Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chocolate Chiffon cake with Espresso icing

I went to my first ever engagement party on saturday!
And, being the crazy person I am, I thought it would be possible to make a cake at 12pm AND clean the house and get to the party on time. I made it to the party, and the cake made it to the party...but the house wasn't cleaned and I got into a little bit of hot water.
NEVER MIND because the cake was delicious and it was all worth it.


Chocolate Chiffon cake with Espresso icing

1/2 c cocoa powder
1/4 c boiling water
2 c self raising flower
1 c caster sugar
7 eggs seperated
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tspn vanilla

Icing (approximates):
200g softened butter
4 Tbspn milky coffee (mix instant coffee with hot milk)
1.5 kg icing sugar
extra coffee
chocolate flakes (cold) or cocoa to decorate top/sides.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line the base and sides of three 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
Mix cocoa and water in a small bowl and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, sift flour into large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cocoa mix, egg yolks, oil and extract. Beat with electric mixer until smooth and mixture has paled in colour.
In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Fold eggwhites into cocoa mixture in 3-4 batches.

Folding the eggwhites into the cocoa mix - tins are ready!

Pour batter into the three tins, making sure each is the same depth (or weight)

Even tins

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when pressed lightly.
Turn onto a wire rack and let it cool.


Meanwhile, make the icing. 
Place butter into large bowl. Add half the icing sugar and the milky coffee.
Using a wodden spoon, beat the heck out of everything. Beat and beat and beat until it turns slightly lighter and there are no lumps. 
Add the rest of the icing sugar. If it becomes too stiff, add a bit of milky coffee. What you want is a stiff mixture, that will stand up in peaks, but is still smooth. right? right.

Now comes the tricky (time consuming part). I find its best to use a piping bag for this - but you can use a flat blade/palette knife.
Use a serrated knife to trim the top off all the cakes to make 3 even surface cakes.

I really need to do an instructional video fro this - I'm sorry but words is all I have right now (and some photos from
trimming the top (
SO. Place the largest cake on the plate/board you want to make your cake on.
Brush some of the coffee mix over the top of the cake.
Fill the piping bag, and pipe a circle, on the top, around the outside of the cake, leaving about 1cm from the edge. Fill the middle in with icing.

Icing the middle - I would leave a 1cm gap between icing/edge of cake (

Place the next cake UPSIDE DOWN ontop.
Brush some coffee mix over the top of the cake.
Again, pipe your circle and then fill in - making a level surface.
Place final cake UPSIDE DOWN ontop (this gives you a flat top to work with)
Pipe icing all over the top, and around the sides of the cake.
Use a palette knife, or flat blade, to smooth top layer.
Smooth sides of the cake.

Smoothing the sides (

If your icing is a bit patchy (coz you ran out, like me), or rough, you can get some flaked chocolate and stick it to the side of the cake.
To do this, pick the cake/plate up with your left hand. Cup some flaked chocolate in your hand and pat it on the cake, moving your hand around the cake.
Wipe excess chocolate flakes off the plate.
Dust the top of the cake with cocoa.
Place cake in the fridge and let it set for about 1 hour. But pull it out before you serve it so that it is at room temperature.

This took around 3 hours for me to do start to finish. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE LOTS OF TIME!
Use cold chocolate flakes to reduce risk of melting in your hands.
If you don't have a piping bag, use a large ziplock bag with a ~3cm corner cut out.
If this is your first time icing a layer cake - unless you have seen someone do it before or can find pictures I really REALLY suggest making one big cake and just icing that - use a 25cm tin. The cake will take longer to cook.
Add chocolate flakes between each layer - just for fun.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday dinner #3 - Pizza

I have a confession to make. I don't actually ever make pizza dough. Paul (my bro) always makes the pizza dough. And rolls it. I always 'dress' the pizza. But never make the dough. So, half the credit has to go to Paul - because we all know that the base makes the pizza.


1 c water
1 tspn sugar
1 sachet dry yeast
3 c flour
1 tspn salt
4 Tbspn olive oil

Boil water and pour into large bowl. Mix in sugar and leave it until it has come to room temperature.
Pour yeast sachet overtop and leave for 15 minutes.
Add flour, salt and olive oil to wet mix. Mix this all together (use your hands, go on!) to form a slightly tacky, elastic dough.
Cover bowl with a plastic bag, and leave it to sit somewhere warm for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Grated mozzerella cheese

Tomato pizza sauce
Bocconcini - sliced thinly
Procuitto - rolled
Green pepper (sliced thinly)
Fresh basil

Spread the pesto or tomato sauce across the bottom of each pizza.
Top with the rest of the ingredients - in the order listed.
Crack some pepper ontop and put in the oven.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until base is cooked and crisp - and slightly brown.
Cut and serve with beer and/or wine...mmmmmm!!!

Use home-made pesto, it makes it taste so much better!
Buy quality pizza bases - the ones with holes in the bottom are best.
Drain liquid off olives/capers or otherwise the pizza will be soggy.
Wrap the procuitto into small rolls, and don't put too much on, or it will go soggy as well.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday dinner #2 - Rogan Josh with lemon pickle and mint yoghurt

I got this recipe from the Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals cookbook. It actually took me around 40 min to do, and I modified it a bit, by removing cauliflower and adding beef and other things (otherwise dad wouldn't have been happy). Actually, it is pretty different. It made heaps of food, at least two nights of dinner and one set of lunch - winning!

Pappadams, lemon pickle, and curry with yoghurt...mmmm!

Rogan Josh with Pickled Lemons and Mint Yoghurt

2 onions - diced
4 cloves garlic - crushed
1 fresh red chilli - sliced
400-600g beef (I got the cheap stuff) - cut into cubes
1/2 butternut squash - cut into cubes
1 bunch fresh coriander
1/2 a 283g jar pataks rogan josh paste
1 tin chickpeas
1 large (or 3 small) zucchini - sliced
1 packet baby spinach (the $3 coles packs)

Rice and pappadams to serve.

Lemon Pickle

1 lemon
2 tspn mustard seeds (or seeded mustard if you're like me)
1 tspn tumeric
1 small fresh chilli

Mint Yoghurt

500g tub natural yoghurt
1 bunch mint leaves
Dash of olive oil

First, get your yoghurt started. 
Empty the yoghurt into a coffee filter and sit in a sieve over a small bowl. Place in the fridge.
This lets all the excess moisture out of the yoghurt.
Leave in the fridge for <1 font="" hour.="">
Remove yoghurt from filter, put into clean bowl. Add the mint leaves and a dash of olive oil. Mix well.

Next, lemon pickle.
Put the pan you will use to cook the curry onto the stove to heat up.
Cut lemon into eights, then deseed and slice thinly.
Slice the red chilli finely.
Add a dash of olive oil to the pan, followed by the mustard seeds, tumeric and chilli. Stir well to avoid burning.
Once it starts to sizzle, add the lemon and stir for around 10 seconds before removing everything from the heat and leaving in a small bowl to cool.
Leave the pan on to cook curry.

Now, curry.
Place the diced onion, chilli and garlic in the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
Add beef and continue to cook until outside is brown.
While this is happening, loosely cut the coriander (including stalks) - save some for garnish.
Add the squash, coriander and chickpeas (with juices). I also added another half tin of water. Stir, and cover pan with lid. Let the curry simmer, stirring occasionally.
Check the curry after about 10 minutes - add more water if needed.
When squash is almost cooked (after 15-20 minutes), add zucchini.
Cook for a further 5 minutes - or until zucchini is soft.
Remove from heat, add spinach and stir through.

Serve curry over rice with coriander ontop and pappadams, yoghurt and lemon pickle on the side.

ps. this was dessert - fresh raspberries, cream and meringues. WINNING!

Mix the lemon pickle into leftover curry - the flavours will develop and taste amazing!
Add more vegetables (cauliflower, capsicum, tinned tomatoes) for a healthier/larger meal.