Archives for category: Cakes and Desserts

A guest post this week from an extremely gifted cook.. my mum! A most wonderful recipe it is too and easy with minimum preparation ensuring a perfectly moist cake to finish with. Moist with the slightly crunchy top that is just heaven when you bite into it that is. And I had three slices yesterday! It was just too easy, what with the cake just out of the oven, lovely and warm, melting my ice-cream – and it tastes incredibly light. I will be running some of it off later as am sure it isn’t but surely some balance with the yoghurt? I do LOVE chocolate cake and having enjoyed a most wonderful Chocolate Gateau a friend made effortlessly over Christmas without even measuring, this is a perfect recipe to try anytime which will completely guarantee success. Help with the measuring is given and once the butter, sugar and eggs are mixed well, it’s a very simple case of alternately folding in the dry ingredients and yoghurt and putting in the oven for 30-40 mins while it rises. The picture above is the one my mum made, dusted with white chocolate and a little beauty I think!

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There is nothing quite like a birthday cake to make it feel like it’s your birthday and with one of my best friend’s birthdays today, the big 3 0, and his love of Dorito’s I thought I would make a Dorito’s cake. I had been planning it for a good few days and thinking about it for a good few weeks. The dilemma was did I go for a full savoury re-fried beans, layered with guacamole, sour cream, in between corn bread with spicy salsa and Dorito’s crumbling OR did I go for a proper birthday cake but decorated in Doritos and tasting good? I decided to go for the latter after much deliberation and playing around with ideas as I found an easy sour cream frosting recipe and thought I wanted the cake to taste and look like a birthday cake. I have had a pretty bad experience of making a birthday cake a few years ago where I got a little excited by some green food coloring and it didn’t rise properly, weighed a ridiculous amount and tasted shocking. I rarely make something I can’t eat but that was one of those occasions! This time I decided to keep it au naturele with a simple white layered cake, base, a lemon and sour cream frosting, which I thought would compliment the cheese Doritos and some pretty sparkles for extra birthday effect. With some candles, a dark room, coupled with a little surprise it was going to be a special night. The idea was to look like a Dorito so I baked it in a square oven dish and sliced it in half diagonally. Each half in half through the middle, I made 4 layers. The layers were made the day before and frozen overnight. It looked a bit like a sandwich as I was layering up the next day but hopefully with all the embellishment that followed it resembled something more like a Dorito.

…. and the verdict after the party…

A few surprises at the combination at first but the cake was Oishi = tastes very good and looked like a Dorito! The Dorito’s were still standing while the candles were blown out so well done frosting for holding them up and the cake went down well. All that was left at the end of the night was a pile of candles, some Dorito’s crumbs, a small piece of frosting and a  very happy birthday boy, so success!

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An easy 10 minute recipe my mum said. And after about half an hour not disimilar to a GCSE maths problem the scones were ready to start on and yes they turned out perfectly. The trouble started and usually does for myself and baking with how much of everything I needed. I much prefer cooking to baking, tasting as I go and using my palette to guide what I think should and shouldn’t be added. Baking is more of a science and unless it’s an ‘easy’ recipe I tend to shy away from any complex baking. Two reasons really. The weighing and preparing of ingredients, especially when working with recipes that involves ounces or cups, and all I have is a scale that uses grams, and the amount of butter of sugar that goes into some recipes can freak me out. With cups, a Japanese ‘go’ is slightly smaller than an American ‘cup’ and although I get it doesn’t matter as you just vary the ratio, it does matter when they don’t sell self-raising flour in Japan (except National Azabu apparently) and I have to mix baking powder and regular flour explained in cups! Anyway, thanks to technology and having my unit converter on the iPhone, together with my dashboard widget and a useful Wikipedia guide on cups I was ready to start. Pleas don’t be put off by my complicated intro. These really are easy and turn out perfect. I had some cranberries, blueberries and raisins so thought I would go for a mixed berry version and they even passed the ultimate scone test of being able to be broken in two perfect pieces. Lovely with a cup of tea and next time think I’ll grate some orange rind and with just the cranberries think they’ll make a very festive treat.

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A simple little pie here. Little due to the size of the pie pan but super tasty and easy to make. Popped to the shop as this was baking as felt some vanilla ice-cream was really going to make this dessert. It did, and it was that good that I ate it slowly to make it last for as long as I could.

Autumn truly a rocks in Japan, although it is fastly approaching winter, so many different foods available in abundance. In supermarkets and grocers prices are reasonable and with the huge apples around it seemed the perfect time to make a pie. Interesting how they raise apples here, to pure perfection and enormous.

Using frozen puff pastry available from Kaldi, 1 apple courtesy of my good friend who received a box of shinies from her mum, some cranberry sauce, brown sugar and cinnamon, little knob of butter made this little pie.

Halving the apple and using half to make a rough apple puree, with the other half in slices really adds a lovely sweet sauce as you eat the pie. You can add lemon juice, crushed almonds and other things in the sauce however this time I kept mine simple to mix with some cranberry sauce and it didn’t disappoint.

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