Death by Chocolate Cake + World Chocolate Day!

4 years of college. Over and done with.
More on that later…

LET’S HAVE CAKE TO CELEBRATE.

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

It is World Chocolate Day after all. And it’d be rude not to indulge in chocolate (not that I do it everyday? Those last 4 jars of Nutella. Nop. Not me.)

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

This is hands down the best chocolate cake you will ever taste.

It is super easy to make; no fancy equipment, no complicated ingredients needed. Just two bowls and a whisk (a mixer, if you’re me).

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

I went for the naked cake look because my family isn’t too big on frosting. Also, I think naked cakes look prettier.

I used my rusty 6-inch cake pan for a taller cake. And topped it all off with some of these beautiful flowers from the garden.

Some tips to make sure your cake turns out perfect every single time:

  • Make sure the eggs and milk are at room temperature. Makes a world of difference! Trust me

  • DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature) + 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

  • Butter at room temperature for a smooth, cream frosting is a MUST. It should be soft but not too soft that’s its melting and has an oily sheen to it

  • No, sugar crushed in a grinder will not work for the frosting

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

Try this cake for the next birthday party, anniversary, World Chocolate Day — it’s a show-stopper!

Death by Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake
·         1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
·         1 and 3/4 cup granulated sugar
·         3/4 cup cocoa powder
·         1 tsp baking powder
·         2 tsp baking soda
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
·         1/2 cup vegetable oil
·         2 large eggs, at room temperature
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 cup freshly made strong hot coffee2
 
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
·         3-4 cups icing sugar
·         3/4 cup cocoa powder
·         3 Tbsp. heavy cream
·         3-5 Tbsp. whole milk
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
Ganache for the drip
·         1/2 cup  cream
·         1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Fresh flowers for the top

 

Directions:
1.       Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease & flour three 6 inch round cake pans3, and line them with parchment paper.
2.      For the cake: In a bowl, whisk together hot coffee and cocoa till a thick mix forms. Set aside to cool.
3.      Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
4.      In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar till a bit pale in color. Mix in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee cocoa mixture. Mix until combined.
5.      Divide the batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
6.      For the frosting: In a large bowl, sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
7.      In another bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and pale in color. With the speed on low, add in half of the sugar and the cocoa powder. Beat till combined. Then add in the rest of the sugar/cocoa mix. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla, cream and milk tablespoon by tablespoon. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add more icing sugar if too lose or add more milk if too thick.
8.     For the ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer (or microwave till hot). Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Allow ganache to cool and thicken for about 30 minutes.
9.      Assemble the cake: Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a plate. With a palette knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, spread with frosting. Place the third layer on top, plain side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Scrape off the excess frosting for the ‘naked cake’ look I went for. Place cake in the fridge till cool to the touch. Then, pour over the top the chocolate ganache, let it drip round the edges. Top with fresh flowers, and enjoy!
Notes
1.       DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature) + 1 Tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice
2.      I use 1 cup boiling water + 1 tsp instant coffee
3.      You can use two 8-inch or two 9-inch cake pans instead too

 

 

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Father’s Day is just two days away!

I get really ecstatic when such days come near… getting rolled up in their preparations and planning, coaxing my sisters into making beautiful cards and water paintings, getting my brother to go get flowers. Planning the perfect celebratory cake is my part, and obviously, the most fun part.

I had planned out what I’d make for Father’s Day 2016 ages ago!

Something seasonal. Something mango. First attempt. We’ll see how it turns out. You can keep me company and see it being created in all its(hopeful) glory on Snapchat. Follow me @noora559

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

When it comes to baking for my father, fruits are a must. No fancy schmancy, monstrous, chocolate dripping cakes for him. He’s more of a keep it light and simple type of person. His favorite creation of mine so far is this Strawberry and Cream Cake I made in March. Along with the cupcakes I am sharing today!

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

Black Forest Cupcakes is what we surprised our father with last year. He had bought in a box of black cherries and I had leaped at the chance to make something Black Forest.

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

Sharing with you this year because every father deserves to be surprised with a batch of these stunning cupcakes. Just talking about them is making me want to grab some cherries and make them right away!

 

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

The intense chocolate flavor was perfectly balanced by the tart cherry compote and paired with the light and airy whipped cream frosting…they were divine.

You can obviously skip the cherry compote filling, but then they’ll just be plain dark chocolate cupcakes (delicious but not with the magic that is Black Forest).

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

I studded the tops with whole cherries, plucked in a Baba ❤ topper, and voila! Ready to surprise the best man I know and love.

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

They are quick and simple, and a perfect way to use fresh cherries.

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.

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Make these and show your dad how much you love him.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Yields: 15 cupcakes
Ingredients:
CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
1 and ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
8 Tbsp. (113g) unsalted butter, melted1
1 and ¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature2
½ cup hot coffee3
WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING (for the recipe click here)
CHERRY COMPOTE FILLING
3/4 cup fresh cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter and sugar till the sugar dissolves. Add oil and mix well. Now add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for a minute, scraping off the sides. Whisk in the in the buttermilk.
Fold in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients gently till just incorporated. Do not over mix. Add hot coffee to the batter and whisk well again.
Divide it into cupcake pan filled with cupcake liners till ¾ full.
Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool completely before filling.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make your cherry compote by combining the cherries, honey, and the lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 15 minutes until the cherries are soft and much of the liquid has evaporated. It will thicken as it cools.
Using a knife, remove a quarter size piece from the top of the cupcake. Don’t cut in too deep or the filling will ooze out the bottom..
Fill each cupcake with a tablespoon of the cherry filling, then pipe or spread the whipped cream over top.
Top with some whole cherries.
Notes
1.       If using salted butter, then omit the salt in the recipe
2.      DIY Buttermilk: ½ Tbsp. vinegar and enough milk to make ½ cup.
3.      Coffee just help intensify the chocolate flavor. You can sub with plain hot water. I used ¼ tsp instant coffee mixed in ½ cup boiling water.

 

 

 

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes + Cherry Compote + Whipped Cream = YESPLEASE

 

A Red Velvet Murder

All of you witches, elves, goblins, werewolves, zombies and…pumpkins get your Halloween jazz on with this cake because…it’s nearly Halloweeeeen! Favorite day for most of you is JUST THREE days away!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

The classic Red Velvet, that I made earlier this week, has now been murdered, splattering blood all over! *gasps*

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

The two layered moist Red Velvet cake, all covered with a creamy luscious whipped cream cheese frosting is splattered with edible blood to give it that spooky touch.

This blood splattered cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

Make the cake. {A detailed post on how to make this cake can be seen HERE.} Spray on some blood, :3 Then, all there’s left to do is to grab a knife and dig in!

Happy Halloween everyone! 😀

This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering! This blood splattered Red Velvet cake will make for a perfect center piece for your Halloween party, and will have everyone’s taste buds quivering!

A Red Velvet Murder

Ingredients:
Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (RECIPE)
Edible “Blood”:
1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoon corn flour (or corn starch)
1 teaspoon red food coloring
2 drops green food coloring
1 teaspoon honey
Directions:
Prepare and frost cake as directed HERE.
For the blood: combine all the ingredients, and mix well. Adjust water and corn flour according to thickness.
Assembly: Place cake on a piece of parchment paper or newspaper. Dip a toothbrush in the prepared blood and run your finger across the bristles of the brush in order to create a spray effect onto the cake. Flick the brush to create drops of blood.
Stick a knife in and serve.

https://spatulainmypocket.com/2015/10/23/red-velvet-cake-with-whipped-cream-cheese-frosting/

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

 *Please excuse the colors in the pictures. The sun kept coming in and out.

**If you’re wondering why the top of the cake is bare and not that smooth, that’s because it is yet to be dressed! You’ll know why in a couple of days. :3

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

I’ve never really liked Red Velvet.

 Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

The truth is, Red Velvet and I have never really gotten along together. Our relationship has always been rocky. The first time I attempted to make a Red Velvet cake was 4 years ago for Father’s Day. The cake was huge and yummy and definitely velvety in taste, but red? Not so much. It was half maroon and half brown (grrrh).

 Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

The next time, I attempted red velvet cupcakes. This time the cakes were perfect, but the frosting was too runny. So runny that I literally just dunked the cupcakes in it, like a donut being dunked to glaze it. My dream of a thick, lush cream cheesy frosting was still a dream.

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

This one. This time, I can proudly say that this is in fact one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. It is soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess. The crumbly texture along with the smooth creamy frosting makes for one hell of a cake.

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

Need more evidence than just my word? My up-nosed brother, the pickiest eater of all, asked for more cake again and again. AND he liked my frosting! He never compliments my frosting! Or anything for that matter! (The memory of his compliments still makes me giddy).

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

 Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

It was a two layered, 9 inched beauty. It rose majestically, light and airy, and sprinkled the world with fairy dust (not really).

Enough with me being a parrot about my wonderful cake, now for the educational part:

Red Food Coloring:

I used liquid food color. But you can use whatever you can find. I’ve listed a few points here about each of the choices.

Gel food color:

  • Not available in any shops here in Pakistan. Can be bought online, bit pricy though.

  • Gives the best results.

  • Use a whole 1-ounce bottle.

Liquid Food Color:

  • Available in some supermarkets here in Pakistan.

  • Reasonably priced.

  • Results are meh. Doesn’t give that bright of a color.

  • Use an entire bottle to get the right shade of red, around 2-3 Tablespoon.

Powdered Food Color:

  • Available in almost all supermarkets in Pakistan.

  • Very cheap.

  • Least desired result.

  • Can be harmful if used in large quantities.

  • You’ll need around 2 teaspoons for this size of cake.

  • Mix it in the buttermilk before adding into the cake mix.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

For the perfect cream cheese frosting you need to use THIS…brick-style cream cheese:

NOT THIS…cream cheese spread:

BUT, the brick form is rarely available and I have been blessed only twice with it.

So, the cream cheese “spread” can be used instead. BUT (warning) it leads to a very runny frosting which is not pipe-able at all. So you need to adjust the ratios accordingly.

Instead of the classic cream cheese frosting made with butter, I decided to make the much lighter and fluffier whipped cream cheese frosting. I, personally am not a huge fan of tons and tons of frosting slathered on my cake. A thin layer does just fine. You can see in the pictures, the frosting is just enough to hold the two layers together, and to cover the entire thing without any crumbs showing.

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

The whipped cream cheese frosting is very easy to put together and compliments the red velvet purrrfectly. You need to first whip your cream till stiff peaks form. (You know why I love autumn most? Because I can whip my cream. Yayyy. And it doesn’t turn into a gloppy mess.) Peaks form. I’ll be making a lot of whipped cream recipes these few months, making the most of the cold.

Anyhow, whip the cream. In another bowl beat your cream cheese, I used Puck’s cream cheese spread, with icing sugar. Then “gently” fold in the whipped cream. Chill for a bit to firm it up a bit. And voila! You’ve got your heaven of a frosting. It’s smooth, and velvety, not cloyingly sweet like buttercream. It’s light and spreads like a dream.

Butter and Oil:

This recipe does not use a copious amount of oil, because there’s butter in there too. Butter adds flavor. Oil helps keep the cake moist. Yes, you need them both! No substituting or eliminating!

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

And that’s pretty much all you need to know to make the perfect red velvet (and the recipe of course!). Now that you know everything you need to know, you know what you have to do… It’s the perfect weather for baking. Make this, and enjoy with friends and family. Or just yourself, with a nice cuppa tea.

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
·         2 3/4 cups (365g) all-purpose flour
·         1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder
·         1 tsp baking soda
·         1/4 tsp salt
·         2 cups (403g) granulated sugar
·         3/4 cup (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
·         1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
·         3 large eggs
·         2 large egg yolks
·         1 oz liquid red food coloring
·         1 1/3 cups buttermilk1
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 1/2 tsp vinegar
Frosting
·         8 oz cream cheese, softened
·         1 pack, or 1 ½ cup heavy cream
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 cup powdered icing sugar
Directions
For the cake:
·Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease 2 3-inch round baking pans, then line bottom of each with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment, set aside.
In a bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix together. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat together sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Mix in vegetable oil. Blend in eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined after each addition. Mix in egg yolks then red food coloring.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure out buttermilk then whisk in vanilla extract and vinegar. Working in three separate, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture and mixing just until combined after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is incorporated. Divide mixture evenly among two prepared baking pans. Spread into an even layer and bake in preheated oven 26 – 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in cake pan 10 minutes then run knife around edges of cake to loosen and invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Once cool, frost with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting. Store cake in an airtight container in refrigerator.
For the frosting:
In a bowl whip the cream on high till stiff peaks form.
In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream till fully combined. Keep chilled till ready to use.
Notes:
  1. To make homemade buttermilk: Take 1 Tbsp + 1/4 tsp vinegar in a measuring jug. Add enough milk to make 1 1/3 cup. Let it sit for 15 mins at room temperature. Stir and then use.
*If using salted butter, omit salt.
*Cake can be made in 9-inch cake pans too.
*To whip cream, chill the blow and beaters in the freezer an hour before whipping. Also make sure the cream is cold. The colder the cream, the faster it whips.
·
· Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting! Soft and moist; sweet with a hint of tanginess.

GREEN VELVET CUPCAKES

It’s 14th August!

Green Velvet Cupcakes! Festive and patriotic.

Time to bring on the green and white, and what better way to do that than with cupcakes! These super light, “green” cupcakes are topped with a very fluffy “white” vanilla frosting. They are so delicious! And festive!

Green Velvet Cupcakes! Festive and patriotic.

If you’re lying bored and thinking of making a last minute tasty treat this 14th August, then give these Green Velvet Cupcakes a try! They take just minutes to make and are the perfect patriotic treat to enjoy on this fun celebration of our independence and freedom. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate Pakistan than with some green velvet cupcakes?! I know I do! Heck I’d celebrate every day if you let me.

Green Velvet Cupcakes! Festive and patriotic.

The cupcake is your standard red velvet cupcake turned green in spirit of the 69th Independence Day of Pakistan. The frosting is plain vanilla because

  1. I did not have any white chocolate chips on hand to make the classic White Chocolate Frosting that goes with these cupcakes

  2. Neither did I have any luck in my search for Cream Cheese round Islamabad. Hence, no Cream Cheese Frosting either.

So vanilla it is. Whip it well or else it’d be all stodgy and claggy. Yuck!

Green Velvet Cupcakes! Festive and patriotic.

Happy Independence Day Pakistan!  May your day be filled with green and white!

And firecrackers…and fairy lights…and freedom and joy.

Mostly freedom.

And joy.

bh

Green Velvet Cupcakes! Festive and patriotic.

While I’ll be spending my night at a dance practice with friends, what will you be doing? How are you celebrating? Share in the comments below!

Green Velvet Cupcakes

Yields: 25 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

2 ½ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ cup sugar

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup buttermilk1

1 Tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoon liquid green food coloring2

Frosting

½ cup (115 g) butter, softened at room temperature

2 ½ cup icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon milk

Directions:

For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, whisk together all the liquid ingredients; the eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar and the green food coloring.

In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients; the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and the salt. Mix well.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix till just combined.

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tray, 3/4th of the way full.

Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Cool completely before applying frosting.

For the frosting: beat the butter on high till smooth and creamy. Add in the sugar, 1 cup at a time. Beat on slow. When all of the sugar is mixed in, add the milk and the vanilla extract. Beat on high till frosting is smooth and fluffy. Add more milk if stiff.

Notes:

1.       Substitute for buttermilk: 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice + 1 cup milk

2.      Gel food color can also be used (a 1 oz bottle)

Adapted from Love from the oven

Green Velvet Cupcakes! Festive and patriotic.