Black Forest Cake

If you like my page on facebook or follow me on twitter you must have seen my previous complaints about my black forest cake backfiring. It got so bad that I decided not to try again. I resulted in getting my brother to bake the cake then I do the frosting.

This past weekend we were having a bridal for a good friend of mine and I offered to bring a black forest cake. At first I had requested my brother to do the baking but on second thought I decided to ask him for his recipe. I needed to face my fears. I normally hate it when cakes back fire, though my friends think otherwise since they enjoy eating my backfired cakes, ha!

This recipe is a bit different from others that I have tried. The great thing is that it worked.

Before I go on, be warned this will be a very long post full of many photos so if you are yet to have lunch I suggest you eat first :-). Oh and another thing, making a black forest is a bit tedious, not the baking part but the layering and frosting so patience is key.

Ingredients:

For the cake;

7 medium sized eggs

220 g all purpose flour – about 1 3/4 cups

23o g sugar – about 1 1/2 cups

160 g margarine – about 3/4 cup

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coffee

2.5 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon of passion flavour essence – optional

For feeding the cake

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

4 tablespoons of water

Some juice – optional

For the frosting

Whipping cream

Strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered

Chocolate

Equipment

Electric mixer

wooden skewer or toothpick

Start with baking the cake.

Pre heat the oven at 180°C. Grease the baking tins and line them with grease proof paper. I used 2 9 inch round tins since I wanted the cake to have four layers.

the main culprits
the main culprits

Baking this cake is pretty easy since you just dump in all the ingredients then using an electric mixer you combine the ingredients and the cake batter is ready.

All the ingredients
All the ingredients

Using the handy mixer…

Cake batter
Cake batter

Divide the batter between the two tins. Ensure they are more or less the same.

ready to be baked
ready to be baked

Bake for twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. I said a prayer as I put the cakes in.

Excitement!!! I was jumping up and down. The cakes had not backfired. Thank you God.

Fresh from the oven
Fresh from the oven

Let the cakes cool for about ten minutes then remove them from the tins to cool further.

chilled out
chilled out

It’s advisable to let the cakes cool completely, this will come in handy when layering the cake. The crumbs won’t be as many.

I wrapped my cakes in clear cling film them I put then in the fridge.

Same day evening…

Layering and frosting.

Take one cake, I put mine on top of an overturned baking tin. This is to aid in layering the cake.

Start by leveling the cake.

Leveled, I guess
Leveled, I guess

Then slice the cake in half to form two almost equal layers.

tada
tada

Repeat the above steps for the second cake.

DSC08476
leaning tower of black forest

Now for the fun part.

the whipping cream
the whipping cream
strawberries and whipping cream
strawberries and whipping cream

To make the sugar water, combine the icing sugar, water and juice if using. I used some orange juice that I had in the fridge. For the extra kick I guess you can put a tablespoon of rum in the mixture instead of juice.

food for the cake
food for the cake

Place the bottom layer of the cake on a board, then using a wooden skewer or toothpick poke the surface of the cake.

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Then drizzle about a tablespoon of the sugar water over the cake. This will feed the cake to ensure it continues to be moist and spongy.

Put a dollop of whipping cream on the surface of the bottom layer.

bottom layer
bottom layer

Spread it evenly on the surface of the cake.

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Spread the strawberries. I had some leftover cherries so I threw them in.

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Repeat the steps for all the layers.

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DSC08493

After filling in all the layers, coat the entire cake with the whipping cream.

white cake...
white cake…

It doesn’t need to look perfect since you will pile on chocolate.

When it comes to putting the chocolate, you can be as creative as you want to be. You can choose to grate the chocolate and sprinkle it all over the cake. If you are in a hurry, like I was, you can cut the chocolate into chunks and stick around the cake. Don’t worry they won’t fall off, the whipping cream acts as the glue.

Decorate the top with smaller pieces of chocolate then make a border on the cake with whole strawberries that are slightly dipped in whipping cream.

talk of abstract art
talk of abstract art

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the cake
the cake

By the way I used homemade chocolate.

The cake looks so huge, I guess it’s a 1.5kg.

When it got to cake time, I was anxious to see how the layers would look. Then the bride to be sliced the cake.

Need I say more?
Need I say more?

This cake may take long to prepare but, trust me it’s worth the wait. So go on try it out, in case you don’t succeed on the first attempt don’t give up there’s always a second, third or fourth try.

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Homemade Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? You there, put your hand down. Anyway, this is a recipe I found on you tube and I thought it would come in handy especially for guys who love baking with chocolate. You can also eat the chocolate.

The recipe is pretty easy and takes a short while to do well not taking into account the time need to freeze the chocolate.

Ingredients:

125 g vegetable shortening also known as vegetable fat

125 g confectioner’s sugar

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

4 tablespoons powdered milk (full cream)

powered milk, confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder
powered milk, confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder

Start by sifting all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

sifted dry ingredients
sifted dry ingredients

Over low heat, gently melt the vegetable shortening.

vegetable shortening melting
vegetable shortening melting

Pour the melted vegetable shortening over the dry ingredients.

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Stir it up.

Drip drip
Drip drip

Finally line a  baking tray with grease proof paper then pour the chocolate and put it in the freezer to set.

As usual, forgot to take the ends pictures. Sorry. Anyway, once the chocolate is set, you can munch away. To make it even more exciting, before putting it in the freezer you can add some chopped nuts either peanuts or cashews or hazelnuts to the chocolate then freeze. For the some fruits you can add dried sultanas or raisins.

Look out for the next post, and see how I used my chocolate in the frosting of a black forest cake.

Butterless Butter Chicken

Last year during hubby’s birthday, we went out for lunch at an Indian restaurant, Mughals, at Adams Arcade. I had some butter chicken, which in my opinion is by far the best boneless chicken curry I’ve ever eaten. After that I embarked on looking for the recipe but most of what I got seemed too complicated to do but that was until January 8th this year. I was busy reading through the Saturday magazine pull out in the Daily Nation and what do I see, Chef Aamil Mughal owner of Mughals has been reviewed and the recipe for the butter chicken detailed. Needless to say I was very happy, I even borrowed the magazine (I gifted my self).

Anyway, so even after getting the recipe I took a while before trying it, reason being, I’ve been so busy so I just get home and do quick fixes for dinner and at times hubby does the cooking (yeah, he’s heaven sent).

The recipe is pretty simple and it calls for ingredients can be easily obtained.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons crushed garlic

3 teaspoons garam masala powder

2 tablespoons turmeric powder

1 teaspoon red chilli powder (optional)

3 chopped green chillis (optional)

600 grams boneless chicken (cut in cubes)

100 grams crushed cashew nut powder

1/2 litre milk

3 ripe tomatoes

1 bunch coriander chopped

salt to taste

1 tablespoon fresh cream (optional)

This recipe serves 4.

top row: milk,garlic,chickenBottom row: garam masala and turmeric, crushed cashew nut powder and tomato paste
top row: milk,garlic,chicken
Bottom row: garam masala and turmeric, crushed cashew nut powder and tomato paste

As I was preparing the ingredients I realised that I didn’t have butter, fresh tomatoes and coriander but that didn’t stop me from making this recipe. I just figured I would substitute the missing ingredients. For the butter I used two tablespoons of vegetable oil, for the tomatoes I used two tablespoons of tomato paste. Since the coriander is for the garnish, I thought I could do without it.  also didn’t use fresh cream since I didn’t have plus it was optional, nor did I put chilli because hubby doesn’t fancy chilli.

In the event you use  butter, place it in a cold pan then switch on the heat and add the garlic when it is melting. Since I used oil, I just let it heat for a minute or so then I added the garlic.

garlic
garlic

Once slightly browned add the chicken cubes and stir.

In goes the chicken
In goes the chicken

Add the garam masala, turmeric and chilli (if using). Maintain a steady temperature. If too hot it will burn very quickly.

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Now add the crushed tomatoes and stir. Let it simmer gently for a few minutes. Since I was using tomato paste there wasn’t a lot of simmering so I added about a tablespoon of water to it.

tomato paste
tomato paste

Add salt and keep tasting.

Add milk and stir and let it boil.

After adding the milk
After adding the milk

Once the milk has boiled, add the crushed cashew nuts and stir. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

cashew nut powder.
cashew nut powder.

Before I forget, for the cashew nut powder, all you need are the cashews then you crush to make the powder. You can choose to use a mortar and pestle or if your blender has a spice mill, that will also do.

Finally you can add the chopped coriander, stir and take it off the heat.

My butterless butter chicken

DSC08446

Verdict:

It was great though not as delicious as the one we ate at Mughals maybe it’s because of the substitutions.

If I could do it over again:

I would definitely not do the major substitutions of butter and tomatoes. I especially feel the tomatoes are very vital in this recipe so that the sauce is even more and not as thick.

All in all, this is an easy recipe and it doesn’t take long to prepare.

According to Chef Aamil it’s best served with hot butter or garlic naan but can go well with toast. I served it over rice.

Kienyeji Pot Roast

I normally avoid cooking kienyeji (road runner) chicken for fear of under cooking it and of course the fact that it can be a bit tough. On one of my visits at my neighbours place (read the Murigis), I found some Tupike magazines which I gladly skimmed through and voila I landed on this recipe.

I was to host my colleagues for lunch and that moment a light bulb went on since I’d been clueless on what to prepare. So I hosted the lunch and for sure the chicken was a hit. Not only was the chicken perfectly cooked but it was delicious and soft. I believe my colleagues enjoyed since I’m yet to get a negative remark.

Ingredients:

Marinade:

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of crushed garlic

1 teaspoon of crushed ginger

The pot roast:

1 road runner chicken cut in pieces set aside the giblets (liver,heart) and neck

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into huge chunks

3-4 celery sticks, washed and cut into chunks

1 large red onion chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Start by making the marinade.

Crush the ginger and garlic.

my handy mortar and pestle
my handy mortar

In a large bowl combine the vegetable oil and soy sauce.

mixture of vegetable oil and soy sauce
mixture of vegetable oil and soy sauce

Then mix in the ginger and garlic.

ginger and garlic
ginger and garlic

Finally put in all the chicken pieces and mixture evenly with the marinade. Ensure the chicken is thoroughly coated. (The next image is disturbing, viewer discretion is advised)

marinade

Now, cover the bowl with a clear cling wrap and put it in the fridge for a minimum of thirty minutes. If you have time you can marinate it overnight (in the fridge of course).

So thirty minutes or so later…

Making the pot roast;

carrots, onions and celery
carrots, onions and celery

In a large sufuria, or rather one that can fit one whole chicken put about one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Let the oil heat up then saute the onions.

sauteing
sauteing

Once the onions are browned, add the marinated chicken pieces. The cooker should be on high, the aim here is to brown the chicken pieces. When adding the chicken start with the chicken thighs and legs followed by the other pieces.

chicken

Keep stirring to ensure all the chicken pieces get browned. Do this for about three minutes.

browned...i think
browned…i think

Let the chicken cook on high for about ten to fifteen minutes then add in the carrot chunks and the celery. You can season with a little salt.

colour splash
colour splash

Now, reduce the heat to medium or medium low , cover the sufuria and let the chicken cook for forty five minutes.

So, here is where I mention that the chicken was too delicious and we were really hungry that I forgot to take pictures of the end result… yeah it happens. Anyway, go ahead try out this recipe I guarantee that you will never whine again about kienyeji chicken being tough.

Verdict:

Finger licking good. I have cooked this many times over and I’m not about to stop. I think I’ll cook this for dinner tonight.

Thanks for stopping by and I apologise for the hiatus, being a wife, employee and study can sometimes take a toll on someone.

Cheers!!