Weekend Cooking: Chocolate raspberry cake with strawberry frosting

A long overdue post from March!

I finally found a chocolate layer cake recipe that is perfect for birthday cakes. It’s not too rich, not too dense, has a great chocolatey flavour and is so simple to put together.

I’ve been making cakes for a while now and while we love chocolate cakes, making a layer cake with chocolate takes more than just any chocolate cake recipe. I made a birthday cake for my dad last year when he visited from Singapore. That cake was so rich that three layers was just too much.

I’ve also made Black Forest cake for the past few years for my husband’s birthday and somehow while the cake texture is perfectly light and fluffy, for me the chocolate taste wasn’t quite there.

So when I tried this recipe from King Arthur Flour I was surprised by its simplicity, lightness and flavour. It’s perfect for a chocolate layer cake and I will definitely be making it again. I only used the cake recipe from there, as the birthday boy specifically asked for strawberry frosting.

As for the strawberry frosting, I used this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction last year when I made a similar cake but found it way too sweet – I did reduce the sugar but not by enough.

This time I went with 1.5 cups of softened butter, 1 cup of freeze-dried strawberries and just over 2 cups of icing sugar (about half what the recipe calls for). I also added more salt. And it was perfect.

And the birthday boy was thrilled!

weekendcooking

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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Read in June 2018

A Girl on the Shore -Inio Asano
A beautiful exploration of a teenage romance in a sleepy Japanese town.

 

Serpentine – Cindy Pon

Loved this one and its story of friendship

Amberlough – Lara Elena Donnelly

Spies! Double agent! Burlesque! Intrigue! Betrayal!

Dear Committee Members – Julie Schumacher

Kinda funny. Perhaps would be more funny if I worked in academia?

A Tale for the Time being – Ruth Ozeki

Just gorgeous.

 

Annihilation – Jeff Vadermeer

Ok this was rather creepy and a very weird “I want to know what’s going on, wait, maybe I don’t” kind of feeling throughout.

Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Hopefully I’ll finally post that draft review soon!

Stepford Wives – Ira Levin


The Impostor Syndrome – Mishell Baker

Last book (I think?) in this urban fantasy series and it was a blast.


We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo


Ill Will – Dan Chaon
Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

Graceling – Kristin Cashore

A reread and I really loved it the second time around.

Shade: The Changing Girl Vol 1 – Cecil Castellucci

A strange and colourful story about a creature from another planet taking over a girl’s body

The Prince and the Dressmaker – Jen Wang

Oh I adored this one! It’s just such a fun story and beautiful illustrations. Read it! Read it!

It’s Monday

 

The in-laws left for Singapore last night and so the weekend was spent doing some more outlet shopping – because that’s what people from Singapore do when they’re in the US. And more eating. It was an especially hot weekend so I’m just glad that it started cooling down again on Sunday evening. The skies are rather hazy this morning though because of the fires further north.

Currently…

Reading:

Karen Memory – Elizabeth Bear

Watching:

The new season of Queer Eye. Also, more Terrace House, this time the season set in Hawaii. It’s so very different!

Listening:

Behemoth – Scott Westerfeld, read by Alan Cumming

Eating:

Kaya toast – toast with coconut jam

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold

Cooking:

Tonight is all about the leftovers. But I do have to cook up the yellow cauliflower and some cabbage I had from last week. So maybe some grilled chicken and cauliflower.

Last week:

I read:

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
Graceling – Kristin Cashore
Shade: The Changing Girl Vol 1 – Cecil Castellucci
The Prince and the Dressmaker – Jen Wang

I posted:

Weekend Cooking: A very light banana cake

I somehow finished reading 3 books yesterday

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Weekend Cooking: A very light banana cake

I always have bananas in my freezer as I buy bananas from Costco which come in a big bunch of at least 7-8 large bananas, and too often they seem to ripen at about the same time. They seem to go from green to almost yellow-green to yellow with brown spots all too soon. And I am no fan of ripe bananas. So into the freezer they go.

Usually I’m quite happy to make banana bread but somehow during the last round of banana bread I got tired of eating it really quickly. It just felt so heavy and stodgy. I wanted something that was a lot lighter, more of a cake than a bread. And somehow online I came across this cake recipe that read almost like it was heading a little towards a chiffon cake, something that would be light and different, with whipped egg whites and gula melaka (palm sugar). I reckon that if you can’t find palm sugar (usually at Asian supermarkets) you could use brown sugar, maybe with a bit of molasses to add a depth of flavour. I’ve adapted this recipe to include a step I learnt from Cook’s Illustrated’s Best Banana Bread Recipe, adding a sort of banana essence, made from the reduced liquid from thawed bananas. If you are not using frozen bananas, you can microwave your fresh bananas for a few minutes until soft and some liquid is released. It may be an extra step but it really adds such extra banana flavour to your cake!

Light banana cake

150g cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 large bananas – about 250g

(I use frozen bananas. Thaw them, sieve the liquid that inevitably remains, and heat the liquid on the stove, reduce it down to at least half and you get the most banana-y liquid ever. Almost like an essence)

100ml gula melaka syrup

100g vegetable or coconut oil

5 yolks

1/2 salt

5 whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

75g caster sugar

Line a 7″ square pan. Preheat oven to 350F.

Mash banana and add oil, egg yolks, salt, gula melaka syrup, mix the ingredients.

Add the baking powder and baking soda to the flour and sift this into the banana mixture and mix until well combined. Do not over-mix. Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the egg white until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar. Continue beating on medium speed while gradually adding the caster sugar. Beat until you get firm peaks.

Gently fold the meringue into the flour mixture in 2 to 3 portions.

Pour into the baking tin. Drop the pan on the counter to get rid of big bubbles.

Place in a water bath and bake for 80 minutes at 350. Cover the top with foil if it is browning too fast.

Cool on a wire rack

Adapted from https://jeannietay.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/banana-gula-melaka-sponge-cake/

I somehow finished reading 3 books yesterday

And thought I probably should write about it.

I don’t mean that I started and finished three books in one day. Instead these were books I had been reading for a while.

One was an audiobook actually, a rather delightful one read by actor Alan Cumming whose narration was just perfect. It was a tale of an alternate history, a world of hydrogen beasts, strafing hawks, and clankers. I loved all the strange and wonderful ideas that Westerfeld came up with. How an airship is actually a whale of sorts, a Darwinist fabricated beast that belongs to the British military. And on the German side, the machinery is far more mechanical, with for eg Stormwalkers, which in my mind was like an AT-ST (those two-legged transport vehicles in Star Wars). I especially loved when Cumming voiced Dr Barlow, the woman scientist on board the airship. I somehow imagine him drawing himself up and tossing his hair back every time he voices her.

One was a book that had been sitting on my shelves for too long. A book that was really hard to read yet I couldn’t make myself stop reading. It was full of unreliable narrators and it was such an uncomfortable read. And that is where I have to admire Chaon. He made it so uncomfortable a read yet it was a book that I couldn’t stop reading. It wasn’t something I could read and read and read. I had to stop and put it aside but I kept going back to it. Until it was done. And I reckon that’s the mark of an excellent writer.

And last, a book from the library, another book that wasn’t easy to read. It starts off with a group of young children with such amazing names like Darling and Godknows living in Zimbabwe, trying to stave off hunger by stealing guavas from the richer neighbourhoods. One of their friends, a ten-year-old is pregnant. It’s a crappy existence but they have each other. Darling soon finds an escape – she has relatives in America. But the promised land isn’t as promised as she expects. Bulawayo writes about childhood, impoverished as it may be, so well. And her insights about being an immigrant in America are difficult to read but ring true. A bold and brave debut.

It’s Monday and I’ve been reading the Stepford Wives

Made this light banana cake. And I’m writing a post about it!

Blooming Dahlias!

Pakistani food

Currently…

Reading:

Ill Will – Dan Chaon

We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo

Watching:

More Terrace House!

Listening:

Eating:

Grilled cheese for breakfast. Also rainier cherries. My in-laws bought ten pounds at the farmers market!

Drinking:

Yorkshire gold with milk

Cooking:

I bought some lovely yellow cauliflower and romanesco broccoli at the farmers market so definitely will roast that.

Browsing:

The Center for Fiction’s 2018 First Novel Prize

This beautiful Seagrass Summer Cardi crochet pattern 

Added to my TBR: The Summer of Jordi Perez 

The Perfect Mother

When I Hit You

Last week:

I read:

Heartless – Marissa Meyer
Stepford Wives – Ira Levin
The Impostor Syndrome – Mishell Baker

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Tuesday (oops)

It’s the first official week of summer break. The elementary schools here let out last Wednesday and we had a class party in a nearby park to celebrate. Other than that we’ve been relaxing and hanging out at home.

On Saturday, we drove down to Santana Row in San Jose to have lunch at EMC Seafood, a modern Asian-fusion kind of seafood place. Their uni pasta is amazing, and even my father-in-law who usually doesn’t eat pasta enjoyed it. But the star of the show was the seafood tower, which had scallops, oysters, mussels, prawns, sashimi, uni, crab and a whole lobster.

When in Santana Row, one also has to wander into the Amazon bookstore. But one bookstore wasn’t enough for us and we also went to the Barnes and Noble in San Jose. We sadly don’t have a proper bookstore in our city now – although when we first moved there, there was a big Borders (RIP) and a B&N which apparently had a dispute with the landlord and left and is now a supermarket.

Then on Sunday, a barbecue at home.

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

Terrace House: Opening New Doors on Netflix!

At first I was wondering, why should I watch it? It doesn’t seem very interesting, plus I was never into the kind of strangers-in-a-big-house kind of reality shows. But I love it! Nothing very much happens to be honest, but that’s somehow very refreshing. Interestingly, the six strangers still go to work or go to school, get access to phones and Internet and whatnot. They range in age from 19 to 31, one wants to be a chef, another is a pro-snowboarder, there is an aspiring model, a writer. And in between, there is commentary about the show by six people sitting in a studio. Somehow I cannot stop watching it!

Listening:

We finally finished listening to the Stephen Fry-narrated Harry Potter series. And we are now trying out Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories series. I am also listening to Alan Cumming read Leviathan.

Eating:

Last night for dinner, laksa fried noodles.

Drinking:

Lots of water

Cooking:

Tonight, perhaps a steamed whole fish if we find a nice one at the Asian supermarket later.

Browsing:

This cute market bag crochet pattern 

Black pepper parmesan biscuits sound delicious

It’s been a while since I’ve read crime/mystery/thriller type book and The Last Place You Look sounds good

Number One Chinese Restaurant is on my TBR list so I’m glad to hear it’s a good read

Last week:

I read:

Dear Committee Members – Julie Schumacher
A Tale for the Time being – Ruth Ozeki
Annihilation – Jeff Vandermeer

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date