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!

HI Cookery is 6!

We are now in our sixth year of blogging and are taking our time to “cook our way through the calendar”. At first, we wanted to finish fast and fill in all the food holidays on the list. But then we would not have enjoyed the experience as much if we were rushing. Eventually, we will complete our goal while, in the meantime, following the philosophy of Greg Anderson, founder of the Cancer Recovery Foundation International charity organization, who is quoted as saying:

Focus on the journey, not the destination.

Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.

AN ENRICHING EXPERIENCE

We did not start this blog to get rich and famous through ads and publicity. Over the years, we have been approached by different groups inviting us to participate in monetizing our blog through affiliate marketing programs or publications asking us to be interviewed about a holiday recipe. We are flattered with the attention that HI Cookery has been getting. And maybe we will miss out on a lot of potential opportunities. But we have always wanted to keep things simple—cook a familiar or new dish to celebrate every day of the year, photograph the process and share the recipe with our memories with family, friends and followers. Life is busy and complicated enough. To us, the cooking-and-sharing ritual is what has made our food blogging an enriching experience. And that’s simply the reward in itself.

BIGGER WATERMARK

Within the past year, a few keen-eyed readers brought to our attention that some of our food photos have been used without our permission to promote someone else’s home baking business (which is a misrepresentation as well as a violation of copyrights). Other readers offered their support and ideas (such as making our watermark bigger on the newer photos) when we were plagiarized. We realize that others still use our images on Pinterest or other blogs, with or without links back to our blog. The bigger watermark still will not prevent people from using our photos anyway but it will identify better HI Cookery as the original source. We truly appreciate our readers and subscribers, many of whom we have not met personally, for looking out for us in cases like these.

CAKE LOVE

Islander won a cake competition this past Valentine’s Day—her first! Fellow members of the local cake club were asked to bring in a 6-inch cake (real or dummy) to the February meeting to match the month’s “love” theme. For her presentation, Islander patiently hand cut silhouettes of couples during different stages of their love lives—from engagement and marriage to pregnancy/family and the golden years. Her cake told “A Little Love Story” which won her $25 to a cake supply shop. She is happy and encouraged to learn more about cake decorating and will share her techniques in a future blog post.

We hope you continue on our food blogging journey with us as HI Cookery heads into Year 6 with more recipes to come…and, as always…

Tapadh leat! Mahalo! Thanks!

Highlander and Islander

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

(with Streusel Topping)

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

April 7: National Coffee Cake Day

When Islander attended a ladies’ luncheon with a spring theme, she brought over a luscious lemon almond coffee cake with a streusel topping to share with her new acquaintances. Her offering was well received at the potluck and many ladies asked for the recipe. Islander shyly said she would put the recipe and photo tutorial on her food blog, and they were more impressed that she was a blogger (what a subtle way to get more traffic to HI Cookery!). So ladies (and gentlemen)—new friends, as promised, here is the recipe with the photo tutorial for lemon almond coffee cake with streusel topping. The recipe is appropriate to take to springtime potlucks and luncheons as well as to make in observance of National Coffee Cake Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

For the streusel topping

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold, cut into ½-inch pieces)
  • 2 lemons, grated zest
  • ¾ cup almonds, sliced (we used blanched slivered almonds)
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and brown sugar. Cut in the butter and mix until it resembles small peas and coarse crumbs. Add the lemon zest, almonds and extract. Chill in the refrigerator while making the almond coffee cake.

For the lemon almond coffee cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup lemon curd
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2-3 lemons, grated zest
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In a larger bowl, cream the butter with sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the lemon curd.

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

Mix in the sour cream, zest and almond extract. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until well blended (do not over mix).

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

Pour the thick batter into a buttered 9-inch springform pan and spread out evenly. Top with the streusel. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes, testing the cake for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

For the lemon glaze

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Directions

In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Let set. Slice and serve with coffee (or tea).

Lemon Almond Coffee Cake

Notes

  • Love lemons? Search our blog for more recipes containing lemons as an ingredient.
  • A new season (spring) is a great time to make new friends! Thanks to all our new blog visitors and subscribers for following HI Cookery (our blog-o-versary is just a few days away on April 11).
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