Category Archives: Blogiversary

Hazelnut Praline Chocolate Cake

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This cake definitely trumps ALLL the cakes I have ever made. If you like Ferrero Rocher or Bueno, you need to make this cake right now. Your life will be a big black hole until you have a slice of this. (Totally not exaggerating.)

All threats aside, the idea for this cake came to me as I was enjoying some Bueno (not surprisingly) a couple months back. I gotta tell you, if there ever is a Bueno eating competition, I will join it and I will win. I can finish an entire bar of Bueno in like 50.36 seconds. My sister thinks it’s disgusting, but I think it’s natural talent :D

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The cake consists of 3 layers of my favourite chocolate cake, but changed up a bit with EXTRA coffee (to bring out the chocolate flavour). Between the layers is where the taste explosion happens. I filled and covered this cake with HAZELNUT PRALINE WHIPPED GANACHE. To make this ganache, my trusty 13 cup KitchenAid Architect food processor pulverized the praline into crumbs in a matter of seconds, I kid you not! Then I used my 7 quart KitchenAid bowl lift stand mixer to whip my ganache into the perfect consistency. KitchenAid has made my life so much easier!

praline processor

hazelnut praline ganache

I usually try to avoid superlatives but believe me when I say that this is THE best ganache I have ever had… so far. 

Seriously, I liked this cake so much that it was hard for me to not think about it.

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Lucky for me, I pretty much had the entire cake to myself. I live with a bunch of weirdos who were born without the gene that codes for chocolate-lovin’ in their brain centers. Sometimes I question whether or not my sister is telling the truth when she tells me that I joined the family after I was picked up from a garbage can :P

I ate about 70% of the cake alllll by myself. Again, this is one of those natural talents of mine to be able to consume copious amounts of chocolate without dying from an overdose. My brother had one slice about 2 days after I made this cake. Yenno what he said to me?! I’ll tell you what he said to me:

“Hey, this is actually pretty good.”

Um what? *Eyebrow raises* “What do you mean by actually?!”

hazelnut praline cake

Hazelnut Praline Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake recipe here. Make one full recipe for 3 layer 10″ cake.

Hazelnut Praline

100g Hazelnuts
3/4 cup of granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Roast hazelnuts for about 8-10 mins, then place the hazelnuts between 2 towels and rub the hazelnuts to get the skin off.
2. In a saucepan, caramelize the sugar one third at a time. Place 1/3 of sugar into pan at medium heat, stir and let melt until it reaches a caramel colour. Add in second third and last third slowly, making sure to stir.
3. Once all sugar is caramelized, throw in the hazelnuts and coat them all with the melted sugar.
4. Immediately transfer to oil-sprayed cookie sheet. Let the praline cool until hardened.
5. Break up praline into pieces, process in food processor until it reaches a super fine consistency.

Hazelnut Praline Ganache

320mL and 800mL of heavy cream
10 oz. of milk chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
All of the hazelnut praline

1. Using a a microwave, warm the chocolate in 30s intervals, stir in between intervals. When there are just a few lumps of solid chocolate left, reduce heating time to 10 secs in the microwave to avoid burning the chocolate. Stop when chocolate is one liquidy consistency.
2. Stir the processed praline into the chocolate. The mixture is supposed to be grainy, don’t worry!

2. Bring 320mL of heavy cream to a boil, then pour 1/3 of it into the chocolate mixture. Stir slowly until evenly combined. Drizzle in the rest of the boiled heavy cream in thirds and stir to combine.
3. Pour in the remaining cold 800mL heavy cream, you will have a very liquid mixture, this is normal, don’t panic!
4. Place the entire mixture into a refrigerator for a couple hours to cool. If possible, put the beaters of your standmixer/handmixer into the fridge as well. You want to make sure everything is really cold, but NOT frozen, in order to be able to whip up the cream and create a thicker consistency.
5. When it is cooled, whip the mixture on medium speed until medium peak forms. You don’t want to whip it for too long or on high speed because your whip cream will curdle and turn to butter. No bueno. 

Source: Modified from Alena Kogotkova

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Year Three

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About a month ago, It’s the Cookie Monster turned 3 years old. 

In some ways, these three years have gone by really fast. I went from a 17 year old in her final year of high school, to a 20 year old entering her final year of university. I left my shyness, some of my uncertainty and cringingly-embarrassing memories (I was (and still am) a really awkward person) behind and grew into a more confident, self-assured woman. I put myself out there and tried as many new things as I possibly could, involved myself in leadership programs on campus and stepped out of my comfort zone to work in entirely different jobs.  Everyday, I strive towards my goals of becoming a dietitian and baker/cake decorator. Each day, I absorb as much as I can, I am constantly learning. I know what I’m good at and what I definitely need to work on. I met hundreds of new people; hated some, loved some and was inspired by many. I made new friendships and dissolved the ones that just weren’t working out. I’ve become a mentally healthier person by figuring out what I want in life and what I will not put up with. I have grown into a more pronounced Connie because I finally got out of my own way. 

This blog has done a fair bit of growing as well.

Just this past year:

1. Got a makeover by my sister, who was studying web development. She redesigned my blog for her term project :D

2. The Facebook page jumped from 50 fans to 211 (the major famous bloggers must be laughing their heads off right now)

3. It was the medium for my many outlets: cake creations, rants and all my feeelsss

4. It helped me get started on MY CAKE EMPIRE MUUAAHAHAHAH! You can check out the cakes that I have sold here, here, here, here, and here.

5. It allowed me to stay connected with some pretty awesome bloggers. You know who you are :)

Just for fun, I thought you might be interested in knowing how much chocolate I ate last year.

I don’t photograph ALL the chocolate that I eat, this is the MINIMAL amount. I can tell you for a fact that I eat 6.89 times more chocolate than this :P

1. 6 bags of Ghirardelli natural milk chocolate chips, and 3 bags of Ghirardelli natural bittersweet chips.

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2. 4 bags of President’s Choice white chocolate chips 

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3. This honking Lindt dark chocolate bar, courtesy of my friend Jeanette.

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4. Mini Toblerone! Courtesy of my friend Stephanie. I totally missed my mouth, whoops.

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5. MORE CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!

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2nd Blogiversary!

Holy cowwwww, it’s only been 2 years?! Feels like I’ve been blogging for a much longer time than that ahaha! I can’t imagine how life was before this blog happened. If I ever decide to stop blogging, there will definitely be this huge hole in my life and I will have to fill it up with lots of cookies and chocolate to ever feel normal again. I don’t want my thighs to jiggle any more than they already do, so please, keep reading so that I won’t ever stop blogging. This baking adventure isn’t fun to go through alone :)

I want to thank YOU for taking the time to read my mindless ramblings, look at poorly taken photographs and laugh at my bad jokes. You guys are troopers! But honestly, this blog would be nothing without you. I write to be written, but most importantly, to be read as well. When I started, I just wanted to find a community of people that share the same passion for baking as I do. My life was lacking sugar craving fiends and I was starting to feel like a weirdo for reading cookbooks and looking at food porn all the time. Whenever I talked about the science behind baking with excitement, friends and family would give me a glazed over look. Nobody understood me and it made me frustrated! So so so glad I have you guys now, you keep me sane :P

So what have I learnt about blogging in the past 2 years?

1. People over the internet are friendly! What is this stranger danger thing that my parents have been trying to embed in my head since I was 5? 

2. Blog consistently. 

3. Read other peoples’ blogs, return the love.

4. Share things about your life. It might sound self-centered but doing so gives your blog personality. 

5. Write as if you are talking. Show sarcasm, anger, sadness, happiness.

6. Don’t be afraid to make bad jokes. Even if no one else thought it was funny at least you got a laugh out of it :P

Marble Cake with Coffee Buttercream

CAKE

Vanilla Batter
6.5 Tbsp of salted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup self-rising flour

Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Slowly beat in eggs, adding one at a time. Mix in flour until just incorporated. Spread onto bottom of a greased 8×8 (or slightly larger) pan.

Chocolate Batter
 6.5 Tbsp of salted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder 
Pinch of baking powder 

1. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time.

2. In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa and baking powder. Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated.

3. Spread batter over vanilla batter in the same pan. Using a spoon lift up chunks of chocolate batter out over the vanilla across the entire pan. Then using a knife, drag zig-zag lines all over until you achieved a marbled look.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 mins. (Adjust time to the size of your baking pan)

COFFEE BUTTERCREAM

250g salted butter, slightly softened
3.5 cups icing sugar 
1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp cocoa powder

1. Stir milk, cocoa and coffee granules until granules dissolve.

2. Beat butter until pale and fluffy. Slowly add in icing sugar.

3. Pour in milk mixture and beat until you reach one consistency. 

Source: cake from Simply Spectacular Cakes by Peggy Porschen and buttercream adapted from Raspiberry Cupcakes

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