Double chocolate cookie dough nice cream

Double chocolate cookie dough ice cream.

Summer is well on its way and with it the promise of plenty of sunshine… and plenty of ice cream! If you are looking for a healthier ice cream alternative or avoiding dairy then may I present my double chocolate cookie dough “nice” cream. This ice cream recipe is easy to whip together and even comes kiddie approved, my littlies loved it!

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Dark chocolate cupcakes with whipped whiskey ganache

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate and whiskey ganache.

This week’s recipe comes from a feature I put together for Cheers Magazine last month in which whiskey and sherry were the heroes. I have to be honest and say that sipping spirits has never been my thing, I am more of a wine gal myself! But I do keep a small stash of tipple tucked away for culinary purposes. A splash of brandy here, a dash of sherry there… they certainly add a deep richness to the dishes they are added to. These easy dark chocolate cupcakes are proof that whiskey is not only good for sipping but also has its place in the kitchen (and that cupcakes aren’t just for the kiddies!).

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Mini lemon and ginger cheesecakes (with video)

Lemon and ginger cheesecake.

So you may have noticed that things are looking a little different around here. That is because Cupcakes and Couscous has a brand new home on the web! How do you like our new space? We are still busy smoothing out a few details including streamlining the recipe index which has grown substantially over the years! All of your favourite recipes are still here but if you can’t find what you are looking for do let me know so I can point you in the right direction.

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Caramel sponge pudding

Caramel sponge pudding
If ever there was an excuse to indulge in some comfort cooking, the chilly winter season is most definitely it. This latest recipe, which was featured in the May/June issue of Cheers magazine, has comfort food written all over it – a classic (dare I say old-fashioned) dessert that you can easily make at home on those cold days.

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No-bake chocolate mousse tart (gluten free)

No bake chocolate mousse tart.
Credit for this heavenly recipe goes to my lovely mum. A light and creamy no-bake chocolate tart – it is one of our favourites and always a hit at family shindigs. If I had to imagine biting into a chocolate cloud I think it would be like eating a slice of this! 

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Dark chocolate and amaretti semifreddo

 Dark chocolate semifreddo with amaretti biscuits.
The unusual holiday heatwaves seem to be well and truly behind us here in Cape Town, and all of a sudden the dark, chilly mornings and early sunsets are more obvious and a reminder of the cold (and hopefully very rainy) months ahead. As I sit here I am wearing two jerseys and clutching a hot cup of tea and I had second thoughts about posting this recipe given the shift in seasons and the fact that this is a frozen dessert. Then I laughed at this silliness because frankly any time of the year is appropriate for a chocolate dessert, frozen or not. Who’s with me?

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How to make easy rainbow meringues (and a rainbow cake!)

Chocolate cake topped with meringues.


Crisp, white meringues are one my favourite things to make, but a few weeks ago I tried something a little different by adding some colours to the mix! The reason? I wanted to top my daughter’s rainbow birthday cake with rainbow meringues. I had so many party guests (well, the parents) asking me for the recipe that I have decided to pop it on the blog this week along with my go-to meringue recipe. I am also sharing a few tips for making your own rainbow cake. 



How to make rainbow meringues.



Firstly, rainbows – I think this has been my favourite kiddie party theme so far! There is just so much you can do. To be honest I was completely swamped in the run up to the party, but thanks to a few simple ideas from Pinterest I was able to pull it all together in a short amount of time. In terms of decor I made colourful paper chains (too easy), tissue paper pom-poms in various colours and popped glasses filled with colourful water and sunflowers on the table. Some of the food also took on the rainbow theme, with the most popular snack by far being pretzel sticks that were dipped in white chocolate and then 100’s and 1000’s. Rather than going for a sugar laden party bag each little guest received a rainbow ribbon wand as a thank you gift. 



Rainbow birthday party ideas.



You can’t have a rainbow party without a rainbow cake right? This cake took an entire day to bake and assemble, but I think it was worth it. Six layers of vanilla cake in all the colours of the rainbow all covered in vanilla buttercream and chocolate ganache and topped with rainbow meringues, flowers and glitter. Here are a few tips if you are thinking of making one too:

  • I mixed a few drops of gel food colouring into vanilla cake batter to make the rainbow layers. I find these give a brighter colour than the supermarket liquid colours. 
  • I baked the layers separately (yes, it took ages!) in a 20cm straight sided cake tin.
  • When icing the cake I started with a very thin, smooth layer of icing all over the cake, often called the crumb coat. I then popped the entire cake in the deep freeze for about thirty minutes to set and harden before icing it. This made it much easier and neater! 
  • I used this chocolate ganache recipe to go on top of the vanilla buttercream icing. Remember to let it cool before pouring it over the cake. 


How to make a rainbow birthday cake.
Birthday cake with rainbow layers.


Drip cake topped with meringues.



I will be taking a little break next week while the kids are still on holiday but will be back in May with some lip smackingly delicious Italian inspired recipes, don’t miss those! 

Cook’s notes for the meringues:

  • I used a plastic disposable piping bag for this messy meringue mixture. I have also included a picture below of the nozzle that I used. 

Meringue piping nozzle.
  • You can use as many colours as you like but I would use 2-4. I used red, yellow and blue for the meringues on top of the birthday cake.
  • Use 2 drops of gel food colouring per colour for bold, bright meringues or a single drop per colour for a lighter more subtle colour. I used two drops for the meringues in these pictures.


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RAINBOW MERINGUES


Makes 15 medium sized meringues


Rainbow meringue tutorial.



2 large egg whites, room temperature
100g castor sugar
small pinch of fine salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
gel food colouring

Step 1.) Preheat your oven to 120°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 

Step 2.) Place the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks form when the beater is lifted. Add the castor sugar one tablespoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. The mixture should have a smooth texture, not grainy. Whisk in the salt and vanilla extract

Step 3.) Place a drop or two (see cook’s notes above) of gel food colouring inside the piping bag near the nozzle. Use a skewer to scrape the drop up the side of the piping bag, i.e. the bag should have streaks of colour running up the sides. Spoon the meringue into the bag. 

Step 4.) Pipe the meringues onto the tray, allowing some space between for spreading. Bake for 1 hour. Switch the oven off, keep the oven closed and leave the meringues for a further hour. 

Step 5.) Allow the meringues to cool. Store in an airtight container. 





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Salted caramel toffee chunk ice cream

Salted caramel ice cream in a cone.
Here I was thinking that this recipe would be a fully loaded last nod to summer (given the darker mornings and cooler evenings) when Cape Town surprised us with a whopper of a hot day yesterday. Temperatures soared as high as forty degrees in some places – definitely ice cream weather! We spent our public holiday wandering around the V&A Waterfront visiting our favourite haunts (the aquarium and food market are always a must) and strolling around the harbour past the buskers, interesting curio shops and overheating tourists.

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