Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Raspberry Ganache

Last Sunday we went to a friend's family cottage for his birthday/pizza party. They have an awesome wood oven that he built by himself, so we basically just made pizza, ate, drank & hung out near the lake.

The infamous wood oven that my BF would love to have

Coogee, the best dog EVER!

The weather was great. The sun was shining. The breeze was subtle & almost omni-present. And the bugs... well the bugs were hard at work. I've got 6 humongous bites on my neck to show for it and they are each as big as a peanut!!!

Nonetheless, the bugs didn't stop the pizzas from tasting delicious. Right out of the oven, "ooh" "aah" hot on your fingers but you still don't want to stop grabbing.

We topped the pizzas with home-made tomato sauce, sliced bocconcini, prosciutto, pickled eggplants & arugula. Killer combo, I loved it! I basically just kicked back with a glass of red wine & let the men cook. Somehow "men", "smoke" and "fire" just always go so well.

We finished off everything with a birthday cake that I made for him: Chocolate cake with chocolate & fresh raspberry ganache.

Chocolate cake
(adapted from Kraft's Best Ever Chocolate Cake)
  • 1-3/4 cups each: flour and sugar
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. MAGIC Baking Powder
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4 square BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate, melted, cooled
  • 1-1/4 cups brewed coffee
  • 3 eggs

Heat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat all ingredients except the eggs with electric or hand held mixer on medium speed 2 min. Add the eggs and beat an additional 2 minutes. Pour into pans and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans 10 minute, then remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour or so.


  • 300 gr. dark chocolate pellets 65%
  • 300 ml. whipping cream 30%
  • one 6oz box of raspberries, washed and dried with paper towels.
Place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a pot over medium heat for a few minutes, until it starts forming small bubble on the rim. Take off heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir chocolate & cream mixture until well blended. Let cool a few minutes.

Scoop out about 1/4 of the ganache in a smaller bowl. Choose 16 best looking raspberries ans set aside, mash the rest into the small bowl of ganache. Sandwich this between the cake layers.

Crumb coat the cake with some ganache, place in the fridge to harden up, then take cake out and pour the rest of the ganache over the cake. Let drip over the sides and decorate with the pretty raspberries.

The only decent picture I could take of the inside of the cake

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend breakfast

I'm a fan of breakfast food. I can eat breakfast anytime of the day. Although technically, it's a loophole in the system for me, since in Vietnam, breakfast can range from "xôi" (sticky rice) "Phở" (Tonkinese soup) to pan-fried eggs with drizzles of Maggi or "cháo" (rice porridge) with seafood and/or pork.

This passed Saturday morning wasn't a relaxing one for me, so breakfast was just another bowl of cereal & fruits. I ate quickly so I could run around making two different birthday cakes. By the time I had some time to spare, I was still too full, so I made the usual weekend breakfast for just the BF.

No, I didn't make "Phở" nor "xôi", unfortunately. Just a no-fuss prosciutto omelette, with a couple of pinches of black pepper. Along side a few slices of crackly warm baguette & a cup of blueberries & raspberries. Had it not been for the BBQ we were going to, I'd have thrown in some of the 2 year-aged cheddar and a side of pâté for his spreading needs, and he would have been full until supper time, LOL!!!!

This is definitely a no-recipe post, because we obviously all know how to make an omelette, right? I mean, even my dad can do it! (He would always say that he knows how to cook four things: eggs boiled, sunny-side up, over-easy or omelette) I'm hoping it's more of an inspirational post that will trigger fun ideas, in case you were hungry and wanted breakfast food for dinner :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vietnamese G7 cappuccino ice-cream

Although being Asian, I'm definitely still perplexed by wacky Asian product names & packaging. Most of the time, the translation is completely off, or there isn't any at all. The other day, I went to Chinatown to get red bean paste (and glutinous rice flour) for a mochi attempt, and it took me forever to find a bag where the expiration dates are of the future and not the past. Finally, the two types they had, only one had a four-word line of English translation. I had to ask an employee there just to make sure that both bags were essentially the same thing.

So...G7? No, not the meeting of the finance ministers of the seven industrialized countries. G7 as in Trung Nguyen's instant all-in-one coffee mix.

That's an odd name, right? They said it's because each pouch is best mixed with 7 oz of boiling water. But then what does the G stand for? Then there's this hilarious clarification on the website "All G7 products are independently tested for safety and purity by third-party labs in Germany and Malaysia, and its ingredients NEVER come from China". LOL!!!! NEVER!NEVER, u hear?

All confusion aside, 1 thing I'm sure about: Vietnamese coffee kicks ass :) There are also awesome instant ones that are great for dessert. I used to drink Vinacafe, got all my friends hooked on it, only to realize recently that it gives me heartburn :( (ya, my digestive system isn't very impressive)

So ever since I stopped my daily dose of Vinacafe, I started using the mix to make ice cream, and I wasn't even surprised that the ice cream turned out AMAZING! Here is the G7 version I made that was inhaled in 2 days.

G7 Irish cream Cappuccino Ice-cream

Heat the cream & milk together over medium low. Once it's got tiny bubbles forming on the rim, add the G7 mix along with the coffee granules into the milk & cream . Stir constantly to blend. Take the pot off the heat. Chill mixture in the fridge over night.

When ready to rock, stir in the Bailey's or Kahlua and churn in your ice-cream maker.

I served mine over chunks of bananas, chopped almonds and topped with pieces of home-made sugar waffles.