Saturday, March 27, 2010

Aussie Aussie Aussie! (Oi Oi Oi!)

(above) Lamingtons - Australian sponge cakes with chocolate icing and coconut.

This was my second attempt at making lamingtons. This first time I made them, I admit it, I was too stingy with the icing. If you want good lamingtons, drench them in icing for true om-nom-nom-ness.
(above) The first set of lamingtons that were rather skimpy on the icing.
Lamingtons are Australian sponge cakes (traditionally in the shape of a cuboid) that are coated with chocolate icing an coconut. I was inspired by Youtuber robjnixon (aka. Nicko)'s video on lamingtons, which can be found below this post, and decided to give it a try.
I started off with store bought cupcakes (yes, I cheated, but so did Nicko) and sliced them in half.
(above) Store bought cupcakes, sliced in half

The cakes were then drizzled with copious amounts of chocolate icing and then sprinkled generously with coconut. I had give the shredded coconut a whizz in the food processor to achieve the desired consistency. Wait for a while for the icing to set up, and then serve! This would be perfect for a birthday party or bakesales.

(above) The final product - lamingtons, after being drenched in icing and sprinkled with coconut.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Red Carpet Event

(above) Red Velvet Cupcakes

The fact that no one seems to know what red velvet cake is disappoints me. I think its time to enlighten you guys. According to the oh-so reliable wikipedia, red velvet cake is "a rich, moist, sweet cake with a dark red, bright red or red-brown color... usually prepared as a layer cake somewhere between chocolate and vanilla in flavor, topped with a creamy white icing". Before today, I had only eaten red velvet cake once before at a gourmet cupcake shop and was sorrowly disappointed. The cake had the coarse crumb texture of a muffin (honestly, I think someone should come up with a crumb index in order to determine the borderline between cupcakes and muffins) and the cream cheese frosting was padded out with filler and shortening (gross!). Determined that I could outdo the corporate world of the cupcake industry, I followed a recipe I found from the faithful and I started my quest in making my first red velvet cakes.
(above) That's what happens when you add 2 tablespoons of food color.
(above) A little "beheading" or levelling off the tops of the cupcakes may be in order. To avoid this I suggest that you fill the cups only half way rather than 2/3 as the batter rises. This means that you get more cupcakes, which is never a bad thing.
(above) You get brownie points if you top it off with heart shaped sprinkles.

(above) A bite of red velvet cake.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 30 cupcakes
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 (1 ounce) bottle or 2 tablespoons red food color
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not over beat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with desired frosting.

I used my own cream cheese frosting recipe. You can view the original recipe for the cake as well as cream cheese frosting here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Did I Hear a Pop?

(above) Faux-fried Popcorn Chicken

You might have noticed that I've been only making desserts. There is a reason for this (listen up!). I cook, and I cook pretty often. In fact, I make dinner a few times a week, but I haven't really posted about it. Why? When I cook, I never measure and hardly ever follow a recipe. I (to quote Rachael Ray) "eyeball" it instead and taste it along the way. Thus, if I post about it, I probably can't give you an accurate recipe of it. Baking is different - you kind of need the exact amounts of eggs and flour and such to make it. Cooking? Not so much.

So, today's "recipe" is popcorn chicken. The popcorn chicken might not even be considered "unhealthy". It is breaded with corn flakes (way to get your 10 essential vitamins and minerals) and faux-fried in the oven. I didn't make alot since I'm pretty much the only one at home today, so I guess this serves one or two people.

Faux-fried Popcorn Chicken
(above) You start off with some cornflakes. Put them in a blender and whizz them around until they form crumbs. Then season generously with garlic powder (or garlic salt) and paprika. Season to taste salt and pepper.

(above) Chunk up some chicken into one inch cubes. I usually use chicken breast, but I only had dark meat - so dark meat it is. Season with salt and pepper.

(above) Bread chicken. I decided to get a little experimental and breaded the chicken without an egg wash (that is, dipping the chicken into a beaten egg mixture and then breading it). Instead, I just dumped the chicken chunks directly into the cornflake mixture. Note to self: egg wash it next time. Nothing bad happened, but I have a feeling that the chicken would have turned out a tad bit more crisp with an egg wash.

(above) Place on a well-greased pan and bake in a preheated oven (200 degrees Celsius) for around 10 minutes.

(above) The final product!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Fear Chocolate Soufflé

Today's little cooking project was chocolate soufflé. I made it for the first time two summers ago after reading an article about it in the Sunday newspaper. The article explained that it was and arduous and daunting task but that it was well worth the work. I guess that chocolate soufflé is just one of those things that most people want to be able to make "some day". Well, the day has come people.

Let me explain the basics of the soufflé. We start off with a roux (pronounced "roo"), which is essentially just flour and butter, and add milk to it to create a white sauce. Then, melted chocolate, egg yolk and sugar is added to this. Egg whites are them beaten up and folded into the mixture. Then, its all baked up in buttered and sugared "ramekins" and ready to eat within 20 minutes. It's as easy as that. See, there's nothing to be afraid of!

(above) A snazzy black and white shot of the egg whites beaten to form "stiff peaks". For those like myself, who don't have a Kitchen Aid or an electric mixer, you're just going to have to suck it up and beat the egg whites vigorously with a whisk. It's not a big deal - around 5 minutes and you're done.

Chocolate Soufflés
Serves 6
10g unsalted butter, melted, to grease
60g caster sugar, divided
30g unsalted butter
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
200ml milk
6eggs, separated
150g dark semi-sweet chocolate, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat at the same time. Brush six 200ml-capacity ramekins with melted butter. Sprinkle with some sugar to coat; shake out excess.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan until foamy. Add flour, cook, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbles. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat, cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the remaining sugar, two egg yolks and chocolate.
  3. Beat six egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest. Spoon mixture into prepared ramekins, leaving 1/2in (1cm) below rim. Gently tap base of each ramekin on work surface to remove air pockets. Smooth tops; place on hot baking tray. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until puffed. Serve right away, dusted with icing sugar or served with cream if desired.

I don't have ramekins, so I opted for coffee cups. I used chocolate chips for this and melted them using 30 seconds on High in the microwave. For those of you who enjoy reading food descriptions (I know I do!), here is a little something: this chocolate soufflé is light and airy, but decadent with a rich chocolaty flavor that envelops the whole soufflé. The butter and sugar coating creates a crunchy caramel that contrasts with the lightness of the soufflé.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Carrot Cupcakes to the Rescue!

My biology grade dropped 4% today (tragic, isn't it). Anyway, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, I decided to make the best of my situation by going into a little therapeutic baking - carrot cupcakes to the rescue!
The first time I heard of carrot cake, I thought it was the most disgusting idea possible. Well, I was mistaken. The combination of spiced cake batter with shredded carrot, coconut and walnuts makes magic in the oven. Frost it with gooey cream cheese frosting, and you've got yourself a winner. I decided to get a little fancy and garnished the top of each cupcake with a piece of shredded carrot.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 12.
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup shredded coconut, plus more for garnish
8 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners. In a bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and eggs.
  2. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt. Add flour; mix. Stir in carrots, walnuts, and coconut.
  3. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.
  4. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Frost cupcakes, and garnish with shredded coconut.

I used a different frosting recipe and used half a bar of softened cream cheese with enough sifted icing sugar to get the desired consistency. I also omitted the toasted coconut garnish. I would suggest that you sift all of the dry ingredients prior to making the batter to avoid lumps.

The recipe I used came out of the cookbook Everyday Foods: Great Food Fast
. It can also be found here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Welcome to my Blog!

Hello internet, fellow bloggers, friends and foodies. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lisa. I am a sixteen year old junior in highschool and I do all the normal highschool kind of things: I'm a varsity cross country athlete, was a reporter for the school newspaper sophomore year and participate in various other clubs and activities. On a regular day, I go to school, go home, do homework and watch YouTube, which is all pretty normal stuff. On the other hand I, Lisa, am food obsessed. I have come up with this blog as a way to express my obsession is a more "productive" manner, as my friends are most likely sick of hearing me blabber about food. This is a usually how a conversation with me goes.

Lisa: Hmm... I want to make cookies.
Friend: OK.
Lisa: I wonder what kind I should make? Should I make gingerspice cookies or sugar cookies? I don't know! You choose.
Friend: Uhh... sugar cookies.
Lisa: Oh, ok. I think I'm going to decorate them with the little heart sprinkles my sister bought me. Let me get a recipe from
Friend: Ok... whats the homework, by the way?

So, I've decided that my obsession has gone a little to far. Don't you? Expect blog posts and recipes coming up in the near future. Hip hip horray! The food blog Lisa is Hungry is now officially open!