Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dark Chocolate Brownie {Recipe}

If you like dark chocolate like I do, then you will really enjoy making these brownies.   They are decadent and moist and will definitely hit the spot!  They are also very quick and easy to make - another bonus!  I made them for a last minute dinner invitation and they went down a treat served warm with some cold vanilla icecream.  Yummy!

Here is the recipe for all you dark chocolate lovers:

Dark Chocolate Brownie Recipe

250g butter
150g dark chocolate (I used 72% cocoa - yes 72! but you can use whatever you prefer)
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar (packed firmly)
3/4 cup all purpose flour (sifted)
1/4 cup self raising flour (sifted)
Handful of dark chocolate chips - more dark chocolate, why not? :) (optional)
Handful of chopped, toasted walnuts (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Line a square pan with baking paper, slightly greased.  (I used a 20cm square pan.)
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a bowl and place over a pot of hot water.  Stir until melted.  Leave aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar til light and fluffy.  Add the chocolate mixture.  Mix to combine.
  4. Add both flours and fold into the mixture.  If using chocolate chips or walnuts, add them in as well.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm to touch.  Allow to cool completely in the pan.
  6. Cut into slices. Serve slightly warmed with cold vanilla icecream.
Enjoy! :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A bunch of roses and a teddy bear...

For Valentine's day this year, how about giving someone you love a bunch of roses and a teddy bear...on a cake!  What could be more perfect than getting the gift and eating it too! 
It's a simple and easy cake design to do as well and it was inspired by a post on CakeJournal (thank you Louise!).  I used ribbon roses to decorate the top of the cake.  You can find my tutorial here on how to make them.  I made a bow out of fondant and stuck it to the front of the cake.  I will come up with a tutorial soon on how to make that.  As for the teddy bear, you can learn how to make him here.

Or you can leave out the teddy and still have a very elegant looking cake like so:

Happy decorating! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Jelly {Recipe}

I was invited over for a friend's BBQ recently and was asked to bring the dessert.  I decided to do something I hadn't made in quite a while - cheesecake!  I had a recipe from ages ago (can't remember which magazine I cut it out from) and it was pretty good and simple to do.  Now this cheesecake recipe calls for the use of eggs, but I was asked to omit the eggs for allergy reasons, so I pretty much used the same recipe without eggs.  You can try it with or without the eggs, both ways are delicious!  I added the blueberry jelly to give it a little more flavour but you can add whatever jam or jelly flavour you like or do without it altogether.  The lemon cheesecake stands nicely on its own.

Recipe for Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Jelly 
For the crust:
200g biscuits, finely crushed* (I used Digestives, my fav!)
120g butter, melted

For the filling:
500g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
180g caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
120ml sour cream
40g all-purpose flour, sifted
1tsp vanilla essence
1tsp finely grated lemon peel
4tbsp lemon juice

For the topping (optional):
120ml blueberry jelly

*[You can use a food processor or a rolling pin to crush the biscuits.  If you're using the rolling pin, put the biscuits in a bag and then used the rolling pin to crush it.]
  1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter. 
  2. Place the mixture into a well-greased and lined springform pan (I used a 9-inch pan), pressing it down firmly and evenly to cover the base.  Refrigerate for 2 hours (or leave it in the freezer til your filling is done- works just as nicely!).
  3. Blend the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and egg yolks (if using).
  4. Add in flour, vanilla, lemon peel and juice and beat till mixture is smooth and glossy.  (Use a low speed to beat the mixture and don't overbeat it.)
  5. Whisk the egg whites (if using) separately until stiff.  Fold them carefully into the cream cheese mixture. 
  6. Spoon the filling into the chilled crust and bake for one hour at 180°C.  If you are making this without eggs, check it earlier, around 45-50 minutes.  (I use a bain-marie or water bath to bake my cheesecake in.  You can do this by placing the cheesecake pan into a larger roasting pan filled halfway with boiling water, then placing the whole thing in the oven to bake.)
  7. Once baked, leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool completely with the oven door slightly ajar.
  8. Refrigerate overnight in the pan.  
  9. If using a topping, warm the blueberry jelly slightly in a pot.  It will become more liquid which then makes it easier to spread.  Spread it over the chilled cheesecake quickly before it sets. 
  10. Chill again until ready to serve.
I have to say that everyone enjoyed this cheesecake at the BBQ and it got a thumbs up from all the kids as well!  I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Happy baking! :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pineapple tarts

When I was living in Singapore, pineapple tarts were a staple for any festive season, be it Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Diwali or even Christmas.  They are little pieces of butter pastry with a sweet and slightly tart pineapple filling and let me tell you, boy, are they addictive!  Pop one in your mouth and you can't stop!

Now that I am no longer living in Singapore, and there isn't an option of buying these from the local bakeries (I don't think they've even heard of them here hmmmm), I decided to bake some myself with the help of a friend who shared her recipe.

Now I must say they didn't turn out quite so perfect on my first attempt.  I think I may have overbaked them in all the excitement of making them, but they still hit the spot!

I will probably try to make another batch soon (the first one did not last very long around here!) and will share the recipe once I've sorted it out.  Stay tuned!  :)