Thursday, December 30, 2004

Neon Sunflower

It's overcast outside (again). Looks like rain (again). Where is summer?

Good thing my Neon Sunflower does not actually need the sun!

For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, it really is supposed to be summer over here.

Neon Sunflower Fractal

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Bright Star

Here is my latest fractal "discovery". The formula that generated it was:

sin(z^5+4*z^3*c)/c

Go figure.

Brightstar Fractal

Monday, December 20, 2004

Random Sketch

Why photograph items when you can sketch them instead?

Below a statuette that came with me from South Africa. It was a gift from my dad. It was also really easy to sketch.

Mother and Child Statue

The above item is roughly 21cm in height. It sits on my bedside table gathering dust. Some of us have way too much time on our hands.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Ice, Ice, Baby Ice

As promised last week, here is the recipe for icing that chocolate cake.

Icing Ingredients

  • 50g butter / marge
  • 1 tsp coffee
  • 40 mL cocoa
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence
  • boiling water (to half a cup of liquid)
  • roughly 325g icing sugar

Method

Combine the cocoa, coffee and hot water in a small jug or class, then add the vanilla to the mixture.

Loosened Cake
Loosen the cake with a pallette knife (around the sides and at the bottom).
Melt butter
Put the butter in the pot and melt it.

Don't let it go brown.
Add cocoa / coffee / water mixture
Add the cocoa, coffee, vanilla and water mixture to the melted butter.
Add icing sugar
Add the icing sugar.

Stir the contents of the pot until ...
Smooth Mixture
There are no more lumps.
Prepare to Spread
The icing should be thick enough to spread. If it is too thick,it won't stick on the cake. If it is too thin, then it may end up running down the sides.

Spread the icing on the side of the cake. Do this over the pot so that any drips get recycled.
Plate on cake
Place a plate over the centre of the cake, put your hand on top of the plate.
Cake on plate
Now turn the cake "upsidedown" so that the cake is on the plate.

Your cake should look like this.
Lines on side
Mark the sides of the cake (be gentle), this helps the icing stick on the cake and is also a handy guide for cutting even slices.
The top
Thin the remaining icing a little with some hot water (a tiny bit goes a long way), then pour the slightly thinner icing onto the top of the cake.
Spread it
Spread the icing evenly on the top of the cake.
Mark Top
Mark the top of the cake.
Almost done
It should look like this. You could stop here but if you have leftover icing, there is lovely finishing touch.
Thin icing (again)
Add about one teaspoon of water to the remaing icing to make it nice and thin.
Thinned Icing
It should look like this.
Drizzle
Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake.
All done
Your finished cake should look wonderful.

I have a confession. The above photos show my mom icing the cakes that I baked. My dad wanted to take a cake with him to the office and I needed one for a gift so I made up a double recipe of batter and then my mom volunteered to do the icing. The icing above can be a bit tricky, so if it does not work first time, don't be upset. I can guarantee that even if it does not look totally professional, it will taste really good. Obviously we doubled up the recipe for the icing as well but all the numbers above are to ice one cake only.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Chocolate Cake

Baked a cake today and inspired by Cooking for Engineers decided to blog the experience.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • Half a teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup castor sugar (you can use regular sugar if you are desperate)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • Half a cup of water
  • Half a cup of oil
  • 1 extra teaspoon of baking powder

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (350 Farenheit)

separated eggs
Separate the eggs and add the vanilla to the egg yolks.
sifted dry ingredients
Sift the dry ingredients together.

Measure out the oil and water.
Mix it!
Add the oil and water to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Beaten Yellows
Beat the egg yellows until they are a creamy yellow colour.

Add the egg yellows to the chocolate mixture and mix well.
Smooth Mixture
Your mixture should look like this.
Egg whites
Add the extra teaspoon of baking powder to the egg whites and beat well.

Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
Add Whites to Chocolate
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
Keep Folding
Your mixture should look like this when you are done.

Take out a Chiffon tin.
Batter in tin
Pour the cake batter into the tin.
Cooking...
Put the cake into the oven for 35-40 minutes (at 180 degrees C / 350 F).
Almost done
Don't worry if cracks appear on the surface of the cake.
Out of Oven
Take the cake out of the oven and check that it is cooked using a skewer (or a toothpick).
Upside down
Place the cake upside down and until it is cool.
Loosen and Ice
Loosen the cake and ice if desired.

Most of the time, I simply serve the cake with ice cream and don't bother to ice it. I did ice the cake today as it is for a party that I am going to, only the icing for the top was too thick so it did not spread easily and the resulting cake looks rather unprofessional. The plan is to make another cake later in the week. Will have another go at the icing and blog it the icing recipe if it goes well. Am still taking my rather homemake cake with me tomorrow as even though the icing "flopped", it still tastes really good.