Tuesday, June 30, 2015

(Moist) Dark Chocolate Cake

Download the printable recipe on my FB page!



This is one of my newest cake recipes developed from a friend's one-bowl quick cake. The recipes I share are those that I make over and over again because they are our absolute favourites! After years of experimenting with chocolate cakes recipes, I've finally found one that I can safely say is easy and, without fail, incredibly moist. Do give it a go!

Pan: I always use a Hamilton Beach Silicone 9" Bundt Cake Pan, greased slightly with vegetable oil, because it works perfectly for a no-fuss dessert cake that always turns out perfect and ready to serve. Besides a bundt pan, you can try this recipe in two 8x2 or 8x3 round cake tins. I've even made cupcakes!

Oven Temperature: 160 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit. For cupcakes, you may bake at 180 degrees Celsius or 250 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure a perfectly domed finish.



Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
Grams
Cups

All Purpose Flour
250gm
2 cup

Granulated Sugar*
200gm
1 cup

Salt
-
1tsp

Baking Soda*
-
2 tsp

Cream of Tartar
-
1/2 tsp





Wet Ingredients



Water, Boiling Hot
236gm
1 cup

Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder*
90gm
3/4 cup + 2 tsp

Instant Coffee
-
1 to 2 tbsp

Pure Vanilla Extract
-
1/2 tbsp*

2 eggs

100 gm
-

Buttermilk_
240gm
1 cup

Vegetable Oil*
223gm
1 cup


  • For a sweeter cake, use 400gm/500ml/2 cups granulated sugar. Otherwise, the cake will have a light bitterness reminiscent of dark chocolate.
  •  Sift the baking soda to prevent lumps
  •  If using cocoa powder that is not alkalized or Dutch-processed, omit the cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tbsp is equivalent to 1 1/2 tsp
  • Substitute buttermilk with same amount of yogurt, or milk+ 1 tbsp lemon juice/white wine vinegar
  •  I usually use Malaysian-made palm oil



Method
Watch the Youtube Video! 
1) Preheat oven and prepare cake pans according to instructions on page 1.
2) Whisk dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Sift any ingredients that have lumps.
3) Whisk or sift the Dutch-processed cocoa powder and instant coffee in/into a heat-proof jug. Add in boiling hot water and whisk until there are no more lumps. Cover and set aside to cool completely.
4) Add vanilla extract, eggs and buttermilk to cooled cocoa mixture. Whisk well to incorporate.

5) Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add all the vegetable oil and half of the cocoa mixture, stirring well for 3 minutes by hand (or 1 1/2 minutes on medium speed in a stand mixer) to develop the structure of the cake batter.
6) Incorporate the rest of the cocoa mixture in two additions, beating (20 seconds on medium speed in a stand mixer) until well mixed between additions.



7) Pour all the cake batter into pan/s and bake for 55 to 60 minutes for cake (15-20 minutes for cupcakes) until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
8) Cool cake on wire racks completely before unmolding the cake from the pan. 


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Flaky, Savoury, Olive Oil Pastry




3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup water
1 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper, chilli flakes/paprika/cayenne pepper, and Italian herbs to taste



1) Mix 1 2/3 cup of the flour with the water and 1/3 cup olive oil to form a smooth dough
2) In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the flour (1 1/3 cup) with the rest of the olive oil (2/3 cup) to form a smooth paste
3) Divide the dough into four portions
4) Sprinkle flour onto your work surface. Roll a 1/4 inch thick circle with one portion. Spread a quarter of the olive oil and flour paste in the center, leaving a 3 to 4 inch border along the sides of the circle.
5) Fold the sides of the circle into the center, enclosing the olive oil and flour paste. Pinch and seal.
6) Shape and roll the pastry into a long rectangle about 4 inches wide.
7) Use your hands to roll it from one end to the other like a swiss roll cake, into a cylinder. You should be rolling down the length of the pastry.
8) Chill the rolled pastry in a fridge for about half an hour. Repeat with the other three portions.
9) Flatten the cylinder and roll it gently into a rectangle between wax paper, cling wrap, and food-safe plastic bags. Fold the rectangle in thirds ( the letter fold) once or twice if you want it to be less flaky and more firm (ie. for a quiche)
10) The pastry can be used for many savoury recipes such as meat pies, quiches, pasties and turnovers.
It's crispy, delicious and low in saturated fat! Plus it has only three basic ingredients and can be made very easily. You can skip the chilling in Step 8, actually.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tiramisu


These a such a luxury, and quite complicated to make with so many components. I still like the classic Tiramisu with sponge fingers. Now, sponge fingers are great fun to make - once you've made you're own, the storebought fingers just aren't delightful.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

East Meets West

In my cooking, I don't know where the east ends and the west begins, or vice versa. To me, cooking is so much more than just food, just ingredients. It's history and culture, and it's more than tradition - it's creating something new.

I'm not a painter. I can't paint, I can't work with colours and graphics very well beyond some sketching. However, in the kitchen, I feel like this is my pallette. I love putting spices together, being a chemist, or alchemist, creating something new every time I set out to create a meal.

Today I made something new. I threw things together and this just happened and it was *amazing*.

Mind you, that doesn't always happen. I have made many, many failed traditional, whole wheat, oil-based or animal-fat-based pastries that have failed miserably, and that is why I always proceed with  caution when attempting anything of the sort.



Are they samosas? Turnovers? I would say they're an amalgamation of so many things. The pastry is olive oil, but made in the style of Chinese flaky pastry and seasoned with cayenne and thyme, amongst other things.
Texture: Flaky Taste: Wonderful!


I made a traditional "Melton Mowbray" style English pork pie before, and I have the say the filling tastes very similar. This has a sweet, very porky filling, but it has soy sauce. I use soy sauce a lot, from everything from roast lamb to roast turkey to chicken stew. Odd, isn't it? Well, my "hearty country stew" has coriander as well!

I love working with the tropical flavours and spices we get here in sunny Malaysia from "screwpine" (Pandan) to the ubiquotious soy sauce. However, being an atypical Asian, I tend to exschew anything that has to do with soy! And I love everything potatoes and dairy... so... like I said, "East Meets West".

When it boils down to it, everything is "heavily seasoned"! There are at least 5 different types of spice in any dish and I season/salt very liberally. 



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mystery loaf

 The oddest thing is that I really don't remember at all what this loaf was supposed to be, what recipe I used when making it... or anything at all, really! Isn't that terribly interesting. Nevertheless, it's a lovely rustic loaf, which I can only assume was made artisan-style.