Flourless Chocolate Cake : Smile!

Smile!
Smile!

Let’s see. Where do I start? There is so much to tell about a friend of mine, which is extraordinary in her own way. A girl I had mentioned quite a number of times in this blog. Y is a girl of exuberance. A girl who has a sweet smile on the face at all times. If I have to sum her up in one word, smile would would be it. She is smiling when she is walking, she is smiling when she is talking and she is even smiling when she is singing. Yes, she is a girl that smiles and brings joy to whoever she is with.

I have known Y more than 10 years ago, our passionate relationship kicks off when we both found ourselves sharing the same love for basketball. Then our friendship was forged deeper when we had the same class at 14, where we formed 1984; where we had tons and tons of laughter, excitement and adventure.

Our friendship was brought to the next level as we both came to the strange world of KL together, looking for more to life after the peaceful years of schooling and good food at the haven we are in. I call it fate that we both end up in the same college and soon end up as room mate, then to condo-cum-studio-mate and till now, housemate and not to forget, also my band mate. She had always been with me in KL, so to me; she is like my family here. I know I will always have someone to look to, to confide in and to share with, in times joy or turbulence.

I wish there is more I can tell about Y, as believe me she is not as simple as that. But somehow it seems impossible to mention everything about her. I can confidently say that she had always been a great friend, who never failed to be there for me when I needed and will always still be there for me even when I don’t need it. Confusing as it may seems, but believe me, she would understand what I mean. Love you Y, and have a great year ahead as a girl with the age-of-double-number. Cheers.

Extremely ChocolateY Chocolate ‘Kou
Adapted from MollyOrangette

Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe
Flourless Chocolate Cake

I made a cake for Y, specifically with all her preferences. I forgot to mention that she is a girl of acquired taste, extremely stubborn (which means if she does not like one thing, she would not ever change her mind bout it, no matter how much you try with all sorts of variation), a bit of a traditionalist and have a strong degree of liking to chocolate (who doesn’t?), and with certain specific no-no. She does not eat anything which is too bitter (thus degrade the idea she is addicted to chocolate, lets just add that she loves sweet things too), or anything with nuts, raisins or just anything round, hard or soft or whatsoever that appears in where she thinks it should not. Basically, she loves her food plain, simple and delicious. Since she has the weakness for chocolate, I decide to go all the way out to make an extremely decadent chocolate cake, which is flourless, and of course devoid of any trace of her no-nos.

I had been attracted to this cake since the day I read it at Orangette but have yet to find the occasion for such indulgence. Now this time, Y is going to be the victim, as the result of the cake is certainly addictive. When Y and my friends bit into it, they moaned with pleasure and I am not exaggerating here. In Y‘s words, she mentioned that the cake does not have the texture like regular cake at all but more to like ‘kou’ (as in kuih, like a marriage between pudding and cake), thus the name I christened it.

I would also recommend to use the best chocolate you can find (for me I would certainly go for bittersweet but since it is for Y, I used Vochelle cooking chocolate instead) and also the best butter, full fat kind, oh and the freshest egg around. I said this was good but I also said it was decadent remember.

200 g best-quality chocolate (bittersweet, unless for someone like Y)
200g full fat butter
220g granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 tbsp all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 180C.
Line an 8-inch round cake pan with foil.
Finely chop the chocolate and melt it with butter in a double boiler or microwave, stirring regularly.
Add sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, beat well and set aside to cool.
Then add in the eggs one at a time, beat well with a wooden spoon at each addition (I like this traditional way, working my arms over the batter).
Add the flour and mix well.
Pour batter into the pan and bake for 25-35 minutes (mine took quite long, I covered the top half way through to avoid burning), until the top is slightly burnt but the middle is still jiggly.
Pull the cake out immediately with the foil and let it cool.
Then slowly peel away the foil, then be strong and store it away into the refrigerator for a at least a day (Molly said its better the day after and I’m not going to compromise this).
Before serving, take it out and decorate as desire to fit for a birthday girl (in my case a huge love to sweet Y).
Then slice thinly to indulge slowly (you have been warned).

Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe
Flourless Chocolate Cake

Low Fat Bread Pudding Recipe : Sweet Goodbye

If you all have been following this blog, you would be familiar with L. Yes, she had been my guest blog a few times, writing about her food adventure in Penang and also her great research on Chee Cheong Fun that had caught so many’s attention. L came up to KL for internship the last 2 months, which started our food whore out there, once I wrote about it, many more in my archives yet to be publish, due to more food eating and enjoying life. It had certainly been fun when she’s up here. We got around quite a bit, pretty adventurous with our food endeavour, sometimes burning holes in our pockets, yet we would still go out and do it again.

Let me give some introduction about L. She had been one of my longest friend, and also a fellow 1984. I’ve known her since 11, and from there we just clicked and our friendship had grown since then till now. We have a lot in common, sharing interests in writing, books, dreams and of course food. It is not a wonder we are so close.

Anyway, we had a mini farewell for her last Tuesday at our new home, with our housemates and a few close friends. She promised to leave a goodbye note here, which I have yet to receive from her, and would update when I do. We had steamboat party, which has the usual array fresh food, and clear soup which would then later be turn to tom yam to finish it off.

When I got home from work (oh, yes I started, it was great), I quickly got to the kitchen to make dessert for the party. Guess what I will be making? It’s bread pudding. This dessert is easy; one can prepare before the party starts, leave it in the fridge and bout 1 hour near to the end, take out the bread pudding and bake it, then serve right out of the oven. This is one time I made something with my ‘own’ recipe, adapting from here and there, and since I am making it specially for L, I am naming it

Low Fat Bread Pudding Recipe
Low Fat Bread Pudding

Farewell Bread Pudding

I had about half a loaf left on apricot and raisins bread that I bought last week for my daily alone breakfasts. After a few days, I got tired of it and chuck it into the fridge. Therefore came the inspiration to use up this bread when the party came. This is actually the Gardenia Toast ’em fruit breads, if you live in Malaysia you’ll know which one, and it can be bought just about anywhere. They are good to eat just like that but I love it especially when toasted, with a good cup of coffee. Now, I found out that making it into this pudding was really good as well. Browsing through various recipes, I encountered most using whip cream, which if you had notice, does not ever appear in my recipes. Not to say I do not like it, maybe it’s the high fat content, maybe it’s the unavailability and also maybe it’s expensive. Therefore I had to adapt and fine alternative. To me, evaporated milk would be good, thick milky taste yet light and slightly creamy. This following recipe is my adaptation from few recipes, which I just go with hunch this time with the milk ratios, since I did not use cream and phew, it turned out great. At first it would seem to wet but trust me, once baked, all the liquid will absorb into the bread, making it pudding like. During baking it would puff up so nicely making one happy, but after cooling, it will shrink down. My heart nearly jump to my throat at the sight, there goes my dessert, as it also looked really burnt on the top and sides. There is no turning back for me as everyone at the steamboat table is waiting. There you have it, the adrenaline rush of a first try, serving to a bunch of people. Despite the hard look, once you spoon on it, it is actually soft inside, while crusty on the outside. The sugar topping gives it a deeper taste, some guessed it was gula Melaka, and with some hint of cinnamon. No one guessed the presence of alcohol, but I’m sure that is where the complex flavour came from. My first try and all my guests are happy about dessert, though it took some initial coaxing to try, as all of them have never tried bread pudding before. One of them even expected a flan instead. Well, a nearly empty dessert bowl signifies success I guess.

8 slices day old bread
3 tbsp butter melted
3 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup low fat milk
4 tbsp of sugar
½ rsp vanilla essence
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins (I used a little lesser because my bread came with raisins)
4 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp fine jaggery powder (or fine brown sugar or palm sugar)

Soak the raisins in the brandy for at bout 30 minutes
Melt butter in microwave, or on the stove
Use a spoon and slowly swirl and coat all the bread slices with butter
Trim off the sides if the bread (not necessary white clean, a little crusts would give a crunch)
Then cut it into about 8 triangles each slice, I did not care bout getting it really uniform, just about the same size
Reserve triangles from two side slices of bread to one side
Then line the bread triangles in two rows, slightly overlapping one another in a glass oven proof dish (I used an oval dish about 12 cm width, 5 cm thick, just use one big enough to accommodate all the bread and some room for puffing up)
Cream together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until bubbly
Then pour in the raisins and all the liquid and mix well
Slowly, pour this custard mixture onto the bread slices
Take the reserve bread slices and chuck it in at all the sides, with the crusts facing outwards, lining next to each other
Put the dish into the refrigerator and let it soak for about an hour
Preheat the oven to 180 C
Take the dish out and then sprinkle the jaggery powder all over the bread top
Bake the bread for 45 minutes

Serves 8-10 party people

1984: Birthday 2

I have talked about my good friends 1984 before, and about me making a pact to bake a cake for each and everyone of them this year for their birthday. A customized and personal cake for each of them. The second eldest in the group had her birthday in March, and again, due to all our busy schedules, we had a late celebration.

This birthday girl E, is practically the chatterbox of the group. She chatters about her daily life to us without fail, since eons ago, and she is the only one I know about her life inside out. She would be the one relating stories to each and everyone who is absent from our gatherings, filling in on all the details which I myself might have even overlooked or forgot even if I’m present. She is truly the heart of our 1984 channel of communication.

Well, to be honest, 1984 was not the same as it was before when we were young and carefree in our schooldays, where our only main concern was what to eat in ‘rehat’ (recess). But now, each and every one of us had grown in our own way, lead our own lives and hold to our own principles. Though we may not ever be the same crazy bunch anymore, but somehow our bond is still there. Somehow, somewhere inside us, a part of it is made up of 1984. I know, that no matter what happens in the future, I will always remember that I am who I am today, because a part of me inside is mold and made by them, my beloved 1984s.

Alright, lets get on with the cake! I got to stick to my foodblog theme after all. As for E, she did not make any specific request; she said ‘anything’, one of her favourite phrase. But after drilling her, I found she did not want cheese, no fruits, no nuts, maybe raisins and no coffee. Well, she certainly floored me. I was busy yesterday, due to an extended interview of another fellow 1984 that I took her to, thus leaving me little time to go out and get some crucial ingredients on a cake I initially intended to make. Therefore, I decided to change, flipped through my home baking recipe book and choose the recipe that I happen to have all the ingredients. I did go down to the mini market in my condominium to get the milk and eggs though, easily obtainable.

Caramel Layer Cake

The result of the cake was not really satisfactory. The recipe picture showed a slowly brown coloured cake, which I did not obtain, as I used red sugar (jaggery) instead of brown sugar (that’s what I have in my pantry). Therefore, the resulting cake looked deceivingly like chocolate cake, which J pointed out. The cake texture was not bad, soft and fluffy, but taste wise it was pretty bland, and the caramel coating was not at its best. I guess I made a mistake, taking for granted as one stage in the method requires boiling the mixture to 119C (soft ball stage which I don’t know what the heck is about) on a sugar thermometer (which I do not have). I have yet to make candy and now I know it is pretty impossible without the equipment. Nevertheless, a nice 1984 said yum, and the rest gobbled it without a word, heh, but my dear J tactfully said it’s not one of my best. But oh well, at least I tried a new recipe. Not for keepers and I’m not gonna share it here due to unsatisfactory rating from me. In fact, it is exactly the type of cake I would not buy from the bakery. Here’s the deceiving looking cake (pardon the spur of the moment decoration with icing):

Caramel Layer Cake
Caramel Layer Cake

1984

Since I had ventured into my culinary skills, I had been enjoying making a lot of food, baking and cooking. It is therapeutic in some way to me. I love it especially when I can make food for my loved ones to enjoy. I love the feeling that I felt when I see them enjoying what I had made. I love it even more when they appreciate it; they pat me on the back and praise me (although it might not have been that good). It is just the sense of euphoria, exaggerate I might seem, but I’m not.

Therefore, I came up with an ingenious plan to extend out my love to my dearest oldest longest group of friends that I have. I made a pact to bake each of them a cake for their birthday this year. It might seem like nothing, but the fact that my group of friends consists of 10 people and of high tastes I might say, seem pretty daunting. But nevertheless, it will certainly be a joy to me to make and customize a special and unique cake for each of them.

We called ourselves the 1984, which is the year we were born in. The name was stuck with us since high school and it never seems to fade away. We always say 1984 this, 1984 that, 1984 always, 1984 spirit and 1984 bond, you get the idea. They had been with me through thick and thin since 8 years ago, some even longer, and the stories about them could fill a book, a thick one for that matter. I would write about them if ever I have the time.

Well a friend S just had her birthday in January during Chinese New Year. The time was packed but I managed to make a cake for her, at my nanny’s place. I’ve been lucky to have her kitchen to use, as my Taiping house’s kitchen is such a sad place, you could not even find salt there! Cooking at my nanny had been really eye opening, more about that next time.

I had asked S before hand what type of cake she would want and her reply was really creative and challenging, she said “Colorful”. Wow, a great theme, it got me thinking. I consulted some of the other 1984s, and a friend inspired me. Finally, I made a simple chocolate cake with dark gooey chocolate frosting; and where are the colors you might ask? Well, take a look!

Colourful Chocolate Cake
Colourful Chocolate Cake