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Sunday, December 22, 2013
Black Forest Cake

It's almost Christmas! Christmas is definitely my favourite time of the year, with all festivities of red and green decorating everything you can possibly think of. Last year, I created a cute Black Forest cake for our annual Christmas party, and it was super successful according to the many wonderful comments I received from the party guests.
2013 Christmas Black Forest cake! There's been a lot of change in this one compared to the 2012 version..
2012 Christmas Black Forest cake! The little wafers are a cute addition, aren't they? And the tempered chocolate is an old favourite.
So as requested by my family, I have recreated the Black Forest cake this year to celebrate Christmas with, and hopefully it will be loved by everyone as much as last year's version! I've played around with the designs on the cake, and decided to leave this cake a bit plainer than last years; instead of tempering little christmas trees, arty designs and 'Merry Christmas' for the cake top, I've simply just coated the top with cocoa and an edge of sweet cream!

Second layer of cream over the cherries..
Sandwiched all the layers of the cake with the cream oozing out the sides! Doesn't this make you crave some cake? It sure does for me..
Looks a bit like a tiramisu in this one! Perhaps that should be my next recipe.. What do you think?!
Ahh.. Cocoa!
Added the signature Black Forest cake cream lining! I've never seen a Black Forest cake without the piped rosettes..

The finished cake! Looks cute, don't you agree? I'm quite a fan of simplicity, and a simple, modern cake with slight traditional features is ideal!
I really love the contrasted tempered dark and white chocolate shards for the sides! I've used tempered chocolate shards for many of my cakes, but never have I blended white chocolate into my dark chocolate! It looks really good, but there are the downsides; the shards are much less sturdy and have a lower melting point, which was extremely hazardous for the boiling Christmas season here in Australia!


  • 470g packet chocolate cake mix (I used White Wings Classics Moist Chocolate Cake box mix)
  • 670g jar of morello cherries
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 200g good quality dark cooking chocolate
  • 100g good quality white cooking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder 

Prepare and bake the chocolate cake mix following packet directions. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Use a large serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into 3 even layers.

Drain the cherries, reserving 160ml (2/3 cup) of the juice. Place the cherries and the reserved juice in a saucepan with the sugar and cornflour. Stir over medium-low heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.

Use an electric beater to beat cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form.
Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate and spread with half of the cherry mixture and a thin layer of the cream. Repeat with the remaining cake, cherry mixture and cream, finishing with a layer of cake.
Spread some of the remaining cream over the top and side of the cake. Using a sieve, cover the top of the cake with Dutch cocoa powder. Place the remaining cream in a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted nozzle and carefully pipe rosettes around the edge of the cake. (Note: piping slowly will minimise the moving of rosettes on the cocoa powder).

Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and set aside 25% of both white and dark chocolates. Place the remaining chocolate in separate bowls and microwave on half power. Stir the mixture every half minute until it is almost completely melted (approximately 2-3 minutes).

Remove the bowls of chocolate from the microwave and stir to cool slightly. Add the reserved chocolate into their respective bowls and stir the chocolate until everything is melted. The dark chocolate should reach approximately 46C - 48C and white chocolate 36C - 43C.

Spread the tempered dark chocolate onto a large sheet of baking paper, shaping it until it reaches approximately 50cm x 10cm x 3mm. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then spread the white chocolate on top. 
Using a butter knife, split the chocolate into even strips for easy removal when solid. Place the sheets of chocolate in the fridge to solidify. 

Remove the chocolate pieces from the baking paper and press onto the sides of the cake, making sure to alternate the heights of the pieces for a more contrasting effect. Cut and serve the cake.

- Rachel

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Monday, December 9, 2013
Weekend Haul and Gifts!

I've finally gotten to doing some shopping since my trip to America half a year ago! Although I did not purchase any clothes, I've gotten some things that can help me pamper up on those nights which really need it. My friends have been extra kind and given me some early Christmas/farewell presents, which have really made me look forward to the whole festive season!

Over the weekend, I was able to get my hands on the amazing Body Shop Body Butters! They're absolutely amazing; they smell sensational and are so moisturising for my skin, especially because my skin is often way too dry. Also, a little goes a long way with those body butters, and I find that even a walnut-sized amount can cover your whole body. Although this product is a bit on the pricey side, they're definitely worth it!

 My friends had told me alot about this sea spray, and it really is a fabulous product. I had never really used texturising sprays before, and this one is super easy to use. I tried it on as soon as I got home on a ponytail, and my hair was instantly thicker and more volumised! It smells so amazing as well, you should definitely try this one out.

 My bestie Jo got this Dusk candle for me! I specifically requested for this flavour after the one and only Chloe recommended it to me. I can't believe I didn't purchase this candle sooner; it smells absolutely divine, and I've been burning this candle as much as I can since I got it! I'm not kidding you, the two scents come together so nicely and are distinctive as well. Surely I can't wait to have a nice relaxing bath with this aroma floating around soon..

 Jo also got me these cute TOPSHOP snowmen socks! I can add them to my new collection of funky socks, and I can't wait to wear them. The pale blue is so adorable paired with the snowmen, don't you think?

 Chloe and Joyce gifted me with these spectacular earrings for a Christmas and farewell gift! They are such kind people, and I almost cried when they gave me this present! The earrings are pink cherry blossoms, and they are so so so cute! It also came with some heart-warming cards which made me tear up a little too..

 I got to purchase a new shoulder bag too, because my canvas one was all blotchy and dirty, and needed a replacement. This Sportsgirl bag is so cute and simple but fits all the essentials I take when I leave the house; I love it! A bit pricey though ($40), but definitely worth it! I'll probably be wearing this alot, and it feels very sturdy and comfortable.

 On a different note, I gave Rosie a huge haircut! She looks like an entirely different dog.. Which isn't really that bad because she's officially matt-free for now, yay! She's into the Christmas spirit too- I switched her normal black collar for a jingly red and white Christmas one. I'm so excited for Christmas; it's the best time of year, don't you think?

-  Rachel

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Friday, December 6, 2013
Outfit of the Day! (More like Outfit I've Been Wearing Everyday Since Forever)

Australia has been having some pretty strange weather patterns this year, including severe bushfires in spring, and 31 degree days in winter. Nonetheless, I've become attached to a few items of clothing throughout the season. Yesterday, at the YouTube meetup (read more about it here), I wore my comfortable, but fashionable clothing out, hoping to get a photo with the famous YouTubers. Unfortunately, I did not, but on with the topic!

What I'm wearing:

  • BCKO Black Mesh Knit (Purchased in China, so you'll most likely not be able to find this exact item
    This mesh knit is a really nice asset to my wardrobe and is perfect for those weather occasions when it's too hot for a jacket but too cold for a t-shirt. I have absolutely started loving this knit this season, because Australia's weather is always so unpredictable!

  • Boxer Navy Mid-Calf Cardigan (Handed down from Mum)
    I remember digging around for new clothes in my mum's wardrobe and coming across this! This cardi is the best thing in my clothes collection right now; I wear it even if it's boiling hot! It's a bit thick for summer now, but it's a great look and I absolutely love the collar and the baggy style!

  • Levi's Hi Rise Faded Skinny Jeans
    I purchased these jeans in America, and they were so cheap compared to the jeans in Australia. At almost half price, I could not believe how comfortable and practical these jeans are! They're stylish and can be cuffed above the ankles or worn normally according to whatever look you're going for. I've become a huge fan of high-waisted shorts and jeans recently and these look so so so good!

  • TOPSHOP Orange Cream Lace Trim Socks
    These cute socks are the newest things in my wardrobe; I only got them last week! While at Schools Spectacular, I took my chance of being in the city to shop in
    TOPSHOP, where they had a great sale on socks of 3 for $18 instead of $8 each! They're so cute, aren't they? My outfits are instantly better with these little treasures.

  • Converse All Star Optical White Low Top Shoes
    Of course, I have the Converses that everybody has. They're so beautiful though, I love the white on white, and how they changed the rubber lining to a bright red! I pair these shoes usually with ankle socks and cuffed jeans, but I've discovered that frilly socks work too!

- Rachel
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