November 17, 2017

Friday Flavour: A Mean Mint-Chocolcate Cake

Sometime this time last week, I sauntered to the kitchen and decided that I was going to bake. I wanted to make a chocolate cake and I wanted to give a new recipe a go. I topped that with a generous ladle of urge to make the cake with mean mint. 

OK. I lied.

I didn’t just saunter to the kitchen! I have actually walked into the kitchen with a purpose: To make a birthday cake for an adult and one that’s a little bit more adult in taste and less of the colours of the rainbows. (The rest of what I said above still hold true)

Give or take 1.5 hours, a mean Mint Chocolate (Truffle) Cake was born right out of my kitchen:

Creation from little hands

Oh how I love the aroma of freshly baked chocolate cake!  Let it cool for a little while and then a slab of light, creamy frosting was smothered in between the cake and all around it.

Once that was done, the kids took it upon themselves to decorate the cake. I had to remind them that they are not to use all the sugary rainbow sprinklers (they were about to when they raided my baking drawers) because this cake was for an adult, not for kids. 

They duly complied without any arguments. They were excited that they got to decorate the cake for their Papa who blew the candles off the cake the next day. They did pretty well with the decoration of the cake that was meant for an adult, I must say!

Birthday cake for the birthday man
A slice of minty heaven©

Decorations aside, this chocolate cake recipe is almost fail proof. A little dense (and so should all chocolate cakes be) but turned out to still be quite light (no egg white!),  flavourful and most important: super moist. Silver Bullet should be so happy. 

For the chocolatey taste, I used a mix of Dutch cocoa and half a bar of truffled-chocolate. I used fresh mint leaves with a touch of mint essence for the mint frosting and I used a long strand of dental floss as well.

What were you thinking I would be doing with the floss? To slice the cake into half, of course. Sheesh!  

This is one recipe for keeps:

A Mean Mint-Chocolcate Cake
Serves 10
Exactly as it's described...a super-moist and flavourful mean mint-chocolate cake that could light your fire!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
1 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
1 min
For the chocolate cake
  1. 1 cup self-raising flour
  2. 1 tspn salt
  3. 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Droste Dutch Cocoa)
  4. 55g truffled-flavoured chocolate, chopped up
  5. 15g dark chocolate chips
  6. 1/3 cup boiling water
  7. 227g butter, softened
  8. 1 1/4 cup lightr brown sugar
  9. 5 eggs
For the frosting
  1. 250g mascarpone cheese
  2. 250ml whipping cream
  3. A bunch (about 15-20 pieces) of fresh mint leaves, pureed/blended fine
  4. 1/2 tspn mint extract
  5. Half cup fine sugar
  6. Colouring and decorations of choice
For the cake
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160-165 degree celsius
  2. Grease a circular pan with baking paper
  3. Mix flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Set aside for later.
  4. Pour the boiling water over the chopped chocolate and melt them. The stir the cocoa powder and set aside cool
  5. In a mixer, mix together butter and sugar until it's fluffy. Then add the melted chocolate mixture, chocolate chips and mix well
  6. Add in eggs, one at a time ensuring that each egg is mixed well after every single addition
  7. Slowly mix in the flour and salt mixture.
  8. Stir well
  9. Pour the batter in the pan. Tap a few time to remove bubbles
  10. Bake for 60 minutes or do a toothpick test to make sure it comes out clean.
  11. While the cake is baking, start making the frosting by whisk cream cheese into a mixing bowl
  12. Add sugar, slowly until it becomes creamy
  13. Add in the pureed mint leaves and mint extract. Mix well
  14. Then add in the whipping cream and a few drops of greencolouring. Whisk till it appears light.
  15. Store it in the fridge until it is ready to be used
  16. Once the cake is baked, cool and set aside
  17. Use a long strand of dental floss to slice through the cake tinto two
  18. Lather the frosting on top of one slice (about half an inch thick of cream) then cover the cream with the other slice of cake
  19. Cover the rest of the cake with as much and as thick a frosting as you desire.
  20. Decorate at will!
Notes
  1. Remember not to over-beat the whipping cream or it'll be too lumpy and you'd have to make another batch.
Grubbs n Critters http://grubbsncritters.com/

 

What do you think? How likely would you give this a go? What would you substitute and what other flavours would you make this with?

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November 15, 2017

Crowning The Sleeping Champion

Category: Being Parents

It’s not THAT difficult to get crowned as The Sleeping Champion, mind you. This would be particularly easy to get if you :

  • are a parent of young kids
  • work full-time
  • do the household chores yourself
  • cook, iron and run a volunteer launderette service
  • put in extra time on work after hours to beat the crazy deadlines
  • commute minimally 2 hours one way
  • try to blog with what little time you have
  • amongst other things you do

The dead big-give away to claim the title is when you fall asleep within seconds as you lay down next to your little ones while trying to spend some quality chat time with your wriggly younglings before they drift off to la-la land. 

This is pretty much me on almost every evenings when I put my kids to bed. As we chat away on the happenings of their day, I involuntary doze off. I couldn’t keep my eyes open with toothpicks if I tried.  Sometimes I snore and drool away.  It’s like a power nap; I’ll fall asleep for at least 10 minutes with each kid before I have to walk myself to the other kid’s room.

Spud usually takes much longer to fall asleep. I would ask questions and sometimes she would talk and talk and talk about random stuff that don’t connect. Unwittingly, I fell asleep as she chats away and I would be awaken, startled,  by a child staring right into my face, giggling softly. 

Me napping next to her apparently has been her biggest amusement. She’s mentioned several times that sometimes, she doesn’t want to wake me up as she likes having me sleeping next to her. On condition that I don’t hug her. 

She’s now come to expect that I’ll always fall asleep within minutes. And she lets me be as she likes to hear me breathing. The other night, as expected, I dozed off.

Suddenly I heard a distant giggle. I woke up startled, with my body (involuntarily) jerking. I was still in a daze and there was Spud, lying on her side, her hand supporting her head and looking at me with a happy giggle. 

Spud: Mama, you really can sleep very well!

Me: Hmmmm…I think I can, yes. I do love my sleep. Plus…I’m exhausted. 

Spud: You really are winning at sleeping, Mama! You are a big winner! The best sleeper.

Me: Like a champion?

Spud: Yeah!Sleep Champion! 

With that my friends, was how I was crowned The Sleeping Champion by my 7 year old.

 

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry, but considering that my power-naps bemuse her to the high heavens, I guess I’ll take the honour. Besides,  it’s not easy to get 40 winks that easily these days and getting some winks in between is a feat in itself. 

Now…going back to the toothpick I was talking about earlier, perhaps I just need a different brand next time. 

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November 14, 2017

Elf November is de Dag

If you are reading the title in English, then you might have already crinkled your forehead and wonder why Elf November hasn’t got any pointy ears and what the hell is “dag”.

If you are confused,  I don’t blame you. It does sound like English with bad, bad spelling, but isn’t.  Literally translated, it means:

  • Elf (eleven)
  • November (yes, it’s the same month November like we all know it in English) 
  • Is (yes as in the English word is)
  • de (the)
  • dag (day)

The entire sentence is a part of the many songs kids sing while going their rounds to collect candies during Sint Maarten (or Saint Martin’s) celebrated on the 11th of November. 

Needless to say, this one song has been in my head over and over and over in the last week or so:

Elf november is de dag (11 November is the day)
Dat mijn lichtje, dat mijn lichtje (That my light, that my light)
Elf november is de dag (11 November is the day)
Dat mijn lichtje branden mag (that my light may burn)

And if you read notes, this would be what it sounds like:

Source: Liedjeskist.nl

 

To the uninitiated, Sint Maarten is the Dutch ”Halloween” – all the treats without the tricks. 

There are no scary or funny dress-ups. Instead, the kids and kids only (accompanied by adults if they are younger) would go door-to-door with hand-crafted lanterns in their hands. (I wrote about this last year in this post).

Spud and Squirt, accompanied by their Papa then trolled strolled the neighbourhood; first at their Oma & Opa then followed by our own neighbourhood. I stayed home to listen to kids singing at my doorstep (every 5 minutes for 2 hours) and then offered them their goodie-bag loot nicely wrapped up.

We have pretty sizable kids’ population here. I gave away at least 35 goodie-bags!

Grubs and Critters Goodie-Bags! 

 

Not to be out-done, our 2 critters came back with their loot, with double the amount of candies that would last them for another year. 

All in a day’s work of a typical Dutch kids! Of course we’ve told them them that parent-tax applies.

The kids’ loot in less than 2 hours!
One of the first houses to endure their singing
Kids sing and Papa carried the loot!

 

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November 12, 2017

Sunday Humour: A Riddle

Category: Entertainment

It’s been a while since I’ve been riddling. Here’s one for you:

Credit: Google Image

Sometimes the lame ones are the best to leave you guffawing to the core. What’s your lamest riddle(s) yet?

Let’s start the counter ticking to descending the weekend. See you next week!

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November 11, 2017

Monthly Mystery Munchies #29 with Gen

Sugar and spice and all that’s nice and my dear South African BBF (best-blogging-friend) once again came out strong using the cardinal spice of cinnamon.

She upped the ante and went all out with Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese and Buttermilk Glaze:

Credit: Gen@Eat, Play, Clove

 

Don’t they just look divine! Like me, she looks to baking as a mood enhancer – the process, the prep…everything! She’s perfected the art of baking this cinnamon buns, cautioning that it is  important to note that these portions have to be measured precisely

With buns looking like that, there is no mistaking she has gotten the perfect recipe.  In her words:

And perfect it is! I’ve adjusted the frosting by increasing the portions and adding vanilla, which I am permanently ‘sessing over. I am also obsessed with cinnamon. I’ve had a love affair with it for years. I put it in everything. Like, everything. It goes into my smoothies, I sprinkle it over my All Bran and bananas every morning, I put it in curries and chilli dishes… Any opportunity and I’m down.

Baking is something I haven’t done for quite some time. The price of butter has skyrocked in South Africa. FML. No, seriously, it saddens me. Baking is something that’s an instant mood enhancer, and I’m not just talking about the finished product. In fact, I think I enjoy the actual process and preparation more than the reward that comes out of the oven! Okay, maybe not more, but definitely on par.

If you haven’t check out her recipe yet, go pop over to her Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese and Buttermilk recipe here for some cinnamon-y, cream-cheesy, buttermilky goodness! Even better, please share her page along! 

See you next month for another round of MMM….mmmmmmmmmmmmm….! 

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