Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake (Cheat)

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I went through so much to get this cake to work (none of which should discourage you from making it! You’ll see…)

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So Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I figured I’d find a mini chocolate cake to bake in my heart-shaped cake pan and share that with you guys!

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I found the perfect recipe. I precisely measured out all my ingredients and mixed them together, only to find that the batter had turned into a thick dough instead of a silky cake batter. In my state of despair, I added in a splash of milk to thin the batter, but no luck. I was utterly confused. Everything was perfect…right?

I decided to take a look at the recipe again, reading the first ingredients and – oh. It called for 1/2 cup of flour, but because I’m so used to making full-sized cakes, my mind automatically processed it as 1 1/2 cups. uGH. Unfortunately, I had to discard that batter (after eating a bit of it, of course), and starting over. You can observe this failure here:

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Also, the cake is meant for a 6-inch circle pan, but mine is heart-shaped so it’s smaller. I had a little bit of leftover cake batter, which I made into a cute little bear cake! I was planning on drawing on it’s little eyes and nose and mouth with melted white chocolate, only to find that I don’t have white chocolate at home. Since when is that a thing?? What happened to my emergency stash of 3 white chocolate bars?

And lastly, lighting was not my friend today. I must’ve tried taking photos in at least 6 different locations around the house, hence the inconsistency with backgrounds in these photos.

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Despite all that, the cake itself turned out amazing. Look at how fluffy it rose! It’s so fluffy and has the perfect chocolate flavor to it. If you wish, a chocolate ganache would pair beautifully with it, but a dusting of icing sugar works just fine as well.

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Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Dessert for Two

Makes one 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (37g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon warm coffee
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar or chocolate ganache (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, sour cream or yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, and coffee
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Transfer the batter into a lined and greased 6-inch round cake pan and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  6. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate ganache (optional)

My 17th Birthday Cake (Cheat)

~5-layer midnight cake with cheesecake filling, covered with a generous layer of pink buttercream, glossy chocolate ganache, and topped with whipped cream and Oreos~

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Guess who’s 17 years old!

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I have a love-hate relationship with birthdays. I love everything about them, except the fact that I’m another year older. I prefer other people’s birthdays, with all the celebrations and games and cakes and gift-opening, but without me being consciously aware of my ageing.

It’s weird, isn’t it? The way that day by day, hour by hour, we age, but it’s only once a year for 24 hours that we actually acknowledge it. Then again, acknowledging our constant ageing would take some of the fun out of birthdays.

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I don’t understand why people want to get older. A pessimistic way of putting is is that every year, you’re a year closer to death. You become more likely to get sick. You have more responsibilities. Then again, an optimistic way of seeing is is that every year, you are faced with new opportunities. You’ll graduate and start a new chapter of your life. You might get a job. You might meet “the one”. You might get married. You might have kids. Who knows? In the end, the best way to predict your future is to live it the way you want. Sometime’s it’s just easier to be passive to all that happens around you, so that when things go wrong, you can blame the world and carry on, but wow, that must get boring. The happiest people are those who take control of their lives and steer it the way they want to go. When things go wrong, they acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them, and when things go right, they’re living Heaven on Earth. You pick (hint: I’d go with the second one).

I always seem to get really reflective on my birthday. Is it just me?

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But let’s focus on the real reason you’re here: CAKE!

Another reason why I always get excited about birthdays – cake. This year, I decided to bake myself a 5-layer midnight cake with cheesecake filling, covered with a generous layer of pink buttercream, glossy chocolate ganache, and topped with whipped cream and Oreos. Helll yes.

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To be honest, the cake is pretty much just a chocolate cake with black food colouring added. I used to not like chocolate cake. I thought that it was too rich. I’d always opt for vanilla or red velvet. Chocolate cake just wasn’t my thing, but alas, times have changed. Maybe I’d been deprived of chocolate cake for too long, but this chocolate cake was the bomb. Even before I baked the cake, the cake batter was waving chocolatey scents at me, trying to get me to give in and admit that chocolate cake is one of the best kinds of cake. While I was trimming the cakes, I nibbled on some of the cake crumbs and I was in awe, trying to understand how I had ever disliked chocolate cake. This chocolate cake is velvety. It’s suuper moist and it’s perfectly sweet. It has a wonderful cocoa flavour that isn’t overwhelming, and it pairs beautifully with all the other flavours going on in this cake.

Speaking of other flavours…THE CHEESECAKE FILLING. I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, but cream cheese frostings are magical. Maybe that’s a biased opinion because they’re my favourite, but tbh I’ve never met anyone who dislikes cream cheese frosting. The cheesecake filling tastes pretty much just like cream cheese frosting, but there isn’t as much butter. The butter’s replaced with whipped cream, which is just folded in at the end, so that you end up with filling that’s extra fluffy and light, but definitely is not missing any flavour.

I don’t want to be writing an essay here, so I’m just going to tell you that the buttercream, chocolate ganache, whipping cream, and Oreos are perfect. Simply, utterly, perfect.

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5-Layer Midnight Cake with Cheesecake Filling and Pink Buttercream

Adapted from various sources (linked below)

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 1/4 cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 cup (120 g) “black” unsweetened cocoa powder (or regular cocoa powder with 1 teaspoon black gel food colouring)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature

For the cheesecake filling

  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g freshly whipped cream
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted

For the pink buttercream

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups (500g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink food colouring

For the chocolate ganache

  • 5 ounces (150 g) best-quality dark chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt)
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup or honey

For the whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar, to taste
  • Oreos, for topping

Method

I’ve included generic bad-quality, unedited photos that I took while I was assembling the cake for reference. Let me know if you have any questions!

  1. For the cake, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three lined and greased 8-inch cake pans or weigh for accuracy. Each pan should weigh about 600 grams
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. For the cheesecake filling, use an electric mixer to whip cream cheese, butter, and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Fold in whipped cream until combined
  7. For the pink buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar, vanilla extract, food colouring, and 1 tablespoon of whipping cream and beat until combined
  8. To assemble the cake, trim the cake layers, and then halve them so that each cake becomes two layers.
  9. Place approximately 1/2 tablespoon of the cheesecake filling (or buttercream) on the center of a cake board, and place your bottom cake layer onto the cake board. Add about 1/2-3/4 cup of cheesecake filling onto the top of the cake, and using a small offset spatula, spread the filling so that it covers the top of the cake. It’s okay to let a little bit of filling go over the side. Add the next cake layer and repeat until you’ve reached your final cake layer
  10. Cover the cake with a thin layer of the cheesecake filling (or buttercream), also known as crumb coating it, and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes
  11. Cover the cake in pink buttercream and chill in fridge for at least 15 minutes
  12. In the meantime, make the chocolate ganache. In a small bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in the microwave, about 50 seconds, and stir until smooth. Let cool until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes
  13. For the whipping cream, use a whisk or electric hand mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the powdered sugar. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip
  14. (Assembling, continued) Remove the cake from the fridge and spoon the chocolate glaze to the edges of the cake, gently pushing some over the side and letting it dribble down. When you’ve finished putting chocolate glaze on the edges of the cake, spoon chocolate glaze into the centre until covered
  15. When the chocolate has set slightly, pipe the whipped cream around the edges of the cake and top each swirl with half an Oreo
  16. Serve!

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Cake-Infused Ice Cream (Cheat)

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I’m back!

It’s been like 3 weeks since I’ve posted a recipe. Sorry. I’ve been on vacation and my laptop decided to break (as always). I was in Sri Lanka for a week doing volunteering with turtle conservation, which was amazing beyond words. Watching the little turtles hatch and setting them free into the ocean were both unforgettable experiences. Seriously, if you haven’t already, volunteer for some sort of animal conservation. It’s absolutely incredible. I’m already thinking about what I’ll do next – shark conservation? Panda? Bear? Elephant? All of the above?

Other than that, I also went to the UK to make some final decisions about which universities I’d apply to, and then went to the Netherlands to reunite with my brother.

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In case you were wondering, my laptop still isn’t working, but thankfully, I have my brother’s.

Anyways, on to the recipe! I have so many ice cream recipes to share with you guys. Unfortunately, my brother’s laptop doesn’t have Photoshop and I didn’t edit any photos before I left, soo…we’ll see. But I did have this recipe waiting patiently in my hard drive to be posted, so here it is – cake infused ice cream.

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A while ago, I baked a cake. Two actually. It didn’t go so well. They were in the oven for like an hour. The toothpick came out clean and judging from the outside, they looked like they was baked through. They were mud cakes, too, so pressing the middle wasn’t really an option for testing out whether they were done.

After I let them cool, I cut off the top layers (I was making a layered cake), only to find that the insides were still uncooked. Nevertheless, there was a thick ring of the cake on each one that actually cooked through, so I crumbled them up and sat in my kitchen for a bit, thinking what in the world I would do with the cake crumbs. Mind you – there were lots of crumbs.

I settled for cake pops – obviously. It’s the classic thing to make when you have cake crumbs. I made Supernatural Cake Pops, but in addition to that, I figured I’d make ice cream and put cake crumbs into it.

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I stuck with the easiest possible ice cream base. It’s 2 ingredients and is no-churn! My favourite ice cream base ever. Then, I just tossed in a couple cups of cake crumbs, threw the whole thing into the freezer, and voila! Cake-infused ice cream.

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Cake-Infused Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 14oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cup chocolate cake crumbs

Method

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a regular mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, whip the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form
  2. Gently whip/fold in the condensed milk until fully combined
  3. Gently fold in the cake crumbs
  4. Pour into a container and cover with plastic film/aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 6 hours
  5. Allow to thaw for 10 minutes before serving

Healthy 5-Minute Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake (Clean)

When life throws stress at you, eat chocolate. Chocolate cake. microwave chocolate cake that’s oil-free, gluten-free, and vegan-izeable. Thrown together in just 5 minutes. Eaten straight out of your favorite mug while it’s still steaming hot.

Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part…

It’s healthy, too?!?

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When you’re doing all your stressin’ out, this cake ain’t gonna add any stress. Hell yeaaah.

Just so you guys know, this is a recipe from my free ebook, “Health-ified Chocolate“. In other words, if you take 5 seconds to download it, you’ll get your hands on a whole collection of recipes featuring guilt-free, nutritious chocolate recipes for all situations, whether you need comfort in times of stress, or celebration in times of success.

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Let me explain why this recipe’s so good for you. The type of flour that I chose to use in this mug cake is buckwheat flour. Why? Find out in my ebook. Jk. I’ll tell you:

Buckwheat flour is a great alternative for regular, refined, all-purpose white flour. It is gluten-free, so it can be used in place of wheat flour for those who are gluten intolerant or prefer to eat a gluten-free diet. In addition, it’s a great source of protein for vegetarians, containing a range of 11-14 grams of protein per 100g. They’re great for digestion, and reduce plasma cholesterol, body fat, and cholesterol gallstones. They’re high in B-complex vitamins, especially riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3).

Yup.

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The rest of the ingredients are nutritious, too. Raw cacao powder is full of antioxidants. Coconut sugar, although still a sugar, doesn’t cause the infamous ‘sugar spike’ as regular cane sugar does. Unsweetened applesauce is basically just fruit that replaces any oil. Etcetera.

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Healthy 5-Minute Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake

From my free ebook, Health-ified Chocolate

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

4 tablespoons buckwheat flour

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 small egg (or flax/chia egg)

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 tablespoon soy milk (or milk of choice)

Method

  1. In a medium microwavable mug, mix together the buckwheat flour, raw cacao powder, coconut sugar, and baking powder
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg, applesauce, and milk together
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the mug and stir until fully combined
  4. Microwave on high for 90 seconds
  5. Serve hot with desired toppings (e.g. nana ice cream, berries, and cacao nibs)