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It is that time of the year when red colour predominates and red roses as well as boxes of Ferrero Rocher get sold out faster than anything else. Restaurants are booked well in advance and cheesy poem contests are held online to celebrate romance in the form of Valentine’s Day. As I keep saying it every year, there is nothing that can impress your loved one than your own efforts; plan an elaborate 3-course meal at home and finish in style with a detectable dessert – the classic yet sensational Dark Chocolate Mousse, the Quick & Easy Microwave Chocolate Cake or achieve perfection with these Chocolate Chip Cookies or these Double Chocolate Brownies. This time I decided to forego the chocolate and went all red with this no-fail Red Velvet Cake with heavenly Mascarpone & Cream Cheese Frosting, adapted from Australian Women’s Weekly.
RED VELVET CAKE
For the Cake Batter
125 g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup (50g) flaked coconut
For the Frosting
250g cream cheese, softened
1 cup (160g) icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 cups (300ml) thickened cream
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease two deep 22cm round cake pans; line bases and sides with baking paper.
- Beat butter, extract, sugar and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer till light and fluffy. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- Stir in sifted flours, cocoa and the combined buttermilk and food coloring, in two batches. Combine vinegar and soda in a cup.
- Allow to fizz, then fold into cake mixture. Divide mixture between pans. Bake for about 25 minutes. Stand for 10 minutes in pan.
- Turn the cakes top-side up onto a wire rack to cool. Wrap cakes in plastic; freezing for 40 minutes makes splitting cakes easier.
- For the frosting, beat cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar and extract in a small bowl with electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
- On medium speed, beat in mascarpone until just combined, then beat in cream until smooth and spreadable. Split cakes in half.
- Place one layer on serving plate, cut-side up; spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat layering, finishing with remaining frosting.
With lots of love
If you think that coconut and chocolate are made for each other, then you definitely will love this one. I agree that my roll does not look too pretty but please forgive the looks and let yourself be tempted by this seductive flavor combination: dark chocolate and toasted coconut trapped between layers of soft sponge cake and vanilla scented buttercream. You can almost imagine yourself enjoying an oversize lamington, a classic Australian treat, which is assembled in a similar manner by dipping squares of sponge cake in chocolate icing and coating them with coconut flakes.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT ROLL
For the Vanilla Sponge
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup self raising flour
2 tablespoons hot milk
For the Buttercream Filling
90g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
For the Chocolate Coconut Icing
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
- Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease 26cm x 32cm swiss roll tin, line base and sides with baking parchment, extending paper over sides.
- Beat eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer for 10 minutes until thick and creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until dissolved.
- Fold in sifted flour and milk in 2 batches. Pour into tin and bake for about 12 minutes. Sprinkle a piece of parchment with coconut.
- Turn out hot sponge onto parchment paper, peel away lining paper. Using the parchment, loosely roll up sponge from the long side.
- Stand for 2 minutes, unroll and cool and trim all sides of the sponge. To make buttercream filling, beat butter and vanilla together.
- When the mixture turns pale and creamy, beat in sifted icing sugar and milk until light and fluffy. Spread over sponge and roll up.
- For the chocolate icing, sift icing sugar and cocoa into a small heatproof bowl. Stir in butter and milk. Place over simmering water.
- Stir until the icing reaches a pouring consistency. Place sponge over a wire rack and pour icing over roll. Sprinkle well with coconut.
- Refrigerate the chocolate coconut sponge roll for 30 minutes until well set. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices to serve. Makes 10 pieces.
Happy Australia Day!
This is an old fashioned eggless chocolate cake, from Passionate About Baking, which turns out moist and delicious every time. No exceptional baking skills required for this one, so it is a safe recipe for those who want to put their best foot forward when baking for a crowd or a special occasion. The richness of dark chocolate mingles well with the tartness of fresh strawberries [mine were not so fresh, unfortunately] to produce a unique balance of flavors that has become my current favorite lately. This particular cake is for my friend who left the ABH family today for yet another exciting adventure. Farewell mon cher ami! Hope you find the strength and determination to face new challenges as you have always done and continue to be the shining light of warmth and generosity we love you for.
CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY CAKE
For the Chocolate Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 cups hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Strawberry Filling
300 ml whipping cream
200g strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 vanilla bean scraped
1-2 tbsp powdered sugar
For the Chocolate Ganache
200g dark chocolate, room temperature
150 ml low fat cream, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 180ºC with rack in the center. Line the bottom of one 9-inch spring form tin or two 9×2 inch round cake pans.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Combine water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a large measuring cup.
- Add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. Turn batter into prepared tin or divide batter between pans if using 2.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes for a single cake or 35 to 40 minutes for 2.
- Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert them onto the rack. Leave cake upside down on the rack to cool completely.
- To prepare the filling, chop strawberries and place them with sugar, scraped vanilla bean and balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan.
- Simmer till it is thick and jam-like. Cool completely. Beat the cream to stiff peaks and gently fold in cooled strawberry mixture.
- For the ganache, place the chocolate and 150ml cream in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds. Stir until smooth.
- To assemble, slice the cake into 4 layers, and sandwich with the filling. Frost with chocolate ganache. Makes 10-12 large servings.