‘posies’.

This year when I asked Alex what kind of cake he wanted, there was no reaching for a cake book, no umming and ahhing, no hesitation whatsoever.

“A chocolate banana ice cream cake please”.

Okay mate, no worries. Such a specific request needs the utmost commitment and careful research, so I was on the case quick smart. Thanks to Mr Google I stumbled across this magnificent creation at Sweetapolita and decided to use it as my inspiration.

This cake had a chocolate biscuit base, a chocolate glaze, and two layers of banana ice cream with a brownie layer in the middle. Oh.Em.Gee. That’s a whole lotta chocolate and icecream for one little family dinner!

I modified it, spent quite a few hours on each step, and somehow got it all together in the end. It was actually quite an unattractive cake – but it’s all about what’s on the inside, right!

It’s quite a time consuming cake – there are lots of ‘waiting periods’ in between steps. I was in the kitchen making a ton of other things the day I made it so it didn’t bother me, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re pushed for time.

Choc-Banana Ice Cream Cake

Adapted from Sweetapolita‘s recipe here

Chocolate Crust

  • 115g butter
  • 220g dark chocolate
  • 380g chocolate cookie (eg Oreo) crumbs

Ice-Cream filling

  • 7 cups vanilla ice-cream (just under 2L)
  • 3 large frozen bananas


  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 1/4 cup liquid glucose
  • 170g dark chocolate
  1. Crust: Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, or in the microwave if you feel game. Stir until smooth.
  2. Whizz the biscuits in a food processor until they are reduced to fine crumbs, then gently mix them with the chocolate mixture until just combined. Put 1 cup aside for later. Press remaining crumbs onto base and sides of a round springform pan (mine is 23cm across & 6cm deep), and place in freezer until firm.
  3. Glaze: Melt cream and glucose in a small saucepan over medium heat until just bubbling, then add chopped chocolate and stir through until smooth. Allow to cool fr around 45 minutes.
  4. Ice-Cream filling: Wait for your ice-cream to soften slightly, then add to a large bowl. Allow frozen bananas to thaw on the bench for around 30 minutes, then process in food processor until smooth. Mix banana puree into ice-cream.
  5. Assembly: Spoon half of your ice-cream over the frozen crust and spread out evenly. Gently press your reserved crumb mixture over the ice-cream, then pour on the cup of cooled chocolate glaze. Level gently with a palette knife, then return to freezer for around an hour.
  6. Spread remaining ice-cream over glaze, then freeze again – for 4 hours at the least.
  7. Warm glaze gently over simmering water until slightly runny, then spread over top of ice-cream (I spread mine over the sides in lieu of the crumb crust, but this was difficult and didn’t look too pretty!).
  8. Sprinkle with decorations, then freeze overnight.
  9. When ready to serve, remove gently from springform pan then carefully transfer to serving plate. Use a large knife rinsed under hot water to slice.


  • This American recipe uses wafer biscuits for the crust…I’m only now realising that US wafer biscuits must differ from Aussie ones. The ones I bought were ‘Chocolte Cream Wafers’ and when mixed as directed, resulted in a thick and sludgy mixture quite unlike the biscuit crumb bases that I make for cheesecakes (which is what I’m assuming was required here!). There was no way my sludge was going to stick all the way up the sides of my springform pan, but I didn’t realise this until too late! I made the decision to use the entire mixture on the base and coat the sides with the glaze at the end. Not a good move – the base was very thick and although tasty, was just too overpowering. I would suggest using oreo cookies for the base to get the crumb consistency.
  • My springform pan has a slight incontinence problem, so I line it with baking paper to prevent leaks. Because I didn’t have a nice crumbed side, my ice-cream set straight into the folds of the baking paper leaving uneven surfaces. This made it even harder to frost – now I have a really good excuse to buy a new springform pan!
  • I omitted the brownie layer that featured in Sweetapolita’s cake, and just used a thin layer of chocolate crumb and then glaze instead. This gave a nice crunchy layer inside the ice-cream, but a soft brownie layer would have been nice too.
  • I had to put the chocolate glaze on over several sessions, freezing in between. I did this on a mild Autumn day, and still found melting was a problem – I wouldn’t attempt this on a QLD Summer day unless I had fantastic Air-Conditioning!

I was so glad this cake was all prepared the day before Alex’s birthday. It meant I could serve up dinner (Enchilada’s, as requested!), take it out of the freezer as we cleared the table, then it was ready for candles and singing.

There was some assistance needed with cutting – that centre layer slows you down, then you really need to put in some elbow grease when you get to the bottom crust – but once those slices hit the plates it was every man & child for themselves. Nom nom nom…

Banana ice-cream is amazing on it’s own…if I never bother doing this layered baby again, I will definitely be doing banana ice-cream in the future…a lot.

I tried to sway Alex into a caramel glaze…I was envisioning a banoffee pie flavour, and think the caramel would work fantastically with the banana…but he was adamant it had to be chocolate. He knows what he wants!


Mocha Brownies..not to be neglected!

Those who know me well know that I’m a serial coffee neglecter.

It’s nothing against coffee – I neglect my tea too. I take care to store coffee the ‘correct’ way, and I have a lovely segregated tea box complete with labels for all the different varieties. I can even make tea relatively well – as much as dunking the tea bag and adding a splash of milk is considered praisable. Coffee is Mr B’s forte though – coffee is his thing.

The problems arise for me once the hot drink is made and placed on the bench/coffee table/desk. I start off with good intentions, sipping my way through the first few hot mouthfuls, and then without fail, I’m distracted…

The washing machine beeps, the phone rings, the children start bickering, the dishwasher beeps, the doorbell rings…or I just get up to do something I’ve suddenly remembered, and completely forget to get back to my tea or coffee in a timely fashion.

I’m constantly being reminded by someone ‘Your coffee is getting cold”. “Yes, I know, I’ll get back to it” I reply. And when I do, it’s always cold, or lukewarm at the very least.

It’s ironic because I’ve only been a coffee drinker for the past 5 years or so, and before that I despised iced coffee. I can’t tell if I’ve become accustomed to it cold now, or I’m just so addicted to caffeine that my taste buds don’t care what the temperature is!

Last night I made mocha brownies – partly because I was looking for a caffeine hit that didn’t mind sitting on the bench waiting for me to remember it (hardly a problem in this case!), but also because I wanted to try a ‘Pioneer Woman’ recipe.

Being Australian, I grew up with Margaret Fulton and Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks. As the years went on I discovered Stephanie Alexander, Donna Hay and now a whole host of ‘home cook tried their hand on tv and produces cookbook’ cooks, but there are still so many cookbooks out there whose authors are completely unknown to me.

One name I see popping up all over the place is The Pioneer Woman. Everyone seems to be raving about PW recipes, so I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I have to admit, I was expecting a demure Little House on the Prairie bonnet-wearing type, so after I borrowed one cookbook from the library and had a little squiz at her website, I’d changed my tune.

Ree Drummond is not only hilarious, but leads a pretty full-on ranching life in Oklahoma, home-schooling her four kids and being a pretty impressive baker/photographer/blogger.

Her recipes feature step-by-step instructions with plenty of photographs along the way, and her cookbooks show a glossy ranching life, her family, dogs, horses, and the cattle, of course.

Obviously many of her recipes are heavy on the meat…no problem, I’ll make something sweet. What’s that I see, mocha brownies? Sweet and caffeine in one go? I’m onto it.

The brownies were quick to whip up, but need time to chill completely before topping with the mocha icing. If you’ve got a morning tea deadline, make them the night before. I’d also recommend inviting around your neighbours, postman and long-lost cousins to help you eat them, or take a very large plateful to your workplace, otherwise you’ll be buying bigger sized jeans next week – they are sinfully delicious and contain a truckload of sugar and butter!

I also halved the icing recipe because I literally felt ill looking at the quantities of icing sugar & butter in that alone – it still provided a very thick layer of icing so I’ll stick to my quantities in future too.

Mocha Brownies

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks


  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 115g unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 ¼ cups plain flour

Mocha Icing

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ½ cups icing sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 to ½ cup coffee, cooled to room temp
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. In a medium bowl/stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, then drop mixer to low speed and add melted chocolate. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
  4. Pour brownie batter into a greased or lined baking pan* , even out the surface with a spatula, and bake in oven for 40-45 minutes. The centre should be just firm.
  5. Set aside to cool – at least an hour.
  6. Icing – Combine butter, icing sugar, cocoa, salt and vanilla, and mix until just combined. Add 1/3 cup cooled coffee and whip until it reaches a light, fluffy consistency. If it’s too thick, add more coffee.
  7. Spread icing over brownies – it should result in a very thick layer! Refrigerate until firm, then cut into slices.


* Original recipe uses an 8-inch square baking pan…I used my 32 x 22.5cm deep pan lined with baking paper and it was the perfect size.

* PW recommends a slice of this with ice-cream and hot fudge sauce for dessert – agahhhh I’m drooling already….

Any other notable caffeine recipes I should know about?

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

What happens when you are given a huge bag of limes from a friend’s backyard? You start looking for every lime recipe known to man (or woman, more likely) and you get baking.

You decide on the tropical-sounding Coconut Lime Cupcakes first because it’s a miserable, rainy day and you’d like to imagine you’re on a sunny Caribbean Island soaking up some rays…and then you get that song stuck in your head. You know what I’m talking about, and now it’s stuck in your head, isn’t it!

You put the lime in the coconut,
You drank them both up

You put the lime in the coconut,
You drank them both up…

repeat over and over until you drive everybody crazy, basically. Thank you Harry Nilsson (and The Baha Men, Dannii Minogue and Jimmy Buffet, amongst others who’ve covered it…I think even Kermit the Frog did a version?) for recording such a catchy Calypso number that has stood the test of time.

So you really do put the lime in the coconut in this recipe…let me elaborate:

Coconut Lime Cupcakes – makes 12

Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut


  • 125g butter
  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 ½ cups coconut flakes
  • sliced or candied limes, to decorate
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted remove from heat but allow to stay warm in saucepan.
  3. In medium bowl, mix together melted coconut oil and sugar, then stir through coconut milk, milk, vanilla and lime zest until combined.
  4. Add flour, baking soda and bicarb soda and salt. Mix until smooth then add coconut and stir until combined.
  5. Distribute amongst cupcake cases, and bake for 23-25 minutes until the top has some springiness. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Beat butter in stand mixer (or by hand) for 6-8 minutes until pale and creamy, then add sifted icing sugar and lime juice and beat for a further 10-15 minutes until light and fluffy. Stir through lime zest.
  7. Spread frosting onto cupcakes, and roll in coconut flakes until covered. Decorate with lime slices or candied lime slices as desired.

I’d recommend not making a double batch like I did today, because even though we each had one for morning and afternoon tea, gave away a plateful to the lime-tree owner as thanks, and squirelled some away for tomorrow, you’ll get to 9pm and realise you’re up to #3 for the day…oops.

This was a seriously delectable way to use up…3 limes. So stay tuned for another 17 lime recipes over the next week…unless I just buy a case of Corona’s and call it a day!

Kids in the Kitchen – Anzac Day Biscuits

Anzac Day is coming to a close here and the batch of Anzac Biscuits we baked this morning is also disappearing…I’ll have to put the last few remaining biscuits in one of my ‘hidey spots’ so there will be some left for lunchboxes tomorrow. It’s ironic that Anzac Biscuits were originally devised as a treat that had a long shelf life (in order to be sent overseas to our troops), yet once they are made they really don’t last long – how can one resist those crunchy, golden biscuits cooling on the tray?

It’s also quite interesting (to me anyway!) that there are so many different recipes and variations for something considered an iconic Aussie ‘classic’ – differing quantities of flour/oats/sugar, differing cook times to result in either soft & chewy or golden & crunchy, and possible additions of sultanas or choc chips.

To complicate matters further, my mum’s recipe (which I now follow) seems to be a ‘standard’, yet she often made hers as a slice. She would push her biscuit mixture into a greased slice tin, bake then drizzle the cooled slice with chocolate icing. This seemed sacrilege to me for many years – they are supposed to be biscuits Mum!

Being a parent now myself I think I understand her logic – after getting my kids to help make Anzac Biscuits today I can see how bunging it all in a pan and jazzing it up with icing was so much quicker & easier!

So Anzac Biscuits were on the cards today, of course. After Mia and Mr B. came home from the march in town, we lazed around long enough to get bedsores – at this point it was baking time. Mia donned her apron and Oliver followed…I assisted with measuring ingredients and the stove-top component, and let the kids take over. For a little while…

Mixing the dry ingredients is the easy part…Once the saucepan ingredients are ready it’s time for mum to step in.

Once that exciting chemical reaction between the bicarb and golden syrup/butter mixture occurs it’s time to combine it all…

Those lovely green laminate benchtops? Yes, straight out of the 80’s I know. They’re going one day…I’m not really attached to them you see.

So…back to our biscuits. Once combined, kids are the perfect little helpers to roll the mixture into balls for the tray. This part was quite, uh, fun. And messy. Mia lasted a few biscuits, whereas Oliver (just a tad OCD, our boy) played with one handful then wanted his hands washed. He was also very concerned about the increasing amount of crumbly mixture ending up on the floor.

Can you see our lovely malformed biscuits at this point? Charming is one word I’d use to describe them! Mia knows exactly which ones she made and hones in on them within seconds of spotting the finished product.

The kids lost interest at that point. I love that they can run off and play and leave me with the washing up – my own fault for not encouraging them in those endeavours too!

Out came our lovely crispy Anzac Biscuits – we ate, and we ate, and we ate. Then we had to walk along the beach to compensate for all that butter and sugar. Lest we Forget.

Anzac Biscuits


  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 125g butter
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon Golden syrup
  • 1 teaspooon bicarb soda
  1. Preheat oven to 170 °C. Combine sifted flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Place butter, golden syrup and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in bicarb soda.
  3. Pour mixture into dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Roll mixture into balls and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on trays.

Lemon, passionfruit and ricotta Anzac tart

A few weeks ago, VERY new to blogging, I saw the theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop this month was lemons. Lemons….gah how could I resist?!  Anything lemon-y is my thing. You know how you meet a certain friend for coffee and they predictably order the friand, hold the cream? I’m the one who always orders the citrus tart. Or the Lemon meringue pie… most definitely with cream. Predictable yes, but loyal to my citrus love.
I was so excited to join the blog hop for the first time this month, but self doubt kept creeping in. Then all the ‘yummy’ things were already made…I’d decided to give it a miss this month and put it out of my mind. Instead, I started searching for an Anzac recipe I could make for next week.
I stumbled across an Anzac Tart on the CSR sugar website – not only will it be a perfect Anzac Day treat, but it contains Lemon! It was also a good opportunity for me to use some of the passionfruits my mum had been collecting from her vine. The clouds opened, the sun shined through and the Universe aligned….behold, I give you the Lemon, passionfruit and ricotta Anzac Tart!


I adapted the recipe slightly to create 8 individual tarts rather than one large one. It’s a little more work to pack the tart tins properly with the Anzac base, but they look gorgeous.
Lemon, passionfruit and ricotta Anzac tart
Adapted from CSR sugar recipes
1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup instant oats
100 g butter
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Golden syrup
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoon lemon rind
375g ricotta
1/3 cup natural yoghurt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 passionfruit
1. Preheat oven to 180°C for conventional or 160°C for fan forced oven.
2. Base: sift flour into a bowl and add coconut and oats. Combine butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until butter has melted. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, and pour butter mixture into flour mixture and stir until well combined.
3. Press mixture into base and sides of 8 x 12cm round loose-bottom tart pans. Bake for 10 minutes, then leave to cool.
4. Filling: add lemon juice, rind, ricotta, yoghurt, eggs, caster sugar and passionfruit in a bowl. Whisk gently to combine. Pour into tart cases and bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan, then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Serve drizzled with cream and golden syrup.
* Use low-fat ricotta and yoghurt for a slightly healthier option. I also used the natural yoghurt to serve rather than cream for a lighter result – the tart is fairly rich and sweet on its own!


This tart has that lovely crunchy Anzac biscuity-base, and the sweet Lemon filling is dotted with little bursts of sunshiny passionfruit seeds. They are the perfect size to share with a friend for an Anzac morning tea, or keep it all to yourself!
I love that this Sweet Adventures Blog Hop has given me a whole new arsenal of Lemon recipes to try…there are some amazing looking lemon creations offered up by some very talented bloggers this month, and I’m so excited to be part of it!
Pop on over to le Delicieux to check out all the other fantastic Sweet Adventures Blog Hop entries!


Salted spiced Caramel Slice

A week or so ago Better Homes & Gardens featured a variation of a caramel slice on one of the cooking segments (I think it was actually a repeat, but I don’t watch it often enough to remember, and wouldn’t own up to it even if I did!)…now the caramel slice is already pretty close to perfection, so I wondered how they could possibly make it any better.
This version is salted and spiced – I watched in wonder as Karen mixed not only the spices into the caramel mixture, but also threw in an Early Grey teabag. The finishing touch was a sprinkle of sea salt over the chocolate…I could barely wait for the newsagency to open the next morning in order to find myself a copy of the magazine with enclosed recipe. The look on the newsagent’s face when I impatiently paid my money over the counter revealed I wasn’t the first crazed housewife to rush in for the mag.
With visitors arriving yesterday afternoon, it seemed the perfect excuse to try the slice and have someone to share all those delicious calories with.

Salted spiced Caramel Slice
Adapted From Better Homes & Garden magazine, 05/12
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
120g unsalted butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g unsalted butter, chopped
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Earl Grey tea bag
1 tin condensed milk
220g dark chocolate
30g unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon Maldon (or other good quality) sea-salt flakes

1. Preheat oven to 160 °C and line base of a slice tin with baking paper.

2. Put flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a food processor until combined. Press mixture evenly into prepared tin. Smooth surface and bake for 14-16 minutes or until lightly golden.

3. Put golden syrup, butter, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and tea bag in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter has melted. Gradually bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Your mixture will be a lovely dark colour. remove and discard tea bag.
4. Add condensed milk to pan and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes or until mixture has thickened and slightly darkened again. Remove cinnamon from pan and discard. Pour mixture over cooled slice base. Bake for 8-10 or until bubbling and lightly golden. Set aside to cool until caramel is firm.

5. Place chopped chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat until almost melted, then remove and stir until smooth. Spoon over caramel filling and smooth surface with the back of a spoon.

6. Sprinkle sea salt flakes over topping, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Once firm, cut into slices and enjoy!

The spices add a subtle depth to the caramel, and the salted chocolate leaves your tastebuds tingling and wanting more! I was hoping the flavours would be too much of an odd combination for my children to tolerate, but they gobbled it up and asked for more!

It’s Cookies & Cream day!

We’re in full swing of Easter school holidays here, and with Mr B. home as well I have lots of hungry mouths to fill! After spending the morning splashing around at the aquatic centre I spent quite a few hours in the kitchen replenishing supplies. Cupcakes were the first order of the day.
I set my sights on the Cookies & Cream cupcakes – my first recipe out of Vegan Cupcakes take over the world.
As we’re not vegan I modified it slightly, so my recipe came out like this:

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes – Makes 12

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
Around 10 chopped Oreo cookies

125g butter or marg, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 T milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup cocoa
3 Oreo cookies, finely mashed

1. Preheat oven to 175 °C and line muffin tin with cupcake cases.
2. Whisk together milk & vinegar in a large bowl, set aside for a few minutes to curdle.
3. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla and whisk until foamy.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients and whisk into wet ingredients until no lumps remain.
5. Stir through chopped oreo cookies, then pour into cases until 3/4 full.
6. Bake 18-20 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
7. Frosting – Beat butter for 6-8 minutes, or until a light, creamy consistency. Add milk & vanilla, then sift in icing sugar and cocoa. Beat until combined. Fold in mashed cookies.
8. Spread cooled cupcakes with frosting, then top with extra oreo cookies if desired.

These were to die for!! Absolutely heaven, and they’ve given me a renewed confidence for the success of other recipes in this book (and more cupcakey goodness in my tummy!)
The only reason the whole batch hasn’t been devoured yet it because whilst I was whipping up the frosting for those babies, I had the food processor working away on some other sweet morsels…
Apricot Coconut Balls
1 cup crushed weetbix
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
250g dried apricots.

Mix together in food processor until sticky & dough-like (great description huh?). Roll into balls, coat in extra coconut then chill until set. So quick & simple, and delicious with your afternoon cuppa!
I’m sure these are served up at every Christmas ‘do’ in my extended family, so they do seem like a special treat, but I was desperate to use up some of the weet-bix crumbs in the bottom of the cereal container (good enough reason, don’t you think?!).
After the dishes were washed the bench reappeared so out came the Zoku. I’m really enjoying experimenting with it and uh, eating the results of course!
After opening the box of Oreo cookies for the cupcakes, I knew it wouldn’t be long before they were found by the little people, so I used my magic skills to make them disappear…into ice-blocks. I used the Cookies & Cream recipe in the Zoku recipe book, but modified it slightly using Lorraine’s suggestion of using custard instead of ‘vanilla pudding’ – these pops turned out so much creamier than any I have made so far, so I’ll definitely stick with the custard. Really nice flavour, creamy texture and the biscuit pieces were a nice ‘treat’ in the middle. This recipe is a keeper!