Here we are again with the spiced baked goodies....
If you like carrot cake, and are fan of cheesecake, then these will appeal to you. Whoopie pies are essentially a construction of creamy filling sandwiched between two soft, spongey cookies. You'd typically see chocolate whoopie pies, as they are the traditional flavour and colour, but nowadays people are always putting a spin on things. I flavoured mine with the ingredients you'd find in a classic carrot cake, minus the pineapple, and then sandwiched them together with a cream cheese filling. A splash of lemon juice added to the filling gave it a similar taste to that of a fridge cheesecake. Mmm. I scoffed down 2 before they were even assembled! But the next day, because the flavours had had time to intensify, they tasted even better. I don't know if I was hungry or just in need of a sweet treat, but they went down so well. 

Adjustments can be made to the amount of spice- I tend to add more. You could also crush some walnuts and roll them in it to cover the oozing filling around the sides.  These would be fun for kids parties!

Whoopie Pies:
2 cups white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp orange zest

Cream Cheese Filling:

- 1 1/2 tbsp golden syrup
- 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice to taste

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt, set aside. In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Add the dry mixture and the carrot, raisins, coconut and lemon and orange zest. Beat until well combined, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to an hour. 

Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 160˚C Fan Forced (180˚C normal) and line two trays with baking paper. 

In a medium bowl, beat together the golden syrup, butter, cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Then, cover and place in the fridge. 

Grab your dough from the fridge. Measure out 1 heaped teaspoon of dough and place on the baking sheet. Do the same with the rest of the dough, placing each 5 cm apart from each other. Place in your pre-heated oven for 15 mins, or until they spring back nicely when gently pressed with a finger. The bottoms should be slightly darker than than the tops. Once cooked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 

Once fully cooled, place about 1-2 tsp of filling between each sandwich. It's optional to roll them in crushed walnuts or coconut, but they're fun just as they are!
It's a Japanese public holiday today! The definition of a day off for me: no school, sleep and relaxation, and a generous slot of time to get into the kitchen and start clinking and clanging some pots and pans together. 
Okay, so, try not to imagine me pathetically trying to create a pretty little tune with a bowl on my head, a pot balancing between my legs, wooden spoons in my hands and limbs flailing around like those blow up noodle men. Because I just imagined it, and.... it's not normal. I don't do that kind of stuff. 

Hahah, one day though...

Anyway, my mum made these a few days ago because I guess she felt like doing the noodle man thing, too. And, even though I was amazed at my family's generosity- saving me half of a 1/16th of the whole loaf....- I was told that I was missing out on the real deal. The "Real Deal" is that moment of awe when it's just been pulled out of the oven- when it's warm, oozing with cheese, and slightly crusty on the outside. I know what this moment feels like, and tastes like, now that I've actually witnessed it. Yeeeeeummmmm. 

It's just cozy food. I fall victim to even the plain and simple english scones. (Jam and whipped cream, please!)
Question; What jam pairs the best with a scone?
Raspberry all the way for me! Although, the classic strawberry is still great.

These scones have a surprising balance of spice and cheese. I wasn't told about the pepper the first time I tried it, and I actually laughed when the heat unexpectedly hit me. It gives the scone such character!  

The cheese is there alright! You get a good punch of it. But, that's not the entirety of the scones personality. It's not just a plain scone with grated cheese. The addition of the cayenne pepper and mustard sets it apart from any other. Behind every rustic morsel, you get a gentle kick of heat. So much so, that it lingers there after.  

One thing- I'd recommend not pairing wedge of this scone with a cup of tea! The spice intensifies the heat and flavour of the tea- just a wee bit bitter. It would, however, make such an exciting sandwich!  

And one last thing,
It's best when eaten on the day it's baked. Overnight, it tends to become too dry.
225 g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder (or english mustard)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp baking powder
25g butter
150g grated mature cheddar cheese
1 large egg
A splash of milk


Pre-heat your oven to 200˚C Fan forced (220˚C normal) and lightly grease a baking tray.

Into a medium bowl, measure the flour, salt, mustard powder (english mustard would be added later), cayenne pepper and baking powder. Add the butter (and the english mustard if substituting for powder) and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then, stir in 100g of the grated cheese until well combined.

Break the egg into a measuring jug and add milk until leveled at 150ml. Stir this mixture into the dry mixture and mix until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead it lightly with the palms of your hands. Use your hands to form the dough into a 15cm circle. Slice it about 3/4 of the way through into wedges, using a knife or pizza cutter. This aids in breaking the loaf into segments once it's cooked. Brush with a splash of milk and sprinkle the remaining 50g of cheese on top of the loaf. 

Bake in your pre-heated oven for about 20 mins or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Slide it onto a wire rack to cool down. But honestly, eat it as soon as it's out of the oven, while the cheese is still oozing, and the dough is fresh and toasty warm.