Tag Archives: cake

Wasted on Chocolate

I know I haven’t posted in a little while… But now I’m back! And trust me, this cake well and truly makes up for my online absence.

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Dubbed Chocolate Wasted Cake, this sugary tour de force is deliciously decadent.

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I found this recipe while trolling around on what is perhaps one of my favorite buzzfeed lists ever: 71 Reasons Candy Hearts are Stupid, a string of 71 images of mouthwatering chocolate creations cleverly set to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On.”

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Chocolate Wasted Cake is constructed as follows. Two layers of chocolate cake, each soaked with a bit of liqueur, are glued together and coated with chocolate icing. Next, the sides of the cake are tiled with chocolate chips, the top with candy pieces. The final touch is a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Are you drooling yet?

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As I made minimal changes to the original recipe, I’ll leave you to refer directly to those directions.

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You’ll need LOTS of these.

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For the top of your masterpiece, the candy selection is up to you. The original recipe suggest kit kats, twix bars, and kisses. But butterfingers, snickers, and malted milk balls also make for a pretty heavenly combo.

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Hazelnuts and chocolate must be one of the best duos of all time. Frangelico is a liqueur that literally tastes like nutella. Why soak your cake with anything else?

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One slice of this baby and you’ll be wasted on chocolate goodness in no time.

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An Oversized Oreo

This cake looks just like an oreo an tastes like one, too. Two layers of not-too-sweet chocolate cake with a thick, creamy layer of vanilla buttercream between them. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

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Along with the cake pop pan, my mother brought back another kitchenware impulse buy: a set of cookie-shaped cake pans.

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I originally made this cake for a friend’s half birthday (I missed her real one!) but when she was home sick, I had no choice but to find another audience. Luckily we honor choir singers had a 90 minute bus ride in store. The perfect time to enjoy a slice of chocolate cookie-cake. It was a hit, so I have promised to replicate this cake for the birthday girl!

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This recipe was adapted from the one on the cake pan box. While having these items makes for a cool looking cake, I’m sure it’ll be equally delicious made in any other accoutrement.

For the cake, you’ll need…

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 220 g bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (scant) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • a generous 2 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease the pans. If you are using pans with flat bottoms, I recommend lining the bases with circles of wax paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler over gentle heat, stirring until blended smoothly

3. Sift and whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

4. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Then the chocolate mixture, and finally the dry mixture.

5. Divide and spread the batter evenly into the two pans. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of center with a few crumbs on it.

And for the icing…

  • 4 1/2 cups (560 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 185 g unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 tbsp skim milk (you may or may not need to add a little more to adjust the texture)
  • vanilla!
  • a pinch of salt

Sift the sugar and mix all of the ingredients. If the icing feels too stiff, simply add a touch more milk. This buttercream is divine! The sugar-butter ratio works beautifully and makes for a smooth and sweet interlude to crumbly chocolate cake.

Assembly: Wait about 10-15 minutes before taking the cakes out of their pans. Put one layer down, smooth all of the buttercream frosting out evenly across the top, and lay down the second cake. Voila!

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Cicada Sisters’ Date

Cicada is one of the few restaurants that comes to mind where every course is sensational: the appetizers, the mains, and, of course, the desserts. Located in Omotesando, it serves exceptional mediterranean-inspired cuisine.

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Cicada used to be a fairly regular weekend haunt for my family, but since it relocated a few months, we had had difficultly getting a reservation. A couple weekends ago, we finally got a table. Nothing had changed. The food was absolutely perfect and just as we had remembered it. The same night, my sister and I reserved a table for the dinner the next week.

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Every time we go to Cicada, we order exactly the same thing. Why? It’s so extraordinary that we couldn’t possibly forfeit a chance to taste it.

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To start, we ordered Cicada Sangrias, delicious concoctions of red wine, orange juice, and ginger ale. I rarely opt for any cocktail other than a kir royale, but this one is to die for.

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As for appetizers, there is only one way to go. If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, by this point you’ve probably realized that I am a major hummus enthusiast. Well, Cicada’s recipe may be the best I’ve ever tried. It’s a strong statement, I know. But trust me, the combination of flavors, the slight sourness of the lemon, the nuttiness of the chickpeas and tahini, and the perfectly smooth consistency is unmatched.

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A carefully crafted bite of crispy pita, a kalamata olive, and a spoonful of hummus is utterly heavenly.

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Here, you have our main dish: snapper with rosemary, potatoes, and black olives. There are no words.

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In preparation for dessert, my sister and I shared one appetizer and one main. Our waitress kept asking us if we were hungry and if we wanted more food. She was clearly oblivious to our meticulously designed eating strategy.

As we poured over the menu, just to be sure that our regular choices were the right ones, we came very close to stepping outside the box. We toyed with the idea of Torta della Nonna with Pistachio Gelato and debated the pros and cons of Rice Pudding with Glazed Apples. But, in the end, our old favorites prevailed. We were far from disappointed.

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Pistachio Crème Brûlée. This pudding is wonderfully nutty and is served in a thin layer so that every bite has a touch of burnt sugary goodness.

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Super Rich Warm Valrhona 70% Cacao Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ice Cream. The melding of textures, temperatures, and tastes is sensational. No further comment necessary.

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Like every meal I’ve had here, this one was memorable. Good food, great company.

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Viennese Chocolate Nutcake

I love to cook, consume, and chronicle beautiful food. So it’s high time I inaugurated my food blog.
This afternoon, in lieu of studying for senior semester exams, I decided to bake a cake. A recipe from Ladies, A Plate, a cookbook acquired in New Zealand, this Viennese Chocolate Nutcake did not disappoint. Made with ground almonds instead of flour, the cake itself had a mildly sweet and wonderfully textured, nutty flavor. Its gritty chocolate buttercream – with white sugar rather than the typical confectioner’s variety – was the perfect complement. Jumbo (and standard) nonpareils topped it off, giving my cake a little bit of colorful character.

Viennese Chocolate Nutcake

Recipe:

Adapted from Ladies, A Plate: Traditional Home Baking by Alexa Johnston
http://www.ladiesaplate.co.nz/

You’ll Need…

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 oz (115 g) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp matzo meal (I used whole-wheat)
  • A generous splash of vanilla (I add vanilla to anything and everything sweet, it can’t hurt, right?)
  • 4 oz (115 g) butter
  • A scant 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 7 oz (200 g) dark chocolate, melted but not hot (use high quality since this is the main ingredient in the buttercream – côte d’or is my personal favorite)
  • 1 egg

1. Start by setting your oven to 190ºC (375ºF) and greasing an 8-in diameter cake pan with butter. Line the base with a circle of oven paper.

2. To make the cake, begin by beating the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until pale yellow.

3. Next, beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff but not dry.

4. Fold the ground almonds and matzo meal into the yolks. When that’s done, fold in the egg whites, adding one third to half of them at a time.

5. Pour the batter into your cake pan and cook. Alexa recommends cooking this cake for 45 min, but in my oven, 35 min was plenty. Situate the cake on a rack in the middle of your oven and rotate it after about 20 min, to ensure that it bakes evenly. The cake is done when it pulls away from the edges and is golden brown on top. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

6. Now it’s time to tackle the buttercream. First, cream the butter until smooth. Then add the sugar and vanilla.

7. Next, add the chocolate, followed by the egg.

8. After you take the cake out, let it sit for a bit (let’s say at least 5 min) in order to cool down. Then, carefully invert it onto a plate.

9. To cut it into two layers, use a serrated knife to make the first incision (the outer edge of the cake is made of sturdier stuff than the inside). Then follow through with dental floss – be careful not to use the flavored kind! I find that a large spatula really helps when it comes to lifting off the top layer.

10. Lather the bottom layer with icing. This recipe make more than enough, so there’s no need to skimp.

11. Replace the top layer of cake, centering it carefully. Ice its top and sides and decorate as desired.
A Single Slice

Hokey Pokey ice cream to finish: two commonwealth treats in one!

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