Black Forest Cake Recipe & Demo

This cake is sure to be the star of your next dinner party! It looks good and tastes even better, your guests will definitely think it took you forever in the kitchen to make this from scratch but actually this is super easy. You can make lots of variations of this Black Forest Gateaux but this is  a good starter. Here are some variations that I made in the past:

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For the chocolate cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
  • 175g (6 oz)caster sugar
  • 175g (6 oz) softened butter
  • 1½ level tsp baking powder
  • 40g (1½ oz) cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line the bottoms of two 20cm/8in sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides. Mix the boiling water with the cocoa powder to make a thick chocolate paste. Set aside to cool. Sift all the dry ingredients together. Beat the eggs lightly in your mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients together, adding the chocolate paste last. Beat for 2-3 minutes at medium speed. Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out into a wire rack.

For the ganache, heat 300ml of double cream in a heavy duty saucepan and just before it boils (never let it boil) take it off the heat and add 375g of dark chocolate broken into pieces. Stir gently until all the chocolate has melted. Add a tablespoon of honey or golden syrup. Chill for two hours or until it reaches a good spreading consistency.

In a heavy saucepan, put 2 tins of black cherries (syrup completely drained) and 3 tablespoons of white caster sugar and a 1 tablespoon of  water. Simmer of about 20 minutes, making sure it is not sticking at the bottom of your pan. Take off the heat and mash the cherries with a fork.

Whip 500ml of double cream.  Grate 50g of chocolate for decorating and  a few glaced or fresh cherries for topping.

Watch the video below for complete demonstration on how to put the cake together. Enjoy!

 

This entry was posted in Food and tagged .

That ’70s Vibe

One great thing about fashion is that things that have long been categorised as ‘old’ are suddenly new again.  And this Spring and Summer 2015 will see the rise of the 70’s fashion.  Although the clothes in this era is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea per se, there is definitely something you can take from it and make it more wearable in the present time.  Personally I think there is something for everyone in the ’70s fashion because it is so varied and ever-changing even in them days and 60’s fashion have actually carried on into the 70’s.  A good example are the mini A-line skirts that were ever so popular in the ’60s were still big in the early ’70s, but then there were girls who weren’t so confident in sporting their pins hence the birth of the midi skirt! Granny dresses were also born and became popular in this era. Then there are the jumpsuits, chunky belts, flowy tops and skirts and let’s not forget the bell bottom trousers!  I remember when I was a teenager I was quite chubby so I never wore skinny jeans then, not even leggings! Instead I wore flare jeans or wide-leg trousers because they balanced my legs out and my thighs did not look like tree trunks!  When I was a Sophomore I was part of the cheerdance squad and we wore extreme bell-bottoms then and cropped top that ties on the front with bell sleeves.  I wouldn’t have chosen that for cheerdance outfit but I guess our choreographer had a things for the 70s because some of our music were also quite retro.  70s fashion is definitely not for everyone, but you can still be trendy this Spring/Summer by taking one piece of clothing that is 70s-inspired and then work with it.  Just remember that your confidence is the most important part of your outfit and if you don’t feel comfortable in what you are wearing then that kills the fun in being fashionable.

If you have great pins, take a mini skirt and pair it with a nice paisley blouse or you could wear some bright and short shift dresses.  If you’re not quite into baring your legs don’t lose heart! A pleated midi or soft maxi skirt should do the trick, wear it with a nice flowy top for a boho chic feel.   You could take a pair of flare jeans and wear it with a top that complements you and a nice thin scarf. If you have nice abs, the hipster jeans are for you. The list goes on really!

For this blog post though, I decided to do dungarees with a thigh rip (for that bit of modern touch) and because it is still quite chilly, I wore a roll neck jumper under it. Fringe is big this season so make sure you grab yourself some fringing :) And because I am a little bit of a hippie, I thought  that my dangling feather headband will finish this outfit off.

So don’t be scared of the 70s fashion. Take something that you feel good in, work with it and don’t forget to have fun!

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Headband from Miss Selfridge

Sunglasses from New Look

Dungarees from ASOS

Roll neck jumper from BHS

Shoes from New Look

Belt from New Look

Necklace from Lipsy

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Everyday MakeUp Look

 

I hope you  guys enjoy my first Get Ready with Me Video tutorial!
Visit our YouTube channel for more videos and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE if you like what you see!  And sorry for the missing letter C at 8:03. ^_^

PRODUCTS USED ON THIS VIDEO:
Elemis Pro-Collage Cream
MAC Prep+Prime
Real Techniques 101 Triangle Foundation Brush
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation
L’oreal True Match Concealer
Real Techniques 201 Brush
Urban Decay Naked 2 & 3 Palette
No7 Blending Brush
MAC Blush in Melba
Real Techniques Blush Brush
Benefit HOOLA
Real Techniques 301 Brush
YSL Natural Radiance Semi-Loose Powder
Real Techniques 100 Brush
Real Techniques 202 Brush
Chanel STYLO YEUX WATERPROOF LONG-LASTING EYELINER in OR BLANC
Benefit BrowZings

 

Style With No Substance Is Nothing But An Empty Shell

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I have a confession to make. I didn’t always like makeup and fashion. I know right? What a shocker.

It’s true though, as unbelievable as that may sound.  If I meet my old self I am not sure we’ll even recognise each other.  Am I only a fragment of the old pieces that used to make up ‘ME’? I refuse to believe that, and without quoting the cliche ‘people change’ let me just say that people can be an improved version of themselves over time.  It doesn’t always mean that they changed who they are. It simply means that some people refuse to belong to stereotypes, or perhaps some people just want to explore all the possibilities that is within themselves.  I am both.

Growing up, I have loved dancing so much that I thought that was what I was going to become when I grew up – a dancer.  But of course that was after my mother told me that becoming a veterinarian in the Philippines is pretty pointless because the people there did not care enough for their pets, and those that did can’t afford animal healthcare. I don’t even know if pet insurance existed then.  I grew up watching ASPCA and RSPCA on animal planet and making a vow to be part of either of the two charities when I grow up. While I had a ton of fun being part of dance troops and cheer dancing  in all the schools I have been in, I soon realised that it wasn’t a dream that really had enough purpose.  And with no support from anybody, it was simply impossible.

At the age of 8, I discovered the world of computer gaming through my brother.  I blame Scorched Earth and all the hundreds of other games that I ever ‘wasted’ my time on playing. Well, at least that’s the word people always use to describe gaming – a waste of time. To me, it’s simply a part of the life I chose to live. I met so many wonderful people through online gaming, the longest friendship I have that started online is 16 years.  We’re still in-touch and the best of friends.  We don’t always chat but when we need the assurance that only certain people can give, we are there for each other almost instinctively.  Being a gamer also strengthen the bond I have with my brother.  While some people view computer games as a waste of time, to me and my brother it served a really stable and sturdy bridge that filled our 9-year age gap.  Who would have thought that while I was playing and loving Baldur’s Gate, somewhere 8,000 miles away, on the other side of the world, the man I was destined to marry was also playing the same game as me?  It will be seven years before our paths would cross.  I understand that some people play games and get paid for doing so but I’m not that dedicated during the time…I actually had a RL (real life) as well as the fantasy one! I also understand that I wasn’t as intelligent as my brother to actually make the kind of games that I was so fond of playing.  He is now a software engineer, and still an avid gamer.

The home I grew up in was practically a library.  Needless to say it was almost unavoidable to not read anything when I was in the house which was most times since I was only allowed an hour each day of outdoor play then.  I wouldn’t change that for the world.  I have always enjoyed reading but I must admit, unlike my brother, sister and mother, I am no bookworm.  Well, OK, maybe there is one thing I might have liked to change.  In the rare occasion that everyone will be home at the same time to allow a family meal, everyone was reading either a book, a newspaper or a magazine whilst eating, as you would imagine people nowadays are on their phones or tablets during tea times.  Maybe a bit more conversation over a nice meal and less reading might have been a more ideal setting.  But no matter.  I think that is one of the best things that my mother had instilled in me.  I remember when I would ask her to help me with my English homework and ask for a meaning of a word, she would not tell me the answer.  Instead she would take a book from one of our many bookshelves, pass it to me and say nothing.  Sometimes the book was bigger than me.  I swear we had the biggest dictionaries ever. Reading is easy but enjoying the company of good books is a gift.  One that I will be forever grateful to my mother for.

My biological parents were both editors and novelists.  In the midst of my rebellious teen, for some unfathomable reason, my English teacher chose me to write an essay as entry to a national writing contest. What’s more unfathomable was the fact that I won that competition and that sealed the deal for my mother.  I was going to be a writer just like her.

But I did not become any of these things.  I am 30 now and I am neither a dancer nor a veterinarian. I did not become a computer engineer like my brother, nor did I become a novelist like my mother.  Instead I am a mother to a wonderful boy and a wife to the best man that some ladies only ever wish for.

Dancing, on the other hand, has helped me to easily lose the 4 stone of baby weight I put on during my pregnancy, that is over 50 lbs! And because I love dancing so much it didn’t even feel like I tried. My ever-enduring love for animals still makes me feel like I have a purpose on this Earth and I have been doing what I can for my local RSPCA! Being a gamer has meant that me and my husband will always have that in common, we even play with my brother online! And I am able to share my thoughts with you right now, that is my gift of writing.  Maybe I am not as good as my mother in expressing emotions through writing and I most definitely am not as articulate as my sister, but I can write.  Most times I just write sad poetry but even that has helped me through the most difficult times.  My mother still believes I will publish a book in the future but I guess that is the reality of parenthood — you never really stop dreaming for your child.  Who knows? Writing is in my blood apparently, maybe I just had a bit of genetic malfunction of some sort :)

Oh, yes, and reading.  It keeps me from spending ridiculous amount of time on social media and restricts any pointless interaction with the idiot box.

Those are some of the things that I am made of –  my core.  And then there are the little things.

 

SO WHY FOOD AND FASHION?

The first time that I ever used moisturiser was when I was already 23! And the first time I have ever attempted to use a foundation was in 2010! You probably won’t believe it if I say I have never done my eyebrows properly until after my child was born.  So I suppose you could say I am pretty new to this stuff. But it doesn’t mean I haven’t learned much and in fact I am still learning. And sharing as I do :)

It is pretty much the same with cooking.  I made my first fondant-covered cake in 2009, and on the same year attempted a decent Black Forest Gateaux.

As a mother you sometimes can’t help but feel like you have lost your identity as a woman somewhere between trying to become the best mother and the perfect wife. Makeup makes me feel pretty and making beautiful cakes makes me feel fulfilled. That I can make something beautiful out of flour, butter, eggs and sugar is pretty astonishing to me.  I know that I will not become a pro makeup artist and I am not the next Mary Berry but that does not mean another shattered dream. As far as I am concerned, my ultimate dream has long been fulfilled.  That I found the man of my dreams and that we are happy with a healthy child and the best dog ever is THE dream, the only one I really care about.  Hans Christian Andersen taught me that much about happiness.

I wanted to share what I have discovered so far about food and fashion to those who are interested in exploring and discovering more of themselves. I don’t live and breathe fashion and I certainly don’t idolise Anna Wintour.  If I had to idolise someone it would have to be the late Margaret Thatcher or Angela Merkel.  No, I am not a feminist, I just think that being a successful woman in politics takes a whole lot of balls. The two women I mentioned have balls bigger than their male counterpart, no doubt.

Being a mother doesn’t mean you have to let yourself go.  A little makeup can actually pick you up on your most depressing days.  And it’s OK to feel beautiful when you’re all gussied-up and makeup is great for exactly that — it is naught but a temporary fix.  You have to feel your absolute best when you are most naked.

And that cake you thought was rubbish will become the most exceptional cake when your little one demolishes it down to the last meager crumb.  Nothing compares to that feeling.

All you have to do is keep your core stable and strong, that is your substance.  Style is the easy part. Because when all the make up is on that single baby wipe you used to take it all of, and when you are down to your pyjamas, what you are made of is really all that is left.  Who you crawl into bed with and who you kiss goodnight every night defines a good chunk of your life.  They are who matter the most to your happiness. Vogue has nothing to do with it. :)

 

jodi4

Sunglasses and earrings from New Look

Shoes from New Look Tee from ASOS Blazer from H&M

Ring and Belt from ASOS

Bag from River Island Jeans from ASOS

 

Double Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

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A little slice of heaven

 

This seriously rich and decadent chocolate cheesecake is the best cheesecake recipe I have ever tried.  This is based on Sara Buenfeld’s  recipe but I tweaked it quite a bit to make it even more indulgent. I found the original recipe to have too thick a base, and the coffee flavoured chocolate bar to be too bitter.  I also changed the chocolate sauce in the original recipe to a thicker and smoother ganache instead of a runny chocolate that hardens and breaks when the cheesecake is cooled.  Bon appétit! :)

 

For the Crust:

  • 200g chocolate digestives, finely crushed
  • 80g melted butter

For the cheesecake

  • 2 x 300g packs full-fat Philadelphia cheese, at room temperature
  • 300g mascarpone cheese
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Tia Maria or Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 284ml pot soured cream
  • 50 g melted chocolate
  • 2TB strong coffee

For the topping

  • 300ml double cream
  • 50g melted chocolate
  • 40ml double cream
  • Optional: chocolate shards to decorate

 

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line the base of a 25cm springform tin with baking parchment. Mix the melted butter and biscuit crumbs until well blended, then press firmly onto the base of the tin. Chill for 10 mins.
  2. Turn oven temperature up to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9. Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar together until smooth and creamy, then whisk in the cocoa, coffee, vanilla, Tia Maria, eggs, soured cream and the melted chocolate.
  3. Put a little melted butter on some kitchen paper and use it to butter the sides of the cake tin. Pour in the cheese mixture, then smooth the top. Bake for 10 mins, then turn the heat down to 110C/fan 90C/gas ¼ for 25-30 mins. The filling should be set, but with a wobble in the centre. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, then leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 2 hrs. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. To make the chocolate ripple: heat the double cream until just warm, you can do this in the microwave.  Mix with the melted chocolate until smooth and cool just enough so that it is of drizzling consistency.
  5. To decorate the cheesecake, carefully remove it from the tin and strip the lining paper from the base. Lightly whip the cream until it just holds its shape, then swirl it on top and drizzle with the chocolate sauce, rippling the sauce through the cream with the end of a fork. Serve as is or pile with chocolate shards, if you’ve made them.
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Double Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

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Make the shards by melting chocolate. Spread a thin later on a greaseproof paper and cool. Do not refrigerate. Cut into triangles or whatever shape you prefer whilst it is still pliable or it will crack.

 

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It’s OK to give in to indulgence now and again :)

 

OOTD: Casual Wednesday With A Plaid Shirt

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Plaid shirt is the most versatile and a must have clothing piece in your wardrobe. It’s super comfortable and easy to wear. I got my plaid shirt in New Look a couple of weeks ago. So today, I decided to finally wear it. For some people plaid shirt can be manly and too casual for their liking. But you can always tone it down and make it more girly by pairing it with a black skirt, shorts or add some fun accessories.

For  this outfit, I decided to pair my plaid shirt with leather leggings and I added a spike necklace to make it more feminine and give a bit of edge to the outfit. Let me know what you guys think.

 

Plaid shirt is from New Look.

Leather leggings is from ASOS

Bag from New look

Suede boots from New look

Spike Necklace from H&M

Bracelet from New Look

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Fashion.
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