Weekend Baking : Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Raspberries

chocolate olive oil cake with fresh raspberries

It’s been a while since I’ve baked something and I was really craving for some olive oil cake. Since it’s the weekend, and it’s been pouring, I decided to stay in and bake! (: Which was a perfect idea, if I can’t say so myself. hehe I was searching around for a recipe, and thankfully, Miss D  shared with me Nigella Lawson’s chocolate olive oil cake. The best of my two worlds : olive oil & chocolate. Who wouldn’t like chocolate yes? Plus, it is actually good for you!

chocolate olive oil cake with fresh raspberries

I was a little worried about making it as I haven’t really made any cake with completely no flour. But it came out beautifully and was rich but surprisingly not too dense! It was still crumbly and actually pretty light. Was a hit with the mr from the first bite! (I sounded like I was rhyming there haha) Love the intensely deep colour of the cake in contrast with the white icing sugar. For some reason, icing sugar reminds me of snow. And it’s really magical, it makes every cake prettier! (:

Chocolate olive oil cake sliced and topped with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream

The original recipe of the cake is really quite healthy; no flour, no butter and not quite as much sugar as well. Just olive oil which is good for you and the chocolate component only consist of cocoa powder and water! How good is that? To make it a little healthier, I added fresh raspberries which added a little zing to the cake! And not to mention how pretty it looks with the specks on red when cut! (: Plus it’s gluten free! Wheeee!

chocolate olive oil cake with raspberries

Do note though that if you do put fresh raspberries in, you might have to finish it in a day or two if you leave it out. Probably can only be kept for up to a week in the fridge. But it probably won’t last longer than that anyways! hehe

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Raspberries (adapted from Nigella Lawson)

150 ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)

50 grams cocoa powder (good quality, sifted)

125 ml boiling water

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

150 grams ground almond

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

170 grams caster sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1 small punnet of fresh raspberries

freshly whipped vanilla bean cream, to garnish (or ice cream)

Steps :

1. Preheat your oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Grease your springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.

2. In another smallish bowl, combine the ground almonds with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.

3. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the ground almond mixture.

4. Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula,and add the fresh raspberries. Give it a gentle stir until the raspberries are well mixed in. Pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.

5. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some freshly whipped vanilla bean cream or some ice cream.

pacman

Couldn’t help myself but had to take a shot of the cake when it looks like pacman! hehe (: Have a good week ahead everyone!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

A Season of Giving

Sour cream, pear & raspberry cake

Time really flies! It’s December already and this month only means one thing – Christmas is near! Christmas is no doubt my favourite festive season (and Chinese New Year of course) and I’m already counting down to the 25th! As school has ended for me a couple of days back, I decided to make something for some of my colleagues as a thank you + christmas gift. Nothing is more meaningful than a homemade present yes? hehe

As I was searching through what I wanted to make, I thought of making the ricotta pound cake I made a couple of weeks ago, and just add mixed berries into the batter to make it look a bit more festive. But I’ve ben hearing lots about the Bourke Street Bakery sour cream pear cake from the food blogger community who were lucky enough to try some that was made by Mich, The Bakeanista, at the blogger’s picnic recently. Miss D also made it recently and said that I should definitely give it a go cause it was really delicious! With so many raving reviews, I couldn’t not give it a try (: So glad I did though, cause it was so good! Super moist and Mich suggested adding fresh raspberries, which I did, and it made the cake look really pretty! So thank you! (:

Cut rounds out of the cake

And instead of slicing it up into the normal wedge, I decided to use a scone cutter to cut them into rounds instead before placing them into the plastic wrappers. Although I made a mess, it was all worth it, and might I add, fun! haha

Sour cream pound cake in a jar

And what did I do with the left over pieces and crumbs? What I love to do : put them into jars and layer them with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream and added more fresh raspberries! A combination I could easily (and happily) have every night if my waistline permits me to. 😛 Oh well! hehe Thank you again Mich for sharing the recipe! All my colleagues enjoyed the cake very much! YAY!

BSB Sour Cream Pear & Raspberry Cake (Adapted from The Bakeanista)

250g unsalted butter

250g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

4 eggs, room temperature

200g sour cream

300g self-raising flour, sifted

1 3/4 pears (about 400g, tinned), sliced into quarters

18-20 fresh raspberries

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line baking paper at the base of a 28cm baking tin, and spray the sides with olive oil evenly.

2) In a mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar till light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix till well combined.

3) Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure they are well incorporated before each addition.

4) Alternate the flour and sour cream and mix it on low speed till well combined. Use a spatula to scoop the batter into the tin, and spread it out until the top is smooth. Arrange the pear quarters evenly around the tin, and place the raspberries in the spaces between them.

5) Bake for 40 mins, then cover the baking tin with foil and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

All baked and being cooled on the rack

6) Remove from the oven and allow it to cool in the baking tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. If you intend to cut rounds out of the cake, do make sure the cake is completely cooled before doing so, or it would crumble! Sprinkle icing sugar on top before serving! Enjoy!

All wrapped up!

Remember to always cook and bake with love ! (:

Ricotta Pound Cake

Have you ever craved for something and you just had to get down and messy in the kitchen and make it? This was exactly what happened to me this weekend! I have been craving for some pound cake for the longest time and even though I could easily buy one from Woolies or Coles, there is nothing more satisfying than making something from scratch and indulging after! When I was a kid, mum use to get those Sara Lee pound cakes from the chilled section of the supermarket as a treat for us in the weekend! That was exactly what I was craving for last week.

Traditionally, pound cakes are made with a pound of each ingredient : eggs, flour, butter and sugar. But of late, people adjust according to their preference and come up with some really yummy (and slightly healthier) versions. One recipe which I was drawn to was one that used ricotta in replace of some of the butter content.  Perfect with a dollop of freshly whipped vanilla bean cream, some fresh fruit (mangos are perfect especially cause they are in season) and a hot cuppa for afternoon tea! (: My cravings were satisfied with my first bite! I love love love how the cake looks really dense but is actually not that heavy.

You never really know how the cake has turned out till you cut a slice out and see the inside of it. I was pleasantly surprised with how fine-textured the cake was. The crumbs were really fine and as Ju from Little Teochew calls it – microcrumbs! hehe I remember  reading one of the post from Ju (and she is AMAZING!) on her honey castella cake and was in awe! They look so perfect, fluffy and I just wanted to sink my teeth into them! She generously shared her tips of having microcrumbs in cakes – beating your eggs on low speed for a longer period of time, as compared to high speed. I tried it this time, and it worked! WOOO! (: Couldn’t be happier!

The recipe uses cake flour instead of plain flour and for some reason I couldn’t find cake flour in the local supermarkets. But Joy the Baker has a simple way of making your own cake flour! And trust me, it’s worth the extra steps! I think it makes the cake less dense as well, so do give it a shot if you can’t get any.

Steps to Making Cake Flour (from Joy the Baker, makes 2 1/2 cups)

 1. Measure out 2 1/2 cups of plain flour into a bowl.

2. Scoop out 5 tbs of the plain flour and place it back into the flour container.

3. Add 5 tbs of corn flour to the rest of the plain flour and sift the mixture 3 times.

{ The rule of the thumb is, for every cup of flour, you replace 2 tbs of flour with corn flour. }

Ricotta Pound Cake (adapted from Cakeb00k)

2 1/4 cups of cake flour (recipe above)

1 tbs + 3/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

250g unsalted butter, room temperature

500g ricotta (you could use light ricotta)

1 3/4 cup caster sugar

5 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Icing sugar and lemon zest (to garnish, optional)

Steps :

1) Spray a bundt cake pan with olive oil making sure it is well coated and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

2) In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, salt and baking powder.

3) Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta and mix on medium speed until well incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

4) Turn the speed down to low and add the eggs one at the time. Make sure to scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times. Once the eggs are well combined, add the vanilla bean paste.

5) Add the dry ingredients 1/4 cup at a time and mix until the mixture is just combined. Make sure this is done on a low speed as well.

6) Place the mixture into the bundt pan and smoothen the top out using a spatula. Tap it gently on the work surface to release any air bubbles.

7) Bake the cake for 15 minutes, before turning the oven down to 160 degrees celcius and continue cooking for a further 40 minutes. It is done with the sides are starting to come away from the pan; the cake springs back when pressed and the skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it onto a cooling rack.

8) Sprinkle some icing sugar and grate some lemon zest over it for additional flavour! To serve, make sure the cake has completely cooled, then top with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream and fresh fruits!

Remember to always cook and bake with love ! 

Jelly Hearts

Ever since I started being more active in the blogging world, I’ve been really blessed with meeting new friends! Recently, I was invited to attend Peach-water’s birthday dinner but cause I was down with really bad hayfever, I told her that we’ll rearrange dinner and I would make her something special. (: I couldn’t think of anything better but some strawberry jelly hearts!

If you feel that these pretty cakes look familiar, I did make them ages ago and did a post on it. But I went back to look at it and the photos were so small! So here I am, re-doing the post and sharing the recipe again. It’s really interesting to see the difference a few years on! (:

I have to say, these are not difficult to make, just time consuming as you have to make sure each layer is set properly before starting on the next! The most important layer is the jelly layer, as you have to allow the jelly mixture to cool before pouring onto the cream cheese layer, to get a clear jelly layer! (: Patience, is the key when making this!

I used to only use vanilla essence when making the cream cheese filling, but I decided to use vanilla bean paste this time round. There is just something magical when you see the little black dots! And the flavour it gives the cream cheese is not comparable to just using the essence. If you do have vanilla beans, please give it a try!

These little rectangular cheesecakes with a heart in the middle make beautiful gifts for your loved ones and your friends. So the next time you are thinking of what to get for them, why not give these a try? Nothing can compared to things made with love!

Jelly Hearts 

Base : 

320g digestive biscuits

160g melted unsalted butter

Cheese Filling :

250g cream cheese

2 1/4 tsp gelatine powder

70g caster sugar

150ml hot water

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

8 medium sized strawberries

Jelly Topping : 

2 packets of strawberry flavoured jello (170g)

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups room temp water

Steps :

1) For the base : Place the biscuits in a ziplock bag, and crush them till they are fine, making sure there are no big chunks. Pour them into a large bowl, and mix in the melted butter.

2) Pour them into the base of a 9×9 square baking tray. Press onto the base and make sure it’s really compressed and make it as flat as you can. Prick the base with a fork and chill for at least 15 minutes.

3) For the cheese filling : Cut the strawberries into half. Using a small heart shape cutter, cut hearts out of the strawberry halves and place them on a plate lined with paper towel.

4) Place gelatine and sugar in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

5) In a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and vanilla bean paste together and slowly add the gelatine syrup gradually until smooth. Pour it over  the base. Place it in the fridge for 10 minutes then place the strawberry hearts, partially submerged in the cheese filling. Place it back into the fridge and refrigerate for 2 hours.

6) For the jelly topping : Dissolve the jello in hot water and stir well. Add the room temperature water and allow it to cool completely before pouring over the cheese filling. (Use a ladle and slowly pour the mixture over the strawberries instead of the cheese to keep the jello clear!)

7) Chill it in the fridge for another 2 hours or overnight for the best results.

Enjoy! (: And Happy Hatchday once again my dearest friend!

*Note : When slicing, make sure you clean the knife after every cut. It might seem difficult to get them out without it being messy, but start with the corner and use a spetula to help you. Once you have the first piece out, the rest would be a breeze! 

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Lava Cake

So it was my mr’s birthday yesterday and I really wanted to make him a cake especially since it’s his birthday I’m celebrating with him as his wife! (: So I have been thinking and thinking what would he like as his cake. As he loves salted caramel, I was inspired by Ms D’s cake  (the queen of desserts hehe) that she made for her mr’s birthday! So after much research, I found a perfect cake that the mr would love!

I was really nervous with how it would turn out cause I havent baked a lava cake for the longest time. And I was quite stressed when making it cause there was no turning back. I had no back up cake plan at all. haha You could definitely see the relief in my face when the cake came out cleanly from the ramekins and I found out there was a gooey molten middle! SUCCESS!

And it was definitely a hit with the mr! He has requested that I make him this cake every year on his birthday! hehe I have to say, nothing is sexier than having the luscious salted caramel oozing out of the cake the moment you cut your fork through! It just puts a really big smile on my face! And I could just see how happy and satisfied the mr was. To me, that was the most important part of the day – that he enjoyed what I made him. hehe

Salted Caramel Chocolate Lava Cake (adapted from The Endless Meal)

For the chocolate salted caramel : 

142 g dark chocolate

1 cup caster sugar

28 g unsalted butter

1 tsp fleur de sel, plus a bit more when layering dessert

2 tbs water

1/2 cup thickened cream

For the lava cake :

284g dark chocolate

113 g unsalted butter

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup icing sugar, and more for dusting

2 tbs cocoa powder

extra butter and cocoa powder for ramekins

Steps :

1) For chocolate salted caramel : Melt chocolate in a double boiler, over a small pot of boiling water.

2) In a large pot, add the sugar and water and heat over medium heat until sugar melts and turn dark amber. If you have a candy thermometer, it should reach 176 degrees celcius. Take it off the heat, and carefully add the thicken cream. (Do note that it will bubble vigorously, so do not stand too close.) Whisk the mixture until smooth, then add the melted chocolate. Once it’s mixed well, stir in the butter. Set aside.

3) For the cake : Prepare 6-8 ramekins (depending on the size), and butter them well before coating them with cocoa powder, turning them upside down to make sure there is no excess. Set aside.

4) Melt butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl, over a mall pot of boiling water. Once melted, set aside allowing it to cool a little.

5) In a mixer, whisk the eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Add the cooled melted chocolate and butter mixture, and stir well. Combine the flour and icing sugar, making sure there are no lumps, then slowly add to the mixture. Mix until smooth.

6) Fill each ramekin half way. Then place a big teaspoon of chocolate salted caramel in the middle and sprinkle a little bit more fleur de sel, before covering with more cake batter until it’s 3/4 filled. (At this stage, you can either bake it straight away or keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.)

7) Preheat oven to 210 degrees celcius for 10 minutes. Place the ramekins in the middle rack of the oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes. If your ramekins are smaller, please reduce the baking time to ensure the gooey middle! Remove the ramekin from the oven, and run a palette knife through the sides to loosen the cake.

8) Carefully place a plate over the top of the ramekin and invert it. Carefully lift the ramekin up. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped vanilla bean cream if desired.

ENJOY! (:

So happy birthday my dearest hubs! So so glad you enjoyed the dinner after a 12 hours day at work! Thank you for working so so hard just to make sure we live comfortably. I couldn’t ask for more really. I love you! And I promise to make this for you every year on your birthday! hehe

Sticky Date Pudding

It’s been a while since I baked something, and it’s definitely been a long while since I made a sticky date pudding. Cold winter nights usually makes me crave for a hot dessert. That to me, would definitely end my night on a super sweet note! (: So what could be better than freshly baked sticky date pudding with a dollop of freshly whipped (and quenelle, might I add) vanilla bean cream? Absolutely, nothing! Nothing could be more comforting than a hot pudding with cream or ice cream! mmmm.

My colleague has very kindly shared her recipe with me. I took one bite of the one she made, and immediately asked her if she minds sharing the recipe. She made it so often that she wrote out the recipe in less than 5 minutes! Including the steps! WOW! I was super impressed and couldn’t wait to try it!

Sticky Date Pudding (Adapted from Sandra)

200g dates, chopped

600ml boiling hot water

2 tsp soda bicarbonate

200g self-raising flour

150g unsalted butter

4 eggs

160g dark brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 pinch of salt

Butterscotch Sauce

300ml thickened cream

150g unsalted butter

1 cup of caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

whipped cream or ice cream, to serve

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius. Place the chopped dates in a bowl, and sprinkle the soda bicarbonate on it, and pour the boiling hot water over it. Leave it aside, to let it soften.

2) In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix till well combined.

3) Using a large wooden spoon, fold in the flour, a little at a time. Add the date and water mixture and mix till it becomes a wet mixture. Don’t worry, it does look very watery, so don’t panic! Pour into a well buttered baking tray and bake for 40 mins.

4) Meanwhile, make the butterscotch sauce by placing all the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat. Allow the butter and sugar to melt and thicken. Pour 1/3 of the butterscotch sauce over the baked pudding and place it back into the warm oven for another 15-20 minutes.

5) Serve with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream or ice cream. ENJOY! (:

PS : It is very addictive! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! haha (:

Sour Cream Maple Banana Cake

What’s your favourite childhood cake that you still can’t get enough of now? For me, the banana cake from the neighbourhood bakery would be the clear winner! The moist and soft texture of the cake, and every bite is just full of banana-y goodness! I’ve made a few banana cakes before but nothing came close to those I had when I was back in Singapore. It either came out too dense, or too burnt or too dry.

I came upon a recipe from Meeta of What’s For Lunch Honey? while blog hopping and saw a recipe I just couldn’t resist trying out. I wasn’t sure if it would turn out like those from back home, but it was definitely worth a shot! Especially since it’s also an upside down cake, and I’m kinda into that now, after making my upside down mandarin cake. haha

The recipe calls for maple syrup. I walked the aisles of the supermarket and contemplated on the maple flavoured syrup, as I never really wanted to spend almost $10aud on a bottle of pure maple syrup. But I decided to spoil ourselves and got a bottle of the real stuff and boy was I glad I did. It adds a unusual nutty flavour to the cake, which was perfect! The sour cream made the cake really soft and moist. And nothing could beat the smell of banana cake baking in the oven. It fills the whole house with the yummy aroma which makes you wanna dive your fork into it immediately once it’s taken out of the oven!

 I felt that this cake was a slightly healthier version as it has way less sugar and butter as compared to the mandarin one (well, I would like to think that! haha). Though they were both really yummy, this just brought me back to my childhood, and felt like I was back in Singapore for that 30 minutes of tea time. haha Yes, yes. I have to admit, I am really home sick. But I’ll be fine. (: Nothing a banana cake couldn’t fix!

So thank you so much Meeta, for sharing this awesome recipe. It’s definitely a keeper, and my mum has made me promise to make this for her when I get back at the end of the year! (:

Sour Cream Maple Banana Cake (Adapted from What’s For Lunch Honey?)

Ingredients : 

5 ripe bananas (3 for the base of the tin, and mash the other 2)

100g unsalted butter, plus extra to butter the tin

9 tbs maple syrup

200g dark brown sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

300g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

200g sour cream

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius and butter a 20 x 20 square tin well. Pour 5 tablespoons of maple syrup into the tin and swirl it around to make sure the base of the tin is well coated.

2) Slice 3 bananas into half length-wise and lay them, cut side down, in the tin.

3) In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the dark brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla paste and the mashed bananas. Mix until well combined. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate soda. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture with a spatula, then stir in the sour cream.

4) Carefully spoon the mixture into the tin, making sure the bananas at the base do not get displaced. Bake for 45 mins, then open the oven door and place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the tin so that it doesn’t get burnt. Bake it for a further 5-10mins until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the middle of the cake.

5) Take the cake out and poke the top all over with a fork. Spoon the last 4 tablespoons of maple syrup over the top and allow it to be soaked through (about 5 mins).

6) Use a knife to run through the sides of the tin, careful not to cut into the cake, then place a large plate over the baking tin and carefully over-turn the cake. Voila!

7) Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. ENJOY!

This is one recipe I can be certain everyone would enjoy! Especially those of you who are like me, who absolutely loves banana cake! The old school bakery ones! NOMS!

Upside Down Mandarin Cake

It’s been so long since I baked anything. And I think my poor Kitchenaid felt really neglected. But the packing, unpacking and moving has made it almost impossible to get any proper baking done. But now that we’ve settled in, I just had to put my little red engine to work and bake something.

It’s the mandarin season right now and I really wanted to use them. I don’t usually use much citrus fruits in my baking, in fact the first time I did and attempted to make a orange and poppyseed cake, it failed miserably. haha So I was really worried and nervous about how this was going to turn out.

Especially making an upside down cake, you never will know how it will turn out or if it will even be successful until you turn the baking tin upside down. I held my breath from the time I placed a plate over the baking tin, and over-turning it. Only after hearing the “plop” sound did I let out a sigh of relief! That turned into a smile or a grin rather, after I lifted up the tin and found a beautiful flower-like arrangement of mandarins on top of a dense but soft buttery cake. Mmm mm mm!

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! Especially since I was never a cake-baking person. I’m more suited to baking cupcakes! So this was a real accomplishment for me. (: *phew*

So head down to the nearest supermarket and get yourself some mandarins! You’ll definitely enjoy this like we did! Especially when it’s warmed and served with a scoop of ice cream and topping with a touch of nutella! NOMS!

Upside Down Mandarin Cake (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, January 2009)

Ingredients :

6-7 Mandarins, peels and segmented

226g unsalted butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

3 tbs freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/3 cups, plus 1tbs of all purpose flour, sifted

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbs orange zest

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup whole milk

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius. In a large pot of water, boil the mandarin segments for 3 minutes, drain and dry them on some paper towel.

2) Place 113g of butter in a 9-inch round baking tin. Mix 1 tsp of vanilla paste and 1/2 cup of sugar, then sprinkle over butter. Place in the oven until the butter has completely melted. This would take about 7 minutes. Carefully add 2 tbs of orange juice, mix till well combined.

3) Arrange the mandarin segments in a flower-like pattern starting from the middle and spiraling outwards. Set aside while making the cake batter.

4) Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cream zest, remaining butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla paste in a mixer until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add half of the flour mixture, then the milk and the remaining 1 tbs of orange juice. Beat in the remaining flour mixture.

5) Gently spoon the batter on top of the mandarin, and spread evenly. Bake the cake till it’s golden brown and when the cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle. This will take about 45-50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack.

6) Run a knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the cake. Place the plate on top and invert the tin. You can let it cool before you eat, or have it slightly warm with a scoop of ice cream! ENJOY!

The Mr absolutely loved the cake ! It’s no wonder how he now has a sweet tooth huh? (:

Boozy Nutty Brownie

When you think of St Patrick’s Day, you think of stout. Word association I say. That was exactly what we got to have on this special day (: Of course, I am more of a cider girl, so my choice was the Dirty Granny.

We never really celebrated St Patrick’s Day, but this year, I was just really itching to bake something. It has been a while since I used the oven for baking sweets, so I thought I should really get cracking. I bookmarked a recipe from Steph from her amazing blog Raspberri Cupcakes  a long time ago, and as I went through my endless list of “recipes to try”, my eyes was drawn to her ‘Beer & Nut’ Brownie! So I had to give it a try for sure (:

This was a perfect recipe to whip up on a Saturday night, it was quick and definitely delicious! Especially when you’re craving something chocolatey. This would definitely satisfy that craving, or any sweet craving that’s for sure! It was crispy on the outside, moist on the inside! Don’t worry if you’re not a huge fan of the taste of stout (like me), cause like Steph said, the taste of stout is really subtle, you will taste more chocolate than stout for sure! And if you ask me, the addition of peanut butter was just perfect. Yes, peanut butter. Just for extra crunch, I used the crunchy one. YUM!

My brownies didn’t turn out as beautiful as Steph’s though. Sadly, my swirls came out as blobs. haha But nevertheless, it was delicious and definitely something I would make when I am craving for something nutty and chocolatey!

Thanks for allowing me to share the recipe Steph! (:

Steph’s ‘Beer & Nut’ Brownies from Raspberri Cupcakes

(serves approximately 20)
125g semisweet chocolate
100g butter
100ml stout (Steph used chocolate stout but I couldnt find it but the regular stout worked too!)
2 eggs
3 tbsp dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
75g plain flour
190g caster sugar
160g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, your preference!)

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease very well and line the bottom and two long sides of a 20x30cm baking tin. Let the baking paper hang over the long edges so that it will make it easier to lift brownie out later.

2. Break up chocolate into small pieces and chop up butter into 1cm cubes and place in a heatproof bowl. Heat over a saucepan of boiling water. Stir and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

3. Sift cocoa powder, sugar and flour into a large mixing bowl. Add melted ingredients, stout and eggs to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Take care not to overmix or the brownies will be tough. Pour into prepared tin.

4. If peanut butter is coming out of the fridge, you may need to heat it gently in a small saucepan to make it less viscous. Using a teaspoon, place dollops of peanut butter over the surface of the brownie mix. Using a round-bladed knife, swirl peanut butter into the brownie mix.

5. Bake for 22-25 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

6. Remove from the oven and place tin on a wire rack. Cool completely in tin before removing and cutting into squares. Can be stored overnight in an airtight container in the fridge.

Before you serve, microwave the brownies on high for 20 secs to warm them up and serve with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. Match-made in heaven. (: ENJOY!

Forever 18.

Turning 18, in my opinion, is one of the milestones of life.

I remember when I turned 18, it was my first year here in Melbourne, and it was also my first birthday away from home. It was bitter sweet, almost. Thank God that I had friends who love me and made my day very very special and unforgettable. So, to me. Having a celebration when you turn 18 is almost crucial! (: It signifies you becoming an adult (I know, not as huge as turning 21, but nonetheless important!) and definitely deserves a good dinner and a huge cake!

A huge cake was what I made for Peiwen for her 18th birthday during the last weekend! To be honest, I was very very nervous. Big cakes are definitely not something I am good at, not to say, I rarely make them. So I was really brave to decide on making not just a big cake, but a layered cake that, to me, is the most complex thing I’ve ever done! And.. it was HUGE! haha I got a shock after I assembled it, at how huge it was!

As “tall” as Peiqi’s hands!

Just shy of Peiwen’s hand haha

The original name of this cake is called the Heaven and Hell cake. I know. Not a very attractive name. But it’s only cause the two flavours of cakes in this recipe is an angel food cake and a devil’s food cake, held together with a peanut butter mousse. haha. So it does make sense yea? But when it was assembled and when I was helping to cut it into smaller portions, only one thing came to my mind: Reeses. So I decided to change the name to Reeses Choc-White cake (:

Thankfully, it was well received by everyone, and most importantly, the birthday girl (: So happy birthday once again! Hope you had an awesome time!

Cutting the cake was nerve-wrecking for me. I didn’t know if the layers were going to be distinct, or it was going to be a while mess inside. So with my fingers and toes crossed…

not very uniform in the height of each layer. but the layers are pretty distinct, right? haha Or just me and my self-encouragements. haha. ah wells. anywho! Here’s the recipe I’ve adapted from Food o’del Mundo

Reeses Choc-White Cake

Ganache
1 3/4 lbs (795 g) dark chocolate melts
1 1/3 c (315 ml) heavy cream

Place the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan and when it begins to bubble up, pour over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Gently stir, starting in the middle and working your way outward, until the cream and chocolate are completely mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 c (235 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 c minus 2 Tbls (120 g) flour
2 Tbls cornstarch
1 1/2 c (355 ml) egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1 c (200 g) sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F (160C) and line the bottom of a 10″ round cake pan with ungreased parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar, flour and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high and gradually sprinkle in sugar, then extracts, beating until stiff peaks form.

Sift half of the flour mixture over egg whites and fold until just combined. Sift over the remaining half of the flour mixture and gently fold until no streaks remain.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until top of cake springs back when touched, 45–50 minutes. Transfer cake to a rack and let cool.

My angel cake turned out to have a very crispy outer layer, not sure if it’s cause I did something wrong, but it did add this crunchy texture to the cake which actually was pretty good! (:

Devil’s Food Cake
3/4 c (155 g) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c minus 3 Tbls (185 g) flour
3 Tbls cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c (355 ml) coffee
3/4 c (70 g) cocoa powder, sifted
2 c (250 g) sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, room temp

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Grease a 10″ round cake pan with shortening and dust with flour to coat. Shake out excess flour and set pan aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk the coffee and cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the shortening, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with a handheld mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 minutes. Alternately add the flour mixture and the coffee mixture to the bowl in 3 stages, beating to combine after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, 30–35 minutes; transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Peanut Butter Mousse
1 lb (455 g) (2 8oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3 c (710 ml) smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
2 c (315 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 c (235 ml) heavy cream

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Put cream into a large bowl and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining 2/3rds. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Assembly

Using a serrated-blade knife, slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer of the devil’s food cake on a cake stand and spread 1/3 of the peanut butter mousse over the top. Top mousse with a layer of the angel food cake and spread with half of the remaining mousse. Repeat with the remaining devil’s food cake, mousse, and angel food cake. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours.

Stir ganache (heat it in the microwave, if necessary, at 10 second intervals. Be sure to stir well) until smooth and pour over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing with a palette spreader if necessary. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before slicing.

Happy 18th Birthday !

So tell me dearest readers, how did you celebrate your 18th birthday?