Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (Lava Cake)

 

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I first had the chance of feasting on this decadent and luscious dessert on a Carnival cruise to Mexico. It was just a pure, unadulterated, and chocolatey deliciousness! It was paired with a good vanilla ice cream. The combination of warm chocolate cake and cold vanilla ice cream is one of the best in my vocabulary! Carnival Cruise Lines is willing to share the recipe to everyone, and it’s easy to find online as well. The caveat? The recipe that was given to me by a cruise staff is a recipe for a huge batch of this dessert (not surprisingly, I guess). As much as I like to devour this, I don’t think my family and I can eat that much. So, here’s my take on their warm chocolate melting cake. I tweaked some changes, reduce the amounts of ingredients (especially the sweetness), and it came out soooo delicious!!

Not to mention that you can make this in advance. Yes! I’ve experimented on this during the weekend and I was very successful. Initially, I had thought that the batter has to be cooked almost immediately as there could be some textural changes and such. Additionally, you can only serve this warm, meaning you have to make this just minutes before serving, which may not be ideal at times. However, after last weekend, I found out I was wrong on both accounts. No changes in the batter as long as it’s kept in the fridge, and even though it’s no longer served warm, it’s still quite delicious!!

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Cream Cheese Custard Flan

 

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This gloriously inviting and heavenly custard flan is always a huge hit in my family. Oh yes, this absolutely ruins anyone’s diet, hence I don’t make it that quite often. Everyone in the house seems to be in some sort of a diet these days, and I don’t want to distract them from their goals. I was planning to make this for Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve though, but they had been bugging me for quite some time now to make this for them. Even volunteering to buy the ingredients (which was rare, I’ll have you know!). I succumbed to their pestering and ended up making this last weekend.

It had been a while since I last made this, so I was bit apprehensive on how this would turn out. Baking time is what I’m most nervous about this dessert. I think it’s critical you get that right. Do not underbake, nor overbake it. The baking time varies on each containers I used. Sometimes, I would use a 9 x 13 inch pan, or even a bundt pan, or even smaller round/oval pans. Hence, I never keep track of the baking duration. I would just use often check on them and see if they have that perfect jiggle at the center. It had taken many tries before I could determine that though. There was one time when I had taken it out still jiggly and had thought it would set once it had cooled. But unfortunately, it didn’t. I had underbaked it. Then there was another time when I had overbaked it and it wasn’t as creamy and luscious as I had wanted it to be and even had that “cake-y” texture to it. So, yes, with experience, you’ll know when they’re perfectly baked, and this is also preferential too, I guess. I prefer mine when the edges are set, and only the center is jiggly. I believe some people use thermometer to check on the done-ness of the flan, but I’ve never really tried it myself.

Some recipes require the use of only egg yolks. I tried that before but I find that specific flan way too rich and heavy for an already decadent dessert. Not to mention, I think the egg whites are needed to help set the flan. For this recipe, however, I used the combination of both eggs and egg yolks only. I find the combination pretty good. You can certainly adjust them to your liking, but I still highly suggest using at least 2 egg whites. Growing up, though, my mom just used whole eggs when making flan, not bothering with separating them. I kind of miss eating her version as well. It’s much firmer, lighter in color, and not as luscious and decadent, but it was still very good. Instead of baking, she cooked it through steaming which I had initially thought was the only way to cook this. Until, of course, internet was introduced.

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Tiramisu

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I have been craving for a good and authentic tiramisu for months now. The tiramisu I had eaten back in one of the trattorias in Rome was heavenly and just delectable. Before that, I had a huge dislike on tiramisu. Well, the ones I had eaten before I had went to Rome was mostly from cafeterias or from bakeries in the grocery store, and not of specialty stores. Those were loaded with sugar and coffee. Instead of of savoiardis, some used sponge cake and replaced mascarpone with cream cheese or a mix of cream cheese and mascarpone. Some tiramisu in here is more like a cake with an even added frosting. In other words, they don’t even come close to the delectable taste of authentic tiramisu.

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So, here’s my version of that tiramisu (although I must honestly admit it still doesn’t taste as good as the one I had in Rome, but close, I hope). The recipe is loosely based from the label of Belgioioso Mascarpone tub. I used the same amount of ingredients, but altered the process a little bit. If you’re like me who is also worried about consuming raw eggs, then this might be helpful for you. I cooked the egg yolks and replaced egg whites with whipped cream. You can certainly use pasteurized eggs, but I didn’t have some, so I used regular eggs.

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Rose Apple Pie

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It’s the internet rage since, I don’t know, 2-3 years ago perhaps? I’ve been dying to try my hands on making rose apple pie, and when is the best day to do that but on Thanksgiving Day, right? However, I wasn’t able to do it on this year’s Thanksgiving as I was pressed on time, and our oven was fully occupied by the turkey. A week after Thanksgiving, I decided to just go ahead and do this, regardless of any occasion. It’s an eyeful for sure, and not to mention such a unique way to surprise your guests.

When my family saw this, they couldn’t believe it’s an apple pie. Sure, I strayed away from the classic apple pie we were all used to having, at least aesthetically. However, the flavor remained the same, or almost the same. If you are someone who likes their crust, this may not be for you as it doesn’t have a top crust. I prefer to think of this as more of a tart rather than pie, actually. In fact, the next time I make this, I might just do it on a tart pan instead of a pie pan.

My go-to apple for baking has always been Granny Smith and I always peel them. I know some people prefer others or a mix of different varieties of apple like Honey Crisp, etc. If you do use red apple, you can definitely skip the peeling process of the apples, if you like. The beautiful red skin color of apples can help enhance the rose impression on this pie.

For the pie crust, I used the pie crust recipe from my  Egg Custard recipe post. It’s flaky, buttery and extremely easy to make.

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Fruitcake Cookies

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It’s that time of the year! My favorite holiday, Christmas Day, is approaching very fast. As I’m already all set with gifts for my friends and family, the only thing I have to stress about is food (which isn’t that very stressful at all!). My mom is a great fan of fruitcakes. In fact, she buys them every single year, even though no one in the household shares her fondness for fruitcakes. Many times before, she would buy fruitcake mix and asked me to make a fruitcake. I tried my best, but unfortunately, failed at making her the moist, authentic and delicious fruitcake. I tried the true and tested recipes from the back of the label of the fruitcake mix and of course, searched online for that authentic fruitcake version she’s been raving about. But nope, I just can’t replicate the fruitcake cake that she often buys in the grocery store.

This year, however, I am trying a different approach to the fruitcake mix she has handed to me. I experimented on making a fruitcake cookie instead of the tedious fruitcake cake. It’s much easier, faster and yes, more delicious than the cake version. My siblings and I don’t like fruitcake, but we ended up liking this cookie version. It’s that good! Not to mention, very pretty and definitely has that holiday look!

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Triple Chocolate Brownies

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I think every household has their own traditional brownie recipes. Ours came from Hershey’s which was printed on the back of the label of their cocoa powder container years ago. It was more cake-y and bit dry, but that was the brownies we only knew before. Instead of walnuts, we used peanuts as that was cheaper and more accessible to us. Times changed and now, brownies get their own upgrade. These days, a brownie is no longer a brownie if it’s not chewy and fudgy. It’s now more decadent, chocolate-y and luscious. Hence, I would like to share with you my take on this chewy and fudgy brownies.

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Egg Custard Pie

 

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I rarely bake pies. I didn’t grow up eating pies on any occasion. Hence, the reason why I’m not particularly good at making pie dough. I’ve tried many times before, but due to some careless and rookie actions, and other possible things that I can’t figure out that I made, I have never ended up with a beautiful, perfect, neat-looking and delicious pie crust. One difficulty I have is rolling the dough. Sounds easy, right? Just simply roll out the dough! Yeah, and I couldn’t even get that simple task done! It’s either my dough ended up being too thin or thick, or I couldn’t get it out from the counter to place neatly and beautifully on the pie pan. And whenever I thought I was finally successful on battling with rolling the dough, my pie crust ended up being out of shape when baked (crimps on the edge were gone). So yeah, for many times, the frozen grocery pie dough and I are real best friends.

After many hesitations, reasoning, and convincing myself, I decided to try my hand on making homemade pie dough again!  Photos below are not picture-perfect pie, so just be warned 🙂

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