Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Birthday Cupcakes!

This post is belated... A lot!

It was my niece's birthday in November and she asked me to make her birthday cupcakes, instead of a birthday cake!

The colours for the party were lilac and light blue, so I kept the theme.
She chose chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and the buttercream is white chocolate. I also added some sprinkles!

I made her sugar cookies and chocolate cookies, using the "1" cookie cutter, as she turned 11!
The icing on the cookies is a simple royal icing.

The candles went on 11 cupcakes!

All her friends were very happy and she really liked her birthday "non-cake" cupcakes!


Friday, 11 April 2014

Chocolate cake 01!

I am looking for the perfect chocolate cake.

So I will be testing a number of recipes to find THE one!

Chocolate cake 01
recipe adapted from here

280gr cocoa powder
300gr hot strong coffee
225gr honey
360gr all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
170gr butter
70gr olive oil
225gr brown sugar
225gr white granulated sugar
4 eggs
170gr greek yogurt
2 tsp vanilla
white chocolate chunks

* Preheat your oven to 180oC.
* Butter and flour a round cake pan.
* Sift cocoa in a bowl and add the coffee and honey, whisking. Let it cool completely.
* Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
* Beat the butter and gradually add the oil.
* Add the sugars and beat until fluffy.
* Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
* Add yogurt and vanilla.
* Add the flour mixture and the coffee mixture alternately.
* Beat until just combined.
* Add in the batter white chocolate chunks.
* Bake for 45 min until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean with a few crumbs.
* Let the cake in the pan for 15 min., then invert it on a wire rack to cool completely.

It sunk in the middle, but I was OK with that.

This recipe yields a lot of batter, which is good if you want to make a layer cake.
It is tasty and super moist, definately not dry. It actually tastes better the next day.
You can sence the olive oil, so maybe I will try it next time with less, see if it also won't sink.

Overall I liked it and I would make it again.


Monday, 7 April 2014

Oreo cookie cake!

I wonder, is there anyone who doesn't like stuffed cookies? Vanilla cake? A combination of the two?

I'm sure I know the answer to this!

A friend of mine loves Oreos. In fact, she introduced me to them many many years ago, when we still were students in the University.

So, when I went to visit the other day (I always bake her something), I made a vanilla oreo cake.
I used my vanilla cake recipe and added crushed oreos in the batter.

For the frosting, I made a quick ganache. I melted milk chocolate and kept adding warm milk, until it reached the consistency I wanted. Then I decorated with more oreos!

I put some in the bottom of the pan...


Great! She loved it!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

S'mores Pops!

The combination of  Digestive biscuits, chocolate and marshmallows that you find in S'mores desserts sounds delicious.

I had never tried something, though....
So, after I made my vanilla marshmallows, I decided that the time had come for something S'mores!

S'mores Pops

small white vanilla marshmallows
dark chocolate, melted
Digestive biscuits, crushed in small crumbs
wooden skewers

* Inside each marshmallow push a wooden skewer.
* Pour the melted chocolate in a drinking glass and place the biscuit crumbs in a shallow dish.
* First dip the marshmallow pops in the chocolate, remove any excess chocolate and then quickly roll each
   pop in the biscuit crumbs.
* Let the pops stand and dry completely.

They are very tasty!
It is a really fun treat for a party and very popular among kids!

Oh, they freeze very well! I had some left overs from a party and popped them in the freezer. About 10 days later I took one out and ate it right away. One I left to defrost a bit and it was fine too!

The best thing, though, is that I removed them from the skewers and stuffed them in chocolate chip cookies...
Can you imagine the taste and the gooeyiness? (no pictures, the cookies didn't last that long...)


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Vanilla Marshmallows!

Let me begin by saying that marshmallows are not my thing.

But, it was something I wanted to learn to make because you can use marshmallows in many recipes and also because I cannot find them easily. Oh, my mom loves them, too, so I searched and found a recipe I thought was easy and tasty!

Vanilla marshmallows
adapted slightly by the wonderful Sweetapolita!

4 1/2 teaspoons unflavoured powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup Classic Coating, plus more for dusting

** Classic Coating:
1-1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup cornstarch


* Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
* Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let soften for 5 min.
* Stir together the sugar, half the corn syrup, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. 
* Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 115°C. 
* Pour remaining corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 
*  Microwave gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.
* When the syrup reaches 115°C, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 min. 
Essentially the way you would do it for Italian meringue.
* Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more min. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla.
Finished marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy, and tripled in volume. 
* Pour it into the prepared pan and smooth it into the corners. Sift coating evenly and generously over top. 
* Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.
* Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. 
* Invert the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. 
* Cut it with a cookie cutter to whatever shape you want.
* Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess.

Classic Coating:
* Sift the ingredients together in a large bowl. Store it in an airtight container; it keeps forever.

I used the smallest round cookie cuter I had, since I wanted them bite-size.
I dipped the cutter first in Classic Coating, then I cut little rounds from the slab.

Aren't they cute? Like covered with snow!!
Even though I don't like marshmallows, I thought they were quite tasty and this recipe can serve as a base for many flavour variations.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Orange Chocolate Cake / Dessert!

Everyone in my family knows I can bake. So, from time to time, there will be an "order" from someone!

My father-in-law found a recipe (!) for an orange chocolate dessert, that he asked for, for the next time we would have a big family lunch. Naturally I said OK!

Orange Chocolate Dessert

250gr chocolate
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 eggs separated
3 tbsp orange liqueur

250gr chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup orange jam
2 tbsp orange liqueur

* Preheat the oven to 180oC.
* Butter and flour a 23cm round spring form pan.
* Melt the chocolate and let it cool.
* Mix in a bowl the flour, the almonds, the baking powder and the salt.
* Beat the butter and the sugar until creamy.
* Add the egg yolks one by one.
* Very slowly add the melted chocolate.
* Add the flour and the liqueur.
* Beat the egg whites until very stiff.
* Incorporate them in the mixture gently.
* Pour into the pan and bake for 40-50 min. until you insert a toothpick in the centre and it comes clean.
* Leave it in the pan for 5 min. and then invert it on a rack to let it cool completely.
* For the filling, you melt the chocolate with the butter and let it cool, so that you can spread it.
* Warm the jam with the liqueur a bit.
* Cut the cake in two layers.
* Place one layer on a platter, wet it with some liqueur and spread most of the chocolate filling.
* Cover with the other layer and wet it too.
* Spread the remaining chocolate and the jam.
* Ready!

I used a store bought orange jam with citrus chunks.

My father-in-law was happy and everybody at the table really enjoyed it. I must admit that the orange-chocolate combination is a tricky one and does not suit every taste. This particular one was well balanced ans so so moist!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Peanut butter Sugar Cookies!

I believe that the title of this post says it all....

Peanut butter....

Sugar Cookies....

Well, it was meant to be!

I used my trusted sugar cookie recipe and a generous amount of my home made peanut butter (about 4 Tbsp).

I didn't roll the dough, I didn't even chill it. I simply made small balls of dough, placed them in my pan and pressed them with my fingers. That's it!

The pictures cannot compare to the real thing...

The outcome? Well, let's just say they were vanished in a matter of a few hours!