Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Retro Chic

I made this cake for myself, Sis no.2 and another 2 friends. It was for a lunch where we were celebrating our birthdays, cause the four of us are all October babies.

I'd been wanting to try out the circles design for a while, because I think it looks so classy and retro chic. So, a birthday lunch for four women was just the right occasion, in my opinion!

Anyhoo... I covered the cake in pink fondant and stuck white circles all around the sides. Then I made a small rope from chocolate fondant and wrapped it around the base of the cake. For the top of the cake, I placed a scalloped circle of brown fondant and on top of that, positioned three simple 5-petaled flowers which I had made ahead of time from gumpaste. I love the decadent look of the final product. This is truly one of my favourite designs.

The cake was a gorgeously delicious Mississippi Chocolate mud cake. I think this is the best mud cake I've tasted yet. It is dense and rich, yet not too wet or muddy and contains whiskey (I stole some of Hubby's Chivas!) so it tastes better after a few days.

 It's also so easy to make. The thing I like best about mud cakes it that you have to melt the butter, so it's not necessary to wait hours for it to come to room temperature after fishing it out of the refrigerator. I usually bake on impulse, so without planning ahead, my butter is usually still rock-solid sitting in the fridge when I'm itching to bake a cake!

I found this recipe in an Australian Woman's Weekly magazine. It is one of their top ten all-time reader's favourite recipe. It is definitely a must-try. Here it goes:

Can be made 3 days ahead. 
Storage: Covered, in refrigerator. 
Freeze: Suitable. 
Microwave: Chocolate mixture suitable.


250g cold unsalted butter, chopped
150g dark chocolate, chopped
440g (2 cups) caster sugar
250ml (1 cup) hot water
80ml (1/3 cup) whisky
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
225g (1½ cups) plain flour
35g (¼ cup) self-raising flour
25g (¼ cup) cocoa powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten


Grease 23cm square slab pan, line base with baking paper. Combine butter, chocolate, sugar, water, whisky and coffee powder in medium pan; stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Transfer mixture to large bowl; cool. Stir in sifted flours and cocoa, then eggs; pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake at 160°C for 1¼ hours. Stand cake 30 minutes; turn onto wire rack to cool. Serve dusted with sifted icing sugar.

Doesn't it sound way too simple?? Simple ingredients and simple method, to produce a mind-blowing cake! What are you waiting for? Go raid your liquor cupboard!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chocolate cupcakes

So a while ago, I was browsing through this book my sis gave me. It is loaded with cupcake recipes and I really wanted to try making a good chocolate cupcake. However, they all sounded yummy, so how was I to know which recipe was the best? There are no pictures and no descriptions of the end product, so the only thing to do, was to try them all!!

I picked out four recipes:
1. Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
2. Fudge Cupcakes
3. Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes
4. Luxury Chocolate Cupcakes

I was rather disappointed with the recipes, except for one, no.3; Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes. All the other cupcakes were not chocolate-y enough, though no.4 did have very good texture. As a self-confessed chocoholic, one rule always prevails: "the more chocolate the better"!

Clockwise from bottom left: No.1, 2, 3 then 4.

As you can see, no.3 is the darkest one, simply because it has the most chocolate content. In fact, it's just plenty of melted milk chocolate with eggs and just a bit of flour. It is actually more like a self-saucing chocolate pudding and would do better in ramekins (individual oven-proof ceramic bowls) rather than paper cases. It is deliciously dense, sticky and gooey and seriously super-chocolate-y (just look at it's liquid centre!!)... any 'chocolate-ier' and you might as well just eat the chocolate bar!

So anyway here's the recipe if you want to give it a shot;

Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes (24 cupcakes)

28 oz (800g) milk chocolate
12 eggs
55gg (1/2 cup) + 2 tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 160C and line cupcake baking tray with paper liners.

2. Break chocolate into a bowl and place over small saucepan of simmering water until chocolate has melted. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in the flour and eggs and whisk well. Fill paper cases to about 3/4 full.

4. Bake for 10-12 mins until the sides of the cupcakes are set, but the insides are still liquid.

5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5-10 mins. Remove the cupcakes from baking tray and allow to cool.
(I prefer them hot and gooey though...)

My ever-willing taste testers...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kitty Cake

A friend of mine requested that I make a cake and some cuppies for her little girl's birthday. She specifically wanted a tri-coloured kitten with blue eyes.

The cake and cuppies are American chocolate cake, a favourite for kids. The cuppies were frosted with large fresh cream swirls and topped with sprinkles and gumpaste daisies. I do enjoy doing cuppies, they're more fun and stress free compared to cakes.

Anyway, the cake was filled and crumb coated with a chocolate buttercream before being covered in fondant. I made the kitty and ball of wool ahead of time using gumpaste. They were placed on the cake on the day of the party.

I do hope the birthday girl liked her cake!

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