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A Few of My Favourite Things!

Friday, October 21, 2005

SHF? Well, not quite...

Well, it has been a 'sugar-high' Friday but, unfortunately, my creations are not sufficiently dark enough to qualify for SHF #13 although I desperately wanted to participate.

It all started last night when I made my first attempt to bake my MIL a cheesecake in a waterbath. After baking for 1.5 hours and cooling for another hour in the oven, I discovered that it's not a good idea to bake the cake in a springform tin! I went to bed with cakes on my mind and the first thing I did upon waking this morning was to pull out and flick through Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess. After 1 lopsided cake and a failed cheesecake, I was determined to not have a third disaster. Having used up 7 eggs on yesterday's botched cheesecake, I was low on ingredients but I had everything required for a Victoria Sponge. I only made one small substitution, which was to use soymilk in place of regular milk as we don't often have milk in the house unless we are expecting company. This is a really straightforward recipe and the batter can even be made by blitzing all the ingredients in a food processor before adding the milk.



The sponge was left to cool while I took A on a surprise birthday adventure - Diving with the Sharks in the Melbourne Aquarium. It should really be called Diving with the Rays as they really were the feature in the dive. We were able to even stroke them as they swam by!


Upon getting home this evening, I decided to bake yet another cake so that we would have one cake for my MIL and another one for A (yes, Plum, this would be the third lot of cake for him but what can I say? I like celebrating his birthday!). I have been eyeing the recipe for a Sour Cream Chocolate Cake (again from Nigella) for some time now and this looked like a good time to try it. Another straightforward recipe that involves creaming the butter with dry ingredients, mixing wet ingredients with cocoa, then mixing both together. It really couldn't be any easier and results in a light moist chocolate cake. After brushing some syrup on the bottom half, I filled it with whipped cream and sour cherries and topped the cake with more cream. The cake demanded some shavings of chocolate to be sprinkeled over the cream - but wait, I had no chocolate on hand to shave. Luckily, I had recently been presented with some Fran's Chocolate bars! While the chocolate cake was in the oven, I filled the Victoria Sponge with a mango-cream mixture and topped it with diced mango.

Both cakes were a hit and we're hard-pressed to choose a favourite out of the two. The mango complemented the sponge beautifully and made for a lovely springtime dessert. The chocolate cake is very light on chocolatiness, the very opposite of a mudcake which I sometimes feel can be a little too rich. The sourcherries, which seemed overly sour on their own, were just right in the moist chocolate cake. All-in-all a succesful baking day - phew!

Victoria Sponge

225g soft unsalted butter, 225g caster sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 4 large eggs, 200g self raising flour, 25 g cornflour, 3-4 tbs milk

  1. Cream butter and sugar until pale
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour in between each.
  3. Fold in rest of the flour and cornflour and when it has all been incorporated, all a little milk as required to obtain a 'soft, dropping consistency'.
  4. Pour into 20" springform tin and bake for 50 - 55 min.
  5. Leave in tin for 10 min before turning out to cool.

Sour-Cream Chocolate Cake

200g plain flour, 200g caster sugar, 3/4 tsp baing powder, 1/4 tsp bicarb soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 200g soft unsalted butter, 40g cocoa, 150ml sour cream, 2 large eggs, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Combine all dry ingredients except cocoa in large bowl and mix butter in well.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together set ingredients and cocoa.
  3. Slowly add cocoa mixture to dry ingredients mixture, beating until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Bake in 20" springform tin at 180C for 45 min.
  5. Leave for 10 min in tin before turning out to cool.

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