Monthly Archives: January 2010

Midnight Chocolate Cake

I tend to feel sorry for myself. On days when I’m sweating buckets in a pretty dress and want to save the extra cash by not taking a cab, but walking. On days when I look miserably at the food in front of me, and fantasize about what he’s having. I tend to feel especially sorry for myself when I’m blog cruising and someone else has chocolate cake and more chocolate cake.

Really, is it too much to ask for chocolate cake in the fridge all the time? I mean, everyone has milk in the fridge…chocolate cake has milk…no?

To make matters worse, as my cousin and I sat watching Willie’s Chocolate Factory (the one with the long-haired dude who thinks milk chocolate is the devil), it seemed quite apparent that we were, in fact, desperate for chocolate. You see, Mr Willie thinks that only 70% chocolate and all percentages above can be considered chocolate. The rest is simply…”sugar, milk and…FAT”. Well, I hate to sound like a betrayer of sorts, but i happen to LOVE milk chocolate. Maybe not all the time, but nothing says girls night in better than a block of cadbury and twix. Don’t diss the twix.

So there we were, hankering for something that could only be remedied by succumbing to chocolate pressure. And the Midnight Chocolate Cake was born. PLEASE serve this lightly warmed, for 10s in the microwave. The cake will be slightly on the dry side otherwise. I promise it is goo-worthy.

Midnight Chocolate Cake (adapted lightly from Dorie’s white-out cake)

For Cake

1 1/3 cups GF flour blend
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet (70%) chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk (heavy cream with 1 tsp vinegar), at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces 70% chocolate finely chopped

1)      Preheat oven to 200degreesC. Grease two 8 inch round pans and line with parchment.

2)      Sift the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder together

3)      In the bowl of a KitchenAid, whisk the eggs and sugars together until ribbon stage. Add in the oil and whisk until fully emulsified.

4)      Add in the melted chocolate and vanilla essence. Mix well.

5)      Using the paddle attachment, Add in the flour mixture and the soured cream alternately, starting and ending with the flour mix. Beat until fully incorporated

6)      Add in the boiling water and mix on low until completely combined. Batter will be quite thin.

7)      Ad in the finely chopped chocolate and mix well.

8)      Divide into baking pans equally. Lower oven to 170 degreesC and bake for 25-30 mins, rotating pans halfway.

9)      Bake until skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in tins for 5 minutes before inverting onto wire rack to cool completely. While still warm, brush both tops and sides with 2 tbsp of warm water.

Midnight Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup 55% milk chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1)      In the bowl of a KitchenAid fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until smooth. Add in the icing sugar and the cocoa powder. Mix well.

2)      Add in the melted chocolate in 2 additions, mixing well after each. Whip on high for 1 minute before refrigerating for 10 minutes before using to frost cooled cake.

To Assemble

1)      Spread about 1/3 of the frosting on the bottom cake layer. Make sure frosting goes all the way to the edges. Chill frosting layer in fridge for 5 minutes

2)      Remove from fridge and place second layer on top.

3)      Spread the remaining 2/3 of the frosting on the top layer and slowly ease it down the sude of the cake, to cover the sides as well. Chill cake until ready to serve.

To Serve

1)      Slice cake into generous wedges and warm in the microwave for 10 seconds on medium heat. Frosting should be soft and cake should be just slightly warm. Goo perfection. Ice cream is advised for those who truly know how to indulge.

2) Have Julie and Julia playing in the background as you slowly (but not too slowly) bury yourself in old-fashioned, good ole’ chocolate cake.

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Chocolate Doughnuts

*Puts on nerdy glasses, clears throat* AHEM! The topic for today is ‘Why is Vic having sugar cravings?’

One, could it be that her lunch was not filling enough? Therefore leading to 10-minutes-later need sugar slump?
(veggie stir-fry, scrambled egg, stir fry chicken + rice, is more than enough!)

Two, could it be that she is working out way too hard and not being fed enough?
(hello, earth to belly, I repeat, walking 10 minutes sloooowly to the train station is NOT counted as exercise)

Three, could it be that she’s just greedy and wants to find an excuse to eat sugary sweets?
Probably.

Whatever it is, sugar cravings need to be curbed and when tea-drinking, gum-chewing, nougat-munching, grape-eating, rowntree-fruit-pastille-ing (I’m so obsessed!) doesn’t work, abandon all logic of being healthy and bake these. Gluten-free chocolate cake doughnuts by Kate Demasco. Pure genius.

Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

3 oz best-quality semisweet chocolate (70%), finely chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 3/4c GF flour blend
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 c whole milk + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (mix together in a bowl)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

1) Melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the flour, the caster sugar , cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. In a second bowl, whisk together the soured milk, egg and the egg yolk.
3) Make a well in the centre, pour in the buttermilk mixture and mix with a whisk. Add the chocolate mixture and blend. Sift the remaining flour over the batter and mix thoroughly.
4) Transfer the dough to a 12 x 14inch sheet of waxed paper. Place a second sheet of waxed paper over the top and roll out the dough (I just pat mine out) to 3/4inch thick. (I made mine thicker because GF batter seldom rise as high as normal batter).
5) Freeze for 30 minutes.
6) Remove dough from freezer and dust with flour. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out the doughnuts. Cut out the middlewith a 1-inch cutter. (I just used small heart=shaped cutters).
7) Chill dough in the fridge for 30minutes, up to 1 hour. (Mine still kept it’s shape so I fried it immediately)
8) In a large high-sided skillet, heat 2 inches of oil to 350degreesF. Working in batches, fry the doughnuts, 35 seconds per batch. Drain and dip into the glaze. (To test for doneness, break the first one open to make sure it’s cooked through)

Glaze

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Add in 2 tbsp of hot water and whisk until glaze is smooth. The glaze will be VERY thick, but the warm doughnuts will melt it. If it gets too thick though, adjust consistency by adding a few drops of water. Dip in SPRINKLES if you love it, like me.

Doughnuts on Foodista

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Linzer Love

Spending my Sunday running around with my mom, gathering the necessities for the farmer’s market is tiring business, and also an eye opener. Doing a business is hardhard work, tough, manual labour, cost-calculating chaos, stress-filled but a tiny bit exciting. Okay, alot exciting!

But luckily, I managed to squeeze in some baking! And now, at 9.30pm, the house smells like cinnamon, orange and butter. Today I’ll pretend I’m in Austria, eating Linzer cookies and drinking a nice cup of tea.

The cookies itself are yummy, I followed a recipe from Kate Demasco’s ‘The Art of Baking’. She used butterfly cutters for them, how could I resist? Obviously I was going to go all out, my heart cutter, gingerbread men, rocking horse, butterfly…Yea right! Singapore’s warm and humid, pastry making’s WORST friend. So I tried to roll them out, but I decided it was destined to fail so I made them into round balls and flattened them. Batch two was piped with a rosette tip. Unfortunately, they kinda ‘merged’ so they’re now a textured circles. :) At least it’s uniformly shaped!

I suppose a butterfly shaped Linzer cookie would’ve taste an inch better. But these cute round ones will do.

Almond Linzer Cookies (adapted from The Art of Baking)

1.5 cups almond meal (toasted in the oven for 5 mins, 180 degrees C, cool to room temp)
180g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted + more for sprinkling
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 large egg yolks
1 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup cornstarch (make sure it’s GF)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup fruit preserves (berry jam, peanut butter, choc ganache…)

1) Preheat oven to 180 degreesC. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Sift flours and baking powder
2) In the bowl of a kitchenaid (or big bowl), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
3) Add in the egg yolks and mix thoroughly
4) Tip in the flour mix, cinnamon and the orange & lemon zest. Mix well
5) Add in the ground almonds and mix to blend.
6) IF USING COOKIE CUTTER: Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 mins. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Preferably with a ‘hole’ in the middle so that the jam can be seen when sandwiched. Chill for 10 minutes before baking to retain i’s shape
7) IF, UNFORTUNATE LIKE ME, YOU HAVE TO PIPE IT: Place the dough in a piping bag with a rosette tip and pipe into ’rounds’. Chill for 10 minutes before baking.
8) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 mins before removing from baking tray.
9) Find their matching pairs! And once completely cool, spread jam/ choc/ PB on one side and smack the other side on. *WARNING* The cookies will get ‘soft’ if they’re sandwiched. Alternatively, only spread fillings when ready to eat. Unless, of course, you love a good soft cookie.

Say Yum!

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A 28th!

As I type this, I’m bopping my head to Ke$ha’s album. I think I’ve found my new ‘pretend-I’m-in-the-OC-on-Summer-Vacay’ album! :) Call it what you like, I think thrashy dirty housey pop is the BEST!

There’s a little party happening this evening. Not mine, my sister’s. A twenty-eighth. Phew, that’s… a big number. But like they say, it’s just a number. More importantly, it’s a birthday which means cake! (and for some other people, alcohol) She specifically requested for stickydate pudding with butterscotch sauce. And while I have no problem with that, stickydate isn’t the most attractive looking cake and honestly, I really don’t want to have to put up with questions 5 years down the road… “vic! why’s my cake a brown square?”

So to save everyone the trouble of having to recall what happens this evening (plus, with a hangover bound to cloud our memory), I decided to just prepare something pretty for the cake cutting, cam-whore worthy cupcakes.

And then my dad came rolling around, hungry…

Bye bye cupcake!

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Roasted Banana Cupcakes for Hungry Monkeys


This post will be good, I promise. But it begins with a tiny grumble. There are a few ways I can say this but I think the most effective and less rude way would be this. I’ve had a rough day.

Plus, to make things worse, the touchpad on my laptop is so retarded that it keeps erasing my post! *mumble* As I was saying, before my laptop rudely interrupted me (by erasing my thoughts), it started off with a wardrobe crisis (I didn’t have anything to wear), which made me slightly late. And I got wind of some less than thrilling news which made me rethink certain issues…which led to me messing up my cupcake recipe, spilling sugar all over the floor and scrambling my meringue. Can it really get worse?

Not really. I soothed my nerves with a cold shower and a cupcake, the one with extra frosting, all for me.

The cupcake is fluffy, very rich in banana-y flavour and gets a double wham of banana-ness from the banana in the buttercream. I’ve said banana three times now, in the last sentence. You get how much banana’s in this thing right?

Roasted Banana Cupcakes
4 medium bananas
3/4c+ 2 tbsp GF flour blend
2 tbsp buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 c veg oil
80g brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 eggs

1) Roast the bananas for 15 mins at 200degreesC. It’s best to roast the bananas on a piece of foil because the ‘juice’ leaks out. Let cool to room temperature. Mash 3, KEEP ONE FOR FROSTING. Add in the honey.
2) Reduce oven to 180degreesC, line 9 cupcake tins with paper.
3) Sift the flours, baking soda and baking powder together in a small bowl.
4) In the bowl of a kitchenaid, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy, double in volume. Add in oil and whisk for another minute.
5) Tip in the flour and mix in by hand. Add in the banana+honey mixture. Divide evenly between cupcakes cases. (I got 9 cupcakes)
6) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
7) Cool in muffin pan for 5 mins before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Roasted Banana Buttecream
1) Prepare 1 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream, without white chocolate
2) Mash the remaining 1 roasted banana. Mix into the swiss meringue buttercream.
3) It will not be as smooth since the banana pieces make it slightly rough, but it really isn’t obvious.

To assemble: Pipe frosting over the completely cooled cupcakes. Chop some chocolate very finely and sprinkle over the top! :) Stuff your face and make your day.

This is always my entry into the #61 Sugar High Friday- Comfort Desserts hosted by A Merrier World. What can I say? Banana’s, in all their sticky, creamy-ness, is comforting. And I will sleep like a baby tonight.

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More?

The reason for the title of this post is simple. When I tell you that there is another buttercream recipe today, you will say “more?” Ah! But I have a really valid reason…I made GF vanilla cupcakes, the smelt lovely, rose beautifully and I was close to announcing my victory when…I took them out of the oven and they fell.

It was a sight to see, as it deflated, the same way my heart deflates when the last pair of shoes isn’t my size. But the good thing is, the buttercream was SCRUMP-DIDDLY-UPTIOUS! No seriously, I really love it. I might even be a little selfish and not share it…Okay you convinced me, I will share it.

It’s fluffy, soft, un-waxy-feeling, sweet from the generous spoons of cherry jam. It’s not a healthy habit to keep picking at the frosting but I did. You should make it, just so you can understand my obsession!

Cherry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1 quantity Swiss Meringue Buttercream without the melted white chocolate
5-6 tbsp good quality chunky cherry jam

1) After the swiss meringue buttercream has been done, add in the cherry jam one tbsp at a time, whisking to blend thoroughly.
2) Use immediately on cooled cupcakes and eat remaining with your fingers. Smile and grin from happiness!

Well, I’ll do a check on my cupcakes tomorrow morning and see if it is edible. They’re currently tasty but quite bottom heavy. I have NO idea why. I am desperate for a perfect vanilla cupcake, GF of course. Oh well, I just have to keeep trying. And just to add to my list of failures, I failed my basic theory test for driving. Go on, laugh. It’s so impractical!!! I mean, i suppose I was just meant to memorize the book…not apply commonsense. They gave me a picture and ask me what it meant but I don’t even know which side of the lane I’m on! *sigh*

And Stickydate Pudding for the office tomorrow!!!

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Better Buttercream

Hi all!

It’s Saturday and I think I may be  suffering from slight lil-sister withdrawals- I can’t seem to fall asleep at night! My head feels quite fuzzy and exhaustion creeps up at roughly..3.30pm, daily.

But maybe it’s also because I’ve got other things on my mind. Guess who’s going to be at the Loewen Gardens First EVER Farmer’s market? *raises both hands* ME! me!

Jane, chef from The Pantry, is organizing this first ever historical event. Makes me feel THIS much closer to Melbourne already. Organic produce, gluten-free cakes (ahem), cooking demos, doesn’t it just make you feel all wholesome and warm? So today she’s arranged for me to bring some stuff for her to sample, plus she’s so kindly offered to get my baking confirmed as gluten-free. Can you tell how excited I am?

And today, I made one of the nicest swiss meringue buttercreams so I thought I’d share it! The perks of swiss buttercream is that is withstands the horrible heat we have here in Singapore and pipes much better. It’s lighter on the tongue but sometimes does have that waxy feeling. Today’s one didn’t have that and I would actually eat it.

Sweets By Vicky’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream

3/4c softened butter
2 egg whites
1/3c caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g white couverture chocolate, melted to room temp.

1) In a metal bowl, place egg whites and sugar. Set it over a bain marie and whisk briskly until it reaches 50degreesC (all sugar granules should be dissolves and it should feel like a warm shower)
2) Remove from bain marie and whisk until stiff peaks form (this can be done in a kitchenaid) and bowl is cool to touch.
3) As it is whisking, lightly agitate the softened butter
4) Add butter into the stiff meringue in 3 additions, whisking very well after each addition. Buttercream WILL look curdled, but never fear! Just keep whisking, it will come together eventually.
5) Add in the vanilla and the melted chocolate. Whisk until smooth and fluffy.
6) Enjoy! :) Goes very nicely with lemon cupcakes.

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