Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake

Hello Everyone! Today is a special day, and that special day is my birthday! For those who want to know, I am 24 years young today, and another year wider, I mean, wiser, but not another year taller unfortunately. It’s been 4 years since I last celebrated my birthday in Brunei with my family, and friends I grew up and went to high school with. It’s been that long because for the past 4 years I’ve spent my birthday’s in Australia, with my friends from uni. I didn’t really plan anything special, I just organised a dinner party at Villa Mauri last Friday night with some friends; exchanging conversations, laughter, and of course, no gathering is complete without some dirty talk! We’ve all not changed one bit ūüôā I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank those who came that night, and also thank everyone else who has greeted me so far. I am so blessed to have family and friends from all over sending love my way. I know, that sounded a bit cheesy.

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my high school friends at Villa Mauri (November 6th, 2015)

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my work friends at 
Patisserie (November 9th, 2015)

I baked this cake yesterday afternoon for my birthday dinner tonight with my mom and my sister. Seriously, I cannot stress out how much I hate frosting – it take so bloody long for me to get it perfect. Well, not so much perfect, but for me to get it to cover the cake. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or I should blame the climate, but the buttercream is runny to begin with, so I put it in the freezer to stiffen up a bit before I frost. Then when I start frosting, it quickly becomes runny again to the point that I have to keep placing the cake in and out of the freezer multiple times before I can get the frosting to somewhat cover the cake. But anyway, after much frustration on the eve of my birthday, I managed to get a decent looking cake up I guess (so over it right now – so over baking cakes altogether).

Actually, I think I know the reason (maybe not really) why my frosting was runny. I had a look at the ingredients photo that I took and saw that I had icing sugar in it. At first, I thought that that might’ve been the reason, but when I looked at the original recipe, there was no sign of icing sugar. So why did my frosting go wrong?! ūüė¶ Not enough butter?

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my family at home (November 9th 2015)

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make a cake like this for a while; as in the whole salted caramel with caramel popcorn on top kind of cake. I was blown away when I came across it over on La P√™che Fra√ģche – so beautiful and well photographed. So don’t forget to check out the original recipe over on her blog;¬†she has adapted the different components to making this cake from various recipes (all links have been acknowledged below). Plus, her’s looks much more beautiful, and somehow taller than my cake *cries*.

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 50-55 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the yellow butter cake (adapted from Joy of Baking)

  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 4 large free range egg yolks
  • 2 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the salted caramel (adapted from FoodSwoon)

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the salted caramel Italian meringue buttercream (adapted from FoodSwoon)

  • 350g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • Half of a batch of salted caramel, cooled, the rest reserved for drizzling (see recipe below)

For the salted caramel popcorn (adapted from the Kitchn)

  • Popped popcorn from about 1 & 1/2 bags of popcorn
  • 130 grams unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Big pinch salt, plus a little for sprinkling

METHOD

  1. Yellow Butter Cake:
    • Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease 2 x 8.5-inch pans with a little bit of butter.
    • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the plain flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
    • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes altogether. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the egg yolks in and beat for a further 2 minutes. Add in the milk and vanilla, stirring gently to combine.
    • Add in the dry ingredients all at once, and stir gently until the batter comes together. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
    • Set the cakes aside to cool down completely before frosting.
  2. Salted Caramel:
    • Heat the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt together over medium-low in a small saucepan . Whisk at the beginning until they dissolve. Once dissolved, leave the mixture to caramelise into an amber colour.
    • Once amber, remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter and cream. Be careful of any splattering that may occur. Whisk until completely smooth.
    • Set aside to cool down before using it.
  3. Salted Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream:
    • Place the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat on low until it reaches to about 115C/240F.
    • Meanwhile, as your sugar+water mixture is slowly heating up, place the egg whites in a large bowl and start to beat using a handheld electric mixer. Beat the eggs until soft peaks start to form. Then, slowly stream the water+sugar syrup into the egg whites with the mixer still going.
    • Beat the meringue until cooled to about body temperature, and then beat in the butter about 2 tablespoons (30g) at a time. Continue whipping the buttercream until it is silky before adding half of the caramel mixture in.
    • Set aside in the fridge until it is time to frost your cake.
  4. Salted Caramel Popcorn:
    • Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1/2) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
    • Place the popcorn in a big bowl and make sure not to include any unpinned kernels.
    • In a small saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar, and salt until they begin to caramelise. Whisk well to combine, and then add in the baking soda. Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss well to coat.
    • Scrape the popcorn ¬†out onto the baking tray and lightly sprinkle with a touch of salt. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the caramel is completely dry and crunchy. Once done, set aside.
  5. Assembly:
    • Stack your cake on a cake stand and frost it with the buttercream. Drizzle the remaining caramel on the edges of the cake and then top the cake with a mountain of caramel popcorn!
    • Serve, share, and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake

BON APP√ČTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Homemade Doggie Treats

Homemade Doggie Treats

Hello Everyone! Hope you had a lovely weekend; I sure did! As hectic as it was, it was pretty great as I got to celebrate my Sister’s 21st Birthday on Sunday with my Mom and close family friends. For those who have been following my blog for a while now will surely say that today’s recipe is a bit odd in a way that it’s not something they’d think I would whip up in the kitchen I guess.

Alas, it’s because today is¬†an important day in the household – it’s Blacky’s 5th non-Birthday! For those of you who don’t know, Blacky is my beloved and well-behaved Mutt. He’s such a character, and a very smart dog I might add! We got him 5 years ago back in 2010 on this day when he was about 2-3 weeks old together with his brother, Browny (yes, we weren’t very creative with names). Unfortunately his brother passed away about 2 years ago because he was poisoned by our neighbours.

Homemade Doggie Treats

Anyway, I realised that for the past 4 years, I’ve never been around to treat my doggie something special for his non-Birthday as usually around this time I’m in my second term of uni in Australia. Now that I get to spend a birthday with him, I thought I’d do something nice for him today and bake him a batch of yummy homemade doggie treats! The original recipe can be found on The Kitchn.

A little note for Vidhya (and for anyone else who skips the recipe part when reading my blog): please scroll down and continue reading, there’s a little story for you at the end as well!

Homemade Doggie Treats Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | MAKES 15 TREATS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plain wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup melted bacon fat (or unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 small free range egg
  • Fried bacon bits

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix by hand until a dough starts to form. If the dough is still feeling a little bit sticky, add more flour. Likewise, if the dough is too stiff, add more bacon fat, butter, or water.
  3. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface, to a thickness of just under 1/2-inch. This is where you can get creative with your treats; you can cut them into 1×4-inch bars or use various cookie cutters to shape them. I wanted to make the treats bone-shaped but since I didn’t have a cutter, I shaped them each by hand – it took a while but I got there in the end.
  4. Transfer the treats to your prepared baking tray. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Once down, turn the heat off, flip the treats, and place back in the oven until the oven cools down (this will further crisp your treats). Remove from the oven and set the treats aside to completely cool.
  5. Treat your beloved doggie with these lovely homemade treats!

Homemade Doggie Treats Process

Homemade Doggie Treats

These doggie treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. With this recipe, I was able to make about 15 doggie treats, and about 5 small discs with the scraps of dough. I tried one of this discs myself and it was neither good nor bad, it just had no taste whatsoever for me personally. At this point, I was a bit scared that I spent all this time making these treats for Blacky just for him to ignore them and not eat them because of their tasteless state. So when I baked them yesterday afternoon, I tried to feed him two of the small discs. He was outside lying down, being lazy. I was able to put one in his mouth, but instead of chewing on it, he dropped it on the floor. I picked it up and tried to feed it to him again, but he did the same thing. I then put the two little discs on his two front paws and went back inside the house.

Five minutes later, I peaked through the window; he hadn’t moved and the treats were still on his paws. I went back outside and tried to feed it to him again and this time he chewed on them, and it was a sort of oh-my-gosh-this-is-actually-so-yum kind of chew. When he was done with the first treat, he looked for the other treat that I had in my other hand. I fed it to him and he was still looking for more after he was done! So really, I knew before hand that he definitely liked his non-Birthday present ūüôā

Happy Birthday Blacky
the rain was coming down really heavily and there was a bit of thunder and lightning which was why Blacky looked scared in the photo on the right – my poor baby. He did appreciate his treats though! He’s had 6 of them today alone!

Also before I sign off from tonight’s post, I am aware that it is indeed week 4 and the last week of Auguest for this year; do not fret! Tune in tomorrow and on Friday for my final guest blogger!

BON APP√ČTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

Happy Birthday Angela

Hello Everyone! Today won’t be a Review Sunday as I have a special post for you tonight! Today is my sister, Angela’s, 21st Birthday! I can’t believe that she is my not-so-little sister anymore!¬†How time flies by so quickly. I’m glad that after 4 years of being away, I get to spend today with you! Hope you have the most wonderful of birthdays and hope you like my cake that I made for you! Lots of love, Ate Ally ‚̧

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

I have never made this cake before, and unlike the original recipe, she uses plain all-purpose flour while I used plain wholemeal flour. The reason? I didn’t have enough plain flour and I didn’t want to go out to the grocers to buy more, plus I still had a brand new pack of wholemeal flour and decided to give that a go! It still tasted great, but the cake was a bit crumbly when I cut into it, but maybe it was because I may have over measured the flour a bit (as Sally says not to in her recipe… Oops)! Check out the original recipe from one of my favourite bakers: Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake batter

  • 230g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 large free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups¬†plain wholemeal flour, sifted
  • 1 & 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp wholemeal flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • Zest and juice of 3 medium-sized lemons

*Rather than purchasing a whole carton of buttermilk from the store and worrying about what to do with the leftovers before it starts to go bad in the fridge, making your own buttermilk is as simple as 1, 2, 3. Simply measure 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (alternatively you can use white vinegar) in a measuring cup and then fill the rest up with full cream milk until you reach 1 full cup. Stir it around, let sit for 5 minutes, and it will be ready to use!

For the zesty cream cheese frosting

  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/2 cups confectioners‚Äô sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice

To decorate

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Lemon slices and zest

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (about 350F or gas mark 4). With a little bit of butter, grease the bottom and sides of three 8.5-inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. Make the cake batter:¬†Using a electric handheld or stand mixer beat the butter on high until creamy (takes about a minute), then add the granulated and brown sugars. Continue to¬†beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract, and beat on medium for a further 2 minutes until the mixture is well¬†combined. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.¬†Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the wholemeal flour, baking powder, and salt, and toss together. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed for about 5 seconds, and then add in the buttermilk, lemon juice, and zest. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined.
  4. Spoon half of the batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans. If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw as they will bleed into your cake batter. Toss the blueberries in about a tablespoon of flour as well ‚Äď this way they won‚Äôt burst inside and turn your cake purple. Divide the blueberries equally between the three cake pans. Top with the remaining batter equally between the three.
  5. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took about 30 minutes, and I even left it in the oven for a further 5 minutes with the heat off. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Make the frosting: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until smooth. Then beat in the confectioners’ sugar and a few frozen blueberries.
  7. Assemble:¬†Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread with about 1/3 cup of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and again spread with another third of the frosting. Top with the last layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh blueberries, lemon slices and zest, and a touch of confectioners’ sugar.¬†Store in the fridge before serving. Enjoy!

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake Process

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

BON APP√ČTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello Everyone! As I already mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have a very special recipe for all of you today as today is my Mother’s 55th Birthday! Not only that, it is also my Cousin’s 35th Birthday! A very Happy Birthday to the both of them! Not only do they share the same birthday, but they also share the same-ish name. My mom’s name is Josephine, while my cousin’s name is Joseph; and my mother is also his godmother in both his baptismal and wedding. So yes, these two people are very important to me.

Happy Birthday Mom Josephine & Kuya JR
Happy Birthday to my mom Josephine & my cousin Joseph Russell! This is the latest photo that I could find of the two of them. This photograph dates back to December 2012 when my cousin JR got married. Kuya J, payat mo oh! Anyare? Hehehe.

To be completely honest, this cake has given me a lot of headaches to the point where I just had to redo everything again. The plan was to bake it the day before so that it would be in the fridge overnight; that obviously didn’t happened. Something went wrong in the batter; it was very pale and it looked like the batter and the eggs whites separated because when I took them out of the oven, the top half was very airy white the bottom half was cake-y. Since I had quite a tiring day yesterday, I gave up on baking the cake and decided to bake it early the next morning (today). The cake this time went well, I just mixed the batter very well and added some food colouring to bring out the purple a bit more.

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

However, today my frosting decided that it wanted to wreck havoc. The frosting was actually an experiment, because I wanted to incorporate mango into the cream cheese frosting somehow. The big mistake that I did was that I mixed the mango pur√©e together with the cream cheese and and butter instead of smoothening out the cream cheese and butter first. I ended up with a mess of what looked like really bad scrambled eggs. I tried so hard to save it, but in the end I started all over again. At one point I kind of just had about enough with this cake… But I told myself to carry on because it’s a special cake for my Mom’s Birthday! The flavours were all there, form the cake in the beginning, and even the frosting, but it would’ve ended up looking like a shit cake if I hadn’t redone the whole thing.

Anyway, all mishaps aside, the cake turned out to be pretty good! But what decided to ruin everything yet once again was the weather. It was pitch black and raining when I was about to do the final touches on the cake and I have no natural light to photograph my cake. I am so devastated. It was as if everything was trying to ruin this cake for me… Thank goodness that it was still a little bit bright outside, but I really had to put my ISO up and decrease my shutter speed to get some light!

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-35 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake batter

  • 2 & 1/2 cups¬†cake flour*
  • 1 cup¬†ube (purple yam), cooked and finely grated**
  • 1 cup¬†white sugar
  • 7¬†egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 7¬†egg whites
  • 3/4 cup¬†milk
  • 1/2 cup¬†corn syrup***
  • 1/2 cup¬†vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp¬†baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp¬†vanilla extract
  • Blue & red food colouring (optional)

For the frosting

  • 1 very ripe mangoes, pur√©ed
  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners‚Äô sugar

*I barely use cake flour, and if you so happen as to not have cake flour in your pantry, you can substitute 1 cup of cake flour with 2 tablespoons of corn flour place into a measuring cup and then filling it with plain flour all the way to the 1 cup mark.

**Place the ube (leaving its skin on) in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how big it is, or until tender. Peel off its skin and then grate.

***If you’re like me and you don’t have corn syrup sitting in your pantry because you barely use it anyway, you can substitute corn syrup by dissolving 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in 1/4 cup of boiling water.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 165C (325F or gas mark 3). Grease three 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter and set aside.
  2. Ube Cake: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the grated ube into a large bowl and mix together with the milk and vanilla extract; gradually mix into the ube until it is smooth. Then add in the corn syrup, egg yolks, and oil. Mix together and then add in the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in the sugar, then red and blue food colouring (optional), while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in a third of the egg white mixture into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to wire racks to cool down completely.
  7. Mango Cream Cheese Frosting: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup in a small bowl until smooth. Then beat in the confectioners’ sugar, and then fold in the mango purée.
  8. Assembly: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and trim the tops so that they are level. spread with about 1/4 cup of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and spread another 1/4 cup of and frosting. Finally, top with the last layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the cake trimmings and store in the fridge before serving. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Mom Josephine

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

BON APP√ČTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Hello Everyone! Today I have a special post for you as today is my not so little sister’s 19th birthday! Today is also the first time in 4 years that I have been home to celebrate with her and the rest of the family. If you have been following my blog since September last year, you would know that I started getting into baking cakes. I never really liked baking cakes to be honest, only because I find it very time consuming and my level of patience does have a limit. Since I started baking cakes, my Mom and sisters now prefer a homemade birthday cake instead of an expensive and clich√© store-bought cake. So on Sunday, with the help of the birthday girl, we baked her birthday cake together. We baked it on Sunday even though her birthday is today. Why? Well only because tomorrow we’ll be off for a 1-month vacay to the Philippines, and if we had baked it today, leftovers would be sitting in the fridge until April.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Today’s cake recipe has been slightly adapted from, and can be found on¬†Joanne Eats Well With Others. As you have already read from the title, it is a 3-layer pistachio cake with honey vanilla buttercream. I decided to add the strawberries and crushed pistachios on top to bring some life and colour to the presentation of the cake. I substituted some ingredients, such as instead of using cream of tartare, I used lemon juice instead. I barely use cream of tartare in my baking and buying a jar of it didn’t seem very economical as I know it’ll just sit in the pantry waiting for its expiry date. Also, instead of cake flour, also because I barely use it, I used plain flour combined with cornstarch instead.¬†The easiest way to do this¬†substitution¬†is to put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup as usual with plain¬†flour¬†and level the top. In addition, I lessened the amount of sugar and butter in this recipe and it still turned out fine for me! I am not a huge fan of overly sweet desserts, and also I had to take into consideration my Mom who is a diabetic.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Before I move on to the recipe, I HIGHLY recommend that you buy shelled pistachios. We went to four different grocery stores and could not find any and so we decided to buy the shelled ones. It took forever to shell just over a cup of pistachios – thank goodness I had my Mom and my sisters to do the tedious job while I worked on the batter. Also, have a food processor handy, but if you’re like me and don’t own one, then all you need is a motor and pestle to bash it all up as well as grinding it. It takes time but it gets the job done. I think that’s why towards the end of this cake I was starting to lose a little bit of my patience because everything took longer to do! But hurray for a gas oven! I cannot stress how much I hated using the oven at the Doncaster Lodge. Everything took at least double or triple the normal time to cook!

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake
  • 3 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, plus extra for decorating
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large free range egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 5 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp¬†lemon juice
For the buttercream
  • 300g¬†unsalted butter, soft, cut into small pieces
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup thickened cream
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C or gas mark 3. Grease three 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter.
  2. For the Cake Batter: Using a food processor, pulse the pistachios until coarsely chopped. Remove half of the pistachios and transfer to a small bowl. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they are an almost powder-like consistency.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk together both the roughly chopped and fine pistachios with the plain flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  4. Cream the butter using an electrical mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy for about another 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add in the egg, mixing until just combined.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour+pistachio mix to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
  6. In a medium, clean bowl whisk together the egg whites with the lemon juice until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let them completely cool.
  9. For the Buttercream: Meanwhile, as the cakes are cooling down, whisk together the flour and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Then, add in the milk and cream, and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil and then thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Transfer the hot milk mixture to a large bowl and mix on high speed until cool, about 9 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is full incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy for a further few minutes. Then add in the vanilla and honey, and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, chill it in the freezer for a while and then mix again.
  11. Assembly: Place one cake layer top side up on a serving platter. Use a long serrated knife to cut the top so that it is flat and even. Spread a little over a cup of frosting on top. Add the next later and, again, trim so that it is flat. Top with another cup of frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and trim the top again. Spread cake with a very thin layer of frosting for the crumb coating. Put in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

BON APP√ČTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ferrero Rocher & Nutella Cake with Hazelnuts

Ferrero Rocher & Nutella Cake with Hazelnuts

Hello Everyone! I would like to dedicate today’s post to my partner in crime, my matchy-matchy twin, and all round foodie & gym/boxing buddy, Maria the Mew (also known as Jialing), the happiest of birthdays! Happy Birthday my love, and I hope you had a most fantabulous day today! Hope you also liked my essay-like birthday card and present that I got for you ūüôā

Though it wasn’t a particularly sunny day, we celebrated an early birthday on Saturday afternoon at Coogee Beach with lots of cake, dessert, drinks, and food. Oh and BARBECUE! Then ending the night at Beach Burrito Company with some margaritas and tequila. We also celebrated her birthday today by having dinner at Pizza e Birra on Crown Street at Surry Hills and having left over cake and flan for dessert.

Ferrero Rocher & Nutella Cake with Hazelnuts

So today’s recipe can originally be found on Better Baking Bible, and was actually baked by Jialing while I assisted in preparing the decorations for her cake. I also helped crush the hazelnuts and slap them on to the sides of the cake. On¬†Friday night after work for the both of us, Jialing came over to my place to bake her cake while I made flan for her birthday celebration the next day. We actually started making stuff at around 7pm and seriously did not finish making her cake until about 1am. We honestly had no idea where all the time went – we didn’t even get to bake her quiche as planned originally. Well, we did have an hour and a half or so of a dinner break in between.¬†I mean honestly, this is how I’ve spent two Friday nights in a row – baking until 1am (my birthday cake last week).

I also think time went into having to make another batch of cake batter and waiting for that to cool down as well. The original recipe actually says to split¬†the¬†cake into 2 even layers, however when we took the cakes out of the oven, they looked like an okay size for a single layer and would appear to be too skinny if we had sliced them in half. So Jialing decided to make another batch of batter for just one more layer to make a three layer cake (two is never enough, and honestly probably wouldn’t look as epic). I have adjusted the quantities from the original recipe specifically to Jialing’s cake, as well as adding extra ingredients such as hazelnuts into half of the frosting mixture.

Ferrero Rocher & Nutella Cake with Hazelnuts

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 25-30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake

  • 10 large free range eggs
  • 3 cups hazelnut meal
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder

For the frosting

  • 300g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 & 1/4 cups dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 & 1/2 cup wafer biscuits, crushed
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup¬†roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For decorating

  • 8 Ferrero Rocher Chocolates
  • 3/4 cups roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (some whole)
  • 1 packet (125g) vanilla wafers, crushed (reserve some whole)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Butter three 8-inch round pans.
  2. Cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Mix in the hazelnut meal and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whip the eggs and sugar using an electric mixer on high, for about 5 minutes (when it has tripled in size). Slowly mix in the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and then divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when pierced. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling wire rack to completely cool down before frosting.
  3. Frosting: Add the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and melt the microwave, stopping every few seconds to stir and prevent the chocolate from burning. Once melted, remove and allow to slightly cool to room temperature. Transfer the chocolate to a mixing bowl and whip together with the unsalted butter, Nutella, and vanilla extract until well combined. Take half of the frosting mixture and place it into another bowl and stir in the crushed roasted hazelnuts.
  4. Assembly: Place the wafer biscuits in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Place the first layer of the cake onto a round cake board. Spread with half of the hazelnut frosting mixture of the frosting and sprinkle with some of the crushed wafers. Repeat for the remaining layer.
  5. Decorating: Cover the whole cake and sides with the plain chocolate frosting. Press the roughly chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake and decorate the top of the cake accordingly or however you wish to. Serve!

Ferrero Rocher & Nutella Cake with Hazelnuts

Ferrero Rocher & Nutella Cake with Hazelnuts

BON APP√ČTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Hello Everyone! I just want to start off by saying that I AM FINALLY DONE WITH MY DEGREE! Well, more like I am free from formal classes FOREVER for my Bachelor of Design degree! I’m still not entirely free as I still have my internship to complete until mid-Fenruary next year. This just means that I will have more time to spend in the kitchen, cooking up meals and experimenting with recipes. It will also give me more time write up these recipes for my blog, which makes me happy! So to keep this blog up to date on a regular basis, I have decided to run an upload schedule every Tuesday & Thursday nights. Tuesday posts will feature Muffin Making Monday recipes every two weeks, while Thursdays will predominantly be for other recipes and reviews.

Yesterday was Muffin Making Monday, but I will save that recipe for Thursday’s blog post as today will be a special one. For those of you who don’t know me personally, my birthday was 2 days ago. I celebrated my 23rd with my closest friends from uni, from primary/highschool friends from Brunei, and old/new housemates. On the Saturday I hosted a high tea & water balloon party just at the lodge – cheese & deli platters, quiches, salads, sangria, scones, and tea! Oh and of course, how could I fail to mention Red Velvet Cheesecake? Despite that everything went well, we probably spent close to 4/5 hours making water balloons that only lasted less than two minutes. Barely any of us got wet, well, I was soaking because I took a bucket of water to the head and got sprayed with the hose after stupidly approaching Marissa to genuinely lend her my slippers because ‘her feet hurt’.

On Sunday, which was my actual birthday, I celebrated with more friends at the Potting Shed at the Grounds of Alexandria. We had drinks, lots of food, and always room for some self-saucing chocolate pudding! Afterwards, we roamed around the grounds, looking at more food stalls and the on-going markets. We visited Kevin Bacon (the pig) as well and apparently it was also his birthday weekend! After the Grounds, Zargham, Jialing, and I went to the Ritz Cinema Randwick to watch Interstellar – 10/10! Brilliance is all I can say. Yvonne then join us afterwards for dinner in Kingsford and that was basically the end of a perfectly sunny spring/summery birthday weekend.

Though the weekend was perfect, can’t say the same for the week that led up to it. I had a photography assignment due the Monday of that week. Pretty much all the photographing was done – it was coming up with a bloody concept that took forever – but in the end, I got there and was able to convince my tutor for my choices. On Thursday afternoon, I decided to get a start on making my Red Velvet Cheesecake, basically just the sponge so that I would have it ready and cooled to layer with the cheesecake the next day. On the night before my celebration at home, I had a 2000w essay that needed finishing. I also had work that morning so it was indeed a stressful day/night. Once I was done and over with that essay, I submitted it online at 11:57pm and contemplated on whether I should start my Red Velvet Cheesecake or do it early morning. Knowing that I would probably end up sleeping in until very late, I decided to make my cheesecake right after submitting. And so I did. I probably started at around 12:30am and didn’t finish until an hour later (considering I had to be quiet as to not disturb my the other tenants in the house). Placed it in the fridge and went to bed happy that the cheesecake was done and setting (kind of) overnight in the fridge. The next day, Jo Yee helped me make the frosting while Jialing frosted and decorated the cake while I was busy preparing all the other foods, setting up, and lending my face to Daniel to make me pretty (not that I wasn’t pretty to begin with). But enough babble, as I’m pretty sure Vidhya has read enough to last her until Thursday, let’s get on with the recipe!

The original recipe can be found on Jamie Oliver’s Foodtube that features Eric Lanlard & Donal Skehan. I stumbled across this video on Youtube about 2 months ago and bookmarked it for I instantly knew that this was the cake I wanted to make for my birthday.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Ingredients

Red Velvet Cheesecake Ingredients

Red Velvet Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS* | COOKING TIME 35-40 MINS | SERVES 8-10

*Add extra 4 hours (or overnight) for chilling and assembling

INGREDIENTS

For the red velvet cake mix (double quantities if you want to make a 2-layer cake)

  • 185g butter, at room temperature, plus extra melted, to grease
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup¬†plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp red food colouring
  • 1/4 tsp¬†baking soda

For the cheesecake filling

  • 300ml double cream, whipped
  • 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp gelatine powder

For the cheesecake frosting

  • 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 60g butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare cake tin by slightly greasing the bottom and sides, and adding a piece of baking paper at the bottom of the tin.
  2. Red Velvet Cake Mix:¬†Sift the baking soda, cocoa powder, plain flour, self-raising flour into a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Meanwhile in a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar using an electric handheld mixer. Mix until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and beat on slow speed, making sure that it’s all blended in. Add the flour mixture into egg mixture and gently fold it in. Finally, add in the buttermilk and red food colouring. Mix together. Transfer the mixture to your prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool down for about 20 minutes. Trim the tops of the sponge cake, saving the trimmings to decorate with later.
  3. Cheesecake Filling: Combine the cream cheese and caster sugar using a handheld electric mixer until it is nice and smooth. Add in the lemon juice and combine further. In a small bowl, add the gelatine powder to the hot water and mix through until it is well dissolved. Straight away add the gelatine mix to the cream cheese mix and combine. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix until well combined.
  4. Assembling: Line a springform cake tin with cling film. Take one layer of the red velvet sponge and gently press down. Add about a quarter of the cheesecake filling to the tin, pushing it all the way to the sides to get a nice edge. Add the second layer of sponge, again pressing down gently, and add the remaining cheesecake filling. Fold in the cling film to give it a nice smooth edge, and place in the fridge to fully set (minimum 4 hours, but preferably overnight so that it is nice a firm).
  5. Cream Cheese Frosting: Smooth the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together using an electric handheld mixer. Fold in the icing sugar, and then use the mixer again to beat it until it is light and fluffy.
  6. Assembly & Decoration: Gently remove the cake from the springform and place the cake on a plate. With a palette knife, push the icing on top of and around the edges of the cake to make a nice thin layer of frosting. To bring some colour back to it, take your sponge trimmings and crumble it on the top and edges of your cake. Lightly dust some icing sugar on the top of the crumbs and it is ready to serve!

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Happy Birthday to me (Allison)

BON APP√ČTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Hello Everyone and welcome back to reading another blog post! So this recipe was actually made (and consumed) yesterday, but I would like to take this opportunity to tell you all what the cake was for. Basically last week when Jialing and I were having our lava cake bake off session, Lydia asked if I was free next week (which was yesterday), to make a chocolate cake for her birthday (which is today, Sunday). So first off, Happy 21st Birthday once again to my housemate and friend, Lydia! So on Thursday, I was going through chocolate cake recipes to make, and I came across this one on Taste. Chocolate and Salted Caramel – the ultimate flavour sensation! Jialing, and most specifically the birthday girl, were happy with this selection. So Saturday morning, Lydia and I met up with Jialing at Kingsford, had a gigantic lunch, and then headed over to Maroubra Junction to do our grocery shoppings, and also of course cake ingredient shopping. While shopping – may I just point out, we saw a tub of ready made salted caramel. We debated over whether we should just buy one, and I made the call to just make our own caramel – I mean why not? We were already making the cake from scratch!

Got home and immediately started on the cake because we knew it was going to take a while. Of course, Lydia was on dry ingredient duty, Jialing took over the wet, while I helped Lydia with the dry. Popped the mixture in the oven, and then it was onto the salted caramel. Seriously, so many problems with this, but nonetheless, it tasted #amazeballs. Also, while I was working on this, Jialing and Lydia started to prep the frosting for the cake. Also, somewhere in-between all that, Vidhya, our acting supervisor (not really) sat around and watched the chaos unfold in the kitchen – okay she did help a little bit as well before going back to sleep again (after having just woken up from her slumber). It was then more or less time to take the cakes out of the oven, left to cool, and then assemble! We assembled the first two layers and then, disaster struck. Our top layer wasn’t cooked all the way through so we had to pop it back into the oven. Once we got it out of the oven, we still had to wait for it to cool down. While that was happening, we left everything to where it was and headed out to get a take out dinner. We were so engrossed in our cake making session that we totally forgot about dinner! So went to the Indian place nearby and got dinner for 6 – by then Abdullah, Marissa, and Vidhya (when she woke up) joined us.

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

We then assembled the cake. Once that was done and over with, we had Vidhya distract Lydia so that we could put candles on her cake (which by the way she was not expecting). It was hilarious because whatever Vidhya needed doing was basically a one-man job turned two/three person job just to keep Lydia distracted and away from the dining room for a bit. When she finally walked back into the dining room, she was SO happy and even had a little jump/skip when she saw the candles on her cake. Priceless moment. We then took photos, sang happy birthday, had more housemates join us, ate cake, drank wine, and had a good time. So yes, if you took the time to read all that, thank you! And if you are just here for the recipe, fear not, it begins here…


Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake Ingredients

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-35 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 & 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 395g can caramel*
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp if using¬†concentrated¬†extract)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp sea salt rocks
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Sea salt rocks, to decorate (optional)

For the chocolate frosting

  • 400g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cocoa powder, sifted

*If you read all of the above before scrolling down to the recipe, I actually made my own salted caramel which I will be uploading the recipe to tomorrow (hopefully), so stay tuned for that!

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease three 9″¬†round disposable aluminium tins (we didn’t have cake pans to work with so we bought these instead, and since they came in a pack of three, we made a three-layer cake instead).
  2. Sift flours, sugar, cocoa, baking of soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and 1 cup cold water. Combine using a spatula. Then, using and electrical mixer, beat the mixture over medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand in pans for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, gather ingredients for your salted caramel while waiting for your cakes to cook (if making from scratch).
  5. Chocolate Frosting: Whisk the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl until the cocoa powder has dissolved. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate, then cocoa mixture until combined.
  6. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes. Then, transfer the base of 1 cake to a plate. Spread with 1/3 of the caramel. Top with another cake layer and spread with 1/2 of the remaining caramel. Repeat layering with 1 cake layer and remaining caramel mixture. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread top and sides of cake with chocolate frosting. Serve!

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

You can’t really see the layers of caramel in-between because while we were assembling we realised that the top layer wasn’t cooked all the way through. So while waiting for that to bake away in the oven, on top of getting take out and eating dinner, the caramel that was on the other layers of cake either seeped into the cake or dripped over the sides. Sad times, but still oh so decadent in flavour!

Happy Birthday Lydia

Once again, Happy Birthday Lydia! ‚̧

BON APP√ČTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Diabetic-friendly Chocolate Lava Cake

Diabetic-friendly Chocolate Lava Cake

Happy Birthday Mom!
Here‚Äôs to another year. Happy Birthday to the strongest woman I know; my chef, my role model, my bestfriend, my queen, Mama G. Thank you for making me into the person that I am today. Thank you for supporting me in my decisions. Thank you for being kind and generous to my sisters and myself. Thank you for feeding me and most of all thank you for teaching me how to cook! Thank you for everything. I love you ‚̧

Today (May 1st) as you can see, is my mother’s birthday. Unfortunately for the past four years, I have not been able to celebrate with her and the family back home being away for university. But today I decided to bake her a cake, a chocolate lava cake. A diabetic-friendly chocolate lava cake. For her birthday. Even though she’s not here to eat it.

I initially looked at this recipe by theurbanbaker¬†but changed the portions slightly to make 2 chocolate lava cakes (I had to eat them all in the end since my Mom isn’t actually here to eat it with me, and 4 seemed a bit too much to handle for me).

Diabetic-friendly Chocolate Lava Cake

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 6-7 MINS | MAKES 2 CAKES

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the ramekins
  • 50g Nestl√© 70% cocoa dark chocolate for cooking, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar substitute (in this case I used Equal)
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 230C. Grease the ramekins with room temperature butter and light dust with sifted cocoa powder.
  2. Add the chocolate and butter to a small bowl. Melt in the microwave for about a minute. Stir until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl beat the egg, egg yolk and sugar substitute together until lightened in colour and thickened. Add the chocolate mix and stir until smooth and combined. Stir in the flour and divide between the ramekins.
  4. Bake for about 6-7 minutes. The sides will be cooked but the centre will be soft.
  5. Invert onto a plate and wait 10 seconds before sliding the ramekin off. The cake will fall into place. Light dust with confectioners sugar, garnish with a strawberry and serve with a glass of chilled St. Andrew’s Pink Moscato (optional).

Diabetic-friendly Chocolate Lava Cake

BON¬†APP√ČTIT!

– Ally xx

myTaste.com