Yule Log Kwon

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Sweets

This year Christmas decided it didn’t want to play ball with our scheduling, so instead of leaving you hanging for a couple of days I decided to do a couple of throwback slash additional 12 Days of Survivor Christmas recipes to fill the gap. And no that isn’t a reference to them being zaddies.

But then again, it’s not not a reference to them being zaddies.

Despite kind of disappearing from the Survivor world after his dominant – even without the God idol – performance in Cook Islands, I can never imagine a yuletide without my dear friend Yul Kwon.

You see, I first met my dear friend Yul while he was attending Yale Law School. As is oft the case, I was running a scam – different to the Vice Chancellor one Hiz caught me out on – Yul figured it out and I returned to priz to find my ciggies and barter my way to greatness slash escaping priz.

Given he was such a babe and was so damn nice, I couldn’t help but stay in contact with him and guilt him into helping me become a better person. While you can question his success, I did love how hard he tried and so recruited him for Survivor to say thanks.

While Ozzy gets a lot of credit for his Cook Islands performance and the triumph of the Aitu 4, Yul is the glue that held everything together and successfully kept them in the game and carried them to success. I was in Los Angeles for his pre-Christmas victory and we were both desperate for something celebratory AND festive, which led to the birth of my famed Yule Log Kwon.

 

 

Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s take on the holiday classic, there is no better way to celebratory the holidays than with a thick, fat, nutty yule log. Which sounds a lot like I’m talking about scat … but I’m not, because this is delicious.

Enjoy!

It’s not scat.

 

 

Yule Log Kwon
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 eggs, consciously uncoupled
150g muscovado sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract, plus 1 tbsp for the buttercream
½ cup hazelnuts, peeled, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
200g dark chocolate, chopped
250g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
225g butter, at room temperature

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Uncouple the eggs into two separate bowls – the whites into a large, clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer and the yolks in a medium bowl. In should also be clean, FYI. Whisk the whites at medium speed, until they’re forming thick peaks. Sprinkle in about a third of the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks are holding.

Now focus on the yolk bowl, whisking in the cocoa, vanilla and remaining sugar until it forms a moussy consistency. Lighten the yolk mixture with a couple of dollops of egg whites before folding the rest through in thirds, followed by the hazelnuts, making sure to retain as much air as possible.

Transfer to a lined swiss roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for about five minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

While things are chilling, melt the chocolate in the microwave and set aside before beating the icing sugar, butter and tablespoon of vanilla in a stand mixer on medium, or until pale and fluffy. Fold through the cooled chocolate until smooth.

To assemble, place the sheet of cake on lined, flat surface and trim the edges. Smear a thin layer of icing over the top of the cake – all the way to the edges – before rolling tightly along the longer side. Cut the ends on an angle to make it look more loggy and place the off-cuts on the side, setting with some additional icing. Generously ice the complete log, covering all the surfaces, before scratching in some wood marks using a skewer or fork. Make sure you don’t forget the rings at the end.

Dust with a light flurry of icing sugar before devouring.

 

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Caramel Popcorey Haim Cupcakes

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Aaaaaahhhh, my heart! Spending the last few days with Corey Haim has got me feeling all sad and nostalgic.

Despite what Feldman would say, Haim and I were the absolute best of friends after meeting in the 80s and while we both struggled with addiction issues, were always trying to help the other back on to the wagon – on is non-alcoholic, yeah? – even while we were failing ourselves.

It truly was such a beautiful friendship.

While there have been a lot of stories coming out about what Corey experienced in the industry, I was tragically too drunk and out of it to ever see anything beyond myself and our friendship. And as a friend, he truly was the best. Warm, caring and generously, we always had fun together and brought light into each other’s life and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

Given we met during The Lost Boys, I set the time machine for filming and dropped back, roofied myself and headed into the kitchen with ‘80s Annelie to whip up a big ol batch of her famed Caramel Popcorey Haim Cupcakes.

 

 

Make no mistake, these are the best cupcakes you will ever taste. Even better, they are so super easy to make, that anyone struggling with their sobriety/the demands of Jami Gertz can make them. Sweet, fluffy and most importantly, moist, they are everything you need … outside of having your friends back in your life.

Enjoy!

 

 

Caramel Popcorey Haim Cupcakes
Serves: 12. But really, 3 of the best friends.

Ingredients
1 cup flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder, sifted with the flour
1 ½ cup raw caster sugar, split in two
2 eggs
Roughly ¾ cup thickened cream
2 tsp vanilla
¼ vegetable oil
⅓ cup popping corn kernels
3 tbsp honey
250g butter, split in two
120g white chocolate, melted
2-3 cups pure icing sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C.

Crack the eggs into a measuring jug and fill with the thickened cream up to the one-cup line and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for 3 minutes. Add half the caster sugar and vanilla in thirds, beating well after each addition. Remove from the mixer and fold through the flour and baking powder.

Divided the batter between 12 cupcake cases and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Just.

With the cakes sorted, line a baking sheet with baking paper and heat the vegetable oil in a heavy based saucepan over a hot heat. When searing, add a kernel and if it starts to move, you’re ready to go – acting quickly, reduce heat to medium, add the remaining kernels, cover firmly with a lid and cook, shaking semi-frequently, until the popping starts to subside. Remove from the heat and discard any un-popped kernels.

Combine the remaining caster sugar, half the butter and honey in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, swirling, until mixture is boiling. Allow to boil, without stirring – which I know is super hard – until golden brown. Pour over the popcorn, quickly mix together and transfer to the lined baking sheet, pressing to form a single layer. Allow to cool.

Finally, beat the remaining butter in a stand mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar and white chocolate, continuously mixing, until a light buttercream that will hold it’s shape – just – is achieved.

Top each cupcake with a delicate dollop of icing and whack of caramel popcorn … before devouring, greedily.

 

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Sarinnamon Tillcake

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Luke’s completely original, not stolen spy shack finally played dividends with him catching Tessa plotting against Jericho with Ziggy. Luke then rallied his troops – minus Michelle who was too friendly with Tessa – to take out the latter in the most divided tribal council of the season. I know Jonathan just said that, but four different people received votes and there were nine left … it was madness.

Back at camp everyone was kind of confused as to what happened at tribal before Michelle quickly exploded and proved the point, hell hath no fury like a person scorned. She went in for Luke, questioned their terrible timing and was ultimately thrilled that she won’t have to feel guilty when cutting them from the game.

The next day everyone was enjoying a meal together, even Michelle who was still well pissed. Luke congratulated himself, Jericho, Sarah and Michelle on clawing back the numbers after merging with a 4-8 deficit, though admitted that their is a lot of work to do to fix the crack in their alliance. While Sarah and Jericho calmly tried to explain the last tribal to Michelle, she really wasn’t having a bar of it and vowed to play an individual game.

Meanwhile Locky came to the realisation that Ziggy voted for him at the last tribal council, though was smart enough to also realise that it is a death sentence for any of the OG Samatauns to join the Asagans. He then approached Ziggy and Pete to join together for the next two tribal councils to chip away at the Asaga alliance. They quickly caught Tara up before each getting to work pulling Michelle over to their side.

JoJo arrived to oversee the reward challenge where Michelle let him know that she was completely blindsided at the last tribal. The challenge involved the tribe being split into two teams of four for a game of charades … for a beach picnic involving KFC. I would just like to say, Dirty Bird is my favourite of all fast foods so this would make me cream my shorts if I were out there. The purple team of Pete, Michelle, Jericho and Tara got out to a 3-0 lead, before Locky, Luke, Sarah and Ziggy pulled off an epic comeback and secured reward for their team.

The victors arrived at their KFC feast, which was decidedly lacking chips and Hot’n’Spicy. Ziggy described the entire thing as heaven in her mouth – which let me tell you will be ironic one day – before Sarah decided to get things strategic, rationalising that they were arguably the biggest threats in the game. The four decided to share who they each think needs to go next, with the Samataus listing Jericho and the Asagans going for Pete. After a back and forth trying to find some common ground, Sarah suggested getting rid of her new nemesis Michelle and while everyone was on board, though it makes me feel extremely nervous for my girl Sarah’s safety.

The victors returned back to camp where Ziggy quickly let us know that the #PopcornChickenAlliance was completely fake before heading off to fill Tara in on what happened at the reward. They decided to take the information that Sarah and Luke were willing to get rid of her to Michelle, which obviously worked a treat as Ziggy, followed by Ziggy, Locky and Pete spilled the tea and solidified Sarah as Michelle’s target forevermore. Sadly though Jericho wandered around in the bushes – eavesdropping on the conversation sans a spy shack – spooking him, Luke and Sarah, who apparently desperately needs to pull out her first immunity win.

Right on cue lil’ JoJo arrived for the immunity challenge, a log rolling battle royale which you would assume Tara would be a shoo-in for given her barrel racing experience. Sarah and Luke were first up, with Luke taking out the win over the model. Ziggy defeated Pete, Locky defeated Michelle and Jericho proving me wrong by defeating Tara. In the second round, Luke defied odds to beat Jericho before Locky made easy work of Ziggy. In the final, Locky finally took out an individual immunity after a hard fought battle against Luke.

Things deteriorated quickly when Asatoa returned to camp, with the Samatau four plus Michelle locking in their vote for Sarah. Despite this Ziggy was starting to get paranoid about Asaga turning on her, before talking to Jericho about who they were planning to target which he assumed was Michelle. Luke and Jericho however then approached Michelle to see if there was a chance for them to realign. Everyone but Tara and Sarah met up in the jungle to talk about getting rid of Sarah, leading Sarah to then talk to Locky about join her with Tara, Luke and Jericho to get rid of Michelle. That five then locked in the vote for Michelle before they headed off to tribal leaving me extremely confused about who is actually locked in with who.

Once there things started to get messier, with Michelle talking about being blindsided by the previous tribal council and how her alliance was over. Sarah calmly tried to explain herself, however Michelle was still acting emotionally and wasn’t interested in hearing about it. Sarah and Michelle were both feeling nervous before Jericho spoke about leaving a cat to drown, horrifying everyone as they headed out to vote. The votes rolled in for Sarah and Michelle before Ziggy played her idol for herself, rather than Michelle much to Pete’s chagrin. Tragically and yet altogether thankfully it wasn’t necessary, as the votes piled up on Sarah and sent her from the game and into my loving arms at the jury villa.

I’ve known Sez for years after being her modelling coaching – I’m Australia’s Miss J – leading to her first stint on reality TV opposite me dearest friend from anger management, Naomi Campbell. While I tried to put in a good word for Sarah, Naom and I got into an insanely brutal brawl before I could help which ultimately allowed Sarah to win her over on her lonesome, making me insanely proud in the process. While she was gutted to be out of the game, she was impressed with how she played and giddily devoured my Sarinnamon Tillcake.

 

 

There is something about cinnamon I can just never go past, and this cake is the perfect example of why. Sweet and spicy, cinnamon truly can make even the most basic of teacakes sing. And I should know, as I’m a basic bitch.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sarinnamon Tillcake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
125g butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tbsp extra for toppin’ and some more extra for greasin’
1 cup raw caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for toppin’
⅔ cup milk
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C, and grease and flour a bundt tin.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium for two minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Lightly whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla together in a jug, and the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in half the flour. When just combined, add half the milk … and when that is combined, add the remaining flour and the remaining milk.

Pour the batter into the tin, flatten the top and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden, puffed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool in the pan for five-ten minutes before removing.

Meanwhile quickly melt the topping butter and combine the topping sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Lightly brush the bundt with butter and coat with the cinnamon sugar. Transfer to a cake stand and devour, while still warm.

 

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Zac Efriands

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Side, Snack, Sweets

Holy hell, am I emotionally spent from my time with my friend come ex come *spoiler alert* friend again, Zachary David Alexander Efron. So as you know, my dear friend Corbin Bleu came up with a foolproof three-point plan to facilitate a reconciliation between Zac and I, but I never shared what it was … and it will blow your mind with its intricacy.

1. Call Zac on the phone and tell him I want to have him over to talk about where we left things.
2. Apologise for any of the nastiness I caused (minimal, but sure).
3. Listen to his feelings and accept that maybe he is hurt, vowing to move on if you’re both willing to forgive.

Seriously – have you ever read such a wild plan? And more importantly, would you ever, in a million years, think that it would work?

I am shook, still.

I first met Zac in 2004 while visiting my then boyfriends Jesse McCartney and Ryan Kwanten – I was in a polyamorous phase – and my dear friend Merrin Dungey on the set of Summerland, and we quickly bonded over our love of theatre and surfing. As I oft do, I knew that he was destined for greatness, dropped Jess and vowed to make him a star.

Two years later, I made good on said promise when I cast him in High School Musical. The rest, as they say, is history … but I assume you’d like to know that part of that history involved him thanking me with two years of passionate kissing and tender love-making.

Then tragedy struck when he opted to star in a Nicholas Sparks adaptation. I was livid, we broke it off immediately and we haven’t spoken since. (Despite the best efforts of my dear Sethy Roges).

While it was quite awkward to start, my constant run-ins with the law and multiple Hollywood feuds have seemingly given me the ability to deliver an apology that appears genuine and he forgave me for all that I’d done. He also apologised, but for nothing specific. While I found that odd, a quick Google search supports his claim that he never dragged me through the tabloids.

With that as proof, I kindly forgave him for all the pain that he caused and we caught each other up on life and laughed about the good old days … of my famed Zac Efriands.

 

 

Tart, earthy and sickeningly sweet, these delicate beauties are the perfect thing to facilitate meaningful reconciliation and solve all your problems. Take that, banana bread!

Enjoy!

 

 

Zac Efriands
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
200g icing sugar
⅓ cup flour
1 ⅔ cups almond meal
3 lemons, zested and juiced
200g unsalted butter, melted
6 egg whites
2 tbsp poppy seeds
¾ cup raw caster sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease a 12-hole friand pan.

Sift the icing sugar, flour and almond meal into a mixing bowl. Slowly incorporate the zest, melted butter, egg whites and poppy seeds, until just combined.

Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until puffed, golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for five minutes, before turning out and cooling completely.

When you’re almost ready to serve, combine the lemon juice and raw caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes or until slightly thickened.

Prick the friands – ahhhh, the memories with Zac – and poor over the sweet tangy liquid, filling up the friands – again, memories.

Devour immediately.

 

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Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Pie, Snack, Sweets

Oh how my heart is heavy! I mean, yes, I am heartbroken that our Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations are coming to a close today … but my agony has more to do with that fact I’m whipping out the time machine to celebrate with Brittany Murphy just prior to her death.

And fuck do I miss my Brit.

We first met on the set of Clueless where Amy Heckerling said, and I quote, “we need Brit to look less pretty, more dirty and disheveled … so Ben, can we model pre-makeover Tai on you?”

While that one comment set off a feud with Ames that lasted until a few years ago – when I embraced my homeless-toddler looks – I took Brit under her wing and gave her the typical teen movie make-under. Fun fact: she could be a farmer in those clothes was a line inspired by the fight with Amy, as I staunchly defended my sexy-farmer look.

Anyway, Brits felt for my pain and we quickly bonded. Soon after I introduced her to Allison and helped her make her Broadway in A View from the Bridge, before convincing them both to join Drop Dead Gorgeous.

I still can’t believe that she has been gone for almost eight years now, and not a day goes by where I don’t miss the ability to pick up the phone and have a gossip and a laugh. Thankfully though, my invention of time travel allows me to involve her in the celebrations, pre-posthumously.

I’ve been racking my brain about when exactly to catch-up to avoid making too many changes to the timeline, and the only time that really makes sense is to drop by in 2009 aka the 10th anniversary of the movie. But tragically that also means it is five months before her death.

When I arrived in her late noughties Hollywood home, I ran into her arms and held her so hard I thought I may break her. While I wanted to scream at her to get out of the house and that girl, you in danger … I knew I couldn’t, filling the entire catch-up with a melancholic tone for me.

Thankfully my supreme acting talent didn’t let it show, as we joked and caught up on what we’d been doing recently over a Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie.

 

 

While it may not fit with the whole cook-out theme I had going to celebrate DDG and Fourth of July, there is nothing more American than a Mississippi Mud Pie. A crunchy (sop it up with a) biscuit crust, delicate cake, velvety chocolate custard and freshly whipped cream? You really can’t go wrong.

Happy Fourth of July ya’ll, now enjoy, ya here?

 

 

Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
Crust
500g chocolate biscuits, crushed
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
Cake
¼ cup unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
¼ cup strong coffee, cooled
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 cup muscovado sugar
Pu-dang
¾ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup dark cocoa powder
¼ cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate
(Ben de La)Creme
1 cup double cream
3 tbsp raw caster sugar

Method
Preheat oven 120°C.

Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a pie dish and press all the way up the edge. Transfer to the freezer and chill for half an hour. Transfer straight into the oven and bake for ten minutes, or until dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Crank the oven to 180°C.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt via double-boiler. In a different bowl, combine the espresso powder, coffee, salt and vanilla, and allow to rest. Meanwhile, place the yolks and ½ a cup of sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until combined and doubled in volume. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the side and add the coffee mixture, and beat until just combined.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites until they foam. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Combine a cup of the stiff peaks by folding through the chocolate. Add the remaining whites and fold through until combined. Pour into the crust, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until set but still a bit jiggly in the middle, caliente style.

No, you can’t call me fucking jiggly.

Allow to cool on a rack for an hour, before transferring to the fridge for a few hours.

While that is chilling, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt and yolk in a medium saucepan before slowing whisking through the milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Boil for a minute before transferring to a bowl. Add the butter, vanilla and chocolate, whisking until combined. Allow to stand for half an hour before pressing some cling to the surface and chilling for a few hours. Once chilled, stir the pudding before transferring to the pie on top of the cake. Return to the fridge and chill.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream and caster sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop over the pie and spread to coat. Chill for half an hour before serving, generously, and devouring.

 

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Carbonaras Bascakas

Main, Pasta, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands

Guys can you believe there is just under a week until Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands premieres?!

As excited as I am to see Sandra’s likely triumphant return, I am getting concerned that the blogs apparent hex – see: all the deaths I caused last year and Bob Harper’s heart attack as proof – may cause her to finally have her torch snuffed.

I don’t know if I want to live in that world, you know?

Anyway, my fears really started to get to me so I reached out to my calmest bestie / Survivor victor / total babe Aras Baskauskas.

As you know, Annelie and I met Aras through his (also babin’) big brother Vytas. Depsite them not agreeing to a double wedding, we helped Aras get on Survivor: Panama and helped him navigate the insanity of Casaya by spilling incorrect information to Shane on his island Blackberry … and calling the whambulance for Terry.

After his win, I helped Aras write his debut – and surprisingly beautiful, FYI – album before encouraging him to fulfill Annelie and my wish to see those beautiful boys together on Survivor for the OG / Game Changing, Blood vs. Water.

Sadly they didn’t completely fulfill our wish by competing completely nude in an homage to Dickie Hatch.

Aras and I haven’t been able to catch up much lately, what with me busy galavanting around the globe with Probsty, Jo-Jo LaPags and being sickening with RuPaul and co, so it was such a treat to continue to lay low (post #Envelopegate, obvi) with my beautiful friend.

Knowing the target that comes with being a returning winner, Aras knows Sandy has an uphill battle but agrees that her open, loyal reputation should keep her safe for the first few rounds.

Plus – she is sassy as fuck AND entertaining, so it should keep people on side for a while.

We also agree that Tony is toast and JT’s Heroes vs.Villains blunder should protect him for a few rounds.

With that our countdown discussions concluded, we went for a quick skinny dip at Santa Monica and returned home to split a delightful Carbonaras Bascakas.

 

carbonaras-bascakas-1

 

Yes – this is based off the glorious cake in Jamie Oliver’s Christmas cookbook. Sadly I didn’t have any leftovers when I dropped by Aras’ crib, so I fancied up the recipe and – dare I say it – made it even better.

Aras’ beauty deserves no less – enjoy!

 

carbonaras-bascakas-2

 

Carbonaras Bascakas
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g dried spaghetti
olive oil
250g pancetta, thinly sliced.
4 eggs
300ml double cream
1 tbsp chilli flakes
zest of a lemon
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
200g parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease the base of a springform cake tin with oil.

Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions, drain and leave to cool slightly in a colander while you fry the pancetta until lightly crisped.

Combine the eggs, cream, chilli and zest in a large bowl with a good whack of pepper and whisk together. Add the spaghetti, pancetta, rosemary leaves and most of the cheese to the bowl and toss to coat.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the base of the pan, pour in the pasta – at this point I sprinkle with further cheese – place the tin on a baking tray and bake for about half an hour, or until golden and delicious.

Allow to rest for five minutes before detinning, carving and devouring.

 

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Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Good news – we finally have a cast member that doesn’t link into my torrid love life. I mean sure, I did sleep with Willa Holland’s current co-star Stephen Amell years ago … but I didn’t meet her through him, so technically I’m home free.

You see I met Willa through my dear friend Lisa Kudrow – who I am so overdue to see that it scares me – when Willa guested on an episode of the majestic and underrated series The Comeback.

It would shock nobody to know that my attitude inspired her characterisation of Valerie Cherish.

I was taken by her talent and she was the only person I could think of to replace my cousin-in-law Shailene when they wanted to beef up the role of Caitlin. I also put her forward for the role of Thea Queen on Arrow … not that I’m saying she should be grateful to me for her career.

But she probably should be … a little, at least.

As she has been super – get it? – busy with her role in the Arrow-verse shows, I haven’t been able to spend much meaningful time with Wills in the last few years but thankfully our friendship is so beautiful that our bond never changes.

Plus, if it did, I’d just withhold my Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake until she loves me again … because that is what you do with your family during the holiday!

 

img_7342willa-hazelnut-chocolate-cake-1

 

Combining the velvety sweet charm of one Caitlin Cooper and the brooding darkness and depth of Thea Queen, this cake is the perfect hybrid of my dear friend’s roles.

Enjoy!

 

willa-hazelnut-chocolate-cake-2

 

Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake
Serves: 10-12.

Ingredients
200g hazelnuts, peeled and roasted
250g good dark chocolate, chopped
185g unsalted butter, cubed
40g cocoa powder, sifted
30ml strong, freshly brewed coffee
30ml amaretto
6 eggs, at room temperature
275g caster sugar
ice cream, cream or fresh berries, to serve
Nutella, to drizzle on top

Method
Preheat oven to 160ºC and grease/line a springform tin.

Chuck the hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz until it it is finely ground and just starting to turn to a paste. Set aside.

Combine the chocolate, butter and cocoa in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until just melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the coffee and amaretto. Set aside.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until just combined. Fold through the chocolate, followed by the hazelnuts and pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Once cooled, serve with a dollop of ice cream and drizzled with nutella … because we can’t get enough hazelnut!

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Tate Doughnutvans

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Party Food, Snack, Sweets

So as I’ve kind of alluded to, Tate and I kind of have a frenemy-ish relationship. Don’t get me wrong – I love him to absolute pieces, however we are very similar, and at times dramatic, which means our relationship experiences the highest highs and most violently aggressive lows.

Actually, our relationship inspired Jimmy and Julie’s on The O.C.

We first met when Tate made his TV debut guesting on Family Ties – I was dating Michael J. Fox at the time and took pity on Tate for not being as talented as my man. Whilst having breakfast in bed with Michael the day of the taping, I turned to him and said “that young Tate character could really succeed with the right kind of tutelage.”

Mike agreed, I took Tate under my wing and become his acting and attitude coach, and the rest, as they say, is history.

After co-starring together in the hit movies All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 and Hercules – I was all three of the fates – we had our first bitter feud, when his turn as Hercules went to his head … and surprisingly he didn’t enjoy my berating him to get him back under my control?

Thankfully when I suggested we put an end to the drama and work together on The O.C. he was kind enough to accept my olive branch and we’ve been snarkily (possibly insincerely) close ever since.

Surprisingly Tate has been enjoying quite a bit of success lately – what with him being a SAG Award winner for Argo, a role in the last reboot of 24 and a bit part in current awards season contender Manchester by the Sea – and we therefore haven’t been able to see much of each other.

But knowing Tate as well as I do, I was able to pull him away from his no-doubt fruitless Oscar campaigning with the allure of his favourite treat – Tate Doughnutvans.

 

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Now I know that I oft talk about my fear of and aversion to frying … but I make an exception for these babies to ensure they comply with their Jewish heritage.

Fluffy, spicy and sweet, these are so delicately delicious that you can’t help but put aside your differences to down a few with your favourite frenemy.

Enjoy!

 

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Tate Doughnutvans
Serves: 1. No judgement.

Ingredients
14g dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup raw caster sugar, plus more for rolling
3 cups flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon, plus more for rolling
pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp salt
vegetable oil
1 cup jam, I went raspberry but how good is blueberry, you know?

Method
Combine yeast, warm water and a teaspoon of sugar – that is not listed in the above ingredients – in a jug. Stir and set aside to get all foamy for about ten minutes … you’ll know when they are ready.

Place the flour in a bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the centre. By hand – with the dough hook of the mixer – mix in the eggs, yeast foam liquid, sugar, butter, spices and salt. Place the hook in the mixer, crank it to medium and knead for about ten minutes.

Remove the dough from the mixer to a large oiled bowl, cover in cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled.

Once it has proven itself, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until about half a centimetre thick. Cut into small round and place on a lined baking sheet. Once all the dough is used, cover in cling and leave to prove for another half an hour.

While proving – again – heat some vegetable oil in a wide shallow pot over medium heat until it reaches 190°C. Carefully add a few discs into the pot at a time – and you know I mean careful as I hate frying and this is only to continue in the hanukkah spirit – and fry for half a minute to a minute, each side, until golden and puffed.

Transfer to greaseproof paper, roll in cinnamon sugar – not necessary, but highly recommended – and leave to rest on a wire rack. Repeat until done.

Once cooled, place the jam in a piping bag fitted with a thin nozzle. Penetrate each puff and fill with your sweet nectar. Then devour.

 

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Rachel Bilsonta Hats

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

You can’t celebrate the 12 Days of Chrismukkah without my dear friend, the pocket-rocket portrayer of the gloriously rage-filled Summer Roberts … Rachel Bilson.

Deep breath – what a freaking (long/terrible) sentence, amirite?

I first met Rach – and spotted her talent – in early 2003 on the set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I was part of SMG’s entourage at the time but was taken in by Rachel’s spunk. As soon as I saw her perform, I knew that she was the only person that could play the role of Summer and do just to her season 1 catch-phrase “ew.”

While we had a brief falling out after I tried to set her trailer on fire after she began dating Adam Brody (I had fantasised about us becoming a twincesty couple), she understood my complete lack of logic/basis in reality and forgave me within a week.

The girl, it needs to be said, is a damn saint.

(Her sweet, forgiving nature is the only way I could forgive her for marrying Hayden Christensen, who broke my heart on the set of Life as a House when he wouldn’t play sweet dixie with my behind… but that is another story for another time. Plus I worked that line into Hart of Dixie, so how could I stay mad?).

I haven’t been able to see much of Rachel since Hart of Dixie was egregiously axed – which is actually about my life as a small town Alabama doctor falling for a myriad of similar looking men – given how busy she is with my dear god-daughter Briar Rose Christensen, so it was such a treat to be able to reconnect over some festively appropriate Rachel Bilsonta Hats!

 

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Sweet, delicious, kind-healthy (yay whole strawberry!) and completely kitsch, these little babies are the perfect festive bake for those dreaded office Christmas morning teas.

Or as a gift for people you actually like. Like the Bilson-Christensens – enjoy!

 

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Rachel Bilsonta Hats
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
¼ cup valrhona cocoa
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp allspice
1 cup buttermilk
200g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp red food colouring
Icing
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
120g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
strawberries, tops sliced off

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C and line muffin muffin pans with paper cases – quantity will depend on the size you want, but I can make 8 Texans.

Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk the wet ingredients in a large jug until combined.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir through the wet ingredients until just combined. Then stir through the food colouring. You can use a stand mixer – like I do, because I’m lazy – but just remember that the best muffins are the ones that are barely mixed, so just do it on the lowest setting and only for as long as it needs.

Divide the mixture among your pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While they are getting chill, combine the icing ingredients – sans strawbs – in a stand mixer and beat until smooth and fluffy.

To assemble, smear each cupcake generously with icing, top with an upturned strawberry and top said strawberry with a dollop of icing. Ta dah – bilsonta hats!

Devour.

 

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Jane Cakeghoulski

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Halloween, Party Food, Side, Snack, Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

Can you believe we’re at the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah crescendo already?! It feels like only yesterday that we were hanging out with Tracy, Judah, Scott and Jack – particularly Jack, since it was yesterday.

While we’ve managed to go the week without Teens and Al, we couldn’t celebrate a spooky soiree without the true Queen of 30 Rock, my dear friend, the supremely talented and future EGOT Jane Krakowski.

And by true Queen … would you cross Jenna Maroney?

I first met Jane in the 80s while co-starring in the original Broadway production of Starlight Express until my nemesis ALW cut my part – Spread, the loosest caboose – due to my pornographic interpretation of the roll. It was a rough time in my life, having my inevitable first Tony ripped from my hands and I never would have gotten through it without Jane’s love and support.

Given her egregious snubbing at this year’s Emmys, I really wanted to make our time together special enough to pay back her kindness … and there is nothing more special than a batch of my Jane Cakeghoulski.

 

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Again, cake decoration is far from strong point … but that doesn’t matter when the cake is this good. Which is all thanks to Nigella Lawson, since I converted her Chocolate Guinness Cake into cupcakes because what represents the blackness of death better than a dense, guinness cake? And what is better at making the whiteness of a ghost stand out.

Enjoy – you’ll never forget them!

 

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Jane Cakeghoulski
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
250ml guinness
250g unsalted butter
75g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
140ml sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2½ tsp bicarb soda
250g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double cream
black icing and / or chocolate button eyes, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the guinness and butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the cocoa and sugar and remove from the heat.

Whisk the sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a jug and then whisk into the slightly cooled mix, before whisk in the flour and bicarb.

Pour the batter – which is pretty runny, so don’t be alarmed – into 12 lined Texan muffin tins. You could also use normal muffin tins but then you’ll end up with huge muffin tops – which wouldn’t be the worst thing, they are all that. Place in the oven and bake for about half an hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove to a rack to cool completely.

While it is getting hella cool, beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer until smooth. Add in the sieved icing sugar and double cream, and beat for a further minute.

Dollop the ghastly ghost icing on the blackened cakes, decorate with spooky faces … and then devour.

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.