Saturday, 19 July 2014

Pineapple Macadamia Upside Down Cake

I've got a certain fascination with up-side down cakes. Perhaps its the ideal of a buttery and go-ey surprise hiding at bottom of the pan. The main reason is because the cake is just so good with fruit baked in a sticky syrup. 


For this edition of the Home Bakers hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, the chosen cake is the Pineapple Macadamia Upside Down Cake. I simply love pineapple in bakes so this cake has been in my to-do list for the longest time. Most upside down cakes, unlike this recipe, I know use canned pineapples. The fresh pineapples were naturally sweet, and their flavours enhanced by the maple syrup (original recipe called for corn syrup but I substituted it for a richer flavour). Together with the macadamias, it went perfectly with the buttery cake.


I loved this cake, thank you Alice of I Love. I Cook. I Bake for this great choice! Please click here for the full recipe.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

White Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

White chocolate brownies? I thought it sounded strange as brownies are supposed to be brown, aren't they?

I have an entire bag of white chocolate chips sitting around. In an attempt to use those up, I tried out this White Chocolate Brownie recipe.


It wasn't the fudgy type of brownie but this cake-like brownie was very delicious and moist. The additional white chocolate chips added a crunch to the brownie. 


I topped it with a chocolate ganache sauce which added some colour to an otherwise plain looking bake and made it even more delicious!


White Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Ganache (24 servings)
Recipe from here

Ingredients for Brownie
  • 225 g butter
  • 84 g white chocolate, chopped
  •  4 eggs
  • 400 g white sugar (reduced to 300 g)
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  •  180 g cup white chocolate chips (reduced to 150 g)
Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache
  • 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100 ml of whipping cream
 Method
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  • Melt the butter and white chocolate together over low heat in a saucepan. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly. Meanwhile beat eggs with sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl; mix in the butter mixture, and stir in the flour and salt until thoroughly combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared baking pan; sprinkle with white chocolate chips.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before cutting into bars.
  • Heat the chopped dark chocolate and whipping cream over a low heat and stir till melted and smooth. Let it cool for about 15 minutes. Place inside piping bag and pipe over the white brownies.


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Nutella Chocolate Cake

Just realised I've been away from the blog for over a month. Apologies to all my blogging friends that I haven't been to your blog lately, will catch up on visiting soon.

I've always wanted to make this cake but I certainly wasn't going to eat this all up by myself - one jar of nutella and 6 eggs, imagine the calories! 


The opportunity to make cake came over Easter as I was a hosting a cell group party at my place. There are few words to describe this cake - moist and nutty doesn't seem to do justice to this absolutely delicious cake. 


Every bite is rich and almost pudding like, with the ground hazelnut adding the most flavours aside from the nutella. It goes perfectly with the chocolate ganache and toasted hazelnuts. 


Three quarter of the cake was gone in no time and I gave the last quarter to my neighbour to prevent myself from stealing anymore slices. 


Nutella Chocolate Cake (9 inch)
Nigella Lawson Recipe

Ingredients


for the cake
  • 6 large eggs (separated)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 125 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 400 grams nutella (1 large jar)
  • 1 tablespoon frangelico (or rum or water)
  • 100 grams ground hazelnuts
  • 100 grams dark chocolate (melted)
for the icing
  • 100 grams hazelnuts (peeled weight) (I used 20 grams coarsely grounded hazelnuts)
  • 125 ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon frangelico (or rum or water)
  • 125 grams dark chocolate
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together, and then add the Frangelico (or whatever you're using), egg yolks and ground hazelnuts.
  • Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time.
  • Pour into a 23cm/9 inch round greased and lined springform tin and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake's beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack.
  • Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until the aroma wafts upwards and the nuts are golden-brown in parts: keep shaking the pan so that they don't burn on one side and stay too pallid on others. Transfer to a plate and let cool. This is imperative: if they go on the ganache while hot, it'll turn oily. (Believe me, I speak from experience.) If your hazelnuts have skins on then after toasting in the frying pan transfer them to a slightly dampened tea towel and rub them while they are still warm to remove the skins.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the cream, liqueur or water and chopped chocolate, and heat gently. Once the chocolate's melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches the right consistency to ice the top of the cake. Unmould the cooled cake carefully, leaving it on the base as it will be too difficult to get such a damp cake off in one piece.
  • Ice the top with the chocolate icing, and dot thickly with the whole, toasted hazelnuts. If you have used Frangelico, put shot glasses on the table and serve it with the cake.
This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (June 2014 Event: Butter) organised by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids) and Mui Mui (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Jozelyn Ng (Spice Up My Kitchen).

Monday, 12 May 2014

Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

The Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake from the book Coffee Cakes: Simple, Sweet and Savory by Lou Seibert Pappas is the next bake for the members of The Home Bakers. The Home Bakers  is hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. If you are keen to join us, please contact Joyce.


I also happen to be the host for this recipe so I have included the full recipe in my posting below. I've always had a weakness for baked goods made of pecans. During my childhood days, my mum would make a delicious pecan pie so very often. Its very expensive to buy pecans locally (though its not difficult to find) so when my mum who was visiting from the USA bought me a bag of pecans I decided its time to start baking to relive my childhood memories. 


The best part of this cake is undoubtedly the streusel topping. The distinctive flavours of the nut are enhanced by cinnamon forming a beautiful crunchy topping to the cake. This goes well with the spongy and moist butter cake. It was a delicious tea time treat. 


Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake (9 inch)
Recipe from Coffee Cakes: Sweet, Simple and Savoury by Lou Siebert Pappas

Streusel Topping Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecan halves
Cake Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (reduce to 1/4 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or low fat plain yoghurt
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9 inch spring foam pan and line the bottom with round parchment paper.
  • To make streusel topping: In a medium bowl or food processor, combine the butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut the butter in with your fingers until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in the nuts and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. 
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to blend. 
  • Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk/yoghurt in 2 increments. Beat until smooth. Spread evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the topping.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 mins or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove the pan sides and let it cool completely before serving. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Orange Chocolate Cake

After seeing Zoe and many other bloggers rave about this cake, it went straight to my do it now list. I am so glad I made this. This is certainly one of the easiest and most delicious chocolate cakes I've made. 


I love anything orange flavoured so the refreshing zesty flavours that accentuate the chocolate-y goodness of this cake is a large plus point. I'd have to say that chocolate and orange is a match made in heaven, that is where baked goods are concerned. 


Since then, I've made it three times and everyone loved it... this recipe has gone on my to bake list for picnics or pot luck. 


Orange Chocolate Cake (1 Loaf)
A Nigella Lawson Recipe from Bake for Happy Kids

Ingredients

  • 160 g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • A dab flavorless vegetable oil, for greasing syrup spoon 
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup or dark corn syrup (I used maple syrup) 
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 3 tbsp best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted 
  • 2 eggs 
  • zest of 2 regular orange and juice of 1 (1/3 cup) 
  • 80 g chopped dark chocolate or chocolate droplets
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C) and line your loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the sides, or line with a paper loaf-pan liner.
  • Beat the already soft butter with the syrup - if you dab a little oil on your tablespoon measure with a sheet of paper towel, the syrup shouldn't stick to the spoon - and the sugar until you have a fairly smooth caffe Americano cream, though the sugar will have a bit of grit about it. 
  • Mix the flour, baking soda (or baking powder), and cocoa powder together, and beat into the syrup mixture 1 tbsp of these dry ingredients before beating in 1 egg. Then add another couple of spoonfuls of the dry ingredients before beating in the second egg. 
  • Carry on beating in the remaining dry ingredients and then add, still beating, the orange zest and finally, gradually, the juice. At this stage, the batter may suddenly look dimpled, as if slightly curdled. No need to panic! Stir in chopped chocolate if you wish. 
  • Pour and scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45 mins (or 20 mins for smaller loaves), though check 5 mins before and be prepared to keep it in the oven 5 mins longer if need be. A cake tester won't come out entirely clean, as the point of this cake, light though it may be, is to have just a hint of inner stickiness. Let cool a little in its pan on a wire rack, then turn out with care and leave on the rack to cool. 
This post is linked to the Bake Along #60 organised by Joyce from Kitchen FlavoursLena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Chocolate Pudding Cake

I was having one of those "I need chocolate cake" days when I came across this Chocolate Pudding Cake recipe. As I had the ingredients for the cake, I set about making it immediately. 


The cake is easy to put together - the only slightly more challenging part is to whish the egg whites till stiff and fold it into the chocolate mixture gently. 


The result was a melt-in-the-mouth chocolate pudding that shooed away the afternoon blues!



Chocolate Pudding Cake (Serves 8)
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
  • Butter, room temperature, for baking dish
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for baking dish
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Method
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C), and set a kettle of water to boil. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish; coat with granulated sugar, tapping out excess. (I baked mine in ramekins)
  • In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with granulated sugar until lightened in color. Whisk in melted chocolate; set aside.
  • In a large, clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of whites into chocolate mixture. Add remaining whites, and gently fold with a rubber spatula just until combined (do not overmix).
  • Transfer batter to prepared baking dish. Set dish in a roasting pan, and pour enough boiling water into pan to come about 1 inch up side of dish. Bake until puffed and just set (center of cake should barely move when jiggled), 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.
This is for Cook Like A Star hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Cheddar Cornbread & Lentil Curry

Since I bought a bag of cornmeal to make the Orange Cornmeal Cake, I've been looking around for another cornmeal recipe so that it gets used up. If I don't, it may just be forgotten and I'd end up throwing it away when it expires which is such a waste. 


I came across this almost fat free (except for the cheese) corn bread recipe which turned out to be really delicious. I added a handful of basil which brought a special flavour to the bread. The combination of cornmeal, cheddar and basil was definitely a winning one. 


I also cooked a vegetarian lentil curry dish to go along with the bread. This is one of those recipes which I have made a few times because the cauliflower and sweet potato lends so much sweetness to the stew that not much seasoning is required. It was also a great way of getting more beans into my family diet. 


Cheddar Corn Bread (9 inch cast iron skillet or 8 inch square baking tray)
A Martha Stewart Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk (I combined half yoghurt and half milk and let it stand)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A handful of basil (my own addition)
Method
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees (220 degrees C). In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, salt, and pepper; make a well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk and eggs to well, and whisk to loosen eggs. Gently incorporate dry ingredients, then mix in cheese.
  • Place butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet; bake until butter is melted. Remove from oven, and tilt to coat bottom and sides.
  • Pour batter into prepared skillet; bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cornbread cool in skillet at least 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap completely cooled bread in plastic, and store at room temperature up to 1 day.
Lentil Curry

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 head cauliflower (2 1/2 pounds), stemmed and separated into florets
  • 1 cup brown lentils, picked over, well rinsed, and drained
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with juice
  • Coarse salt
  • Plain low-fat yogurt, for serving (optional)
Method
  • In a nonstick Dutch oven (5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid), heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes.
  • Add curry powder; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in sweet potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and their juice, and 1 1/2 cups water; season with salt.
  • Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover, and cook until lentils and sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately with yogurt, if desired.
This is for Cook Like A Star hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake.