Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Date Cake

I'm a big fan of sticky date puddings. I remember one night me & Anita were out in the city, we were feeling peckish (but didnt want to eat a meal) so we were at Darling Harbour and went into Nick's Seafood. We ordered one sticky date pudding, and one bowl of fries. It was about 8PM, and the waiter looked at us with a question mark on his face and asked "is that all?"

I don't see what was so wierd about ordering chips and a dessert ?! Anyway here is a photo of the dessert from Nick's, i still remember how good it tasted, hoping to go back soon .. and maybe just order fries and dessert again :P

I had found this recipe a few mths ago and emailed a copy to myself.. but i cant seem to find where i got it from :(

The cake is incredibly moist, and surprisingly light as well. The middle was a tiny bit undercooked but i still really enjoyed eating this cake. Next time i would probably make some butterscotch sauce to drizzle on top, now that would be heaven :)

You will need a 10-in (25 cm) Springform pan and some parchment paper. (If you use a pan with a smaller diameter, the cake may remain raw from the middle and cooked from the sides, so please do use a 10 in pan.)

*250 g plump dates with seed. (If using stoned dates, you’ll have to adjust/decrease the amount)
*250 ml boiling water
*1 tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
*100 g butter, unsalted, brought to room temperature
*180 g sugar
*2 eggs
*150 g flour
*2 tsp baking powder

*Preheat your oven to 175C / 350F.
*Place parchment paper on top of the springform pan base and trace a circle. Line pan with parchment circle and butter and flour the sides.

Step 1: Prepare the date mixture:
*Deseed your dates by gently tearing them open from top to bottom.
*Chop dates fine.
*Bring 250 ml of water to a boil (I boil it in my kettle and then measure out 250 ml to be exact).
*Pour into saucepan, when water starts to boil, add baking soda, (it will froth).
*Add chopped dates and stir the mixture for 2-3 minutes.
*The date mixture should be on the thick side, not watery.
*Take off the stove and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Step 2: Prepare the batter:
*Whip butter with sugar till light and fluffy.
*Add eggs slowly; they may curdle at first but keep whipping, the mixture will come together and become smooth.
*Slowly fold in flour and baking powder and keep whipping/mixing.
*Add in date mixture, with a spoon/spatula and gently stir.
*Batter will seem slightly thin, but since we’re using a pan with a wide base, don’t worry, the cake will cook through. Remember, this is a moist, pudding-like cake.
*Pour into Springform.
*Bake for 35 minutes, test to see if the toothpick comes out clean after 30 mins; I like this cake moist and goeey, please don’t overbake it.

Allow cake to rest half an hour before taking out of Springform pan, or serve by the spoonfuls immediately, like a soft pudding, with double, triple or clotted cream on top.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Red Velvet babycakes with cream cheese frosting

I have always wanted to make red velvet cupcakes. I have only read good things about them, and they were super moist and velvety texture and a brilliant red colour.

I found many recipes on the internet but ended up going with this one from joythebaker.

These were a big hit and definitely hits the number one spot out of all the cupcakes i've made :) Moist and crumbly, with such a red shade glowing at you after you take a bite, teamed with cream cheese frosting this babycake will melt your hearts hehe.

Red Velvet Babycakes (makes 48 babycakes)

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons red food coloring (I using a dash less)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

note: i make my own buttermilk by adding two tablespoons of white vinegar to a 250ml cup- then filling to the top with milk, that should sit for 10 minutes before adding to any mixtures :)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake at 180 C for 12-14 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.

Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting (taken from here)

125g unsalted butter, softened
250g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (640g) icing sugar, sifted

For frosting, using an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually add icing sugar, beating until incorporated.

One thing that sucks is the food colouring! My mom was so angry at me for staining the toaster.. oops!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Peanut Butter w/ Chocolate Glaze Cupcakes

Sometimes when i am in a baking mood, but i dont want to go out & buy any extra ingredients - i check on what i already have and bake based on what supplies i have, and in this case it was crunchy peanut butter, milk chocolate melts, and thickened cream. I found this recipe here, and whipped it all up one fine Sunday morning :O)

Make sure you don't overfill the cupcake liners as you need a bit of room to pour the chocolate glaze on and for it to set (i filled them just over half way)

I love making ganache and i love the decadent texture you get when it sets, or like me i ate a huge spoonful before putting any on the cupcakes... :P

Makes 12 cupcakes


For cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, room temp
 (i used crunchy PB)
1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

For chocolate glaze

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


To make cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350F.

Line muffin tin cupcs with paper cupcake liners

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended and lightened in color, about 1 minute.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.

Mix in egg.

Add vanilla and beat for 1 minute or until batter smooth.

On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until the flour is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.

Fill each liner with a generous 1/4 cup of batter, to about 1/3 inch below the top of the liner.

Bake just until the tops feel firm and are lightly browned and a toothpic inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. There will be cracks on the top.

Cool cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on wire rack.

To make chocolate glaze

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter over low heat until the cream is hot and the butter has melted.

The mixture should form tiny bubbles and measure about 175F on a thermometer; do not let it boil.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the milk chocolate and let it sit in the hot cream for 30 secs to soften.

Add the vanilla and whisk the glaze until it is smooth and all the chocolate has melted. (Return the glaze to low heat if necessary to melt the chocolate completely, whisking constantly.)

The glaze should be thick enough to hold its shape when spread over the cupcakes. If it is too liquid to spread, let it sit at room temp for 5-15 minutes, depending on the temp of your kitchen.

Using a small spatula, spread 1 tbsp of glaze over the top of each cupcake.

Because i used crunchy PB, a friend tried them and said they tasted like snickers cupcakes hehe :)