Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Cake

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When I saw the video of Ina Garten making the chocolate buttercream frosting, I was immediately sold! I was like, this is it! This will be the next cake I’ll be making. And I never regretted it. The cake is moist and has deep chocolate flavor. Not too mention, quite easy to make. The frosting, however, is the kicker. Instead of American buttercream, which oftentimes only has butter, melted chocolate and powdered sugar into it, the frosting has meringue incorporated into it (Swiss Buttercream) which makes the frosting much lighter and I think more flavorful.

This recipe makes a lot of cakes and a lot of frosting. You won’t have to fear if you have enough frosting for the layers and the pipings, as I guarantee you that you’ll have enough. I ended up with 3 6-inch round cakes and about 30 mini cupcakes. The frosting is enough to frost both the cake and the cupcakes. I guess you can halved this, but I dare not try yet.

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Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

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I adore anything minis, so when I was asked to make something with blueberries, I immediately jumped into action and baked these mini blueberry cupcakes. These are moist and tender, and just the perfect amount of sweetness. The recipe is based from Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffins, although I did make some small changes into it. The recipe calls this as muffins, but I think the recipe is more of for cupcakes. I excluded the mashing of blueberries and added a little bit of cinnamon into the batter. I reduced the amount of sugar, and added a couple of tablespoons of sour cream for that extra tenderness. I was contemplating whether to frost this mini cupcakes, but I think that these are already good as it is, so I didn’t bother with frosting. This has become one of my favorite on-the-go snacks at work!

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Banana Bread

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This is my all-time favorite banana bread recipe! I’ve searched and tried many recipes, Joanne Chang’s banana bread recipe stands out the most for me. I did tweak it a little bit such as reducing the amount of sugar and making the walnuts and sour cream optional. Also, instead of just baking soda, I also added baking powder for extra leavening.

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Homemade Yeast Doughnuts

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For this recipe, I used both whole wheat flour and all purpose flour, but you can definitely use all 4 cups of all-purpose flour. I was just merely “testing the waters”, you can say, on how well a doughnut can handle whole wheat flour. I had never tried a whole wheat doughnut before, so I figured to try it, but only started with half of it first.

Cinnamon¬† is also optional. But it’s a wonderful addition and one I would highly recommend! This was also the first time for me to try adding cinnamon in a dough, and the outcome came out really great!

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Black and White Panna Cotta

 

If you’re wanting something light (and jiggly!) for dessert, you can never go wrong with panna cotta. It’s very easy to make and can be made ahead of time( or I should say *must* be made ahead of time). The wonderful thing about panna cotta is you can have a lot of fun playing with it. You can flavor it any way you desire, or top it with berries or granola, or serve it with chocolate syrup, or , my most preferred way, serve it plain as it is.

I call this Black and White Panna Cotta, but really, it’s just vanilla and dark chocolate that contrasts each other with color, but a bliss of flavor when combined.

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From the Scratch Coconut Milk

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I always have an inkling on how coconut milk is made but I never really had the chance to make it myself. While on vacation, visiting my parents back in my home country, I had the opportunity to “help out” in making coconut milk from scratch. It may seem tedious at first glance, but really, it’s quite easy and fun to do. So for those with easy access to “mature” coconuts, I guarantee you that making this coconut milk from scratch will be worth your while.

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No-Knead Bread

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I’ve been in a bread baking mood these past few weeks, and I happened to chance upon this No-Knead Bread recipe from New York Times. As the name implies, there’s no kneading required to make the bread. And as an added bonus, it’s a 3-ingredient bread (excluding water, of course!)! I’ve made this many times these past few weeks, and never have I had any failures, so I would like to think of this as a foolproof bread recipe. It does require 12-18 hours of room temperature incubation. And it also requires something which I don’t have in my kitchen, which is a dutch oven casserole. I can, however, make a substitution for that, so it could still come out perfectly. I’ve also made some small changes to the recipe based on what other people have told me.

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

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I’ve always liked homemade breads. I’m not very good at baking breads, but I try my hands on it whenever I can. My sister had come to ask me to bake her a whole wheat bread as she prefers it over white bread. Sure, you can easily buy whole wheat bread at any stores, but she (and me included) prefers homemade rather than store bought. I’ve never made a “successful” bread loaf before, but I thought I might as well try.

This bread is 100% whole wheat flour. I was contemplating of adding white flour into the mixture, but thought against it. If I’m baking whole wheat bread, might as well make it 100% whole wheat. Instead of sugar, I chose honey as a sweetener which matches really well with wheat-y flavor of the bread.

This recipe has only 6 ingredients. Six!! I compared it to the ones I found at the grocery store, and I was surprised to see the list of ingredients for one whole wheat loaf bread. There are just many! That just makes me more determined to  harness my breadmaking skills.

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Creamy Cheesy Pasta

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This is my take on mac and cheese. Instead of macaroni elbows, I prefer rotini as I like how the swirls hold the creamy cheesy sauce, and not to mention that it looks much better than the elbows! I used my 3 favorite cheese to make the sauce: brie, smoked gouda and of course, white cheddar cheese. The combination of those three is so perfectly delicious and sumptuous. I don’t think you can ever go wrong in any pasta recipe when using those three cheese. I guarantee you, this is sooooo much better than the boxed mac and cheese!

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