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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 (Equagold)
  • 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)


      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. 






    A tale of two tarts: salted caramel or hazelnut?

    1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    It’s the school holidays and J wanted to make chocolate mousse, while I wanted to test out my newly purchased Gobel tart rings. I usually make tarts with ganache but thought hey I could use mousse! We discussed the elements and J came up with a plan, a cross-sectional drawing of her mousse design.

    After a bit of debate, we had two ideas:

    1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut, Nutella tart
    2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    For the hazelnut tart, a thin layer of Nutella (you can of course use chocolate ganache) was spread on the base of the tart, then a thin layer of roasted hazelnut paste and then topped with the chocolate mousse.

    For the salted caramel tart, a thin layer of salted caramel was first spread on the base of the tart, then topped with chocolate mousse. Some freeze dried strawberries were added to give a contrasting taste to the sweet and salty caramel.

    For both, cocoa nibs, crunchy chocolate pearls and feuilletine shards were added for texture.

    I like how I can do the components separately (to fit in with school holiday activities) and then assemble right before serving.

    Hope you will enjoy these!

    Sweet almond tart base
    Makes 10 x 9″ ring tart bases
    200g all-purpose (plain) flour
    40g ground almonds
    100g icing sugar
    100g butter, cold and cubed
    1 egg (I use size 8)

    1. Sift and combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
    2. Add the butter and ‘rub in’, working the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it resemble small crumbs
    3. Add the egg and incorporate it into the dry ingredients.
    4. Work the dough lightly by gathering the dough with your fingertips and folding it over with a downward push of your palm. Work quickly and lightly, till it comes together.
    5. Wrap up the dough inside a folded sheet of baking paper, gently roll flat with a rolling pin and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
    6. While the dough is resting, prepare the tart rings by buttering them.
    7. When the dough is ready, lightly sprinkle some flour on your bench or chopping board.
    8. Roll out the dough on the board with a rolling pin to a thickness of 2-3mm. You may need to add more flour to keep it from sticking as it is a very soft dough.
    9. Cut out a circle of dough larger than your ring and place onto the buttered tart ring or mould.
    10. Press well onto the sides. Use a glass to flatten the bottom and sides to ensure you have straight edges.
    11. Cut off excess dough by going over the top of the tart ring with the rolling pin.
    12. Pinch the edges up slightly.
    13. Prick holes at the base with a fork.
    14. Rest in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes to stop it from shrinking.
    15. Preheat the oven to 180C.
    16. Using ceramic baking beads or rice, blind bake at 180 degrees C for 15-20 minutes or when browned all over. Set aside to cool completely

    1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    Putting it all together
    Chocolate mousse, hazelnut, Nutella tart

    • Cooled tart base
    • Nutella (or melted chocolate)
    • Roasted hazelnut paste (Equagold)
    • Chocolate mousse (Mousse recipe)
    • On the top – Chocolate crunchy shards, pearls, cocoa nibs

    Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    These turn out more rustic than elegant 😉 still delicious regardless!

    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.


    • 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


    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)

    One pot ham and potato chowder soup

    The weather had been quite flippant in the last few weeks and we find ourselves so looking forward to summer that we are wearing jandals already, looking longingly to the sky as if to say ‘I demand summer weather, NOW!’. Of course that had no results whatsoever and we resolve to having warm, hearty, comfort food once again.

    What can be better than a good old mug of soup in a blustery cold afternoon? Why, a good ham and potato chowder soup with grilled garlic pizza bread for dunking of course!
    This soup is made with a roux, but rather than using a separate pot to prepare it, I add it all into the pot and cook it at the same time. Less washing, more time to enjoy the food and company!

    This makes enough for 6 servings, and I usually freeze half for later.


    • 6 slices of ham, cut into small square pieces
    • 5 large potatoes, peeled and diced to 3/4 inch pieces
    • Small brown onion, diced
    • 2 medium sized carrots, diced
    • 1 cup of sweet corn kernels
    • 50g butter (about 4 tbsp)
    • 50g plain flour (about 3 tbsp)
    • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, boiling
    • milk, for creaminess and consistency adjustment (optional)


    1. In a large dutch oven pot cook ham until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.
    2. Add the onion and sauté for just 2 minutes. Let them cook till transclucent, but not browned. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot. Cook for another 2 minutes, moving the potatoes from time to time to make sure the surface caramalises a bit.
    3. Push the vegetables to the side of the pot so that you have the centre of the pot clear of food. Add the butter and flour in and stir vigourously. The flour needs to cook but you don’t want it to stick to the bottom of the pot. At least not so much that it browns. Cook for another minute to ensure the flour is completely cooked.
    4. Add the hot chicken stock a ladle at a time to the pot. Stir to mix before adding another ladle. You can add as much as you like to achieve the consistency to your liking.
    5. As the soup heats up it will thicken. Add the corn kernels, cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. For a creamier taste or consistency adjustment, you can add some milk in, to your liking.
    6. Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve with grilled pizza bread.
    7. Dunk and eat.

    Chestnut macarons


    Chestnuts have a special place in my memories. From the great – chestnut cream layered sponge cake that was to be found at most birthday celebrations (mango is also a very popular option) – to the not so great – braised chicken with chestnuts. Well at least I remember not liking it so much because I felt that the dish was too singular in texture with everything soft tasting and lacking contrast. I do have to mention though that my favourite way of having chestnuts is having them almost raw. Just blanched, peeled, popped into an airtight bag and away you go. I remember having these as snacks on my hikes across the hills.

    Chestnut purée is, however, a totally different matter. When made with the proper balance of chestnut, water, sugar and cream, it becomes one of the tastiest element in any dessert. Take the classic Mont Blanc chestnut tart. Fine strands of piped chestnut cream perched on top of a dome of silky mousse, who can resist! Take it up another notch by tempering this smooth delicate entremet with the intense flavour and sweetness of a candied chestnut. Simply divine.

    Ever since I tried Joel Robuchon’s chestnut tart at Le Salon De The de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong, I have had my heart set on making chestnut macarons. This week I finally had time and oh boy what an amazing flavour. I think it is close to knocking salted caramel off its place and claim the top seat of my all time favourite macaron.

    Macarons shell ingredients
    (makes about 40 macarons)
    150g icing sugar
    150g almond meal
    110g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
    150g caster sugar
    38ml water
    1g meringue powder
    2 drops of gel colouring, I used brown for half my shells and white for the other half.

    Chocolate Chestnut purée

    120g 28% cocoa White chocolate
    60ml cream
    120g chestnut purée


    Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
    You can add some cocoa powder to the shells (as I have done here) to add depth to the shells.
    Heat cream till it just begins to boil and pour over white chocolate that has been broken up in small pieces in a bowl. Wait for a minute before stiring. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes for it to set a bit and mix in chestnut purée.
    Spread or pipe a teaspoon of chocolate chestnut purée on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
    The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to soften the shells and also for the flavour to fully develop.