Saturday, 30 August 2014

REVIEW: The Rabbit Hole

Cassie Cakes Review of The Rabbit Hole Cafe
The lovely little Rabbit Hole café.
I'm a little bit behind in posting my blogs since this review comes from a few weeks ago when we went out for breakfast on the Royal Brisbane Show holiday. I had a Entertainment Book voucher for The Rabbit Hole café at Seven Hills and had heard good things so decided me and Mr. Cakes would walk over and see for ourselves.

It was a bit of a walk but I thought it would be a good idea to make some room for what we were about to eat. The Rabbit Hole sits on The Corso at Seven Hills, nestled amongst a cluster of restaurants and cafés. We were lucky enough to have lovely weather and there was also a cat that let me pet him at the restaurant next door so things were definitely off to a good start. Admittedly, the cat was pretty indifferent to attention but he still let me pet him.

Cassie Cakes Review of The Rabbit Hole Cafe homemade goods
A selection of the treats available at the front counter.

It was pretty busy at the café but we got a table straight away in the sun up on the patio area. I fretted about being too warm and eyed off a table in the shade but Mr. Cakes fretted about getting cold and reckoned I was just a little warm because of the walk. We stayed put.

The service at The Rabbit Hole is counter service so I made my way inside to order and was very impressed with the efficiency of the girls behind the counter. Coffees were being made and going out to tables quickly, which I thought boded well. The lady who took my order was very friendly and also displayed the same efficiency.

Cassie Cakes Review of The Rabbit Hole Cafe staff at work
Efficient service like a well oiled...cake tin. A buttered and floured cake tin.
Mr. Cakes ordered the Big Breaky with fried eggs, bacon, chipolata sausages, hash browns, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and home made chutney ($25)  with a side of haloumi ($6) and a Pina Colada frappe ($9.50) which was coconut water, pineapple, banana, lime and coconut flakes. I agonized over my choice, whether to get the Haloumi Bruschetta or the Potato Hash cakes which both sounded amazing but ended up going with the Classic Pancakes with maple syrup and ice cream ($19). The pancakes can come with bacon or strawberries and I went with strawberries as well as a side of hash browns ($5). And for a drink, I got a caramel milkshake ($7.50). All prices had a 15% public holiday surcharge on them. You could probably figure out what the normal prices are but I'm bad at maths so I'll leave that up to you.

Cassie Cakes Review of The Rabbit Hole Cafe caramel milkshake
My non-caramel caramel milkshake
My milkshake came out quickly. The texture was good, and it tasted really ice-creamy which is also good but I think that there was a mistake because it didn't really taste like caramel. It tasted like there was no syrup in it at all, just milk and ice cream. I still drank it all.

Cassie Cakes Review of The Rabbit Hole Cafe a little less caramel milkshake
For some reason I didn't get a photo of Mr. Cakes' frappe so here's another photo of the milkshake.
After a short delay, Mr. Cakes frappe came out and the waitress was very apologetic for the short delay which I think is really nice. We weren't bothered and the delay wouldn't have even been worth mentioning except for the fact that it was nice to see that they were aware of timings. The two girls serving the patio area were really nice and one of them had the most infectious laugh! Service at The Rabbit Hole was certainly a standout.

Cassie Cakes Review of The Rabbit Hole Cafe pancakes
The amazing pancakes! The hash browns look a little out of place but I sorted that out. I ate them.
Our breakfasts came out really quickly too and oh my god. These pancakes! They were some of the best I've had outside of Mr. Cakes' pancakes. They tasted so sweet and I could really taste the vanilla in them. And they came with cream AND ice cream. And it was real, quality maple syrup. I destroyed them. And I'm still thinking about them. They were fluffy and sweet and awesome. I love them. If you go, you have to get them. Or get someone at the table to get them so you can steal some. The hash browns I got on the side were really crispy too and didn't taste like oil which they sometimes can. They were crunchy and delightful.

Cassie Cakes Review of The Rabbit Hole Cafe a little less pancakes
Look at that fluffiness. That's good texture.
I was so impressed with my pancakes that I am tempted to lie about what Mr. Cakes said about his Big Breaky. He said it was "okay" and "ordinary". However, I offer to you the following mitigating circumstances about his critique: 1. look for yourself at the photo of the Big Breaky, it looks awesome! It was huge and the portion sizes were really generous so there can't be any complaints there and 2. he said the following when we were walking home - "I'm not going to go out for breakfast anymore, it's all the same.". Does that sound like someone whose judgement of breakfast you want to trust? No. I think it looked amazing and the bits I stole tasted really good so from now on, I'll ignore him and ensure I eat some of his to give you an honest opinion. He's really bad at sharing so that should be amusing as well.

Cassie Cakes Review of The Rabbit Hole Cafe the big breaky
The controversial Big Breaky. Looks pretty amazing to me! And look! It's an action shot! Salt.
So I really liked The Rabbit Hole. The service was quick but they didn't rush us, everyone who worked there was smiling and friendly, the pancakes were AMAZING, portions were generous and I left very content. All the meals that came out of the kitchen looked good and our dining neighbours got the Potato Hash cakes and next time I go, I will definitely be ordering that! They looked really good! And since I forgot to use my aforementioned voucher, I have another reason to return!

Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Price: 3/5
Atmosphere: 3/5

The Rabbit Hole Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Icing

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Little cupcake soldiers as far as the eye can see..
You know, I've been doing this blog for over a month and there are no recipes for cakes on here! This blog is called Cassie CAKES! Where are all the cakes? Here. They're right here.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Oh man. What I would give for this cupcake right now...

These cupcakes are off the hook. When Mr. Cakes ate one he went "Mmm they're good!" and I went "Good? Good?! They're not good! They're life changing!". And...they are. Are you ready for this? You're life will never be the same. You might look the same but on the're different. You'll try other cupcakes and even enjoy them. But these dark little cocoa cakes will be at the back of your mind, calling to you, tempting you, lingering. Have I hyped these enough? THEY'RE REALLY FREAKING GOOD! I would have sworn there but I don't have enough readers yet to offend anyone. But trust me. They're worth the cussing.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes all the elements
See how that pack of chocolate is open? And half is gone? Mr. Cakes handiwork.
These cupcakes have cocoa and melted chocolate and a little coffee in them. They have butter and oil AND sour cream. Do you know what this all means? Levels of flavours. Levels of chocolate. Depth. Moisture.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes combined sugar and butter
This is the texture of the butter and sugar.
To make these cupcakes, cream the sugar and butter. Don't be concerned about the small amount of butter, there are more fats coming. That sounds a little gross but it's a good thing. Anyway, the ratio of butter to sugar is a little lower than you usually find in most cupcake recipes because of the other types of fats in them. This means the sugar and butter won't cream like they usually do. The mix will look like wet sand, rather than fluffy and pale.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes melted cupcakes
Step 1. Melt chocolate. Step 2. Insert face into chocolate. Step 3. Inhale.
Then comes the silky, dark chocolate. Buzz it in the microwave in 30 second lots until there are a few lumps of chocolate left then stir until it's all melted and smooth. Add that in and watch the creamy yellow succumb to the cocoa bean.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes chocolate butter goodness
Oh, you may stray, but you'll always return to your dark master... The cocoa bean!
This mix will still look grainy until the eggs get mixed in. Now things start to get interesting. The texture is getting smooth and everyone's starting to get along real nice.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes cupcake batter
Now the party is starting...
Then comes the additional fats, the sour cream and oil as well as the vanilla. Beat these all together and you're getting a finger licking good batter!

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes flour and cocoa
Am I the only one that gets excited by ingredients and photos like this? It's exciting!
Sift together the dry ingredients, add them to the wet and you've got your batter! I like to weigh out each cupcake to 50g, give or take 2 grams. This ensures a nice full cupcake that doesn't sit too low or spill over.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes precise little cupcake
So that's around 50g and what 2/3 full looks like. A big dollop.
Once your cupcakes are in the oven, start on the luscious frosting and the salted caramel. For detailed instructions on the caramel, check out my post on Salted Caramel Éclairs. Otherwise, let's head deeper into flavour country.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes ready to go into the oven
Little babies ready to go into the oven! Also, smooth the top of the cupcakes out with the back of a teaspoon for nice even rising of the cake.
I was searching for an adult frosting for these cupcakes that wasn't too sweet and since I had the sour cream for the cupcakes already, I thought I would use it for extra tang.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes fresh baked
And the little babies fresh out of the oven!
I used dark chocolate in this frosting for a darker, stronger cocoa flavour and to cut back on the sweetness. Chocolate is the star with these cupcakes.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes arty butter photo
I thought this was quite an interesting photo of butter. Isn't butter amazing? Not even joking, butter is amazing.
The buttercream is straight forward, melt the chocolate then cream the sugar and butter. Once the chocolate is cool, add to the butter along with the sour cream. Sift the cocoa in and beat til it's all smooth and delicious and amazing. I could eat it with a spoon. And maybe I did. Don't judge me!

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes chocolate sour cream frosting
Yum. Silky, smooth and oh so chocolaty.
Once the cupcakes and the caramel are cool, scoop out lumps of cupcake and then add a generous teaspoon of the caramel inside.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes cupcake perfection
Cupcake perfection.
Replace the cupcake cap and add a generous swirl of frosting. I used a Wilton #1M tip. And I put a Columbine on top to finish it off! These will last 3 days in an airtight container but good luck keeping them that long.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes filled cupcakes

They're the best.

Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes completed cupcakes
Get in mah belleh!
And here are some more picture, just in case you're not convinced yet.
Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes yummy cupcakes

Mmmm delicious...


Cassie Cakes Dark Chocolate Cupcakes yummy cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from The Cupcake Project

Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 16 mins
Total time:  36 mins
Servings: 18 cupcakes 
70g butter, room temperature
200g caster sugar
100g dark chocolate
2 large free range eggs, room temperature
2 large free range egg yolks, room temperature
110ml vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
80g full-fat sour cream
150g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
60g cocoa
1/2 cup room temperature black coffee 
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Beat butter and sugar until combined. The batter will be grainy in texture, not light and fluffy.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval.  
  4. Once the melted chocolate is cool, add to the butter mixture gradually with the mixer on slow.
  5. Lightly beat the yolks and eggs together and mix into the batter until just combined.
  6. Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream until just combined.
  7. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder into a separate medium-sized bowl and add to the wet ingredients in three lots.
  8. Mix in coffee, slowly as to not splash until just combined.
  9.  Fill each cupcake liner to about 50g or until 2/3 full.
  10.  Bake for 16 minutes or until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out clean. 
  11.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 3 mins
Total time:  13 mins
Servings: Enough to frost 18 cupcakes 
220g dark chocolate, finely chopped120g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar, sifted1/4 cup cocoa
2/3 cup sour cream
  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval.  
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and lighter in colour.
  3. Sift the cocoa into the butter mix and add sour cream. 
  4. Beat until well combined.
Salted Caramel Filling

½ cup (115g) caster sugar
½ cup (115g) brown sugar
90g salted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
½ cup (125ml) double cream, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon fleur de sel plus extra
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins

Total time:
  25 mins

 1.5 cups

  1. Add sugars to a heavy bottomed sauce pan, stirring occasionally, until the sugars melt and becomes smooth.
  2. Add the butter and whisk until the butter is melted and stirred through.
  3. Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream.
  4. Return to the heat and allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in salt.
  6. Allow to cool down before using.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

REVIEW: Dannyboys Sandwich Bar

Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys
This is the front of the shop. Can you see my reflection there?
Last weekend, I attended an event called Eat Brisbane, which is a food orientated meet-up for Instagrammers and bloggers. This was the fourth ever Eat Brisbane (Instagram profile @EatBrisbane) event held. I was really excited to be involved in this event as I felt it was a great opportunity to meet lots of the foodies I follow and it was great to put face to Instagram names.

Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys: logo
Dannyboys is so street.
The meet was held at Dannyboys Sandwich bar at Kelvin Grove. I had seen the name of Dannyboys around but being on the other side of the city, the north side, it might has well have been in Cameroon. But then Eat Brisbane happened, so I got in my car and went to Cameroon! And by that, I mean Kelvin Grove.

The star of Dannyboys sandwiches are the bread. Baked in house, with no added preservatives, the smell of the bread was the first thing that hit me as I entered the shop. The second was the funky graffiti that adorned the walls and the upbeat atmosphere.

Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys: pamphlet
Check out my pamphlet styling skillz. 
I met the Eat Brisbane hosts (on Instagram under (@Ausmican_Eats  and  @Ameriaus_Food) and made my way upstairs to the seating area which filled up fast with fellow foodies and sat down to peruse the menu. Dannyboys menu reads like a sandwich lovers heaven with so many amazing sandwiches! 
Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys: wall sticker
This is from the episode of The Simpsons where Homer takes the sandwich home from the company picnic and he eats it for weeks after and then he's too sick to go to Duff Land. Just so you know.
The KJ Club which has turkey breast, bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce and mayonnaise almost had me but ultimately I chose the eponymous Dannyboy sandwich ($10) which has ovenbaked chicken breast, mozzarella, onion, lettuce with both ranch and buffalo sauces. My dining companion (@diddylaws )chose another one of my contenders, The Halfbrick ($10) which has ovenbaked chicken breast, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce and ranch dressing and her partner (@lawsy) chose the grand sounding Big Boy ($12) with leg ham, corned beef, shaved chicken loaf, salami, cheddar, tomato, onions, pickles, lettuce and mayonnaise. Phew! I'm tired just listing all those ingredients!

Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys: bread
Look at this bread. So good.
We also got the choice of soup and I was so close not to ordering one but I am so glad I did. We got two serves of the Vegetable Corn Chowder and one serve of Broccoli Cheddar, all $4.50. The food arrived really quickly and my fears of so many sandwich orders holding up my lunch were quickly allayed. And I was so happy to be tucking in to the soup which was thick and creamy with visible bits of carrots and corn. The broccoli cheddar soup got rave reviews as well and was thick with melted cheese. he bread on the side was my first taste of Dannyboys famous bread and I devoured the lot! The bread was so good, soft on the inside, crusty on the outside. Things looked promising for the sandwich.
This soup was so good and when you dipped the bread in, you got some croutons on the bread and what goes better with bread than bread?
And that promise delivered. The sandwich was absolutely stuffed with flavour. It was messy and drippy and so good. The sandwiches knocked each table in succession into silence as the sandwiches were greedily consumed. I was more than a little dusty from a night of drinking before and this sandwich had the stuff to set me straight. The half brick and big boy were received equally high praise.

Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys: the Danny Boy Sandwich
This was my sandwich, the Danny Boy.

Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys: the Big Boy Sandwich
...and this was the Big Boy!

Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys: the Half Brick Sandwich
And this was the Half Brick with the Broccoli Cheddar soup.
The sandwich was the short version but I couldn't finish it all and I did try. So when the cupcakes came round, I was devastated I couldn't fit them in as Dannyboys claim they're some of the best in Brisbane...they haven't tried mine though so I'll let that slide. But they looked amazing and the bit I did pick at was very, very good. Maybe not Cassie Cake good but don't let that deter you!  
Cassie Cakes Review of Dannyboys: caramel cupcake does look good, maybe we should have a Dannyboy vs. Cassie Cakes cupcake off!
The Oreo cupcake! Who would win in a bake off?!
I don't often venture over to the dark side, I mean the north side but next time I'm over that way, I know where to get the best damn sandwiches in Brisbane. Highly recommended! And thanks to the organisers of Eat Brisbane 4 for a great afternoon out! Check out the hashtag #EatBrisbane4 on Instagram for more great photos of the event.

Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Atmosphere: 3/5

DannyBoys Sandwich Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

REVIEW: Spring Food & Wine

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring
Ahhh...expectations were high.
Since I've been blogging reviews, I've started to really take note of a lot more things when I eat out. I note the service and the little extra touches that restaurants do, and as such, I've just noticed that most places really try to do their best. I was thinking, maybe I'll never post a less than positive review! I have been as critical while remaining fair as I could but I just haven't had a bad experience...until now. 
Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: the charming kitchen
This kitchen is pretty cute hey. Imagine having that in your house!
I'd been hanging out to go to Spring for literally over a year. The menu looks so good and the website makes it sound fresh and spectacular, with organic food and farm to table eating. Unfortunately, I did not have the spectacular experience that I thought was all but guaranteed.

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: a pretty coffee
A nice coffee. The coffee must have been good cos the coffee drinkers went back for more!
We arrived at Spring early on a Wednesday morning for a girls catch up before work. I was so excited and when I walked in, I was simply chuffed with the interior. It is so French, provincial and charming. We were seated with the rest of our party and perused the menu. Everything sounded pretty good and we were quickly decided on what we would get.

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: green juice
I don't have the guts to go for green juices. Like, they look so healthy and people love them but why go green when you can go pink! Pink juice is where it's at.
When I caught the attention of the waiter and asked to order, he told me that drinks were first. This kind of perturbed me as it was obvious we were all dressed to go to work and you would think on a work day, efficiency would be key. Whatever, we ordered drinks and were left to wait to order our food.

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: watermelon juice
A slightly blurry photo of the watermelon special. Looks a bit like a Halloween drink. It was really nice though.
For drinks, we ordered a Watermelon Special juice which is apple, watermelon, mint and lime, a Miss Berry juice of mixed berries, apple and orange, a Sweet Green juice of cucumber, spinach, celery, kale and watermelon as well as a couple of coffees. All the juices were $7.50. There was a big juicing machine in the kitchen and they were all very fresh.

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: berry juice
And this is my drink! The pink beauty.
Once the waiter had deigned to take our order with his most least interested face on, the Farmhouse Breakfast ($22) proved to be most popular with 3 orders with Smashed Avocado on home-baked sourdough toast ($10) a close runner up with two of us ordering the dish. The Farmhouse Breakfast looked decent  and came with all the expected trappings of a big breakfast with eggs, bacon, tomato, sausages, mushrooms, spinach and toast. A gluten free order had the sourdough swapped with gluten free bread. My fellow diners said the bacon was very well cooked. The sausages also looked fat and plump.

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: farmhouse breakfast
The Farmhouse Breakfast and you can see the gluten free farmhouse with the gluten free bread. I tried some of that bread and it was alright. Poor gluten free people.
I was less impressed with the avocado on toast. The presentation was quite poor. I ordered a side of mushrooms for $5 and received four pretty sad looking mushrooms on the side. I guess the avocado on toast was on the cheaper side for breakfast at$10 but I was pretty disappointed with the mushrooms. Way over priced. And I didn't think the bread was all that good compared with the bread I had at Chester Street Bakery.

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: sad avocado on toast
Those mushrooms look miserable. They need Xanax or something. It's like avosadco on toast.
My fellow avocado on toaster ordered a side of haloumi for $5 and I thought it looked equally depressed. As there was no salt on the table, I asked the waiter for some salt and was given an empty shaker. That's not enough really to upset me but when I asked for a different one, I was given instructions on how to use the shaker and told it wasn't really empty in a manner I found rude. After negotiating the release of a different salt shaker like the release of a hostage from Fallujah, I finished my meal with a sour taste in my mouth from the dismissive and unhelpful waiter.

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: avocado on toast
That haloumi is trying to hide under the toast. It can't even.
I found the food at Spring pretty average but it was the service that really stuck in my craw. The waitress who rung up our bill at the end was actually really lovely and perhaps if she'd been our server the whole time, I might be back to Spring to see if they were having an off day.

Cassie Cakes Review of Spring: exterior
The coffee must be good! Look at that line up for takeaways.
However, with the attitude of the man who did serve us, I think I'll try somewhere else next time. There are so many great places opening every week in Brisbane, I really don't have to put up with bad service. 
Food: 2/5
Service: 1/5
Price: 3/5
Atmosphere: 3/5

  Spring on Urbanspoon
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