It’s Autumn, and finally the temperature in Melbourne has dropped a little!
I was lucky enough to receive a windfall of Barlett pears from my neighbour, however I noticed that the markets are full of these pears at $1 a kilo, so it was obviously a bumper year for them this year!
I’ve had my eye on this flavour combination for a while and had a couple of ideas that I wanted to throw together. Hope you enjoy it!
C’mon, I’ve baked for many, many (toooo many!) years, and yes, I’ve owned and loved using a microwave for at least 25 years.
But, babe! You know it, I know it, how come everyone on Masterchef doesn’t know it? YOU CAN’T BAKE A CAKE WITH A MICROWAVE. What is going on people?
There has been the inevitable, take over of the world, of microwave mug recipes. Late night or quick dessert fixes, I get it; I really do! I even bought my daughter a mug cake recipe book for Christmas. But, microwave sponges seem to be the biggest thing since Matt Preston, himself! I am dragging my ‘Vans’, I know, but traditional techniques are what I taught myself, so even though this recipe is from 2014…
I’m testing it out, ‘coz I have been sucked in by the hype, over 1500 people have rated it 4 stars, and I NEED to know!!
Texture was a little dense and rubbery but quite acceptable to eat warm with cream and berry compote as the recipe suggests.
“Definitely a mug cake. Great eaten warm but a little bouncy and slightly dense. Tastes great and is a perfect, quick treat for pudding. Cools to stale cake consistency within an hour.”
Do I have a good recipe for…
Not a recipe I would do gluten free. The texture would suffer even more with any substitutions
Unrefined sugar substitution suitable. Raw castor sugar or Stevia would work well.
Recipe as written, is nut free.
I would be happy to substitute any kind of vegetable or nut oil for the butter in this recipe
What would I change? Hmmm, probably it’s name! It is a great warm pudding or mug cake but would I call it a sponge cake? Probably not. It also needed 50-60 seconds in my 1100 watt microwave on high, not the 40 seconds as written in the recipe.
The flavour was great and would definitely have been great with the Chantilly cream. I personally wouldn’t want to serve the passionfruit pudding with berry coulis though.
To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with double or triple cream or even a custard. I think a matcha infused custard with white chocolate, would have been gorgeous with this little pudding!
This recipe has definitely not convinced me that I can make cake in a microwave.
I hope you have enjoyed this recipe review, and found it useful? Would love to hear what you think.
‘Chocolate beetroot cake,’ has been a phrase that has both intrigued and repulsed me for YEARS! No, I just couldn’t do it. So many opportunities to do a trial and so many reasons to not go there. Please, don’t get me wrong, I am a big beetroot fan in its many of its guises; most importantly; a burger is no burger of mine without it. But, no matter how many people said a beetroot chocolate cake was all kinds of wonderful, I just couldn’t make the leap….until today.
When I decided to listen to my family and post reviews of the recipes I tested, I knew there were 2 recipes that I have avoided for decades yet, never been able to let go of.
Time to make the plunge; this Moist Chocolate Beet Cake recipe is originally by Nigel Slater but I found it via David Lebovitz website. I followed the recipe to the letter, although I did not have an 8 inch springform so used a 7 inch and had batter left over. You definitely need an 8 inch and in fact I probably could have used a 9 inch pan.
“A beautifully textured cake, full of deep chocolate flavour and just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness of the cocoa. If you like chocolate and beetroot paired, this is a spectacular recipe! For the adventurous, definitely try it, you might find you enjoy it.”
Do I have a good recipe for…
Gluten free substitution suitable. I would feel happy to bake this cake with a gluten free flour substitute. It may have a slightly gummy feel to it though. Another option would be to substitute half almond meal and half gluten free flour. I feel all almond meal would change the texture too much.
Unrefined sugar substitution suitable. This cake would actually take on a whole new complexity of flavour using coconut sugar or rapadura sugar. The caramel flavours of these sugars would really give you a lovely depth of flavour. To avoid grittiness, process the sugar until it is finer before you use them. Raw castor sugar or Stevia would also work.
Recipe as written, is nut free.
Not dairy free. The flavour that is added by this amount of butter would make it difficult to change out for anything else.
What would I change? As a chocolate beet cake it was beautiful, I wouldn’t change it at all. Although, I found the flavour of beetroot had mellowed even more after 2-3 days.Since I am a big believer of allowing chocolate cakes time to develop in flavour, I would even consider making it 2 days ahead of serving.
I personally, would consider cutting the beetroot with some green apple to help smooth the transition between chocolate and beetroot. But hey, that’s just me!
To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with sour cream on the side to give it a punchier flavour and a creamier accompaniment. Creme fraiche was a little bit delicate in flavour and texture for me and I didn’t really think the poppy seeds did anything for it. I would consider a really airy cream cheese frosting for it as well, but it would definitely have to be whipped within an inch of its life!
Wow, so there it is; Nigel Slater’s Moist Chocolate and Beet Cake. What a great start!
I hope you have enjoyed my first recipe review, and found it useful? Would love to hear what you think.
See you next time 😉 X
PS if you are looking to get a springform pan, it is definitely worth spending a little bit more money to get one that won’t leak!
This is a link to Amazon.com, for a particularly highly rated tin by Kaiser, that won’t break the bank.
Fabulous Cheryl from ‘Itty Bitty Foodies’, wrote me a very succinct note to my offer of a guest post, my ‘Cutest lamingtons ever’ recipe.
Oh, wow, really? How do I do this? What do I wear? Hee hee hee, I’m pretty excited by the possibility of stretching my legs and stepping slightly outside the confines of my own page.
I can’t wait! Tell you when it is up. In the meantime here is a little sneak preview 🙂
“Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s…” just me, actually. Nah, it’s not that I am trying to say I have super powers or anything.
It’s more that I am wondering, has your Clark Kent persona ever become so overwhelmingly busy, that your fun, flying Superman outfit, doesn’t get a chance to leave the bottom drawer? The red underpants seem to lose their elasticity, and the flouro yellow badge on your chest, seems to have faded when it finally sees sunlight?
Don’t tell anyone, but unlike alien abductions, this happens to all of us all of the time! It is actually true that I do have a day job that involves me wearing respectable pants and reading glasses. It is also true that I have been so busy working my respectable day job as well as fulfilling orders for my wonderful customers that I haven’t had a chance to throw on my little retro apron, or pick through my trusty library of cookbooks to just play, photograph and blog. I can’t believe it has been 3 months since I have had time to post anything!
However, one great, upside to having been so busy over the last few months is that I have had a chance to pick up wonderful ideas for posts that I hope to be able to share with you very soon! A trip to Mildura, a chance to fulfill one of my New Year’s resolutions, directions in where I am going with my chocolate cakes. I hope that they will be as fun for you to read in the coming months as it has been for me to experience them.
But, in the meantime, here is something for you to ponder on. What do Camembert cheese, Squid ink, and Blueberry have in common? Answer you very soon!
Hope that your Clark Kent is well and truly contained to allow the ‘Super’ in you to come out and play with me! I would love to know, what do you do for a day job, and how do you cut loose and fly high?
Interesting that Dr Charlie Teoh, has inflamed a racist debate just as I was writing this post. Not only is it the week before Australia day, but also only a few days before….
Firecrackers, lucky red packets, dancing lions and dragons, loud drums and clanging gongs…have you got it yet?
Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the new lunar year by well, pretty much everyone in Melbourne! Anyone who is Asian or who has friends of Asians descent are familiar with the noise, spectacle and general good cheer of Chinese New Year, in the same way all we non-Christians recognizes Christmas as a time of family, good will and gift giving. Although celebrations have certainly been going on for about 150 years in Australia, since the influx of Chinese migrants during the gold rush, Australians do not all celebrate it…yet, ‘though it will be interesting to see if it become a national holiday over time?!
Australia has moved over the last 40 years, towards a whole new, embracing, national identity that leaves the “White Australia”* policy as an embarrassing foot note on a developing nations history. From a very personal view, even though one arm of our family is now 6th generation Australian, I grew up during a period in time where it was a struggle understanding my identity as an Australian of Chinese descent, dealing with blatant racism, even as a small child by fully grown (non-drunk, take note Politicians) adults, having my face, clothes and food laughed at, and of course not being blonde and blue-eyed, I would just feel outright, alien. In fact, my identity is something I still struggle with and subconsciously, always try to hide. I am sure that this feeling of being an outsider no matter what colour your skin, no matter what your age, is more common than any of us care to admit. And yet, at the same time, I have never felt so accepted and ‘normal’ within the community. Life is always changing, I look around me and feel that it is an amazing time for me to be living in and celebrating Chinese New Year in Melbourne! There will always be small-minded, ignorant, and just plain rude people in any society, however, as I said in my New Year’s Eve post…with a bit of effort, we can always improve.
Well, with such an ancient celebration it is not surprising that there would be many, many traditions tied to its very mention, but given my slant on the world from the suburban kitchen of Bliss, I want to have a stab at Bliss-ing my favourite tradition…FOOD!!!
For foodies of all cultures, one of the best new year stories would have to be that of the Kitchen God. Every new year, the Kitchen God leaves his post on the altar in the family kitchen ( yes, that is
probably where you would expect to find a kitchen god!) to travel up to heaven and give his report to the Jade Emperor on the goings on in the family as they talked, argued, laughed and cried over their family meals. Now, who doesn’t want to look good on their report, I ask you? So, being as ingenious as the Chinese race is, a wonderful and crazy, sticky, sweet, concoction known as ‘Nian Goa’ is offered to the Kitchen God on new year’s eve to stick his mouth together so that he can’t say anything bad in his report! Aaaaaaah, love the creative use of dessert!
The recipe for Nian Goa floored me! Basically, it is brown sugar caramel with rice flour steamed to within an inch of its life….truly…hours and hours and well, hours! So long in fact, you wonder if the original wasn’t just forgotten on the stove, while the cook went out to tend the fields, chat with the neighbours, buy groceries, get her hair done…..No wonder we never made it at home!!
Nian Goa has a crazy rubbery texture, when you get it home from the shop. (No, seriously, it is round. bouncy and brown, it could make a really good tyre substitute for a small go-cart!) Then, being of Southern Chinese origin, we cut it into slices and then into squares, dip it in egg and pan fry it slowly until it has the consistency of mozarella cheese with a slightly crisp, egg-y outer. Insane!!! But, I love it 🙂
Hubby, is from Malaysia where they sandwich the slices between sweet potato, or taro and then dip it into batter and deep fry it. Crispy on the outside, biting into aromatic, flour-y, potato-y, texture and then a gooey caramell-y centre. Crazy!!! But he loves it 🙂
So, Lynnette and Hubby met, fell in love and live in Melbourne where I have decided I am going to put a Bliss spin on it. Hmmmm, will it work? Well, let’s see then… Love the egg-y combination with the brown sugar caramel flavour of mine, love the crisp outer shell of his and I especially love how Aussies make everything their own by adding Beer! My most striking memory of TV as a newly migrated 4-year-old was the Vic Bitter ad. “A hard-earned thirst, calls for a big cold beer. The biggest beer is Vic, Victor-ia Bitter”, how do I remember it? It is burned into my memory as being the most incredibly Australian thing I had ever, ever seen in my very short life! No, not even Skippy the talking kangaroo could do it.
So, there we have it, ‘Egg yolk dipped, beer batter, nian goa strips, tempura style’ ha ha, what a mouthful! Dust liberally with icing sugar and serve with vanilla bean ice cream on the side, in fact, give it a real Aussie feel and make the ice cream yourself with amazing fresh Australian dairy products, like Gippsland cream.
Uh huh, mmmmmm what a mouthful. I think Kitchen Gods all around Australia will be toasting to the Jade Emporer’s health with a dash of cognac after a dessert like that and offering all mere mortals a resounding A+ 😀
Health, Wealth and Heaps of Happiness for a magnificent Year of the Dragon everyone. Goong Hei Fatt Choy xxx
*embarrassing footnote: White Australia policy favoured Anglo-Saxon migration over all other cultures and nationalities to , I guess, produce a White Australia!
Life is for living!! A motto that is taken, at it’s most extreme, and greatly to heart in my household.
So, as you can imagine, the holiday season is pretty mad, at our house even when we pretend to celebrate quietly! With a closely knit, extended family, we are never far wrong when we allow for about 30 for dinner. The huge turkey, glazed ham, Uncle M’s plum pudding and all the ‘traditional’ Christmas trimmings, including Coffin bay oysters, Sashimi salmon, and my Mum’s prawn and mango salad are looked forward to as Aussie Christmas delights by local and overseas visitors alike, every year.
But, I have to say, after the craziness of Christmas has passed, and all the kids, (big and small), have had the chance to go slightly nutty around the tree, I really, really, really look forward to bringing in the New Year.
I pretty much do nothing 🙂 Not that it is just me that does nothing….the entire family pretty much does,
NOTHING! YAY!!!!! I began finishing the old year by enjoying a real Aussie experience bbq yesterday. Admittedly, the beach at Black Rock is a lot more popular than it ever used to be, causing it to be more crowded and a lot dirtier than I remember, however, the crystal clear water and fantastic family friendly facilities made it a real day to to remember in 2011.
A bit more sunshine, and a bit more swimming to round off another busy year and then….peace. A big smooch to one and all to bring in the new year and a ‘quiet’ beginning to 2012.
My resolution is pretty much the same as last year;
“I resolve to not allow life to live me but for me to live my life.”
I think I did an ok job last year, ha ha ha! But, like anything in this world, we could always improve with a bit more effort. What’s your new year’s resolution? Mine is pretty boring, pretty standard. I think that if I was to add a few extra notes they might look a little like this;
“I resolve to eat more ice cream.” Seriously, I used to consider ice cream my favourite food, I must have eaten it 6 times last year…doesn’t sound much like a favourite, I definitely ate more broccoli!!
“I resolve to buy a bbq.” Ridiculous?? We have lived in this house for nearly 5 years, we still don’t own one.
“I resolve to do more colouring in.” I discovered my teenage daughter doing a colouring book the other day….she looked so peaceful. Hey, I want some of that!!
Love deeply. sing loudly and live like you mean it!!! All the best for 2012 and may you enjoy the beautiful Summer weather that Melbourne has put on. See you next year 😉 x
“I know what I want and I know how I like it”
Sounds like it comes from a song… maybe it is? Unfortunately other people know exactly what they want and how they like it too!! What happens when the two views don’t seem the same?
Oooooo how I love a challenge 🙂
Lovely Natasha emailed me to make a wonderful Bliss cake for her Mum’s 70th, however in the follow up email she slipped in the fact that her Mum doesn’t like chocolate cake or lots of cream! The brief
went a little like this;
“She often orders lemon tart, orange cake, cheesecake or cakes w/ a fruit element like carrot, banana, apple, apricot etc. She also LOVES nuts.”
Well, where do I start?
From the beginning, I guess.
I can’t go past a layer cake for a birthday so I was definitely going to suggest the ‘Celebrate’. 4 layers of white chocolate cake but for a Mum from the tropics I tweaked it with a slight coconut-ty flavour.
Home made indulgence? How about a little of my home made cumquat jelly. Gorgeous Cointreau flavoured jelly to add an unusual, hint of tart fruit flavour to the mix. Sprinkle the layer with toasted coconut flakes and a sprinkle of grated 70% couverture to finish it off.
Well, 3 layers of jelly just seemed a little too sickly and well, repetetive. So, to break it up a bit, the middle layer consists of a very thin layer of dark chocolate ganache and a generous layer of toasted almonds. The flavours seemed perfect as a contrast and it also added the extra nuttiness that Mum loves!
Very, lightly frosted with Italian meringue buttercream flavoured with fresh lime. Dressed with more toasted almonds, and toasted flaked coconut and 70% courverture.
Happy Birthday Natasha’s Mum! Hope you enjoy eating it as much as I enjoyed making it.