Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

It’s a no brainer that whenever I go to friends’ parties (especially with kids!), I’m the designated dessert person. I don’t mind – I love baking and it’s a pretty good excuse to trial baking recipes. Mr J isn’t a huge cakes and sweets person, so I need other guinea pigs who will  I can share the cakes with (because you know what they say… minutes on the lips, forever on the hips).

Bundt-land is a strange place for me. I’ve always baked with the traditional round cake pans, but the sudden rise in popularity of these intricate, hole-y pans irked my curiousity. Recently inspired by baker extraordinaire Charlotte Ree and shot by the super talented Luisa Brimble, I bravely dipped my toe in bundt town and was surprised to see so many amazing recipes and beautiful cakes. So I bought my first bundt pan (Nordic Ware – recommendation from Charlotte Ree no less!) at Williams Sonoma in Bondi Junction one morning in December (ok, more like the weekend before Christmas. Yeah I know, BRAVE!), and followed their instructions to the T. Butter your pan like you’ve never butter before! Every nook and cranny of that pan must be oiled to perfection! GREASE ME UP WOMAN! *ahem* Oh and don’t forget to flour it too. And buttered and floured I did – the cake came out solid, nothing stuck to the pan, and I breathed a sigh of massive relief.

This cake is an uber rich, decadent, indulgent cake – more brownie, less sponge cake. The buttermilk helps keep it moist, and the chocolate and buttermilk glaze adds an extra layer of oomph. For my first bundt cake, this was a total winner for both adults and kids alike. We do like our big bundts and we cannot lie.

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake
Recipe from here

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweeted cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
375g soft unsalted butter
3 cups caster sugar
5 eggs
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp espresso powder
1 cup chocolate chip morsels

For the chocolate glaze:
1 cup of chocolate chip morsels
3 tbsps butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the buttermilk glaze:
1 cup powdered icing sugar
2 tbsp buttermilk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160C.
  2. Thoroughly butter and flour your bundt pan. I used a brush to evenly coat all the nooks and crannies with butter.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat in the vanilla, espresso powder and buttermilk.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the batter, one big spoonful at a time.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chip morsels.
  6. Transfer to your bundt pan, ensuring you tap the pan on the kitchen bench to remove any bubbles. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. It’s ready when a knife or skewer comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake rest for approximately 20 minutes, or overnight, before removing from the pan.
  8. Glaze with both the chocolate and buttermilk glaze.

For the chocolate glaze:

  1. In a bowl, melt the chocolate chip morsels and butter together in a microwave for approximately 40 – 60 seconds.
  2. Mix the vanilla extract and set aside.

For the buttermilk glaze:

  1. Mix the icing sugar with the buttermilk, one tsp at a time.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and glaze on top of the cake.
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Cake Decorating at Sweet Sessions with Cakes by Cliff and Lime Tree Bower

I lost the motivation to bake.

There, I said it.

I haven’t really made any cakes or cupcakes in a while. Maybe it’s the lack of motivation, procrastination, moving to a smaller apartment (and hence a smaller kitchen), or all of the above. I felt uninspired, and no energy to exert any effort in baking.

Until last month, when Mr J gave me a birthday present in the form of a cake decorating class: Sweet Sessions with Cakes by Cliff and Lime Tree Bower. I knew I was going to enjoy the class, but I didn’t realise how much I was going to love it. Cliff and Helen were so knowledgeable in all things cake and florals – from the technical, to the artistic, to giving us creative freedom to just do whatever we wanted with the decoration. We covered the basics: how to make your own swiss meringue buttercream, the right temperature, the right tools to use, cutting, layering, and assembling. Wiring florals, choosing which ones are appropriate for cake decorating, taping, and then decorating. I had so much fun that it made me super excited to getting my hands dirty again with flour, butter, and buttercream! Thank you so much Cliff and Helen for your patience, generosity, and energy! Really enjoyed the class, and am looking forward to attending more!

 

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Philippine Food Festival, Shangri-la Sydney

Spring means new beginnings, stripping the sleeping, dormant self, an awakening.

Cheers to longer days, sunshine, trips to the beach, and quality time with lovely friends!
Cheers to longer days, sunshine, trips to the beach, and quality time with lovely friends!

And so, I come bursting out of my winter slumber and into the spring sunshine. The last few winter months have been cold, hectic, brutal, and yet the hiatus was much needed. I feel revitalised and energised (and yes, thanks to some flu-fighting medications, lots of Vitamin C, and a newfound sense of mindfulness).

What better way to come back to the blogging scene than to feature a fabulous Filipino food festival at Cafe Mix in Shangri-la Sydney? Thanks to the teams both here in Sydney and in Shangri-la Makati, Philippines, we were treated to an epic banquet of food, glorious Filipino food. There’s nothing more nostalgic than going back to your roots – think rice, pork, fish, vegetables, coconut, ube (purple taro), soups, mango, kakanin (sweet dessert rice cakes), and the star of the show: L E C H O N.

Roast beef and Cebu lechon
Chicharon - two whole bilaos!
Chicharon – two whole bilaos!

For one week only, Cafe Mix at Shangri-la Sydney is dedicating its buffet menu to everything Filipino, thanks to the dream team of chefs from Shangri-la Makati: Rico Celdo Venzon, Athena Blanche Tan Oropesa and Erma Balaquiao Palanca. I felt back in the Philippines again and rightly so… tastes, smells, and sights of the Philippines were everywhere. Dish upon dish upon dish were like hugs from the mother country, and it was so welcoming, so nostalgic, and oh so delicious.

The Philippine Food Festival is presented in partnership with Philippine Airlines and The Philippine Department of Tourism. To honour the 70 years of collaboration between Australia and the Philippines, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney will donate $2 for every person who dines at the festival to Operation Restore Hope.

For bookings, call (02) 9250 6000 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com. For more information, visit www.shangrila.com/sydney.

Thanks to Shangri-la Sydney for the generous lunch at Cafe Mix to try the scrumptious Philippine Food Festival. Trish and Mr J dined as guests of Shangri-la Sydney.

Entree and side dishes: lotus seed, pusit, grilled eggplant, macaroni, tuna
Entree and side dishes: lotus seed, pusit, grilled eggplant, macaroni, tuna
Entree and side dishes: seaweed and bamboo shoots, embutido (pork loaf)
Entree and side dishes: seaweed and bamboo shoots, embutido (pork loaf)
Steamed fish
Steamed fish
Pochero of mixed seafood
Pochero of mixed seafood
Grilled mixed seafood
Grilled mixed seafood
Ginataang alimasag (crab with coconut cream)
Ginataang alimasag (crab with coconut cream)
Sisig - freshly made from the sisig station
Sisig – freshly made from the sisig station
Pakbet - mixed vegetables with shrimp paste
Pakbet – mixed vegetables with shrimp paste
Cebu lechon - boneless roast pork with the crackliest crackling, flavoured with herbs and spices and meat that is oh so tender. Don't forget the Mang Tomas sauce!
Cebu lechon – boneless roast pork with the crackliest crackling, flavoured with herbs and spices and meat that is oh so tender. Don’t forget the Mang Tomas sauce!
Calderetang dila ng baka - ox tongue
Calderetang dila ng baka – ox tongue
Chicken adobo
Chicken adobo
Kare kare - ox tail with peanut sauce, and with a side of shrimp paste
Kare kare – ox tail with peanut sauce, and with a side of shrimp paste
Desserts: leche flan - creme caramel
Desserts: leche flan – creme caramel
Brazo de Mercedes
Brazo de Mercedes
The dessert table
The dessert table
Banana turon
Banana turon
The halo halo station
The halo halo station
Ube ice cream for the halo halo
Ube ice cream for the halo halo
Halo-halo: mixed sweets of macapuno, kaong, red beans, sweet plantains, jellies, topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk
Halo-halo: mixed sweets of macapuno, kaong, red beans, sweet plantains, jellies, topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk

The well loved San Miguel Beer
The well loved San Miguel Beer
Tropical Maganda drink - similar to pina colada, but with rum, Malibu, pineapple and coconut cream. The beach in a glass... yum!
Tropical Maganda drink – similar to pina colada, but with rum, Malibu, pineapple and coconut cream. The beach in a glass… yum!

The Philippine Food Festival is on until Sunday 25th September 2016 at Cafe Mix, Shangri-la Sydney. The buffet lunch is available from noon to 2:30 p.m. at $57 per person.  The buffet dinner is available from 6 to 10 p.m. at $82 per person.  For bookings, call (02) 9250 6000 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com.

Thank you to chefs Rico, Athena and Erma from Shangri-la Makati and Madeleine of Shangri-la Sydney, with fellow bloggers Anna of Adobo Down Under and Jen of Sweet and Yummie. Oh and our guests Anna's friend and Mr J!
Thank you to chefs Rico, Athena and Erma from Shangri-la Makati and Deane of Shangri-la Sydney, with fellow bloggers Anna of Adobo Down Under and Jen of Sweet and Yummie. Oh and our guests Anna’s friend and Mr J!
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