Anniversary Chocolate Mousse Cake

Husband and I had our Wedding Anniversary recently. Six years. Can’t believe he’s not sick of me yet.


Anyway, it seems that the traditional gift for six years is sweets or sugar. Well, that doesn’t post too much of a problem!

Enter: the Anniversary Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cake.

I used my favourite never fail brownie recipe that a friend gave me when we were working on night shift together*, and a nifty chocolate mousse recipe from Nigella Lawson. I had planned to use fresh raspberries on top, but unfortunately the local supermarket was totally sold out of fresh berries. Next year I will plan and pick them fresh (again, oh the hardship!). I used frozen berries. The best I can say about them is that they were cold.

anniversary Mousse Cake

I had to allow for extra baking time for the brownie layer, because it was in a smaller pan than I would normally use, and was therefore thicker. I probably should have used a bigger pan or two pans to keep it nice and chewy, not too hard. If you want to use this recipe to make a chocolate brownie (I highly recommend you do), I use a 25x20cm slice tin and it’s perfect.

This cake will keep in the refrigerator for a week. I know it’s not like us to keep cakes that long, but in my defence I went away for a few days and we finished it when I came back.

Nana Tipsy’s Brownie Anniversary Mousse Cake


125g dark chocolate

150g butter

1c flour

1 1/2c caster sugar

1t vanilla essence

3 eggs

1/3c cocoa powder

Melt butter and chocolate together in microwave or double boiler until smooth.

In separate bowl beat together eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Add this to the melted chocolate mixture, stirring frequently to prevent cooking the eggs.

Add flour and cocoa powder. Mix well.

Pour into prepared (greased and lined) springform cake tin. I used a 9 inch round tin and in hindsight it was too thick. You want the brownie layer to be about 1 inch. Use two tins if necessary.

Bake at 160 degrees C for 35 minutes, or until edges are cooked but middle is softer and chewy. You may need to tweak the time to get the chewiness you desire.

Cool in tin and set aside

Mousse (from

150g marshmallows **

50 g butter

250g dark chocolate

60ml hot water

285ml cream

1t vanilla essence

Melt marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water over low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth.

Whip the cream and vanilla together until thick.

Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture***

Pour chocolate mousse layer over the cooled brownie layer. Refrigerate or freeze (depending how soon you want to eat it). If frozen remove from the freezer half an hour before serving. Frozen brownie is difficult to eat. Trust me.

Slide a hot knife around mousse layer and release from tin.

Serve topped with fresh berries, whipped cream and a dusting of icing sugar. Enjoy!

*Where I worked we had a tea trolley on night shift. Staff would bring in all sorts of snacks, home-baked items, cheese…… it got us through the night but I think we would actually put on weight during a week of nights. Still, worth it.

** Nigella recommends mini marshmallows. I used full size ones and didn’t have any problems with them not melting.

*** If the chocolate mixture is too hot when you add it to the cream, the cream will lose all its aeration. It still tastes fine but might not be as light.

XX Karen

All the excitement!! My Etsy Shop

Etsy items

Etsy items

These are very exciting times. Do you know why? Well, if you don’t, you probably didn’t read the title of this post.

I have just opened up my first Etsy shop.

After years of people saying “you should make them and sell them” I have decided that yes I am going to make Nice Things and sell them. Actually, I recently found an old list that Husband and I made years ago, ‘Fifty things to do before Fifty’. One of mine was to make money from a creative venture. And here we are.

I know you are dying with impatience and want to see my amazing wares as soon as possible. Here you go. Nana Tipsy’s Nice Things for Nice People. I’ll give you a moment while you look.

Cute hey! And I have another range of items just about ready to be listed. Check back soon to see what I have got.

Of course, I will still continue the baking of amazing cakes and talking about my process and one-off items that I make. Because what is the point in making things if you can’t share them. Doesn’t have to be physical sharing, but showing them to people works for me too.

XX Karen

Whoopie Pies!

The December Daring Bakers’ Challenge had us all cheering – the lovely and talented Bourbonnatrix of Bourbonnatrix Bakes was our hostess and challenged us to make fun, delicious and creative whoopie pies! Delicious little cake-like cookies sandwiching luscious filling in any flavors we chose… What else is there to say but “Whoopie!” 

I was a bit excited to make these actually. We went to a BBQ at a friend’s place and when I said I was going to be baking whoopie pies, she requested chocolate and strawberry. Sweet as!

Unfortunately, the recipe I used left a bit to be desired. For some reason I used one I found online instead of the Daring Bakers’ ones. And was left pretty underwhelmed. The cake-cookie parts were not nice and flat and soft, they were big and somewhat dry. It felt like recipe dry though, not overcooked dry (yes there is a difference). The filling was not great either – it was sticky and gooey rather than light and fluffy, and as such the whoopie pie halves slid apart and made a mess. I ended up whipping up a batch of white chocolate ganache (fortunately I had the ingredients!) and used that instead.

Hence: there are no photos. They did not deserve to be photographed. I am also being charitable and not linking up the blog where I got the recipe. Because I would be gutted if someone used one of my recipes and named me. Obviously the recipe works for them.

However, I still love the concept of whoopie pies. I plan on perfecting the art. It seems a good way to make something with two different yet complementary flavours (lemon and blueberry, lime and coconut, chocolate and everything….)

Keep your eyes out for them!

XX Karen

PS: wondering what I am on about when talking about Daring Bakers? Here’s where to find all the information!

You caught my eye….

Hi! Welcome! Thanks for coming

I have been quite slack on the posts in the past week or so. Excuses: I have been away on holiday and we are moving overseas in two weeks (with associated organising required).

I’ll just take a very self indulgent minute here. Moving. Overseas. Permanently. Two small children. And two cats. What are we thinking?

Fortunately husband and I have very supportive families who are helping out as much as possible (going above and beyond if the truth be told).

Anyway! Due to current events and the fact that my house looks like a bomb has hit it (a big bomb filled with cardboard boxes and bubble wrap) I have not been doing as much crafting or baking as I would like. Given this, I thought I would share my favourite baking and crafty things from Pinterest this week! In case you don’t know, I’m a huge fan of Pinterst. I think all those pictures really appeal to the visual part of my brain. And it’s such a great way to get inspired!

FYI – clicking on the pictures will link you with my pins then you can click through to the full posts!


Sweet Orange Rolls - Lemon Sugar

Sweet Orange Rolls – ‘Lemon Sugar’

Peach Bourbon Pie Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

Peach Bourbon Pie – ‘Gimme Some Oven’

Milky Way Brownie Cups

Milky Way Brownie Cups – ‘Inside BruCrew Life’

neapolitan zebra cheesecake on Overtime Cook

Neapolitan Cheesecake – ‘Overtime Cook’


The Berry Bunch: Peek-A-Boo Hangout Hoodie Turned Onesie {Flip This Pattern}

Hoodie-Onesie – ‘The Berry Bunch’

d i y d e s i g n: Re-Upholstering Furniture Part 2: Upholstering

Re-upholstering furniture – ‘DIY Design’

Best Bargello Bag TutorialBargello Bag – ‘Made With Moxie’

Decorating the craft room!

Yarn Scraps Wall Art – ‘Easy Makes Me Happy’

Have these gorgeous things inspired you to create some nice things for yourself? Have a squiz at my other Pinterest stuff if you like. And if you have a spare hour or five.

Oh, plus I have to show you this brilliant cookie cutter set that I got at Ikea last weekend:

SNÖKUL Pastry cutter, set of 6 IKEA You can slot the cookies together to make a standing cookie shape.

Weird right…. But look what I can make

SNÖKUL Pastry cutter, set of 6 IKEA You can slot the cookies together to make a standing cookie shape.

Standing up stars and reindeer and Christmas trees!! Cameron and I are (hopefully) going to try these tomorrow. I’m a bit excited.

Chat soon!

XX Karen

Little Boy PJs

Last weekend I went to Spotlight. I know! Totally out of character for me (lies). When Cameron asks why we are going there, I tell him it is like Bunnings for Mums. He understands.

I originally went there for some fabric for another romper for Olivia, and I had the brilliant idea to make Cameron some PJs too.

I bought this pattern…


I thought I would let him choose the fabric, because why not? He wanted “red and green” so I nicely steered him in the direction of the red stars. Cool!

I had some blue stars already in my stash, so I used a bit of that for some trim. We bought some blue glitter buttons (again Cameron’s choice – he has great taste!)

To be honest… I found the pattern a bit confusing where the collar was formed and attached. It may have been my post-op state (I started these the day after I had a GA), or my failure to fully read instructions before I went ahead, or the fact that I was making the collar a different fabric, or perhaps the pattern is flawed (I doubt it) but it frustrated the hell out of me until I got it right. The end result was well worth it though.

PJs     PJs

Cameron’s thoughts?
“They are soooo cool and pretty mum!”

And that just makes it all worthwhile

XX Karen

Jam Bars – Baking Classics

jam bars title

Well, hello again. Thanks for stopping by!

This post has come about in a bit of a roundabout way. During the week, I had an operation. In my post-op anaesthetic and steroid induced state, I had a bit of a look around Pinterest. Really, the only difference between that and my every day Pinterest browsing was that this occurred at 4am. And I was quite perky from the medications.

This is probably a good spot for me to suggest that you follow me on Pinterest. Reputable sources* say that my pins are always interesting and exciting. You can click here or you can click the Pinterest icon at the top of the info bar to the right of this post.

(*Reputable sources may be me…)

Anyway, I saw a picture for Jam Bars and thought it looked like a bit of all right. Jammy filling with crumbly topping. The problem was, it only linked to a picture, there was no recipe.

(The other problem was it was 4am and I wanted cake but none was available).

So after a bit of time spent trying to find a recipe that looked how I wanted it to look, I had the sudden realisation that I was wasting my time. I already have the perfect recipe just waiting to be adapted.

Can anyone say Tan Square? If you are not familiar with it, it’s a slice with a thick caramel filling. Some of the base is saved and crumbled over the top. It’s delicious. But why not make it with jam?

We happen to have a lot of jars of jam in the fridge too…. there’s five different types of jam plus a jar of marmalade. I stand by all of those choices. Sometimes I want strawberry, other times only cherry will do. This recipe uses quite a bit of jam. Considering we are moving to a whole other country (what are we thinking!?) in 4 weeks, we either need to use it or it will be thrown away.

We like jam...

We like jam…

This was going to be a ‘Baking With Kids’ post too. Except the kid grated one scrap of butter, then didn’t want to bake. He’s three, it’s his prerogative.


It does, however, signal the start of another post series, entitled ‘Baking Classics’. It’s all those things that I had as a kid, whether they were home made or bought. The classic Kiwi baking (Kiwi being New Zealand, not the bird. I’m not sure a Kiwi bird in the kitchen would be a good idea).

Here’s the recipe (with pretty pictures) – You can download a one-page PDF by clicking on the picture! Happy baking!

XX Karen

PS: I’m sure you already did it above, but check out my Baking board on Pinterest! So many yummy things!

Jam Bars

170 grams butter
85 grams sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
285 grams plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of jam

jam bar collageClick the picture for the PDF of the recipe!

Preheat oven to 180ºC (360ºF)
Grease tin (I used a 10×7 inch tin)
Cream butter and sugar until it is light and creamy
Add vanilla essence and dry ingredients. Beat until mixture forms a smooth dough
Press 2/3 of base mixture into greased tin
Spread jam evenly over base
Crumble remaining base mixture over jam layer
Bake for 20 minutes, cut into squares while still warm

jam bars (PDF)


Happy cushions! Small things make a big difference…

Sad cushion happy

Hi! Happy Friday, readers.

I have been looking at the cushions on my couches for a while, they just look a bit sad. All saggy and floppy and not particularly inviting. Have any of you ever felt your cushions were not quite cushiony?

Then I had a little brainwave….

What if I put two cushion inserts into each cover?

So I gave it a go. I had four saggy baggy cushions in the lounge, just drooping all over the couches.

Sad cushion - before

Before – sad saggy cushions

I consolidated to two cushion covers (I had red and green, but kept the red ones because I like them better)

After - happy puffy cushions!

After – happy puffy cushions!


Mister 3 years old could not keep out of the pictures. Funny, for a child who doesn’t like having his photo taken….

Now they look much more inviting on the couch, they make me want to go and sit and lean against them and relax. With a coffee. Or a wine. Or maybe a cold cider.

Depends on the weather.

Bonus – I was thinking about buying new cushion inserts. I thought these ones had just gotten past their useful life. So I saved some money. Admittedly I would have to get more inserts for the green covers, but better to buy two than four.

For anyone wondering, the cushion covers came from Ikea. I think we bought them in about 2006 or 2007.

What household items have you reused to save buying new?

XX Karen