Sunday, 25 May 2014

Fudgy Petite Four Squares

Lemme get one thing straight: these babies just scream "I want you".

One can never have too much decadence, right? Well, okay, I'm not exactly crazy for super rich chocolate desserts, particularly chocolate (things I am crazy for: vanilla, strawberries, The Hunger Games books, guitar), but I'm sure you will LOVE this because it is oh so amazing with its cake pop-like bottom and fudgy top.

Ahem. I am waiting for tomorrow to come so I can talk to my best friend Anusha Riaz. (We need to talk, Anusha, or I'm gonna explode. A very serious face-to-face talk.)

For the cake,
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup yogurt
1 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda

1 cup of your favorite frosting
1 cup of chopped nuts is optional

For the fudge topping,
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder


In a medium sized bowl, combine the cocoa powder and water. Let cool completely before adding the yogurt (sour cream is a good alternative to yogurt). Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, along with the vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture and fold in the flour mixture.

Pour into a greased 9×13 inch cake pan and bake in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the pan and crumble apart. Add the frosting and nuts, if using. Press into a square cake pan lined with parchment paper or wax paper or aluminum foil. Freeze for 15 minutes.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter. Stir in the cocoa. Pour this over the cake mixture and let cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares. You can make cross-hatches accross the top, if you'd like.

Zoya :)

Friday, 23 May 2014

Graduation Cake Pops

My sister graduated this year from Northeastern University and came to Pakistan for a month to visit us. And she wanted to celebrate. Actually, my mom wanted to. No, it was me. No way! It was my other sister. No, it was... WHATEVER. 

Naturally, as soon as she announced that she was having a graduation party, I darted into the kitchen. However, someone insisted on ordering a cake from CK. As you may have guessed, I felt horrible. So I got to make cake pops instead :).

1 - 9×13 inch cake, flavor of choice, baked and cooled, crumbled
1 1/2 cups frosting
Chocolate for dipping
Ghirardelli sqares or other big square chocolate
Liquorice, frosting, or marshmallows for tassel

Mix together the frosting and cake until the mixture resembled play dough. Roll into balls. Dip one end of the cake pop stick into the chocolate and push about halfway into the stick. Do this to all your pops. Freeze for forty-five minutes.

Dip each pop into chocolate. Place a Ghirardelli square on each, creating a hat. Pipe, cut, or lace together tassels for the top. Let dry in a block of Styrofoam amd serve.

Zoya ;)

Monday, 12 May 2014

Almond Cake

Can anyone say 'busy'? I haven't updated this blog for over a week! School, school, school.... I've practically been flying around the school, and since the dramas and plays are over, there's our finals coming up, and swimming has started (did I tell you I'm on the school team?), then I have to shadow teach, and... there's enough to fill an entire lecture.

With that, I didn't have time to bake or practice my hobbies, so for Mother's day, I made my mother an almond cake all sprinkled with icing sugar. I also used a layer of carrot cake, but that is totally optional. You can find that recipe here, from Allrecipes (if you do use this recipe, add an extra teaspoon of vanilla and brown sugar instead of white).

3/4 cup whole almonds
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the sides of the cake pan and line the bottom of it with a round of parchment paper.

Place the almonds, sugar, salt, and almond extract in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts are finely pulverized. Add the eggs and butter, pulse to blend thoroughly. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse just until blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick plunged into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on the rack.

To unmold, slide a slim knife or spatula around the cake to release the sides. Cover the pan with a plate and invert both. Remove the cake pan, peel off the parchment liner, and turn the cake right side up. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. Tightly wrapped, the cake keeps well at room temperature for several days.

Zoya :)

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Funfetti Cake Batter Frosting

Frosting usually appears less to me versus cake (thanks to Betty Crocker, with their disgustingly runny and gloopy 'frosting'), and though I do love cake, my favourite dessert is my recipe for chocolate chip cookies, I could devour a bajillion of these melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cupcakes. I mean, well, everyone loves frosting, I don't. Everyone can't get enough chocolate, I can. Everyone hates lentils, I love them. See? I'm very different.

Anyway, Anusha was here earlier today and I created this amazing frosting made with... wait for it... cake mix! Oh yeah. And this frosting is 10,000,000,000,000 times better than any cupcake.

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk (if needed)
3/4 cup Funfetti cake mix (you can use yellow and added sprinkles; either works)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
About 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles or rainbow sugar (optional if you’re using Funfetti cake mix)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and vanilla extract until creamy, about 1 minute. Add about 1/4 cup of the cake mix and beat in until incorporated. Gradually begin adding the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until a stiff frosting consistency is achieved. Thin out with a little milk – about a teaspoon or two – at a time if needed.

Once you have a nice stiff yet spreadable consistency, blend in the rest of your cake mix until combined. Again, use milk if you must to thin it out if it’s too thick. Blend in your sprinkles.

Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with additional rainbow sprinkles, if desired. You can never have too many sprinkles! Om nom nom nom nom!


Friday, 2 May 2014

My Sister Is Graduating!

That's right! My eldest sister, Faryal, is graduating from Northeastern University today! No, like, right now. I can't watch it, I'm not in Boston, but there is always NU Live Streaming! Happy graduation day, Faryal, and I have a surprise for you when you come to Pakistan!

Zoya :)