Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quadruple (Moist) Chocolate Cake Recipe

It all started with a cupcake.

Early last week, I made Chocolate cupcakes with Strawberry frosting for my good friend's graduation gift to her college friends (congratulations, KC!). I tried out a moist cupcake recipe, thinking that I never made any moist cake or cupcake despite the fact that it says so in the title of the recipe. I don't know - maybe there's something wrong with my execution or ingredients. But then, this turned to be dense and moist! The chocolate was so rich, that I think I could convert it into a cake and finally make a perfectly moist chocolate cake!

For the whole week, I was thinking about how I would make and design my cake. I was dreaming about it in class despite the fact that I was finishing a report and trying to listen attentively to a very perplexing discussion of a novel that week. I was thinking of making 3 layers, using chocolate ganache (which I rarely make) over chocolate buttercream, and topping it with curled chocolate. Oh, how time consuming that is! Yet, I'm looking forward to it.

I was thinking of doubling the recipe to make the cake high. But realizing that my supplies are not yet replenished, I ended up making one and a half batch of the recipe (same measurements written below). I might have made the wrong decision of using a 9" pan, because it yielded only 2 (tall) layers. But I wasn't disappointed with it because it still came out pretty tall.

I told you earlier that I was supposed to use chocolate curls. Turns out I'm too lazy to make those at that time! I scavenged through my refrigerator to look for an alternative, when I stumbled upon a container of two-tone peppermint chocolate bark which I made before. It was perfect! Someone had suggested to use chocolate bark and stick it on my cake like shattered glass. Hey, that idea made my cake look so much fancier! ;)

This cake made my week. My taste testers will usually comment on how grainy and sweet my frosting is and/or how my cake is not that moist, but this one gathered nothing but praises! The summary of their comments was "perfect" and "beautiful cake", and how much I have improved over a year of practice. This keeps me motivated <3

3 3/8 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa
3 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 cup oil
3 tsp vinegar
1 1/2 cup coffee
1 1/2 cup hot water

  1. Preheat oven to 175C degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together, then set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the vanilla, oil, vinegar, coffee, and hot water
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour batter to cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Place in a wire rack to cool for around 10 minutes before leveling cake.   
Makes 2 (tall) layers of 9" cake, or 3 layers of 8" cake
Recipe adapted from iambaker.

Notes and Tips for success:
* This cake won't taste like coffee. It simply accentuates the (chocolate) flavor.
* Use 8" pan for taller layers.

A simple chocolate ganache complements this moist cake! No need to go the extra mile like I did if you have little time :)
I hope you'll get the same praises when you make this cake, too! ;)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

Weeks ago, my aunt gave me a bag of oats and forced asked me to bake something out of it. I immediately thought of making cookies, but I didn't settle easily on what recipe to try. It's like I was waiting for the perfect recipe to show up on my pin board. Then a few days ago, I recalled that I have a jar of peanut butter lying around the cupboard waiting to be used. I searched for a recipe where I can utilize both ingredients... and I'm glad I did!

They liked it SO MUCH because it's similar to the expensive cookies at coffee shops! Who would believe that there's only 7 ingredients in it? And if you'll scroll through my posts, you'll notice that I have a sweet tooth (I'm talking to you, KitKat Cake). This recipe is an exception. I honestly got surprised at first because it's just slightly less sweet than a normal cookie, yet there's only 6 tbsp of sugar in it! You would totally get fooled that there's a cup of sugar in it.

Look at that photo. At first, you wouldn't think there's oatmeal in it. Now look closer. Closer. Yes, zoom it in more. Would you believe that there's no flour in it? YES, it's a gluten-free cookie! Now I don't know about eating healthy (yet), but knowing that it's gluten-free yet tastes like a regular cookie makes the next bite guilt free.

Even the raw batter looks delicious! It looks like toffee candy, right? Don't be tempted to eat it raw, though. Keep in mind that it contains raw egg.

You know what seals the deal? It's a one bowl recipe!

1 pc. large egg
1 cup peanut butter* (room temperature) 
6 tbsp light brown sugar (packed)
2/3 cup oats (I used quick cooking oats)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg.
  2. Fold in the peanut butter and brown sugar.
  3. Add the oats, cinnamon, and baking soda. Still using a rubber spatula, mix slowly until everything is combined.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 175C degrees. Line a baking sheet with silicone mats or parchment paper (both yields the same results).
  7. Scoop 1/2 - 3/4 tablespoon of dough, and drop into the baking sheet. You may opt to roll it a little bit before placing on the sheet, but keep in mind that the dough might be crumbly. If so, slightly squeeze it to avoid pieces from falling off.
  8. Gently press down the balls using the back of a spoon to flatten it a little bit. 
  9. Bake for 10 minutes. 
  10. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 - 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
Makes approx. 30 cookies (depends on Step 7)

Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Tips for success:
* I used chunky peanut butter. The peanuts actually lessens the (already slight) sweetness of the cookie and adds more flavor to it. If you don't like peanuts, use creamy peanut butter.
* Use room temperature peanut butter. You might find it hard to mix in the dry ingredients if it was refrigerated.
* Be gentle when flattening the cookie dough. It might just stick on the spoon if there's too much pressure.
* If the cookie dough is too oily (because of the type of PB you used), blot the flattened cookie dough with a paper towel before placing in the oven.
* Do not skip step 10! The cookies are still baking after removing it from the oven. Removing it immediately makes the cookie crumble.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Cake | Yellow Cake Recipe

Living in a Catholic country, Holy Week is keenly observed. Palm Sunday, Visita Iglesia, Station of the Cross, lighting candles for parades (statues of saints parading in our town), and many more are practiced. The most joyful part, however, is the resurrection of Christ, which is celebrated through Easter.

The way I see it through the internet and foreign TV shows (such reliable sources, eh?), Easter Sunday is celebrated in other countries through Easter egg hunting and is represented by the Easter bunny. While there are some private subdivisions and malls who hold that activity, it's not that famous in my country. I didn't even know what the Easter bunny was until I was around 12! What my family does is to go to mass, then hold our annual family reunion.

Now that I know how to bake, our reunion is sweeter. Our celebration is just fine the way it is, but I get a lil' bit envy with all the pastel colors and treats in other countries on the same occasion. So here, I decided to make a simple yellow cake with lots of pastel colors in it.

Okay, the decorations on the top was supposed to be pastel colored, too. I had these star-shaped sprinkles (or jimmies, as others say it), but I spared it because I plan to use it on other things (needless to say that I felt like I made the wrong decision of sparing those because I could have just bought a new bag on my next cake/cupcake idea). Either way, I feel like it still turned out pretty because of all the lively colors! The yellow cake was a perfect neutralizer for all those colors. And admit it - we all need a basic cake recipe for those time when we want to concentrate on the cake's design. ;) The pastel polka dots is inspired by iambaker's obsession with polka dots. ;)

1/2 cup oil
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar


  1. Preheat oven to 175C.
  2. Mix together oil, egg yolks, water, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add slowly into wet ingredients, and beat until smooth batter forms.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar using an electric mixer. Beat until egg whites are stiff. (You can still achieve this even without a mixer; just be patient with beating the egg whites). Fold the stiff egg whites into the batter.  
  5. Pour the cake batter into a cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool the cake layers before frosting. 
Makes 2 layers of 8" cake.

Recipe adapted from WikiHow.

To achieve the pastel polka-dots, I took two spoonfuls of plain buttercream, placed it on a separate bowl, and added 1 small drop of food coloring. Remember to add one drop at a time and to stir it before adding another drop because we are making pastel colored frosting here. If you made the mistake of adding too much color, add more plain buttercream to lighten it. The colors I chose were pink (but I used a red food coloring), blue, and green. Put it in separate piping bags (or make sure to clean it before adding a new colored frosting), and cut a very small hole on the tip to achieve small dots. To make the dots a little bit bigger, add a little bit more pressure on the bag.

Now that you have a recipe for a simple and easy yellow cake, start getting creative on your cake designs! ;)