Archive | January 2013

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Coconut Frosting

Chocolate Olive Cake with Coconut frosting

By Kira

I came across this recipe, when I was looking for a gluten and dairy free bake. The recipe suggested using almond meal will result in heavy cake and plain flour will make it lighter, but neither suited me. Since my nut consumption is in moderate level and I also needed a gluten free recipe, I adopted it according to my preference. I had reduced the recipe to fit my 7inch cake tin.

For my first try, I used Doves farm gluten free plain flour and I was so excited to use my very first Willie’s Venezuelen Black 100% cocoa, which I got as a gift from my equal. The result was just ok, but there was three problems. One being the gluten free flour has a strong smell, which was putting off, for a person who has a hyper sensitive nose like mine. Second being, the cocoa wasn’t rich and bitter to compensate for the strong smell of the flour. Atleast, I expected great smooth hot chocolate from the world’s most pricey cocoa, but it was grainy and will not dissolve even after endless whisking. Err!! I am still not able to figure whats wrong, is it a problem only with my bar or its suppose to have only grainy consistency? I swear next time I will go back to my loyal rich, bitter and smooth tasting Green & Black’s Cocoa. Thrid being less sugar, when you take a bite, immediately you will crave for more sugar or atleast for a frosting inbetween to compensate for it.

Second time, I decided to make it for my baking group. I adapted the recipe based on my first try. Inorder to lessen the strong smell of gluten free plain flour, this time I used 2 parts of it to 1 part ground almond meal. Also, made hot cocoa using Green & Black’s cocoa. Finally, I had one more adventure, trying to make dairy free frosting using vegetable shortening to compensate for the sweetness. I can hear you saying, thats all fine, how come coconut came into the picture. Recently, I tired homemade coconut macaroons along with dark chocolate, yum I liked it eventhough I am not a great coconut fan.
Chocolate_Olive_oil_Cake_Coconut_Frosting

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 45 min
Total time: 55 min

Ingredients
Cake:

  • Green & Black’s Cocoa powder 35 g
  • Boiling Water 85 ml
  • Vanilla Essence 1 tsp plus 1/4 tsp
  • Eggs 2 (medium size)
  • Caster Sugar 135 g
  • Light & Mild Olive oil 100 ml
  • Ground Almond 35 g
  • Doves farm Gluten free Plain flour 60 g
  • Bicarbonate of Soda 1/4 tsp plus a pinch
  • A pinch of salt
  • Desiccated Coconut, to sprinkle on top of the cake 1 tsp (optional)

Dairy free Coconut frosting:

  • Vegetable shortening, room temperature 56 g
  • Icing sugar 113 g
  • Vanilla Essence – 1/2 tsp
  • Water – 17 ml (approx. 1 tbsp)
  • Desiccated Coconut 25 g

Instructions
Cake:

  • Preheat the Oven at 170C fan.
  • Prepare the cake tin, line the bottom with greaseproof paper, grease the sides using oil.
  • Sift the cocoa into a small mixing bowl, add the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla essence and let the mixture rest for a while.
  • Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer beat the eggs until its pale and foamy. Keep the mixer running at low speed, add the sugar gradually into the egg mixture, drizzle in the olive oil and slowly pour in the cocoa mixture. Mix everything until is well incorporated.
  • In a small mixing bowl, sift the gluten free plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the ground almond, give everything a good mix and tip this into the wet mixture. Gently fold in the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 170C fan for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from oven and let it cool for 10 mins before releasing it from the tin.
  • Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool completely. Using a serrate knife cut the cake into two equal halves, spread the icing between the them and sprinkle little bit of desiccated cooconut on the top.

Dairy free Coconut frosting:

  • Double the frosting recipe, if you like to frost the top of the cake as well. This recipes yields enough to sandwich the two layers of cake.
  • Bring the vegetable shortening to room temeperature, it took approximately 30 minutes.
  • Place the shortening in a mixing bowl, beat it slowly using electric mixer until its light and little bit puffy. Sift the icing sugar into shortening mixture, add the vanilla essence and water, mix it with a fork until its runny.
  • Beat the icing mixture with electric mixer at medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes until its increased in volume and puffy. Add the desiccated coconut and beat it slowly for a minute until its evenly distributed.
  • Spread the frosting immediately on the cake, believe me its easy this way (check Notes). Also, I only needed 3/4 of frosting to sandwich the two layers of cake.

Notes:

  • Remember when additioning any flavouring to vegetable shortening, less is more. Unlike butter, vegetable shortening does not have any taste, so any flavouring added to it will be fully absorbed.
  • Shortening has the tendency to set faster in the fridge. I left mine in the fridge for 30 minutes, I couldn’t spread it at all. Since I was in a hurry, my only option is to pipe it, hoping it will be ok in a hour.
  • Unlike butter, shortening react to heat slowly, so mine had softened and reached room temperature while I was on my way to the baking group.
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Lamb Tagine in Oven

Lamb Tagine in Oven

By Kira

I brought this beautiful looking individual bean pots from Le Creuset. It is very versatile. It can be used for serving and cooking and I like the fact of straight from oven to the table. I can’t wait to put them to use.
Bean_Pots

Bean_Pots1

I like Le Creuset for its sturdy build and beautiful looking cookwares. Whenever I am tempted to buy it, I will remind myself never to accumulate good cookwares when you a traveller, it is extremely difficult to carry them around?. I shall find every reason against it, but finally overrule all of them saying “I like it”. So you see I am easily sold when it comes to Le Creuset.

I made Lamb Tagine in these individual bean pots. The meat was cooked perfectly, so tender and succulent. This recipe is slight variation of my previous Lamb Tagine, instead of simmering it on the stove, I cooked it slowly in the oven.

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 1 hour 30 min

Total time: 1 hour 40 min

Ingredients

  • Sunflower oil 2 tbsp
  • Onion, sliced thinly 1 medium size
  • Garlic, minced 2 clove
  • Ginger, minced 1 tsp
  • Stewing Lamb, diced into 5cm cube 450 g
  • Ground Cumin 1 tsp
  • Ground Coriander 1/2 tsp
  • Cayenne Pepper 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon 1 stick
  • Pureed Tomatoes 150 g
  • Stock 100 ml
  • Sweet Potato, skinned and cut into 2cm cubes 100 g
  • Dried Apricots, chopped in halves 60 g
  • Salt to season
  • Flaked Almonds to garnish optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven at 160C fan.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in frying pan and brown the meat in batches. Place them aside.
  • Add 1 tbsp oil in the same pan and add the onion and cooked until the soft.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Place the browned meat in the pan along with the sautéd onions.
  • Add cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and mix well so they are coated well with meat and onion.
  • Mix the pureed tomatoes and stock and add it to the pan.
  • Season with salt, divide the between two individual bean pots, put the lid on. Place in the middle shelf of the preheat oven and cooked for an hour.
  • Lamb_Tagine_Oven

  • Carefully remove the bean pots from oven, arrange the sweet potatoes and apricots on the top layer and cook for 15 mins, until the sweet potato is softened.
  • Lamb_Tagine_Oven2

    Lamb_Tagine_Oven3

  • Since the meat was slowly cooked in oven for longer time, it was so tender and succulent. Serve it as it is or with white rice.
  • Lamb_Tagine_Oven4