Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dave's Decadent Death By Chocolate Cake

So what makes this cake so special? I mean BESIDES the fact that I made it? Heck, it even uses a standard off-the-shelf cake mix as the Base! What make this special is the add-ons and various wonderful chocolaty "things" you do to this cake.

Like adding a bunch of chocolate drops to the chocolate fudge cake batter before baking. *drool*

There will be pictures, no worries. This is not one of my most photogenic creations, but it ranks waaaaaaaay up there on the taste scale! And the chocolate scale.

What you need:

One box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1/2 cup of chocolate melts -see the first picture

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 bar (375 grams or 12 oz) dark cooking chocolate
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup of cream

You'll also need some sort of oven-like heating device, I'd suggest using an actual oven. Don't forget a cooling rack, and a LONG bread knife.

What you do:

Firstly, you'll want to make the cake mix according to the directions, pour it into a circular baking dish, but DON'T put it in the oven yet. This is the EXACT kind of cake mix you want:

Do you see those chocolate drops to the left in the above picture? You do? Good! Now take about 20 or 30 or them and carefully put them into the batter you've already poured into the baking dish. You want to insert them vertically so they don't float on the top. What happens when the cake is baking the melts don't fully "diffuse" through the cake so that when the cake cools you have a whole bunch of "nuggets" of chocolate throughout the cake!

When the cake is done --ALWAYS test it with a skewer, NEVER trust the time on the directions-- take it out and put it on the cooling rack. Let it cool for hours. You don't want any heat left in it at all.

Once it is completely cooled off, you want to slice the cake in half horizontally. Make sure you use a long, serated bread knife and don't be in a hurry. Remember, you'll encounter pockets of chocolate from the drops you put in the mix.

Now you want to make the chocolate cream! Add the 1 cup heavy whipping cream,1/4 cup raw sugar,1/3 cup cocoa powder to a mixing bowl and whip it up with you electric beaters till it's stiff.

Put 1/3 to 1/2 of the stiff, chocolate cream betwixt the cake layers thusly:
I'm sure you can figure out the process yourselves.

Oh, remember that bit of "icing" that came with the cake mix? Slather it around the sides of the cake, there will not be enough for more than that.

Next you want to slather on the rest of the cream around the top edge of the cake. Don't worry if it doesn't look all "showy" as all you really want is a lip so the sauce (next step) doesn't drain off.

Now put it in the fridge to chill of 30 mins or so.

Is it chilled yet? Good, time to make the chocolate sauce. You may note that this sauce has different amounts of butter and cream in it from my usual ones as I want this to firm up and almost harden upon cooling.

And no, you don't need a double boiler. A small, thick bottomed NON-COATED stainless steel saucepan works perfectly fine.

Add the last 3 ingredients into your saucepan. That'd be
1 bar (375 grams or 12 oz) dark cooking chocolate
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup of cream
and put it on your lowest heat. Whisk everything together whilst everything melts together. This really should only take 3 mins at the most. Once everything is just melted, turn the heat off and continue to whisk for another minute.

Set the saucepan aside for 5 minutes or so till the sauce is partially cooled yet still pour-able.

Take the cake out of the fridge and slowly pour the chocolate sauce over the top. Put it back in the fridge. When the sauce on the top is firmed up (30 to 45 mins), then call it DONE!

Slice it and serve it!


Your taste buds will thank you for making this. Your waistline may not. You've been warned.

As a variation you can make more of the choc sauce and less of the choc cream and use the choc sauce as the layer betwixt the cake halves. I think I'll do that next time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baked Crab Cakes

I wasn't planning on making crab cakes last night. In fact, not for a while till fresh crab prices come down. But someone needs a crabcake recipe that has just a "hint of 'heat'".

That someone being!/cheeriogrrrl

I had to use the fake crab stuff. I'm sorry. I really am.

And I'm also a bit sorry --well, not really-- that this is another recipe with no exact amounts. Why? Cus when I make crab cakes or fish cakes I never measure stuff. The amounts depend really on just how much leftover mashed or baked potato I have leftover and I eyeball the seasoning amount.

But at least this should point you in the general direction! And there are pictures to help you.

And these are baked. That means healthy.

Dave's crab cakes

What you need:

Some leftover mashed or baked potatoes
Volume of crab meat that's about 2/3 of the amount of leftover potatoes
half an onion
minced garlic
dried mint
sea salt
white pepper
olive oil
grated parmesan
cayenne powder

What you do:

Put the large chunks of crab meat, the chopped onion, and a bit of olive oil in a saucepan. Cook on med-high heat for a few mins. Turn off heat, add the minced garlic, give it a good stir.

These pics show the before and after process.

This is before it goes on the heat

This is after 5 mins on the heat with the garlic added, and everything then minced finely.

Now take 6 to 10 capers and chop them up. See, look: capers!

Add to a large bowl the leftover potatoes, the minced crab-onion-garlic, the chopped capers, sea salt, white pepper, dillweed, dried mint. This pic may help you with the relative amounts:

Mixing it all together is the fun part!

Form them into "cakes" around 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter

Since I'm baking these I don't need to dip the cakes into eggwash to get the breading to stick as I would have to if I deep-fried them, so that step can be omitted when baking them.

Time to make the breading. Breadcrumbs, cayenne powder, sea salt and freshly grated parmesan.

Carefully coat the cakes with breadcrumbs and put on a baking tray. Sprinkle whatever leftover breading you have between and over the cakes.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each cake and bake in a hot oven till tops are browned (around 12 minutes or so). Carefully turn them over, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and bake for another 12 mins or so. All ovens are different so keep an eye on them since you don't want the breading to blacken.

For serving them I made a quick parsley sauce and fried some chips (french fries for you US folk). Doesn't this look tasty?

If you have questions about relative amounts or anything else about these just ask away in the comments, no worries mates.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What would you make with...

The other day I came back from the shops with a load of really good, fresh veggies. I had a fair few ideas of what I was going to do with them too.

And then I thought, "Hangabout mate! P'haps some of me tweeterers may wanna give it a go?" So I put the list up on twitter and also mentioned a well stocked pantry plus herb garden, and asked what folks would make!

Unfortunately, I don't have many foodies following my tweets, so only 2 people gave it a go. One was braise some of the veggies then through it all into a quiche. Ummmmmm, not exactly what I had in mind. The other was stuffing the bell peppers with the chilli, put them and the rest of the veggies in a casserole dish, cover with cheese and bake. Not bad. But again, not exactly what I had in mind.

Remember, it's hard to get the meaning through in only 140 characters via twitter!

So how's about we try it here!

You may assume a very very very well stocked pantry and good garden goodies. This means things like garlic greens, wild onions, fresh herbs, potatoes, spuds etc can be used. Pretty much any kind of dried spice, dried herb, or herb mix you can think of can also be used. As far as cheese goes, just make sure you use ones that I've heard of as I usually have 7 to 10 different kinds of cheeses on hand at any one time.

And lastly, let's keep this meat free. Just cuz I feel like it.

And try not to go overboard on the pantry items. Fettuccine with a creamy cheese sauce and a few of the fronds from the fennel bulb sprinkled over the top ain't gonna make the cut! The idea is to see what you would make from this list that features the ingredients, not the accessories.

And here is the list of goodies you get to work with:

Brussel sprouts, red n green n yellow bell peppers, green beans, large fennel bulb w/stalks and fronds, button mushrooms, fresh juicy just-off-the-vine tomatoes, fresh thai chillis, 3 bok choys.

I came up with a dozen dishes I'd make off the top of my head, and then pared it down to 6 simple, tasty ones.

If you feel the need to help your knowledge a bit (cheat) by using cookbooks or the internets then you may, but you'll have to live with your guilty conscience. (I'm just joking of course!)

Obviously, there's no need to go out and get all this stuff, I'm just curious to see what other folks would make. Use the comments, it'd be nice to get into double digit comments so spread the url for this post around!