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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chocolate Bundt Cake

I've been baking quite a bit for the past few weekends.  All due to my SIL, her hubby and her little son are back for 2 months vacation.  They are going home next week and this is my last weekend to bake something for them.  Good times always end faster that we wish for. Sigh! With them around, I can bake as much as I want to cos there are more people to share the goodies with.

I baked this wonderful, wonderful Chocolate Bundt last weekend.  One of the ingredient, is the mayonaise.  Yup. Mayonnaise.  I've read recipes that uses mayonnaise in cakes but I had my reservations to how it will taste like.  So, don't ask me why this time I decided to bake one with mayonnaise, but I did.  And I'm very glad I did it!  This cake is sooooo's so moist and dense and very spongy-like.  Love the texture.  All of us fell in love with this cake at the very first bite!

I always have a problem in finishing a jar of mayonnaise.  I would purchase it just because at some point or other, need it to spread on some sandwich filling and after that, it will end up in the fridge.  It will somehow got further and further away at the back of the fridge and will be forgotten until one day it will be 're-discovered' again.  Then by that time I realized that it has expired and got to throw them away.  Such waste! And yet, I will do it again and again and, huh! I've got just the right recipe to finish the whole jar and not waste one single drop of it! Better still, the next time I buy one, I'll get a bigger jar!

Here's the recipe:
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 180d celcius.  Spray 6 mini or 1 20cm bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Beat buttermilk, brown sugar, mayonnaise and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Gradually add flour mixture; beat 2 mins or until well blended.  Stir in 1/2 cup choc chips.
3. Spoon batter into pan(s) and bake for 20 mins or until done. Cook cakes in pans for 15 mins; invert onto wire rack to cool.
4. Place remaining 1/2 cup choc chips in small bowl.  Heat cream in small saucepan over low heat until bubbles form around edge of pan; pour over chips. Let stand 5 mins; stir until smooth. Cool until slightly thickened; drizzle over cake.

Take my word for it - you'll love this! Go ahead and try.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Braised Pork and Drunken Chicken

First of all, I'd like to share with you a pork dish which my hubby's late grandma taught me.  Braised Pork Belly.  This is one great dish and you can eat this with hot fluffy white rice or steam bun (mantau).

Braised Pork Belly

Serves 4-5 pax
1 kilo pork belly strips (do not cut)
Marinade: 2 tbsp dark soya sauce, salt, dash of white pepper, sugar and rice wine. (you can add more salt or sugar or rice wine if needed)
Spices: 1 tsp cloves, 4-5 star anise, 3 whole bulbs garlic with skin intact.

1. Marinade the pork belly with the marinade sauce for about 2 hours.
2. In a big saucepan or wok, boil 1 cup of water.  Once boil, add in the spices and garlic.
3. Add in the pork and let simmer for about an hour or until pork is tender.  (You can add more water if the sauce gets too dry).  Add light soya sauce and sugar to taste.
To serve, slice the pork.

Drunken Chicken (Chuay-Kai)

This is one yummy 'soupy' chicken dish.  It's called Drunken Chicken because it has lots of rice wine.  I do mean alot!  This is usually prepared for confinement period for new mothers to rejuvenate their health.  I don't have to wait for confinement to eat this..heehee..Here's how it's prepared.

1 chicken cut into small pieces
8-10 black mushrooms - soaked and halved
3/4 cup wolfberries (kei chee)
2-3 (2inch) old ginger - julienne
500 ml rice wine (depends on how strong of the wine taste that you like)
1-2 cups water
salt to taste

1. Heat some oil in the stock pot. Fry the ginger till slightly brown.
2. Add in the chicken and fry for a minute or two.
3. Add water, mushrooms, wolfberries, rice wine and salt.
4. Let boil till chicken is cooked through.

Serve with white rice.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Butterfly Blueberry Cupcakes

I enjoy decorating cakes and cupcakes.  I like to experiment them with various types of frosting.  Although it's time consuming and kinda messy, I love doing this.  Probably it's like my 'baking & decorating' therapy for a stressful week in the office!  Whatever you call it, my family and neighbour get to taste them.  At least they are happy with it.

This time, I tried my hands at making chocolate butterflies which I did a day earlier.  What you need to do is, just melt the dark chocolate to make the outline of the butterflies, and the filling for the wings, you can use any flavored colored chocolate that you like.  I bought mango chocolate a few weeks ago with the intention of making this.  Pipe in the outline (free hand) of the butterflies on a parchment paper, and fill them with the colored chocolate.  You must work quickly as the chocolate will get stiff and you will need to re-heat to melt it again.  Once you have your butterflies, keep them in a refrigerator to harden and then store it in a container until use. If you have little kids at home, well, good luck in saving enough of them for your cuppies!

For the frosting, I used buttercream (the yellow one) and cream cheese (the white one).  Both are great for these cupcakes.  

I piped chocolate outlines with the extra chocolate and they are so simple to make.  You can pipe any shapes that you want.  All you need is to don on your creative hat and start working on your design.

 The blueberries tastes wonderful and cake is so soft!

Here's the recipe for the cupcake:
Makes 24 regular cupcakes:

375 g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter
200g sugar (I used 125g)
2 eggs
240ml milk or single cream
135g blueberries (lightly mashed with 1 tbsp water)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180d C.
2. Mix dry ingredient together and set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer till light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well at each addition.
4. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk or cream.
5. Add the blueberries and fill the cupcake cases with 2/3 full and bake till done.
Frost as desired and place the butterflies.

Butterflies:  Do the wings together with the antenna separately.  To assemble, place mini choc chips in the center for the body and place the wings at the sides.  Angle the wings sideways and support them with mini choc chips below the wings.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream & Strawberries

A friend of mine ordered these as a gift for two of his 'girlfriends'.  Wish he has more girlfriends then he can order more..! haahaa..anyway, picture says a thousand words..don't you agree?  Today's post, I let the picture says it all! Enjoy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Victoria Sandwich Cake

A special request from my sis in-law to bake her the classic Victoria Sandwich Cake.  To tell you the truth, I have never tasted one myself. there I went, searching for the recipe and found this in the Australian Women's Weekly Old Fashioned Favourites Cookbook.  This cookbook is one of the few collection that I own which I like best. Most of the bakes that I have tried from this cookbook turned out well.  So, even though this is my first try at baking this cake, I know that it will not be a disappointment.  And I was right.  My family love this and from the first bite, it became their favourite next to my Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

It's so easy to make and I wonder how come I've never thought of baking this before....My SIL likes hers with fresh cream and pureed strawberry filling.  This is definitely a cake to indulge in if you are a fan of butter cake. It's not dense or oily although it uses quite a bit of butter.  It's quite light and the strawberry whip cream filling goes well with the cake.  This is absolutely delicious.  I'm glad my SIL made this request or else I will never 'discover' just how delicious this cake is.  So simple and yet..mmm..mmm..!! So here it is and I hope she likes it.

Recipe below makes 1 cake:
(I made 1 1/2 recipe which yields 2 cakes and split each into half.)

250g butter softened
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
2 cups self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla

1. Cream butter with sugar and vanilla till light and fluffy. 
2. Add in eggs 1 at a time and mix well.
3. Fold in the flour in 2 batches and mix well.  Pour into prepared two 20cm pans and bake at pre-heated oven at 180d celsius for 25 mins or until done.
4. Once cake is cooled, sandwich the cake with strawberry filling and sprinkle 2 tablespoon of icing sugar on it.

Filling: Strawberries (about 8 large fruits) pureed.
           1 cup whipping cream
           2 tablespoon icing sugar
Beat whipping cream with the icing sugar till soft peak. Then add in the pureed strawberries and beat for another 2 mins.  Keep chilled until use.