Monday, June 29, 2009

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake

I'm digging into the un-posted archives today because I haven't done any baking all week.  I can't exactly say that I've been flat out busy, I am still unemployed, but things just seem to get in the way. The weekend has been busy -  football game, friends birthday celebrations, church, dinner, movies... but surely I could have baked something in amongst all that. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be back in the kitchen soon. Maybe I'll have to schedule it in! But this cake is good, simple to throw together and ends those chocolate v. vanilla debates. 

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake
Recipe from

150g butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
20g butter, chopped
2 tablespoons boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 22cm bundt pan (I used a round cake pan). Beat 150g butter  and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in  eggs and vanilla.
2. Fold in  self-raising flour and milk. Divide mixture into 2 portions. Stir in 1 tablespoon cocoa to one portion. Alternatively spoon the mixtures into the pan.
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. 
4. Combine 1 cup icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter. Stir in boiling water. Pour over cake to serve.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quick Mix Chocolate Muffins

Muffins are the best. They are like mini cakes and very easy to put together. Which was helpful the other night when I had to whip up two batches after a very busy day. Just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix until combined and into the muffin pan. Done. 

Quick-mix Chocolate Muffins
Recipe from

Melted butter, for greasing
200mls milk
125g butter, cubed
100g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup, lightly packed brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Brush a 12 medium muffin pans with the melted butter.
2. Place the milk, butter, chocolate and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until smooth.
3. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and use a fork to mix well.
4. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and usa a large metal spoon to fold in until just combined. Do not overmix.
5. Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased muffin pans (I had leftover batter and made some mini muffins as well) and bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until just cooked when tested with a skewer. Stand in pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Whipped Cream Cake

I hate winter. I really really do. Its cold and unpleasant. Now when I say cold, here in Sydney its been down to about 5C (that's about 40F) at its worst, which I guess for a lot of people isn't that bad, but its bad enough for me! And its not just the cold, I hate the rain and I hate that it gets dark so early.  And I also hate that it's flu season. Yes, I have a cold or the flu, who knows, all that matters is that I aint feeling all that great.  But this cake did make it a little better. The special thing about this cake is that it uses whipped cream instead of butter. It also uses brown sugar, giving it a really nice colour and flavour. The original recipe had a caramel frosting but I decided to use a fluffy frosting instead. I had some extra cake mixture so used it to make 6 cupcakes. I think next time I'll just make cupcakes. I filled them with cream and then topped them with a little frosting.

The unfrosted cupcakes
The unfrosted cake. I didn't get a photo of the completed cake because it was getting dark and then I had race out the door to get it to church on time. And it fell apart in the car, turns out my driving isn't very good for cakes.

Whipped Cream Cake
Recipe from AWW Bake

600ml thickened cream
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups self raising flour

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease deep 22cm-round cake pan; line base with baking paper.
2. Beat half of the cream in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.
3. Beat eggs and extract in another small bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until dissolved between additions. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Fold in a quarter of the whipped cream, then sifted flour, then remaining whipped cream. Spread mixture into pan.
4. Bake cake about 50 minutes. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes; turn, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
5. Meanwhile, beat remaining cream in small bowl with electric mixer until firm peaks form.
6. Split cold cake in half; sandwich layers with cream. Spread with frosting.

Fluffy Frosting

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1 egg white

Stir sugar and water in small saucepan over heat, without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring about 5 minutes, or until syrup reaches 116C/240F on a candy thermometer. Syrup should be thick but not coloured. Remove from heat, allow bubbles to subside. Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. While mixer is operating, add hot syrup in thin stream, beat on high speed about 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and cool.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chocolate Swiss Roll

D: Hey Nat, thanks for bringing cake into the office, but I can't sit and chat. I'll just take a piece and head back to my desk.
Nat: Yeh thats cool.
D walks out of the kitchen
30 seconds later D walks back in
D: Oh wow, this cake is great!! Really, How did you do this?!

I love recipes that are simple but look complicated when presented. You get that 'wow' response when they are served up, with everyone asking how you did it. My response for this one was 'its easy, really not difficult at all'. Which is true.  Swiss rolls (or jam rolls) are one of those cakes that many people find daunting, but if you follow the instructions there really isn't much to it. So please, give it a try. And once you have mastered the basics there are so many more variations to try. Add some jam, flavour the cream, change the cake... combinations are endless.

Another great week in the blog world, I had trouble narrowing down my five favourite recipes but here they are:

Chocolate Swiss Roll
Recipe from Everyday Food Autumn 2009 (the Australian Women's Day food magazine)

3 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar, plus 1/4 cup extra
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons hot water
300ml cream, whipped

1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180C. Lightly grease a 26 x 32cm swiss roll pan. Line with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually add sugar, beating until thick and pale. Mixture should hold its shape.
3. Sift flour and cocoa together. Fold lightly into egg  mixture, followed by water.
4. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until sponge springs back when lightly touched.
5. Line a clean towel with baking paper. Sprinkle with extra sugar. Turn out cake onto sugar and remove baking paper. Trim edges. Roll up from long end side, using the tea towel as a guide.
6. Cool completely on a wire rack. Unroll cake. Cover with half cream. Reroll without tea towel and transfer to a serving plate. Serve sliced  with remaining cream and raspberries.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mini Caramel Mud Cakes

Bribery is an interesting thing. Well I like to call it incentive. I had been waiting for some photos from a friend and offered baked goods in return for getting them quickly. The fact that I would have baked anyway is not important, in the end all parties were happy. I got to back, got my photo and he got mud cake, win-win. Not sure why I chose this recipe, it just jumped of the page when I read it.  They were eaten very quickly. Again I missed out but by all accounts they are a winner. I'm sure with more time and some creativity they can be dressed up nicely, I just dusted them with icing sugar as I was racing out the door.

Mini Caramel Mud Cakes
This recipe is from AWW Kitchen

125g butter, coarsely chopped
100g white eating chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
2/3 cup milk
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
2. Stir butter, chocolate, sugar, syrup and milk in small saucepan over low heat, until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; cool 15 minutes.
3. Whisk sifted flours into chocolate mixture, then egg. Divide mixture among cases. 
4. Bake about 30 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.
5. Serve, dusted with sifted icing sugar.