Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fruity Spring Rolls (with Chocolate Ginger Sauce)

If there is one recipe I would recommend you to make out of all the recipes I have posted so far, this is it! Me and my mum enjoyed these fruity spring rolls so much they were gone within mere minutes!
A spin on classic Asian savory spring rolls, the idea of fruity spring rolls served as a dessert seemed almost ingenious to me. I came across a number of recipes for fruity spring rolls online, but most seemed to use rice paper instead of filo pastry, which is what I decided to use. I also wanted to keep within the theme of Asian influenced flavours so I decided on mango, banana and coconut as the filling - ingredients commonly used in Thai desserts. And what are spring rolls without the dipping sauce? This rich chocolate coconut sauce infused with ginger is a must with fruity spring rolls!
Hot and crispy on the outside, the mango and banana fruit inside is deliciously warm and soft once bitten into. The sweetened shredded coconut lends a delightful but subtle nutty flavor to the fruit. Despite being a fried dessert, these are actually really light and barely sweet when eaten on their own, which makes the chocolate ginger sauce perfect for dipping into generously.
Its seriously so easy to make these fruity spring rolls, I can't think of anything more different and impressive to serve at a dinner party. In fact I'm not sure what else to say except you'll have to make them and see how good they are!

Fruity Spring Rolls

Makes 10 spring rolls

For the sauce
1 & half cup coconut milk
5 tblspns brown sugar
2 tspns ginger powder
Half cup dark chocolate, chopped

For the spring rolls
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
10 squares spring roll/filo pastry
1 small banana
1 small mango
Half cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 egg, beaten

Boil the coconut milk, sugar and ginger in a small saucepan. Take off the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside. 
Cut the banana in half lengthwise and then  twice again cross-wise to get thin and long strips. Cut the mango into strips the same size as the banana. Place one square of the pastry in a diamond shape in front of you. Put one piece of banana in the centre of the pastry, followed by two pieces of mango. Sprinkle one teaspoon of the shredded coconut over the top of the fruit. Roll up the pastry, folding up the sides when near the end and brush with egg to seal the sides and edge. Repeat to make the rest of the spring rolls.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Deep-fry the spring rolls until crispy and golden brown. Serve hot with the chocolate ginger sauce.

This post was added to the Mouthwatering Monday's, Two Cup Tuesdays', Totally Tasty Tuesdays', Memories By The Mile, Wednesdays Whatsits,The 36th AvenueSugar & Spice, Make Bake Create and Salt Tree Social link parties. Click to see more lovely recipes!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chocolate Glazed Baked Doughnuts and World Baking Day

Today is World Baking Day. Really could you have any other excuse to bake?! So to celebrate I made these Chocolate Glazed Baked Doughnuts!

I had never tried a baked doughnut previously, but these are a very pleasant alternative. Ok, so I also have never tried making my own fried doughnuts before, but I do love my Krispy Kreme's. To me nothing can beat a original glazed KK, or a custard filled chocolate-glazed for when I'm feeling indulgent.

Although baked doughnuts don't have the same texture and taste of a warm fried doughnut, they are still delightful in their own way, not to mention healthier. Still, I halved the measurements of the original recipe, because with all the baking that goes on in our house nowadays, I hate to see anything go to waste. As I mentioned before, we aren't really a sweet-tooth family on the whole. I'm really the only one with a massive sweet-tooth. But that is another story!

Back to the doughnuts, these are topped with a chocolate glaze and a helping of sugar sprinkles, to look just like a classically decorated doughnut. The batter is quick and easy to prepare, sort of like preparing a pancake batter. If you don't have a doughnut/doughnut hole pan, you can use any baking pan with round moulds. I used the same one as for my mini baklava cups.
Light, moist and airy, chocolate glazed baked doughnuts are still going to satisfy that fried doughnut craving for when you can't pop out to your nearest Krispy Kreme's or Dunkin' Donuts.

On a separate note, I have a Facebook page! Do join for regular post updates, and follow my Twitter and Instagram (@beelabakes) too if you like!

Happy World Baking Day :)

Chocolate Glazed Baked Doughnuts

Doughnut recipe adapted from a recipe by The Washington Post, which is adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten

Makes 14 mini round doughnuts or 7 large

Doughnut pan or small round moulded pan
Oil, for brushing pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tspn baking powder
Half tspn cinnamon powder
Pinch of nutmeg powder
Pinch of salt
Half a large egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 tblspn butter, melted
1 tspn vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Brush doughnut pan with oil, then sieve a little flour all over pan. In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and mix in the sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, without over-mixing. Pour batter into the moulds of doughnut pan, until the moulds are only half full. You do not want to fill them too much as they will rise when baking. Bake for about 15 minutes, until doughnuts are puffed and golden, using a toothpick to test for doneness. Leave to cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

For the chocolate glaze:

1 cup single cream
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped (about 100g)

While doughnuts are cooling, make the glaze by heating single cream in a pan, until the cream starts to boil. Put off the heat and add the chocolate to the cream straight away. Stir well until all the chocolate has melted and the glaze is smooth. Dip doughnuts individually into the glaze and serve warm.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to make Cake Pops

The first time I made cake pops was last year in my little Zanzibar kitchen, and it was very messy. Lots of broken little balls that left crumbs everywhere and fell off into melted dipping chocolate. Frustrating and time consuming!
But all it took was just one bite of a finished cake pop and I was in cake heaven. There was something so delicious about biting into chocolate, that revealed soft, sweet, moist, cakey goodness.
If you've never tried one, biting into a cake pop is something quite unlike the taste of any type of cake or chocolate you will have had before!
What exactly is a cake pop, you ask? The idea behind cake pops is pretty simple. You use a ready baked cake and completely break it into crumbs, before adding icing/frosting and binding the mixture into balls. Then these balls are dipped into melted chocolate, left to harden, and hey presto you have little chocolate cake balls!
If you're making cake pops from scratch though, its going to take you quite a while. That's why you're probably better off using a cake-mix box or using left over cake trimmings from a cake you have already made. Obviously if you use a whole cake you are going to have enough cake for a lottt of cake pops.

Why was my first time making them so messy? When making cake pops you have to be sure that you mix enough frosting into the cake crumbs to be able to form balls, but you also don't want to add too little or too much otherwise you will have cake pops that break easily. Infact don't add to much frosting at all, otherwise you will end up with super sweet cake pops. Dipping them into the melted chocolate can be tricky and this is where they usually break apart. Basically what happened with me!
So now I've learnt the best thing to do is to pop the cake pops (pardon the pun..!) into the fridge for about ten minutes to set before dipping them in chocolate. As long as you are gentle handling them you shouldn't have too many problems.

In these pictures, I used the cake scraps which I had cut off my rose cake to make my cake layers the same level. Then all I had to do was use a little of the leftover white chocolate frosting and mix it into the crumbs. To keep with the white chocolate rose cake theme I dipped my cake balls into white chocolate, and added sprinkles for decoration. This made me about ten cake pops which was just enough for me!
Of course you can make any kind of cake pops you like, using any kind of cake - simple yellow cake, chocolate, red velvet. Add a little food colour to white chocolate, or use candy melts and they can be made into any colour cake pops you fancy too.

You have probably also seen cake pops mostly served on cocktail or lollipop sticks. I'm not too much a fan of this simply because its difficult to find something to stand the cake pops in and plus I think they look much cuter sitting in tiny cupcake liners! But again, the decision is totally up to you. I also haven't added any exact measurements in the directions below, as it really depends on how much cake mix you use.
So the first time you make cake pops might be a bit of trial and error, but in the end, when it all comes together, I'm pretty sure that one perfectly ready cake pop will be the only thing coming between you and making them again!

How to make Cake Pops
Baking tray
Cake scraps, or any kind of cake pieces, whole cake
Ready-made icing/frosting, small amount
Chocolate, for melting
Sweets/sprinkles, for decoration if desired
In a bowl, break cake into pieces using your hands and then crumble until it resembles fine crumbs. Add in frosting a little at a time until the cake is moist and is easy to roll into a golf ball size ball, yet still slightly crumbly. Place balls on baking tray and repeat process until all your cake mixture has been used. Place the tray in the fridge for about ten minutes to let the cake balls firm up. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate in the microwave, or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove the balls from the fridge, and dip each one in the melted chocolate, using a spoon to help you cover the ball completely. Place back on the tray, and once all or some of the balls have been dipped, decorate with sprinkles quickly before the chocolate sets. Put back in the fridge for ten minutes or until chocolate has hardened. Place cake pops individually in small cupcake liners before serving.

This post was added to the Mouthwatering Monday's link party. Click to see more lovely recipes!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rose Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

I have to admit for a self-proclaimed lover of baking, I haven't actually made many cakes in my life. There was the amazingly delicious red velvet cake I made for my one year wedding anniversary last year, which was eaten graciously over the course of a week, the carrot cake I made for my hubby's birthday, and the chocolate cake I made for my mother-in-laws birthday which I was very proud of. Beyond that I don't remember making anything much other than a Victoria sponge. Cupcakes, biscuits, puddings, cookies - these have always been my go-to baking treats in the kitchen.

With half of the family out of town, and only the men at home (husband, dad and granddad), it seemed like the perfect time to tackle the intricacies of compiling and frosting a two-tiered cake. I say that, though this is only a small cake. We all have to start somewhere, right? 
But now this rose cake with white chocolate frosting can be added to that cake list, and I can safely say my cake-making repertoire is slowly increasing (at least in my own kitchen world).

On a serious note, this is a seriously good cake. Light, spongy, and beautifully flavoured with aromatic rose, not only is the actual cake so good, but the creamy white chocolate frosting goes so perfectly well. If you've been following my posts, you'll know how much I love a good dessert pairing, and yes rose and white chocolate is another pairing I have to champion! It's one of those cakes that will make you think 'How did I not make this before?!' And want to make it again.

If you'd prefer a larger family friendly cake, I would double the measurements in this recipe. You could also tint the cake lightly with some pink food colouring for more visual appeal.

So whether you're quite the pro at making cakes, or still a novice like me, have a go at this rose cake with white chocolate frosting. I think it would be perfect for a celebrating a mother or sisters birthday, complete with a cute tea-cup and plate set!
In the meantime, keep your eyes open for a post I will be doing on how to make cake pops using leftover cake!

Rose Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Makes a two-tier, 7" diameter cake

2 mini cake tins

6 tblspns butter or margarine
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tblspn rose water
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
4 tblspns milk
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and line your mini cake tins with parchment paper. Cream together the butter and sugar till well combined. Add the two eggs and stir well to make a lump-free consistency. Add the rose water. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture, and then add the milk. Mix really well to form a smooth batter. Pour half the batter into one cake tin, the rest into the other tin. They should be about 2/3 full. Put into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, checking with a toothpick to see if it is done. The cakes should be nice and springy when ready. Leave to cool before assembling.
For the frosting
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
2 tablespoons melted white chocolate
White chocolate, grated for decorating
Mix all the ingredients together, except for the grated white chocolate, until well combined. If the consistency is too runny add more icing sugar. Spread between your two cake layers and sandwich together, then spread and cover all around the cake with remaining frosting. Top with grated white chocolate.

This recipe has been added to the following link parties: Simply Create Thursday's, Thursday's Treasures, Sweet Tooth Tuesdays

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Coconut Cardamom Cupcakes

Sometimes you just want to enjoy a simple cake, with a hint of flavor, that you can have with your cup of tea and not feel like you've over-indulged! Coconut cardamom cupcakes are those kind of cakes.
This recipe is my interpretation of the classic East African dessert combination. Although our origins are Indian, my family is from East Africa (Tanzania and Zanzibar), and I've grown up eating all kinds of Swahili dishes. Swahili food has become as much a part of our culture as eating 'Indian' food has. In fact the two are arguably inter-linked, as the East African coast itself as a trading hub for centuries, is full of Indian, Arab and Persian influences, to name but a few. Add to that the fact that Zanzibar is the renown 'Spice Island', and you have a plethora of flavorful dishes known for their seasonings and aroma.
Coconut is used extensively in most dishes, and when combined with cardamom it is used in sweet foods such as breads or cakes. Mandazi is a popular type of fried coconut bread which brilliantly highlights this pairing. Other foods include kashata (pretty much like coconut ice but with cardamom) and rice cakes.
So now you've had the history lesson we can get onto the cupcakes.
These coconut cardamom cupcakes are moist, light, tender with just the right amount of cardamom for aromatic goodness, and shredded coconut for a nutty bite.
As cardamom is a very fragrant spice, its best to use whole cardamom pods for freshness. Split the pods and then crush the seeds using a pestle and mortar until fine and powdery.
I finished by topping my cupcakes with a spoonful of runny icing and more shredded coconut. A simple cupcake with less of the richness of frosted cupcakes yes, yet still completely moreish.

Clearly these cupcakes were of some interest, as I even had a little beaked visitor come to see what the fuss was while I was taking my photos.
If you ever get the chance to visit East Africa, especially the coast, please do go. Its a region rich in history and the food doesn't disappoint either. In the meantime, these cupcakes can give you a small window into what there might be to offer... 
Coconut Cardamom Cupcakes

Makes 9

Half cup (90g) soft butter
Half cup (110g) caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tblspn sweetened shredded coconut
5 cardamom pods, crushed
4 tbslpn milk
Half cup icing sugar
3 tblspn water

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg mixing well. Slowly sift the flour into the mixture incorporating well and add the crushed cardamom along with the shredded coconut. Finally add the milk. Divide equally into cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes.  While the cupcakes are left to cool, mix together the icing sugar with the water, to make a thick gloopy consistency. Spoon onto cupcakes and leave to set.
© Beela Bakes | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig