Noodles

IMG_20160514_185854I can’t stop myself from just testing the taste of all the carby things I make. I ate one and a half bowls of these noodles (made with bread flour) last weekend. The next day, I had one portion left, I made them for Mr TCM’s lunch. I taste tested a small bowl. And two more long strands.

I’m making these for my 40th birthday with the Tipo OO flour. And a carrot cake with 40 candles all lighted up.

All chocolate cake recipe leads to Hershey’s

While not all doctored box mix recipes are great, most I’ve tried worked out delicious (Red Velvet, Lemon and Chocolate). I became a firm believer of boxed cake mixes as a starting point. My best chocolate cake starts with a Duncan Hines German Chocolate box mix. It works consistently and it’s really good stuff. Then the supermarket decided that Duncan Hines was not popular enough. Or perhaps Betty Crocker was paying them a lot more. Betty Crocker has some good mixes. Chocolate is not one of them. By that I also include their brownies.

Now that I don’t have any chocolate cake recipes, I have been hunting around for one. I dislike trying recipes from scratch because all highly rated recipes are sometimes at best mediocre. Most from scratch recipes don’t turn out tasty despite the wonderful reviews.

Cakes are expensive stuff – butter, sugar, eggs. To have it taste bad is a waste of money and your chance of baking another cake. Having a turn out bad because of a recipe means that every one has to eat a mistake. When the mistakes become not one but two, everyone is going to dread eating it. Three mistakes, they would rather buy a cake. There is no more baking after the third bad cake.

Nigella’s old fashion chocolate cake was mistake. I’m not going to link it. It’s that bad. I tried it already tweaked for increased liquid but it was still dry. I have a disk sitting in my freezer. I am hoping it becomes better after freezing.

After more research online, it seems that Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake was based on Hershey’s Black Magic Cake is the best chocolate cake ever.  Robyn Stone also claimed she has a best chocolate cake ever which was based on Hershey’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake. Eva Bakes (Eva) and Playing with Flour (Monica) compares Hershey’s Black Magic Cake with yet another best ever chocolate cake. This time, Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake. Three versions of best ever chocolate cake all from Hershey’s?

Monica talked about the texture of the Black Magic Cake and the Perfectly Chocolate cake it more in her post. She explains that the Black Magic Cake was fluffier and had a depth of flavour. She felt that she enjoyed the Perfectly Chocolate Cake for it being like the kind of dense moist chocolate cake she had when she was a child. I definitely prefer a denser texture to chocolate cakes. I like my cakes naked and had with tea. Iced cakes definitely look prettier for celebrations. Fluffy cakes are better iced for its texture – an iced dense cake is too heavy for dessert. The problem is fluffy cakes are hard to handle if I need to ice them. Jules says to ice the Black Magic Cake when it is still cold.

So for my birthday I am going to try the Perfectly chocolate cake.

If only I knew how to make it pretty.

Red Velvet is a very fashionable cake choice at the moment for celebrations. I don’t particularly fancy red velvet but it’s so tasty I make this very often for birthdays. I didn’t realise how tasty it was until I had a red velvet cake at a birthday party. This version is seriously good. It’s so good with ermine cream cheese icing, I’m considering this as a potential business plan.

The difficulty I have is that my cakes look ugly. I don’t mean that the edges are soft, the cakes are not level, they dome – which I expect because it is home made. I mean they look like the icon from michelin tires. I use both aluminum and silicon pans. The silicon is slightly less misshaped but that means I have to slice off about an inch all around. After lopping off the dome, I have about one inch height of usable cake left. The aluminum pan makes cakes that look like the Michelin tire mascot.

The second difficulty is that cakes cannot look nice in the heat. This time-lapse video of various frosting at 32 degrees heat  is rather convincing that ermine frosting holds up for at least 30 mins.

For little boy’s birthday, I am planning to make a red velvet cake with ermine cream cheese frosting. I would need to bake it, freeze, thaw it out, frost and freeze it to get a good firm smoothness for the icing. Tricky business, cake decorating.

I cook, you eat.

How freeing it is, to cook without caring for the guests’ dietary preferences! On my mind now: chicken in milk or pork sausages, onion and herb focaccia, baked brie starter, olives antipasto.

Oh wait. I have extra olives. Here goes: chicken in milk, onion and herb focaccia, salad (with onion, lots of basil leaves and vinegar) and lemon tart (maybe if I am not feeling lazy).