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Chocolate Zucchini Loaf (Vegan)

24 May

Hello, today I bring a twist on one of my favourite things to bake: a chocolate zucchini loaf.

Chocolate zucchini loaf

This recipe I decided to swap out the oil and replace it with avocado and of exchange the eggs for Chia seeds. This way I made a new recipe which also happens to be vegan for anyone interested in that.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 1/2 cups (225g) of shredded or grated raw zucchini  (courgette)-I used my veggie spiralizer and it literally took me 5 minutes.

2) 1 cup (130g) flour.

3)1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder .

4) 3/4 tsp baking soda .

5) 1/4 tsp baking powder .

6) 2 Chia eggs– To replace one egg add 1 tbsp of ground Chia seeds (I blitzed mine in the Nutribullet) with 3 tbsp of water and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow it to form a gelatinous consistency. 

7) 1/2 cup of mashed avocado-To replace oil or butter with avocado,  for every 1 cup of oil needed, use 1 cup of avocado. 

8) 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar. 

9) 1/2 cup of brown sugar. 

10) 1 tsp of vanilla extract. 

The ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan

1) Sift the flour, Cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together.

Sifted dry ingredients 


2) Mix the Chia and avocado well (using hand or stand mixer) adding in the sugars.

3) Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

4) Fold in the zucchini into mixture until it forms a moist homogeneous mixture.

You can amp up the chocolate value at this point by adding vegan chocolate chips (yes they exist). OR if you aren’t vegan just add regular chocolate chips

Mixture 
5) Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 55 minutes or until the Centre is done.

I had to take it out and check a few times because it kept smelling done when it really wasn’t. 

Once it’s done let it cool, Slice and eat!

So swapping out two ingredients definitely changed this recipe. What was before a more firm loaf became a softer one with more of a chewy brownie texture (I’m NOT complaining). I presume using the Chia instead of egg made it less cohesive while the avocado added smoothness that only avocado can. You don’t taste the avocado, only appreciate the creaminess. The addition of vegan (or non-vegan) chocolate chips makes it more chocolate you and a bit gooey.

This is a great loaf especially for a chocolate lover. There is some actual nutrition by way of the zucchini and avocado and Chia seeds but you more than get your chocolate fix. This is a great dessert to keep around and offer unexpected guests or take to a potluck tea party.

Would you try chocolate zucchini loaf or do you prefer regular zucchini loaf? Whatever your answer,  have an awesome day!

Easter Brunch

14 Apr

I love Easter. It always makes me think of new beginnings, a fresh start and of course, Cadbury creme eggs (lots of them).

Today I bring an Easter Brunch inspiration. I think brunch is a fantastic meal to have at Easter time. Everyone has time to go to church or sleep in late and then afterwards a no hassle relaxed brunch. For brunch there are usually lots of options; pastries, omlettes, cakes, cheese boards…the works. I chose three recipes I think would add a great touch to a brunch menu. They are all simple and affordable. I also laid out an Easter/Spring tablescape and added a delicious cocktail.

ON THE MENU

Deviled eggs

Stuffed mushrooms

Fruit Fluff

Peach “mimosa”



Deviled Eggs

This is a brunch staple and of course well suited for Easter. Deviled eggs turn simple boiled eggs into a creamy flavourful treat.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Makes 6

Eggs -The number of eggs you use will give double that number of deviled eggs as they are served as halves. I used 3 eggs so I got 6(only 4 shown)

1 tbsp Mustard– I used a spicy mustard

1 tbsp Mayonnaise– This is optional but it does add a certain creaminess

Spices– I used salt, black pepper and paprika, just a pinch of each.

Deviled eggs ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Hard boil eggs, let cool and remove shells.

2) Cut eggs in half and gently remove yolks. Set whites aside.

3) Add condiments and spices and mix until a smooth paste forms.




4) Place paste into piping bag (you can use a zip lock and snip the end) and pipe into egg whites.



Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms 

I remember the first time I had this version of stuffed mushrooms. My mother brought them home from a local Italian bistro and my life was changed. Something about soft, tart cream cheese against the crunch of a fresh mushroom is a perfect match.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Mushrooms– I used 8 medium sized ones (they were unfortunately a bit bruised)

Cream cheese– The amount you use depends on the number and size of the mushrooms but about 2 tbsp fill 8 medium sized mushrooms.

Spices– I used lemon pepper and some oregano.

Mushrooms and cream cheese 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Add spices to softened cream cheese and mix.

2) Place in a piping bag and pipe into mushrooms. 

Mushrooms and cream cheese mixture



3 )Top with oregano 


Stuffed mushrooms 



Fruit Fluff 

This is my take on an Ambrosia salad. I substituted cool whip with Greek yogurt for a healthier twist and a more “brunchy” feel.

WHAT YOU NEED 

I used arbitrary amounts, a little bit of each. The amounts you use depends on how much you plan to make.

Greek yogurt- The one I used is plain combined with honey so it’s already sweet. A great alternative is vanilla but really any flavour you prefer can be used.

Fruit– I used  mixture of frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, lingonberries) and fresh  (strawberries and blueberries)

Mini marshmallows

Fruit Fluff mixture

WHAT TO DO

Mix altogether and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Peach “Mimosas”

What’s the best part about brunch? The fact that you get to splash your juice with wine. Lol. Now mimosas traditionally consist of wine and citrus juice hence my use of air quotes. Technically this is a peach cocktail but when doing brunch, we call it a mimosa.

WHAT YOU NEED 

White wine

Peach juice

Canned peaches

Peach mimosa ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Place 1 or 2 peach slices in the bottom of the glass and muddle it a bit (mash it with a spoon if you don’t have a muddler, which I don’t)

2 ) Fill glass halfway with wine.

3) Top off with peach juice and add a straw.

Peach “mimosas”



Tablescape

An important part of entertaining is creating ambience. For this I chose a simple, clean fresh look in keeping with the idea of a relaxed yet sophisticated setting.

This tablescape employed some crafty skills but all were simple. My colour scheme was pink, white and gold.

Table runner

I made a table runner of sorts by overlapping lots of doilies along the Centre of the table. I added a touch of gold by swiping gold paint over them in a random fashion.

Table runner from doilies




Flowers

I went with pink and white carnations. Carnations are often a very affordable option from the florist costing only a few dollars. I used about 4 bunches in all keeping  the look minimal.

I swished some of the same gold paint onto the flower petals to keep with the theme and placed them in jelly jars.

Flowers




Centre piece 

My “Centre piece” began with ambition. In fact, the failure of this centrepiece led to the final colour scheme, so maybe it was for the best.

For the centerpiece of an Easter Brunch I had to incorporate eggs somehow. I decided to dye some eggs. People have different methods of doing this. The best way I’ve found is using regular food and egg dye and a bit of vinegar to allow for better uptake of colour.

I removed the contents of the eggs by making a small hole at one end and simply allowing it to run out, gently shaking if you need to. Don’t waste your egg ! I put mine in the refrigerator and made omelet the next day.

I mixed the dye, vinegar and water in a mug. I find you get a more even coating if you use a mug.

As it happened the only colour that worked out was the pink (the yellow one broke and the purple came out streaky)

Once my one surviving egg was dry I splattered it with the by now ubiquitous gold paint. I displayed it in a mini jelly jar on a bed of Easter egg shaped jelly beans.

Centre piece




I placed the flowers and Centre piece on the table runner and laid the table with simple white plates and bowls.

The tablescape and settings

Table with food

Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms



Fruit Fluff



Peach mimosa


Easy breezy Easter Brunch. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you if you plan on doing brunch for Easter or any other occasion. Have a happy Easter and an awesome day!

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Mediterranean Soiree 

8 Mar

This past weekend I hosted an intimate gathering in honour of my mother and sister’s upcoming birthdays as I won’t be seeing them on their respective special days.

I decided to go with a Mediterranean theme for the menu taking cues from Italian, French and Greek cuisines. 

As a rule, whenever I entertain I lays try not to bite off more than I can chew. Preparing for an event no matter how small or relaxed can become extremely stressful if you try to make everything yourself. So I chose the “semi-homemade” route, making simple recipes and using some ready made fare.

The menu served 10 persons and was as follows

Bruschetta

Mushroom crostini

Olive bar

Cheese and meat board

Chicken souvlaki (kebabs) with Tzatziki sauce

Assorted artisan mini pastries (premade)


Creme cheese croissants (premade)

Biscotti  (premade)

I will share how I prepared the items for this get together. 



BRUSCHETTA 

Bruschetta is a popular antipasto found in many Italian eateries and with good reason. It consists of slices of toasted bread coated in oil and topped with a variety of things including meats, cheeses and perhaps best known…tomato.

I made tomato bruschetta using a sliced baguette.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 20-24 slices)

1/2 of a baguette  

Butter or olive oil

One large ripe tomato 

Spices- I used Italian spices and a pinch of salt


WHAT TO DO

Tomato

1)Dice tomato

2)Add salt and spices with a drizzle of olive oil

3)Stir to mix and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow flavour to mature.

Tomato mixture 

Bread 

4)Slice baguette into approximately 1/2 inch thick slices

5)Lay flat on a baking sheet

6)Coat with butter/oil.

7)Bake until golden or desired crispness 

Bread coated in melted butter




Top bread with tomato mixture just prior to serving to avoid bread becoming soggy.

Bruschetta 


MUSHROOM CROSTINI 

If you were to ask me the true difference between crostini and bruschetta I’m not sure I could answer clearly. Both have Italian origins, both involve slices of grilled bread and both are often topped with similar items. That being said, I’m totally comfortable with calling bread topped with tomato bruschetta,  but topped with mushrooms not so much. So I’m calling it crostini.

This recipe is almost identical to the bruschetta one except for the preparation of the topping so I’ll focus on that.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 20-24 pieces)

12 OZ of fresh mushrooms -feel free to use canned ones 

1/4 cup of finely diced onion 

2 tbsp of brown sugar- I used coconut sugar 

2 tbsp butter

1/2 of a baguette 

Ingredients 



WHAT TO DO 

Mushrooms

1)Heat butter, sugar and onions in a skillet until onions sweat (become soft and translucent) 

2)Add mushrooms and Sautee until browned.

Onions,butter and sugar mixture 


Mushrooms being sautéed 


Bread

See 4-6 for bruschetta 

3)Top bread with mushrooms just before serving

Mushroom crostini 


CHICKEN SOUVLAKI/KEBABS 

Kebabs are always a favourite of mine for parties. Who doesn’t enjoy eating bites of food off a stick? Something about it is just so much fun. Lol.

The inspiration for this came from a blog post by Closet Cooking who created this recipe after tasting something similar while on vacation in Greece. The chicken is flavour education with the tart lemon and spices and topped with tzatziki. Tzatziki is a Mediterranean yogurt based dip infused with herbs and spices. It is served with meat or used with pita bread or vegetables as a dip. You can make it yourself but it is also widely available in most supermarkets  (I bought mine).

WHAT YOU NEED (makes about 15)

1/2 lb Chicken breast/thighs boneless

1 large lemon

Minced garlic or garlic powder 

Tzatziki

WHAT TO DO 

1)Cube chicken and coat with juice of lemon, garlic and any other seasonings and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2) Skewer chicken Bake until cooked

3)Drizzle with Tzatziki-I also served some on the side.

Chicken souvlaki 


OLIVE BAR

This one was easy-peasy. I saw an amazing olive bar at Whole foods and knew I had to recreate it even if on a micro scale. I bought a container of mixed olives and worked with that.

WHAT YOU NEED

Various olives- You can use as many types as your heart desires

Containers- to display the olives

WHAT TO DO

Distribute the olives in their various containers along with spoons and display. I used a wooden cutting board.

Olive bar 



CHEESE AND MEAT BOARD

I have to say, that out of all the dishes on this menu, this is the one I was most excited about. Cheese and meat boards or antipasti boards are becoming a bigger and bigger trend in the foodie world making appearances on lots of restaurant menus. But these amazing appetizer boards are well established in Mediterranean cuisine. 
WHAT YOU NEED

Cheeses- At least two types but as many as you wish. I used Asiago, Gouda and sweet onion Swiss cheese by Laughing Cow.

Meats- At least two types or skip it if you want a strict cheese board. I used sliced turkey and turkey salami

Extras- I used purple or red grapes, almonds and some crackers

Board- This can be your cutting board, a marble board, slate board, metal board etc. Whatever you have. I used a rectangular board and most that I’ve seen do the same but this can work on a circular or oblong board as well.

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO

1)Arrange your cheeses and meats on the board. I tried to create something visually pleasing by placing the cheeses at differing heights and placing the meats in between.

2)Place your extras to fill in the empty spaces

Cheese and meat board


PREMADE items

To round out this Mediterranean inspired fest I purchased some items to cut down on prep time and stress.

Pastries 

I bought a box of frozen mini pastries which came in four flavours: spinach and cheese, red bell peppers and cheese, sweet onion and cheese and mushroom and cheese…there was a lot of cheese.

Assorted savory pastries 

Dessert

All the dessert was premade. Desserts are satisfying to make but boy will they eat up your time. I purchased some Biscotti, a tasty Italian treat often eaten along with coffee. I also bought some French Creme cheese pastries which I warmed in the oven and served.

Biscotti 

Cream cheese pastries


A few more shots of the finished table

The evening was great, spent with family and friends. There was good conversation and tasty food. As I say I always recommend doing some things yourself and getting help with others when entertaining,  it makes everything a bit easier.

I hope my Mediterranean inspired Soiree gives you some ideas for your next event. Have an awesome day and Happy International Womens Day to all!

Love Crepes

1 Feb

Hello and welcome to Febuary, the month of love (I suppose). When it comes to Valentine’s  I tend to not be impressed by cutesy pink lovey dovey stuff but I do like the ideal of doing something nice for someone you love whether it be your mother, sister, best friend or significant other. 

Love crepes




This recipe is one for red velvet crepes smothered in a Nutella ganache. Decadence in the form of breakfast. Nutella is an excellent crepe filling (my favorite ) and I thought making it into a rich sauce would be a tasty twist know top of these crepes. I used the recipe from Joy of Baking but adapted it to make it red velvet flavoured.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Crepes

This makes about 2 servings of 10-12 heart shaped crepes

1) 1/2 cup of flour

2) 1 tbsp of white sugar

3) 1 egg – brought to roomtemperature 

4) 1 50mL (approx 2/3 cup) of milk.

5) 1tbsp melted butter

6) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

7)1 tbsp cocoa 

8) Red food colouring – use as much or little as you like.

Ingredients 


Ganache Sauce 

Note this recipe isn’t very precise, you can add more or less of each ingredient you suit you.

1) 4 tbsp of Nutella – only 2tbsp pictured here 

2) 1/4 cup of milk 

Ganache ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

 Crepes

1)Blend ingredients in a food processor /blender /nutribullet until it forms a smooth watery batter. 

Crepe batter




2) Place batter in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

3) Place a skillet on high heat and add a bit of butter letting it melt and spread over the entire surface of the pan.

4) Place the cookie cutter on the skillet then pour batter to fill in.

Pour batter into cookie cutter 




5) Allow to cook until edges appear browned then remove cookie cutter (to avoid burning the metal)

Remove cookie cutter 




6) Flip crepes and allow to finish cooking. Make as many as you like, they will be stacked.

Stacked crepes


Ganache sauce

1) Bring milk (or heavy cream) to a boil in a save pan or heat in microwave.

2) Pour over Nutella and mix until a smooth mixture is formed.

Sauce



Finished crepes and sauce




You’re done! Feel free to serve the sauce on the side or Pour it over the crepe tower allowing the sauce and crepes to merge flavours.

Covered in sauce



Ready to serve



These. Were. Delicious. Do you hear me? Delicious! I could honestly see this being served at a cozy, kitchy but trendy cafe in some trendy city. Lol. The mild cocoa flavour in the crepes is complimented by the delightful hazelnut flavour from the Nutella. The crepes are light and moist and the sauce is rich. This is a winning combo. 

Make this for someone you love and have an awesome day! 

Healthy Snack- Chia Pudding Pots

26 Jan

Today’s recipe is an easy versitile one, so easy I almost feel guilty for calling it a recipe. This is chia pudding which is actually super trendy these days, something I didn’t realise until I decided to do this post. 

Chia Pudding Pots


FunFact: I used to work at a health food store way back in the day. I’m talking wayyyy back. I was a university student and the owner was a nutritionist. The name of her business was “Chia Seeds” . She explained to myself and all the others who would be working there that the chia seed was small but powerful. It had so many benifits for something so insignificant in appearance  (it was a bit of a life lesson too)
So what IS chia?

Chia is the seed of the chia plant which is a member of the mint family. The seed is very tiny, like sesame seed size and it is rich in nutrients including omega fatty acids, some vitamins and minerals. 

Chia seeds have long been popular among the “health food” set but recently has become far more mainstream making a massive debut on pinterest(lol). Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, health bars and cereals. However,  a notable property of chia seeds is the fact that they become swollen and gelatinous once exposed to liquid. This makes for a great puddding. A healthy, nutritious pudding. 

I will be making 3 variations of chia pudding today ; vanilla spice, chocolate and berry.But really the options are limitless.

WHAT YOU NEED  (for each)

1) 1/4 cup of chia seeds (I used black chia seeds , yiu can use white ones if you like)

2) 1/3 cup of vanilla almond milk (or whatever type of milk you prefer)

3) 1 tbsp of honey – add it to your preference

4) 1/4 tsp of assorted spices– I used cinnamon and nutmeg

5) 1 tbsp of cocoa powder

6) Assorted berries– I had strawberries and blueberries 

7) Containers for storage (I used small jelly jars but for more practicality you can use small resealable plastic containers)

8) Blender/Nutribullet 

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

 Pour almond milk into container and add honey and mix.

Vanilla spice

1) Add chia seeds and spices then mix in well.

Add chia seeds and spices
Chocolate

3) Add cocoa powder and mix

Cocoa added




Berry blast

4) Chop fruit and add a few pieces to the mixture and stir.

Add fruit




5) In your blender/nutribullet etc blend the fruit with a bit of water forming a slurry.- I did it separately for visual effect.

Fruit slurry


6) Place your mixtures in the refrigerator and let them sit for a few hours,  until a gelatinous consistency is formed. I left mine overnight. 

Your treats are ready to eat!

Ready to eat


These are great healthy “to go” snacks that you can make long ahead of time. You can play around and try a multitude of flavours. These would also make an amazing dessert for a dinner party. It’s different but tasty.

The chia seeds become fluffy and gel like and it truly tastes like a pudding. The different additions all go well with it because the chia seeds lend to sweet flavours.

Definitely try this one and definitely have an awesome day! 

Where to Travel- Orlando

23 Jan

Hello and welcome to my “Where to travel” series. Throughout the first part of the year, I will be posting on various travel destinations,  giving my personal reviews, experiences, and advice on where to go and what to do.

This concept began as an idea for a single post where I would simply list a few places I thought would be great to travel to, stating what to do there etc, but alas it became way too involved. So instead I decided to break it down into multiple posts doing one place at a time but doing it in depth.

Today we begin with Orlando

 

Wonderworks, an attraction found on International Drive Orlando 

Orlando, FL

Orlando is a city located in central Florida and is probably best known internationally for the presence of dozens of theme parks. But this popular vacation spot has so much more to offer.

I have been visiting Orlando on and off since I was six years old. In more recent times, my family and I have been going yearly and with good reason. Orlando is a great place to have a vacation.

 

 

WHY:
Orlando is fun! For a lot of younger, hardcore travelers looking for organic deep cultural experiences, an Orlando visit may seem almost laughable, but don’t knock it till you try it. Orlando has a lot to offer and I think of it as a slightly more family-friendly version of Las Vegas. There is something there for everyone no matter what your specific interest is. There are things to do and see for the art lover, the thrill seeker, the foodie, you name it!

 

 

WHEN:
Any time of year. Orlando is in Florida and because of this, it enjoys fairly warm weather year round although it does get cooler from December to February. Additionally, Orlando has events going on all year so you pick whenever works best for you.

 

 

WHERE (to stay):
A hallmark of Orlando is the plentiful resort/villa/condos up for rent. Many of these are timeshare locations so if you or a family member owns one, be sure to check and see if the company has a location there. I think staying at a resort adds the overall Orlando experience. Many of them are located in a similar area which is close to lots of attractions particularly Disney parks. There are also a lot of hotels to chose from. They go from 2 star to 5 star and you chose based on your budget and preference. The areas I recommend staying include  Lake Buena Vista area (close to Disney), International Drive and Kissimmee, but really anywhere is pretty close to most things.

 

WHAT (to do):
Theme Parks

Theme Parks are probably what Orlando is best known for and indeed it hosts a massive number of parks with all the Disney parks and Universal Studios as well as lesser known ones like Wet and Wild water park and Bush Gardens. There is something for everyone whether you like roller coasters or prefer more relaxing rides.

 

Shopping

Orlando also has some great shopping especially if you like outlet malls. There are two major outlet malls: Orlando International Premium Outlet mall and Orland Vineland  PremiumOutlet mall. There are also multiple other malls and shopping complexes dotted around, for example, the mall at Aventura.

Premium Outlet mall at Vineland 

 

Entertainment

Apart from theme parks, there are lots of ways to be entertained in Orlando. If you like shows, there is a Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs and the Blue Man Group performs at Universal Studio. There are a number of art galleries including Pop art Gallery at Disney Springs

Pop art Gallery at Disney Springs 

 

DINING

You cannot go hungry in Orlando that’s for sure. There are clusters of all the popular American eateries such as Golden Coral, Applebees, Olive Garden etc. There are also numerous dining experiences at places like Disney Springs and Universal Boardwalk and International Drive.

A few examples:

Disney Springs

Bongos Cuban Cafe

Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe

Morimoto Asian Cafe

Wolfgang Puck Cafe at Disney Springs 




International Drive

Banshoo Sushi Bar

Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

 

TIPS

If you are particularly interested in the theme parks, a visit outside of the summer months is recommended. Many families vacation in Orlando because it is kid friendly and the most popular time to travel is summer so everywhere gets extra packed. However, everywhere is always kind of packed so be prepared for lines no matter what.

If you are doing the Disney Parks, there are buses that transport you free of charge to all the Disney Parks and Disney Springs so you can get around easily that way

IRide Trolley- This is a bus service that uses these cute San Francisco trolley-style buses. The iRide trolley has two routes that basically run the length of International Drive (I-Drive). On this route, you can get to major shopping areas including the two main Outlet malls, as well as the countless attractions, restaurants, and stores along International Drive.

I-Ride Trolley

Lynx- This is the other common bus service in Orlando. While iRide is more tourist oriented, Lynx is used by everyone including locals and that means it goes a fair amount more places than the iRide trolley. You can get to some of the theme parks as well as other malls using Lynx. Be sure to buy a day pass or even multi-day pass as you will likely have to switch buses a number of times while there.

Car Rental- This isn’t an absolute must when visiting Orlando. I have done trips with and without renting a car. Thanks to iRide trolley, Lynx and the fact that many things are clustered together e.g along I-Drive, you can have a great trip without renting a car, however, it definitely makes things easier. It means you can leave whenever you want and avoid long wait times and multiple stops. This is important especially if you have a tightly packed schedule.

IDrive website- International Drive has a website where there are loads of coupons offering savings and deals at the many businesses along International Drive as well as ideas on what to do there. Check it out.

 If you’re thinking about visiting Orlando be sure to use some of these tips and be sure to have an awesome day! 

January Cake

15 Jan

Today’s recipe is a two layered naked cake topped with sugared fruit and nuts. I called it January cake simply because it was made in January.It’s a white butter cake with minimal icing so it’s a light(ish), dessert great for after a holiday season of decadent eating and drinking.

This butter cake recipe is adapted from my favourite baking website, Joy of Baking. I added the strawberries and cut down on the sugar a bit. The recipe makes two 8 inch diameter cakes. However, I made 2, 4 inch diameter cakes and so I had excess batter.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Cake

1) 2 eggs, separated- Allow the whites to come to room temperature. 

2) 1 1/3 cups of flour

3) 1 cup granulated sugar divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup.

4) 1/2 cup butter

5) 1/2 cup of milk

6) 2 tsp baking powder

7) 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

8) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

9) Strawberries  (about 1/4 cup chopped)

Toppings

1)Assorted fruits- I used strawberries but you can use any berries you like.

2)Assorted nuts- I used almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. 

3)Granulated white sugar- about 1 cup.

Frosting

1) 1 cup confectioners sugar

2) 1/4 cup butter 

3) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

4) 1 tablespoon of milk

5) Food colouring of choice

Ingredients 

Ingredients 

Topping ingredients 


Frosting ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

Cake

1) Beat butter until soft then add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat well.

2) Keeping mixer on low speed, add flour and milk alternately beginning with flour. Add chopped strawberries and mix in gently with a spatula.Set batter off to the side.

Batter with strawberries 


3) In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.

4) Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

Soft peaks

5) Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Stiff peaks


6) Fold meringue mixture into batter careful not to deflate the meringue. 

Batter


7) Pour into baking tins and bake at 350 F until done.

Batter in tin


Baked cake


Toppings

1)Mix about 1/2 cup of sugar with a small amount of water until a thick syrup forms.

Syrup



2) Dip strawberries and nuts into syrup and allow to partially dry then roll into remaining sugar.

Sugared fruits

3) Set out to dry at room temperature. 

Frosting

1) Beat butter until smooth and creamy.

2) On low speed add the confectioners sugar.

3) On high speed add milk and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.

4) Add food colouring  (I added WAY too much).

Assembly

I intended initially to make a 3 layered cake but due to the narrow diameter , it wasn’t structurally sound,  Depending on the size of your cake you can do however many layers you wish.

1) Level the cakes using a sharp knife or cake leveler. 

2) Place a dot of frosting on a sturdy icing surface and put first layer of cake down.

3) Place a dollop of frosting on top of cake and using a knife spread it out. 

One layer


4) Place second layer on top and cover top with icing allowing some to spill over the edge.

Two layers


5) Place in refrigerator and allow everything to firm up for about 15 minutes. 

6) Add a bit more frosting on top and spread it with a straight edged tool (palette knife ) until there is a light layer of frosting around the cake.Think of just doing a crumb coat layer of frosting.

7) Add toppings and  you’re done.

January cake


This cake was delicious. The butter cake is light but somehow still dense. Not like a sponge cake at all which is how I thought it might be at first. The sugared fruits and nuts add a whimsical flair. The icing was sweet and buttery but not overwhelming because there wasn’t much of it.

This is great to have as a teatime dessert or a brunch dessert or really anytime. 

Have an awesome day.

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