Category Archives: cake

The Only Chocolate (Birthday) Cake Recipe You Ever Need

 

I think most of us find the task of preparing a birthday/celebration cake pretty daunting. Even if its your second, third, fourth….. birthday cake you have created. Birthday cakes are eaten once a year (at least the one that is of significance to you), on a very special day, it’s almost a must to have one on that special day and the food item that everyone who is celebrating with you looks forward to. Okay, maybe its just me..

 

For the past few days I have been reading some food blogs and came across bloggers who are given the honour and great responsibility of creating a wedding cake for their friends. I can imagine the amount of pressure they had to deal with, its a WEDDING CAKE! You screw the cake, the wedding is screwed.

 

This year, I have finally gathered enough confidence and courage to bake a birthday cake for my boyfriend. There was no celebration, he wasn’t around, no friends, no requirement for a birthday cake actually. So that made the task so much easier because no one’s going to judge and no one’s going to expect anything!

 

Let me tell you, I’m quite amazed how this cake turned out because I could’ve eaten the whole cake. The cake layers are so moist and just the right texture for a layer cake, slightly crumbly but springy. And the chocolate ganache is so rich and so seductive looking on the cake. What rainbow cake?

 

I have to give the credits to one of my favourite television cooking host, Ina Garten. I would give her a hug anytime. Also, credits to Bakerita for the most amazing chocolate ganache frosting! The pictures here might not do the cake justice but that’s because of my rather messy and rushed cake decorating. I also regretted not spending more time photographing the cake. Never mind on that, I now have a birthday cake that I can proudly bake with confidence.

Now, who wants a birthday cake?
Chocolate Birthday Cake, (makes a 4 layer 8 -9 inch round cake)

cake adapted from Ina Garten and frosting from Bakerita

For the cake:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups good cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 extra-large eggs (room temperature)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the chocolate ganache frosting:

200 g dark chocolate

160 g heavy cream

150 g unsalted butter (room temperature)

a pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and line 2 cake tins. (I used 9 inch)

2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into bowl. Whisk them together.

3. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and oil.

4. With the beater on low speed, gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

5. Add the coffee to the mixture on low speed until just incorporated. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure an even batter. (The batter is very watery, that’s fine.)

6. Divide the batter into the 2 cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for 30minutes, then remove from cake tin and let it cool on a wiring rack before frosting.

7. While waiting for the cake to cool, prepare the frosting.

8. First put break the chocolate into smaller pieces and place them in a heat proof bowl.

9. Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and heat it up until bubbles start to form at the edge but not boiling.

10. Pour the hot cream into the bowl of chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Whisk the chocolate until smooth and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour or two, until it completely cools. Alternatively, refridgerate for 30 minutes but stirring it every 10 minutes.

11. Using an electric beater, beat the butter until smooth for 10-15 seconds.

12. Add confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and salt and continue beating on med-low for 2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape the bowl to ensure even mixture.

13. While beating, gradually pour in the cooled chocolate ganache and mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and beat for another 1 minutes until the mixture thickens and lightens in colour.

Assembling:

1. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled before frosting.

2. Using a serrated knife, evenly slice each cake into half horizontally and you will get 4 layers of cakes in total.

3. Keep the least flat cake layers for the middle two layers and reserve the most even cake layers for the top and bottom part of the cakes.

4. Spread the chocolate frosting on each layer and on the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, that’s what makes it more seductive!

 

 

Chocolate Banana Bread

Whenever I give away my cakes, I get things like “Oh this is so you.”

And “why?”.

“It’s always in a loaf, with chocolate.”

I tried to put on a weak smile. Thanks.

It just occurred to me that the things I have been baking has been quite repetitive. When I go through the things I’ve baked, I see loaves of banana bread, marble cakes and any home baked looking cakes. I thought I needed to get out of the cycle and start challenging myself.

Hah! Back to good ol’ banana bread, with chocolate.

Its hard to pass up comfort baking sometimes.

Here’s an amazing chocolate banana bread recipe I got from Citrus and Candy.

I felt that the chocolate may have overpowered the banana a little but you can treat it as a Chocolate Cake with Banana, more than a banana cake with chocolate.
Still, a keeper, definitely. Even better if kept overnight and toasted, with some butter loving.

It is different from Bourke St Bakery’s banana cake , this one is more bread like and more suitable for toasting, oh yums!

Chocolate Banana Bread,

adapted from Citrus and Candy

195g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I omitted)
120ml canola or vegetable oil
190g light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Bananas, mashed
100g dark chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 170°C and grease a large loaf tin.

2. Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, cinnamon (and nutmeg) into a bowl and set aside.

3. With an electric mixer, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract for a couple of minutes until well blended.

4. With a wooden spoon, stir through the banana mash then add the sifted flour mixture and gently stir until just combined (do not over mix). Divide the batter into two portions then add the melted chocolate into one portion and stir to combine.

5. Add random dollops of each batter into the tin then grab a skewer and start swirling. (I got a little excited and swirled too much, so marbling effect wasn’t obvious).Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the bread has risen and a skewer comes out clean.

6. Cool on wire rack then remove bread from tin.

Olive oil orange cake

Occasionally, I need a break from chocolate. I love chocolate like any chocolate lover out there. I can have chocolate every single day, whenever. Just on some days, I needed a lighter dessert, something spring-y, perhaps. Hey, its spring afterall!

So i chose to bake this olive oil orange cake. Originally, its meant to be topped with pistachios but, I could not find any at the supermarket ( can you believe it) so I opted for walnuts instead. I love walnuts, they are good for your hair i heard. Most of the time, I have issues with nuts in my dessert, especially in cakes. I tend to avoid cakes with visible nuts on it, I guess I just don’t like those nuts getting in the way when I am eating my cakes. This time, I just went with it. I just had to, just because the original recipe has pistachios in it and I thought an orange cake would be too plain old plain. Well, I had no problems with it but I might want to just roast and coat them with honey, marmalade or caramel next time before topping them on the cake.

It wasn’t difficult, this cake. The only part i didnt like was juicing the orange, thats all. Honestly, I chose this recipe because of the olive oil used, instead of butter or other vegetable oil but I could hardly smell or taste the difference. Probably just abit, when i open the oven doors. The taste of orange is pretty subtle as well, I definitely wanted more punch in the cake. Probably ginger to kick it up a notch? Still, its a good cake, especially with a cup of earl grey tea (again).

Olive Oil Orange Cake with Walnuts (makes two 22cm round cake)

adapted from tandteacake

(The recipe makes two 22cm round cake tin cake, but I halved the recipe for a 9inch square tin cake)

Ingredients

400g (14 oz) pastry flour, sifted
250g (8.8 oz) castor sugar
200ml (6.75 fl. oz) olive oil
4 eggs, separate the whites
Grated zest of an orange
250ml (8.45 fl. oz) freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
Chopped walnuts (just to sprinkle on top)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease the baking tin.

2. Beat egg whites until stiff. Refridgerate.

3. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with vanilla bean until fluffy. Add sugar and zest. Continue beating.

4. Add olive oil in a steady stream while still beating the mixture.

5. Add sifted flour and baking powder and fold in well.

6. Add orange juice bit by bit and mix well.

7. Fold in the egg whites.

8. Pour into cake pan and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top.

9. Bake for 30 minutes. ( I only baked mine for about 20 minutes as the cake was on the thinner side)

New Classic Brownie

Since I’ve moved back to Sydney, I have been on a baking craze. I will casually browse through food blogs the night before, especially tastespotting because it has everything in a page. It is not hard at all to find something that I’d wanna bake. Then, I will be in a dilemma over which to try out and I stress myself out a little sometimes. Next morning, I will start getting my ingredients and bake.

Lately, I have been so caught up with work I do not even have the time to go through food blogs. Okay, I still go through them, but I had to stop because its such a torture to see and having the urge to bake but you know how much time constraint you have and alternating between work related tabs and food tabs on the browser can get pretty stressful and gives you the guilt trip.

So after some off days/week from flour and sugar, I finally had the time to myself, but I was stressing myself again. Why? I was so overwhelmed by so many recipes that I’ve been thinking of trying that I suddenly did not know how to pick. Choices. Reminded me about The Paradox of Choice.

It was tough, but in the end, I settled for good old brownie. I needed something familiar and quick.
After reading how awesome the brownie were and how people raved about it, I was sold. But seriously, how bad can a brownie be? And I wonder, how many brownie recipes have we all gone through and still go on searching for more? We are all spoilt with brownie recipes. So many ‘Best brownie ever’ and ‘Fudgiest brownie ever’ recipes.

Anyway, like anyone else, I am still willing to try out different brownie recipes. and here it is. A really fudgy brownie. I wished I used better chocolate, as it turned out, my cadbury 70% dark chocolate just couldn’t make it ( that’s all I have).
They are called NEW CLASSIC BROWNIES. I found the name weird at first, but then I understood. I guess its because the author made some tweaking to the conventional brownie method.

Brownie turned out to be super fudgy, crisp on the top ( how a brownie should be ). I also sprinkled some sea salt and dropped some dark chocolate chips on top before popping them into the oven.

SO here it is:

New Classic Brownie,
adapted from Anna of Crunchycreamysweet

Ingredients

113g ( 4 oz. ) unsalted butter
100g unsweetened chocolate (I used 70% cadbury dark chocolate)
225g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
60g all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a square 8inch cake pan with baking paper.

2. Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler until a few pieces of chocolate are still visible. Remove from heat.

3. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla until well combined.

4. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Make sure the egg is incorporated into the batter before adding the next.

5. Add flour and fold using a spatula.

6. Whisk the batter with a mixer/wire whisk for about a minute until the batter pulls away from the mixing bowl ( I accidentally omitted this step, I think it might help in making the brownie more fudgy and chewy)

7. Pour the batter into the pan. (I also sprinkled sea salt and topped it with dark choc chips) and bake for 20 minutes.

8. While it is baking, prepare an ice bath at the sink.

9. Once the brownie comes out from the oven, gently place it onto the ice bath to stop the brownie from further cooking (so the insides remains fudgy) and let it cool completely before slicing.

Now, take a few slices and make yourself a cup of earl grey.

Mixed Berries Upside Down Cake

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I have days where I just grab my to-go bag, that red knitwear I worn so many times i lost count, the same place where i get my coffee from. I know that nothing can go wrong with those, especially when I don’t want to be stressed out by tiny little things (not that I have a lot in my mind).

Days like those calls for a simple cake. Foolproof, fast yet comforting. That’s when this cake comes to mind, bookmarked ages ago! from Heather Christo. This is my second time using her recipe and it did not disappoint. The first being a beetroot chocolate cake I baked ages ago. Nobody could tell there was beetroot in it because it was absolutely rich and yums!

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After the flip! Hidden gems mmm.

Anyway, this cake is not as straightforward and common/predictable as pound cakes. But not that special either, this cake is just those cakes that hides among the crowd but when you need them, it just appears. Actually, I just had problems with pound cakes previously. The batter curdles every single time! I was afraid this is going to happen again but luckily, the batter was being nice and it turned out well.

Love it! It’s surprisingly light and moist, with the right amount of sweetness. I think I can call this a guiltless cake? Sorry, I don’t do REAL guiltless cakes. If you want a cake, you gotta have the real cake. Full fat.

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For this particular recipe, I added mixed berries instead of just raspberries and the buttermilk definitely helped, as usual in making this such a yummy cake. Oh, remember to turn the cake over before serving so you can see those little jewels on the top of the cake! And, the recipe:

Mixed Berries Upside Down Cake,
adapted from Heather Christo

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (113g) butter, room temperature

1 cup (225g) castor sugar

2eggs

1 1/3 cup (150g) flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup mixed berries

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (176C). Prepare a 9” round cake pan with a round of parchment paper in the bottom and some cooking spray.

2. Cream together the stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using a handheld mixer.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, and combine well.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the wet, in three alternate additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. mix until it is a smooth batter.

5. Gently fold in the mixed berries.

6. Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees(176C), or until just done.

7. Let cool before turning out onto a platter and dusting with powdered sugar. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.