Monday, 24 June 2013

Everyone loves a chocolate cake

I began my baking career backward. I have found that I started with the different things and it is only now, a year on that I am starting to wish I knew all the basics by heart. It started with the slices and now I'm onto the cakes.

I am ashamed to admit that I have never made a chocolate cake. That scares me. Just a basic chocolate cake. Everyone loves a chocolate cake.

So I made one. However, I wouldn't be Carly if I made it easy. I thought, why not make a custard icing? I love custard. 

I also found a packet of freeze dried raspberries in my pantry and figured there must be a use for these in my cake too, the flavour is intense and sweet; a perfect accompaniment to rich chocolate.

Now before you say "ew, custard icing", just give it a try. It eliminates that sickly sweet texture you can sometimes get from chocolate icing. It was heavy and rich which complemented the light and fluffy cake. A very sophisticated take on a simple chocolate cake. And much to my relief, everyone thought it tasted fantastic!

Try it for yourself and tell me what you thought...

Chocolate Cake:

120g Butter
280g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
50g Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Bi-carb Soda
A pinch Salt
180g Plain Flour
170ml Whole Milk

500g caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125g cocoa powder
200g cornflour
90g butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius

2. Mix butter and sugar in a mixer on med-high until light and fluffy.

3. Turn mixer to low and add eggs. Mix until combined.

4. Beat in vanilla. cocoa, baking powder, bi-carb and salt until smooth.

5. Add the milk and flour alternately until well combined.

6. Divide between two prepared cake tins and bake for approx 30 mins. Until knife comes out with slight crumbs.

7. Leave cakes to cool in tin until room temperature then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. For icing; In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, golden syrup, cocoa and 600ml water then bring the the boil on a medium heat. Whisk regularly. Separately, mix the cornflour with 170ml water, it will be reasonably tough and sticky but still mixable. If too thick add a small amount of extra water. Add the cornflour mixture to the saucepan whisking while pouring and return to the boil. Cook, while whisking, until consistency is thick. Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter then pour into a bowl and chill until firm.

9. Spread the icing over the base cake then add the second cake on top. Cover with icing.

10. I decorated with freeze dried raspberries, but you can add almost whatever you would like as a garnish on your delicious cake.

Happy Baking!!!...

A Gluttonous Carrot Cake

Have you ever had those days when you make (or buy) a cake, cut yourself the smallest slice and then find yourself helping to another, and another... Only to result in you sitting on the couch (if you can call it sitting) moaning to the cake gods in agony "why?? Why did you make me eat so much cake??" While they laugh at your stupidity for being so weak... This was me... Last night... One day after making the most delicious carrot cake I have ever had!

That is a bold statement I know. But I can usually resist a cake. Ill eat a slice and share the rest with friends. It's rare that I'll have more than one because I bake so often.. I'd be the size of a house! This cake was ever so moorish though. However, it is very rich, leaving me with a stomach full of regret in the aftermath, so use your carrot cake cautiously... Control your friends and family... Do not let them eat the whole cake. Make them wait until the first slice reaches their tummy. Or they, like me, will be comatose on the couch after a cream cheese OD! Ever had a brain freeze? It was like that, but a whole body freeze, and it was heavenly!

Already I am being begged to make another after everyone devoured the first!

Hands down the best cake I have ever made! 
Enjoy the recipe below, remember, use it wisely....

Carrot Cake

300g Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
300ml Canola Oil
300g Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Bi-carb Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
300g Grated Carrots
100g Shelled Walnuts, chopped

600g Icing Sugar
100g Unsalted Butter
300g Light Cream Cheese

1. Preheat over to 170 degrees Celsius

2. Place sugar, eggs and oil in a mixer on medium speed until combined.

3. Add flour, bi-carb, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla and beat on med-high until smooth.

4. Turn mixer to low and add carrots.

5. By hand, stir in the walnuts.

6. Pour mixture into two prepared cake tins and bake for approx 20 mins until a knife comes out with some crumbs attached. If it comes out completely clean, usually it ends up slightly dry or overcooked.

7. Leave cakes in tins to cool until room temperature then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

8.  For the icing: beat butter and sugar until light. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Turn mixer to high and continue to beat for at least 6 minutes until icing is light and fluffy.

9. Spread icing over the top of the base cake. Add the second cake and use remaining icing to cover cake. Decorate with left over walnuts and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Happy Baking!!!...

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Chocolate Coconut Balls

It's an old favorite. Everyone loves a good rum ball... Everyone!
But I wanted to make a cute little treat for work and putting alcohol in it probably would have been frowned upon. (Especially the copious amount i usually add :))

So please enjoy my child friendly recipe for chocolate rum balls minus the rum. Try not to eat them all before you share... I struggle.

Chocolate Balls:

1 packet Marie biscuits
400g sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup desiccated coconut

1. Crush biscuits in a food processor

2. Add 1/2 cup coconut and the cocoa then mix well.

3. Add the condensed milk and stir until well combined.

4. Roll into balls, approx 1 tablespoon each.

5. Roll the balls in the remainder of the coconut the refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy! And Happy Baking!!