Category Archives: Recipes – Cakes

Chewy fudgey perfect chocolate brownies


After years of trial and error, I’ve finally got a fail proof chocolate brownie that appears to satisfy the fussiest and hardest-to-please of all critics (aka Miss 8). These brownies are fudgey and chewy, just how we like it. Best served warm with cold milk or ice cream!

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 150g good quality 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 290g caster sugar
  • 115g plain flour, sifted
  • 35g Valrhona cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (not essence)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cocoa nibs, hazelnut praline, extra chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C fan forced. Grease a 20cm square cake pan and line with baking paper.
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
  3. Stir with a heatproof spatula until melted.
  4. Remove from heat and quickly stir in all your ingredients, except the toppings, until just combined. Pour into the lined pan.
  5. Sprinkle in your choice of cocoa nibs, hazelnut praline or extra chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick test comes out with moist crumbs on the stick.
  7. Set aside to cool completely before removing from pan.

The secret here is the combined use of dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and with less sugar than normal brownies. This makes it distinctively brownie, not cake.

I hope you will love this as much as we do. These are perfect for school bake sales or bases of entremets. You can easily make more and freeze whole slices in two layers of foil and an air-sealed bag.

Moist Chocolate Feijoa Cake


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I’ve been blessed by friends giving me a whole lot of feijoas recently and our kitchen has been churning out lots of dishes with feijoas – feijoa macarons, feijoa jelly and now of course the much awaited chocolate feijoa cake.  I must admit, this was my cunning plot to get J to eat feijoas – for she will not turn down anything that has chocolate in it. I’ve added chocolate ganache in between the two layers and on the outsides of the cake, but you can equally leave that out and serve it as it is, if you have a reason NOT to have chocolate ganache.

This is a moist cake which is best served the next day, and even better the day after that.

Moist Chocolate Feijoa Cake

Ingredients
1.5 cups feijoa flesh
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
185g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, size 8
1.5 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup sour cream (or buttermilk or greek yoghurt)

Chocolate ganache

300g Dark chocolate (62% cocoa)
320ml cream
50g butter

Instructions

  1. Lightly oil or spray two 6″ round tins. Line the bottom of the tins with a round of baking paper. Heat the oven to 180C. You can also bake these as small muffins for the lunch box.
  2. Cut ripe feijoas in half, scoop flesh out and then slice thinly.
  3. Measure 1.5 cups of the sliced fruit and place in a bowl with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Cream the softened butter and caster sugar in a small bowl with an electric beater.
  5. Beat in the eggs one after the other, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  6. Stir in the prepared feijoas, the dry ingredients and add the sour cream, ideally in two batches.
  7. Transfer the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top evenly.
  8. Bake at 180C for 28 minutes, or until a skewer exits cleanly from the middle of the cake. If you baked them as small muffins, adjust the baking time to 18 minutes.
  9. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the baking papers. Allow to cool completely.
  10. Make chocolate ganache by placing chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a pan and when it starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes before you stir to allow the chocolate to melt gently and smoothly. Leave in the fridge to cool and firm up for 1-2 hours.
  11. Spread chocolate ganache onto the top of one cake, then place the other bottom side up on top of the first cake. Spread chocolate ganache over to cover the top and sides.
  12. Garnish as you wish, with berries, confetti sprinkles or chocolate shards.

Baileys Chocolate Luxe Bundt Cake


This is quite a boozy cake – not at all a surprise since there is a whole cup of Baileys in here. What I didn’t expect was how much the children liked this cake (the alcohol has been cooked off so no children inadvertently got drunk from consuming this cake). This cake is quite indulgent and rich, please do serve in smaller portions – you can always go back for seconds. I’ve used the special chocolat version of Bailey’s here, by all means use what you have 😉

Ingredients For the Bundt Cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Valrhona)
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp instant coffee granules (Moccona)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oil (rice bran)
  • 1 cup Baileys Chocolat Luxe Irish Cream liqueur
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (Equagold)

Ingredients For the Toppings:

  • 120g chocolate drops (I used Equagold 70% Ghana dark chocolate)
  • 120ml cream
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, for sprinkling over the icing (I used a few Valrhona batons, broken into small pieces)

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Prepare a 8-10 cup bundt cake pan by spraying with baking spray. I used a silikomart high cathedral pan here.
    2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on low to break up any lumps and then slowly add in the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest and cool for at least 30 minutes before flipping onto a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature before any icing is poured on (so that the icing doesn’t get soaked in).
    4. While the cake is cooling, warm the cream till it just comes to a boil on the stove. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate. Let it sit in the cream for 5 minutes then stir to combine. Once combined, leave it to cool for 30 minutes before drizzling. Warm the caramel. Set aside.
    5. Place a piece of baking paper under the wire cooling rack. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate ganache over the cake. Drizzle salted caramel over the cake. Sprinkle the dark chocolate pieces over the top of liquid toppings.
    6. Serve straightaway if you can’t wait, but it tastes even better the next day.

Glorious Tiramisu with Bailey’s


This is how I make Tiramisu – for as long as I can remember. 
Trouble with making Tiramisu is what do you do with the left overs. I’ve learnt that if I used a narrow based bowl that opens up to a wider top, while aesthetically pleasing, I would have half-used packets of lady fingers and left over mascarpone cheese filling yet wouldn’t quite be enough to make another! I’ve found that if I use a straight edged rectangular bowl (20cm by 15 cm straight edged Pyrex bowl) it would be close to perfect, with just enough left to also make some cute little deconstructed pots of Tiramisu. 
This also won me the top prize at my previous job’s departmental cooking competition so it has truly been tasted and approved by many. My current colleagues love it. My point of difference is the use of Bailey’s – lots of recipes call for rum or brandy but I love Bailey’s and have always preferred Tiramisu made with Baileys. Airy and pillowy; velvety and light; a glorious pick-me-up dessert.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 400g mascarpone cheese (2 packets of Tatua Mascarpone cheese)
  • 350ml cream, whipped
  • 22 Italian Lady fingers
  • 1 cup cold instant coffee (Moccona)
  • ½ cup Baileys 
  • 1 tbsp of your best cocoa for dusting

Instructions

  1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, whisking constantly. This is your sabayon, remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
  2. Add Mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside.
  5. Mix the cold espresso with the Baileys and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, do not soak them! Do only several at a time.
  6. Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of your bowl.
  7. Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.
  8. Repeat process with another layer of lady fingers and mascarpone cream.
  9. Dust with cocoa.
  10. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It tastes better the next day.

If there are any leftovers, I often make up small individual servings, as shown here.

(Styled by J)

Mini cookies and cream cheesecake with salted caramel cream


The beauty of this treat lies in the speed and output – minimal time and effort with a large number of serves. This is great for parties or any ‘bring-a-plate’ situations. Instead of bashing biscuits for the base, a single Oreo biscuit is used. The mixer does most of the job for you and it doesn’t take long to bake at all. Since I almost always have a jar of salted caramel in the fridge, it didn’t require any extra time to make. You can leave out the caramel and use whipped cream by itself if you wish.

The mini Oreo is the cherry on the top – you can leave it out if you feel the mini dessert is rich enough. However it does provide a crunchy element as the bottom Oreo would be soft to the bite as you eat it. Since it is already portioned as individual serves, there’s no fussing about with cutting or slicing. Sit back and enjoy!

Mini cookies and cream cheesecake with salted caramel cream
Makes 32 plus

Ingredients for the cheesecake:

  • 3 blocks of cream cheese (750g) softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream, lightly whipped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs, size 8
  • 32 paper muffin cups
  • 40 standard size Oreo cookies (reserving 8 to be blitzed)
  • 32 mini Oreo Cookies

For the salted caramel cream

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp salted caramel

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. Prepare your 12 cup muffin tins with paper lining. Place a standard sized Oreo on the bottom of each one and set aside. I only have one of this pan, so to prepare I lined up the filled cases on a cookie tray to let them hold each other up. Prepare 32 of these.
  3. Lightly whip the cream.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar together on low speed.
  5. Mix in sour cream, your whipped cream and vanilla paste until smooth.
  6. Mix eggs in, one at a time.
  7. Blitz the remaining 8 standard size Oreo cookies till it breaks up, but not powdery, and then add them to the cream cheese batter and mix to incorporate.
  8. Fill each case with the mixture. I find it easiest to use an ice cream scoop with a spring mechanism that pushes the mixture out. Fill each right up to the brim of the case.
  9. Bake for 23-25 minutes, aiming for a slightly wobbly center. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best overnight. (You can also do up to the piping of the salted caramel cream step below and then refrigerate.)

For the salted caramel cream

  1. Whip cream and icing sugar until it is combined.
  2. Add the salted caramel and whip till you have stiff peaks.
  3. Fill it in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used the Wilton 2A tip) and pipe the cream onto the top of each cheesecake.
  4. Press a mini Oreo on top just before you serve (or else the cookie will go soggy.)