Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Hello Everyone! Yes, I am aware that it is a Sunday and it’s not my regular posting day. It’s just that today is a very special day because today I would like to wish the Happiest of Birthdays to the woman I call my Mother. My greatest wish is to grow up and become just like you. Thank you for all of your strength, advice, and of course your impeccable cooking skills that has helped me become the person I am today. Love you ❤

Happy Birthday Mama G 2016
My Mom & I at Bondi Beach, Bondi, NSW last June 2015

For the Month of May, I thought about sharing recipes, both savoury & sweet, that include mangoes since they have been in season since last month – but I will get into this theme for Wednesday’s post. Since we’re praising mangoes, I decided to bake a Moist Mango Pound Cake for my Mom’s 56th Birthday today. It’s actually not as grand as the cakes I’ve made for past birthdays, and it’s only because I wanted something quick and simple, yet still very tasteful since I had work commitments earlier on the day. I woke up early this morning to have breakfast and then got cracking on baking the cake before I took my shower and headed out to the venue for work. So I guess it was safe to say that I had a very hectic and busy morning, a lazy afternoon, and a night at Capers Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.

Moist Mango Pound Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 15 MINS | SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (or use heavy cream if not available)
  • 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Flesh of 2-3 mangoes, puréed* (yielding about 3/4 cups)
  • Fresh mangoes, diced
  • Confectioners’ sugar

*Purée your mangoes by adding them to a blender with about a tablespoon of water to ease the blending process. Pulse until smooth.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 170C (325F or gas mark 3). Prepare a 7″ round pan (or square) by rubbing some butter and flour on the base and sides of the pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until it turns pale yellow in colour – it should be creamy and not gritty in texture (sugar fully dissolved).
  4. Add in one egg at a time, beating on low well after each addition. Then add in the coconut cream, vanilla extract, and mango purée. Continue beating on medium for a good 4 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and has good volume.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, about a third at a time, folding it in gently after each addition. Be careful as to not over mix your batter, use gentle strokes until the flour is just moistened.
  6. Transfer the batter to your prepares baking pan and bake in the oven for 60-75 minutes or until the cake is golden brown in colour and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Loosen the edges with a knife and transfer the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool down. Once cooled, top your cake with some fresh diced mango and some confectioners’ sugar. Serve and enjoy!

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Advertisement
Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Hello Everyone! If you’ve been following my blog from the very beginning, then you’ll know that today is a very special day indeed! My blog officially turns 2 years old today! My how time has flown by so quickly! I’m sure most of you know the story of how I came around to starting up my blog – but for those new comers out there, here is the story again:

I started up this food blog exactly two years ago during spring break, and instead of slaving away on the many assignments/projects I had at that time, I decided to spontaneously start up a blog, out of pure procrastination really. I wasn’t sure of how long I’d be able to keep up with this blog (because I have tried many times and failed), but I am happy that I am able to finally keep one up and running, even though I’m only posting once a week instead of 3 times a week like before I started working. on several occasions, I’d ask my Mom, “What would happen if I didn’t have a food blog?” And she would always reply the same way every time I asked her, “You’d be the most boring person ever.” Haha. Thanks. I definitely have her to thank for teaching me how to cook; well actually I’d like to say thanks to the fact that I got into a university away from home and family as it not only taught me how to be independent, it also showed me how bad I was at cooking for myself during my first year at uni.

Like last year, to celebrate my blog turning 2 today, I decided to bake a cake for this occasion. I actually did a test bake two weeks ago since this is the first time I was following this recipe – I didn’t want to fail miserably and have nothing to post for this special occasion. I’m glad I did that test bake because there was a major backfire *oops*. Well, it wasn’t such a huge backfire, but it was because it was a significant part of what binds the cake together so without it, the cake would’ve been pretty dry. I’m talking about the rose-scented cream here. The first try, I actually bought the wrong type of thickened cream – I bought the light thickened cream only because that’s what I saw on the shelf. So I whipped it for a good, I don’t know, probably a total of 15-20 minutes or so and it what not whipping at all. Then I realised it was because it was light cream which does have enough fat content to fully whip. So that was a fail, and by that time I was quite tired and frustrated over the cream that I decided to just leave it and try again the following week.

The second time around, I bought regular thickened cream and it whipped fine – too fine that I had over-whipped it and it became quite clumpy. You can actually rescue over-whipped cream by adding more cream, but at that time, I had poured the whole bottle of cream into the mixer. So what did I do? I had to ask my mom to drive me to the grocers again to buy more cream, and finally after the third attempt with this rose-scented cream, I managed to get it right! I didn’t want to waste the other batch of over-whipped cream and so I kept whipping it until it started to come together as homemade butter. After I had whipped it into butter, I had a taste of it and then realised that I had just made sweet rose-scented butter – which in my opinion was a bit ew since I’ve never tasted sweet butter with a hint of rose flavour in it. Haha! So yeah.

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Anyway, I took inspiration to bake this cake from one that I tried from Black Star Pastry when I was still living in Sydney. Since it’s debut into the world of pastries, it is known to be the most Instagrammed cake.  Also, the original recipes uses silvered pistachios, but I used pepitas instead. The only reason was that pistachios here for some reason are always brown, like not even green, and I didn’t want to put something brown to top of my beautiful cake so I went for green pepitas instead. Another thing, I couldn’t find rose petals anywhere here in Brunei. So, I decided to go through boxes of teas to read their labels, looking for any that had rose petals in them. I was lucky that one of the teas that I brought home from Sydney last year had rose petals in them!

Don’t forget to check out the recipe that I followed to make this cake over on Gourmet Traveller. You can get creative and make a cake in any shape you want. When I had this at Black Star Pastry, it was square in shape and probably no bigger than about 8cm x 8cm x 8cm in size (maybe). I made mine into round cakes (about 3 in total with this recipe) with a diameter of about 7.5cm.

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 3

*plus 1-2 hours of chilling time

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 seedless red grapes, sliced thinly
  • 250g seedless watermelon, about 0.5cm thick slices
  • 1 punnet (125g) strawberries, halved
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup rosewater
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp pepitas
  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals

For the Almond Dacquoise

  • egg whites
  • 2/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup pure icing sugar, sieved
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar

For the Rose-scented Cream

  • 100ml thickened cream
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp rosewater

METHOD

  1. For the almond dacquoise: Preheat oven to 200C. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground, then combine in a bowl with icing sugar. Whisk eggwhites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (3-4 minutes), then gradually add caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes). Gently fold through almond mixture, spread on a 30cm x 40cm oven tray lined with baking paper and bake until golden (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool on tray, and then using a round cutter, cut the dacquoise into 6 circles.
  2. For the watermelon layer: Cut the watermelon into half a centimetre thick rounds using the same cutter used to cut the dacquoise. Arrange watermelon rounds in a single layer on a wire rack. Sprinkle with 20ml rosewater, then scatter with 2 tbsp sugar. Stand to macerate (30 minutes), then pat dry with absorbent paper.
  3. For the rose-scented cream: Whisk cream and sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add rosewater and whisk until stiff peaks form (do not over-whisk!!!).
  4. Assembly: Staring with a watermelon slice as your base, spread about a tablespoon and a half of rose cream evenly over  it and then top with a layer of dacquoise. Scatter a pinch of almond meal and then top with more cream. Repeat, and then top of the last dacquoise layer with a bit of cream to hold the strawberry chunks, slices of grapes, and other toppings. Refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
  5. Serve and enjoy chilled!

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cassava Cake

Cassava Cake

Hello Everyone! Once again, apologies for another later than usual post. I just got home after doing some gift shopping for a friend’s wedding this Sunday, and a Secret Santa exchange gift on Monday. After my shopping spree, I had a nice and filling dinner with my Mom and sisters at Rack & Brew, a café cum boutique. I’ve always wanted to try out the food from this place since it opened late this year somewhere in September, and I finally got around to tonight.

For those of you who have been following my blog on a daily basis for the past week, you would’ve known that I made something called Pichi-Pichi on Sunday using grated cassava. Tonight, I’m going to share with you another cassava recipe in case you have any leftovers that you didn’t get around to using for your pichi-pichi. Some of the ingredients are similar (just that this requires less!), but what differentiates one from the other is the method of cooking. Pichi-Pichi is steamed, while tonight’s recipe for cassava cake is oven-baked. I do recommend that when you go out to buy cassava, buy a few kilos (up to 3 or 4 is sufficient), so that you can just peel and grate everything all in one go and cook it up in many different ways. Also, grated cassava freezes well for up to 3 months, just defrost before using.

Cassava cake is a classic Filipino dessert, or a hefty afternoon snack made from grated cassava and coconut milk. My Mom always makes hers with pure cassava (no added flour like the pre-made ones we find in the shops/restaurants where the ratio feels like 98% flour and 2% cassava), and fresh coconut milk squeezed from the flesh of a mature coconut. You may add more coconut milk on top of the cassava once it is baked about halfway through, or you can top with off with other favourites such as macapuno or a non-traditional topping such as custard. My Mom likes hers plain, and it tastes just as good.

Cassava Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS* | COOKING TIME 40-45 MINS | SERVES 8-10

*This assumes that you have grated cassava readily available (fresh or frozen).

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups grated cassava
  • 2 cups fresh coconut milk (from a can is fine as well)
  • 1 can (380g) condensed milk
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Grease 2 x 10″ square pans with a bit of butter. Set aside.
  2. Add all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and mix using a spatula until well combined.
  3. Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans and place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until the tops have browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool down a bit on a wire rack. Once they have cooled down slightly, cut them into medium-sized squares.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

Cassava Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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 🙂 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?! 😦 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 Pêche Fraîche – 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 APPÉTIT

– 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’ 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 – this way they won’t 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 APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2015: Brendon D'Souza

Brendon’s Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Hi Everyone! It’s Brendon from Brendon The Smiling Chef again with my second delicious dessert post as part of Amcarmen’s Kitchen’s Auguest series. It’s been a pleasure to be able to share my recipes with you, and next week you can visit my website to check out Ally’s mouthwatering recipes for Adobo and Sinigang.

Brendon's Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Here in Australia we often take for granted just how lucky we are to have an abundance of fresh, delicious food whenever we want it. On my travels to developing parts of India or Peru I saw firsthand the immense poverty and malnutrition that many people experience in their daily life. With populations on the rise, food is becoming an increasingly scarce and precious commodity. Back home in Sydney I’ve volunteered for a number of years with St. Vincent De Paul Society in their Vinnies Van appeal, providing fresh meals to people less fortunate. I’ve seen their struggle and this is why find it extremely difficult to hear that in the state of New South Wales alone (where I live) we throw away over 1.1 million tonnes of food each year! It’s a ridiculous amount and we really need to be more careful with our food consumption habits if we are to create a sustainable future for the generations to come.

The recipe I’d like to share with you today is part of a collection of recipes I like to call “Up-cycled Food”. The idea is simple – take your leftovers or parts of ingredients you would commonly throw away (such as parsley stalks or vegetable stems to name a few) and turn them into a delicious meal. At the end of my Cookies and Cream recipe from Tuesday’s post, I promised to show you what you can do with your leftover chocolate chip cookie dough. Sometimes I genuinely cannot be bothered to roll out a million tiny balls for individual cookies. Instead I press the dough into a cake tin or slice pan and bake it as one giant choice chip cookie. It still tastes absolutely delicious and much faster to make. You can either use your leftover cookie dough from Tuesday’s recipe (and simply skip straight to step 3) or make some more dough using the recipe below.

Brendon's Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-30 MINS | MAKES 2 GIANT COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C (325F or gas mark 3). Grease two 20cm spring form cake tins with butter and line with a disc of baking paper. Place each onto a baking tray and set aside.
  2. Place the butter and sugar and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy. Alternatively use electric hand beaters. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to form a smooth dough. Add the chopped chocolate stir to combine.
  3. Divide the dough in half and press into each cake tin using your fingertips.
  4. Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until for a soft, fudgy cookie. Increase cooking time to between 25-30 minutes for a firmer, biscuit-y texture. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  5. Cut into wedges and serve. Any leftover ganache from Tuesday’s recipe tastes delicious with these gooey cookies. Simply warm it up then drizzle for a full-on chocolate hit!

That wraps up things for me here at Amcarmen’s Kitchen. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this Auguest series. You can check out all my cooking and food blogging adventures at Brendon The Smiling Chef. While you’re there check out my Instagram page @brendonthesmilingchef.

Brendon's Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Recipe Copyright © 2015 | brendonthesmilingchef

Happy cooking and keep smiling,

Brendon D’Souza 🙂

myTaste.com

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Hello Everyone and Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there, and most especially to my mother. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know. Happy Mother’s Day to you Mumu; love you forever and always, even if we sometimes don’t see eye to eye.

Happy Mother's Day
There is nothing more sincere than a mother’s love for her children, and this picture clearly portrays your love for me while I care more about putting my hairband on for the picture (but really I’ve got my eye on the food).

Last week after my Mom’s birthday celebration (and that whole fiasco that I had with baking her cake), I asked her what she wanted me to bake for her for Mother’s Day, and I’m not gonna lie, but said aloud to her, “please not another cake” – the troubles of my mother being born a week before Mother’s Day. We both started thinking for a while, and then I remembered that I wanted to make this cake back when I was still in Sydney. Now I know I said no cakes, but this technically isn’t a massive layered cake, but instead, mini molten lava cakes.

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Somewhere back in July last year, I hosted a tea and scones party for some of my favourite ladies, and one male housemate. We had an assortment of tea of course, homemade scones, homemade strawberry jam, and homemade lemon curd. I had a lot of strawberry jam left over, but I had a way of finishing it by having it with toast in the mornings with a cup of tea. Lemon curd on the other hand I had no clue on how to consume it. I then searched for other recipes that used lemon curd, except for the obvious lemon meringue pie/tart since I am not a huge fan of meringue. I then came across this recipe and I instantly knew that this was the recipe that I was going attempt – but never got around to doing so. Reasons? I actually don’t remember. I think it was because the lemon curd had been sitting in the fridge for weeks and probably already off at the time I decided that I want to make these molten cakes. After that, I wasn’t bothered to make a whole new batch of lemon curd just for this dessert to happen. But now for Mother’s Day – I don’t see any better chance to have a go at these!

The original recipe can be found on The Gallery Gourmet and this recipe makes about 8 cakes but I guess differs on the size of your moulds/ramekins.

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 13-15 MINS | MAKES 4 CAKES

INGREDIENTS

  • 120g white baking chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Homemade Lemon Curd
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 large free range egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Accompaniments
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh raspberries

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7). Grease 8 ramekins with softened butter or non-stick baking spray.  Place them onto a baking tray and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and white chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 15 seconds (for a total of 60-90 seconds) until melted and smooth. Remove from the microwave and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, sugar and salt; mix well. Then add in the eggs, egg yolks, lemon curd, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and whisk until well blended. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins.
  4. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until the edges are just starting to to turn golden brown, and the centre is puffy and just beginning to set. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Run the tip of a paring knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them and then invert the cakes onto small dessert plates or dishes.
  6. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar, garnish with fresh raspberries, and serve with whipped cream.
  7. Share with the family (or friends) and enjoy!

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream Process

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

PS: I completely forgot about the whipped cream when I was photographing the cakes, and by the time I had the cream ready and whipped, I found out that my Mom and my sister had already dug into the perfect molten cake that I specifically set aside for my photograph (the other cakes weren’t as runny as the one I had opened for the photo). The whipped cream nicely balances out the sweetness and tartness of the cakes.

BON APPÉTIT

– 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 purée 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, puréed
  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ 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 APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake

Hello Everyone and welcome to a very special post as today officially marks the 1-year anniversary of my food blog! I started up this food blog exactly a year ago during spring break, and instead of slaving away on the many assignments/projects I had at that time, I decided to spontaneously start up a blog, out of pure procrastination really. Since it was quite spontaneous, I didn’t quite put much effort into it in the beginning, as in I wasn’t bothered to purchase my own domain name, and buy a theme and customise it. I wasn’t sure of how long I’d be able to keep up with this blog (because I have tried many times and failed). I am happy that I am able to finally keep one up and running, posting 3 times a week, almost.

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake

For the next few months or so, I will work on developing an aesthetic and a colour scheme for my blog that reflects who I am as a person – not just one who loves to cook and is passionate about all things food, but also my personality and my design style. The pink and brown was sort of a “yeah that will do for now” because it fit the default theme that I picked (which was more like “I prefer this theme that the others I’ve seen”). Anyway, so to celebrate my blog turning 1 today, I decided to bake a cake for this occasion. I wanted to bake a citrus poppyseed cake at first but for some reason, lemons were nowhere to be found in every supermarket and market that I went to. Instead, I found another recipe that stood out to me – Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake. Why I chose to attempt this cake was because I already had maple syrup in the fridge and CREAM CHEESE; like who could say no to cream cheese?!

The quantities from the original recipe that can be found on Taste of Home, makes two 6-inch round cake layers, but since my baking pans were about 8.5-inches, I decided to double the recipe until I realised that I should’ve tripled it when I poured the batter into the pans; they barely filled halfway. So I made another batch to top them off. Therefore, the quantities below have been tripled from the original to make two 8.5-inch round cake layers. Once again, Happy Anniversary to Amcarmen’s Kitchen!

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the cake batter

  • 2 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 170g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

For the frosting

  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • Toasted pecan halves, to decorate

*I could not find any buttermilk at the supermarket, so I made my own by using a tablespoon of white vinegar for every cup of milk. Set it aside for about 5 minutes for the milk to react to the vinegar. You can also substitute the vinegar for lemon juice.

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  2. Grease two 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter and set aside
  3. For the cake batter: Combine the plain flour, sugars, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, butter, syrup, and vanilla, and stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chopped pecans.
  4. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 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.
  5. For the 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.
  6. Assembly: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread with about 1/2 cup of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with toasted pecan halves and store in the fridge before serving. Enjoy!

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– 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 cliché 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 APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com