Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chocolate Brownies - My New Favourite!

I hadn't cooked with chocolate for a while and I was having withdrawals. I wanted to make something to take to a friends place for a BBQ and thought brownies would be perfect. But I decided to try a new recipe (risky I know) because there was still this certain brownie texture that had alluded me up until now. That dense and almost chewy texture as apposed to super moist cake-like texture. I had a good feeling about this new recipe.

In the past I had always tried to use brownie recipes that use cocoa powder instead of chocolate for convenience reasons but this time I went for the real thing. These brownies are amazing! They are exactly that texture I have been searching for and the nuts just really add to the experience. Topped with chocolate ganache they are to die for and extremely morish. Another great thing is you make it in one saucepan so its not too messy!

It is safe to say that when I open my own bakery, these babies will DEFINITELY be on the menu! I found the recipe floating around on Pinterest and it is a David Lebovitz recipe. I am really starting to like this guys recipes... a lot!

Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from Leite's Culinaria

What you will need

85g butter
225g dark chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
1tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

200g dark chocolate
100ml cream

What you will need to do

Preheat oven to 175*C and line a square baking tin with baking paper.
In a small saucepan melt the butter and chocolate over low heat. Stir until melted. Take off the heat and add the sugar and vanilla, stir until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the flour and mix rigorously for a whole minute until it becomes smooth and glossy and pulls away from the side of the pan a bit. Apparently this step is crucial to getting the right texture at the end. Stir in the chopped nuts and pour batter into prepared tin. Bake for 30 minutes or until the centre feels almost set. You do not want to over cook them. Take out of oven and cool in the tin.

To make the ganache. Place the cream and chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, pour over the top of the brownies still in the tin and leave to set. I put mine in the fridge to set quicker :D.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hummingbird Cake

Ahh Hummingbird Cake, the beautiful combination of pineapple and banana covered in cream cheese icing! I don't think I have ever made one before now but my mother has made it for my family more than once. A little out of the ordinary for me but I wanted to try out some icing techniques and thought something a little exotic would do nicely.

I found this icing technique on Pinterest and just had to give it a go. Although it uses a fair bit of icing, it is very simple to do and the result is quite impressive.

Hummingbird Cake

Recipe adapted from Leela Bean Bakes

What you will need

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup Canola oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas, about 3
225g crushed pineapple
1 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla

Adapted from OurBestBites
750g cream cheese
3/4 cup butter
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2tsp vanilla 
Toasted coconut

What you will need to do

Preheat your oven to 180*C. Line two cake tins the same size and set them aside.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. In a separate bowl, combine the sugars and eggs and whisk together. Next, add the oil and whisk until uniform in consistency. Then whisk in the mashed bananas and crushed pineapples, followed by the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold together. Then fold the pecans into the batter. Do not over mix.

Divide the batter into your prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked through. Let your cakes cool slightly in the tin then turn out onto a cooling wire.

To make the icing, beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and whisk until smooth.

When the cakes have cooled completely, put a layer of icing on top of one and top with the second cake. Next do a crumb coat of icing all over the cake and put in the fridge.

When the icing has set, bring out the cake.

Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top of the cake.

Place the remaining icing into a piping bag fitted with an inch size round nozzle. Pipe 3 round blobs of icing down one side. 

Using an off set spatula the same size as the blob, press and drag the blob so it goes from thick to thin.
Repeat for each blob and then repeat with another row until you go around the whole cake. Finish off with 8 rounded blobs on the top and garnish each with a pecan.