Tag Archives: Cake

Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake

15 Jul

Mmmmmm, cake is a good direction in which to take this series of blog posts. I’m glad Alice posted that recipe for the Lemon Syrup Cake…I think she has just introduced me to my new favorite cake.

On the subject of rich cakes, how about this one??

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I spotted this cake on Pioneer Woman’s blog. I follow her on Facebook and she posted such a tantalizing photo that looked so interesting that I was compelled to try it. I’ve made it a few times now. That’s how you know it’s good.

The first time I made it, my friend Karen and I didn’t want to use strawberries, so we went ahead and swapped them out for cherries. It was a really good choice.

ramekins_cherry

Also, I thought it might be interesting to mix it up and make individual desserts, so we baked those in ramekins. Also a good choice as the cakes were a little gooey in the middle and altogether quite delicious.

The next time I made it was for my little friend’s birthday.

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I used strawberries as the original recipe suggests.

We melted the butter, added the cocoa and boiling water

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Isn’t that pretty??

Mixed together the dry ingredients, then poured the melted chocolate into the bowl while mixing it on low.

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Word to the wise…do as I say and not as I do. I spilled a significant amount of the hot chocolate mixture while attempting to pour it straight from the pan into the mixer.

After mixing together the liquid ingredients,

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pour it into the chocolate mixture and voila!

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Prepare the cake pans by lining them with rounds of baking paper and spraying them with non-stick cooking spray. Then pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake.

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Alternately, grease some ramekins and fill them 3/4 full of batter. This recipe would make at least 12 ramekins full of cake.

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Bake the cakes. When they are finished, let them cool before turning the large cake rounds out onto a cooling rack.

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Peel the parchment paper off the back of the cake before cooling on the rack.

The individual cakes don’t need turning out. You can build the cake right in the cute little baking dish.

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While the cakes are cooling, whisk up some whipping cream and confectioners sugar in the mixer.

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The whipped cream was quite a hit with the helpers.

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Here’s the fun part – building the cakes!

building the cake

First a layer of Nutella on the cake

Nutella

Topped with a nice dollop of whipped cream

whipped cream

Then add the berries

strawberries

Add the second cake and repeat.

For the individual cakes it’s even easier. Keep the cakes in their baking dishes, add the layer of Nutella

ramekins_Nutella

ramekins_covered

Yum!

Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and the berries.

ramekins_final

Done! Now enjoy!

Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake
by the Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:
2 sticks butter
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup Nutella

FOR THE FRUIT:
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 round baking pans with parchment, then spray the parchment with baking spray.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa and stir it until smooth. Pour in the boiling water, let the mixture bubble up for 20 seconds or so, then turn it off and set it aside.
In a measuring pitcher or bowl, mix together the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in the hot chocolate mixture, stirring gently until it’s halfway combined and less hot. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and continue stirring gently until the batter is all combined.
Pour the batter into the pans and bake them for 17-20 minute, until they’re just set. Remove them from the pans and set them aside to cool completely.
B’s option: For ramekin cakes, spray the ramekins with baking spray and fill them 3/4 full of batter. Bake for 15 minutes and check with a toothpick to see if the cake is fully baked.
Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries by stirring them with the sugar and the vanilla. Let them macerate for 15 minutes, then drain off the excess juice.
B’s option: I used the strawberries without any vanilla or sugar, however, I did macerate the cherries for that cake. The cherries would also be good soaked in an almond liqueur for more a grown up treat.
Whip the cream with the powdered sugar.
To assemble, turn one layer upside down on a serving platter. Spread half the Nutella all over the surface. Spread on half the whipped cream and top with half the strawberries. Place the other layer upside down on top and repeat with the rest of the Nutella, whipped cream, and strawberries. Keep chilled until serving. Cut with a serrated knife!
B’s option: For the ramekin cakes, leave them in the baking dish, spread them with a layer of Nutella, top with a dollop of whipped cream, then the fruit. Serve individually, with a spoon.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Cambria. I hope your wish came true!!

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Rich Lemon Syrup Cake

8 Jul

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B posted her favourite go-to salmon meal. And I am not sure I have a go-to salmon recipe at all. I will have to try hers. It looked great.

I was reminded of this old go-to recipe by my friend Beth last week. I found it in our newspaper about fifteen years ago, when they re-printed the three most requested recipes (oh, remember the days before the internet?). I made it for my dad’s birthday and doubled the quantities, and mixed up my numbers, and managed to double double the butter. And IT WAS FANTASTIC. It is super rich, and seriously good, almost pudding like. I even made it for my brother’s 21st birthday cake, on a massive scale. I could barely lift it, and people loved it.

You will need…

ingredientsCakeingredients_syrup
For the cake: plain flour, baking powder, butter, caster sugar, milk, butter, lemon and eggs. And for the syrup, more lemon and sugar.

It is a simple method so I will list it in the recipe below, and the hardest part is creaming the butter, so if you have a KitchenAid you will be set.

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Rich Lemon Syrup Cake
ingredients

cake:
250g (8oz) butter
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
grated rind of one lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup of milk

syrup:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
grated rind 1 lemon
1/4 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 185 (365F) degrees, and grease a 20cm baking tin, and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the lemon rind and juice, and mix through. Slowly add in the beaten eggs. Whisk together the flour and baking powder, and stir in to the mix, alternately with the milk.

Pour into the tin and bake in the 185 degree oven for 10 minutes, then turn down the oven to 170 (338F) degrees and cook for a further 45 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Put the syrup ingredients in to a saucepan and warm until the sugar has melted. Poke a few holes over the top of the cake with a skewer, and then spoon the syrup over the top.

Leave to cool… supervised.

ronnie

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

10 May

That sweet potato cake that Alice made looked so good. I love cakes and breads made with vegetables such as zucchini bread, pumpkin pie or carrot cake. It’s that interesting mix of the vegetables you are used to eating as a savory dish, but mixed with sugar, butter and flour they become a delicious sweet treat.

Carrot cake is my specialty. I make it quite often and as a three-layer cake, it’s quite a special and sophisticated treat with the great spices and the tender crumb.

Carrot Cake

Last weekend, I had my friend Brittany and her two girls, Cambria and June come by for a fun sleepover at my house. After a raucous time in the pool, then a good night’s sleep, the girls helped me make a carrot cake. Let me tell you, if you ever need some great entertainment, have two little girls help you bake.

Carrot Cake helpers

We trimmed and shredded the carrots. I don’t ever bother peeling the carrots I use for carrot cake. I just wash them, trim the ends off and shred them in my trusty old (emphasis on the old) food processor.

shredding carrots

We carefully measured our ingredients into the mixer

ingredients

…paying special attention to the sugar.

sugar

After all the cake ingredients were added, we scooped the shredded carrots into the mixer. As you can see, we were quite hands on with our baking.

hands on baking

I neglected to get a photo of the baking pans that Brittany very carefully greased and lined with rounds of parchment paper for me, but here’s what they looked like filled with the cake batter.

Carrot Cake in pans

While the cakes were in the oven, we mixed up everyone’s favorite part of the cake – the cream cheese icing! It’s hard to go wrong with a beautifully creamy sweet filling and topping for this moist layer cake. It’s made up of four ingredients that you cream together in a mixer.

the icing!

We just tossed all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and started mixing. As you can see below, we had quite the poof of powdered sugar that got all over the counter. If you aren’t interested in having your entire kitchen covered in a very fine layer of sugar, you may want to mix up the cream cheese, butter and vanilla FIRST, then add the powdered sugar very slowly.

creamy icing

The next step, of course, is to taste the icing. Which my helpers were VERY happy to take care of for me.

tasters

helper!

In the meantime, the cakes were finished. They made my house smelled SO GOOD!!

cooling rack

After they cooled in the pans for about fifteen minutes, I turned them out onto a cooling rack until they were completely cool. Then began assembling the cake.

one...

As easily as…

one and done

one…

second layer

…two…

three layers

…three…

fully iced

…and voila!

carrot cake cut

cake!

Of course cake is always best shared with a friend. On the patio. On a nice day.

cake!

You can serve it immediately or put it together a day ahead of time and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for maximum moistness.

It won’t stick around for long.

gone!

Alice?

TRIPLE-LAYER CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
From Bon Apetit

Cake
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)
(optional) 1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 1/2 ounce)
(optional) 1/2 cup raisins

Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed or parchment paper. Lightly grease waxed paper. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins, if using.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10-15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature.

Savory Cake

24 Sep

I need to eat more smoked fish! That smoked trout recipe of Alice’s looks like it would be delicious, as well as a lovely and unique addition to any party.

I got this recipe from our friend Deb, who lives in Paris and is always making the most gorgeous dishes. When I heard about this savory cake, it reminded me of the torta salgada that we used to eat in Brazil. I simply had to have Deb’s recipe! One of the things that I love about it is that it’s very adaptable. You can add whatever combination of meats and vegetables that you happen to have on hand to create a dish that’s perfect for you.

I had some smoked salmon in my fridge so I poked around a little more and found some cheese and dill that would complement the salmon quite nicely. You could also add capers and lemon zest if you had them on hand.

Mix up the batter,

Then mix in your choice of ingredients (OK, that doesn’t look terribly appetizing, but just wait until it is baked),

Pour into a baking dish – I used a pie pan – and bake. As a bonus, it will make your kitchen smell really good.

Then serve with a simple mixed green salad and possibly a dollop of sour cream for a nice light meal.

I think next time, I’ll try one with artichokes. What think you, Alice?

Savory Cake

3 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup grated cheese (such as gruyere or emmental)

protein or vegetables of your choice

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C

Beat eggs with the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Little by little add the warm milk and oil. Add the grated cheese. Cut the meat and vegetables or whatever you are adding to your cake into small pieces and add to the dough. Put everything in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cake cool before removing from pan.

You can add whatever you like in the basic dough, such as:

7 oz smoked salmon and 10 chives

7 oz of cooked chicken, a shallot and tarragon

8 oz artichoke hearts, 2 oz green olives, lemon juice, salt and pepper

2 tomatoes, 8 oz mozzarella, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, basil, salt and pepper

Olive Oil and Dessert Wine Cake

28 Apr

When Alice and I were putting together our menu for the day of cooking, we wanted a nice cake that was simple, unpretentious but a nice end to the meal. Alice knew of a rosemary olive oil cake, but had no recipe for it. In our search for the perfect cake, Betsy helped us with this tried and true recipe. You may be surprised to hear of a cake made with olive oil. Let me tell you right now, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It will change any preconceived notions you might have about sweet and savory.

(Do it!)

What a winner! Light and fluffy but with a gorgeous texture from the olive oil and a richness from the dessert wine. It was just the thing.

We used the best ingredients possible

first separating the eggs and beating the yolks with the sugar

Or in our case, mistaking the salt for sugar and wondering why it wasn’t beating up so nicely, with Karen going to a great deal of effort to get it to beat up into a light fluffy mixture

before finally realizing that we had used salt. Once we got the proper ingredients in the mixer, we achieved a nice light yellow creamy mixture of egg yolks and sugar as the base for the cake.

The oil and dessert wine were added to the mixing bowl

along with the sifted flour and other dry ingredients.

Then the egg whites were beat into soft peaks

and folded into the rest of the batter.

By carefully folding in the whipped egg whites, the rich cake batter became very light and airy. We poured it into the prepared baking pan

and put it into the oven.

While the cake was baking, we also made a lemon zest infused sugar syrup that we mixed through some blackberries to serve.

In a small bowl, we rubbed the zest of one lemon

into a 1/2 cup of sugar until well combined

Then added to a 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan

and let it simmer until slightly thickened and syrupy.

After the cake was done, we tossed the blackberries in the syrup, piled them atop the cake, and then gave a light dusting of powdered sugar before being served.


This recipe is a favourite of Betsy. It is in the Australian ‘bible’ of cooking – The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander.

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OLIVE OIL AND DESSERT WINE CAKE

ingredients

5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dessert wine
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
150g plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pure icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). Butter a 24 cm (9 inch) springform cake tin and line base with baking paper. Beat egg yolks with half the sugar until pale and thick, then add wine and oil. Fold in flour and salt and transfer to a large bowl. Wash and dry mixer bowl and beat all 7 egg whites with cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks. Beat in remaining sugar until you have a soft meringue. Fold lightly but thoroughly into yolk mixture. Spoon in to prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off oven, cover cake with a buttered round of baking paper and leave to cook slowly. Remove from oven after 15 minutes. (The cake tends to deflate as it cools so it needs to be protected from all sudden changes of temperature.) Dust with icing sugar before serving.

A Day of Cooking

12 Apr

B, Karen and I gathered around the kitchen bench on a Sunday afternoon, with the company and hospitality of my father Malcolm, his wife Betsy, and the boisterous cocker spaniel Manny, we spent hours cooking and laughing.

It was mayhem as we chopped, skinned, mixed, blended, talked, and stirred up a few courses that we shared in the evening with my brother Sam and his partner Jacqui.

I wish I had taken more pictures of us as we went, but the mayhem I mentioned above… well, yeah.

Betsy was busy with a tapestry she was making as a wedding gift, and Manny was busy being Manny. That is a full time job in case you were wondering. Betsy is a wonderful cook and was helping from the sidelines most of the day. She also contributed the idea of the olive oil and dessert wine cake for our last course.


Karen used to work as a cook, in high pressured, fine dining kitchens. She has also taught cooking classes, and is always an absolute pleasure to cook with and learn from. She spent the day giving us sage advice, and making up a chickpea fritter with a fresh tomato salsa recipe. It was all measured by eye and taste, but the fritters were made with… mashed cooked chickpeas, Indian besan flour (made from chickpeas), white flour, baking powder, milk, chopped spring onion, cumin seed, salt, chilli powder, fresh oregano and garlic. If you want her to develop a recipe for us to post… you need to campaign her. Feel free to be vocal in the comments.

The salsa was fresh and vibrant, delicious on the crispy  fritters. The salsa was a mix of tomato, spanish onion, chilli powder, fresh oregano, De Soto sherry vinegar, olive oil, a small pinch of  brown sugar and salt.

We ate those first as we all gathered around the kitchen bench (which looked like a whirlwind had been through), to have a pre-dinner Campari and soda.

The first dish we ate at the table was one of my long time favourites, a mussels recipe by Karen Martini with chorizo, white wine, tomato and onion as the main flavours. The mussels are mixed through pearl or risoni pasta. I will post the recipe soon.

B made a vegetable dish that was as beautiful as it was filled with love. It is something her father used to make. It was a lovely clean dish to have after the rich flavoured mussels. This one is so simple in concept, and B is planning to post the recipe.

And then came the olive oil and dessert wine cake, from a recipe by Stephanie Alexander. B and Karen made this cake with a little help from me. If you call ‘help’ handing them the salt instead of the sugar, and then making them start over again. It was sensational in spite of my innocent attempts at sabotage. It was light like a sponge, but with a lovely density thanks to the oil and sticky wine.


My partners in crime… B and Karen


Betsy…

Jacqui…

Dad, or as you may wish to call him, Malcolm…

and my younger brother Sam.

One guess who was taking the photos and didn’t get one of herself?

Will another picture of Manny suffice?

Alice

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