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Chocolate Cake for Dad’s 60th Birthday

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Cakes, Chocolate | 0 comments

My dad hit the big six-zero late lat month. He worries about this sugar levels so naturally I gravitated towards chocolate cake (yup, another one) because chocolate, or cocoa specifically, is a great baking ingredient to offset sweetness.

Chocolate Cake

It’s the same recipe I use over and over again, so you know it’s a sure-fire winner. To make it look a little more fancy, I used a #104 petal tip to pipe diagonal ruffles up the sides.

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Black Forest Cake

Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in Cakes, Chocolate | 0 comments

I make a lot of chocolate cake. So sometimes I like to mix it up a little.

Black Forest Cake

Case in point, my pared-down Black Forest Cake, which essentially is just chocolate cake with a cherry filling.

I use this chocolate cake recipe which is my favourite to use lately, because it’s moist and rich, and also because it can be mixed together in one bowl.

Make up some of my basic buttercream icing, but add a little bit cherry liquor if you have it, or just brandy essence for a non-alcoholic version. I mix half of the icing with a good cherry jam (with visible pieces of fruit in it) and use that to fill the middle of the cake. Ice the top of the cake and dot with bright-red maraschino cherries and sprinkle on some chocolate shavings.

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Cherry Cake

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in Cakes | 1 comment

I’m a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off, especially the Masterclasses once the main competition is over. During Masterclasses, the judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood demonstrate how to perform the recipe challenges correctly. In one of this year’s Bake Off Masterclasses, Mary Berry showed viewers how to make her cherry cake. It looked simple enough, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Cherry Cake

You can find Mary’s recipe right here. This cherry cake is a standard sponge dotted with glacé cherries. The key point though – which the judges evaluated the contestants by – is to have an even distribution of cherries throughout the cake. Mary’s tips (which are in the directions) are to chop the cherries, wash off the syrup, dry them, and finally coat them in flour before mixing into the batter.

In my version, I reduced the recipe by a third to fit my loaf tin (4″ x 9″ x 3″). I split my cake and iced it with my standard foolproof buttercream icing with a little added lemon zest. It’s not going to win any challenges on Bake Off, but it’s good enough for a birthday.

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Cookie Monster Cake

Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in Cakes, Chocolate | 0 comments

This Cookie Monster cake is really a cobbling together of older Basic Bakes recipes.

Cookie Monster Cake

Make two layers of moist chocolate cake from My Most Reliable Chocolate Cake recipe.

To fill the middle part of this cake, there can only be Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Icing. Make one recipe’s worth and divide it in half. Use one half to fill the cake.

For the other half, mix in one egg and 150g of all-purpose flour. Divide into golf-ball sized portions and bake in a preheated-175°C (350°F) for 20 minutes.

To ice, make up a batch of my standard buttercream icing using shortening instead of butter to get a pure white icing. Save some back for the eyes and borders and dye the rest a vibrant royal blue. Crumb-coat the cake with the blue icing and refrigerate until the icing is dry to the touch.

Print out a picture of Cookie Monster’s head and cut it out. Lay it on top of the cake and use a short, sharp knife to carve off the extra. (It should only be the bits on the left and right sides of his eyes.) Take more blue icing and ice the cake smooth all over.

Use black icing to draw on Cookie Monster’s enormous semi-circular mouth. (I use a store-bought black icing because it’s a truer black than one you make on your own.) Using a grass piping tip (Wilton #233), pipe on Cookie Monster’s fur. I then use a small open star tip (Wilton #18) to pipe on the eyes and the border.

Slice one of the cookies you baked earlier in half and stick it in Cookie Monster’s mouth. (Nom-nom-nom-nom-nom.)

And you’re done!

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Castella

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Cakes | 0 comments

Castella is a Portuguese cake from Japan. (I’ll let that sink in for a moment.) Apparently, ancient Portuguese travelers brought this light, eggy sponge cake to Japan and it’s stayed ever since.

Castella

I only got wind of this cake because my globe-trotting sister was in Japan on business and brought back a castella from some famed Japanese bakery that uses holier-than-thou eggs. (But seriously, it was a delicious cake.) But the castella tasted an awful lot like a genoise sponge cake, so I had to look up the recipe.

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