Dark Chocolate Orange Cakes

Hey Everyone. I did a little baking this weekend with my kids, and remade my Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake I recently posted. Well, I was still in the mood to bake more yummies, so I whipped up a Dark Chocolate Orange Cake, using my same loaf cake recipe. I had some oranges, chocolate chips and rich cocoa powder in my pantry, and dark chocolate plus orange is one of my favorite combinations. 

Dark Chocolate Orange Cakes

This cake is light, yet rich, aromatic, with a gentle touch of sweetness. The bright orange zest cuts through the bitterness of the dark chocolate. This cake is well balanced and does not need any icing. I recommend using premium cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips. My favorite brands are Ghirardelli (when I’m in the U.S.) and Cadbury (When I’m in Australia). Good quality chocolate is the standard here in Australia. I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious recipe for Dark Chocolate Orange Cake. My base recipe for loaf cake is very diverse, so please play around with it! 

 

Dark Chocolate Orange Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  2. 3/4 Cup Sugar
  3. 1/4 Cup Butter - melted
  4. 2 Eggs
  5. 3/4 Cup Milk
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla
  7. 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  8. Zest of One Orange
  9. 1/2 TSP Sea Salt
  10. 2 TBSP Baking Powder
  11. Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Combine Eggs, butter, sugar, milk, vanilla orange zest and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Sift and fold in cocoa, flour and baking powder until combined.
  3. Add Desired amount of Chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.
  4. Pour cake batter into a parchment lined loaf pan.
  5. Bake at 180C/350F for about 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely before removing from pan.
AmbyCakes http://ambycakes.com/

Hot Cocoa Popcorn

Hey Fam! I have a quick snack attack recipe for you guys today, Hot Cocoa Popcorn! This recipe is insanely easy and curbs a chocolate fix. I’ve been trying to avoid snacking late at night and opting for my favorite chocolate tea, but when I am hungy, I like to make a little popcorn. 

Hot Cocoa Popcorn

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. You do not have to make your own popcorn like i did. You can use air popped, or ready popped popcorn, although warm popcorn works best for this recipe since the cocoa powder adheres to the popcorn. 

Regardless, this is a great snack alternative. I enjoy eating my hot cocoa popcorn with chopsticks. You can find my tutorial in my Youtube video. 

Since Recipe Card is currently not working, I’m unable to offer a printable version at this time. Sorry guys. 

 

Hot Cocoa Popcorn

Ingredients

4 Cups PopCorn

3 TBSP Cocoa Powder

2-3 TBSP Powdered Sugar OR 1 TBSP Stevia Powder

1/2 TSP Cinnamon

1/4 TSP Cayenne

Directions

Place warm popcorn in a large serving bowl

Sift remainder ingredients and stir with a large spoon

Serve immediately! 

 

Food Blogging Tips

Food Photography Styling for Beginners 

Hey Everyone! As a food blogger, I am constantly learning about my craft, and trying new things. Whether it’s related to photography, photo editing, recipe creating or props, I am always finding ways to make each recipe look better, taste better and reach a broader audience. I hope you find some of these Food Blogging Tips helpful. It’s an amazing hobby and career. I just want all of you to succeed, so let’s take this journey together shall we? 

Food Blogging Tips

Props: I am currently into dark and gloomy food photography. I love finding antique-looking plates, silverware and anything black and modern for my food photography. Old rusty bread pans at second hand stores are literally a dime a dozen, so have fun and search for unique items for your photos. You won’t spend a lot of money doing it!

 

 

 

 

Food Blogging TipsTextures: I love adding elements to my photos so I’m not left with so much negative space that it looks boring. You could take great negative space food photos though so don’t be discouraged! Find place mats at stores such as Target or Kmart for a little over a dollar each will add dimension to your food photos. 

 

 

 

Food Blogging TipsUpcycle: I save things like jars, tins, parchment paper (used or fresh depending on your style) etc. for some of my photos. Get creative you guys! You can take really lovely photos of simple dishes such as a plain cinnamon and sugar donut and turn them into a really interesting photo that stands out. All of this stuff is very budget friendly too, which is important when you are starting a food photography portfolio or diving into food blogging. 

 

 

 

Food Blogging Tips

Minimalism: Sometimes, less is more. There is no rules to your style of food photography, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. To me, it’s sort of similar to the fashion industry. Sure, there is some structured advice on how to compliment your body type, and those same rules apply to food photography in my opinion, but even though I am currently into the gloomy, overly edited and dark food photography, sometimes I like to stick to clean and simple. So if you don’t have fancy props right now, a basic white plate and natural lighting can go a LONG way. 

 

 

I hope you find this information useful. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s about what you like, not what you think others will. I try to ask myself, “would I check out this photo compared to the others if it weren’t made be me?” These food blogging tips should be used as guidelines. Be intuitive about your style and don’t feel guilty when a year later you look back and cringe at your old work. At the time, it was something that made you happy. Again, it’s a lot like fashion. LOL! 

Have fun, be creative, and think outside the light box. Food blogging is insanely fun, and a lot of work. You should be happy with what you produce and have fun during the creative process. Otherwise, there is no point in sharing recipes. 

Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake

Hey Everyone! I don’t know about you guys, but I love baking bread at 3 a.m with a little contemporary music playing and a few black candles lit. That’s just me though. I always feel motivated to bake yummy treats for my family in the middle of the night. Who wouldn’t want to greet the morning with freshly baked Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake? This recipe of mine is very simple to follow and insanely delicious! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipd1NBTQQ28&t=15s

Anytime I bake with blueberries, I add fresh lemon zest and freshly grated nutmeg. I highly recommend abstaining from the ground stuff because it is no where near as good. Fresh nutmeg is cheaper too in the long run! Top this blueberry lemon loaf cake with a buttery brown sugar streusel and serve with coffee. 

There is this big myth that claims you have to dust your blueberries with flour prior to adding them into your cake batter. It’s not true. If you feel like you must, then I won’t stop you. I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this light and fluffy, buttery sweet and aromatic blueberry lemon loaf cake. You may want to make two of them! 

Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
For Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake
  1. 1 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  2. 3/4 Cup Sugar
  3. 2 Eggs
  4. 3/4 Cup Milk
  5. 1 1/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries
  6. Zest of One Lemon
  7. 1 TSP Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  8. 1/2 TSP Sea Salt
  9. 2 TBSP Baking Powder
For Streusel
Instructions
  1. 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  2. 1/4 Cup Butter Softened
  3. 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  4. 1 TSP Cinnamon
  5. 1/2 TSP Sea Salt
For Cake
  1. Combine eggs, milk, lemon zest, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Sift and add sea salt, flour and baking powder into the mixture.
  3. Fold in blueberries.
  4. Pour batter into a parchment lined and greased bread loaf pan.
  5. Sprinkle streusel over the top.
  6. Bake at 180C or 350F for about 30 - 35 minutes.
  7. Let cool completely before removing from pan.
For Streusel
  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and sprinkle on top of your cake.
AmbyCakes http://ambycakes.com/

Trying Kinder Surprise as an American

Hey Everyone! If you aren’t familiar with Kinder Surprise, they are chocolate covered eggs with an encapsulated center, which contains a fun toy or prize. These are a part of so many people’s childhoods worldwide, but if you’re an American like myself, then they aren’t. They’re actually illegal in the United States due to a law that passed in 1938 which prohibits the distribution of any confection containing an inedible center. 

Trying Kinder Surprise as an American

Kinder Surprise is an Italian founded product, and although in my opinion this ban should be somewhat lifted, many believe the capsule to be a major choking hazard. I will say, the capsule is pretty large, but opinions aside, I had a really enjoyable time with the kids as we filmed ourselves opening about 10 of these super cool eggs. The chocolate is really good too! Some of the advertising eggs for licensed brands were pure chocolate, while the regular ones were milk chocolate with a white chocolate lining. 

Australia and Europe have a pretty high standard for what classifies as chocolate, so the product itself is great. I’ll have to save that for another post and video though! 

You can be fined up to $2,500 per egg in the United States if you’re caught trying to smuggle them into the country. They are even on Canada’s customs checklist because so many people try to sneak them in, but most I’m sure are unaware of this crazy law since it is just a fun confection. I’m pretty sure most legal authorities will be forgiving and simply confiscate your Kinder Eggs, but is it really worth the hassle and time? 

This experience was not only entertaining, but educational as well. My kids enjoyed learning about the legalities behind Kinder Surprise, and we had a pretty long discussion about them together. 

Until my next Australian adventure, take care!

Amby

 

More Australian Adventures 

Visiting a Cat Cuddle Cafe – Here

Visiting a Koala Sanctuary – Here

American Who Loves Vegemite – Here

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Mochi Cookies

Hey Everyone! As you may have noticed from this blog recently, we’ve been creating a ton of mochi baked goods for you guys and I really wanted to create some Chocolate Chip Mochi Cookies. My intent was to share a cookie recipe that would immediately grab your attention, and I think we’ve finally done just that. This recipe took a lot of trial and error, and I even had to redo a YouTube video, which will be out in about a week for this particular recipe. If I’m not happy with something for my blog, I won’t share it. 

Chocolate Chip Mochi Cookies

I used a combination of sweet rice flour and all purpose flour for this cookie recipe. At first we tried half and half of the flours, and it was okay, but not chewy. Then I remade them with all mochi flour, and although they were delicious, they didn’t stand out to me aesthetically. This combination of flours has brought me the most satisfaction.  

These chocolate chip mochi cookies are delicate, slightly chewy, but are structured as a traditional soft cookie. I can’t wait to share even more mochi recipes with you guys on here. Sweet rice flour has been a huge inspiration for me lately, and I want to continue to create beautiful and user-friendly recipes for everyone to enjoy and wow their friends with.

Please allow these cookies to cool completely before enjoying. They are pretty delicate while still hot. Similar to how you should wait until butter mochi is cooled down as well. I had more success in pushing chocolate chips into the mochi cookies immediately after baking. This is to maintain the cookies’ structure. Use whatever chocolate chips you’d like. If I were in the United States, my recommendation would be Ghirardelli since it’s a local company and top quality product. Australia has great standards on what classifies as chocolate which means more options! 

Enjoy this awesome recipe guys. I worked really hard on it. 

My Other Mochi Recipes: 

Butter Mochi Recipe Here

 

 

Butter Mochi Brownie RecipeHere

 

 

Mochi Donuts Recipe Here

 

 

Matcha White Chocolate Mochi Brownies RecipeHere

 

 

My Other Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes:

Vegan Chocolate Chip Almond CookiesHere

 

 

White Chocolate Pistachio Cookies RecipeHere

 

 

Green Tea White Chocolate Chip Cookies RecipeHere

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Mochi Cookies
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups Sweet Rice Flour
  2. 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  3. 3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter Softened
  4. 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  5. 1/2 Cup Sugar
  6. 2 Eggs
  7. 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  8. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  9. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  10. Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine soft butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and sea salt until creamy.
  2. Add in remainder ingredients, unsifted and fold until combined.
  3. Chill dough for about 20 minutes in fridge to firm up.
  4. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 12-15 minutes at 180C/350F.
  5. Once Cookies are removed from oven, punch in desired amount of chocolate chips.
  6. Allow to cool completely before serving!
AmbyCakes http://ambycakes.com/

 

UPDATE! I have added a video on YouTube for this recipe. I hope you guys enjoy it! There was a slight typo regarding the flour and I apologize. I was a bit distracted while editing. 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

Hey Everyone! My family and I had such a wonderful afternoon Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia recently and wanted to share the experience with you guys. Cat Cuddle Cafe is more than just a cat lady’s paradise filled with kitty merchandise, vegan snacks like cupcakes, savory pies and slices, there are craft workshops and all proceeds go toward caring for these adorable kitties in order to provide them with a new home. Yes! You can adopt a cat at Cat Cuddle Cafe! Unfortunately, my renting agreement doesn’t allow pets, but the next place we move it is mandatory that cats are allowed, since Ben and I want at least 4 kitties. It’s always a good idea to adopt a cat in need instead of going to a fancy breeder, because these pets deserve a chance at a happy life and the people who volunteer their time tending to their emotional well-being deserve to see these cuties off to good homes. 

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

The Area where the kitties hang out in is closed off for their protection, but they do have an outdoor area where they can relax on comfy furniture and are protected from the wild. The room is huge, full of toys, treats, comfy couches with fluffy blankets, kitty books, a table for guests to relax (or blog at), and is 100% cat friendly. They even have a built in cat shelf and tunnel around the room up high for kitties to roam free and feel like they are on top of the world, and above all of us pesky humans. 

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

The staff does an amazing and professional job at introducing us to each kitty, encouraging us to cuddle, pet and hold the kitties and to wash our hands prior to enjoying their company. The environment is very warm and cozy. The place does NOT smell like pets. It is bright with an abundance of fresh air since the outdoor area is open at all times. These kitties have their own kitchen too! It was so cool! 

Be sure to check out my video to see inside the Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane! ^_^

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

The cafe portion of the Cat Cuddle Cafe is a cat lovers dream come true. The shelves are filled with cute cat ear headbands adorned with crystals and pearls, kitty shaped hand bags, delicate figurines, stickers, games and books. It all made me happy and I wanted to buy everything in sight! 

Visiting Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane Australia

There is nothing quite like being cuddly and cozy with a cute and friendly cat. I wish I could adopt all of these guys but at least I can put the word out there that there are really awesome places like the Cat Cuddle Cafe who help kitties find good homes. 

 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

Hey Everyone! I whipped up a really quick and Vegan Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies recipe last night. Ben and I wanted to bake some after dinner treats for the kids but we didn’t have any eggs, so we ended up making a few batches of sweets for everyone to enjoy. These cookies aren’t loaded with sugar and are lightly sweetened with a delicate touch of both almond milk and extract, sugar and yummy dark chocolate chips. 

Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

If you can’t find vegan chocolate chips, feel free to chop up a bar of your favorite plant based candy bar and substitute them in this recipe. I’ll be sure to add some more vegan confections to AmbyCakes, since I ate a diet free of meat and dairy products for nearly 10 years, and still eat predominately that way! I want to be able to offer a variety of yummy treats on my blog for any dietary requirements. 

So although this recipe wasn’t originally intended for my blog life, it’s so simple and yummy that I wanted to add it. I love writing my base recipes in a matter that is easy to remember. Eggs aren’t needed in order to have delicious cookies, and you also don’t necessarily need ingredients such as flax meal in order to make an egg replacement etc. There is no binding agent in this recipe. I didn’t add baking soda, but used baking powder to give the cookies some extra structure, but I can write up a good spreadable cookie recipe in the near future. This dough doesn’t necessarily demand refrigeration time but I do recommend it for perky cookies. 

The combination of both almond and vanilla extracts make these cookies even more delicious, and I honestly recommend when you’re using almond extract in a recipe to add a little vanilla as well since almond extract can be a bit overbearing. It’s nice to have a well rounded flavor, and not flat line. 

Take care until next recipe!

Amby 

More Vegan Recipes by Amby

Four Ingredient Vegan Sparkly Peanut Butter Cookies – HERE

 

 

Vegan Malted Chocolate Brownies – HERE

 

 

Green Tea Cookies and Cream White Chocolate – HERE

 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies
Serves 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  2. 2 1/2 TSP Baking Powder
  3. 1/2 Cup Sugar
  4. 1/2 Cup Neutral or Coconut Oil ( I used canola)
  5. 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  7. 1 tsp Almond Extract
  8. Chocolate Chips & Almond slices (about 1/4 of each... or more)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients accept flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then add dry ingredients.
  2. Dough should be a little stiff.
  3. Place into fridge for about 15 minutes.
  4. Bake at 180C/350F for about 25 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Enjoy!
AmbyCakes http://ambycakes.com/

Matcha White Chocolate Mochi Brownies

Hey Everyone! I wanted to make something sweet for dessert since my darling made us some yummy BBQ chicken and rice this evening, and although I had the intent to bake something yummy for everyone in order to express my gratitude and NOT post it on my blog, I couldn’t resist. We had the idea of making matcha brownies, and then Ben suggested we use glutenous rice flour instead. They came out so well, that I snuck in a few photographs and decided to share with you all. This recipe for Matcha White Chocolate Mochi Brownies is extremely simple to make and a great introduction to experimental baking with your kids. 

Matcha White Chocolate Mochi Brownies

These matcha and white chocolate mochi brownies are slightly chewy, while maintaining a traditional fudge and cake-like texture. We didn’t add a lot of sugar to them, since melted white chocolate is mixed within the batter. These are a perfect after dinner treat and gift for the green tea lovers in your life. We absolute loved them and recommend using a decent quality matcha powder. A little matcha goes a long way in baking, so you get your money’s worth when you invest in good quality ingredients.  Enjoy guys! 

Matcha White Chocolate Mochi Brownies

Matcha White Chocolate Mochi Brownies
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Ingredients
  1. 100g Glutenous Rice Flour
  2. 135g Unsalted Butter
  3. 100g White Chocolate
  4. 50g Sugar
  5. 25g Matcha Powder
  6. 2 Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine butter and white chocolate. Melt together in either the microwave in 10 second intervals, or over a double boiler on low heat. Add in sugar.
  2. Allow mixture to cool until lukewarm, then add in eggs until combined completely.
  3. Add wet mixture into dry ingredients
  4. Add in extra white chocolate chips if desired (we did).
  5. Bake in a 9x9 parchment lined baking pan for 30 minutes at 180c/350F
  6. Let cool completely and enjoy.
AmbyCakes http://ambycakes.com/

 OTHER MOCHI RECIPES ON AMBYCAKES

Butter Mochi Recipe – HERE

Butter Mochi Brownies Recipe – HERE

Mochi Donuts Recipe – HERE

 

How to Make Mochi Donuts

Hey Everyone! Ben and I have been working on developing our own mochi dessert recipe lately for my blog and YouTube channel, but we also got inspired by Lady and Pups’ recipe for Mochi Donuts as well. We revised her wonderful recipe a little, and want to teach you guys How to Make Mochi Donuts yourselves at home! It’s a pretty easy process to be honest.

How to Make Mochi Donuts

These donuts are light, chewy like mochi, with a thin crispy, fried and aromatic exterior. These donuts are so delicate yet full of body, flavor and satisfying texture. We simply dusted ours with confectioner’s sugar, but you may use whatever it is you’d like to glaze or garnish your yummy mochi donuts. This is by far one of the favorite things my darling partner has made and we can’t wait to make more variations of these amazing mochi donuts! 

How to Make Mochi Donuts

Instead of making a traditional donut like she did, we decided to make donut holes instead. We love making Square Shaped Donuts, and did this again but instead of using a cookie cutter, we simply used a bench knife and made a squared out log. 

How to Make Mochi Donuts

Our dough was super easy to work with as well. I think due to the humidity here in Australia, the original recipe was a bit too wet, so we adjusted it a bit. The original one was also AMAZING and we did a test run last night prior to this one (yea, I know, this is why I run on a treadmill most mornings these days). 

How to Make Mochi Donuts

This recipe requires a “starter”. Working with glutenous rice flour is amazing, but can’t always be a direct substitute for traditional wheat flours. We made a starter using rice flour and a little milk, warmed it up and then combined it with the rest of our ingredients. This is to ensure that the protein structures of the flour actually bind together, since we’re making a dough and not a batter like for my Butter Mochi and Butter Mochi Brownies which doesn’t require any starters. 

I hope you guys enjoy this amazing and unique take on donuts. I was so happy to see that others have made these before, and although I’d love to receive full credit for discovering and inventing one of the best donuts I’ve ever had, I really recommend you check out the other amazing bloggers who have been busy baking and frying mochi desserts! 

Mochi Donuts
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For Starter Dough
  1. 1/4 Cup Glutenous Rice Flour
  2. 3 TBS Milk
Remainder Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups Glutenous Rice Flour
  2. 3 TBSP Melted Butter
  3. 1/4 Cup Sugar
  4. 1 Egg
  5. 1/2 Cup Milk
  6. 1 tsp Baking Powder
  7. 1/2 tsp sea salt
For Starter
  1. Combine ingredients and microwave twice in 30 second intervals. Dough should be a bit firm and warm to the touch.
  2. Remainder
  3. Combine all ingredients and then your starter. Knead dough until it is formed. Dough should be very easy to work with, and pliable.
  4. Fry in Canola or neutral oil at 180C or 375 for about 4 minutes per donut hole.
  5. Drain on a paper towel-lined sheet tray and dust with sifted confectioner's sugar while mochi donuts are still hot
Notes
  1. These donuts will take longer to fry than traditional yeast donuts
AmbyCakes http://ambycakes.com/