Naked Chocolate Birthday Cake with Buttercream Icing and Summer Berries

Naked Birthday Cake with Buttercream Icing and Summer Berries & Cherries – Candy Coated

I made this cake for my first God-son’s birthday as usual I make him a cake. This time I’m trying to make a more fanciful grown up cake.

Yield/Serving: Makes one 9 inch two-layer cake
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Medium

From Eat Delicious by Dennis the Prescott

Ingredients
Cake

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• ¾ cup unsweetened natural (not Dutch-process) cocoa powder
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1½ tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
• 2 large free-range eggs
• 2 cups whole milk
• ½ cup olive oil
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp Irish cream liqueur (such as Baileys)
• ½ cup boiling water
Buttercream
• ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
• 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
• 3 tbsp heavy cream
Chocolate Ganache
• 4 ounces dark chocolate (70%), chopped into very small chunks
• 1/3 cup heavy cream
• Pinch of salt
Fruit topping
• 2 ½ cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
• 1 cup fresh blackberries
• 1 cup fresh blueberries

Assembly
Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease two 9” cake pans with butter.
3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, milk, olive oil, vanilla and Irish Cream.
5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the batter is smooth. Scape down the sides if needed.
6. Slowly add the boiling water and then increase the mixer speed to high and beat for one minute.
7. Pour batter into two pans evenly and cover with aluminum foil. (The will make the cake moist and light)
8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then invert out the cakes and let cool on a wire rack for 35 to 40 minutes or more.
Buttercream
10. Using the stand mixer with the fitted paddle attachment beat butter until creamy for about 1 minute.
11. Continue and add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed and add in vanilla and cream.
Ganache
12. Place chocolate pieces in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
13. Using a small saucepan bring cream to a simmer over medium heat.
14. Pour cream over chocolate and after about 5 minutes add a pinch of salt and stir melted chocolate until smooth.
Fruit
15. Prepare the fruit and combine in a bowl.
Cake
16. Place cake on a cake stand or serving tray and spread buttercream in an even layer.
17. Top the buttercream with some fruit.
18. Place the second cake on top of the buttercream and spread the chocolate ganache all over the top. Ensure to let a bit of ganache run over the edge.
19. Arrange the remaining fruit on top of the cake.
20. Serve.

Tips
• If you don’t have a mixer with a bigger bowl than traditional size this mixture will spill out. Mix a medium speed at all times.
• The covering the cake in aluminum foil didn’t work for me at all. It just left the centre half extremely raw. It only began to properly bake once I removed the foil.
• I omitted the Bailey’s as this was a birthday cake for a child and used orange juice instead.
• I erred on the side of caution and let the cake cool over night or for at least an hour.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is hands down the best cake I have ever made and I didn’t even have to cover up my work with frosting because it turned out so well. This is an attention grabbing cake and is worth all the time and effort for a special birthday cake. This had a wow factor and was loved by all. The cake was light and moist and the ganache was shiny and with the addition of the fresh fruits it cut the sweetness of the buttercream. I was very proud of myself and this has given me the confidence to tackle a proper layered cake. I had very high hopes and this turned out smashingly.

Naked Birthday Cake with Buttercream Icing and Summer Berries & Cherries – Candy Coated

Naked Birthday Cake with Buttercream Icing and Summer Berries & Cherries – Candy Coated

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Salmon Salad

Salmon Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

Clean eating at its finest. Such a simple and wholesome recipe that is great for lunch or dinner.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Salad

• Salmon fillet
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Dried oregano, to taste
• Dried basil, to taste
• Green beans, trimmed, handful
• 12 Gem baby potatoes, halved
• 8 Grape tomatoes, halved, handful
• Spinach leaves, stems removed, handful
• Orange bell pepper, sliced
• Cilantro, removed from stem
• 8 Klamata olives
• 1 tsp Capers
• ¼ of Red onion, thinly sliced in half moons
• ¼ of an English Cucumber
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
• 2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
• Juice from 1 lemon
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1 tbsp poppy seeds
• Pinch of sea salt
• Pinch of black pepper

Assembly
Salmon Salad

1. Using a frying pan pour a little extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
2. Season salmon with salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
3. When oil has reach temperature place salmon fillet skin side down about 80% of the way, then flip using a spatula, and cook the flesh side the remaining way through.
4. Place on a plate and set aside.
5. Using a small pot filled with salted water over high heat, steam green beans and then immediately place in a ice bath and set aside.
6. In a medium sized pot of salted water over high heat, boil potatoes until cooked through.
7. Prep tomatoes, spinach, cilantro, olives, capers, red onion and cucumber.
Lemon poppy Seed Dressing
1. In a small bowl pour in all ingredients and stir well together.
2. Let chill in fridge for 1 hour.
3. Serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This takes a little time to assemble; but this is a great healthy recipe that I will make time and time again. Fresh salmon served on a bed of veggies with a citrusy homemade dressing is just sublime.

Smoky White Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Smokey White Cheddar Zucchini Bread – Candy Coated Culinista

Another year and I am the recipient of a baby sized zucchini from a friends garden; this time around 4 month sized. I had the opportunity to make zucchini bread many years ago for a cooking club; but the idea of zucchini bread never appealed to be. I still feel the same way; but I am willing to give it a try now. Who knows I may just like it right.

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 medium zucchini, grated
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 2 cups smoky white cheddar cheese, grated
• 2 eggs
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray mini loaf pan with a non-stick spray.
3. Grate unpeeled zucchini, squeeze out any excess water with your hands, and then pat dry using a clean kitchen towel. Zucchini should come to about 1 cup.
4. In a large bowl, pour flour, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda and nutmeg and combine with a whisk.
5. Add in the sugar, zucchini and 1 ½ cups of the cheese.
6. In a small bowl whisk eggs and oil together and then pour over flour mixture and combine until mixed.
7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth down the tops and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9. Let loafs remain in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The one thing I like about this recipe is I don’t have to be pre-planning getting butter to room temperature. This tasted much better than I expected and this vegetable loaf was loved by my taste testers.

Prickly Pear Sorbet

Prickly Pear Sorbet – Candy Coated Culinista

Friday I found what is probably the last of the prickly pear and I knew immediately that it was time to dig out my ice cream maker.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 55 min.
Freeze Time: 6 hours min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Sweet by Ottolenghi & Goh

Ingredients
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup water
• 10-12 prickly pear
• ¼ cup lime juice
• 1/8 tsp salt

Assembly
1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over low heat.
2. Swirl the pan every once and awhile until sugar has dissolved and then increase temperature to medium-high heat.
3. Let simmer for 8 minutes, then remove from heat, and let cool.
4. Store mixture in fridge until ready for use.
5. Peel prickly pear and rough chop and place in a food processor and process until a fine puree.
6. Transfer into a fine mesh sieve set over medium bowl and using a spatula press liquid into bowl and discard seeds.
7. Add in sugar syrup, lime juice and salt and plunge mixture into a ice bath and place in the fried until very cold.
8. Transfer mixture to ice cream machine and churn for 35 minutes or until soft waves form.
9. Transfer to a container and cover until solid, about 6 hours.
10. Before serving take out 10 minutes prior and then serve.

Tips
• Syrup can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in the fridge until needed
• Sorbet will keep in freezer for up to a month.
• If you like the seeds keep seeds in the mixture.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I can’t believe summer is almost over and I haven’t made any ice cream or sorbet yet. The cactus fruit has such a vibrancy that draws you in on first appearance; but then the distinct flavour that I have come to love just jumps out in this recipe.

Prickly Pear Sorbet – Candy Coated Culinista

A Summer Sangria Two Ways

Summer Sangria Two Ways - Candy Coated Culinista

Summer Sangria Two Ways – Candy Coated Culinista

A summer sangria … yes please.

Yield/Serving: about 2 litres
Prep Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 kiwis, peeled & sliced
• 1 bosc pear, sliced
• 1 royal gala apple, sliced into wedges
• 1 royal golden delicious, sliced into wedges
• Handful of strawberries
• Handful of blueberries
• Handful of raspberries
• 1 ½ cup red wine
• ¼ cup dark rum
• ¼ cup tequila
• Juice from 1 orange
• 1 can (355 ml) of Limonata San Pellegrino
• 2 tbsp Grand Marnier, or any orange – liquor
• ¾ cup water
• ¼ cup granulated sugar

Assembly
Sangria1. Prepare and place all the fruits in a pitcher.
2. Pour in all the liquids.
3. Add sugar and stir and crush the fruits a little.
4. Let sit overnight in the fridge and serve in a glass over ice.

Sangria Slush
1. Add 6-8 ice cubes and pour one glass of sangria into the blender and blend.
Decorate with a lemon wheel and a lime wedge.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
A refreshing summer drink that goes perfectly sitting outside and enjoying those warm temperatures; served up with some Mexican food or anything barbecued.

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