chocolate caramel cake

Caramel Condensed Milk: Chocolate Cake Topping

chocolate caramel cakeInstead of icing or melted chocolate, try caramel condense milk as a topping for chocolate cake! In South Africa we can buy caramel condensed milk in a can, but while living in England, I couldn’t find it anywhere!

Here’s how you can make your own caramel condensed milk, using sweetened condense milk:

Method #1

  • Pour the condensed milk into a pan.
  • Put it on medium-low heat, stirring continuously. (for 10-15 mins)
  • Take off the heat when you can turn a cooled tablespoon of it upside down without it falling off.

Method #2

  • Immerse closed can on its side in a pot of water and bring to the boil.
  • Leave on a simmer or light boil for 2 – 2.5 hours, topping up with water as needed
  • Remove from heat and let it cool down completely before opening can.
  • Don’t open the can while its still hot. The condensed milk should be thick and a nice caramel color.

Be careful and don’t let the water dry out, else the can will burst!

Spread the caramel over the chocolate (or vanilla) sponge cake once the cake is cooled off completely.  Decorate with grated chocolate.

Doughnut Muffins

doughnut-muffinsIngredients for the muffins

350ml unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
440ml sugar
4 large eggs
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1-2/3 cups milk
1/4 cup buttermilk

Ingredients for dipping

200ml unsalted butter; more as needed
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon

Method

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
In a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
Combine the milk and buttermilk. With a wooden spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
Then mix in a third of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry.
Mix until well combined and smooth, but don’t overmix.
Grease and flour a standard-size muffin tin.
Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup, about 1/2 cup. (A #16 ice-cream scoop gives you the perfect amount.)
Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes.

To finish
Melt the butter for the dipping mixture. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, dip them into or brush them all over with the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.


Triple Chocolate Biscotti

chocolate biscotti

INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1.5 large slabs Bourneville dark chocolate, chopped in the blender)

PREPARATION

Line large baking sheet with double thickness of foil. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in semisweet and white chips. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheet in two 10- to 11-inch-long strips, spacing 3 inches apart. Using metal spatula or wet fingertips, shape strips into 11- by 2 1/2-inch logs. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake logs until tops are cracked and dry and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes; cool 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Using foil as aid, lift logs onto work surface. Line baking sheets with clean foil. Using serrated knife, gently cut warm logs crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange half of slices, cut side down, on each prepared baking sheet. Bake biscotti until just dry to touch, about 8 minutes. Turn biscotti over. Bake until top is dry to touch, about 8 minutes. Cool on sheets.

(Dip in melted chocolate of your choice & then drizzle with remaining chocolate – I used 1.5 large slabs Bourneville dark chocolate, melted)

Fun things to do on the Gautrain bus

Since I’ve been using the Gautrain & Gautrain buses, I’ve realized why people end up doing these strange things. Not that I have build up the courage to do anything like it yet, but I can see that you get bored if you don’t have company! So if you are bored out of your mind during your travels to work and back, consider spicing up the trip a bit with any of the below suggestions.  Let me know how it turns out for you?

  • As soon as you get on the bus, ask if anyone has ever seen the movie “Speed. “
  • If the bus only has a few people on board, insist on sitting right next to someone.
  • Try to pay the driver with foreign currency.
  • Have in depth conversations with your invisible friends.
  • Butt in on other peoples cell phone calls.
  • Read a book upside-down.
  • Sit backwards in the seats. Complain to the driver about how uncomfortable you were.
  • Proudly announce as you get on the bus “I am now lice free.”
  • Bring a bunch of stuff with you (say in a backpack) and spread this stuff all over the bus.
  • Make snide remarks about every hairstyle you see.
  • Walk up to the driver and ask where the bathroom is.
  • Play your bagpipes.
  • Sit down next to someone and ask “Will you be my friend?” If they say yes, give them a big hug, if they say no, find another person.
  • Pour your beverage out the window on people in convertibles.
  • Sing your favorite songs really loud and really off key.
  • Write a list like this one.
  • Eat a bunch of chili before getting on, and then just let it rip.
  • Blame your flatulence on the person sitting behind you.
  • Bring something big and weird with you. If anyone asks about it, just say, “none of your beeswax!”
  • Dress as your favorite historical figure.
  • Pretend that the stranger you are sitting next to is someone you have not seen in years
  • Every time you see a Volkswagen bug, yell “Punch buggy” and hit the person next to you.
  • Claim that you have a special handicap which requires you to sit in the middle of the aisle.
  • Don’t make eye contact with anyone (not even the driver).
  • Make eye contact with everyone (Especially the driver).
  • When no one is looking, spill a bottle of water all over the front of your pants. Then say, “Oh No! Not again!!!”
  • Put a fish under your seat on a hot day.
  • Pick your nose, and then brag about your bugar’s size, shape and/or color.
  • Act like you are going to jump out of the window.
  • Start a food fight.
  • Throw all the bus schedules and brochures out the window.
  • Throw pens and pencils at random passengers.
  • Try to bribe the driver into letting you drive.
  • Pass notes from passenger to passenger.
  • During red lights, throw paper airplanes into the windows of nearby cars.
  • Take off your smelly shoes and socks.
  • Leave your dirty underwear on the bus as you leave.
  • Do stand up comedy on the bus.
  • Do really bad impersonations of famous people.
  • Do really degrading impersonations of other passengers.
  • When you get on the bus, walk really slow. Insist on sitting in the back row.
  • Pretend like you have to throw up, then dump a bunch of creamed corn on the floor.
  • Try to sell the clothes you are wearing to other passengers.
  • Pick a word at random and shout it every few minutes.
  • Act really suspicious and paranoid every time a police car passes the bus.
  • If a fair inspector asks to see your ticket, claim that he or she is violating your constitutional rights.
  • Take out a really big knife, leave it on the seat next to you, and put on a suspicious smile.
  • Eat hot soup while on a bumpy road.
  • Make sure you hold this soup over another passenger’s head.
  • Claim you have a cell phone in your hand and have important conversations.