Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cake Pops


After a party or a family gathering we face such a huge dilemma with the leftovers, half a cake, 5 or 6 uneaten cuppies. . Etc! Cannot be served again nor can’t be frozen for a long time, not forget to mention that u might have prepared it a day before.

So, let’s gets creative!

What ever cake you have will do just fine, basic yellow cake, Almond cake, lemon cake, chocolate cake. . The sky is the limit! Then pair it with your favorite kind of frosting, for example; cream cheese frosting will do great with the lemon cake, the chocolate cake and the red velvet cake while the vanilla frosting tastes so good with the basic yellow cake and the almond cake.

I’ll be using the leftovers from my previous post and a *vanilla frosting.

Cut it into small pieces and through them in the food processor to have a very fine consistency (Sandy consistency)

Dollop a couple spoons of frosting and start to mix until you end up with firm dough.

Scoop equal amount of the dough (I‘ve used a table spoon) and roll it between the palms of your hand and apply slightly pressure, just enough to shape a well rounded ball.

Stick them in the freezer for about 20 minutes; meanwhile melt the chocolate for coating. Now I will highly recommend that you use the chocolate that is made for cooking purpose, don’t use Galaxy it won’t work!

The chocolate should be in a very very thin consistency so after melting add some vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil) until you get the best consistency.

Bring out the balls from the freezer, insert lollipop sticks in the balls and dip them in the melted chocolate, tap them to get off the excess chocolate, add some sprinkles if desired or just stand it on a Styrofoam board until it gets dry.

* For the vanilla frosting:

Ok, to be frank, I literary eyeball my frosting (Clumsy :$). I just mix this and that and it all turns to be very good .So I don’t have a precise recipe so I found you a nice recipe from

  • · 1 package powdered sugar (16 ounces)

  • · 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)

  • · 3 tablespoons milk

  • · 2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat sugar, butter, milk and vanilla with electric mixer at low speed until well blended and smooth. If frosting becomes too thick, beat in additional milk by teaspoonfuls until the frosting is of spreading consistency.


I *Heart* the feeling when I bite one of those and indulge my senses with the crunchy chocolate coat and find out the soft spongy yet creamy center waiting for me in the inside . . . Heaven


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Confessions of a Chocoholic

Forget love – I keep on falling in chocolate
I’m one of those that can never have enough chocolate. Isn’t it just so hard to resist the temptation of the variety of types stacked in the chocolate isle as you are passing to reach the veggies section :P ?! At least I know it’s hard for me. Nothing can brighten up my day like a venti latté and a good piece of chocolate *sigh* or a chocolate-based dessert.

Chocolate, Chocolate et chocolate

Bars, buttons, melts, fudge, flacks, fountains... As a chocoholic, the favorite places to be are the ones with different forms, types and sizes of chocolate (so don’t be surprised to see me in Maya and Chocolate Bar ;D). Other than these specialized chocolatiers, there are some good quality chocolates in our market. My favorite and which I believe is the best is the Swiss Lindt.

This is the first chocolate recipe that I’m sharing and I assure you that it’s not going to be the last. B-)

Today's Chocolate Star :: Chocolate Crinkles

I just love the look and texture of the cracks (photo) that beautifully shows the contrast in colors between white and brown. But not only does it look pretty, it tastes SO good ! One of my favorite aspects about this recipe is that it relies on the butter and chocolate to solidify again to transform the dark dense liquid batter to soft solid dough. I’ve taken this recipe from the website of the talented Stephanie Jaworski, Joy of Baking.

Here’s what you need,

60 g unsalted butter

225 g semisweet chocolate
½ cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup powder or icing sugar

This is how you do it,

1. Melt chocolate and butter. Some people like to use the microwave for this process, but I just put it in a pan over boiling water until it completely melts. Leave that aside to cool.

2. Wisk the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder and salt)

3. Beat the eggs and the sugar until it becomes pale and fluffy.

4. Add the chocolate and butter mixture and keep mixing.

5. Gradually add the dry ingredients.

6. The resulted batter is dense yet liquid, so you can’t shape it into balls. Therefore, put it in the fridge for 3 hours or until it reaches a solid consistency.

7. Heat the oven to 325°F (for my oven, I tune it to 275°F)

8. Divide the batter into 36 balls.

9. Roll them in the powder/icing sugar.

10. Place them on parchment paper and bake them for about 10 mins

Quality makes a difference..

For the recipe that I’m sharing today, I highly recommend that you use the classic dark chocolate bar from Lindt (the one without chocolate percentages, just dark). I believe it’s the secret factor that gave my crinkles that special taste that everyone was wondering about when they tasted them.


• This amount makes approximately 3 dozens. To get all the cookies to be about the same size, divide the bough in quarters and then each quarter makes 9 pieces. It’s easier to eye-ball a smaller portion to equal size balls.

• You could also make them smaller in size (more small cookies), but take into consideration that the baking time will most likely decrease.

• It can be a bit tricky to know if these cookies are done because they are brown so you can’t see them brown from the bottom and decide that they are done. So stick to the baking time. ;)

Just a thought..

It’s good to serve this with coffee or if you want something fancier put a few pieces in a small plate with some barriers and ice-cream. (Y)

--Nora :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cakes 101

. . A Bakerista <3
I’ve been thinking for the past few days , how would I describe my obsession with baking ?, and I found out that I’m a girl that would trade her designer bag for a cake ! As simple as that! A typical Taurus girl that loves to welcome her friends in an apron wrapped on her waist and the smell of a freshly backed cake is coming out of her kitchen.

The simplest thing in “caking” is the basic yellow cake. Can be enjoyed by it self with a cup of coffee or can be the base of any other dessert. I’ve been through many recipes for the best yellow cake and the best was Wilton’s recipe, fluffy and moist from the inside with a tempting golden crust from the outside. This recipe can be used as well to do yellow cupcake, simply make the batter, then line paper cups in a muffin tray and fill ⅔ of those cups with the batter, 25 minutes will be more then enough in the oven.


• 3 cups sifted cake flour
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 3/4 cups sugar
• 2/3 cup butter or margarine (Equivalent to 133 grams of butter)
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 1/4 cups milk


• Place the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven at 350º F.

• Grease bottom and sides of an 8 inches round pan an and line a parchment or waxed paper on the bottom and the sides of the pan , now , if you want to do a two layer cake prepare 2 pans and divide the batter evenly between them otherwise its fine to use one pan as long as it a deep one.

• Sift together the flour, backing powder & salt, set aside.

• Break the eggs in a separate bowl and whisk the vanilla together with them, set aside.

• In your electric mixer cream the butter and the sugar until light color appear.(Don’t forget to scrape the sides every now and then)

• Add the eggs and vanilla mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, and mix well.

• Then add the dry ingredient alternately with milk to the previous mixture, mixing well after each addition.

• Spread the batter in the prepared pan, even the top with a spatula and pop it in the oven for about 1 hour or until a wooden pick is inserted in the center comes out clean. “In the case of using two pans then its gonna be half an hour approximately”

• After its done remove it from the oven a let it set in the pan for about 10 minutes then run a knife around the edges and flip it on a cooling rack , peel off the parchment paper and leave it to cool completely.

*Very important remarks:

DO NOT! , and I repeat DO NOT open the oven while the cake is still backing , because losing the hot air in the oven will ruin the cake. U can check when the backing time is almost done.

Don’t stick to the time of baking because there is a difference in each oven , to be sure that the cake is baked insert a wooden pick in the center and if it comes out wet leave the cake for 5 more minutes in the oven. Repeat when needed.

Always break the eggs in separate bowl to avoid the shells and whisk the vanilla while they are still in the bowl.

Don’t panic if you forgot to sift the flour, its going to work either way ;)


Now, someone would say: why would I go through all this while there is a “Betty Crocker” on the shelves? Ok, I agree with the saving time factor BUT! Doing a cake from scratch is healthier then a boxed powder, and they r missing a very important ingredient. . Love <3

Dana ,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Baking A.B.C

They always accuse me of being very accurate and detailed. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I became an engineer ;P. I believe that these “characteristics” are a key to my success in my hobby and passion: making dessert.

When it comes to desserts, following the instructions precisely is one of the key factors to success. Therefore, if the recipe says, for example, that you need to use eggs or butter at room temperature; you really need to do so. From my modest experience, I’ll tell you a thing or two about the ingredients in our market that can give you the best results and the basic tools that you need to have in your kitchen for making desserts.

Butter: the best type of butter that you can use is Al-Marai’s, a Saudi product. Generally, when you open the cover of the butter, you’ll find small dashes indicating how the amount of butter is divided, usually to units of 25g. This can help you measure the amount of butter without using a scale of making an extra cup dirty.

When the recipe states that butter should be at room temperature, make sure you put it out ahead of time. When the butter reaches room temp, it will be very creamy and soft (Y). Sticks of 100g come to room temp faster than bigger sizes. Therefore, if you forgot to put the butter out before or had one of those sudden baking mood spans that come to me, use an equivalent amount of sticks.

None-Stick Spray & Parchment Paper: This product can make your life easier when it comes to greasing your pans. It is very beneficial when you have one of those fancy pans with curves and texture. There’s a variety of brands of non stick sprays in the market. I personally used Crisco and Mazola and they’re both very good. There are butter, oil and olive oil sprays. I always use butter spray for cakes. Parchment paper is also a good product to ensure that what you’re baking doesn’t stick to the pan. Cut the paper to fit the base of your pan, then add small sheets to the sides if it’s required. The greased side in your parchment paper is the inner one, don’t forget that while you’re using it (I always do :P).

Colors and Flavors: Your recipe dictates the solidity of the colors you should be using. You can find paste colors which are excellent for coloring frost because it doesn’t spoil its consistency. Liquid colors can work for other things. I find that the best paste colors you can use are Wilton’s which you can buy online or from Tavola (in Royal Plaza). I started with the 3 basic colors (red, yellow and blue) and mixed as I needed other colors, but you can also buy all the colors that you need. The liquid colors are available in all grocery stores. I usually go for Foster Clarks colors. The flavors that are most commonly used are: Almond, vanilla and rose extracts. For those, I’d go with Foster Clarks too.

Measurement Tools: Use the standard measurement tools such as cups, teaspoons and tablespoons. Empty yogurt cups, mugs, water glasses, used food cans or any other “tools”, that I was very surprised with, are not accurate and, hence, can spoil your cake. When you use a certain measurement cup, use it for measuring everything throughout the entire recipe. It’s also very beneficial to have a small scale for the kitchen. You can find measurement tools is many places such as hyper markets, or in cooking equipment stores such as Tavola and others.

Oven: Before you start measuring and mixing ingredients, turn on the oven to the required temperature and adjust the oven’s rack. This step is very essential for the success of your baking. I love the way my mom describes this process when she assures it’s importance. She pictures it as if the batter “jumps” due to thermal change (3ashan el kaika tfzz, hehehe). When you bake you usually use an upper rack. In my oven there are 4 levels; I use the second from above. The temperature that I usually use for baking is exactly between 250 and 300 F (electric oven).

Cooling rack: a rack is an excellent tool for cooling things. It is very essential when you’re making cookies and biscuits because they have to be cooled from both sides to ensure that no moist remains and spoils them. You can find a cooling rack in any cooking equipment store.

Mixer: When you’re mixing you can use either an electric mixer or a hand mixer, yet they are both very essential in the kitchen. There’s a variety of brands for electric mixers in the market (Moulinex, black & Decker, Kenwood, etc), choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Spatula: Make sure you have a rubber spatula in your kitchen because you will need it to scrape the sides of the bowl, fold a batter or other functions. An offset spatula will be essential for decorating. (We will be featuring decorating in several articles in the blog, beeee patient ;D)

Sifter: A sifter is important when your recipe states that you have to sift a certain ingredient (again, I’m very annoyingly accurate with what the recipe states :$). For example, sifting the sugar is a must when you’re making frost to make sure that the frost is smooth and has no chunks.

This is so far all I can think of. Both Dana and I will be updating you with the best ingredients and where you can find them according to each recipe that we post.

--Nora :)