Food, Recipes from the Heart

Let There Be Cake

Last week’s Masterchef Junior Episode saw the little kids baking a layer cake for the elimination challenge. Watching them cook and bake would put many of us to shame, really. These kids are 8 to 13 year olds, mind you. Naturally, I got reminded of  my first layer cake which I made when I was fourteen. After the first successful attempt, my best friend asked me for help to make her mum’s birthday cake. I brought along my baking tins over to her place and we made the cake, albeit it wasn’t so pretty. And I only got my baking tins back about 3 years ago. (I still love you Hannah :P)

So since I haven’t baked in a while, I decided to bake today. This is a spin off to the first layer cake I made. If I’m not wrong I used the Hershey’s Celebration Chocolate Cake back then. Fast forward 9 years and here I am using Valhorna instead of Hershey’s! Talking about improvements!

I adapted Nigella’s chocolate cake recipe and Kak Rima‘s chocolate ganache recipe. These two will never go wrong, trust me. Just pardon the ugly frosting and piping. I’m still working on that.


Nigella’s Chocolate Cake

For the cake:

400 grams plain flour

250 grams castor sugar

100 grams brown sugar

50 grams best quality cocoa powder (I used Valhorna as it IS the BEST!)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

142 milliliters/small tub sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

175 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled

125 milliliters corn oil

300 milliliters chilled water (I used milk instead – it’s way nicer!)

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  • Butter and line the bottom of two 20cm sandwich tins
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you’ll need another large bowl for this if using the hand whisk), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed. Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins.
  • Bake the cakes for 50-55 minutes or until a cake-tester (toothpick or satay sticks) comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

200 ml double cream with at least 30% fat content (I used Millac – 38% fat)

250 g dark chocolate, chopped finely (I used Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips)

50g unsalted butter

a pinch of salt

  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and add in cream and butter till all is well combined
  • Cover the bowl with cling wrap, making sure the plastic touches the top of the ganache
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, then place in room temperature for 30 mins before piping or frosting
Musings, Travel

A Prelude

It’s less than 30 days till I embark on the craziest adventure I’ve ever taken. I’m nervous, excited and feeling pretty overwhelmed as of now. So many things to do but there’s nothing I can do now.

People ask me why I decided to do this trip alone. I often ask myself the same question as well. Every time I make a decision, I make sure my intentions are clear so that I don’t do it for the wrong reasons.

I’ve been told not to run away – never take travel as a means of running away from the life you have back home. Never take it as a way for you to escape the problems you’re facing. To travel is to learn, and dive into a world unknown.

I have plenty of reasons to escape this place I call home, but I shall not discredit my intentions for travel. I genuinely want to see the world, on my own. I really want to experience the Moroccan souqs and see The Alhambra. I want to taste the Parisian air and take a jump shot next to the Eiffel Tower. I want to touch and feel the remnants of the Berlin Wall. I don’t have a bigger reason for wanting to do all these, all I know is that I really want to do them.

I’ve learnt many things about myself since I graduated one and a half years ago. The three years in university flew by too quickly, I couldn’t sit down and breathe. I went right into my first job a month after I graduated. I was too eager to start earning my own income. I was too quick to decide on what’s best for me. I just wanted to move on to the next stage of my life.

Why, you may ask, was I adamant on moving to the next stage of my life? I really can’t give an answer either.

I’ve since learnt to relax and accept whatever that comes my way. I know that upon my return from this trip, I will be a different person. Inshallah, I will be a better person – as a Muslim, a daughter, a sister and a photographer.

As much as I will return home broke, jobless and pieces of my heart being left in all the places I will be heading to, I trust God that He has other plans for me. I trust that I do not need what I don’t have now, and what I have is all I need.

I can’t promise a proper travelogue. I’m such an introvert that I really filter what I choose to share with the world. (Yes, believe me, I AM an introvert.) but of course, I will guarantee you there will be photos!

PS: Although a 85mm f/s 1.8 would be nice.

PPS: Okay fine. I don’t need that now.