Rosé Wine and Chocolate Cake

(a.k.a. Brangelina-Inspired

Naked Wedding Cake)

brangelinacake

August 23: Islander’s Birthday, Brangelina’s Wedding (2014), Feast Day of St. Rose of Lima

Happy anniversary to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who were married on Islander’s birthday! To celebrate, we were inspired to bake a naked-style natal cake like the one that their son, Pax, who was only 10 years old at the time, lovingly made for their wedding. It appears that the alternating cake layers were white or light and chocolate with some pink rosettes and green leaf frosting decorations attached around the sides.

Our top tier mini version is simple yet sweetly symbolic. The chocolate layer is a basic recipe that a child can make (with adult supervision), like Pax might have done for his parents. The vanilla layer is easily made with a boxed cake mix enhanced with rosé wine—specifically the award-winning wine from the Jolie-Pitts’ own home and Provence estate, Chateau Miraval, in France, where their intimate, private wedding ceremony took place amongst their children/family and a few close friends. We topped our naked cake with a statement pink silk rose, which is in homage to the saint of the day, St. Rose of Lima, as well as an indication of the rose pink flavoring in the cake. And the “Mr. & Mrs.” cake topper is in reference to the movie, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, where Brangelina’s infamous love story began.

Celebrate a birthday or wedding like a movie star with this special rosé wine and chocolate naked cake. And have a happy feast day in honor or St. Rose of Lima!

Recipe

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

For the rosé wine cake

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup rosé wine
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon strawberry or raspberry extract [optional]
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract [optional]
  • ½ teaspoon rose water (or ¼ teaspoon rose extract) [optional]
  • 5 drops red liquid food coloring [optional]

Directions

In a large bowl, pour the wine over the cake mix. Stir in the water and vegetable oil. Add the egg whites and pinch of salt.

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Mix in the extracts/flavoring and food coloring, if using. Blend well. Divide batter into two 8-inch round pans that have been lined with waxed paper and greased on the bottom and sides. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

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Bonus Recipe: Easy Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from Kidspot) 

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cocoa. Add the milk and vanilla.

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Stir in the melted butter and eggs and mix until smooth. Pour into two greased 8-inch round pans. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

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For the rosé wine frosting

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup rosé wine

Directions

In large bowl, beat the butter with the salt until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, alternating with a little wine, until well blended.

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Directions to assemble the naked cake

Slice each cake into two layers, leveling the top. Make sure the layers are the same thickness. Brush away any crumbs before assembling the cake. Smear a little frosting on the cake board to act as an adhesive to the bottom layer of the cake.

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Position a chocolate cake layer on the bottom. Spread some frosting on top, being careful not to pick up crumbs. Position the rosé cake layer on top and press down on the filling. Spread more frosting on top.

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Position another chocolate cake layer on top and press down on the filling. Repeat with the frosting and top with the bottom end up of the rosé cake layer.

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Spread the remaining frosting on top (or use a star tip to cover and decorate all around the top of the cake). Chill to let the frosting set. Bring to room temperature for serving. Decorate with a silk rose and leaves and a cake topper as desired. When cut, the cake has a surprising visual beauty of Neapolitan colors.

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Notes

  • “Naked” cakes are simple sweets that have the “bare” minimum frosting between “exposed” layers of cake, which are a good option for movie stars who have to maintain their famous figures and cannot indulge in rich desserts too often.
  • Our German chocolate cake was the first attempt at a “naked cake” with the exposed layers of German chocolate cake sandwiched between sweet coconut-pecan frosting. We hope to make more naked cakes for our blog in the future.
  • We used a French brand of butter because Brangelina got married in France.
  • Any rosé wine may be used instead of the more pricey Miraval brand in this recipe.  The tasting notes in the latter are described as having a delicate berry and citrus aroma with a floral touch. So we added berry and citrus flavorings and rose water to the white cake batter.
  • The alcohol cooks off in the cake when it is baked, so it is safe to serve to children.
  • The pinch of salt in the rosé wine cake batter and frosting cuts a bit of sweetness in the dessert. “Salt” is the title of one of Angelina Jolie’s movies.
  • We used a wire cake leveler to cut the layers of our cake, which is safer than a knife blade when decorating with children.
  • The two cake layers have different densities. The rosé wine cake layer is lighter and fluffier than the chocolate cake layer. If stacking more layers for wedding cake tiers, use a pound cake recipe for a more stable structure.

Olympic Mini Donut Rings

Olympic Donut Rings

Aug. 5-21, 2016: Summer Olympic Games

Highlander used to be a member of the swim and water polo teams in high school and college. So his favorite Summer Olympic events to watch are any aquatics competitions (although he likes watching the other sports, too). Islander isn’t so keen on athletics but she enjoys the excuse to make theme food for event watch parties, especially the Olympic opening ceremonies!

For the last Winter Olympics, she made medal cookies. The Olympic mini donut rings are also appropriate for this season’s games. It is sweetly symbolic, representing the colors used in many nations’ flags.

Add some colorful confections to the table for an Olympic watch party and make these delicious donut rings. They are fun and festive to gobble up during the games!

Recipe

(Adapted from Wilton)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • Wilton candy melts—blue, black, red, yellow and green
  • vegetable shortening (optional)

Directions

Mist the mini donut pan with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and nutmeg.

Olympic Donut Rings

Stir in the buttermilk and beat in the egg. Mix in the melted butter and blend until the batter is smooth. Put a tablespoon of the batter into each ring in the mini donut pan (do not fill more than halfway). Tap the bottom of the pan to level the batter.

Olympic Donut Rings

Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for only 6-7 minutes (the donuts will puff up). Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Melt the Candy Melts over a double boiler or microwave, adding a little bit of vegetable shortening to thin it out, if necessary. Use one color at a time (we started with blue, then black, red, yellow then green).

Olympic Donut Rings

Dip one side of the donut in each color of the Candy Melts. Twist and turn the donut while dipping it, letting the excess color drip back into the bowl. Place the donut on a plate or tray. Let the coating cool and harden. Display the donut rings in rows of the same colors or arrange a complete set of Olympic colors together on one plate.

Olympic Donut Rings

Notes

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

July 14: National Grand Marnier Day

We once made orange macarons with a chocolate ganache filling flavored with Triple-Sec, considered a “poor man’s orange liqueur”. But we splurged this time and used Grand Marnier in a chocolate cake to make it taste even richer! Then we topped off this decadent dessert with a floral design using colored confectioners candy melts. This project was worth the time and effort when we were rewarded with “oohs” and “ahs” from friends who indulged with us in eating a chocolate Grand Marnier cake in observance of National Grand Marnier Day.

Recipe

For the Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (we used Devil’s Food)
  • 1 small box (3.9 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix

Directions

In a large bowl, beat in the eggs with the sour cream, water, Grand Marnier and oil.

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

Stir in the orange zest and extract. Mix well.

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

Add the chocolate cake and pudding mixes. Blend until smooth. Pour batter into a 10-inch round cake pan that has been lightly misted with cooking spray. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, testing the cake for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Place the cake on a board, plate or pedestal for frosting.

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

For the chocolate-orange frosting

  • 8 ounces (8 squares) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup

Directions

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate. In a microwave-safe cup, heat the whipping cream for 30 seconds until warm. Pour over the melted chocolate and mix well. Flavor with Grand Marnier. Stir in the corn syrup until well blended. Let cool at room temperature to desired spreadable consistency (or for a quicker cool down, place in the refrigerator, checking constantly that it does not harden).

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

Smear some frosting on the cake board/plate/pedestal to act as a “glue” to the cake. Place the cake in the center. Use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top and sides. Fill a piping bag with the remaining frosting and pipe shell borders (we used Wilton star tip #21). Let the frosting cool and set.

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

For the flower decorations

  • dark chocolate, melted
  • orange candy melts, melted
  • green candy melts, melted 

Directions

Print out a clipart of flowers as a pattern. Place on a flat surface, such as a cake or cutting board. Tape waxed paper over the pattern. Fill a piping bag with melted dark chocolate. Trace over the flower pattern. Transfer the board to the refrigerator to let the chocolate harden and set. Fill in the flower areas with orange candy melts. Transfer the board to the refrigerator to let the chocolate harden and set.

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

Finish the candy decoration by filling in the leaf areas with green candy melts. Transfer the board to the refrigerator to let the chocolate harden and set. Remove from the refrigerator and invert onto the board. Carefully peel off the waxed paper. Position the decoration on the cake. Serve the cake at room temperature.

Chocolate Grand Marnier Cake

Notes

  • Like to bake with booze? Search our blog for other “spirited” baking recipes.
  • Chocoholic? Search our blog for chocolate-based recipes.

Loslos

(Filipino Deep-Fried Pork Ribs)

loslos

July 4: Filipino-American Friendship Day

While the United States is celebrating its Independence Day, the Philippines is acknowledging Republic Day (also known as Filipino-American Friendship Day). The holiday was initially a commemoration of the establishment of the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946, to coincide with America’s birthday (Philippine Independence Day is on June 12). But now it is simply a day to recognize the special and historical relationship between peoples of the two nations.

Hamburgers, hot dogs and BBQ ribs are popular foods during America’s Independence Day gatherings. If cooking ribs, give them a Filipino flair by frying them à la state fairs and festival style. “Loslos” is a delicious deep-fried pork ribs recipe from Cebu, although various provinces have similar versions. The meat is marinated in “adobo” sauce (vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and ground black pepper) then dredged in seasoned flour before frying. These pork ribs are popular at parties for independence/republic day dining and certainly for Filipino-American Friendship Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Serious Eats)

Ingredients

  • 1 slab baby back pork ribs
  • ½ cup sugar cane (rice or apple cider) vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Directions

Wash and dry the meat. Cut the slab of pork to make individual ribs. Arrange them in a deep baking pan. In a bowl, make the adobo marinade by mixing the vinegar, soy sauce and minced garlic.

loslos

Add the black pepper and oyster sauce. Pour over the ribs, turning and coating them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. In a bowl, combine the cornstarch and flour. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge a wet rib in the flour mixture.

loslos

Deep fry at 375 degrees F in batches until golden brown and cooked through (about 7-8 minutes). Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper to taste. Or serve hot with BBQ sauce or a vinegar-soy sauce dip.

loslos

Notes

  • For bite-sized pork ribs, ask the butcher to cut across the ribs into smaller pieces. Adjust/shorten frying time.
  • Search our blog for other patriotic and Pinoy foods.
  • Also, Happy 4th of July, America! God shed His grace on thee!

Hawaiian Foods Week

themehawaiian

ALOHA! The U.S. Senate passed a resolution to declare that June 12-18, 2016, is Hawaiian Foods Week. Hawaiian and local foods are a melting pot of native islander and Asian-Pacific Rim cuisines. Whether for a traditional luau (feast), kanikapila or simple gathering with the ‘ohana (family) and friends, celebrate Hawaiian Foods Week with HI Cookery by trying out some of these recipes*:

*More Hawaiian and local food recipes will be added to our Theme Menus section in the future. Search our blog for additional Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese recipes. The migrant sugar workers, including Islander’s late paternal grandfather (Maui) and two uncles (Oahu) from the Philippines, came to the Hawaiian Islands between 1850-1930 to labor in the fields. They brought their culture and cuisines and shared them with each other in the plantation villages, influencing the local way of life with a common language (pidgin English) and ‘ono (delicious) fusion foods.

 

Mango Kulfi

(Indian-Style Mango Ice Cream)

Mango Kulfi

 June: National Mango Month

As a sweet ending to our savory and spicy meals at an Indian restaurant, we like to scoop up some mango kulfi in our buffet bowl. This is a brightly colored and intensely flavored Indian version of ice cream. Those who are “mad for mangoes” will surely care for some kulfi, especially during National Mango Month.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned mango pulp (kesar/saffron)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3-5 cardamom pods (optional flavoring)

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the mango pulp with the condensed milk. Pour in the evaporated milk.

Mango Kulfi

Add the whipping cream and blend well. Stir in the cardamom pods, if using. Pour into a freezer-safe container. Cover tightly and freeze for at least six hours. Serve chilled.

Mango Kulfi

Notes

  • Kesar mango pulp contains saffron, which gives it a vibrant golden yellow color and a distinctively delightful taste.
  • If using cardamom pods, remove prior to serving.
  • Search our blog for more mango recipes.

Ceviche de Camarones y Mango

Ceviche Shrimp y Mango

May 5: Cinco de Mayo

San Antonio, Texas, is famous for its fiestas. When we lived there for six super happy years, we celebrated by eating many Mexican dishes with our familia and friends, including ceviche, a dish that contains raw seafood “cooked” in citrus, usually limes or lemons, and tossed with tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers and cilantro. Since Islander is not too fond of fish, she found a ceviche recipe that contains shrimp cocktail. Mango is added to the mix for a vibrant color and a slightly sweet surprise. Ceviche de camarones y mango reminds us of the confetti inside the cascarones (eggs that we liked to smash especially on unsuspecting people’s heads!). This appetizer can be eaten alone or served with tortilla chips. On Cinco de Mayo, serve ceviche with shrimp and mango for a fun and flavorful fiesta.

Recipe

(Adapted from Whole Foods)

Ingredients

  • 25-30 medium-sized shrimp, raw, thawed, deveined and shelled (we used cooked cocktail shrimp; see Notes)
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1 ½ cups tomato, diced
  • 1 semi-ripe firm mango, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3-4 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels and discard the tails. Cut into ½ inch pieces, reserving a few shrimp to garnish (optional). Chop the onion. Dice the tomatoes. Chop the mango (one cup) and jalapeño pepper.

Ceviche Shrimp y Mango

Place the chopped ingredients in a big bowl. Pour the lime juice over the mixture and combine well. Sprinkle with cilantro and salt and mix again. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to allow the flavors to develop and the citrus from the lime juice acid to “cook” the shrimp. Serve chilled in a margarita glass, garnished with shrimp. Or place in a small dish/bowl surrounded with tortilla chips.

Ceviche Shrimp y Mango

Notes

  • If raw seafood is a concern, replace with ready-to-eat cocktail shrimp.
  • Further the fiesta fun and serve ceviche de camarones y mango on National Shrimp Day on May 10.
  • Search our blog for other Mexican recipes. ¡Viva Fiesta!
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