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Making the most of it and Giveaway Winner...

Chocolate Olive oil cake with mallow frosting 2

June 6 Update: Many thanks to FoodBuzz for featuring my cakes #1 on Top 9.

First the good news...Many thanks to all of you for participating in my Anniversary giveaway! I appreciate all your comments and feedback. I am happy to announce, the winner of my giveaway is Aparna with comment #7!!!

Aparna said: Congratulations Asha, you have a great space here. I'm happy to read and eat with my eyes (only vegetarian, natch!) whatever you put out here. :D

This is the "just a tart"? Its gorgeous. If I ever come over, I'm camping at your place for this and more.


Thanks Aparna for participating and please send me your mailing address and I will ship over your saffron package soon!


Now, to my creation of the day... Well, it all started in preparation for our camping trip last weekend. There is something just perfect about roasting marshmallows over a campfire, tucking the hot gooey melted ones between graham crackers and slice of good chocolate and popping it whole with no feelings of guilt. Camping and mallows are synonymous to me. I mean, though you may beg to differ depending where your s'more appreciation lies, I just cannot have one without the other...

Chocolate Olive oil cake on plate

So, this year, I thought, "hey.. lets have a real homemade experience at the camp!" Let's take a home prepped meal to the camp and then cook it over the smoky fire and make it camp worthy! Brilliant idea, don't you agree?! It started off well. I braised beef in good red wine and some hearty vegetables and left it to cool. Next I wanted to tackle the s'mores.

The plan was to make marshmallows because well, those are crucial to the success of the fire roasted s'more, indeed! Besides, I have wanted to try making them for a long time. Egg whites have a fascination for me and ever since Mr. FSK banned the making of macarons (:-((( ) at home, I have found myself drawn even more to other white preparations..

Ofcourse, me being me, wanted to add a twist. I found some leftover strawberry flavored gelatin and I envisioned pink marshies. Happy, happy! Then came the shock! I had no more gelatin left! oh no! But, then I spied a packet of china grass (agar agar) that I had picked up in India on a recent trip. I had never used it before and it seemed a sign..

Chocolate Olive oil cakes

So off I went, armed with a collage of recipes from the net. The problem was that most recipes use corn syrup which a. I don't have and b. Really didn't want to use. I decided to substitute it with sugar syrup. In any case, the typical recipes use a whole lot more sugar than is palatable for any of us in the family. So, I tweeked this and that and had a workable recipe.

I measured this and that and melted this and that and whipped it all together to a nice consistency and poured it in my prepared pan to set. I had planned all this to be ready just in time for us to leave on our vacation viz. 24 hours ahead. After all, it needed only a few hours to set.

Waking up full of eagerness on the day of, I opened the refrigerator and guess what! It didn't set!! Absentminded chemistry student that I was, I hadn't used enough agar agar!!! GAH! So, what I had, staring back at me from the fridge, was a pink mousse rather than a pink mallow. Imagine my woe!

Flowers

With a heavy heart, I packed the rest of the stuff and we set off on our camping, minus the pink would-have-been-fluffy pillows.. Sigh! All along the trip, I kept mulling over what to do with my monstrosity. Somewhere, I hit on the texture and decided it would be perfect for frosting (it was too sweet to eat as is..)!

It came to be. It also provided the perfect excuse to experiment with something else that I have been meaning to do. Chocolate and Olive Oil cakes. I have found that baking with oil adds so much more moisture to the cake than using butter. And, honestly, it doesn't taste much different. Finally, some success!

I popped a little chunk of my marshy mallow in the center of the batter hoping it would stay there. But, no, it wouldn't. They all popped right up to the top, sticking their heads out of the batter! Ah well! I just covered it up with the remaining strawberry mallow mousse as frosting, which, is what I intended to do anyway! :)

Chocolate Olive oil cake with mallow frosting



Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes
(original FSK recipe)
makes 12 cupcakes or one 8 inch cake


1-2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup good chocolate pieces
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together the dry ingredients. Melt the cocoa and chocolate in the hot water and set aside to cool for a bit. Add oil and whisk to incorporate. Add the vanilla extract and eggs and whisk well until you get a thicker and smooth mixture.

Add the wet mixture to the dry slowly, beating well to incorporate. When you have a smooth batter, set aside for a couple of minutes. Pour into prepared cake pan or cupcake molds. Bake for 20 minutes until cake is springy to touch. Remove and cool on rack. Wait till it cools to frost.



Strawberry Marshy Mallow Frosting

**I cut down the amount of sugar because we tend not to eat very sweet things. If you have a sweeter tooth, by all means, play with the amounts. **

2 egg whites
1 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp strawberry flavored gelatin
2 T agar agar flakes (loosely measured) {I just broke off pieces from a bar until it filled a T without pressing it down}
1/4 tsp salt
atleast 1/2 cup of powdered sugar

Oil a 9 X 13 inch pan and dust generously with powdered sugar. Set aside.

Sprinkle the gelatin and agar agar flakes in a half cup of cold water and set aside. In a sauce pan bring the remaining water and all of the sugar to a boil and continue heating till it reaches 240 F. Remove from heat and add a little to the gelatin mixture to temper. Add the gelatin mixture to the sauce pan and stir till the flakes dissolve. Use heat if needed to dissolve.

Meanwhile, start whipping the egg whites until they are doubled in volume and hold peaks. When the sugar-gelatin mixture is ready, slowly pour into the egg whites while continuing to whisk (else the eggs will scramble in the heat). The mixture will become voluminous. Continue whipping until you get stiff peaks.

Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate for about 4 hours to set to a mousse. You can store upto four days.
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