Can you believe it’s already Easter? Seriously, before we know it, it will be mid-year and then end year. Last week we were in South Africa and at the supermarket, I saw these eggs and I couldn’t leave them. My next question was “what to make and how to use the eggs”. So Sunday was lunch at mom’s and thought well why not take some cupcakes, but not any cupcakes, chocolate because my brother-in-law loves anything that is made of chocolate.
These cupcakes are easy to make, all it takes is 30 minutes you’re done. Something quick and simple to make for Easter.
Is there anything better than Nutella? No seriously, is there? There are so many ways you can have Nutella, straight from the bottle, as a bread spread, and my new craze Nutella buttercream (and the cake is not complete without the bottle on top of the cake) and pancakes. These Nutella Pancakes are amazing, with the Nutella oozing out and then have them with bacon….can it get any better than having the saltiness and the sweetness of the two?
I was home alone on a Sunday which is always the best time to try out new recipes, let’s just say my husband does not like trying out new things and he is not a Nutella fan(I don’t understand). I felt like going all out, even if my gym instructor wouldn’t approve, but hey it was Sunday and if I don’t do it on a Sunday then when?
When I was making these I wasn’t sure what I would call them because they had cinnamon, buttermilk, and Nutella which is a mouthful hence Pancakes for brunch. Anything that has buttermilk is always amazing, it adds depth and a lot better than just plain old milk. The pancakes are also an amazing dessert option, which I did since I couldn’t finish all three, I later on just added some ice-cream and the end result was spot on.
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar (adjust to your liking)
pinch baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
Mix the dry ingredients together and add the wet ingredients. Mix well until there are no lumps.
Heat a pan over medium heat and add oil. Using a ladle, pour the batter and swirl the pan to spread it into an even circle. Spoon the Nutella into the center and cover the Nutella with more pancake batter.
When the pancake starts to bubble turn the pancake and let cook.
Top the pancakes with strawberries (I let mine soak in sugar) or whatever fruit you have.
Is it ice-cream? As a baker there is always left over cake scraps and every time I put them in bags and freeze with the hope of either doing cake pops or whatever else. Most of the time I end up throwing them away after being in the freezer for too long. I am always throwing out cake scraps then a friend mentioned that Snocream sells cones and it is the only place I actually eat ice-cream on cone. For awhile I had been looking for nice cones for either cake cones or to place on top of a cake and not the small tasteless ones.
I know not everyone bakes, but this can work well if you have ready bought cake that you can’t seem to finish. This is a fun idea that your kids can be involved in and it does not require any equipment.
Frosting of your choice
Melted dark and white chocolate
Sprinkles or crushed chocolate
Pour the melted chocolate in the cones and let it dry.
Crumble the cake scraps until there are no big pieces left. Add the frosting little by little until the cake comes together and your able to foam a ball.
Stuff the prepared cake into the cone pushing down until it is filled. Using your hands foam a ball and place it on top of the cone shaping it to fit the cone and stick to the one inside the cone. You can do two but know it will get heavy and might be a little hard to handle.
Place the cake cones in the fridge for 15 minutes so the cake pops can harden a little. Pour the melted chocolate making sure to cover the cake pop. Decorate with whatever you have available. I used sprinkles on some and crushed chocolate.
It is that time of the year when Kenyans go a tad bit too red…actually way too red if you ask me. I have never really understood valentines, like it doesn’t make sense and when I came back home from Australia I realized how seriously Kenyans take valentines (or should I say women? *insert emoji for covered face*). Love should be celebrated every day. Anywayyyyy aside from that any reason for me do make cake is welcome and I reckon there are so many ideas for valentines. I was talking to my cousin and I asked her what the plan for valentine is and I mentioned to her that it doesn’t have to be the guy who gives all the time, and she said she was still traditional and that gave me an idea of a guy cake for valentines(hhhmmm…lets hope an idea comes before the 14th)
Sometime at the beginning of January my neighbor gifted me with the most amazing book, “The Chocolate and coffee Bible”. I want to bake everything on that book, such amazing interesting recipes. The first that I had to try was the Chocolate and beetroot cake which sounded so yum and I must say it was amazing and I guess because of the beetroot it was moist. The book says to use canned beetroot but instead I used fresh and boiled for about an hour until they were soft when pricked with a knife. I was going to cover the whole cake but I loved the rough rugged look, I mean look how beautiful the cake is with the specs of red from the beetroot.
Adapted from: The Chocolate and Coffee Bible
Cocoa for dusting
225g cooked whole beetroot
115g/1/2cups unsalted butter
425g/21/2cups light brown sugar
15ml/1tbsp vanilla essence
75g dark chocolate, melted
225g/2cups all-purpose flour
10ml/2tsp baking powder
237ml whipping cream
250g dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease two 8inch cake tins and dust with cocoa powder.
Grate the beetroot and add to the juice and set aside. With a hand-held or stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence until pale. Reduce the speed and beat in the melted chocolate. sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternately with the buttermilk. Add the beetroot and juice and beat for 1 minute.
Divide between the tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Ganache: Heat the cream in a pa over medium heat until it just begins to boil, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate. Cool and chill, stirring every 10 minutes for an hour until spreadable.
Assemble the cake: Place one layer on a serving plate and spread with one-third of the ganache frosting. Place the second layer on top and spread the ganache over the top cake. I left mine naked. Add ganache on the sides if you want to cover the whole cake. Allow the ganache to set for 20-30 minutes, then chill the cake in the refrigerator before serving.
There are days I try to figure out what to make next and I am usually torn on what to post for you guys but some how it kinda works itself out. The other day I had the idea for this post in a conversation with my friend. The conversation lead me to bacon wrapped chicken and due to my commitments I wasn’t able to make them on Monday and well the week wasn’t going to go by without me making it.
This is one of those easy meals that takes 10 minute to prep and the oven does the rest. The best part, it can be served as a main meal or a starter. I served the chicken with wedges, clearly you can tell I wasn’t about to be in the kitchen for long. All you need to do for the wedges is clean thoroughly, chop into wedges, no pealing and put the chicken and wedges in the oven at the same time and wala…in 35 minutes you have an amazing meal that takes zero effort.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
500g boneless breast chicken
1 packet bacon strips
1 bunch spinach
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cream cheese
salt and pepper
In a saucepan melt butter and add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Before taking it out add the Gouda and stir to melt.
Preheat oven to 200ºC. Pound the chicken between two sheets of plastic paper until the chicken is completely thin and season with salt and pepper. Lay the bacon strips side by side and place the chicken on top of the bacon. Spoon enough spinach at the center and roll the chicken and secure with toothpicks.
Place the wrapped chicken in a casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes covered then remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or until bacon is golden in color.
My two sisters based in Australia and Malaysia were around for my sister’s wedding and it was time to say goodbye. I live close to the airport so our house has become a stopover for breakfast or dinner before the airport. Wednesday was breakfast for my sister based in Malaysia and yesterday dinner for my eldest from Australia and its always sad to see them leave. For dinner, I decided to try out something different for starters and these cute tartlets were amazing. I love making pastries, yes it can be time consuming but the end results are worth it.
40g unsalted butter melted and cooled
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
220g unsalted butter
150g chilled water
Two large onions, thinly sliced in rings
200g button mushrooms
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Cheese of choice, I used cheddar
Sift the flour and salt in a bowl and add the butter and rub with your fingers until it resembles sand. Make a well and add the chilled water and using a butter knife for a cutting motion mix the dough until it comes together in a ball and no crumbs left. Add more water if the dough is too dry.
Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and gather up in a ball. Cling wrap the dough and place it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
As the dough rests, place the butter in a zip lock back and using a rolling pin flatten to form a 4 inch square. Put the butter in the freezer.
Remove dough and place on a floured surface and roll to 18 inch square with the center thicker than the edges. Place the frozen butter on the rolled out dough and fold the dough to completely cover the pastry. Make sure there is no visible butter so it does not leak out when rolling. Fold the left side of the dough to the center and then the right side on top of the left (make sure to make it as neat as possible as it is easier to work with) and roll the dough slightly. Turn the dough clockwise and fold again as above and put it in cling wrap and place it in the fridge for another 20 minutes.
Repeat the fold method until you have six turns and always remember to place in the fridge after every second fold. You should have an even yellow dough from the spread of butter. Continue rolling if the dough is streaky.
Filling: In a pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil, put the onions in and season with salt, cook for 2 minutes reduce the heat and cover. Cook the onions for about 20 minutes turning a couple times.
After 15 minutes, add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine, then add the mushrooms and cook until done.
Preheat 200ºC and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Divide the pasty in two and roll out and cut out circles. Place the filling at the center of the circle making sure not to overfill to the edges and top with cheese. Beat an egg and use to brush the edges of the pastry.
Bake at for about 20 minutes or until browned.
Serve with some chutney, sun-dried tomatoes or ketchup.
I have debated on whether to write this last blog and post on a Friday, especially now that everyone is on holiday. I realized I needed to end the year with a bang and Wednesday the 28th was my bang of 2016. My sister got married this Wednesday and it was an amazing, beautiful wedding. I still can’t believe she is finally married, maybe it the same as they thought when I got married.
I was honored to do their wedding cake and I must say this is the third wedding cake this year and each time I think it will be easier but it gets harder. The second wedding cake I knew for sure I will be able to manage by myself…boy was I wrong. I almost titled this blog I Love My Sisters. To be honest with the three wedding cakes, I definitely wouldn’t have finished if it wasn’t for them. Each time they stayed up with me until 4am trying to finish up.
I am all for new trends and I loved that the three brides decided to do non fondant cakes. For my sisters wedding, I did semi naked cakes with fresh flowers and decided to do a display of different cakes unlike the usual of one main cake then the parents. There was the main cake which was three tiered, two tiered and then two individual and decided to have one naked. I decided to use different items as the cake stands instead of one similar stand for all and I think it added character. I had all the freedom to do as I wanted and am so glad Miriam my eldest sister was there as she came up with a brilliant idea for the cupcakes. The idea was simple but different and amazing. Plastic see through cups with a ribbon on them, simple but great and the deco guy did an amazing job pulling off what my sister wanted. Like the bottles hanging above the cake table, different yet unique idea and made the stand look amazing. The table setup for the guests was beautiful and that was all credit from the hard work my sisters put in. They did all the bottles, yes all the center pieces were done by my sisters. My sister Isabel decided to use different spray paint in gold and some with maroon wool, yet another unique idea and the fact that she did them herself made it even more special.
As much as wedding cakes are a lot of work, when they are finally on the table and you are able to finally breath you feel the accomplishment and I must say it is an amazing feeling.
2016 was an awesome year and I grew so much in terms of cake decorating and flavor. A friend recently told me the cake she ordered a year and half ago was totally different from now. I can only grow, looking forward to 2017 and what it holds.