Thursday, March 26, 2015

Money / Australian Dollars Cake

"Mum, I don't live for my life. I live for money."

I remember the first time that my son told me this, I was like... WHAT???!!!

My son started saying this when we started giving him small amount of pocket money every week. As the primary school kids in Australia don't really need any money to buy their food and drinks during their lunch time or break, the money that we gave is really a small amount. It is so little that he can't really buy a can of fizzy drink with his weekly money... LOL!

Knowing the value of money, he works diligently to save all his money. Sometimes, he volunteers to clean the shelves and TV racks for 20 cents... This happens when Mum is stingy and son is very desperate... LOL! While saving his money, my son has learned that spending money on useless or unnecessary things is wasteful and prefers to gain more money from the annual interest given by the bank and so every single cent that he saves will mostly go to his school banking account.

Knowing that my son loves his money, I know exactly what my son wants for his 6th birthday...

A money cake!

money dollar cake
A money cake for my son - Everything including the stacks of dollars are edible!

This is how I made this cake...
My son wants his birthday cake to be a chocolate cake and so I baked this always moist and reliable stir-and-bake dark chocolate sheet cake recipe from the book, The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

This recipe uses a significant amount of Dutch processed cocoa and dark chocolate.
As I'm baking this cake for a party of young kids, I prefer to bake with not-too-dark chocolate and used this chocolate with 45% cocoa.
Allow mixture to cool slightly.
While waiting for the chocolate mixture to cool, I did this.
And whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
Then, I did this.
And the cake is ready to be baked.
I have also baked a slightly taller cake and will be using it as the money cake base.
Although it cracks a little, it is sturdy enough to whole the weight of the entire cake.
See how moist is this chocolate cake!

To assemble the cake, I need ...
One: the classic buttercream 
Two: the rolled fondant and these edible money prints
Three: the chocolate coins

I put everything together and ...
This is the money cake for my son's birthday party!
Happy Birthday, Sweetie!
Funny that every kid at this party wants to eat the hundred dollar cake.
.. because the largest dollar denomination in Australian currency is $100!

"Mum, this is so cool!" my son screamed at me when he first saw the cake. I know that my son will like this money cake and I'm happy that he really do.

Dear son, you know that this money cake is not made of real money and yet you like it. So I wish that you will live your life to the fullest and don't live for money. I love you. Happy Birthday, my sweetie!

This is the dark chocolate sheet cake recipe that I have mostly adapted from the book, The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

The original recipe makes one 13 x 9 inch sheet cake which can serves 15-18 and I have scaled up the recipe to be one and a half of the original amount and this scaled up amount can bake one 20 x 20 cm (8 inch) x 4 cm (1 1/2 inch - height) square plus one 33 x 23 cm (13 x 9 inch) x 3 cm (1.2 inch - height) cake.

You will have slightly less than half of 33 x 23 cm cake as leftover if you are making 5 stacks of dollar cake. This amount can serve about 15-18 persons. Why the leftover? I always prefer to have excess cake if I'm making a cake with a structural design as I will have to trim the edges and prefer to have backup amount just in case some part of the cake break or crumble.

375g (1 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
180g (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped - I have used dark cocoa with 45% cocoa
150g (1 1/2 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
337g (2 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 large eggs, room temperature
3 tsp vanilla extract
450g (2 1/4 cup) caster sugar - The cake is not sweet so please do not reduce this amount!
1 1/2 cup (375ml) sour cream

Adjust an oven rack or racks to the middle position/s and heat the oven to 350°F/ 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Line baking pans with baking paper with two sides slightly overhang for easy removal. Set aside.

Melt the butter, chocolate, and cocoa together in the microwave with medium power, stirring often, 1 to 3 mins; let the mixture cool slightly. If microwave is not available, you can melt butter, chocolate and cocoa using a double boiler over simmering water with constant stirring.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla together by hand until uniform. Whisk in the sugar until combined. Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture until combined.

Sift about a third of the flour mixture over the batter and whisk in. Whisk in the sour cream. Sift the remaining flour mixture over the batter and whisk until completely incorporated. Do not over-mix.

The batter will be thick and so it is always good to give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure that all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35 mins if you are baking one 33 x 23 cm cake at a time, 40 mins for the 33 x 23 cm cakeand 45 mins for the 20 cm square cake if you baking both cakes at the same time, rotating the pan/s halfway through baking.

Let the cake rest and cool slightly in the pan for about 20-25 mins. Remove the cakes from the pans by holding the overhanging part of the baking paper and lift the cakes off the baking pans. Leave the cake with the baking paper to cool completely on a wire rack for at least 2 hours. Peel off the baking paper, then flip the cake right side up onto a serving platter or use it to shape into a money cake.

This is the classic and easy buttercream recipe that I always used at here, here and here.

100g butter, soften at room temperature
240g icing sugar
2 tbsp warm milk

Beat butter with electric mixer until as white as possible. Gradually beat in half the sifted icing sugar, milk then remaining icing sugar.

To assemble the cake, you need:

a cake board
about 2-3 packs 750g rolled fondant in white colour
9 edible actual size money prints
(I have scanned the dollars and get then printed at an online baking supply shop)
rolling pin
roller cutter
metal ruler
alphabet cookie cutters, optional
colour gel, optional
chocolate gold coins that you can buy from any party supply shops, optional

Roll fondant into 3-4 mm thick and cut it accordingly to the cake board size and line the cake board with this rolled fondant. Set aside.

Trim the edges of the 20cm square cake and trim it further to the size of two dollar notes that are aligned together. Do the same for the 33-23 cm cake and trim it further to the size of 3 individual dollar note. Roll fondant into large sheet with 3-4mm thickness and cut the sheet into the sizes of the dollars and also 4.5 cm and 3.5 cm long strips to wrap the sides of the cakes.

Apply buttercream at the bottom, top and the sides of the trimmed cakes. Wrap the cakes with the rolled fondant that are trimmed according to their sizes and brush very little amount on the area of the fondant that you need to adhere the money print. Note: I have adhere the front and the back with the money print only for the $100 dollar cake that is facing the front of the cake. The rest are just the top of the cakes. Stack the cakes according to the way that you like. Use a lengthy edge metal ruler to press on the sides of the cakes to create lines to look like there are stacks of money in every block of the cake. Ta dah!!! Now, you have this stacks of money cake!

To decorate the cake further, you can 1) adhere more money print on rolled and cut fondant and place around the cake 2) colour a batch of rolled fondant and use the cookie cutters to cut out words like "Happy Birthday" or your name 3) decorate the cake with chocolate coins when serving the cake.

Happy Baking

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chocolate Banana Chiffon Cupcakes

Today, I'm going to use a muffin recipe to bake chiffon cupcakes!

Huh!!! - I know that you must be saying this!!! You must be thinking that I'm a crazy woman. Due to my passion with baking, I must admit that I'm a little cuckoo... LOL!

Here, I'm being cuckoo again to think of this idea and have transformed a well-reviewed Nigella's chocolate banana muffin recipe from her book, Kitchen or here into these chocolate banana chiffon cupcakes...

chocolate banana chiffon cupcakes
These are not Nigella's muffins but... Chocolate Banana Chiffon Cupcakes

Who gave me this cuckoo idea? Obviously, my son... LOL!

Originally, I was going to bake chocolate banana muffins from her book, Kitchen by Nigella Lawson or here. As I was weighing out and preparing the ingredients, my son came along and started chatting with me.

"Mum, what are you baking?" asked my son with a nosy plus peckish look.

"I'm baking chocolate banana muffins..."

"Oh... I thought you are going to bake banana chiffon cake!!!" said my son with a rather sad and disappointed face because he saw that I was preparing the banana purée and thought that I was going to bake his favourite banana chiffon cake. Sadly, he walked away and I'm pretty sure that he didn't look peckish anymore...

"Wait a minute..." I tried to hold my son's interest. I'm not baking muffins anymore. How about if I bake chocolate banana chiffon cupcakes? They are not same as your favourite banana chiffon cake but they are chiffon cakes.

"Ok, mum. Ok" I know it is quite a reluctant ok but still an ok... LOL! And so, I went on and bake these.

Instead of using 1/4 cup (60ml) of oil, I have used 2 tbsp (30ml) of Alfa One rice bran oil plus 2 tbsp of milk.
Instead of 1 egg, I have used 3 egg yolks to whisk with brown sugar, oil and milk. 
For the banana, I'm sticking to the amount as mentioned in Nigella's recipe.
Add the sifted dry ingredients that are also used in Nigella's recipe.
Next, I beat 4 egg whites plus 40g caster sugar until stiff peaks formed.
Fold in egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture.
And, use this wonderful cupcake scoop from Tovolo (Australia) to divide the mixture into baking cups
Glad that these cupcakes turned out to be pretty good.
To minimize any sudden change of temperature that will eventually result shrinkage, I have cooled the cakes in the oven with its door ajar.
I'm surprised that the cakes look really good!
... and taste really good too!
What can I say??? This is absolutely a great cuckoo idea!!!

Can you imagine 12 of these cakes contain only 2 tablespoon (30 ml) of oil? Seriously, I can't complain!!!

Looking at the cakes closer, the texture and description of these little chocolate banana chiffon cupcakes reminded me of the mango chiffon cupcakes baked by Happy Home Baking. She said that her cakes are a little denser than the chiffon cakes baked in tube pans but they are still light. Mine too... Although these chocolate banana chiffon cupcakes are not feathery light like banana chiffon cake, they are still light and moist with a bouncy sponge-cake kind of texture. Seriously, I can't complain!!!

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from the book, Kitchen by Nigella Lawson or here

Using half amount of Nigella's recipe with 3 egg yolks, 4 egg whites plus 40g caster sugar, I have transformed 6 chocolate banana muffins into 12 chocolate banana chiffon cupcakes

Ingredients A:
1 1/2 (about 160g) very ripe bananas, peeled and processed into smooth purée
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil, preferably Alfa One rice bran oil
2 tbsp (30ml) milk
40g light brown sugar110g all purpose flour
15g good quality cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed cocoa powder like Valrhona
1/2 tsp baking powder

Ingredients B:
4 egg whites
40g caster sugar
Preheat oven to 150°C or 130°C fan forced. Place 12 standard-size bake-able paper cups on a baking tray. Set aside.

For ingredient A:
Using a handheld blender, process banana into smooth purée.

Using a hand whisk, whisk egg yolks, oil, milk and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined. Then, whisk in the banana purée.

In another mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together. Sift the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and mix until both mixtures are well combined. Set aside.

For ingredients B:
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk egg whites at a medium low speed for 5 mins or until frothy. Increase beating speed to medium high. While beating, add caster sugar gradually in batches into the egg white mixture and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Using a spoon or a spatula, combine both egg yolks and white mixture in batches and gently. Then, spoon the batter into the baking cups in 12 divided portions.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 mins. Increase the oven temperature to 180°C or 160°C fan forced and bake for another 5-10 mins or until a skewer insert comes out clean. Turn off the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the oven with its door ajar. These cakes are actually very stable! They will shrink but actually very little. Serve at room temperature.

Happy Baking

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Faeez from Bitter Sweet Spicy at this post.

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is BANANA for March 2015 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st Mar 2015.

What after March 2015? Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe will be the next hostess of April 2015 and her theme is CHICKEN! Unlike the usual schedule, her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the 1st Apr 2015.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY or/and Faeez from Bitter Sweet Spicy. For more details, please see this.