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The BloggerAid Cookbook

Rich Moist Brownie

Brownie has always been my favourite dessert for a long long time... since I was a teenager. That was until I baked my very first brownie in 1999. I remember being so elated when I saw a TV program showing the viewers how to make it. It was so simple that I couldn't believe it. Immediately the next day, I went out and bought the necessarily ingredients. Happily and excitedly I measured and stirred the batter. All the while thinking to myself : 'Gosh, my very first brownie. I can eat as much as I want without having to pay a bomb for it.' Everything was going smoothly until it suddenly sank hard in my brain how much sugar, not to mention butter was in the batter. Well, that's basically it. It literally killed every desire or craving I have for brownie from that day onwards. Honestly, I didn't even took a bite of my brownie. My family loved it although they find it a bit overly sweet. I swore off brownie, really.

Even to this day, I don't crave for it. But what do you know? Life is funny. A few years later, I met my brownie match... in Pierre. He loves brownie to bits. Well, I think cheese cake takes 1st place. And now, our Little One loves brownie too. Over the years I have made a few brownies but none tasted as good as this recipe. Yes, I broke my brownie swear and tasted it for all of you - it was awesome! So good that I even forgot it was calorie loaded and ate more than I should. It's very addicitive.

Rich Moist Brownie

Adapted from 'Je veux du chocolate!' by Trish Deseine

Ingredients
  • 100 g dark brown sugar
  • 125 g sugar
  • 120 g dark chocolate
  • 90 g butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 90 g plain flour
  • 50 g walnuts, roughly chopped
Rich Moist BrownieRich Moist Brownie
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (375°F - gas mark 4).
  2. Grease a square baking pan - about 20 cm in diameter. Set aside.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate in microwave oven or bain-marie. I melt mine over a steamer. Let it cool a little.
  4. Stir in the beaten eggs, then the sugar and lastly the plain flour.
  5. Add in the roughly chopped walnuts.
  6. Pour the batter in the greased pan.
  7. Bake it for about 30 minutes. It should be crispy on top but moist on the inside.
  8. Let cool a bit before savouring it slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
The Verdict

Crispy on top, rich & moist inside... sinfully delicious. Full of chocolatey flavour with a bit of crunchy nuts in the mix. Top it with a layer of chocolate icing ... sends you to chocolate heaven. One can never get chocolate intoxication, can we?

Rich Moist Brownie
Notes

The original recipe uses 225 g of white sugar - it might be a wee bit too sweet for non-sweet tooth people. Instead of walnuts, use other type of nuts, especially hazelnuts.

Rich Moist Brownie
6 comments on this post.

Strawberry Sour Cream Cake

Everyone of us (yes, you included indeed!), at some point in our childhood been eager to grow up. Impatiently waiting with batted breathe for that birthday to come. Remember how excited we were, jumping with glee and joy, in a rush to blow those birthday candles and wishing our birthday would last forever. We were so proud that we couldn't wait to tell everyone we are a year older. Such forgotten fond memories of the yonder years! Many birthdays came and went, so did my enthusiasm about birthdays until Little One came along. Remembering how excited and determined I was to make her perfect 1st birthday - never mind that the only cake I could bake at that time was Quatre-Quart (French Pound Cake) and it was Pierre who taught me how to bake it. I didn't even know how to make a crème chantilly (Pierre had to teach me that too).

Well, Little One is no different. She was over excited and so desperately wanted to be 4 like her best friend, Lise, that she asked me this question almost every day since January: 'Am I 4 yet, mommy? Is today my birthday?' Each time I would say 'Not just yet, poppet. You'll be 4 in 5 months time.' And then came the same wailing scenario 'Mommy, I want to be 4 now like Lise. Why can't I be 4 now? No, mommy I'm not 3½ years old. I'm 4 today just like Lise because I say so.' I have since learnt to be creative in my reply 'Yes, you are almost 4. In x months or x weeks' to keep my little camper happy.

This year Little One celebrated her 4th birthday the big way - a big birthday party at home with her friends (8 kids including her). In France, the parents will drop off their kids with a birthday present at your doorstep and come to fetch them home at the end of the party. Each kid is then sent home with a little goodie bag of gifts & candies (a birthday party souvenir). I like this concept very much as the kids didn't leave home empty handed. So for the next 3 hours or so, you are in charge of X number of kids in your house.

Yes my house was really noisy with kids running here and there! We had everything planned right down to games, gifts, etc...but do the kids really care? NO! Their longest attention span with pinning-the-donkey-tail game (supposedly a game that kids love most) - lasted only like 5 minutes. They preferred to chase each other around the house, playing big-bad-wolf with some kids hiding under the fairy tent while others were upstairs playing in Little One's room. So why bother stressing up myself to baldness thinking up different types of games? One surprising thing that stumped us all was that the kids loved storytelling. They couldn't get enough of that. (Yes, beats me too) They also loved fishing for presents - patiently queuing for their turn. They had so much fun at the party that they didn't want to go home. Then a few weeks later, she celebrated her birthday again in school with her friends and teacher. And Yes! Little One goes around proudly telling everyone who cares (or not) to listen to her: 'I'm 4 years old today.' Never mind that she doesn't even know them at all. What about presents, you might be wondering? APLENTY from family & friends to a point that she now expects more presents to come every day since she is now 4 years old every day. This was her bestest birthday ever... for now.

Now for the birthday cake, as much as I love my chocolaty & moist chocolate cake that I baked for her every year, I felt it was time for a change. So I asked my in-house gourmet, Pierre, who voted for his favourite Sour Cream Cinnamon Coffee Cake from Life's a Feast. I have adapted the recipe into layered cake with crème patissère covered with chocolate ganache.

Strawberry Sour Cream Cake
Strawberry Sour Cream Cake (with crème patissère & chocolate ganache)
Ingredients

Sour Cream Cake

  • 1½ cups sour cream or crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour (spooned in and leveled)
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt (omit this if you are using salted butter)
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter or semi-salted butter (soften, room temperature)
  • 1¾ cup superfine sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

  • 200g (12 oz) semisweet dark chocolate (I used dark chocolate, 54%)
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp butter
Strawberry Sour Cream Cake
Directions

Make the French pastry cream(crème patissieère) first before making the cake. That way, the pastry cream can be chilled in the refrigerator and will be ready for laying.

Making Cake

  1. In a small bowl or container, stir the sour cream (or crème fraîche) and the baking soda together and let it stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4).
  3. Butter two 8 inch heart-shaped baking pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the paper.
  4. Mix together the flour, baking powder & salt (omit it if you are using semi-salted butter) in a big bowl.
  5. In another big bowl, whisk the softened, room temperature butter (cut into cubes) until it is smooth and lightened in color.
  6. Add the sugar, 1 or 2 tbsp at a time, and beat it for 6 to 8 minutes until it is light and very fluffy.
  7. Add in the eggs, one at a time, whisking it for 1 minute after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the vanilla.
  8. Beating at low speed, add the flour mixture, alternating with sour cream (crème fraîche) - beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until it is just blended after each addition. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.
  9. Spoon the batter equally into two 8 inch heart-shaped baking pan and even the top out, leaving some room on top of pan for cake to rise during baking.
  10. Bake for about 40 - 50 minutes in the preheated oven. The cake is done when it is risen and the top is golden brown and springy to the touch or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  11. Leave the cake to cool on racks for about 15 minutes before turning it out of the molds. Let the cakes cool completely before filling and covering it with chocolate ganache.
Strawberry Sour Cream Cake

Making Chocolate Ganache

  1. Melt chocolate pieces and whipping cream in bain-marie. Whisk until smooth, then stir in butter.
  2. Let stand for about 30 minutes. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes.

Assembling the Cake

  1. Place 1 heart-shaped cake on a cake plate.
  2. Using the back of your spoon or spatula, spread a generous layer of pastry cream (crème patissière) on top of the cake.
  3. Delicately place the other heart-shaped cake on top of the filling.
  4. Spoon and spread the top of the cake generously with chocolate ganache, letting it spill naturally over the sides of the cake.
  5. Arrange the strawberries along the edge of the heart-shaped.
  6. Keep the cake in the refrigerator until it is ready to be served.
Strawberry Sour Cream CakeStrawberry Sour Cream CakeStrawberry Sour Cream Cake
The Verdict

In a classic layer sponge cake, it is usually all about the cream and other fillings, and the sponge cake is secondary (who eats plain sponge cake anyway). This cake however, stands on its own - moist, fluffy yet dense and lightly flavoured in taste complimenting the pastry cream, strawberries and chocolate ganache. Even with all the complimentary toppings and filling, this cake remains just nicely sweet. So if you have a real sweet tooth, please add more sugar to the above recipe.

This cake was so delicious that Pierre requested the same to be made for sister-in-law's birthday. Alternatively, you may also include a layer of sliced strawberries on top of the pastry cream as I originally intended to do but in my hurry to get the cake done, I forgot about until I had covered it with chocolate ganache.

Notes

If you don't have large eggs but have some egg whites sitting in your fridge, use 3 medium sized eggs and a few tablespoons of egg white for this cake and it will turn out marvellously good too.

The original recipe bakes in a 10 inch angel cake pan for about 1 hour and 10 minute. I usually roughly estimates the baking time when I bake this recipe in smaller cake pan. And whatever leftover batter I have, I made them into muffins.

For the chocolate ganache, I didn't let it stand for 30 minutes. Once it is done, I spread it all over the cake and then let it chill in the refrigerator.

Strawberry Sour Cream Cake
13 comments on this post.

Red Velvet Cake (with beetroot juice)

Red Velvet Cake (RVC) is a mysterious cake to me. Why? Because lots of people crave and rave about it, not to mention even bake it and eat it. But not me.... why not? I don't really know but that bright blood red looking slice of layered cake simply doesn't turn me on. Quite the opposite: my immediate thought was that there must be a horendous amount of food colouring in it. So how come I'm making one today? Well, it all started one day while twittering: Davina, who loves RVC, upon hearing that Aparna & I have never made one before, urged us to try it. That got Aparna & I talking about it, how did RVC got it's red colour, it's origin etc. Little did we know that our curiosity would turn into adventure with Alessio & Asha on board (aptly named the " 4 Velveteers"), each of us trying to make au naturel RVC.

So what is Red Velvet Cake? It's apparently supposed to be a rich, moist layered chocolate cake with a dark red, bright red or red-brown colour with either cheese or buttercream frosting - very popular in Southern U.S. The red colour in question comes from either uses of food colouring to get the artificial bright red colour or chemistry reaction between ingredients to get the natural crimson colour - the acidic vinegar and buttermilk brings out the red anthocyanin in the cocoa. From what I understand, with the use of more alkaline « Dutch Processed' » cocoa, the red colour is more prominent. It is said that the natural tinting might have prompted the name 'Red Velvet' or 'Devil's Food' and other similar names for chocolate cakes.

My quest to make an au naturel RVC took me through a sea of recipes on the net - all demanding a lot, I mean really a HUGE, amount of food colouring like 6 tbsp to 4 bottles of food colouring. All the recipes are quite similar from one to another so I decided to ask Davina for her favourite recipe. And this is what I used and adapted from there.

Red Velvet Cake
Ingredients
  • 207 g cake flour (not self-rising flour)
  • 113 g butter (melted)
  • 250 g sugar
  • 4 eggs (separate egg yolks and whites)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 9 tbsp beetroot juice
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 180 ml buttermilk

Cream Cheese-Mascarpone Frosting

  • 180 ml heavy whipping cream or crème fraîche
  • 114 g cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 114 g mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • a few tablespoon beetroot juice
  • 55 g icing/powdered sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 175°C (350°F - gas mark 4 ).
  2. Lightly greased 2x 22 cm cake pan, lined the bottom with baking paper.
  3. In a small bowl, mix well the cake flour together with the cocoa powder. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with sugar, vanilla extract and buttermilk until it is light and double the volume.
  5. Slowly beat in the cooled melted butter and beetroot juice.
  6. Fold in the flour mixture into the batter until combined.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a dash of salt until the peaks are stiff.
  8. Gently fold it into the batter until all is combined.
  9. Divide the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Let the cake cool on the wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting it.
  11. Once the cake is cooled completely, spread a layer of cream cheese-mascarpone frosting on top of the 1st cake. Gently placed the 2nd cake on top of the 1st cake, spread a layer of frosting on tope and the sides.

Cream Cheese-Mascarpone Frosting

  1. Process your cream cheese and mascarpone cheese either in a food processor or handheld mixer until smooth.
  2. Add beetroot juice, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth.
  3. Add in the whipped cream, whisk until stiff peaks form. Your frosting is ready to be used.
Red Velvet Cake
The Verdict

The cake came out surprisingly well. There is indeed a hint of red colour - not the chemical red kind. It's more of a earthly red tone - I kinda like it. Maybe it would be dark red if I had added beetroot puree instead of juice only.

The cake has a kinda spongy like texture which is quite nice, however it is lacking in the taste department. There was only an extremely light hint of chocolate taste in the cake but Pierre would beg to differ on that, finding it really bland. LOL! The frosting is OK but we aren't a big fan of rich creamy frosting like this either.

Do I want to make another attempt to experiment with it to get a better taste and colour? No, I don't believe it is even worth it. When I asked Pierre that question, his immediate reaction was: 'Oh, no. Please get over it and move on.' LOL! That sums up how much we love this cake. So we still don't understand why all the Red Velvet Cake lovers out there are willing to hand out their money for an artificially heightened Red Chocolate Cake. If it is chocolate cake you want, might as well get a real rich chocolately cake sans 4 bottles of food colouring in it, no?

Notes

To make your own cake flour: for every cup of plain flour, replace 2 tbsp of it with cornflour or cornstarch. Sieve it together at least 5 times or more to make sure it is well incorporated together.

To make beetroot juice: Cut your beetroot (cooked) into small pieces, process it in food process until it is a puree. Put the beetroot puree in a muslin cloth, twist it and press out the juice.

Red Velvet Cake

Now that you have seen mine RVC, let's check out the other 3 Red Velveteers: Aparna (her eggless RVC using beetroot puree), Alessio (using his genius brain to create his raspberry RVC) and Asha (tried her hands at chemistry) and see how their experiment turned out.

Psss... this is just the beginning of the adventures of us 4 Velveteers. Remember to keep a look out... you'll never know what we are up to next!;-)

19 comments on this post.

Double Layered Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing

Time flies so fast... another year gone by in a blink of an eye... Little One is 3 already. As she has been going to the daycare centre 3 times a week to play with other children, I thought it would be a great idea to celebrate her birthday with her little friends and the adults there.

This year I decided to try my hands at making a layered Chocolate Cake. Never done it before so I was kinda stressed and excited about doing it. Woke up at 8.30 am on Tuesday morning, plunged straight in getting the cake ready by lunch time - didn't even have my breakfast. The first cake turned out perfect as I expected. As I only have one 9" cake mold, I had to wait for the first cake to cool down before baking the 2nd one. Impatient me couldn't wait for it to cool down completely and thought it would be alright to unmold the cake after 10 minutes (forgetting that the weather isn't winter anymore but summer climate). Aaaahhhhhh! No! No! No! ... Top half of the cake turned out on the wire rack while the other half stayed stuck onto the mold. What a disaster!:-( Little One heard me screaming and cursing... came running into the kitchen, saw her birthday cake and said: 'oh no, mommy, my cake is broken. Never mind mommy. We can still eat it.' Awww... isn't she such a little sweetheart. Yes we'll eat this broken cake at home.

So I just told myself 'Don't panic. We still got time to do another one'. I had to check the fridge to see if we had enough butter and eggs to make another one. Phew! We did. So off goes my 2nd cake into the oven. Timer went off, took the cake out and saw that the cake didn't rise as much as it should. I was so totally disappointed. Oh no! Not another run of bad luck. Not today of all days, for goodness sake. I just wanted to cry. Sometimes the more we want everything to be perfect, the worst it turned out to be.:-(

It was about an hour later before I got over my disappointment and got myself busy baking the last cake. While the cake was baking, I realized why my 2nd cake didn't rise as much. I left the batter sitting on the counter top way too long waiting for the cake mold to cool down. I forgot that chemical reaction of the baking powder in a wet batter. Anyway, the 2nd cake still tasted as great.:-) Off I went about making my chocolate icing. This time around, I left it in the fridge for a longer time and got the consistency I wanted.:-)

Well, I had no problem in spreading some chocolate icing on the first cake... now how to flip the 2nd cake on top of it without getting it broken into pieces? This chocolate cake is soft, moist and delicate... Holding my breathe, I turned the 2nd cake slowly and gently out onto my right hand. Placing it as delicately onto the first cake as possible without messing the icing on the bottom cake. Phew! I did it... quite pleased with myself actually.:-) Looking at the cake, I realized that the 2 cakes although they were baked with the same mold, didn't turn out to be the same size. The top one was slightly larger than the bottom one. Arrggh! For a while, I toyed with the idea of slicing some bits here and there to make the cake look perfect like the ones from the bakery... in the end, I decided against it. As the saying goes: if it isn't broken, don't try to fix it. Glad I heeded that advice for once.;-) Spreaded the rest of the icing around the cake, topped it up with fresh strawberries. It looked PERFECT. Off it went into the fridge to keep the icing cool until it's time to bring it to the daycare centre. Little One kept coming to the kitchen asking if we can put the candles on her cake now so that she can sing her birthday song and blow out the candles.:-)

Brought my beautiful chocolate cake to the centre... only to be told this: 'What a beautiful cake! Did you made this yourself, mdm?' 'Oh, I'm so terrible sorry, mdm but we can't distribute this cake to the other children in case of any food poisoning arising from it. We will celebrate and blow out the candle, your child will have a slice of her cake and the rest of us adults will take a slice of it too but we can't share it with the other kids. I'm not saying that your cake isn't good or properly done, it's just the rules. We can only share cake with the other kids if the cake is bought sealed in a package from a factory.' Bon! If only I knew this bit of the rules. I guess gone were the good old days when our mother would bake cakes, cookies etc and bring them to our school to share it with our friends and teachers.

Double layered Chocolate cake
7 comments on this post.

Carrot-Zucchini Cake

We are back at the mountain lodge for the weekend again. That fresh crispy mountain air, nature right at your doorstep... not forgetting that priceless pleasure sipping a cup of hot tea admiring the beautiful sunrise over the mountain... now that is what I call LIFE ! (well some of you might disagree with me:-p ) The other rare luxury I get these days is being able to sleep past 8 am in my lovely warm bed all snuggled up next to my hubby enjoying the pleasure of waking up next to each other before Little One trot down the stairs like a little elephant announcing her arrival, then pushing me 'Wake up mommy, wake up." If I ignore her, she will say it louder into my ear 'WAKE UP MOMMY! WAKE UP' pulling the warm blanket away from me. *sigh* Well, that is what I usually get when she wakes up in a good mood. On normal days, she wakes up automatically at 7 am crying out 'MOOMMMMMYYYY!' woaaaaahhhhhh! Gotta love those morning calls - better than an alarm clock shooting you off the bed right away.

Now back to food. I had a bunch of tired looking carrots and zucchini (courgette) that have been sitting in the fridge for a week now and thought I better get rid of the evidence before my significant other say his infamous line "You always buy food, never cook it and let it rot in the fridge.":-p Normally I bake either carrot or zucchini cake ... never crossed my mind to combine them. I'm glad I did this time around - it turned out fantastically good.:-)

Here are some nutrition facts about carrots and zucchini :

Zucchini are very low in calories, and is a very good source of fibre, folate, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, B6 & C, manganese, magnesium and iron. Always wash your zucchini but don't peel because most of the nutrients are in the skin.

There are many ways of savouring zucchini - it can be steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, or baked in cakes, bread or soufflés. It can also be eaten raw like salad.

Carrot is besides being well-known for its source of carotenes - an anti-oxidant, it is also very rich in vitamin A, C, K, B1 & B6, potassium, iron, manganese, folate and also fiber. To obtain the maximum benefit from it, it is best eating it raw.

With these healthy benefits, all of us should eat more carrots and zucchini.:-)

This is my contribution to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Dee of The Daily Tiffin.

Carrot-Zucchini Cake
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 340 g sugar (brown or white)
  • 180 ml vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 350 g carrot & zucchini (shredded)
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • some lemon zests
  • a pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 175°C (350°F - gas mark 4).
  2. In a big bowl, beat sugar and eggs together until creamy & fluffy.
  3. Add in the lemon zest & oil, making sure it is well blend in.
  4. Using a spoon, stir in the shift flour, spices, baking powder and salt until combined.
  5. Fold in the shredded and zucchini.
  6. Pour the batter into a buttered 9" round baking mold.
  7. Bake it for about 50 minutes or until the tooth pick comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the mold.
  9. Enjoy it with a cup of tea.
The Verdict

The texture is very light, soft and moist and needless to say, aromatic in taste.:-) Frankly I myself was taken by surprise how light it tasted (like sponge cake) as I was expecting it to taste a bit heavy like a normal carrot cake. It's hard to stop after a slice of it. By the end of the evening, all that was left of the cake is only a small quarter. The cake remained soft and moist even the next day.:-)

Notes

To have a variation of this cake, add some dark chocolate chips or walnuts.

As zucchini has high water content, you might have to drain off the water after shredding it if it is very fresh.

Only for the brave ones

I have replaced zucchini with a week old white turnips - the carrot-white turnips cake turns out equally delicious. My parents in law and friends love the taste and said that if I hadn't told them the other main ingredient was white turnips, they wouldn't know. They still can't believe it that I actually put white turnips in this cake.:-D I do have to admit that during baking, my house do smell of turnips.:-p hahaha

carrot zucchini cakecarrot zucchini cake
16 comments on this post.

Pandan Yogurt Cake

I just took a 4 days break visiting my best friend in Germany alone.:-) It was a great break but I couldn't help missing my significant other and Little One every day. We left Little One with her grandparents for a week so that we get a nice 1 week break. We sound cruel, don't we ? She has recently entered into her terrible 'TWO' ... it's funny how my sweet little girl suddenly turns into Little Imp right after she hits 2. Someone told me that this will last till she's 18. I sincerely hope not!

This is our first summer in Clermont-Ferrand. So far I love the weather here - it doesn't rain as much as Nantes and less humid. With summer, we discovered what we have in the garden - a cherry tree, some wild strawberries in our front yard, 6 different type of prunes trees, some blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry, and some wild black berries overgrowing from our neighbour's garden. This autumn we will be going back to Singapore, so we will not be doing any mushroom picking.:-(

Before I left for Germany, I made a very simple cake calle 'Yogurt Cake' - the very first cake that every French kid learns how to make:-) What makes this recipe so easy to do is the measurements of the ingredients are done using the yogurt cup or bottle (in France, the standard yogurt bottle is 125 ml). This time I decided to add a hint of originality by adding pandan flavour:-)

Pandan Yogurt Cake
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tubs or 250 ml plain natural yogurt
  • 2 yogurt tubs or 200g sugar (a mix of brown and white)
  • 80 ml or slightly less than 1 yogurt tub vegetable oil like sunflower or canola
  • 4 yogurt tubs or 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Pandan essence or extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste/extract
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4)
  2. Lined the bottom of a 9" round cake pan with baking paper and butter the sides.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, gently whisk the yogurt, eggs, sugar and pandad essence together until combined.
  4. Add in the sift flour and baking powder and stir until combined.
  5. Pour in the oil and whisk gently until it blend together.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let it cool for ten minutes before transfer it onto a rack to cool completely.
yogurt pandan cake
The Verdict

I was surprised by how moist the cake turned out to be. It is dense yet fluffy (if that's how to describe it) and full of flavour. It's hard to stop at just one slice. The cake keeps well for a few days wrapped in a foil (to keep it moist) and the flavour develops with each day.

Notes

You can also bake this cake with fruit flavoured yogurt instead of plain ones.

What I like love about this cake is that one can replace the flavour with another without a problem and the cake still turns out as delicious. So we never get tired of it and can experiment with different flavours.

The next time I bake this, I'm going to try it with coconut or orange or orange-flower or even green tea.:-) The combination is endless. I'm getting giddy just thinking about it.

Pandan Yogurt CakePandan Yogurt Cake
18 comments on this post.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing

Happy Birthday Little One !

Today we celebrated Little One's special day ... her big '2' ... my little baby is now a big girl. Hehehe ... she is still a little bit too young to understand what is a birthday all about but I think she is getting the idea more or less : delicious cake, blow-out candles and tearing those beautiful wrappers with surprises inside.;-)

Her grand-mère dressed our little princess in her beautiful little red dress bought by her ma ma (maternal grandma) with cute little pigtails while we were busy putting up the decorations and getting everything ready before her grand entrance. However she caught us in the act.:-p She was more attracted to the balloons on the ceiling than all the deco that we have put up for her like rose petals (compliments from our garden) sprinkled all over the table and the colourful garlands hanging from the wall to the ceiling. Then she saw those lovely petals and climbed on top of the table and started dancing.:-D Looks like a star is born.;-) This year she is quite spoiled on her birthday: a swing, a sandbox, 4 DVDs (all her favourite characters), a set of kitchen utensils (toy version of course), a set of mini cars (she loves cars like her dad), aquadoodle, a dress, a CD player and a Lego set. Oh... she went to visit her great great aunt this afternoon and they celebrated her birthday there again... she gets to eat more cakes and got another present. Shh... more presents are on the way from Singapore - she doesn't know that yet.;-)

Originally I wanted to make a chocolate Teddy bear cake for her on her birthday but I had to scrap that plan as I have never done anything like this before and it was not the right the time to do an experiment.:-p In the end, I made a simple chocolate cake and decorated it the best I can.

The chocolate cake recipe that I'm sharing with you today is one that I found on the Internet a few years back and it has since been a favourite in our family.:-) For this special day, I made this cake with chocolate icing.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing
Ingredients
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ salt
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder (non sweetened)
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 113g butter (melted)
  • ¾ cup flour

Chocolate Icing

  • 1½ cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp butter (softened)
  • 2 or 3 squares dark chocolate (made for dessert)
  • ¼ cup hot water
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven at 175°C (350°C - gas mark 4) and butter a round 20 cm diameter cake pan.
  2. In a big bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add in the cocoa slowly.
  5. Then the milk and the cooled down melted butter.
  6. Stir in the flour.
  7. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake in the oven for about 40 - 45 minutes. When inserted into the cake, the toothpick should not come out completely clean. The cake is supposed to be a bit moist.
  8. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before turning it out on the wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Pour or spread the cooled chocolate icing on the cake and decorate it as the way you wanted it. Refrigerate it for a while so that the icing gets set nicely.

Chocolate Icing

  1. Sift the icing sugar, cocoa powder and the dark chocolate pieces into a bowl.
  2. Add butter and hot water and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  3. If the chocolate pieces do not melt, microwave them for a few seconds.
  4. Let it cool to the consistency you want and then spread it on the cake.
chocolate cake with chocolate icingchocolate cake with chocolate icing
Conclusion

No matter how many times I bake this chocolate cake, it always comes out perfect and delicious. However this is the first time I decided to put icing on it. Initially I thought a chocolate icing with a moist chocolate cake would be a bit too much... mais non... it's luscious - rich, moist and filling. And it wasn't too sweet either.:-) Little One couldn't wait and was already helping herself with a teaspoon on the cake before we could even take a pic of the cake or even put the candle. While we were cutting the cake, she was busy scooping and eating the chocolate icing on the side. She loves it so much that she was tucking in her cake and at the same time scooping the icing off the cake.:-D Everyone loved it.

Notes

Cake : If you bake it on a 9" round cake pan, bake it at the same temperature but the cake will be done about 30 to 35 minutes. The cake is delicious on its own without icing. Alternatively you can serve the plain chocolate cake with crème anglaise (light custard sauce) or a scoop of vanilla ice cream or sprinkle some icing sugar on top.

Chocolate Icing : The original icing recipe was a bit too liquid to my taste so I added a few dark chocolate tablets to get a thicker consistency. I have modified the above recipe accordingly. I have also used less icing sugar than what was stated above. I poured the icing on the cake when it had thickened to be just fluid enough.

chocolate cake with chocolate icingchocolate cake with chocolate icing
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Orange-Almond Cake

Do you know that Mother's Day is celebrated on different days throughout the world? For example, Greece celebrates it on the 2nd February while Thailand celebrates it on the 12th August and Indonesia on 22nd December. I have always thought everyone everywhere celebrates Mother's Day on the 2nd Sunday of May (11 May 2008) like in Singapore. To my surprise, in France, Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of May. At first it was kinda strange for me to celebrate it 2 weeks later than Singapore but over the years I have gotten used to it.:-)

Yesterday we celebrated Mother's Day in France. The weather was a bit cloudy but that didn't stop us from doing a BBQ on our terrace.:-) The honey marinated chicken thighs (that I have specially prepared for Little One) turned out beautifully and delicious but to my utmost disappointment, Little One wanted nothing to do with it. *sigh* Oh well, her loss, our gain.:-p Next time, I'm going to BBQ chicken wings ...yummy.

For Mother's Day, Little One got me a nice Lafuma recliner (via her papa) that I wanted so much for the coming summer days.:-) Pierre wanted to buy a cake for me but I said 'why waste money when I can bake one for us.';-) I decided to take this opportunity to do another experiment. This is what I made yesterday and is part of my contribution to this month's Sugar High Friday host by Helen of Tartelette :

Orange-Almond Cake
Ingredients
  • 180 g self rising flour
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 180 g butter
  • 200 g sugar
  • 1 whole orange (peel grated)
  • 80 ml orange juice
  • 3 eggs (white and yolk separated)

Creamy Chocolate Icing

  • 200 g butter (cut into cubes & softened)
  • 150 g dark chocolate (melted)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4) and grease a round cake mold about 20 cm (diameter).
  2. Separate the egg yolk and white.
  3. Whip the butter and sugar in a big bowl until it is creamy and fluffy.
  4. Add in the grated orange peel and egg yolk and beat till well mixed.
  5. Add in the ground almonds and stir until combined.
  6. Stir in the flour and orange juice on alternate turns until it is combined.
  7. Whipped the egg whites till stiff peaks formed and delicately incorporate it into the mixture.
  8. Bake it for about 50 minutes or until the wooden stick comes out clean.
  9. Let it cool for about 10 minutes in the mold before turning it out on the wire rack.
  10. Once the cake is of room temperature, delicately cut away the slightly crusty border and round edge.
  11. Spread the chocolate icing all around the cake with the icing knife.
  12. Cake is ready to be served.
  13. The cake needs to be kept refrigerated because of the icing.

Creamy Chocolate Icing

  1. Whipped the butter in a bowl with an electric beater.
  2. Slowly add in the melted dark chocolate bit by bit until all is well mixed.
  3. Refrigerate it for about 5 to 10 minutes before spreading it on the cake.
The Verdict

The cake itself is very aromatic - the delicious taste of orange and almond together. It is compact and just moist - not as dry as I thought it would turned out, and a bit crunchy when you hit on almonds. As for the icing, hmm ... not exactly to my taste - I find it a wee bit too creamy and buttery, however Pierre likes the contrast - slightly salty creamy icing with the sweetness of the cake. (salty because we always buy salted butter)

Ooops, I just realized that I didn't add the right quantity of dark chocolate in my icing. Perhaps that is why my icing tastes so creamy, buttery and salty.:-p

Note

I wanted to whip up 3 egg whites but I was clumsy in separating the first one so I ended up with 2 white eggs instead for my above cake.

If you want a more moist cake, perhaps you can add a bit more juice and adjust the baking time.

orange-almond cakeorange-almond cake
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Orange-Coconut Cake

Little One has made an amazing progress in her vocabulary during these past few weeks. She still can't make out a phrase but she just learnt how to say her name the other day at the park (well, not exactly accurate but her name is kinda difficult for her to pronounce at her age). She can understand both languages - in French and English. I'm still working on Chinese as I seldom speak to her in Mandarin, however I take the occasion to compensate that by reading Chinese story books to her. Hope that works too.;-)

She has also learned to shout A table (literal translation 'at the table' meaning 'dinner is served') whenever a meal is ready. And when papa is still not there yet, she would shout 'papa, à table!' 'papa, à table' till papa sit at his place. hehehe She surprised us a month or two ago when she can associate which object around the house belongs to who - e.g. muffins- papa's, tool box - pépé (grandfather), which laptops belongs to who etc. She also has been playing tea party with her toys and feeding her teddies. Sometimes she would make a cup of tea (imaginary of course;-) ) and serve it to each of us. Too cute for words. She also loves reading her books (well, mainly look at the pictures) and for bedtime, she will chose which books she wants us to read to her.

Oh ... she has a new favourite word besides gateau (cakes): 'cartoon'. Now that the weather is warm enough to set up her baby pool in the backyard, she keeps asking for piscine (swimming pool) even at night.:-D Unfortunately she caught a chill. Thought it was just a normal runny nose and a slight fever which lasted for 4 days. Poor kiddo, her runny nose has caused her a right ear infection.:-( With the medication, she is getting better however it is a real hide and seek when it's time for medicine - she would quickly either hide under the table or chair or behind the curtains and sometimes in the closet. Well, it is not always like this, sometimes she takes her medication bravely without resisting for she knows it to get rid of the 'little mouse' in her right ear.

Now back to food. It has been a while since I last baked something so I decided to try out this recipe that I have found in my cooking book but I did some modifications and tried two different methods of making it.

Orange-Coconut Cake
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 g butter (softened)
  • 50 g dried schredded coconut
  • 250 g sugar
  • 180 g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp orange peel (grated)
  • 250 ml milk

Coconut Icing

  • 60 ml or more orange juice
  • ½ tsp orange peel (grated)
  • 90 g dried schredded coconut
  • 140 g icing sugar
Orange Coconut Cake Ingredients
Directions

Preheat your oven at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) and prepare a greased round 20 cm diameter (approx) cake tin.

Method 1

  1. Separate the egg white and egg yolk.
  2. Beat the egg yolk, softened butter and sugar together in a big bowl till it is creamy and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the grated orange peel and the shredded coconut and then add in the flour.
  4. Pour in the milk and stir till combined.
  5. Beat the egg white until stiff peaks formed. Fold it into the mixture till combined.
  6. Bake it for about 60 minutes until the wooden stick comes out clean.
  7. Leave it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out on the wire rack.
  8. Once the cake is of room temperature, spread the coconut icing on the cake.
Orange Coconut Cake

Method 2

  1. Beat the eggs, butter and sugar in a big bowl till creamy and fluffy.
  2. Add in the orange peel and grated coconut.
  3. Stir in the flour and milk alternatively until combined.
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes until the wooden stick comes out clean.
  5. Follow step 7 & 8 in Method 1.
Orange Coconut Cake

Coconut Icing

  1. Mix the icing sugar and the grated coconut together in a bowl.
  2. Add the grated orange peel and stir in the juice. (Add more juice if needed.)
  3. Mix it to get a consistency but smooth enough to be able to spread it.
The Verdict

Method 1:

I find it to be light, moist and fluffy. The aroma of the orange, butter and coconut icing is a delicious combination. I was initially worried that the whole cake might turn out to be too sweet because of the icing but it tastes just nice - not overly sweet. I simply love it so did the rest of the family members.

Method 2:

The cake turned out to be light but dense and we can taste the bits of shredded coconut in the cake. It is equally delicious. Everyone likes both versions, however for me, I prefer the light and fluffy version above.

Notes

For method 1 : I would reduced the milk quantity a little bit.

To make your own self rising flour - for every 125 g of plain flour, add 2 tsp baking powder. Then sift the flour several times.

Orange Coconut Cake with IcingOrange Coconut Cake
15 comments on this post.

Ninja's Floppy Chocolate Cake

Trying to get myself inspired to cook, I found a very interesting recipe that combines chocolate and prunes... 'huh?' you might say... that was my first reaction too. But I was so game for it. So there I was, all set and ready... mixed my portion of chocolate with cream... buzzing sound of the electric beater trying to turn it into a mousse. 5 minutes passed... nothing, 10 minutes passed, still nothing was forming. OK, I wasn't darn going to give it up! Beated it for another 5 minutes... still nothing... I decided it was about time to get some manly muscle reinforcement. Pierre took a look at it and said that there was not a chance that the cream would turn into a mousse. Nooooo... it just needed a tinny bit more beatings, that's all. Pierre gave it another go just to please me... me thinking with his macho whipping, surely this chocolate mass would be seduced to turn itself into this beautiful glorious mousse it supposed to be. Arrrgghhhh... much to my despair it still remained a pot of creamy chocolate sauce. :~(

Ok ... this time around with no available recipe to guide me, I just had to go with my gut feeling and borrow here and there from the recipe books... then cross my fingers and hope it turns out beautiful and doesn't explode in my oven.

So, off I go, beating eggs & sugar till creamy and light, in goes my creamy chocolate together with a bit of vanilla, baking powder and melted butter. Final touch, I stirred in only 3 tbsp of cornflour against my better judgment of 90 g. Then off it went into the oven.

Like a little kid, I sat and watched my lovely cake grow and grow like a balloon... to a point I thought it might just really explode. Phew! Thank goodness it didn't. I was rather pleased and proud of myself at how beautiful my cake turned out. I couldn't wait to taste it. So off the timer goes, I eagerly took it out of the oven.

Holy crap! Nooooooo ... my beautiful cake .... boo-hoo hooo ... I watched in horror as the lovely mount collapsed into a pitiful crater.:-(

I consoled myself that it didn't looked that bad...well that was what I thought before I turned it over on the wire rack to transfer on the plate ... as I watched in horror again like in a slow motion picture, it slowly sunk to the other side. OK, how in the world was I going to get it onto the plate in 1 piece? Breathe, Pamela, breathe... slowly and delicately I somehow managed to flip it over without further disaster... till I saw my cake ... I wanted to weep by then ... it was cracked like a marbled egg.:-( I walked away in a total despair.

Michèle was there for tea and took a bite of it: it was very good! The surface of the cake is nice and crunchy, the inside is all soft and moist like a brownie. I didn't quite believe it... I thought she was just trying to cheer me up. I took a bite of it myself and indeed it was really good. It would have been better if I had baked it in a smaller pan though.

Ninja's Floppy Chocolate Cake
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