Double Chocolate layer Cake

My baby’s 1st birthday is rapidly approaching and to save money I thought I would make his birthday cake myself. For the last few weeks I have been Googling recipes and baking new cakes to experiment with. I found a fabulous chocolate cake recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction Blog and I decided I would try making it.

The recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction Blog is actually for a triple chocolate layer cake, but I wanted to change the decoration. I thought I would pipe rosettes onto the cake instead and therefore this cake ends up being a double chocolate layer cake.

This recipe required two 9 inch tins, I ended up buying some new Wilton 8 inch baking tins from Spotlight when they had a 30% storewide sale and I used those tins (I wanted a smaller cake).

The double chocolate layer cake was once again a really straight forward and easy recipe to follow. The only problem for me with the recipe is that it required the use of a mixer and I did not want to make any noises that may wake my baby and quite frankly I felt too lazy to go get the mixer out of the cupboard. I ended up mixing everything by hand and it worked out well.

I ended up finishing making the double chocolate cake over a few hours in between my baby’s naps.

The double chocolate layer cake looked so gorgeous when it came out of the oven and the cake also smelt so divine. I allowed the cake to cool down and then I decided to fill the cake centre with the icing. This time I used my Wilton piping tip because using a spatula ended up being too messy. I piped the cake filling into a circular snail shape so the filling looked even when the top part of the cake was placed on top.

After this step, I worked on decorating the cake with the icing. I found icing a round cake was so much easier than the heart shaped cakes that I have been baking lately. I started off with icing the cake with the chocolate icing and then I piped rosettes on the cake, dusted it with rainbow dust and then placed cachous balls on top. I did not like the finished product and thought it looked too dramatic for me, so I ended up removing this decoration. I also accidentally cut a slice of the cake before I took the photo.. oops!

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After removing the rosette decoration, I smoothed out the chocolate icing and left it bare.

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After all this drama, I decided to have a taste of the cake slice that I had cut out.

I really loved the taste of the double chocolate layer cake, I thought it tasted very moist and chocolatey. I was so happy that for the first time in my history of baking whole cakes, the whole cake turned out to be all moist and not dry in any places.

I was so pleased with this recipe that I decided to add this cake to my repertoire of favourite cake recipes. I think I may have found the cake that I will bake for my baby’s 1st birthday.

The double chocolate layer cake recipe can be found on this website:

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/04/08/triple-chocolate-layer-cake/

Easy Glazed Cronut™ Recipe

For a while now, I have been obsessing over all of Dominique Ansel’s innovative creations and I have always dreamt of re-visiting NYC so I could visit his bakery. I was feeling bored with baking the usual things, so decided that I would use Dominique as my inspiration for my new baking adventure, so I decided I would try to make his signature Cronut™.

I have of course never eaten a Cronut™, but I have eaten a Brewnut from Brewtown Newtown which is technically the same thing as a Cronut™. I used the Brewnut as my comparison for this recipe.

Okay, so you all know me well and of course I would never spend hours making Dominique’s signature Cronut™ , as if I have time being a mum of a 10 month old baby, so I of course Googled and found the easiest recipe that I could find.

When I was Googling recipes, so many of the recipes suggested using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Dough and of course living in Australia it meant it was not sold here, I then found a recipe that stated that using puff pastry and I was happy.

Making the Cronut™ was a lot easier than I had imagined. The Cronut™ did not take time to make, I was all finished in about 45 minutes. The only problem that I had was that I did not have a doughnut cutter, I ended up using my egg rings and the bottom of one of my Wilton piping tips.

When I was making the Cronut™ , it was hard to imagine that such a flat piece of pastry could turn into a flaky delicious Cronut™ , thankfully it worked out well.

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When the Cronut™ was ready, I let them cool down and I made the glaze. I ended up adding 1 or more extra tablespoons of milk so that the glaze had the right consistency. Once the Cronut™ were cooled down, I dipped them in the glaze and let them set on my wire rack. As soon as they were ready I ate one.. or maybe two..

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I was so impressed with this version of the Cronut™ . This version of Cronut™ tasted really good, it was flaky like a Brewnut (Cronut™) but it had a more crispier texture to it. The glaze was a perfect edition to the Cronut™ . I really thought that this version of the Cronut™ was on par with the other Brewtown Newtown’s Brewnut.

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So delicious, yet so naughty…

I think I might make these again and will experiment with other types of glazes or flavours.

Easy Cronut™ Recipe

adapted from http://bsugarmama.com/puff-pastry-donuts-cronuts/

2 sheets of thrawed puff pastry

1 egg

vegetable oil for frying

Glaze

1 1/2- 3 tablespoons of milk (start off with the minimum amount of required milk and then add more until you get the right consistency)

2 cups of icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Method

1. Using a pastry brush, brush whisked egg onto the pastry

2. Fold the pastry into thirds like .you are folding a letter and place the pastry in the fridge for 15 minutes.

3. Turn on your deep fryer and set it to 170 degrees Celsius. Make the glaze.

4. Take the first sheet of pastry out of the freezer. Do not open the puff pastry sheet. Using your egg rings or doughnut cutter, cut the large circles from left to right on the pastry. Cut a smaller hole in the centre of each circle.

5. As soon as your deep fryer indicates that it is hot, carefully place the cut pastry Cronut™ into the deep fryer. The Cronut™ will eventually rise by itself to the top of the oil.

6. Using a slotted spoon turn the Cronut™ over in the oil until they are golden brown. I did this for 2.5 minutes per each side or longer if I wanted it more crispier. Total cooking time is approximately 5 minutes.

7. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the Cronut™  from the oil and place it on a plate lined with paper towel. Allow to the Cronut™ to cool.

8. Once the Cronut™ has cooled down dip one side into the glaze and lay it down on a wire rack and allow the glaze to set.

9. Take the other sheet of prepared pastry out the freezer and repeat processes 4-9.

Enjoy

Operator 25

Firstly I would like to say the following statement “I love this café

For my first café experience in Melbourne, I wanted to find a place that served amazing coffee, delicious food and a fantastic hot chocolate.  I ended up consulting my friend on Instagram @theragingpiglet because he was my go to person in terms of where to eat in Melbourne. He suggested that I try this café and honestly, everything he said about this café was spot on.

During my short not quite 4 day stay in Melbourne, I visited Operator 25 3 times for breakfast. I think I just fell in love with this café and being the predictable person that I am, I did not want to risk another bad café experience. (I went to another café and it was terrible).

Operator 25 served the most delicious food, I wished that we had stayed longer so I could have eaten my way through the entire menu. The thing that impressed me most, was that the café had amazing customer service. All the staff here were so polite and so lovely towards my baby.

I won’t go into details about all the food I ate (trust me it was all great), I wanted to tell my sweet toothed readers that Operator 25 sells an amazing hot chocolate,and perhaps one of the best I have ever drunk in Melbourne. The hot chocolate at Operator 25 was so creamy, chocolatey and delicious. The hot chocolate comes in various sizes and on my last visit I found out that they have a large sized hot chocolate which is served in this cute bowl. I think this serving size of hot chocolate should be sold everywhere.

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One breakfast item that I must tell you about is the Coconut Sago. The Coconut Sago was superb, it had mixed berries, mango foam and coconut chips. The Coconut Sago was undoubtedly the best Coconut Sago that I have EVER eaten. I really wish I had the talent to make this dish, but I had one huge  failed attempt with tapioca years ago and have since not tried to make it again.

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My Husband said that I should tell you that the coffee was superb too (I hate coffee, so it means nothing to me).

I wish Sydney had a café as awesome as Operator 25! I want to go back to Melbourne asap!

Operator 25 is located at:

25 Willis Street, Melbourne CBD

Shortstop Coffee and Donuts

The other donut place that we visited whilst holidaying in Melbourne was Shortstop Coffee and Donuts. I had heard so many amazing things about Shortstop Coffee and Donuts and people keep telling me that they sell out really quickly, so I decided to pre-order my donuts before we arrived in Melbourne.

Shortstop Coffee and Donuts sell so many interesting types of donuts. Their donuts come in several different types such as filled donuts, raised donuts, crueller and cake donuts. I ended up ordering the following donuts  2 x Boston Cream (filled donut), 1 x Cinnamon, Cardamon and sugar and 2 x Vanilla bean donut (raised donut) and 1 x Hazelnut Chocolate and Banana (cake donut). I can tell you now, I definitely ordered way too many donuts!

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I picked up my donuts on the second day that we arrived in Melbourne. I was so glad that I pre ordered my donuts because they were virtually all sold out when I arrived after 2pm. As soon as I left the shop I immediately tried the Boston Cream filled donut. The Boston Cream donut was filled with vanilla creme and topped with dark chocolate. I quite liked this donut but I was not a huge fan of the cream filling, the cream filling was quite heavy and too sweet for me.

When we arrived back at our hotel, my Husband tried the Hazelnut Chocolate and Banana cake donut. My Husband liked the Hazelnut Chocolate and Banana cake donut, he said it tasted like hazelnut banana bread, he said the texture was quite dense like banana bread.

Over the next few hours, I ate the other two types of donuts. The Cinnamon, Cardamon and sugar raised donut tasted quite nice, but it was definitely was not my favourite. The Vanilla bean donut was very delicious and probably my favourite, the winning component of this donut was the vanilla bean glaze, honestly what’s not to love about a glazed donut.

After eating all these donuts, I was in a donut coma and could not move.

I have to say that Shortstop Donuts are definitely quite good, but I cannot say they are the best donuts that I have ever eaten.

Shortstop Coffee and Donuts website:

http://www.short-stop.com.au/

Doughboys Doughnuts

Last week my family and I went to Melbourne for a holiday. The reason for the holiday was to have some relaxation time, my reason was so that I could eat my way around Melbourne. One thing that I was particularly interested in eating was doughnuts.

It seems that fancy doughnuts or donuts have become such a popular food item since last year and this year. Everywhere I look it seems that a new doughnut place has popped up. When I was in Melbourne I visited two doughnut places, one of them was Doughboys Doughnuts.

I had heard so many great things about Doughboys Doughnuts and was eager to try their doughnuts. When I arrived at Doughboys Doughnuts there were so many interesting varieties of doughnuts on sale, I found it so hard choosing which ones I wanted to buy. I decided that I would only buy 3 doughnuts because the lady working there said they stay fresh for approximately 6 hours. I ended up buying the following flavours Pump Pecan Pop, Gimme S’more and Butterstch Ban. I did not have time to try their doughnuts straight away because we were running late for our flight, so I ate my first doughnut on the flight home.

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The Pump Pecan Pop doughnut was the first doughnut that I tried. The Pump Pecan Pop doughnut had roast pumpkin spiced icing with caramelised pecans, popcorn dust and caramel drizzle. I was admittedly quite apprehensive to try this doughnut because I do not like pumpkin, but it just sounded too divine not to try it. When I ate this doughnut I honestly could not taste the pumpkin, the doughnut tasted really nice and not too sweet. I really loved the pecans on the doughnut. The doughnut texture was not too heavy either. I could have easily eaten another one of these.

I ended up sharing the next two doughnuts with my husband when we were stuck in traffic driving home in Sydney. He really liked the doughnuts too, which was odd because my husband hates sweet things.

The Gimme S’more doughnut had dark chocolate ganache with crumbled hand made wheat Graham cracker biscuits topped with a torched marshmallow square. This doughnut was too sweet for me, I found the combination of the dark chocolate ganache plus the marshmallow too sweet.

The last doughnut that I ate was the Butterscth Ban doughnut. The Butterscth Ban doughnut had butterscotch topped creamed banana Heilala vanilla bean icing dusted with house made chocolate brownie crumbs. I really liked this doughnut, the doughnut was not too sweet and the icing was divine. I could have easily eaten another one of these.

Overall I have to say that Doughboys Doughnuts are the best doughnuts that I have ever eaten. The doughnuts are not too sweet, very inventive and the texture is spot on. I want to fly back to Melbourne so I can get my doughnut fix!

Doughboys Doughnuts are located at:

Upstairs, 456 Queen Street Melbourne CBD.

Taste of Sydney 2015

Every year my friend and I would go to the Taste of Sydney together to eat and shop until we almost pass out, this year I decided that I may not go because I have a baby. Yesterday my friend Suzi told me she had free tickets to attend today’s lunch time session, so I took her up on her offer and dragged my husband and baby to the Taste of Sydney.

I felt really bad dragging my husband and my 10 month old baby to this event, but I really wanted to go and could not say no to free tickets. I was hoping that my husband would enjoy himself and luckily he did. I only wished that it was nicer weather, because like last year it was raining and cloudy.

I love getting to events early, so we ended up getting there just after 11am and thankfully we got great parking. When we arrived, I noticed that there were already lots of people there.  Today is seemed like the event was packed full of school children.

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As usual, I bought $50 worth of crowns. This year the lady selling the crowns told me that for the first time any money left on your crowns card is refundable and they take a $1 bond for the card so it gets returned. I was so happy with this, because last year I had to force myself to use up all the credits.

We all then joined the long queue and we were handed the menu card and I started studying it carefully looking for all the things that I love. I could not believe that one particular dish from Otto costed 69 crowns! (1 crown = $1)

When we arrived through the gates we headed straight to the food, because frankly I was starving. I ended up buying the slow roasted pig from 4 Fourteen (minus the garnishes so my baby could try some)  and as usual, it tasted amazing. The dish tasted so good that I forgot to offer some to my baby (bad mamma lol).

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For my husband’s lunch we walked to many stalls and he did not seem to want to eat any of the food available. I was getting annoyed by then because I did not want him to starve. We went to The Cut Bar and Grill and my husband decided that he might try the Icon Dish, but it was not available yet. A few more stalls later and we stopped at Movida and I bought my husband the Pinchitos Morunos, thankfully he loved this.

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After eating lunch we walked around to look at all the stalls near Movida and all I could see was mostly alcohol stalls and a few food stalls. I was not to happy with this, but my husband was having a field day trying all the different ciders etc.

Finally I stumbled upon my favourite French stall Fine French Food and bought myself two blocks of my favourite Echire Beurre French Salted Butter. I am really obsessed with this butter, so I was extremely happy that they finally had some in stock.

Next to Fine French Food, I noticed that there was La Maison De L’eclair, a place that I have been willing to try for ages. I ended up being very passive and bought only one mini coconut eclair. The coconut eclair was absolutely divine. Later on at the end of our visit, I bought a mini salted caramel eclair, but it was too sweet for me.

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The next few stops ended up involving my husband trying more cider.. I was getting bored…

To my luck, I then happen to notice another place that I have been meaning to try for a long time called Duccio Gelato Five Dock. I have been wanting to try their brioche con aka gelato burger for a long time, so naturally I ordered one with stracciatella gelato. Unfortunately I felt slightly let down by this and I made my husband try some too and he agreed with me. The gelato was alright, but the brioche part was too dry for my liking.

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At this point I was feeling glum and needed something to cheer me up, thankfully my husband pointed out the Lewis Road Creamery stall and I was all cheered up again. I have always wanted to try Lewis Road Creamery’s butter and it did taste as amazing as my friends have told me. I ended up buying three blocks of butter.

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I then bumped into my Twitter friend Melissa and her gorgeous baby Ava and we walked around.

I was feeling more happier to see more food stalls for me to salivate over. We ended up buying a Yonana dessert maker, some macadamia nuts and some breakfast cinnamon buns from Sonoma. I gave up looking around much because it was raining and my baby was feeling tired, so we went back to the car and went home.. (this took 2+ hours due to terrible traffic on the roads).

I am really hoping that the Taste of Sydney 2016 will be full of more food stalls and less alcohol stalls! (many attendees agreed with me). Next year I may not take my baby, because it restricted me doing other things such as cooking classes etc.

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My small haul from the Taste of Sydney

Details:

The Taste of Sydney is held at Centennial Park from 12-15 March. They have lunch and dinner sessions, please refer to their website for further details http://www.tasteofsydney.com.au/

Chia and coconut pudding

I just came back from my holiday in Melbourne, which my diet consisted of eating donuts, cake and lots of fried stuff. After my “bad eating” holiday in Melbourne, I felt like I should start eating something more healthy. I decided to find something that was delicious, without being naughty. I found a recipe for chia and coconut pudding and I decided this would be a great start.

I first tried this pudding at one of my favourite stores About Life and I thought it tasted amazing. I could not believe that something that tasted so delicious could be so healthy.

The great thing about the chia and coconut pudding was that it was tso easy to make and is free from refined sugar, dairy and gluten. I made the pudding in no time and the only thing that took time was waiting for the pudding to set in the fridge.

Several hours later the chia and coconut pudding was ready. The chia and coconut pudding tasted so good, it was so creamy and coconutty, I could not believe that something that tasted so delicious could be so healthy. The chia and coconut pudding tasted like a naughty dessert.

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Next time when I make the chia and coconut pudding, I might add some fruit such as mango or strawberries.

When I return to work from maternity leave, I may make a few of these chia and coconut puddings for work, I think they make a delicious breakfast.

Chia and coconut pudding recipe

1 can of coconut cream

1/2 cup of shredded coconut

4 tablespoons of chia seeds

2 tablespoons of honey (I used coconut nectar)

Method

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and then divide the chia and coconut pudding evenly into jars. Allow the chia and coconut pudding to set for approximately 2 hours in the fridge.

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