Monday, 31 March 2014

The Best Ever Chocolate Cake


Although the claim of 'The Best Ever Chocolate Cake' is a big one and one which is taken very seriously by myself as well as other chocolate cake enthusiasts, this recipe is definitely a contender for the prestigious title. It is the best homemade chocolate cake I have ever pulled out of the oven and the taste is up there with Magnolia Bakery's decadent chocolate cupcakes.

The recipe comes from Add a Pinch and from the comments it seems to be a favourite among bakers. I was so happy and relieved to find a chocolate cake recipe that everyone loved! I received so many compliments on this cake and all credit is due to this wonderful recipe, thank you Robyn! I am yet to try Robyn's chocolate butter-cream as I cheated and used a Betty Crocker mix (shameful, but it just tastes so good!) although next time I won't be so lazy and try the butter-cream as well. If you more of a cupcake gal, here is the adjusted recipe for The Best Ever Chocolate Cupcake.

One note I will make is that the batter will seem extremely runny but there is no need to be concerned, it will turn out beautifully moist and lovely! Also be sure to use espresso and not instant coffee. For the coffee haters, I can assure you that the finished cake does not have even a hint of coffee flavour, it just helps to bring out the richness of the cocoa.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. For the cake:
  3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. Frost cake with Chocolate Buttercream, recipe here.



Thursday, 13 March 2014

Mum's Sweet Potato Pudding



Here is one of my favourite's from my Mum's kitchen. Its more than just a pudding for our family, its a throwback to our American roots (although it may be a small root) and our patronage to the States. Its' so versatile you can eat it as a main, a side or even as dessert. As my Mum described it, "This pudding is really nice with roast chicken but could also be a dessert served with ice-cream"  in her recipe notes.
Here is the treasured recipe. Just a note that you may need to add more sugar depending on the sweetness of your Sweet Potatoes. For a extra special treat, you can use candied butter pecans to the top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato (around 3-4 cups when chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 -3 tbsp brown sugar (you can use half brown, half white if you like)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 c cooking cream
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Crumble Topping:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • handful of chopped pecans or walnuts

  1. Boil sweet potato and once soft mash with 1 - 2 tbsp brown sugar.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla, nutmeg and cream.
  3. Place mixture into an oven-safe dish.
  4. Make the crumble topping but rubbing the flour, butter and 2 tbsp brown sugar together. 
  5. Sprinkle crumble mixture on top of the sweet potato and then followed by the walnuts or pecans. 
  6. Bake in a 180C oven for 30mins.



Monday, 3 March 2014

Popcorn Flower Square

I've wanted to test my skills at this popcorn stitch for a long time and found the perfect pattern that is easy to understand and great for intermediate crocheters. Once you do the first popcorn cluster, its so simple! The finished square looks much more complicated than the actual process, so give it a go!

I don't have an exact plan for this square as yet but it will join the other piles of odd granny squares I have which I guess will some day become a big mismatched blanket! 

Here is the link to the tutorial on YouTube and here is the written pattern, free for download! 

Happy crocheting!