Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Lollipop Toppers!

This was a cupcake order for a 4 year old girl's Birthday Party and her mom wanted something pink, girly and sugary. I was very inspired by two webistes: The Cupcake Project and Martha Stewart's kiddie cupcakes! I wanted to give this girl something pretty and edible... and I thought the lollipop toppers gave this cupcake a bit of an edge with younger kids!

Recipe to follow soon... or you can e-mail me for orders or recipes at: 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad - Eggless Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

This cake is dedicated to my mom and dad and I wish I could ship it to them... but they were in my mind while I was completing this order for my neighbor's anniversary! Their brief was simple to make an eggless chocolate cake that the kids would enjoy.. and I kept it real simple. I added a bit of color with the M&M's for the kids... but apart from that I wanted to keep it simplistic and chocolaty!

I scoured through many blogs and 100's of recipes to get this right. I went back to my cupcakes recipe but it was too soft and didn't know if it would hold well as a full fledged cake to be layered and then I chanced upon Maduram's Blog - lovely tips for eggless cooking, clear instructions and beautifully decorated cakes for her Wilton's Classes... I read a lot of her recipe's and used her tips to bake two great moist eggless cakes.

I also used Rachel Allen's Chocolate Buttercream recipe which uses - butter, whipping cream and icing sugar to get a fantastic soft layer. To make sure the cakes remained most I spread a chocolate ganache on the cakes before layering and icing them.

The end result is as seen below:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oreo Cookies n' Cream Cheesecake.... mmmmm - need I say more?

Cheesecake has always been my weakness - ever since I was in the US - whether it's the first cheesecake I ever ate at the Cheesecake Factory over 10 years ago or at Serendipity 3 or at the numerous cafe's after a lazy Sunday brunch... I just could never get enough of them but some of them were sometimes overly dense and do not have a lightness about them.

I have been waiting to find a great recipe that put to good use my 1000Rs of Philadelpia Cream Cheese - a winner of a recipe that would be wiped clean out of it's box and here is surely a winner. I made this for my father-in-law's Birthday and my son couldn't keep his hands off this cake. I did a lot of research on the recipes for over a month and couldn't find a recipe that I thought was perfect... so I used a combo or a couple of recipes. The other issue was whether I should add flour or not to the cheesecake so it doesn't crack - most people advised to add a bit but mine did crack 'coz of a couple of mistakes I made - so I had to cover it up with a chocolate ganache. Again, there was a lot of debate on the water bath - I wrapped my springform multiple times with foil but didn't have the guts to dunk it in a water bath for fear of spoiling my very expensive cheesecake and causing a soggy base... so I baked it without one and was very impressed with the results. I used a modified version of Nigella's Passionfruit Cheesecake recipe eventually tweaking it about a bit.

You can feel free to e-mail me for the recipes or tips or place an order for the same. This is one cake that won't last till the end and almost finished by 5 adults and a toddler!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with real chocolate.... a winner!

I have been practicing baking cakes! Believe it or not everyone needs tons of practice and I can vouch for it 'coz I went from baking from the box to baking from scratch over two years and it has only been practice! Yesterday I baked a chocolate buttermilk cake and the day before that Dorie's EVO & Yogurt Cake in a loaf pan.

I was watching an episode of Rachel Allen: Bake and she inspires so many of her students to bake and over come their fears of being able to come up with a simple birthday cake.. so I decided to use her basic recipe and tweak it around a bit.

The other thing she did was putting together the batter without any mixer - just a mixing bowl and wooden spoon and I wanted to do just that - she epitomizes how baking can be simple task with glorious results.

So here goes - the recipe is tweaked a bit from what I can remember - but I used my own measures since she measures in grams and me in cups - do not have a weighing scale as yet...

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

11/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar - castor will also do - but this adds a lovely color and flavor to the cake
2 eggs
1/2 cup good chocolate melted ('coz thats what I had in my fridge- would have liked to use at least 1 cup - had to add 2 tablespoons hershey's chocolate powder to give it a chocolaty boost)
1/2 buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 vanilla bean

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Beat the butter with the wooden spoon. Add sugar and beat till creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat with hand till almost custard like. Now add the vanilla bean and chocolate and mix well after each addition.

Sieve the flour and chocolate powder into the batter and slowly mix it into the batter but do not over mix. add the baking soda and baking powder in the end. Mix and pour into the prepared cake tin.

I have been lining my tins at the bottom and sometimes along the sides to be on the safer side. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Turned out to be a gorgeous cake - not too sweet - not too dry - perfect for icing or having plain with tea and coffee. You can increase the sugar if you want to serve it plain but with icing the cake is perfect as is. What I liked about this cake was that it was light and airy 'coz of the addition of buttermilk and didn't have a heaviness to it while eating it. Also, the cake was gone within a couple of hours.. so it has 5 stars in my recipe book. It is a must try and do tell me how it turns out.

Just a note: Rachel Allen baked it in two tins and served it with a chocolate butter cream frosting to be used as Birthday Cake but I just put globs of colored icing on it I had left to keep it simple and healthy for the baby who gobbles up most of the goodies baked in my house but yet wants some color on the cake!