Sunday, August 16, 2009

Creating a special birthday cake

No recipe for this cake. I was tasked with taking the cake to my brother in law's lunch to celebrate his 50th birthday so this was my creation. I will try and remember - it was a while ago in June. I actually hand drew some plans for this cake on some parchment and drew a cross section of it and everything. I gave the plan to Kevin so its such a shame I didn't take a photograph of the plan for this post.
Paul and Elliot asked why I did the plan and I said I just love a touch of whimsy and luckily so did Kevin and Leanne who are going to frame the plan.
The cake is two discs of almond meringue covered with kahlua cream and sandwiched between two layers of chocolate and coffee cake - then the whole cake is covered with a dark chocolate ganache. It took me ages to decide what to make and loads of internet research and I was inspired so many of the Daring Bakers out there. I simply cannot remember which chocolate cake recipe I used in the end. It is truly a one of a kind cake for a special person.

Chewy Chocolate chip cookies - dark chocolate and cranberry and white chocolate and macadamia

1 and a half cups of plain flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

cup brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 cup castor sugar

175 grams of butter (room temperature - but still firm)
1 egg and 1 egg yolk beaten

100 grams chocolate chunks
100 grams chocolate chips
50 grams dried cranberries

Heat oven to 160degrees and place rack in bottom 3rd of the oven - mine is just below the middle.

Cream butter and sugar on slow for about 3 mins do not overbeat - I read it makes a difference! Add the beaten egg and yolk and beat till combined again but once combined stop. I have read that overbeating may affect the mixture so I stopped when I considered that the additions were combined well in.

Sift plain flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda together and add to this mixture to the creamed butter, sugar and eggs and on slow combine.

With a wooden spoon stir in chocolate and cranberries. Drop large dessert spoonfuls on baking trays lined with baking paper - I only do four at a time to allow for spreading.

They seem to take about 14 mins to cook in my oven. For the first 7 mins I cook them on the higher tray and then move them to the lower tray for the final 7 mins. When moving them in I put the second tray on top.

The cookies should spread and look a little harder around the edges and not be too soft when you remove them from the oven. Let them cool for about 5 mins on tray before moving to a rack. If you turn them over and the just seem to be undercooked you can pop them back into the oven for a couple more minutes but watch them carefully this is often the difference between soft and chewy and crisp.

For white chocolate and macadamia cookies
Use 2 cups of plain flour (omit the cocoa - but I am going to try a cocoa version next time)
200 grams of white chocolate chopped into chunks
125grams of raw macadamia

Follow the recipe for above.

Sometimes I use most of the ingredients cold - because I have a kitchenaid it can cream the butter quite well and I tend to be impatient - I also keep my flour in the freezer so it tends to make the mixture cold anyway.

If you use all room temperature ingredients then again I have read that you should refrigerate the dough for half an hour before using it. I refrigerated half the white chocolate cookie dough - to test if t here was a difference and I thought those cookies were a little higher than the non-refrigerated dough ones.

About Me

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Mother of two with one of each. Wife of one.Dogless. Busy working five days a week, baking and cooking when time allows. Writing rarely these days. Wishing I had time to read more often.