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Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache

This ginger lemon naked cake with lemon swiss meringue buttercream frosting, ginger molasses cookies, and caramelised white chocolate ganache is scrumptiously packed with the delightful aroma of ginger and lemon. It’s a treat that shall be enjoyed around the year! 

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache2Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache6

I made this cake to celebrate my friend’s and my 23rd birthday together. Yes, however reluctant I want to deny it, I just turned 23 and I don’t want time to pass so quickly just yet. Anyway, I had one mission for myself and that is the fact that this cake’s flavour profile had to revolve around her duo favourites: ginger and lemon.  Of course, it would be a crime not to add some soft, chewy ginger molasses cookies to the party. Given the cake’s Christmas vibe, It seems a bit early to make this post but hey, don’t forget there’s “Christmas in July” in Australia so I might as well jump on the bandwagon. That said, my friend, who is always my creative muse, did the cookie antlers and they look absolutely amazing. 

I don’t post pictures of myself here often but I guess birthday is a pretty good excuse huh? 

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache10

The cake itself is addictively delicious – it is buttery, moist and rich with a hint of freshness. To be honest, it’s hard for this flavour combination to go wrong. Let’s talk about a classic ginger cake with tangy lemon icing that you wouldn’t miss at Christmas time. 

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache9

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache4

To make the cake a little bit more interesting, I decided to caramelised white chocolate ganache as the dripping. Why caramelised? I find white chocolate itself too sweet, but caramelising the chocolate makes it taste deeper and toasty. You may want to use a good quality white chocolate with a high cocoa butter percentage for this job. In case you’re wondering, I simply flipped the cake over when the ganache has set on the cake, and you can have this cool reverse drip effect. I hope you all enjoy the cake if you make it! 

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache5

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache8

Ingredients:

Ginger Lemon Cake

  • 380g all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp ground ginger 
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 400g unsalted butter, softened 
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 250g molasses
  • 4 eggs, room temperature 
  • 180ml milk
  • 120ml sour cream
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of

Ginger Molasses Cookie

  • 270g all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g brown sugar 
  • 80g molasses 
  • 1 egg, room temperature 

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream 

  • 150g egg white
  • 225g caster sugar 
  • Pinch of cream of tar tar 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 Lemon, zest of 
  • 350g unsalted butter, room temperature

Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache 

  • 100g good quality white chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 150g pure cream 
  • 15g soften unsalted butter 

Instructions:

For the ginger lemon cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)
  2. Line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour,   ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. This is your dry ingredients.
  4. In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat butter, brown sugar and molasses at a medium-high speed until well combined and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, to the mixture, and continue to beat until well incorporated. Scrap the bowl when necessary. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sour cream and milk and mix until incorporated. 
  5. Add the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture in three batches. Stir gently with a spatula to combine everything until no flour can be seen. Avoid over-mixing.
  6. Pour the mixture evenly into the three prepared cake tins. Tap the pans several times to break any air bubbles. Bake for around 35 -40  mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cake for 15 minutes in their pans, then take them out and put them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. When the cakes are cooled completely, use a serrated knife to trim the top of each cake until they are all of the same height (around 2-2.5cm), and the top is levelled and smooth. Set aside until ready to use. 
For the Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Add egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 60C (140F).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Add cream of tar tar to it and whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool. This will take about 7-10 mins.
  3. Turn to medium-high speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrap the bowl when necessary.The buttercream may split at first but panic, just continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add lemon juice and zest, and beat until well combined. 
  4. Put the buttercream in a piping bag with a round nozzle until ready to use. 
Ginger Molasses Cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
  2. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. These are your dry ingredients. 
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses on medium high speed for 4-5 mins until pale and creamy. 
  4. Add egg  to the mixture, and continue to beat at medium speed until well mixed. 
  5. Add the prepared dry ingredients. Beat for another 1-2 mins until well incorporated. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 mins until it firms up a bit for easy rolling later. 
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. After refrigeration, roll the chilled dough into balls, 40g each, and space each one about 2-inches apart on the sheet to allow space for spreading. Flatten the dough a bit with a spoon or your palm. Feel free to reserve some dough to make the butlers or any other shapes to your liking. 
  8. Bake for 8-10 mins (depending on thickness and shape, don’t overbake). The cookies will feel soft when out of the oven but it will account for the chewiness when they cool down. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache
  1. Preheat your oven to 120C (250F). 
  2. Break your white chocolate Into small pieces and place them in a baking tray. Bake for 10 mins. Remove from oven and use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer. 
  3. Continue to bake and stir every 10 mins, for around 30-40 mins until the chocolate has turned caramelised and golden brown. 
  4. Transfer the caramelised white chocolate into a mixing bowl. 
  5. Heat cream in a saucepan and bring it to almost boil. Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 mins, and whisk until the chocolate emulsifies and becomes completely smooth. 
  6. When the ganache has cooled down to 40C. Whisk in the soften butter until fully incorporated. 
  7. Set aside in room temperature until ready to use.
    *Put the ganache into a squeeze bottle if you have one for easier control 
Assemble
  1. Pipe a dollop of buttercream on the centre of the cake stand and place one cake layer on it to secure it. 
  2. Using your piping bag filled with buttercream, pipe a swirl of buttercream on the cake. Using an off set spatula, spread the buttercream carefully to level it out and top it with the second cake layer. 
  3. Repeat Step 2, and top it with the third cake layer. 
  4. Spread the remaining frosting on top and all around the sides using an offset spatular. Use a large bench scraper to smooth out the frosting on the sides of the cake to create the “naked” effect. *Reserve some for frosting the top after you flip the cake and reserve some more to stick the cookies on the cake* 
  5. Refrigerate the cake for 20-30 mins to set.
  6. When the buttercream is set, it’s time to do the dripping. 
  7. If you have prepared the squeeze bottle, apply appropriate pressure to squeeze out ganache on the edge of the cake and let it drop naturally. Alternatively, you can carefully use a spoon for the job. *please check the consistency of ganache at this step – if it’s too firm, microwave for 10 seconds each time until it reaches the right consistency. If it’s too runny, refrigerate until ready to use. *
  8. When the ganache is set on the cake, carefully flip the cake over and use the remaining buttercream to frost the top.
  9. Break the ginger cookies in pieces and stick it on the side of the cake with the reserved buttercream.
  10. Decorate the cake as you like. I painted my ganache drip with gold paint and I used sprinkles, shredded coconut, and shaved chocolate as the toppings. Enjoy! 
2 comments
Chocolate Mud Cake with Chocolate Shards, Honey Comb and Salted Caramel Popcorn

Chocolate Mud Cake

This chocolate mud cake with mint chocolate ganache is a GAME CHANGER. It is essentially your familiar mud cake taken to the next level. The cake is incredibly moist and intensely rich in chocolate flavours, and the mint chocolate ganache rounds it off with a hint of freshness.

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I tailor-made this birthday cake for a client whose son is a huge mint chocolate fans like me. *high five* There were two main requests: mud cake, and mint chocolate. Well, I was thrilled about the order as I could let my imagination run free. As you can see the cake has that mysterious, galaxy vibe thanks to the dark theme and gold sprinkles. With the chocolate shards, honey combs and salted caramel popcorn as the extra elements, this cake cake looks luxurious and captivating, unlike an ordinary mud cake. (Secret: I’ve decided to put it on my menu when I have my own patisserie in the future, and I am gonna name it Mud, lol) 

 

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For the cake base, I used the recipe from Cake Paper Party that yields a rich, moist dark chocolate mud cake. If you are interested, I recommend you to take a look at the recipe as explains how she came up with the best mud cake recipe which makes perfect sense. I poured pure cream and baileys onto my left over chocolate cake and it’s sooo good. 

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I considered using Lindt Intense Mint Chocolate for the  ganache, but I didn’t because I found it so much sweeter than the normal 70% dark chocolate. Therefore, I decided to introduce the mint flavour by adding mint extract, which went extremely well. That said, however, feel free to leave out the mint extract if you prefer to stick with the original dark chocolate taste. I used to have problems making ganache as it would split once I mixed the hot cream and chocolate together. But now I realise the key to making ganache is to let the cream-chocolate mixture sit for around 3 mins before you gently stir it. Also, try to stir as gently as possible as you don’t want to incorporate too many air bubbles into the ganache. 

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Thank you for reading and have a good weekend as always! 

Ingredients :

Dark Chocolate Cake (the cake batter is enough to pour into two 8 inch cake pans, each cut into two layers) 

  • 220g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, broke into small pieces 
  • 350g caster sugar 
  • 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 300ml hot water 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 eggs, room temperature 
  • 280g all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Mint Chocolate Ganache 

  • 2 tbsp mint extract 
  • 400g dark chocolate 
  • 500ml pure cream 
  • 50g soften unsalted butter 

Chocolate shards with gold sprinkles

  • 200g dark chocolate (I tempered my chocolate using XX)
  • Gold sprinkles 

Honey comb

  • 300g granulated sugar 
  • 150g honey 
  • 80ml water 
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking soda 

Salted Caramel Popcorn 

  • 100g salted caramel (find the recipe here) 
  • Popcorn *I used the plain microwave-popcorn and mixed it with homemade salted caramel, or you can directly buy salted caramel popcorn if that’s what you prefer

Instructions:

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175C). Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with melted butter. Line the pan bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter and whisk until completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can use the microwave, but check every 30 seconds.
  3. Mix the instant coffee powder and hot water. Set aside to let cool a bit until ready to use.
  4. Whisk in sugar and then cocoa powder into chocolate-butter mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Slowly add hot coffee in 3 additions while whisking constantly until fully incorporate.
  6. Add vanilla and then the eggs( one at a time).
  7. Now, prepare the dry ingredients by sifting flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another mixing bowl with a beater attachment. Beat in low speed for 30 seconds to combine.
  8. While the mixer is still on low speed, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture.
  9. Change to medium high speed, beat for 1 min. Scrap the bottom and continue beating for 30 seconds until smooth.
  10. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake for about 35 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in pans for 10 mins before you take the cake out to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  12. Cut each cake into two 1.5-cm thick layers with a cake cutter or serrated knife. Set aside until ready to use.

Mint Chocolate Ganache

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a sauce pan, boil cream and pour onto the chocolate.
  3. Let sit for 3 mints before gently stirring it until incorporated.
  4. When the mixture is cooled to around 35C. Stir in the butter and whisk until fully mixed.
  5. Cool the mixture using an ice bath until the ganache reaches a pipable consistency.
  6. Put the ganache into a pipe bag with a 6mm round nozzle.

Honey Comb

  1. Line a flat, big tray with parchment paper. Set aside until ready to use. And you will need a sugar thermometer.
  2. Put sugar, honey, water, and golden syrup in a large saucepan with enough depth. Cook, while stirring continuously with a spatula, on low heat until all sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 154C on the thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and let the bubbles subside.
  4. Add the baking soda and mix thoroughly to let the reaction occur. Many bubbles will form and the mixture will rise so please be careful. Pour the mixture onto the prepared tray and set aside to cool completely.
  5. Break the honeycomb to pieces to your preferences.

Salted Caramel Popcorn

  1. Mix the salted caramel and popcorns together until the popcorns are evenly coated with salted caramel. 

*if your salted caramel is a bit firm, microwave for 20-30 seconds so that they can evenly coat the popcorn. 

Tempered Chocolate shards

  1. temper the chocolate and spread it thinly on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  2. Put some gold sprinkles on top of the chocolate before they’re completely set. 
  3. Break them into pieces to your liking.

Assemble

  1. Place one layer of cake onto a cake turntable and top it by piping ganache in a swirling motion. Smoothen the ganache with palette knife. Repeat with the second and third cake layer, and then last layer of cake. Frost the cake with remaining frosting.
  2. Decorate with chocolate shards, honey combs and salted caramel popcorn. Enjoy!

 

8 comments
Zen – Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle

This matcha almond tart with swiss meringue and sesame brittle wonderfully plays with the popular Japanese dessert flavours – Matcha and Sesame. The earthy taste of the matcha almond filling pairs perfectly with the caramel, nutty taste of the sesame brittle that’s on top of the dreamy toasted Swiss meringue.  

Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame BrittleMatcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle7

This tart came as a total surprise for me, because I originally made the matcha almond filling for Mont Blanc, a classic French dessert that’s made with chestnut puree and meringue. Unfortunately, there were lots of issues in the making and the mont blanc didn’t turn out as well as I expected so I decided to use the filling for something else. I promise you all that I will perfect my mont blanc recipe and share with you when the time comes around!

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Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle6

And I do want to talk a bit more about the sweet pastry here. I recently bought some new tart rings that I had been craving for so long due to its more sophisticated finish. There’re quite a few methods out there to line pastry into these circular rings. After testing out on all the methods, I do find that the method of cutting out a larger circle of pastry and directly fit that in to the ring is the easiest and the most guaranteed. If you wanna watch how to do it in a video, I’d recommend Cupcake Jemma’s tutorial video  Alternatively, you can also cut out circles of pastry that are almost the same size as the base of your tart ring, as well as strips of pastry to fit as the sides. And you are gonna push the edge of the base to stick with the strips. Personally, I do find this a bit more tricky as sometimes as the pastry is too dry, the strips won’t stick too well with the base and they’ll separate when baked.

Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle4

As you’d all notice, I am recently super obsessed with meringue (the feeling of blow-torching meringue is just incomparably satisfying), so I decided to incorporate it into this tart to add another layer of texture. From top to bottom, you get the crispiness of the sesame brittle, the softness of the swiss meringue, the creaminess of the matcha almond filling, and the crunch of the sweet pastry. I chose to use Swiss meringue this time because I wanted it to be firmer and finer to top the tart with. And I adjusted the sweetness of the meringue recipe so it won’t be overwhelmingly sweet. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle2

 

Ingredients (make 6 small tart):

Sweet Tart Crust

  • 125g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes 
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 55g whole egg, beaten

Matcha Almond Filling

  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 tbsp milk

Swiss Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 150g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt

Sesame Brittle:

  • 60g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 30g water
  • 1/4 salt  

Instructions:

Sweet Tart Crust

  1. Rub together cold butter, sugar and flour to a fine crumb.
  2. Add egg and mix to a dough.
  3. Wrap dough with plastic and rest in the refrigerator to firm up until needed.
  4. While your dough is resting, preheat your oven to 180C.
  5. Dust your work surface with flour to avoid sticking. Roll pastry to 3mm thick and line into 6 small tart rings.
  6. Poke holes on the pastry with a fork and put it back into the fridge to rest for 30 mins.
  7. Blind bake for around 10 mins until slightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack. *Don’t bake until golden brown at this stage as the tart will continue to bake when you bake the filling*

Matcha Almond Filling

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until pale and fluffy. It will take around 5 minutes.
  2. Add egg and beat until incorporated.
  3. Add almond meal and matcha powder into the sugar-butter-egg mixture. Mix with a spatula until it forms a paste.
  4. Add milk and mix until incorporated.
  5. If your tart shells are ready by now, fill them with the matcha almond filling (only to 85% full as they expand when baked) and bake for 10 mins. Let cool completely.

Swiss meringue

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool. This will take about 7-10 mins.

Sesame Brittle

  1. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, water, and salt and cook over medium-high heat, continue stirring until the mixture reaches 260°F (127C). Add the sesame seeds and continue cooking while stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 350°F (177C). Stop cooking if you see the mixture turns into a golden brown color.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately pour the mixture into the prepared parchment paper, spreading it with a palette knife into an even, thin layer. Set aside to cool until firm.
  4. Once the brittle is cooled, break it into pieces of your desired size.

Assemble:

  1. Spoon or pipe the swiss meringue on the tarts and create some “peaks’ with a spoon.
  2. Insert the sesame brittles into the meringue.
  3. Toast the meringue with a blowtorch.
2 comments
Enchanted – Mint Chocolate & Strawberry Concord Cake

This mesmerising-looking cake is my take on the Concord Cake – a double chocolate cake that perfectly combines chocolate meringue sticks and chocolate mousse with homemade strawberry jam in between. This recipe is adapted from the Concord recipe by Kirsten Tibballs – the master of chocolate – as I borrowed her book Chocolate at the school library a while ago which I absolutely loved. I am not kidding, for a huge chocolate lover like me, I want to make EVERY SINGLE item listed in the book. In particular, I couldn’t take my eyes off her Concord as it looked so interesting and challenging to make.

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Yet, as you all know I always like to do a little bit adjustment to an existent recipe to make it more satisfying. This time, I straight away knew that I had to incorporate the classic combination of strawberry and mint to this chocolate cake, as the acidity of strawberry and the freshness of mint would balance out the richness of chocolate. Also, as I immediately associated the appearance of Concord cake to forest the moment I saw it, I wanted to accentuate the “forest ambience” through my presentation.

Anyway, this concord cake is meant to be:

  1. Delicious
  2. Fascinating
  3. Fun

Well, it was really a lot of fun to make this Concord cake. I understand that it might look very complicated but let me assure you that it’s really just a piece of cake & so much easier than you’d expect! Basically, all you have to do is make the meringue, pipe and bake them, and meanwhile you can prepare the chocolate mousse and the jam. Then you can start assembling the cake the way you like it. Easy, right?

 

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What’s even better is, that you can let your creativity run wild as the flavour combination for this cake is literally infinite – oreo/matcha/rainbow meringue stick, infuse some flavours for your chocolate mousse, or introduce new toppings etc.  This time, my friend helped me use food colouring to paint some wooden patterns on the meringue sticks and I was shocked at how authentic they looked! 

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To let you all understand how to construct this cake more easily, I asked my talented friend to draw me a step by step illustration below that’d help tremendously.

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To finish off the cake, I put some mint leaves, raspberries, strawberries, pistachios, shaved chocolate to add some colour and texture, and I am really happy about its final look. Don’t even begin to ask me how to cut the cake properly because YOU CAN’T, just tear the meringue sticks apart and share the cake unapologetically 😉  So that’s my Concord Cake and I hope you like it. Let’s make the magic happen, shall we?

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Ingredients (adapted from Kirsten Tibballs’s Chocolate):

Chocolate Meringue Sticks

  • 55g dutch process cocoa powder
  • 120 icing sugar
  • 200g egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tar tar
  • 150g caster sugar

Mint Chocolate Mousse

  • 255g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 150ml pure cream (a)
  • 20g unsalted butter, softened
  • 230ml pure cream (b)
  • 1 tsp mint extract


Strawberry Jam

  • 125g fresh strawberry
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:

Chocolate Meringue Sticks

  1. Sift the cocoa powder and icing sugar together.
  2. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to medium peaks and gradually add the caster sugar (Don’t add the sugar with the egg whites straight in the beginning as the egg whites won’t whisk well). Once all the sugar is added, continue whisking for 1 minute so all the sugar dissolves (You can feel if all the sugar is dissolved by rubbing the meringue between your fingers). Using a spatula, gently fold through the coao powder and icing sugar mixture (Try not to knock out the air in the meringue, be as gently as you can). Stop folding once all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Transfer just over half to a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle.
  3. Preheat the oven to 140C. You will need a baking tray topped with a parchment paper. Trace three 16cm circles onto the paper. Turn the paper over and pipe the meringue into 3 discs; start from the centre and pipe it outwards. *you can pipe some meringue under the baking paper to help stick it to the tray
  4. Line a separate baking tray with baking paper. Put the remaining meringue in a piping bag with 8-mm plain nozzle. Pipe individual lines the length of the tray approximately 1 cm apart on the tray. Bake both trays of meringue for approximately 1 hour or until the meringue is crunchy. Cool the meringue at room temperature.

Mint Chocolate Mousse

  1. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Put the cream (a) in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Pour it over the chocolate, let it sit for 3 mins before stirring it with a whisk by hand until the chocolate is melted and combined. When the mixture cools to around body temperature, add the butter and whisk again until incorporated to create a ganache. Leave the ganache at room temperature and set aside to cool down.
  2. Meanwhile Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment or by hand, whisk the cream (b) to a semi-whipped consistency and set it aside in the refrigerator until the ganache cools down. Once the ganache is ready, fold through the chilled semi-whipped cream. Add mint extract and mix gently.


Strawberry Jam

  1. Bring sugar and strawberry in a saucepan on high heat for around 2 mins until all sugar has dissolved. Mash raspberries with a fork as you go.
  2. Turn to medium heat, continue to cook the jam until it’s thickened enough to your liking. Ideally, it should be smooth and spreadable. 
  3. Turn off heat. Add lemon juice and mix well.
  4. Transfer the jam into airtight jar for later use.

 

5 comments
Mini Chocolate Cake with Italian Meringue, Raspberry, and Shaved Chocolate

Chocolate_sour_cream_cake_with_meringue_raspberry_and_shaved_chocolate4These mini chocolate cakes are amazingly moist and rich in chocolate flavours, and the marshmallowy toasted Italian meringue would simply melt in your mouth like a dream! I also used fresh raspberry and shaved chocolate as the toppings, because this time I want to keep the recipe as simple as possible, and these are the flavours that just go perfectly together. And the best part? They look fancy but they’re also incredibly easy to make – win win!

 

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Also, I think you’ve already noticed it, BUT I WILL TELL YOU ALSO – I have done a make over for my blog today! To be honest, changing the appearance of my blog had been on my to-do list for quite some time because this blog is my creative outlet and I want it to speak volumes about who I am and my aesthetics. I am really happy with how my blog looks right now.

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I made these cakes at the same night I made the earl grey honey cake. I usually wouldn’t dare to make two desserts on the same day here in Sydney- because firstly, although pastry chefs should be the master of multitasking, but I still prefer focusing on photographing and sharing one recipe with you guys before I move on to the other; and secondly, there are definitely too many cakes piling up in my fridge already (like always). However, I made these cakes spontaneously as I had too much left over sour cream, meringue, chocolate, fresh raspberry (and the list goes on and on and on…), and I just couldn’t bare not creating something else out of them. I added instant coffee and my beloved coffee liqueur to the cake mix to enhance the chocolate taste. For those who aren’t the biggest fan of coffee, don’t worry, as the addition of coffee is just to intensify the chocolate flavour.

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And as you can see my random project turns out successful and I shamelessly brought them to my classmates who obviously have had too much cake in their daily lives already. I hope you enjoy this recipe and let me know how it goes if you try it out! Have a nice weekend everyone 🙂

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake

  • 240g all-purpose flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 250g butter
  • 200g white granulated sugar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g melted dark chocolate
  • 150g sour cream
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder (melted in 60ml hot water)
  • 120 ml milk

Italian meringue

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2  tsp vanilla

125g fresh raspberry

chocolate decorations

Instructions:

Chocolate cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line your cake mould with melted butter. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Melt coffee powder in 60ml hot water. Stir until the coffee dissolves completely. Set aside to let cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. These are your dry ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until creamy and smooth. This will take around 4-5 mins.
  5. Slowly add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, and continue beating for 2 mins.
  6. Add melted chocolate and sour cream, beat until incorporated.
  7. Turn to low speed, add the cooled coffee mixture and milk; mix until smooth.
  8. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  9. Fill your cake mould to nearly full and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake’s centre comes out clean. Take the cakes out from the mould once they have slightly cooled down. Let cool completely until ready to assemble.

Italian Meringue

  1. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and do NOT stir. Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed.
  2. When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites (pour the hot syrup on the side of the mixing bowl to avoid cooking the egg whites). Add Vanilla,  turn the mixer to high speed and continue beating for about 5-7 mins, until the meringue is cooled down to 50C and glossy stiff peaks have formed.

Assemble
Using your favourite piping nozzle, pipe the meringue onto the cake and lightly toast them with a blowtorch. Top it with raspberries and chocolate.




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Earl Grey Honey Cake with Passion Fruit Curd and Toasted Italian Meringue



These mini Earl Grey Honey Cake with Passion Fruit Curd and Toasted Italian Meringue are perfect for an afternoon party to feed  your guests! They are bursting with fruity freshness with a subtle citrus tone, not to mention the cake’s melt-in-your-mouth soft texture.



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The background story of this creation can be traced to the madeira cake I made at school at the beginning of this term. Medeira cake is a simple citrus cake served with tea or sweet wine; it has a golden brown surface and light yellow interior, and is characterised by its close crumb structure because of its specific making method. I loved this cake when I first tried it because it got the texture that I liked and it’s so simple yet delicious. Yet, this time for my own creation, I, of course, changed things up a bit with some additional elements to make the cake interesting.

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To pair with the sweet, citrus taste from the earl grey honey cake, I decided to use passion fruit curd and some toasted meringue. I have eaten passion fruit desserts before outside but It’s actually my first time to buy passion fruit in my life (I know right..). And I realised I’d been missing out such a great fruit! The moment I cut it open, the fragrance coming out from it was just heavenly and I could instantly well imagine how good it would taste with some greek yogurt and honey for breakfast.

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Also, I also grasped today’s free time to practise tempering chocolate. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but tempering chocolate gives me a headache most of the time and sometimes it gets really frustrating. Luckily, today I did manage to temper chocolate and make some simple decoration successfully. I will need to temper chocolate again the coming week and I hope today’s experience is gonna give me more confidence. Anyway, I hope that you all like this recipe and have a fruitful week ahead of you! (pun intended)


Ingredients (makes around 15 mini cakes) :

Earl Grey Honey Cake

  • 180g cake flour
  • 100g corn flour
  • 80g almond meal
  • 4 earl grey tea bags, loose leaves of
  • 5g baking powder
  • Salt, pinch of
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g honey
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 3 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 50g sour cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod

Passion fruit curd 

Italian Meringue

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2  tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Earl Grey Honey Cake 

  1. Boil milk, 2 bags of earl grey loose leaves, and vanilla beans in a pot. Let it infused until ready to use.  
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest in the last minute of mixing.
  3. Add eggs SLOWLY until all incorporated (only add more eggs until they are fully incorporated or you’d risk curdling the mixture; also, mind that the eggs should be at room temperature/slightly warm to achieve the best result)
  4. While the eggs are mixing, prepare and sift your dry ingredients (i.e. cake flour, almond meal, 2 bags of earl grey loose leaves, baking powder, and salt). Gently fold in dry ingredients into the butter mix until just incorporated (don’t over mix)
  5. Slowly add earl grey-infused milk, lemon juice and sour cream. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. Put the batter into a piping bag and pipe evenly into silicon mould. Tap the mould to release air bubbles. Bake at 180C for 25-30 mins until golden brown. Let cool. 

Passion fruit curd 

  1. Dissolve gelatin in hot water and add to the passion fruit curd while it’s still warm.
  2. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until they start to set*

*They set pretty fast so please be ready to pipe when they reach the ideal consistency.

Italian Meringue

  1. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and do NOT stir. Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed.
  2. When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites (pour the hot syrup on the side of the mixing bowl to avoid cooking the egg whites). Turn the mixer to high speed and continue beating for about 5-7 mins, until the meringue is cooled down to 50C and glossy stiff peaks have formed.

P.S When you assemble the cakes, you should first pipe the meringue AND toast them, before you pipe the passion fruit curd to avoid melting the curd.

 Yum




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Greek-Inspired Halloumi Lamb Sausage Tomato Stew

This hearty, greek-inspired halloumi lamb sausage tomato stew beautifully combines all the familiar greek cuisines flavours – lamb, halloumi, olives, oregano – and it is possibly the best dinner recipe to warm your body (AND SOUL) on a cold night. Cook the sauce in a pan and finish it off in the oven – EASY. The best part of this stew? It definitely is the golden brown, crispy halloumi that tastes divine when perfectly grilled. 

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This recipe was inspired by the Sausage Halloumi Bake by Lucy Loves.  The moment I saw the recipe my mind already went crazy thinking about how good it would taste. If you know me well, you’d know that Greek food is my favourite cuisine and lamb is my favourite meat type at all times, so yeah, I’d kill for a souvlaki lamb wrap right now. Anyway, I wrote this recipe with the three main ingredients in mind – lamb sausage, halloumi and tomato – and I added some twists to it. I always like working with red sauce because it simply never goes wrong; so flavourful and nutritious at the same time. To accentuate the mediterranean theme and to give a little sweetness for taste balance, I added some dried oregano and olives to the sauce as well. 

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You can basically do anything with this stew – eat it on its own, mix it with pasta, or dip it in bread etc. And of course, feel free to use your own imagination and creativity to make changes to the recipe – play with the sausage type and throw in whatever ingredients you like to make it your own best stew. I promise you that you’re going to love it! And again, thanks for reading my blog and have a good weekend! 

Ingredients:

  • 500g lamb sausage, cut into small pieces
  • 200g Halloumi, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, choped  
  • 3 tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp raw sugar (you can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup water (optional, if the sauce becomes too dry)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausages and cook until golden brown (they don’t have to be fully cooked as they will continue cooking in the oven). Take them out and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add onions and saute until translucent, about 3-4 mins. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute (be careful not to burn the garlics). Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, olives, and dried oregano. Cook for about 3 mins until tomato starts to release juice. Add ½ cup of water if the sauce becomes too dry. Add baby spinach and stir and let it wilt. Reduce heat to low, add sausages back to the pan and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer the stew mixture to a baking dish, evenly put the halloumi cheese slices on top. Grill for 15 mins until golden brown.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Yum




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Banana Salted Caramel Mascarpone Parfait




This banana salted caramel mascarpone parfait is everything you’re looking for as a party dessert or romantic dessert for two – it has its own visual impact while pleasing your palate to the last bit. It is intricately layered with light mascarpone cream, banana slices, biscuit crumbs, salted caramel, and topped with salted caramel cream and cocoa powder.




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The idea of making this parfait came up more than a month ago, but I was hesitant to make it because I didn’t have (and didn’t want to spend extra money to buy) the glasses that I thought were the best fit for the parfait. Students’ problems. However, for some reasons, I gave in as the urge of making this dessert became irresistbably strong when I was making tiramisu at work. As you can see, the plastic containers that I decided to use surprisingly looked good in the end!

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This mascarpone cream is essentially the cream used for tiramisu – it’s light and airy using just the simplest ingredients for baking. The recipe for the mascarpone cream is not sweet at all so it’s preferable to use riped bananas and, of course, you can go a little bit crazy with the salted caramel drizzles! To me, the key to a heart-winning parfait is having different layers and textures that well complement each other. For this reason, I added biscuit crumbs in the middle layer as the needed crunch among the smooth. Also, just to accentuate the flavours of salted caramel, I mixed it with the remaining mascarpone cream and pipe little cute blobs dusted with cocoa powder on top as the finishing touch. A small reminder: as the cocoa powder absorbs moisture very quickly after dusting, you should only dust it right before serving.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 50g  salted caramel* (to mix with cream)
  • 80g salted caramel (to drizzle)
  • 2 bananas, thinly sliced
  • cocoa powder for dusting
  • 70g biscuit, crushed
    * I used the Homemade Salted Caramel recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction for this parfait.

Mascarpone cream

  • 350 mascarpone cheese
  • 250g pure cream (semi-whipped)
  • Sabayon:
    • 2 whole eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 100g caster sugar  
  • Meringue:
    • 2 egg white
    • 35g caster sugar

 

Instructions:

  1. Semi-whip cream and keep it in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Make meringue by whipping egg white and caster sugar until stiff peak. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. While the meringue is whipping. Put and whisk well egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar in bowl. Heat the mixture over bain marie while stirring occasionally to 65C. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer on high speed to make sabayon (it’s also called the ribbon stage when the egg mixture becomes pale yellow and thick).
  4. Turn to low speed, add mascarpone cheese to sabayon and mix until incorporated.
  5. Using a spatula, gently fold in the meringue in 2 times until just incorporated. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream just until the mixture becomes homogeneous.
  6. Reserve 200g of cream in the mixing bowl, transfer the remaining mixture to a piping bag topped with a round nozzle.
  7. Add 50g salted caramel to the mixing bowl, mix with the reserved cream on medium cream until well mixed. Set aside.  

Assemble:

  1. Pipe a layer of mascarpone cream into each mould.
  2. Sprinkle biscuit crumbs.
  3. Arrange a layer of banana slices.
  4. Generously drizzle salted caramel.
  5. Pipe another layer of mascarpone cream until it fllls up the mould.
  6. Smoothen the surface with a palette knife.
  7. Squeeze out any remaining cream from the piping bag, and transfer the salted caramel mascarpone cream into the same piping bag. Pipe cream on top.  
  8. Dust with cocoa powder.

Yum




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Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto




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This avocado pesto pasta with crispy prosciutto is super creamy, delicious, and full of nutritional values; basically, the addition of avocado takes the pesto game to a whole new level.

This avocado pesto pasta with crispy prosciutto is super creamy, delicious, and full of nutritional values; basically, the addition of avocado takes the pesto game to a whole new level. The buttery, sweet taste of avocado goes incredibly well with the salty parmesan cheese, and of course, a generous amount of basil leaves would freshen up the overall taste. I made this pasta a while ago but never got the chance to photography it properly. Luckily, this Sunday afternoon, I got my own personal space without school and work and simply enjoyed playing with food in the kitchen (although my peace of mind got disrupted when I accidentally broke my wok’s lid and all the all the glass shattered into a million of pieces..). Oh well.



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When it comes to savoury, I am all about taste and efficiency, and this pasta dish is no exception. To make the avocado pesto sauce, all you have to do is blend all the ingredients in a food processor until it reaches the consistency you want. I personally wouldn’t go too far on that, because I want to have some texture left to bite on. Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and you are good to go. To give my pasta little bit of crunch, I also made some crispy prosciutto that complements well with the sauce. Yeap, that’s pretty much it. So if you’re quick, this pasta can be done in 15 mins. Try this recipe and let me know about your thoughts! 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 servings of bowtie pasta

Toppings

  • a few pieces of prosciutto
  • Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Pesto

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nut
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package instruction. Reserve some pasta water. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the prosciutto in a sauce pan on medium-high heat until fragrant and crispy. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, put all the pesto ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a food processor or blender. Blend until generally smooth (you can retain some texture if you want). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce in the sauce pan. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out by adding some reserved pasta water. Serve immediately with the crispy prosciutto and some fresh basil leaves.

Yum




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Sundried-tomato Basil Sausage Pasta in White Wine Cream Sauce




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This sundried-tomato basil sausage pasta in white wine cream sauce is deliciously creamy, cheesy, and full of the beloved Italian flavours – I guarantee you that it’s gonna be your new favourite pasta recipe! The flavours of basil, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes marry perfectly together as you can imagine, and the indulgent meaty white wine cream sauce  is just spot on. And what is the best part of all these? This pasta recipe literally takes minimum effort to make – start to finish 20 mins – so it could save your life in one of those tiring days.

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I made this pasta a couple days ago as my lunch before I headed to school, which means that I had to cook something as simple as possible. I don’t know about you, but I am the kind of person who feels on top of the world when a recipe idea pops up in my mind and realise I have all the ingredients I need. BEST FEELING EVER. But now things got reversed – as I am living on my own now, I always try to finish everything in my fridge to minimise wastage; that said, I come up with my recipe with the ingredients I got in hand. Surprising, cooking spontaneously gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement that I didn’t experience before, and it definitely improves my cooking skills and creativity. So, I guess  I should be thankful about living on a budge ey.

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Try this easy recipe out and I hope you will like it!

Ingredients:

  • 200g pasta of your choice
  • 2 sausages of your choice,cut into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomato strips
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and drained  
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for time per packet 2 mins less than the required time (as the pasta will continue cooking when you cook it with the sauce).
  2. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta for laster use.
  3. Meanwhile, in a pan, sauté the sausages on medium-high heat until golden brown and the sausage’s fat comes out. Keep the fat in the pan.
  4. Turn the heat to medium. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 3-4 mins until onions become translucent.
  5. Add cream, and white wine, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Stir to help the cheese melt, let it simmer for 2 minutes until it reduces slightly.
  6. Add basil leaves, paprika, garlic powder, dried basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add pasta and toss gently in the sauce for about 1-2 mins. Evenly coat the pasta with the sauce as it thickens. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little reserve pasta water. Enjoy!

Yum




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