Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sour Cream & Chocolate Cake

I have tried this recipe several times and it has never failed me so far. I even baked this once for my MIL's birthday. It's a rather easy recipe and I like the taste a lot. This cake has a nice mocha flavor with a moist texture (due to the sour cream used).

I usually prefer cakes with texture that's light (think chiffon) yet moist (think sponge soaked with alcohol, syrup or juice) and rich (but not overwhelming) in aroma/flavor (think coffee, chocolate, citrus). I'm not really a fan for cakes with texture that's too creamy (think mousse) or dense (think cheese) ... even thinking about it makes me feel 'gelat'.

Confusing ?!??! Ya I know ... I'm simply not good at describing. All I wanna say is ... this recipe is simply GOOOOD in my opinion as it fits what I like (^_^) I guess you just have to give it a try to see what I mean. Hope you'll like it as much as I do. You can bake it in cupcake tray, small individual cake moulds or in a 6" or 8" round cake tin.

Sour Cream & Chocolate Cake
Ingredients (Enough to yield 15 cupcakes for me)

250g butter
230g sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 eggs, lightly beaten
150g sour cream (can also replaced with plain yoghurt)
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons boiling water
100g dark chocolate, chopped
300g flour (can use plain or cake)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 180degC. Line cupcake tray with baking cases or baking tin (if baking a whole cake) with baking paper. Grease sides & bottom of the baking tin with melted butter.
  2. Dissolve the instant coffee granules in the boiling water. Set aside.
  3. Sieve the flour, baking powder & soda together. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter, sugar & vanilla essence in a mixing bowl with an electric whisk till light & fluffy. Add in the eggs slowly over 3 -4 separate additions & cream till smooth & light.
  5. Add in the sour cream, followed by the coffee mixture & chopped dark chocolate. Mix till well blended.
  6. Add in the sieved flour & mix till well incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into individual cake moulds or baking tin & sprinkle some flaked almonds on top.
  8. Bake at 180degC for about 25 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Recipe from: Temptation of Chocolate by Alex Goh

Baking 101 - Cakes using 'wet' ingredients (e.g. milk, sour cream, yoghurt) in the recipe will usually end up with a moist texture.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Belated Easter to All !!!

This was actually due for posting last Thurs before Easter but I was rushing to KL and delayed posting till now. Though Easter is already over, I would still like to wish all Happy Belated Easter !!! (^.^)

Carrot cake somehow doesn't seem to be as naughty as other cakes and since carrot reminds me of rabbit, it fits the theme of Easter - a holiday usually associated with bunnies & eggs. So I decided to make these Carrot & Walnut cupcakes with cream cheese icing to give to my neighbours during Easter. As for decoration, I topped the cupcakes with M&M's bunnies mix chocolate eggs and also sprinkled some chopped walnuts round the eggs to make it look like a nest. Err ... guess that wasn't too successful as it look more like a mess ...

The M&M's chocolate eggs were really cute and instantly light up the cupcakes with its colorful candy coating of pink, yellow, blue, green & purple. This is an Easter edition that I accidentally chanced upon while shopping at Cold Storage. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to get it! Not only were the colors bright & cheerful, each chocolate egg has little prints of chick, bunny or sheep on it! But too bad, my photography skills are lousy as usual & I couldn't really capture the image clearly. Moreover, I made a mistake of keeping the M&M's chocolate eggs in the fridge the night before I use it. The moment I took it out for decoration, those little prints on the eggs start to smudge ... (-_-!)

All in all, the cupcakes looked good & tasted great too. The cream cheese icing really complemented the cake well. I hope my neighbours enjoy the cake as much as I do.

Carrot & Walnut Cupcakes
Ingredients (Yields 18 cupcakes)

for the cupcake
225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
225g (8oz) castor sugar
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon mixed spice (I used cinnamon instead)
100g (3 and 1/2oz) walnuts, chopped
150g (5oz) freshly grated carrots
2 tablespoons sultanas

for the icing
200g (7oz) cream cheese, softened
175g (6oz) icing sugar, sieved
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoons walnuts, chopped

for Easter decoration
some chocolate eggs, bunnies or carrots jelly sweets

  1. Preheat the oven to 175degC. Place 18 baking cases in muffin tins.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, flour & eggs in a large mixing bowl & beat with an electric whisk until smooth, about 2 -3 mins.
  3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients & mix well. Spoon the batter into the cases.
  4. Bake for approx. 20 mins or until golden brown & a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  5. Remove tins from the oven & cool for 5 mins. Then remove the cupcakes & cool on a rack.
  6. To make the icing, slowly beat the cream cheese & icing sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until creamy & soft.
  7. Add the lemon juice & vanilla essence & beat briskly until well combined. Spread the icing using a spoon or pipe using a piping bag onto the cooled cupcakes.
  8. Garnish with chopped walnuts and/or decorate as desired.

Note: Store without icing for up to 3 days in an airtight container, or freeze up to 3 months.

Recipe from: 500 Cupcakes & Muffinsby Fergal Connolly

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Panda Adventure

An adventure of 2 Panda ...

Although cake decorations using cream & fondant never fail to amaze/impress me, I have never been comfortable coating my cakes with layers of cream or fondant. Somehow it just makes me feel guilty if I have to use layers of fats/sweets to 'beautify' my cakes. I rather keep it simple. That's also the main reason why my cakes are more of 'plain Jane' in terms of their looks.

So when I came across this in one of the books I have on Chocolate, I thought it will be a cool substitute. It's a method for making pliable chocolate ... the texture is supposedly to work just like fondant. Cool isn't it? Imagine all those things I can make ... except it's in chocolate ! I believe most of us have a weakness for chocolate.

But the results was rather disappointing. Firstly, I'm supposed to end up with pliable chocolate that can work like 'plastersin' or fondant. It could be because I used compound chocolate instead of converture chocolate ... my 'chocolate fondant' (this is what I called it) ended up rather hard and not as knead-able as I expected. Secondy, it ended up shiny & greasy, totally different from the pic in the recipe which look matte. In the end, my panda look like they are perspiring ... hahaha (^.^)

They looked worlds apart, doesn't they? (But I thought mine look kinda cute too)

Sigh ... guess I still need to work on it. I was thinking of using it to decorate some cupcakes I intend to bake for my neighbours during this coming Easter. Ummm .... (-_-!)