Sunday, November 25, 2012

Spruced Up Vanilla Cake

This recipe came from Nigella's  Christmas book. We had 2 Thanksgiving dinner to go to so I made this one for my sissy's dinner party. The bundt mould has a train that goes around the bottom of the spruce tree. It doesn't show on mine because I didn't spread the batter towards the edges. Most of it was in the middle so the cake has elevated in the center. I'm pleased with how it turned out and this is nice to pair up with white wine, coffee, tea or champagne.

Here's the photo from her cookbook..

You can't really make out the image of the train on the bottom on this one either.


2 sticks (16 tablespoons) soft butter, plus more for greasing or use a nonstick pan spray
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain fat free yogurt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (I've used my fancy one for the occasion, madagascar vanilla bourbon)
1-2 tablespoons confectioner's (icing) sugar


Preheat oven 350F and put a cookie sheet in at the same time. Butter or spray your large, regular or fir bundt pan thoroughly.

Either put all the ingredients except the confectioner's sugar into a processor or mix together by hand or a free standing mixer as follows:
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffly.
- Add the eggs one at a time, whisking each one in with a tablespoon of flour.
- Fold in the rest of the flour, and add the baking soda, yogurt and vanilla extract

Pour and spoon the mixture into your greased pan and spread evenly. Place the pan on the preheated cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes until well risen and golden. After 45 minutes, push a cake tester into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Let it sit out of the oven for 15 minutes. Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the pan with your fingers, then turn out the cake, hoping for the best.

Once cool, dust with icing sugar pushed through a small tea strainer, to decorate think fresh snowfall on the alps.

TTFN : )

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Forest Gâteu / Tea Time Treats Challenge

For the month of November Tea Time Treat Challenge hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked and Karen from Lavender and Lovage the theme is celebration cake to celebrate their one year Tea Time Treat birthday. One of my favourite celebration cakes are birthday cakes. I mean any cake's my favourite, but the joy I get growing up as a child and to this day of being presented with a cake and friends and family gather to sing and celebrate your birthday is one of my happiest moments.

Now that I'm learning (but rather slowly) to bake cakes, I now have kiddies to bake for and just love seeing their eyes light up on their birthdays with joy and excitement over a birthday cake that mummy had baked for them brings so much warmth and joy to my heart. Right, enough of that.

My entry this month is something I am very proud of and that I've baked for the very first time. It's a Black Forest Gâteu / Cake that I made for my daughter upon request for her 12th birthday earlier this year. She wanted her cake to look just like the cake based on a video game that her and her friends play where at the end of the game the character receives a cake. Black Forest is her favourite so I've combined the two together. Black forest cake inside and the video game design on the outside. Here's the link to this previous post Portal Black Forest Cake.

I'm entering this Cake for this months Challenge..

this is the video game cake...


1 (18.25-ounce) box super moist chocolate fudge cake mix, Betty Crocker
1 2/3 cups chocolate milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (will need to divide 3tbs and 2tbs)
3/4 cup cherry pie filling
1 (12-ounce) container frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed

Garnish: 2 bars of your favourite bittersweet dark chocolate (one of mine is Ghirardelli )
Maraschino cherries


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 (9-inch) cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, chocolate milk, oil, eggs, and 3 tablespoon of cocoa until smooth. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
3. Spread cherry pie filling between layers.
4. Add 2 tablespoon of cocoa powder to whipped cream to add a bit of brown then spread topping over top and sides of cake.
5. Blitz 2 bars of bittersweet dark chocolate in the food processor.
6. Gently press chocolate crumble onto sides of cake and top of cake. (I slapped mine Top cake with small whipped cream circle using cake decorator tip # and cherries. Store in refrigerator.
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chicken Casserole / Random Recipe Challenge #22

For this months challenge Dom at Belleau Kitchen had us count our cookbooks to our random birthday number. What ever the number is that's the cookbook you'll cook from. My number is 16 and my count happened to land on Sally Bee once again. I haven't got quite a large selection of books as of yet so I might be going through similar books for the challenges from time to time. The best thing about Dom's challenges are the fact that I get to open my book on a random page and challenge myself to prepare dishes I haven't made before. So, the random page I ended up with was Chicken Casserole. I haven't made chicken casserole just eaten them, so this was exciting because I've always wanted to learn how. I'm sure that there are hundreds of version but for now this is Sally's version. It turned out really well, wasn't greasy at all and it felt light in the stomach and comforting for the cold weather. It was tasty and not salty. I did follow her method and had the exact ingredients, mine turned out to be more like a chicken soup rather than a casserole. I don't know what happened there. The family enjoyed it so this is worth a try..

's that beautiful rainbow my darling daughter took a photo of from inside our car..


2 tbsp plain flour
freshly ground peeper
sprinkling of dried mixed herbs
4-6 skinless chicken breast portions cut into chunks
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 rashers (slices) very lean bacon cut into cubes
225g/8oz shallots peeled and halved if large
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 courgettes sliced
1 red and 1 green bell pepper deseeded and sliced
300ml/10fl oz/1 1/4 cups white wine (alcohol will burn off during cooking)

*if you prefer this dish without the wine add more stock or non alcoholic grapejuice.


Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas mark 3. Mix the plain flour with some black pepper and dried mixture herbs in a large bowl, dust the chicken breast in the flour and set aside. Reserve some flour for the sauce.

Over medium heat add the olive oil in a large lidded flameproof casserole dish. Add the chicken and bacon and fry until golden. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add all the remaining ingredients - the peppers, courgettes, stock and wine. Stir in the reserved flour to add thickness to the sauce. Cover and cook in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until chicken is nice and tender.

Serves 4