Category Archives: Baking

Chocolate and Vanilla Muffins

I just felt like baking, plus I had some leftover yoghurt and I decided I’ll use it instead of milk.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup margarine

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla essence

3/4 cup plain yoghurt

1/4 cup water

2 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder (optional)

A handful of sultanas

Start by greasing your muffin tin and remember to pre heat your oven at 350 degrees F (about 175 degrees C).

Using a wooden spoon/ spatula cream your sugar and margarine.

The sugar and margarine mixture

Then add in the eggs one by one.

in goes the egg

Add the vanilla essence.

In another bowl combine the dry ingredients except the cocoa powder,cinnamon and sultanas.

flour,salt,baking powder

Add the flour mixture to the creamed sugar in three parts alternating with the yoghurt.

pour in a 1/3 of the flour

Take the sultanas and coat them with about a tablespoon of flour. This will ensure that they won’t sink to the bottom of the muffins while baking.

flour coated sultanas

Fold them into the cake batter. In case the batter is a bit think add about 1/4 cup of water.

Now for the chocolate part;

In another bowl, mix the cocoa powder,cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix with about 2 tablespoons of water to get a semi thick paste.

cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg
semi-thick paste

Add half the batter into the paste and stir.

Pour out some of the vanilla better into the muffin tins, about a quarter in each tin.

the vanilla

Then add the chocolate batter. Sadly I don’t have pics since at that point my phone’s charge was out… 😦

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Muffins!!!

Choc-vanilla muffins

Verdict:

Tasty and pretty moist, I guess it’s because of the yoghurt.

Perfect for an afternoon snack with some tea or hot chocolate.

Surprise: Chocolate Banana Cake

This past weekend was hubby’s birthday, so I decided to bake him a surprise birthday cake. Planning a surprise for someone you live with can be a bit difficult. The biggest challenge was where to hide the cake.

I recall earlier this year, on the eve of my birthday, hubby had prohibited me from opening the fridge. Well it was sorta obvious he had hidden something sweet, well it turned out to be a tasty white forest cake (my favourite) 🙂

Back to the surprise, I schemed to have the cake hidden at my friends place, they are also our good neighbours. Next challenge was to bake the cake in record time, frost it and eliminate all evidences of cake bearing in mind the way the house smells when one has baked.

Ingredients:

Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter/margarine (I used margarine)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 ripe bananas mashed

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

1/4 teaspoon salt

3-4 tablespoons of water

Frosting;

Chocolate Ganache

300ml double cream

300gm chocolate chips/chunks

Lemon Icing

Juice of one lemon

Icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

As usual start by pre heating your oven at 350 degrees.

Grease and flour your baking tin. This time round I also lined the bottom of the tin with some parchment paper.

Using a wooden spoon/spatula/electric mixer cream the sugar and the margarine.

Once the mixture is creamy and fluffy mix in the eggs one at a time. The mixture will look a bit curdled but it’s ok. Add the vanilla essence.

Mix in the mashed bananas.

The mashed bananas

Once well incorporated add the flour,cocoa,baking powder and salt into the wet mixture.

The dry ingredients

Fold in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. I found out recently that the cake batter should have a dropping consistency, that it when you scoop it with a spatula it should be able to drop. Don’t confuse this to mean that it should free flow. Even if it drops some huge dollops that’s ok. Well since mine what not at the right consistency I added some 3 tablespoons of water.

Pour out the batter into the prepared tin then put it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick/spaghetti inserted in the middle comes out clean.

AS the cake was baking I prepared the ganache and lemon icing.

In a bowl pour the lemon juice.

Juice of one lemon

Add the icing sugar, small quantities at a time. We want the icing to be a bit viscous.

The icing sugar

Patience is key while making this. I used about 3/4 cup of icing sugar.  Add the vanilla essence then continue mixing till you get the desired results. Then set it aside.

Lemon Icing

Thirty minutes or so later, my cake was evenly cooked and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean.

Place the cake tin on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Taking a chill pill on the rack

Remove from the tin and let it cool further since, we’ll be frosting the cake.

I was really working in a rush and to be honest the kitchen counter was a bit messy. Since I was trying to eliminate all evidences, as the cake was baking, I also washed all the used equipment.

To be honest, I didn’t wait for the cake to cool completely, time was against me.

Since I had prepared the ganache earlier that morning, it hadn’t completely set, I wished I’d put it in the freezer, oh well.

Pour the ganache on the cake and spread it out.

The counter was full of chocolate. After putting the first layer of ganache, I squeezed the cake into the freezer for like 10 minutes to see whether it would at least set, well that amount to more mess O-o.

Add the final layer of the ganache. The dripping result.

Drip drip drip went the chocolate ganache.

Now for the lemon icing, I don’t have a pipping bag so I had to be inventive, so just using a polythene bag, pour the icing into the bag, push it to one edge of the bag then make a small hole. Then ice as desired. (sorry no pics, handy were messy).

Now for the end result.

Happy birthday hun 🙂

I forgot to mention, just as I was beginning the second layer of frosting the cake,hubby called saying that he had just alighted from the bus and that he was on his way home O-o (the horror). Trying to buy time I requested him to go buy fruits, I even recommended some vendors that were a bit far, sneaky I know.

Safe to say, the cake was hidden at my neighbours, all the utensils washed, wiped dry and tucked away in their respective cabinets. One big problem remained, the cake smell… Well I’d earlier lit an aromatic candle so when he got home and got to sniffing (pun intended) I just said it was the candle.

Tip: Please prepare the ganache the night before to avoid the mess I made.

For those who might be wondering the surprise worked out great and hubby loved the cake.

PS. Sorry for the longest post ever. Also, I apologise for the lack of step by step pics, I was really in a hurry and took what I could.

Chocolate Ganache

I was charged with the great task of baking a cake for a friend’s bridal shower. Boy was I nervous, I kept asking myself, will they love it? Will they compare my cake to previous cakes? Oh well, I took the challenge. I decided to make my chocolate banana cake.

Since, the cake was for a big event, I needed to do what I don’t really like and know, frost/ice it. I searched around Dr. Google and landed on a recipe for ganache. It looked pretty simple to do.

Ingredients:

300ml double cream

300gms chocolate chips (dark/semi-sweet) (you can but dark chocolate and cut it into chunks)

150ml Double cream

In a sufuria, bring the double cream to a boil.

boiling

As the double cream is coming to a boil, put the chocolate chips in a bowl.

I used chocolate chips

Once boiled, pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let the mixture stand for 3 minutes.

oops, shadow in the photo

Using a spatula or spoon, gently stir the mixture.

Initial stages of stirring.

After some minutes of gentle stirring.

shiny, glossy ganache

Since it’s a bit runny and not to mention warm, let it cool on the counter overnight. Remember to cover with some cling film.

In the morning it will be more firm and one can easy spread on the cake. If you want it to be more solid, put it in the fridge.

Next I’ll post the cake plus ganache, that is if I can locate the photos.

Tip: The double cream and chocolate quantities should be 50/50.

Pineapple upside down flop :-(

This was the second time I was making this cake and since the first time was a huge success I didn’t think this time would be any different. Boy was I wrong.

Honestly, I had debated on whether I should post this seeing that it didn’t come out as expected. All in all I decided to (que sera sera), I’m no professional chef so once in a while I’m allowed to burn the food, over salt it, add the wrong spice catch the drift I’m human.

Anyway back to the cake, just as the name suggests you put pineapple slices on the baking tin then the cake batter, then when the cake is done you turn it upside down and the pineapple slices are on top… sounds simple?

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

4 tbsp sugar for sprinkling

1 cup margarine/butter

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract/essence

Zest of one lemon

3 ripe bananas preferably mashed

A handful of cake mix (sultanas & raisins)

A handful of chocolate chips

1/2 pineapple sliced horizontally

Pre heat the oven at 350 degrees.

Grease your baking tin with some margarine/butter then sprinkle the sugar. Line it with the sliced pineapples.

pineapple slices

In a mixing bowl cream your sugar and margarine till light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and vanilla essence mixture. Mix after every egg addition.

Eggs and vanilla essence

Add the bananas, I forgot to mash mine before hand so I did extra mixing to ensure they were incorporated. *working the biceps 🙂 * #iLie

oops , caught red handed I used an electric mixer O-o

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients.

flour,baking powder,salt,lemon zest,sultanas and chocolate chips

Fold in the flour mixture into the mixing bowl.

Be careful not to over mix, you just want them to be incorporated, then add the batter to the tin lined with the pineapple slices.

just before popping it into the oven

Bake it for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

The big flop:

I baked it longer and the pineapples sorta burned well not sorta they really burned 😦

So I just removed all the burnt pineapples threw them away and left the top of the cake to be the top of the cake no flipping over was done. And that is how you right a wrong 🙂

Verdict:

I served the cake to some guests who had come over and dare I say it was a huge hit *does the moonwalk*

If I could it all over again:

Well,we all know what I’d do differently.

Apologies, I forgot to take the photos of the end result sans the burnt pineapples. I guess I was a bit disappointed.

I’ll make one soon and post.

How it should have looked

The first attempt

Choc-nut cookies

I’d missed eating cookies and since I had some chocolate chips and roasted groundnuts on hand I thought why not? Plus hubby being the cheer leader that he is encouraged me 🙂

Ingredients

2 cups baking flour

6 teaspoons of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee powder

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1/8 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup margarine

Zest of one lemon

3 eggs

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

Chocolate chips

A handful of roasted groundnuts, peeled.

Start by pre heating your oven at 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix the sugar and margarine and using a wooden spoon or electric mixture cream.

In a separate bowl break the eggs, add vanilla essence and the lemon zest.

One by one add the egg mixture into the creamed sugar and margarine, stirring after each addition.

The mixture will curd but it’s ok

the green things are the lemon zest

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients

flour,baking powder,cocoa powder,coffee,cinnamon powder,salt

Fold in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients in three parts,

Then add the chocolate chips and groundnuts.

Line your baking sheet with some parchment paper, then using a teaspoon spoon the batter on to the tray. Remember to space them, since they’ll spread out while baking.

assembly line

Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are hard on the edges and still soft at the middle.

Allow them to cool completely and you’ll notice they harden.

tada

Verdict:

Tasty and chewy too.

The nuts felt a tad soggy though, I wonder how I can remedy that. Put them in while raw?

This recipe yielded 40 cookies.

Sweet tooth: Having Breakfast for Supper

I love looking at different recipes and spicing them up with my own additions. My love for baking made me search for a simple muffin recipe. The first time I baked them, I had some ripe bananas and had a great idea of incorporating them into the recipe. Since then, I always bake them with bananas. My love for chocolate inspired yet another ingredient chocolate chips *yum*.

The dry ingredients: flour, baking flour,cocoa,cinnamon,coffee

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup sugar

3 tsps baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

4 tbsp cocoa (for the chocolate colour & taste)

1/4 tsp instant coffee

1 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp vanilla essence

1 egg

Handful of chocolate chips

Handful of sultanas and raisins

2 bananas preferably mashed

Pre heat your oven at 350 degrees, grease your muffin tin and set it aside.

my ‘muffin’ tin

In a large mixing bowl add your vegetable oil and sugar and mix them well. You can use a wooden spoon for the mixing, I used a cake mixture (wedding gift) though.Then add your egg and vanilla essence and beat the mixture till smooth.

Since I hadn’t mashed my bananas, I added them in and mashed away.

The wet ingredients with the semi mashed bananas

Once the bananas are well incorporated, add the some milk and alternating with the flour. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the dry ingredients.

Once all are incorporated, add the cake mix (sultanas & raisins) and the chocolate chips. Fold them in, and you are ready to bake.

Using a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter onto the greased tin.

I really filled them up O-o

Bake them for 15-20 minutes or until when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Chocolate yumminess

This recipe made 18 muffins.

Ready for serving

This was yesterday’s dinner, Imagine!!! Served with tea and enjoyed them with our lovely neighbours and friends, the Murigis.

Note: The vegetable oil in the recipe in stead of the usual butter/margarine helps in making the muffins moist.

Verdict:

Pretty moist and delicious, though previous muffins have been tastier.

If I could do it over again:

Add lemon zest. Cakes taste so much better with lemon zest