A Decadent Lemon Cake for your Succot Entertaining

Triple Layer Lemon Cake

Succot is almost here. It’s the week of non-stop entertaining, or, if you’re lucky, getting invited out and maybe having to make one thing for the meal. I love it when that happens to me because that’s when I get to invest a lot of energy in one dish that takes too much time to make when you’ve got a whole meal on your cooking agenda.

Lemon cakes are a favorite of mine. Their sweet tartness is the perfect way to round off a meal. This is a cake I eyed in the Better Home and Gardens New Cook Book for a very long time before taking it on because it is quite a bit of work. But if you’ve got something to celebrate, it’s a winner. I made this as a birthday cake for my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. It’s that kind of cake. I had made a dairy meal, which after all the meat eating we’ve been doing over Rosh Hashana is not a bad idea at all, and it was the perfect dessert.

Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s 3 layers – it makes it fun and it just means an extra round of baking if you have a European-sized oven, as I do. Make your own lemon curd – it’s not difficult and it’s so good when it’s fresh and home made. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it.

The result is a large, festive and delicious cake that feeds a whole bunch of people.

TRIPLE LAYER LEMON CAKE

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon corn flour

1½ teaspoons lemon zest

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons water

3 beaten egg yolks

¼ cup butter

How to do it

Le,on Cake Stacked and awaiting frosting

Stacked and awaiting frosting

  1. In a small saucepan, stip together the sugar, cornflour, lemon juice, zest and water until you have a smooth mixture.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the mixture has thickened and is bubbling.
  3. Beat the yolks in a small bowl. Add half the lemon mixture to the bowl while stirring vigorously so that the yolks don’t curdle. When well combined, add the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat while constantly stirring until the mixture comes to a gentle boil (medium-sized bubbles). Continue cooking for a another 2-3 minutes until the mixture is nice and thick.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until it’s fully melted.
  5. Cover the whole surface of the curd with plastic wrap – the plastic should be touching the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for an hour or overnight if you want to make this ahead of time. If you do, when you take it out the next day, give it a good stir to loosen it up again.

Cake

Ingredients

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 1/3 cups flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup buttermilk

How to do it

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF)
  2. Line 3 20 or 22 cm (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans with baking paper and spray them with non-stick spray. If you only have 2 then prepare them and you will keep aside one third of the cake mix and bake the third layer separately.
  3. In an electric mixer beat the butter for 30 second till softened. Add the lemon zest, juice and sugar and beat until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time on high speed till very well mixed – mixture should be fluffy.
  5. Turn the mixer down to low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt alternately with the buttermilk, beating until just combined.
  6. Spread the mixture evenly between the baking pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the layers on a cake rack for 15 minutes then turn them out and cool completely so they are ready for assembly.

    The cut lemon cake

    The cut cake

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

180g (6 oz) cream cheese (at least 25% fat)

½ cup softened butter

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Up to 4¾ cups powdered sugar

How to do it

  1. In a mixer, beat the cheese, butter and lemon juice on medium speed until light and fluffy
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you have a good spreading consistency – the mixture should clump around the beater but be soft to the touch. It must not be running in any way.

Assembling the cake

  1. Turn out two of the cake layers, bottom side up (flat side). Give the lemon curd a mix so it’s spreadable and spread half the curd on the first layer. Place the second layer of cake round side down on top of the first. Spread the rest of the curd on top of that layer. Place the third layer round side up on top of the 2 layers.
  2. Frost the top and sides of the cake.
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Decadence is Best Served with Chocolate

Whenever I make cream puffs, they get snapped up. I love making them, but they are a little time consuming. So here’s a way to enjoy the decadent taste experience of a cream puff without a lot of the finicky work that’s involved. Behold, the chocolate eclair cake. Looks great, feeds a whole bunch of people and is simple to put together. It also works very well as a parev dessert.

CHOCOLATE ECLAIR CAKE

Ingredients

For the pastry

8 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine

1 cup water

1 cup flour

4 large eggs

For the cream filling

4 cups milk or soy milk

3 sachets. instant vanilla pudding

1 container cream cheese, softened (225g/8 oz) (for parev you can use one container of Tofutti cream cheese or you can add one more sachet of vanilla pudding)

1 cup sweet cream or non dairy cream

Chocolate topping

300g (12 oz) dark chocolate

100 g (4 oz) butter or margarine

How to do it

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, heat butter/margarine and water over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Add flour all at once. Reduce heat to low and stir quickly until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the pan (this will take a few seconds only). Make sure all the flour is stirred into the liquid mixture.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes. Then beat in eggs, one at a time, combining well after each egg.
  4. On a large oven tray covered with baking paper, spread the dough into a large round shape, creating a lip around the sides. The base will expand in baking, so leave space around the sides. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool completely.

    Dough ready for baking

    Dough ready for baking

  5. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth and add the milk slowly while still beating. Add pudding powder and beat until thickened. Spread over cooled shell and allow to set – at least half an hour in the fridge.
  6. To make the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate and butter/margarine over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Very carefully spread over the top of the vanilla pudding, making sure not to mix the chocolate with the vanilla filling.
  7. Keep refrigerated until serving. Serve on the same day.Serves about 20.

Brace yourself for winter storms with a gooey hot chocolate pudding

Almost gone!

Almost gone!

The nasty winter storm that’s promising to be this year’s “big one” is rolling in. When the rain is crashing down outside and the temperatures plummet, there’s nothing like a hot, gooey chocolate pudding to make you forget about the weather. Just the word “pudding” makes me feel good.

This one is a real oldie, and quite a classic. It’s that yummy, very easy to make dessert that starts with the batter at the bottom and a whole lot of liquid on top, and in the oven, magic happens, and it comes out with a cake-like top and a lush fudgey base. This recipe pops up all over the internet in various forms, and has many different theories for its inception. Some say that its very basic ingredients point to post WWII origins when ingredients were scarce. My late mother-in-law, who spent many years in Atlanta and gave me the recipe, always attributed it to the South African expats living in there in the 1970s, who, she would always say, made the best desserts. Not sure where it actually comes from, but what is clear is that it tastes wonderful, and you won’t have any leftovers, especially if you serve it hot out of the oven. The last time I made it, I had to swat my guests away so I could take a picture of what was left, hence the less than beautiful picture here.

This recipe is for 6 servings, but you may want to double it unless you like seeing miserable faces at your table. It’s also easy to make it parev, by using soy milk instead of regular. There’s no discernible taste difference.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE PUDDING

Ingredients

Batter

1 cup flour

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

3 tablespoons melted butter/margarine

½ cup milk (or soy milk)

Topping

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ cup cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup hot water

How to do it

1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the milk, melted butter/margarine and vanilla.

3. Pour the batter into a medium-sized greased baking dish.

4. Mix together all the ingredients for the topping and carefully pour over the batter.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Serve hot or warm. If you really want to add to the decadence, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6.

Winter’s here: Time for warm apple galette

I know it’s Hanukkah and I should be posting recipes for home-made donuts, but I’ve accepted the fact that there’s nothing I hate more than filling my house with the smell of deep frying in order to create a donut that can easily be bought. Instead, here’s a dessert from one of my favorite dessert “genres”.

To me, there is no better dessert than a warm apple “something” with vanilla ice cream on the side. Oh yum!! And when you’ve made your own pastry it tastes even better. And I promise, making pastry is extremely simple, especially in this case. Don’t be put off. Tip: only use margarine if you must have a parev dessert. The butter pastry is that bit tastier.

This recipe was passed to my by my 0% (or close to it) body fat personal trainer, who along with being super fit and in amazing shape, makes and eats desserts, and passes on the good recipes to me. So often, while sweating over squats or bench press, I am thinking about tempting desserts, and it’s all her fault.

If you’re wondering about the terminology, a galette is a rounded pastry that wraps around a fruit filling. What’s nice about galettes is that they’re meant to look a little messy, so no pressure to crimp edges or make a perfect looking pie. Make sure you give yourself time for the apple mixture to stand and drain. DO try to serve this one warm. If you can’t take it straight out of the oven and onto the table, then warm it up in a low oven for about 10 minutes before serving.

VANILLA APPLE GALETTE

Ingredients

Pastry

1 1/3 cup flour

120 g (4.5 oz) cold butter/margarine cut into small pieces (about 8)

3 tablespoons cold water

3 tablespoons icing sugar or caster sugar

½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Filling

10 Granny Smith (green) apples, peeled and sliced

30 g (1 oz) butter/margarine

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding powder

Optional: ¾ cup raisins or dried cranberries

For brushing – 1 beaten egg

How to do it

Pastry

1. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter or margarine and mix together either with a pastry blender or with 2 knives, cutting in a crossing motion so you slice through the piece of butter and combine them with the flour.

2. When the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, add the water and bring the dough together with your hands until you have a ball of dough. Work the dough as little as possible, just till it comes together.

3. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a half an hour.

Filling

1. In a large skillet or wok, melt the butter/ margarine, and add the apple slices. Lightly saute the apples on medium-high heat. (If using, add the raisins or cranberries and stir)

2. Add the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring now and again.

3. Remove from the  heat and stir in the vanilla powder, making sure it’s well mixed through.

4. Transfer the filling into a strainer placed over a plate or bowl, and allow to stand for about an hour to remove excess liquids.

Assembly

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 26 cm (10 inch) spring form pan with baking paper. (You can also use a Pyrex dish, and then you don’t need the baking paper)

2. Sprinkle flour over a clean counter top area and over a rolling pin. Flatten the ball of dough a little with your hands and then roll the dough out until it’s about 35 cm (14 inches) in diameter – it doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, and the edges can and should be ragged. As you are rolling, turn the dough over a few times, rolling the other side, making sure your surface stays floured.

3. Transfer the dough onto the pan with the sides hanging over the edges of your pan.  (I flip the dough over the rolling pin, and place the rolling pin across the middle of the pan and unfold the dough)

4. Pour the filling into the dough, and flip the dough from the sides of the pan over the filling, as far as it reaches – it will not cover all the filling. Brush the dough with the beaten egg.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Serves about 8.

For chocaholics only

I made this chocolate truffle cake a few weeks ago when one of my good friends, who is a chocolate fiend, came over. She loved it so much she wanted the recipe, and I discovered that I had not shared it on my blog yet. My bad! This is the perfect dessert cake for when you have a lot of people over and want a cake that goes a long way. It is so rich and decadent that you need only serve small slices. While it’s a guaranteed crown pleaser, only the most die-hard chocolate lovers will come back for seconds because its such an intense hit of chocolate. On top of everything, it’s extremely easy to make this parev – you just don’t taste the non-dairy cream because the overwhelming taste is lots and lots of chocolate.

Brace yourself for a direct hit!

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE CAKE

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup coarsely ground walnuts or pecans

1 cup Petit Beurre cookies finely ground

2 tablespoons of sugar

½ cup melted butter or magarine

Filling

450g (16 oz) semi sweet chocolate cut into squares

1 cup sweet cream or non-dairy cream

6 beaten eggs

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

How to do it

1. Line a 28 cm (8 inch) springform pan with baking paper and spray with non-stick spray.

2. Combine the nuts, cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter/margarine in a medium sized bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, and press it a little up the sides as well so you have formed a shallow “bowl” of crust. Place in the freezer to set until your filling is ready.

3. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).

4. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt chocolate and cream together over a low heat, until all the chocolate has melted completely. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beaten eggs, sugar and flour and beat for up to 10 minutes or until the mixture is think and lemon colored.

6. Fold a few large spoons of the egg mixture into the chocolate, and then pour the chocolate mixture back into the egg mix, gently folding the two mixture together until there are no more streaks.2014-11-20 11.23.37-1

7. Pour the chocolate filling into the pan and make for 40-45 minutes or until the cake has puffed up almost to the center. Remove and cool before serving.

Tip: Cut this cake by dipping a long knife into boiling water. Clean and dip after each slice for smooth slices.

Serves 16.

Pre-Rosh Hashana Confessions – Time for a Different Cake

Festive Rosh Hashana Loaf Cake

This is the time of year where we do some soul searching. Leaving aside the purely spiritual, I am looking to the kitchen now, and I have a confession to make: I really don’t like honey cake. Every year, I churn out honey cakes because that’s what we’re expected to do, and every year I promise myself – this is the last time. The fact is that I don’t know anyone who likes honey cake either. So enough of the forced bakery. Rosh Hashana is a joyful festival, so it’s time to recreate the Rosh Hashana cake.

After a little recipe research and some of my own inspiration, here’s a recipe I’ve cobbled together for a Rosh Hashana cake that I think is a fitting and symbolic end to any festive meal.  The ingredients work for this festival: I’ve used apples, which I think are a lot tastier in a cake than honey; there are dates, one of the seven species, and one of the five foods that the Gemarah points to as good edible omens for Rosh Hashana (along with gourds, fenugreek, leeks and beets); and pomegranates, which we traditionally eat on the second night of Rosh Hashana as the new fruit, and which  supposedly contain 613 seeds representing the mitzvot. There is a custom to avoid eating nuts on Rosh Hashana due to the numerical value of the Hebrew word ‘egoz’ (nut) equalling ‘chet’ (sin). If you don’t follow this custom, do add the walnuts, but the cake can be baked without them (but make it again after Rosh Hashana so you don’t miss out on this extra level of taste and texture.”

Packed full of Rosh Hashana symbolism, with enough sweetness to compensate for the honey, this moist, tasty, good looking cake is a fitting substitute for the honey cake.

Wishing you all a sweet New Year!

FESTIVE ROSH HASHANA FRUIT LOAF CAKE

Ingredients

Cake

150g butter/margarine, softened

¾ cup castor sugar plus 2 tablespoons

3 eggs

½ cup self-raising flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 apples peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced

6-8 dried dates roughly chopped

½ cup roughly chopped walnuts (Don’t use an electric blender)

Ground cinnamon

Glaze

½ cup pomegranate juice (the juice of approximately 1 pomegranate). Tip: Use a simple hand juicer so you can save the pomegranate seeds as well. Wear an apron – it’s a little messy.

¼ cup of pomegranate seeds (set aside from the juicing)

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

How to do it

Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (330°F)

2. Beat the butter/margarine and the 150 g sugar in mixer until pale and creamy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.

4. Add the flours, baking powder and ginger, mix on a slow speed until just combined.

Unglazed loaf

Unglazed loaf – tastes good too…

5. Fold in the dates, 2 thirds of the apples and nuts.

6. Line a 25 x 12-centimetre loaf tin with baking paper and spray with non-stick spray. Pour the mixture in and arrange the leftover apple slices in a criss-cross pattern on top of the cake, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar and dust with ground cinnamon.

7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the centre.

8. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and put on a plate before glazing

Glaze

1. In a small saucepan, bring the pomegranate juice and the sugar to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 15 minutes to allow the mixture to reduce, stirring frequently.

2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

3. Beat in the powdered sugar until completely smooth, and add the pomegranate seeds.

4. Drizzle over the cake, allowing some of the glaze to run down the sides.

Serves 8.

Keep warm with hot fruit crumble

Fruit crumble

A hearty winter meal is best ended with a warm fruit crumble.

I’ve tried lots of different versions of fruit crumbles, crisps, buckles, cobblers, but I always come back to the one I’ve been making for what seems like forever. I’ve cobbled together (yes, a shameless pun) a recipe using a recipe from The Joy of Cooking for the crumble part. You know how the book has those two red book-mark ribbons? Well, one of my two ribbons is permanently placed between the pages of this recipe because it’s what I most use this book for. I use my own fresh fruit filling recipe,  which you can vary depending on the season and your preferences. My advice is to always use apples as a base because they are nice and tart and aren’t too watery, so maintain a good consistency. Then add your favorites – strawberries, plums, peaches… To finish it off, serve this with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream of sweetened whipped cream, and send your guests home desperately needing a nap!

This recipe works very well as a parev dessert as well.

HOT FRUIT CRUMBLE

Ingredients

5 cups peeled and very thinly sliced green apples (for variation, cut down apples to 3 cups and add 2 cups of peeled and thinly sliced ripe plums or peaches, or sliced strawberries. For strawberries, slice ahead of time and let them sit in a strainer for about an hour to get rid of excess liquid)

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups packed brown sugar

1½ cups flour

1½ cups quick cooking oatmeal

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

How to do it

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (350°F)

2. In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter/margarine.

3. Add the sugar, flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix together well.

4. Spread half of the crumble mixture on the bottom of a medium-sized ungreased oven-proof dish, and pat down so the bottom of the dish is fully covered. Then spread the fruit over the crumble. Top with the rest of the crumble mixture, spreading it evenly over the fruit.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Serve warm. Serves about 8.

Berry coffee cake – a real winner

Berry Filled Coffee Cake

Berry Filled Coffee Cake

My book club ladies were over last week. After 14 years of being in the same book club, it’s important to shake things up when it comes to the cakes I bake. So I looked for something different to make, and the result was worth the experiment.

I found a recipe for a fruit coffee cake (not coffee flavored, rather a cake one eats with coffee…). Many of the recipes for coffee cakes that I’ve tried have been on the dry side, and if you don’t eat them when they’re hot, they stick in your throat. This one doesn’t fall into that category, I’m please to say, and earns a place on my blog, especially because it was just as moist and delicious the following day when eaten cold.

I took the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, but I had to make a few adjustments to the original because the quantities were a little wonky. What’s good about this recipe is that you can use lots of different fruits. I had a container of frozen blackberries in the freezer that I needed to use up, so I did, and it was great. I love the combination of a tart fruit with a sweet cake. And the color combo is easy on the eyes.

There are a few stages in making this cake, but I think the result is worth the extra effort that goes into a non-one-bowl cake. I wouldn’t post if I didn’t.

FRUIT FILLED COFFEE CAKE

Ingredients

1½-2 cups  sliced, peeled apricots or peaches; chopped, peeled apples; or blueberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)

¼ cup  water

¼ cup  sugar

2 tablespoons  corn flour

2 cups  all-purpose flour

1 cup  sugar

1 teaspoon  baking powder

½ teaspoon  baking soda

1/3 cup  butte

2 small eggs, beaten

¾ cup  buttermilk

1 teaspoon  vanilla

¼ cup  all-purpose flour

¼ cup  sugar

2 tablespoons  butter

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

How to do it

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit and the water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered, about 5 minutes or until fruit is tender (for apples this may take longer). (If you are using berries – fresh or frozen, you will not need to simmer them – just bring to boiling.) Then mix the cornstarch in a separate cup with a couple of tablespoons of cold water until it’s smooth and has no lumps. Add the 1/4 cup sugar and quickly stir into fruit. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more and set filling aside to cool a little.

Berry filled coffee cake

Second layer of batter on top of the berries

2.Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). In a bowl combine the 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in the 1/3 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

3.In another bowl combine egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until just combined – the batter will be lumpy. Spread half of the batter into 24cm (10 inch) round baking dish that’s sprayed with non-stick spray). Spoon the fruit over the bottom layer and gently spread spread it evenly over the batter. Drop remaining batter in small mounds onto filling.

4.In a small bowl stir together the ¼ cup flour and the ¼ cup sugar, and an optional ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in the 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over coffee cake. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Berry filled coffee cake

Crumb topping

Serve warm and if you’re feeling decadent, do serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Back to hametz with some delicious cupcakes with an Israeli twist

Black Beer Cupcakes

Black Beer Cupcakes

Putting Pesach behind us, let’s get back to real baking.

When I first visited Israel as a child, one of the new tastes I experienced and loved was the iconic Nesher Black Beer (birah shchorah). As a child, the concept of drinking beer, even though it was alcohol free, was so exciting. The taste of this local malt brew was wonderfully caramelly and rich, and to this day, I love the taste, which takes me back to my first visit to Israel.

While cupcakes are definitely a non-Israeli confectionery, one way of bringing a little local into these little cakes is by baking them with black beer. When I came across a wonderful parev cupcake recipe that uses stout beer on Chef Chloe’s wonderful vegan cooking website, I knew I had to make a few adaptations to make it more Israeli by using black beer instead. Black beer is said to also have additional health benefits (although I’m not sure if they survive baking at 180 degrees). The result is a very moist, wonderful chocolate cupcake that’s parev and uses no eggs either.

You can frost these cupcakes with any frosting you wish. I use a Tofutti-based cream cheese frosting for parev, otherwise any butter or cream cheese frosting will work well.

BLACK BEER CUPCAKES

Ingredients

1½ cups flour
2/3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup black beer (birah shchorah – there’s the Nesher brand or Coca Cola’s Malti brand)
½ cup oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla

How to do it

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix till just combined.

3. Line a muffin tin with #5 cupcake liners and fill each to about two-thirds full with batter.

4. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

Makes 14-16 cupcakes

PAREV FROSTING

Ingredients

A few drops of vanilla extract

How to do it

1. In a medium bowl, mix 90g (3 oz) Tofutti cream cheese and a few drops of vanilla until combined.

2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix till combined. Continue adding the powdered sugar until you get a good spreading consistency – about 300g (10 oz) powdered sugar (3 cups). (Note: When you use the Tofutti cream cheese to make frosting, you won’t reach a stiff spreading consistency as you do when using butter or cream cheese. This frosting will always be glossy and soft.)

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of soft butter, 100 grams of 25% fat cream cheese (Napoleon) and a few drops of vanilla.

2. When it is smooth, gradually start adding powdered sugar (about 300 grams of powdered sugar in total) and mix until you get a good spreading consistency (the mixture should not fall off the spoon or should not run off the beaters).

VANILLA BUTTER FROSTING

1. In an electric mixer, beat 110g (4 oz)  unsalted butter, 60 ml milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 250 g (10 oz) powdered sugar until completely smooth.

2. Gradually add up to another 250g (10 oz) powdered sugar and beat until the frosting is a smooth spreading consistency.

A New Idea for Mishloach Manot Stuffers – Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Balls

P1050522

Chocolate covered cookie dough balls

Purim’s early this year, so I’m in a mad rush to organize my mishlochei manot and get going on my Purim baking. Last year, I posted lots of recipes that you can use to make some fun, home made goodies to add to your mishlochei manot – check out parts I, II and III (Oznei Haman)… But that’s not enough!! A few months ago, I made these really delish chocolate covered cookie dough balls. Now who doesn’t like cookie dough? Then cover them in chocolate, and what’s not to love?

This recipe ensures that the cookie dough is safe as it’s made without eggs. It can also easily be made parev so it’s a great little addition to your give-aways for the chag.

Chag Purim Sameach!

Ingredients

½ cup butter or margarine

1 cup packed brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

1¼ cups flour

1/3 cup parev chocolate chips

350 grams (12 ounces) parev dark/semi-sweet chocolate

How to do it

1. Using an electric mixer, beat margarine and brown sugar on high speed until properly creamed for about 5 minutes (to ensure that there are no gritty bits of sugar left)

2. Add vanilla, salt and water and mix till combined.

3. Add flour and mix till combined.

P1050519

Dipping the chilled cookie dough balls into the melted chocolate

4. Fold in the chocolate chips by hand. Cover dough and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

5. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. With your (very clean) hands, roll the dough into balls that are about 2 cm/1 inch in diameter, and place them on the baking sheets. Freeze for at least 20 minutes.

6. Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler (bring about 5cm/2 inches of water to the boil in a medium-sized pot. In a smaller pot that can easily fit over the bottom pot, break up the chocolate and melt it over the simmering water, making sure that the top pot does touch the water below. Stir until all melted). Allow the melted chocolate to cool to nearly room temperature.

7. Dip the dough balls. Remove one tray of cookie dough balls from the freezer. One by one, drop each ball into the melted chocolate, using two forks, roll it in the chocolate until it’s completely covered. Remove the ball and place it back on the baking sheet. When you’ve done all the balls, put the tray back in the fridge and repeat the process with the second tray.

8. Chill for at least 20 minutes and store in refrigerator until your serve them or give them as a gift.