Three Tips for Amazing Chocolate Cakes

3 TIPS FOR AMAZING CHOCOLATE CAKES

tips for chocolate

I wrote this post in detail when I first started this blog. I used headings, spent my time editing, and gave detailed reasons why I chose each of these points.

Some technical fiasco that involved name servers, back ups and change of hosts meant I lost this post along with a few others to the black hole reserved on the internet as punishment for people who don’t back up their sites properly.

So I have now decided to fish some of those old blog post pictures out and rewrite those posts. Considering I am both impatient and bored easily, the quality of posts may suffer. But that is my revenge on the internet (that barely makes sense, but if you understood that, I’m so proud of me…and you)

Jokes aside, the following are definitely my most trusted tips for great chocolate cakes. As with most cakes, the result will depend tremendously on the recipe and how well it is followed. Most bakers try several before they settle on their favourites.

So here goes tip number 1

ADD A LITTLE COFFEE TO THE BATTER

I learned this tip years ago in an Ina Garten show where she did taste tests. Adding a little teaspoon or such to your chocolate cake batter will do wondrous things to the taste. By some magic (since I obviously don’t know what is actually happening) the coffee definitely adds a deeper depth to the flavor and brings out the chocolateness more. Make sure you dissolve the coffee first in a few tablespoons of warm milk or water.

USE THE BEST QUALITY INGREDIENTS

And by that I mean don’t buy value eggs and flour. Try and use butter instead of butter substitutes. And most importantly, use the best quality cocoa powder and chocolate you can manage. I’ve noticed flour and cocoa powder impact the taste most so don’t skimp on those. And the great quality cocoa and chocolate has noticeably different results.

USE RECIPES THAT USE CHOCOLATE ALONG WITH COCOA POWDER

Light chocolate sponges that are used in desserts normally don’t have chocolate as one of the ingredients. But a rich, decadent chocolate cake almost always has melted chocolate somewhere along the recipe. If you want a beautiful dessert that is rich and is moist, try out various recipes that incorporate actual chocolate along with cocoa and then choose your favourite.

Bag Cakes

BAG CAKES

Perhaps one of my most favourite cakes to make are bag shaped ones. I literally jump at the chance to make one. The aim is to make the cake entirely edible. Normally some inedible pieces may be used for structural reasons. I always communicate to the client to remove the supports before serving.

Here I am sharing two of my favourite bags cakes, especially because of the sweet families who ordered these.

This Mulberry bag was a surprise for the recipient. Her family designed it, ordered it and did all the planning for the cake in secret. They emailed me pictures of some of her favourite things that could go on the cake. She had no idea that a surprise cake was on its way.  I delivered it to their home, and her reaction was great! She loved the bag. Too bad I didn’t manage to take a decent photo that captured the colours nicely.

handbag cake

 

This sports bag cake needed to incorporate the birthday boy’s interests. His mum finalized all the details after many discussions. She wanted to be perfect for her son and the colours and details needed to match his exact gym bag, shoes etc. I was a bit nervous as the birthday boy came together with his mum to collect the cake. He was overjoyed with the result! And I couldn’t be happier about the reaction!

 edible bag cake

These cute little edible bags aren’t really cakes, but edible vintage suitcases. They are decorations that went on another favourite cake. I decided to add these here just because I thought they looked cute. The wife ordered this cake for her husband. It had the world map on it, and tiny hearts as place pins for all the places they had been to together.

suitcase cake toppers

There are more pictures on the Cake and Cookie Company Facebook page if you would like to see more fun novelty cakes.

Baked Avocado and Eggs

BAKED AVOCADO AND EGGS

baked avocado recipe

  Though this blog has been mostly about cakes, I am hoping at some point to morph it into a food blog.

That being said, I am going to post my first savoury dish here.

Funny that I am posting an avocado recipe since, we are just not huge avocado fans in this house. Although it is very bad publicity for the recipe, the kids absolutely refused to eat it,  which is disappointing because I am forever trying to feed them more fruits and veg. I am not ready to give up on the avocados yet, and am on the lookout of recipes the entire family will eat. But for now, here is how I made this recipe.

baked avocado and egg

  INGREDIENTS

1 ripe avocado

2 eggs

Salt and pepper

Olive oil for drizzling

METHOD

  1. Wash the avocado.
  2. Cut in half, remove the pit and place in individual baking dishes/ramekins.
  3. Break an egg in a saucer, and gently slide in the centre of the pitted avocado. One whole egg won’t fit. Gently scoop some avocado out with a teaspoon if you want to fit more egg.
  4. Do the same with the other half of the avocado.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven till eggs are done. The temperature, times aren’t too strict. A moderately hot oven is good.
  6. Drizzle with great quality olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper before serving. Serve with a few lemon wedges.

baked avocado and egg

NOTE: I used a big Pyrex dish instead of individual ramekins. Though they baked but it was a messy decision. Lots of egg swished around and spilled when I put the dish in the oven. What would have been a very easy way to bake using ramekin, ended up as a messy balancing act in the Pyrex dish. So my recommendation, use small individual dishes to bake the avocados!

This dish is best eaten warm and fresh. Left overs do not taste nice.

It is normally suggested as a breakfast idea, we had it as part of lunch with some rice.

baked avocado with egg

Mini Lemon Cupcakes

MINI LEMON CUPCAKES with FRESH LEMON GLAZE

lemon cupcake recipe

I am a huge fan of taking cake gifts when I visit someone.

Back in London a group of friends organised a science club for our kids. We met up at someone’s house, and bought a dish each for the potluck. The school age kids did simple science experiments, the little ones played, the mums chatted and afterwards we all had the food! We spent many happy evenings because of our science club.

I was often asked to bring some dessert or cakes. These mini lemon cakes were for one of those evenings. They are quick and easy to make, with a simple lemon glaze instead of icing which makes them a light dessert or tea time snack.

lemon cupcakes recipe

I often make them in mini muffin cases, so they are bite sized especially for the little ones.

You are free to use any size of cupcake cases, just monitor baking times accordingly.

INGREDIENTS

100 gms butter

100 gms castor sugar

2 large eggs

100 gms self-raising flour

Zest of one large lemon

One teaspoon lemon juice

 

ICING

150 gms icing sugar

Freshly squeezed lemon juice (use as much needed to make a pouring consistency glaze)

METHOD

Cream butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.

Gradually beat in eggs.

Fold in sifted flour one large spoonful at a time.

Once nicely integrated, add the zest and one teaspoon fresh lemon juice.

Pour in mini muffin cases already lined in muffin tray.

Bake in a preheated oven at 250 C until done about 15-20 minutes, check after 10 minutes first)

Make icing by mixing in enough freshly squeezed lemon juice in the icing sugar to have a running consistency.

Pour over warm cupcakes and decorate with slivers of lemon zest.

lemon cupcake recipe

Blueberry Cupcakes Recipes

blueberry cupcake recipe

As my family and friends may vouch, one thing my very (like very) lazy self will be not so lazy about, is to spring into action when cake is required.

A few weeks back, my little sister was in town, and that too on her birthday! It had been one of those crazy busy weeks so I hadn’t really bought her a present (yes awful older sister!). So, in order to make up for the no birthday present situation, I set up a little party table in my lounge as a surprise for her before she  woke up (and by that I mean, before my kids took turns sitting on her head and forced her out of bed).

 

I made four different flavours of cupcakes, all from the same batter, using my most basic recipe, and they turned out great! Once the batter was made, I quickly separated in four bowls, mixed the assorted favourings and popped them in the oven. I did the same with the frosting. Made a big batch of buttercream, separated in four bowls, flavoured each individually and smothered them on the cupcakes.

 

I only managed to nicely photograph just the blueberry ones so I thought I’d share the recipe here.

 

This is a two egg basic Victoria sponge recipe that I often use for cupcakes. I added fresh blueberries to both the cake batter and buttercream. However, Id strongly recommend blueberry jam for the icing if you want to pipe it and to preserve its keeping qualities. Fresh blueberry buttercream no doubt tastes absolutely gorgeous, but it is too runny for piping and can go bad easily if not eaten fresh. Since I didn’t have any blueberry jam at home, and I knew we would scoff up the cakes almost instantly, I used fresh fruit instead.

 blueberry cupcake recipe

INGREDIENTS

100 gms butter

100 gms caster sugar

100 gms Self raising flour

2 Large eggs

¼ Cup fresh blueberries, slightly mashed

 

ICING

100 gms butter

200 gms icing sugar

2 tbsps blueberry jam

 

 

METHOD

Cream butter and sugar together till pale in colour.

Gradually beat in the eggs.

Fold in the sifted flour a little at a time.

Gently fold in very slightly mashed blueberries (if the blueberries are mashed too much, they will make the mixture very runny).

Pour in cupcake cases, placed in a muffin tray in a preheated oven.

 

Check after 15 minutes. These cakes are usually done in 15-25 minutes depending on the oven.

Once done, take out of the tin immediately, cool completely on cooling racks.

 

ICING

Beat butter and icing sugar together till pale and fluffy and gorgeously airy!

Spoon in the jam and fold in gently.

Spoon on the cooled cakes and enjoy!

PS. I added a bit of strawberry jam in the icing because I felt the blueberries made the icing grey and the colour needed perking up.

blueberry cupcake recipe