Thursday, December 31, 2009

Donna Hay's Chocolate Mud Cake

Posted by Quinn at Thursday, December 31, 2009 8 comments Links to this post

I'm blogging from McDonald's now. I'm gonna be back in Adelaide real soon!!! Just waiting for the time to go to the airport. The budget hotel kicked us out at 10am sharp because that's the usual check out time for budget hotels apparently. This chocolate mud cake by Donna Hay is what I’ve made for Christmas. Nothing but good shout outs! You probably gotta make this on the day you will be serving it because mine was a little on the dry side and required microwaving for a minute.

This is so rich I’d say it serves more than 10. I served 15 with this for a 4 course meals, where this came out last. So, everyone had a small slice and not feel bloated. And I make the cake as it is but I added the zest of 2 tangerines. And a small opppsie, I ran out of baking powder. I use double-action baling powder and proceed with fingers crossed. It’s Christmas, I can’t possible buy baking powder anywhere now!

Also, instead of 9’’ round tin, I used a 10’’ springform pan so I get a real flat cake and I wasn’t particular with the height of the cake. It came out really flat, just how I like it with just a tiny small crack. That didn’t bother me much really. I was happy! Dusted it with a layer of thick good quality cocoa powder followed by a layer of snow powder. It’s Christmas and it’s hot in Australia so let it snow all over the mud cake!

In my next post, I’ll show how I plated up this dessert. This is so good; it is tangy, zesty, chocolaty, rich, dense, fudgy, tangerine-y and muddy! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and great shopping day on Boxing Day and of course a great new year to come!

Chocolate Mud Cake
(Adapted and modified from Ellie of Almost Bourdain and she in return adapted it from Donna Hay Chocolate Cookbook)

375g butter, softened
1 1/3 cup brown sugar (I us dark muscovado sugar)
3 large eggs
Zest of 2 tangerines
300g plain flour, sifted once
1/2 tsp baking powder (I substituted with double-action baking powder)
80g cocoa powder, pass through a tea strainer
200g good quality bitter dark chocolate, melted over a double boiler
3/4 cup (180 ml / 6 fl oz) milk

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease a 10'' springform pan and line the bottom and sides with baking paper. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture is light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well. Add in the zest and beat again.

Fold through the flour, baking powder, cocoa and melted chocolate and stir in the milk. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 75 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in tin completely.

To serve, see here.

Serves 10-15 as dessert

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Posted by Quinn at Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2 comments Links to this post

Christmas have been busy and guess what? I’m in Canberra now! And no, I don’t get internet connection often and I’m actually sitting in Pancake Parlour now, having my lunch with Aaron, exploiting their free wi-fi service to blog! Bad internet service and steep price for the quality of food. I've tasted better savoury pancakes elsewhere really. Anyhow, I'm glad not-so-picky Aaron likes it. I just kick up a fuss because of the ridiculously slow internet connection! And I kinda pity him he has to endure it...

This time around, I’m gonna do a little surprise….I’m gonna separate my posts up in parts because I’ve only made one dessert for two Christmas dinner! But I can assure you it’s one helluva good dessert! So, please guess what are these mandarin limes or tangerines or whatever that is for!

Sorry, no prize for guessing the right answer! And because comments are in moderation to avoid spam, you’ll have to wait till the next time I blog or approve comments or have access to free wi-fi to reveal.

For now, stay surprised and wonder away!!!!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Winter Solstice Festival Today!

Posted by Quinn at Tuesday, December 22, 2009 16 comments Links to this post

It is Winter Solstice Festival today. When we were young, we call it the 'Tang Yuan' Festival because it seems like the only thing we do on this particular day is early morning Chinese prayers followed by a feast for lunch and dinner.

Whole chicken, complete with head and feet never fail to glaze the table. In western countries, you have Thanksgiving, Hannukah and all sorta things where you all have whole roast chicken or a leg of ham. It's the same in Asian houses except that it is usually a whole steamed pr poached chicken.

The chicken is served as it is with sometimes buttered rice, sorta like Hainanese Chicken Rice and any leftovers can be turned into steamed salted chciken the following days. One can eat lotsa bowls of rice with just the salted steamed chicken. That's what they eat when they were poor.

Though it its Winter Solstice, winter season never happened in Malaysia however December in Malaysia is the coolest and wettest month all year round. It generally rained more through to April, oh well I guess that is winter, the furthest it could get in Malaysia!

Tang Yuan can take many colours but I've just choose pink and white because that is what I grew up with. I twisted the broth a little to give it a Nyonya taste. Adding a touch of Dragon's Eyes or dried longan and red dates elevated the ordinary plain rock sugar-ginger-syrup. And of course not forgetting pandan leaves as well. They are a must, Asian vanilla essence!

Tang Yuan
(serves one small family)

Glutinous Balls
80g glutinous rice flour
4 tbsp room temperature water
1 tbsp hot water

Mix to form a dough. Spraying my hand with canola spray helps ease stickiness. Pinch into small balls and roll into Yuan shape. Repeat with the same proportion but add a drop of red colouring to the water to get pink dough.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add all the glutinous balls and boil until they float to the surface of the water. Let it bob around a while and turn off the heat. Fish them out and plunge them into cold water. This will increase the chewiness of the balls. Drain them and divide them into small serving rice bowls. Ladle hot Tang over and serve immediately.


5 cups of water
Gula Melaka to taste, I use one block
1/4 cup of dried longan
1/4 cup of red dates
1.5'' thumb size of old ginger
2 pandan leaves, knotted together

Bring all the Tang ingredients to boil and simmer until all dried longans and red dates puff to its maximum size, about 15 to 20 minutes.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake Revisit

Posted by Quinn at Tuesday, December 22, 2009 7 comments Links to this post

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! Here is one flourless chocolate cake for all of you all! To give it a Chrismassy touch, I've dusted snow powder all over it. It's a hot summer Christmas here, I really shouldn't be baking too much and heat up the already very hot kitchen.

This one is baked in conjunction with a friend's house warming. I serve this with Philadelphia Style Ice Cream. I wish I could take a picture of the cake when it's sliced and when it is served. That dollop of ice cream sitting snuggly next to that slice of rich and dense cake was just so good looking!

The picture above is a sign I need a new camera. I'm not entirely exhausted with Aaron's camera yet but I feel I need one better one myself. Then you could have seen a better shot of how it looks when it is snowing on cakes.

Flourless cakes...I've been making quite a lot of old revisit lately and this one is the fourth time I'm making this, after many attempts of failed shots because I bake them at night. They simply taste better and more moist the day after!

And the colour of the cake very much depends on the type of chocolate you use. You'll generally get a darker cake if you use a higher percent of cocoa content in a chocolate bar. I always reccomend Lindt's 90%, the goodness and richness....

Recipe time..... I adapted this cake from Exclusively Food. This is the only recipe I'll make over and over again....Here is the recipe:

Flourless Chocolate Cake
(serves 8 or more, gluten-free)

1 tsp instant coffee powder, dissolved in 1 tsp hot water 1 tsp vanilla essence 100g chopped butter 150g good quality dark chocolate

Melt the above over direct medium heat until it is all melted. Cool it down. While that is happening, preheat the oven to 180
°C. Line and grease the bottom and sides of an 8'' (20cm) round springform pan.

4 large eggs 12 tbsp castor sugar

Separate the eggs. In a large clean bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peak, while gradually adding in 6 tbsp of sugar. Stop beating when you get a meringue looking batter that dollops over when you turn your electric beater upside down.

In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks wiht remaining 6 tbsp sugar using an electric mixer, until it is pale, thick and creamy in colour. Gently fold in the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg yolk batter. Now comes the beautiful moment, add 200g almond meal to the batter and fstir it in gently. You might wanna make sure it is lump-free before hand.

Spoon approximately a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it a bit. You can be a little vigorous here since you really just want to lighten up the batter. However, the remaining egg whites need to be folded in in 2 parts and gently using a rubber spatula, doing the cutting through the middle, scrap around and folding any batter from the bottom up and repeat and repeat again until you see no egg whites streaks left, you get the idea...come on!

Pour the luscious batter into the prepared pan and bake it for 40 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cover it with a clean tea towel. Let it cool in the pan, covered, overnight.

When serving, slice the cake into 8 or 12 slices since it is rather rich. The inside should be dense and fudgy looking. Serve with Philadelphia Style Ice Cream.

I'm not sure if I can update from now till after Christmas. I'm rather tied down really. Christmas shopping tomorrow, preparations and baking for two Christmas dinners on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself and I'm off to Canberra with Aaron on Boxing day for a getaway. I'll be back only on the 31st December and I have a party again on New Year day itself. Yes, I'm a busy woman!

Till then, again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mixed Fruit Salad

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, December 19, 2009 5 comments Links to this post

Everyone should make this easy and refreshing fruit salad. The easy dressing consist of honey, lime juice and mint is adapted from Alice of Savoury Sweet Life. I like it best serve chilled. Upon maceration, the fruits absorb the dressing much better.

I wish I could make it more colourful and have blueberries and strawberries in it as well but these are fruits that I have in fridge. And that mango will rot if I still don't use it. So yeah...try it, you'll definitely like it!

Mixed fruits: Chop all into cubes smallish

1 yellow peach
1 white peach
1 mango cheek
1 small baby apple
9 cherries
Generous handful of pomegranate arils

Dressing: Mix together

2 tsp muscovado sugar or regular brown sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp blue gum honey
2 tsp finely chopped mint
Dash of lime zest if you like it more tangy

Toss mixed fruits into dressing and gently toss around with fingers. Let it sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving.

Thanks for sharing Alice! It's a real winner in parties!

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Salted Egg Yolk and Butter Cream Buns

Posted by Quinn at Friday, December 18, 2009 3 comments Links to this post

These are so good they disappeared in two days. The following day it hardened a little. A simple nuking in microwave, partially covered revived it better than the day itself! Very soft and very fluffy.
My tray of buns right out of the oven, double glazed to give it the faux buns look. Once with egg wash for the colour, that was before baking. And once again with melted butter to give it taste and shine, after baking.

The filling consist of milk powder, sugar, butter and salted egg yolk. It's an Asian style bun and I don't think any non-Asians could take it! But because I am an Asian, I love this one so much. If you like things like salted custard steamed buns, you will like this one. The dough itself is worth all the mention. It's eggless. We all know how eggs help dough rise better and yada yada....but this one, it's the long proofing time that gives it the fluffiness. If you have the time, don't rush through the rising process. The long fermentation makes it so fluffy and airy that you gotta even be careful when glazing them with egg wash!

The down side, I make 10 buns and can't tell if it's still soft until the third day because they all disappeared on second day. But on second day, it was way yummier than the first day itself. And the filling leaked because I am terrible in wrapping them up. Alright, not so terrifying but 3 out of 10 of them leaked and 10 out of 10 of them have off-centred filling like this:

I reckon they look good whole but I also want to show you how horrible my wrapping skill is! Oh well... they tasted good so it's a real winner. I am so gonna vary the fillings or maybe just leave them plain. I will update! For now, here is the super duper awesome reipe adapted and modified from Yum Yum Magazine, Volume 55. It's some Chinese Malaysian Recipe it is:

Salted Egg Yolk and Butter Cream Buns
(makes 10 medium size buns)

250g bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp + 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
2/3 cups warm water
25g chopped butter

In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, sugar and instant yeast together. Make a well at the centre and add in the warm water. Gently knead with hand until a dough form. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and briefly knead a little. Add in the butter and knead 20 to 30 mins if by hand or according to your breadmaker's instructions. The butter will be incorporated well and you willl get a smooth,shiny, elastic and satiny looking dough. It is slightly sticky so feel free to add more bread flour if you wish.

Place it in a lightly greased clean bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let it proof and rise slowly in a warm spot for an hour. It' summer here in Australia now so mine was doubled in size in just 45 minutes.

After an hour has elapsed and that your dough has doubled in size like this:

Punch out the gas from dough using your knuckles a couple of time and turn it out on the work surface to knead again until smooth. Form 10 balls (recipe says approximately 52g each but I only manage 47g each which was why I said feel free to add bread flour until it is no longer sticky at all!) Form it into tiny round balls and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Finally, wrap them up with the filling and arrange them on a greased baking tray, seam side down (you can choose to line or not line the baking sheet but I did). Make sure you seal them tightly else filling will leak when buns are baked. Now, cover them with a damp cloth again and let them rise one last time for an hour before popping them into the oven to bake.

Just before popping them into the oven, generously glaze them with egg wash (1 egg + pinch of salt, beat together) like this:

So they all would look like this:

I sometimes like faux looking buns so I generously egg wash them. You don't have to be so liberal with it if you're not crazy like me.

My tray of buns right out of the oven after baking them for 15 minutes in a 200°C preheated oven. You can tell my stupid oven is sucky can't you. The 4 buns on top row is those nearest to the heat facing the fire. It's a very unevenly heated oven, no fan-force no nothing. In fact, it's not even a convection oven, it's a fire powered oven. Hard to say, I might just snap a picture next time!

And finally, because the world is a crazy place to live in and you only live once, liberally brush melted butter over the baked buns and stand 10 minutes before serving. This gives it a very shiny coating and taste better.

Filling: Make this during your first proofing of the dough

2.5 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tbsp plain flour
50g milk powder
50g chopped cold butter
1 small salted egg yolk, steamed until cooked

Plac the icing sugar, flour and milk powder in a food processor and pulse 6 seconds. Add in the butter and cooked yolk and pulse again until combined and crumbly. Working quickly before butter start melting, form them into 10 equal balls (about 15g each) and roll them into ball. Chill them until needed.


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