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Friday, October 8, 2010

Sydney Inspiration - Donna Hay's Double Chocolate Cake

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Cupcake4
Cupcake 6

Donna Hay Collage1

Donna Hay Collage4

Donna Hay Collage5
I don't normally travel down under for work but last week, a rare issue came up and I had to make my first ever trip to Sydney. It was a 2 day work trip but I took the opportunity to stay on for 2 more days on my own. As for most trips I make nowadays, I have ceased to be ambitious and stopped bothering with pre-trip research. There was only one thing I knew I wanted to do and that was visiting the Donna Hay general store. I had first read about it at Not Quite Nigella's blog and had been quite fascinated by it ever since... and who wouldn't? Having been captivated month after month by the bright and breezy pages of the Donna Hay magazines,I knew I simply couldn't miss the one and only Donna Hay General Store on this planet.

Nestled in a trendy residential district, it is definitely outside the main tourist belt. I took more than an hour getting there from City Center by train,bus and alot of walking. However, I really didn't mind, I loved wondering in the suburbs,feeling the local pulse. Situated away even from the main commercial section of the suburb, this was an unlikely location for a store which in my opinion,makes this boutique store even more charming.

I was able to recognise styling props used in Donna Hay's beautiful photos among the merchandises. It wasn't a big store and the price tag was not exactly pocket-friendly but still that didn't stop me for lingering there for over an hour and leaving with a bunch of merchandises. The biggest draw has to be the chic and colourful cupcake/muffin liners. Unique in design, these are more expensive than your usual liners but not unreasonably exorbitant.
Donna Hay Collage3

Then there were the ceramics and cake stands that came with clean lines and neutral pastel colours that are so Donna Hay.
Donna Hay Collage2

To celebrate my purchase at Donna Hay, I decided to make the Donna Hay Double Chocolate Cake which I had first seen at Evan's blog. I had dreamt of creating the photos with the same fresh and luminous aura that is the signature of Donna Hay's magazines but shooting the cupcakes at night was tricky and I would have to admit that I haven't done justice to Donna Hay's beautiful cupcake liners.

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The cake is absolutely delicious - fiercely chocolatey without being overly rich. It went really well with the fluffy Swiss Meringue Butter cream frosting-  This is definitely a cake that does not require fancy liners to shine, I hope you get to try it too.

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Recipe :

Cupcake
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1.5 tsp double acting baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate, melted

For Frosting
227 g unsalted butter, slightly softened
3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cupcake
1. In a bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together
2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar until pale and creamy.
3. Add egg one at a time and continue to mix until homogenous.
4. Add Vanilla extract.
5. Add flour and . Alternate with milk addition. Drizzle in melted chocolate and mix well.
6. Scoop into paper liners and bake in a 160C pre-heated oven and bake for 20mins.
7. Cool down cupcakes completely and frost the cupcake using butter cream below.

Swiss Meringue Butter Cream:
1. Place egg white and sugar in a mixing bowl. Place this over a simmering water bath and whisk with a hand whisk until sugar dissolves.
2. Transfer egg white into a mixing bowl and whisk with a bubble whisk , until peaks are firm but fluffy.
Add butter, one spoonful at a time. Change over to a paddle fixture and contiue to beat the butter cream to remove bubbles. At this point, you can add your flavourings or colours. For this, I added a few drops of pink colouring.

51 comments:

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

Gorgeous photographs and BEAUTIFUL cupcake! I was thinking of making something pink dedicating a post to October breast cancer awareness and this frosting looks pretty and pink :-)
I would see if I can replicate this recipe (only if its OK with you)
But I had a question that how did you give the frosting a pink color since I don't see any coloring in your ingredients?

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Prerna, my apologies... I was dozing off when I was typing out the recipe. I added a few drops of pink coloring to the butter cream. Please do try this out, I thought the contrast of the pink color with the dark chocolate turned out well....

Trissa said...

You took the cupcake photos at night? I would not have been able to tell! I do love the pink frosting with the dark chocolate as you said above. I must go to this store this weekend! It was lovely meeting you Shirley!

La Table De Nana said...

I think you did the liners more than justice! So beautiful..I would have loved that shoppe too:)Thanks for sharing~

Maria said...

I'm so excited you visited Sydney! I love Donna Hay store! It's a shame it's on the other side of the town for me so I don't get to go as often as I'd like! These cupcakes look fantastic, so pretty!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

So pretty in pink! Envy envy... I wish I can visit Donna Hay's store. I have 2 of her cookbooks and always enjoy reading them because her pictures are always so attractive. Love the cupcake liners...will try the chocolate cupcake one of these days. :)

edith said...

Your cuppies so well taken that I can feel myself grabbing off the screen. Now I am drooling over those cake stand that you captured.

Allie said...

Shirley,

These cupcakes are gorgeous! The pink and brown combination are so pretty, and the liners complement them perfectly! I'm so tempted to head to Sydney to the Donna Hay store now. I love their style of photos and food styling too. And I think you did a great job!

busygran said...

The cupcakes are pretty and tempting! The patty cases are pretty too! If I had been to DH's shop, I would probably go gaga and buy everything!

zurin said...

How simply gorgeous Shirley.....cupcakes and fotos. Did u use a special light to take the fotos at nite? it was so well done.

Zoe said...

Very nice cupcakes. I'm big fan of Donna Hay too. Great job.

grub said...

your cupcakes look fluffy and beautiful! can't believe you took them at night!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more said...

The first liner...
Hope to see more of them in use :)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Haha..Wendy...yes, more to come!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Zurin, I use a small table top white light for my night photos. It is getting very difficult for me to work during the day.... so I need to find options for night photography. I still find it very difficult to control the lighting effect with the lamp though - sometimes it works, sometimes, it doesn't... :(

Kitchen Corner said...

WOW! I like this lovely shop! Thanks for sharing the cupcakes recipe, it looks really pretty especially the casing!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

You certainly did justice to the liners, and you even get extra brownie points for taking such excellent night shots. Wow, they allowed photography in-store? I would go crazy looking at so many pretty things, all in one place. Where to start???

MaryMoh said...

Fabulous, romantic cupcakes! I love it. Better than those in the shops here.

Von said...

I've never been to the Donna Hay store, eventhough I live in Sydney! haha....I'll definitely have to visit one day!! I don't know if I'd ever want to use the cupcake liners though- they're so pretty! These cupcakes are really pretty too!!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

this liner is too pretty, I love it very much, and cupcakes also sound good.

Joanne said...

I might have to go to sydney just to visit this store! It looks so awesome.

As do these cupcakes! Double chocolate heaven.

Chocolate Shavings said...

Lucky you, I've been dreaming of going to the Donna Hay store! And that cupcake looks beautiful.

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

I want to go soon too! :) You took lots of gorgy pics and of course your choc cupcakes look yummy. Would love to see what you bought at the store too hehe

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Jen,look out for my next posts..will be using them in my photos...:)

Mei Teng said...

Wow...lovely cupcake. Love the pretty pink frosting :)

Elizabeth said...

Wow, I really like the pretty pink colour of that frosting...it's like a dusty rose. Beautiful, I think you did Donna Hay justice no problem!

Besides that though, the cake does look pretty dreamy too!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Shirley, the stuff at the Donna Hay General Store look wicked! Better than Daiso I suppose, but heavier price tags. HAHA!

Chic cupcakes! I love the pinkish buttercream! Nicely piped!

Jess @ Bakericious said...

I love the pretty pink frosting and the pink sweet cupcakes liners.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I am so jealous! I've been dreaming about visiting that store, but will probably not be able to for years until I finally take my dreamt-of vacation to Australia. Love the liner and the great cupcakes you made in them. I should give that recipe a try.

bossacafez said...

thx for mentioning me in yr entry shirley. your cupcakes look great, in fact better than mine, and i think pink frosting is prettier coz of the contrast (i'm a sucker for anything pink/brown or baby blue/brown) and the liner is so retro yet modern! and so envy you always get to travel. i've always been wanting to go to donna hay general store tho' i know their stuff are very overpriced. right now can only ogle at some products at jones the grocer :(

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Evan, your cakes always have a touch of finesse that I don't think I can ever achieve. I think Donna Hay store is going to offer on-line shopping facilities soon. If you don't get to Sydney sooner, you can look forward to shopping on line :) Actually,Sydney is crazy expensive and I have not seen alot of varieties yet when it comes to shopping(unlike US/Europe)...I did get to go to a Jones Grocery store there but, there is no kick anymore because I've seen most of the stuff here....

Anonymous said...

Hi Shirley,

your cakes look lovely and make me want to go to Sydney. I'm hoping Donna Hay allows online shopping soon.

=) christine

noobcook said...

pretty in pink! the cupcakes look really cute and delectable. how nice to shop at donnay hay store, lucky you ;)

Clare @ Mrs Multitasker said...

What are you talking about? You totally did the cupcake papers justice shirley! The cupcakes are so beautiful! As are the pictures =)

I'm so so jealous. I've been wanting to go to the Donna Hay store for ages but as you described so well, it's so out of the way! I must make that trip some day...

Oh and I'm glad you bought the liners and not the pre-packed cupcake mix. I bought a box of the mix (which also comes with the liners) from Jones and oh my goodness the cupcakes were shockingly sweet. I couldn't stomach them. I'm sure your cupcakes were a zillion times better!

Pavlety said...

Excuse my English! Where to put 150g dark chocolate. I might miss something...

tigerfish said...

The store will definitely delight cupcake lovers alike. Though I am not one, I simply adore pretty things :)

Cooking Gallery said...

Gorgeous pictures and colours! The style reminds me of Peggy Porschen, a cake decorator from Germany, but now quite famous in the US as well I think.

Ho Ho Ho said...

your cupcakes and photos are pretty and crisps..

Weng said...

Very beautiful shot indeed! I really must pay have a visit there some day. Despite being in Perth, I dont know the existence of this store in Aussie. Thanks for letting me know :)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Pavlety, good catch!..thanks for pointing out.. I was literally nodding off when I was typing the recipe..All sorted out now.

petite nyonya said...

pretty pictures and the cupcake look so inviting! i'll definitely go gaga if i ever step into this lovely store. i'll burn a hole in my pocket for sure!

Bakertan said...

hey shirley,

thats alot of good stuff in the shop. Sounds like a very enjoyable trip. I can perfectly understand why you stayed in the shop for more than an hour. I will do the same too.

The cupcakes look lovely and the pink buttercream shines out in a nice contrast.

I think its supposed to be Swiss meringue buttercream as opposed to French. Swiss meringue buttercream is done over a double boiler while French Meringue buttercream uses sugar syrup (similar to Italian buttercream)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

ZY, you are right, I rechecked the Martha Stewart book which I got the recipe - it is Swiss Meringue buttercream indeed. This post is terrible, I made quite a few mistakes with the recipe...I was typing in bed and literally dozed off for a few minutes before waking up again...

thecoffeesnob said...

I'm so jealous you visited the donna hay store in Sydney! Everything in there looks so good!

It looks to me like you definitely did the liners justice- your cupcakes are gorgeous!

crustabakes said...

I didnt even know Donna Hay had a store! i thought she only wrote cookbooks. Thanks for sharing. i totally enjoyed the pictures and the story

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Such beautiful colours Shirley! And I'm so glad that you got there. It's such a beautiful store. And next time I hope we get the chance to meet up! :)

Rabbittrick said...

This is the kind of store where I would really throw money at... Just to have those beautiful cupcake liners and that gorgeous ornate wire cooling rack. I wouldn't even bake anything (me being too impatient with measuring), but I'd love to have it hanging on my wall, looking pretty till I use it (like in that photo)!

Little Tot said...

Hi, loves your blog and your recipes. Tried out this double chocz cupcakes, but I haven't done justice to your creation which looks absolutely gorgeous. Mine seem moister on top....Sigh!

NEL, the batter baker said...

These are so gorgeous, Shirley. Looks like it's straight out of a magazine :) I'm gonna have to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing. By the way, which tip # did you use for the frosting? The swirls turned out really nice and defined.

Chuzai Living said...

This is another post lovely photos!!! I love them all. I cannot believe how beautiful your photos of cupcakes turned out even though you took them at night. I would love to learn the tricks you had to make them look like they were taken with the daylight. Chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting is my girls' favorite and I made them for their birthdays last month! Kaho

sarah said...

I just made these. My batter was beautiful, like a mousse but my cupcakes turned out pretty flat. Any thoughts? I doubled checked I included all the ingredients.

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