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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cocoa Cola Cake

Who doesn't like Coca Cola?  Anyone?  Well, if you don't then you make up for the odd one out.  Don't worry.  The taste of the cola is not strong in the cake but there is a mild taste of the cola in the icing.  When I asked my kids if they'd like coca cola cake, you know what their reaction were.

Actually I already knew what their answer would be..and I've to admit that I am curious on how the cake tastes like.  I have my reservations when I read the recipe but then, why not give it a try.  As usual, I've to adjust the sugar content as the cola is already sweet.  Don't want it too sweet that you don't get to taste the cake except sugar.

The cake itself doesn't taste much like cola but the fizzy liquid gives a certain boost of moisture and lightness to the cake.  Topped with marshmallows and then coated with chocolate cola frosting, oohh i tell you, it's just awesome.  This cake is now added to the family's list of 'favorite cakes baked by mom'!

2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar (reduce to 3/4 cup if plan to top with icing. If without icing, reduce to 1 cup)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - not Dutch process)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cola flavored soda, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Pre heat oven to 180dC, prepare 13 by 9 inch metal baking pan

1. In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar,cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Add eggs, butter, buttermilk and vanilla to flour mixture. Using electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 2 mins. Add cola and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Gently stir in marsmallows.
3. Spread batter in pan and bake for 30-35mins (mine is done after 1 hour as the batter is quite thin and takes longer time to bake). Let cool on wire rack.  Once cooled, spread icing over top and sprinkle with pecans.

Cola Icing
Makes 2 1/4 cups (550ml)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup cola flavor soda
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (i reduced to 3/4 cup which is already sweet.  If too runny, chill it until it thickens)
1 tbsp vanilla extract

In medium saucepan, combine cocoa powder, butter and cola. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla until blended and smooth.

This is an awesome cake!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fragrant Meat Pullao and Mixed Vegetable Curry

Do you like Indian food? I'm quite adventurous with all types of cuisine..of course, the cooked and edible ones.  Not the bizarre and exotic type like Andrew Zimmern's 'Bizarre Food'.  For me, the spicier the better.  My Indian Cookbook comes in handy whenever I run out of ideas on what to cook.  My son always give me a big smile when I cook something hot and spicy. But for this vegetable curry, it's quite mild which is fine.  It's tasty with lots of flavor.

Meat Pullao is basically long grain rice boiled in the meat stock together with the spices and meat.  The recipe actually calls for lamb but since I also have some chicken in my freezer, I add them to the lamb.
The rice is richly flavored with the meat stock.
All you need is...

1 medium onion, sliced
20 cardamon pods
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 in long ginger, crushed
1 piece cinnamon stick
175g cup sultanas and blanced almonds to garnish (optional)
3 cups basmati rice (long grain rice), wash and drain
600ml water
salt to taste

400g lamb meat, cut into big cubes
1/2 chicken cut into big bite sizes
8-10 saffron strands


Here's how...
1. In a large stock pot, cook the chicken & lamb in the water with the cardamon pods, peppercorn, cloves, onion and salt until the meat is cooked. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Strain the stock if you wish, return to the pot.
2. Add the rice, saffron, garlic, ginger and cinnamon to the stock and bring the contents to the boil.
3. Quickly add the meat and stir well. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and cover. Cook covered for about 15-20 mins. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 mins. Garnish with sultanas and almonds.

Alternatively, at step #2, once you've put in the rice to the stock, transfer to rice cooker and cook as normal.  You need to adjust the stock accordingly to your rice.  Do not put in too much stock as the rice will become a bit too soft like mine.  I should reduce the stock next time I cook this.  Texture should be fluffly and rice separates and not come together.  Although mine is a little too soft, the flavor is still amazing.

I serve this with my version of mixed vegetable curry.  I'll not provide the recipe.  There are so many versions to vegetable curry which you can easily find anywhere.  As for me, I like my curry with a little milk or yogurt.  You can even conjure up your own version.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Is it October already?  How the months just breezed by..we have less than 90 days to 2013!  This is really scary.  So many things to do with so little time but I'm glad I finally managed to do my first doughnut.

Doughnut pans in Malaysia is very costly and not sold everywhere.  You have to go to a specialty bakery store to find one and even that, it only has 6 holes in it.  I got my medium sized 12-hole pan from Australia.  A good friend of mine helped me to get one from K-Mart and it's cheap. I'm already loving it.

Since I've the doughnut pan, I've got to get the recipe.  So this is from my newly acquired doughnut recipe book by Lara Ferroni entitled simply 'Doughnuts'. The review from Amazon is good and they are absolutely correct!

Baked Doughnut (makes 6 to 12 doughnuts)

3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour } I substitute these two flours with bread flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour      }
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg } I used ground cinnamon instead
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter or vegetable shortening
1/4 cup whole milk, scalded
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla etract
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 180dC, lightly grease a doughnut pan.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.  Whisk in sugar, nutmeg and salt.  Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients as you would in making a pastry crust, until evenly distributed. Add the milk, yogurt, vanilla and egg, still until combined.  Do not overmix or your doughnuts may be rubbery.
3. Use a piping bag or a spoon to fill each doughnut cup about 3/4 full, making sure the center post is clear. Bake until light golden brown and spring back when touched, 6-10mins.  Let cool slightly before removing from pan. Glaze as desired.

I used chocolate ganache and white chocolate ganache.  Sprinkles: chopped toasted almonds bits, choc chip cookie crumbs, chocolate rice, heart sweet sprinkles and tiny choc pearls.

 My precious doughnut pan.

A great recipe..thanks, Lara!