Sunday, 31 May 2015

Hot Chocolate Slice

A slice that re-imagines a hot chocolate with marshmallows. A cinnamon biscuit base with dark chocolate mousse and a vanilla marshmallow top...
Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
Delicious Hot Chocolate Slice!
This post was supposed to be up 2 weeks ago, but first I messed up my timings and forgot that refrigeration was required. Then it was Paniyiri and I needed to get that post up before the sweet, sweet honey-puffs faded from memory. Back when I thought this slice up, it was a rainy cold almost-winter like morning. I had intended a bright and easy raspberry concoction but with rain falling, I felt like curling up with a hot chocolate and watching some Netflix.
Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
These are the ingredients required for the base and mousse 
Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
And this is all you need for the marshmallow.
And being the creative type I am, I parlayed this into the wonderful chocolatey slice you see on this page. With a cinnamon biscuit base, like a cookie you'd dip into a smooth, velvety hot chocolate which is evoked in the rich, dark mousse layer. And anyone who's got an iota of taste will know the best bit about hot chocolate is the marshmallow so of course, there's a thick cloud like layer of marshmallow.
Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
This is the hot chocolate mix when the yolks are being stirred in, don't be alarmed by the texture as once you've stirred in the cream later on...
Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes becomes smoother like this.
I give you Hot Chocolate Slice!
Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
The base gets covered in mousse and the mousse gets covered in marshmallow. Circle of life.
Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
This is the progression of the marshmallow. Looks a lot like egg whites.
I love hot chocolates. I'm not sure if I've said this before to you, but I don't drink coffee. I love the smell of coffee and have been known to borrow my friends coffees and huff on them like glue. Not that I've ever huffed glue, but I suppose it would be similar to huffing on coffee.

Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
Ahh layers.
But I've just never graduated to coffee. Love the smell, hate the taste. When I was in Thailand recently, I accidentally ordered a milk concoction from Dairy Queen. I was so excited to see a Dairy Queen since you hear about them so much on American TV shows and movies, so I ordered what I thought was a caramel milkshake but it ended up having coffee in it. What a sad time that was in my life.
Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
Birds eye view of slice. HEY! What's that bird doing in my kitchen!? Oh I am funny.
I do like going out to cafes and in fact, I will say to people "Do you want to go get a coffee?". It just sounds more grown up. But I will always get a hot chocolate. And it's so heart breaking when cafes don't have marshmallows. What's the point. Well, the point is delicious hot chocolate but it's always better with marshmallows.

Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
That's a nice cut.
Now so you don't make the same mistake as me, I had better tell you that this slice makes some time to make. You won't be waking up on a rainy day, make this and be eating it within an hour. Both the chocolate mousse and marshmallow layers require refrigeration setting time. I suppose now that I'm writing that I can see that some people might be confused by the title of this slice, Hot Chocolate Slice as it's served cold and not hot, but them's the breaks. It delicious and it really does taste like a hot chocolate drink.

Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
That bloody bird is still in my kitchen!
Please don't be put off by the total time required to make this slice. The prepping and cooking of the ingredients is very quick and the rest of the time, the slice is just sitting pretty in the fridge, requiring no input from you.

Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
Love me some marshmallow.
The mousse in this slice is really cocoa-y and dark. It's not too sweet either, with most of the sugar coming from just what's in the a tiny bit extra. But this means that the mousse is well balanced with the marshmallow topping, which is sugary sweet. And the cinnamon biscuit base with desiccated coconut is the perfect texture and taste to go with the soft layers of mousse and marshmallow.

Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
Slice in the foreground, slice in the background. 
The slice has layers in order of softness. The varying textures are part of what makes this slice so enjoyable.

Hot Chocolate Slice Cassie Cakes
All gone!
Hot Chocolate Slice

Prep time: 20 mins 

Cooking time: 20 mins
Refrigeration time: 8 hours
Total time:  8 hr 40 mins 
Servings: 12 big slices 
Cinnamon Biscuit Base
1 cup self raising flour
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
150g melted butter
Dark Hot Chocolate Mousse
80g butter
1/4 cup cocoa
300g dark chocolate, broken in small pieces
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups cream
Vanilla Marshmallow
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon gelatine powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cinnamon Biscuit Base
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Brush the sides of a 16 x 25cm slice pan  or dish and line the base with baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl, add the flour, coconut, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir until combined.
  4. Make a well in the centre and add the melted butter. Stir until all the ingredients are moist.
  5. Turn the mixture into the prepared slice and press into the bottom, to the edges.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes ,until golden.
  7. Set aside to cool.
Dark Hot Chocolate Mousse
  1. Melt the butter, cocoa and chocolate in a small pan until it forms a paste.
  2. Turn the heat off and add the 3 egg yolks and stir vigorously, then set aside off the stove. Do not be alarmed if the mix is lumpy, it will smooth out once the cream is added.
  3. Whisk the egg whites, gradually adding the sugar, til stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold a large dollop of the chocolate mixture through the egg whites, then fold through the remaining chocolate mixture.
  5. Once the egg whites are folded through, fold the cream through.
  6. Pour the mousse onto the cinnamon biscuit base and smooth the top.
  7. Refrigerate for 4 hours until completely set.
Vanilla Marshmallow
  1.  Add sugar, water and gelatine in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until all the gelatine has dissolved.
  2. Increase heat to medium and simmer for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Once it has cooled for 5 - 10 minutes, add to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high for 9 minutes. Mixture should double in volume, become white and form stiff peaks.
  4. Fold in vanilla extract.
  5. Spoon marshmallow on top of the set mousse and smooth top.
  6. Refrigerate for 4 hours until completely set.
  7. To serve, cut with a knife heated in hot water and wiped dry. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Finally. FINALLY. I went to Paniyiri. And I was so excited. In the fortnight leading up to the Greek festival, I told everyone I was going. As if it was an exclusive thing. The famous celebration of Greek Culture started in 1976 and gets bigger every year. 60,000 people are expected to attend this year. That's a lotta baklava! And a lotta haloumi...and a lotta lotta Greek food! Check this blurb from the Paniyiri website:

This year festival goers are expected to down some 300,000 Honey Puffs, more than 100,000 Souvlakia, almost 12,000 Dolmades, 18,000 coffees, 1,600 kilograms of grilled Haloumi, 10,000 Shiftalies (Greek Cypriot sausage), 1,000 kilograms of calamari and another 1,000 kilograms of baby octopus.
I can only do my bit to help Paniyri reach those goal.
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Let's get amongst it.
Mr Cakes and I arrived in the early afternoon on the first day of the weekend festival. The weather was gorgeous, a beautiful Autumn day. Clear blue skies, crisp and sunny. Forget about street parking, there wasn't a hint of a free space for blocks around Musgrave Park, at least not by the time we arrived. We found parking for $10 close by though and it was worth the money to hasten the eating of Greek food.
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
I was pretty excited about this shot, the flags flying together..unity...symbolism. Stuff.
As we came over the rise of the west side of Musgrave Park, I was surprised at the size of the crowd. Musgrave Park seemed a lot bigger full of all these people. The air was fragrant with the smoky smell of spit roasts and barbeques. I was so excited, dancing round Mr Cakes as he paid the $10 entry for us both. The stalls formed a large crescent around the large stage with a fairground of rides and games behind the food tents. The choice was too much for me so we started by knocking back a few drinks at the bar overlooking the amphitheatre.

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Opa! That's a free wine right there. For liking dry wine. Go me. 
I don't know too much about Greek wine but then again, I don't know too much about any other kind of wine. I ordered a Roditis Savatiano dry white wine and Mr Cakes got a Mythos Greek beer. The bar man was very impressed that I liked the dryness of the Roditis so for that, I got another wine for free! The festival was off to a good start.

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Mr Cakes has food handling skillz.
After we took the edge off with the drinks, we got down to business. I was fanging for some calamari! We made our first purchase of calamari and our first serve of haloumi from the Pan-Rhodian Society of Brisbane stall. The calamari was every thing I hoped it would be with lashings of lemon and salt. The haloumi got the same treatment. The haloumi was just amazing, I don't know if it's cos the Greeks are privy to a secret supplier or the way they cook it but it was unlike any I've had at cafes or at home.
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Smell-a-internets is needed.
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Meaty goodness.
Our next stop was at the Pankoakos Association O'hippocratis stall. We could resist the sweet smell of spit roast lamb no longer. Both Mr Cakes and I wanted to try the Yiros Wrap but I exercised rare restraint and insisted  we got the meat only serve. Mr Cakes showed no restraint and got a spinach and feta filo as well. 
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Look at the texture of that lamb.
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
A filo that wasn't quite in to Paniyiri.
The lamb tasted as good as it looked, which was amazing. The little bits of fat on the lamb were my favourite, so unctuous and delicious. The filo wasn't the best but we soon remedied that...

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Everything in this photo was awesome. Oh my god, that chicken. the Cypriot Community of Brisbane stall. Mr Cakes got another filo, stat, along with a serve of sheftalies, which are Cypriot sausages, a juicy serve of barbeque roasted chicken and another serve of haloumi. 
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
These filos were much more in to the festivities. 
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Don't you love Mr Cakes' shirt?
If it is possible, this haloumi was more delicious than the last serve! The sheftalies were tasty and well seasoned with herbs - I think with parsley. The piece of roast chicken thigh was just out of this world. Mr Cakes barely got a look in.

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
This looked like fun!
I was pretty full by then but you can't keep a good pair of eaters down. We took a break and watched the traditional Greek dancers then we wandered round the games area.

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
I really wanted to go in here, but Mr Cakes was not in to it.
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
No thanks.
After the intermission, we were ready to go again. 
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Is the singular of diples diple?
Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Boss moussaka.
We got a serve of moussaka and a diples from the Panayia's Southside Parish stall. A diples is thin, fried pastry drizzled with syrup. It was okay, but I think it would have been better fresh and hot. The moussaka was also okay, the eggplant in the moussaka was really nice but the mince was a little dry and the topping was a touch stodgy.

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
A well-oiled honey puff machine.
Now it was time for honey puffs. Well, almost. We were pretty full so we had to have a nother drink and a bit of a sit down. But then! It was time for honey puffs. I'd been scoping out every stall for their honey puff prowess. It was to be my first honey puff experience and I needed it to be good.

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Life changing.
We decided to go with the Greek Ladies Philoptochos Society of St George Greek Patisserie, not least cos of the awesome name but also because the turn over was high and the place was pumping out honey puffs like ... I don't know, like the Greek Ladies Philoptochos Society of St George Greek Patisserie. Mr Cakes also ordered a Greek coffee which ended up being Nescafe which confused us. But the honey puffs! Oh the honey puffs! Everything I heard of them was true, they were amazing. Hot, sweet, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I ordered a small plate and I don't think I could have eaten a large plate but oh how I was I'd tried. Honey puffs. More like HEAVEN  puffs. 

Cassie Cakes Goes to Paniyiri 2015
Wow. WOW. I don't know how I paused to take this photo.
We couldn't have possibly eaten more but there was so much more that we could have tried. My first Paniyiri was so much fun, next year I'm going to get there earlier to really give us time to digest more and eat more. OPA!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

REVIEW: Paleo Cafe Bulimba

Paleo Cafe Bulimba Cassie Cakes Review
I think the cow should be in the centre, rather than the apple.
I'm pretty much always trying - and failing - to eat healthier. Given that I frequent restaurants regularly, I appreciate when there are lighter options. However, lighter options mean squat if it doesn't taste good. The paleo movement doesn't seem to be going anywhere either and with those two facts in mind, we decided to try Paleo Café.

Paleo Cafe Bulimba Cassie Cakes Review
The bright, industrial interior.
Paleo Café is local to us, sitting at the start of Oxford Street in a fairly new complex, The Avro. We visited one Saturday, and given the popularity of the Oxford Street Area, I expected the café to be a hive of activity with a line out the door. To the contrary, there were plenty of tables so we choose a table outside.
Paleo Cafe Bulimba Cassie Cakes Review
The smoothies, icy and not so icy.
Along with the coffees, we ordered a few cold drinks. The Signature Iced Chocolate ($8) sounded pretty appealing with cacao and honey syrup mixed with almond and coconut milk, but it felt like a berry sort of day. I went with the WOD Warrior smoothie for $8, made from strawberries, mango, granola and coconut milk. Mr Cakes ordered the Piña Colada smoothie for $9, a coconut, pineapple and lime concoction. Both smoothies were nice, I could have done with more ice in mine. I like my smoothies to be cold and icy.

Paleo Cafe Bulimba Cassie Cakes Review
Sweet Chilli Eggs, poached, with bacon.
For meals, two of us ordered the Sweet Chilli Eggs - Soft Poached Eggs Served on Savoury Bread with Fresh Spinach Leaves, Avocado, Crispy Bacon and Topped with a Sweet Chilli Capsicum Jam, Fresh Coriander Sprigs and Lime for $16.50. I ordered mine without bacon, as I'm cutting down on meat consumption and eggs fried, cos I hate undercooked whites. So often poached eggs are undercooked.
Paleo Cafe Bulimba Cassie Cakes Review
Damn you, slimy whites! Scourge of my breakfast days!
Unfortunately, ordering fried eggs did not allow me to escape my fate and the whites of my eggs were a little translucent. The bread was fairly unique, being paleo and made from coconut flour. It was not dissimilar to that of banana bread. Still, for a wheat free option, it was okay. Not sure I'd be running back to consume the bread. We both enjoyed the chilli jam and the avocado was nice and ripe. 
Paleo Cafe Bulimba Cassie Cakes Review
So much meat.
Not everyone is concerned about cutting down on meat so next up, we had the Caveman Big Breakfast - Free Range Eggs, Steak, Veal Sausage, Bacon, Mushrooms, Oven Roasted Tomato, Sautéed Baby Spinach, Savoury Bread and Chunky Tomato Relish ($22.50). And if that sounds like a lot, it was. The steak was a particularly nice steak, it appeared to a fillet of some sort. It was mostly meat and there was no "bread" with the meal. This makes it a very low carb option. Any committed meat eater would be very pleased with this choice, Mr Cakes was extremely jealous of the Caveman Breakfast.

Paleo Cafe Bulimba Cassie Cakes Review
I see you, yucky white bits! Nice yolk though.
Mr Cakes got what he felt was the consolation prize of the Bacon and Free Range Eggs - Free Range Eggs with Sautéed Baby Spinach, Savoury Bread, A Golden Sweet Potato Rosti and Double Smoked Bacon ($14.50). Even though he was very envious of the steak on the Caveman Breakfast, he did get a decen amount of bacon. The spinach couldn't really be called sautéed and looked more to be slightly wilted. The rosti was nice and very crispy. Mr Cakes was happy with the eggs too, but they looked similar to mine with a bit of the whites undercooked. That of course is just my opinion on eggs though. Mr Cakes was not the biggest fan of the bread either.

Paleo Café was pretty good, and a few of the things I didn't like about the food had to do with paleo food itself, not the café. Don't go to a paleo café if you want a big, doorstop piece of white sourdough. The staff were nice and the owner has a great passion for the lifestyle. It wasn't quite enough to turn me but I did leave feeling guilt free and satisfied.

Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Price: 3/5
Atmosphere: 3/5

Paleo Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Gauge Cassie Cakes Review
Gauge doesn't have any signage, which is how I usually start my posts, so here's some dinosaurs instead.
South Brisbane is an odd place. In between the bustling food scenes of South Bank and West End, South Brisbane is something of a dead zone. Or at least it was. In the last year or so, a revitalisation has come upon the locale with the opening of Fish Lane Bistro, Julius Pizza, Two Tree Café and probably many others that I can't think of right now. The latest to open is Gauge, a concealed little venue on Grey Street. The café has no signage, nor a website or phone number. However, you'll know you're there once you walk inside.
Gauge Cassie Cakes Review
The cool, casual space.
The use of space is very clever, given the size of the café it has to be, with communal seating in the centre and intimate nooks by the walls. Together with the low-lit lighting, the space felt warm on a rainy day. The elevated kitchen gives the whole café a view of the serious business going on behind the pass. I was excited for our early morning breakfast at Gauge.
Gauge Cassie Cakes Review
Amazing hand modelling.
As the first ones in, we had our choice of tables and we choose an intimately lit table for four. The music sounded like it came from my own playlist and with the warm feeling, the vibe was felt really comfortable. The waitress took our drink orders and since I don't drink coffee, I tried the hot chocolate for $4.50. For the price, it was a bit small but there was nothing wrong with it in terms of taste. For those who do drink it, the coffee ($4) was by reports superb.
Gauge Cassie Cakes Review
The open kitchen.
One of the reasons I was so excited to try Gauge was their innovative menu. Two of the three chefs, Ollie Hansford and Rob Wood, are both ex-Stokehouse and the third, Cormac Bradfield, is head chef at Sourced Grocer. Their combined experience has created one of the most exciting breakfast menus I've ever seen.
Gauge Cassie Cakes Review
Somewhat outshone by the other dishes, presentation wise. Just as delicious.
First up was the House Sourdough, Heritage Bacon & House BBQ Sauce ($9), which was simply a bacon sandwich. But oh what a sandwich. The sourdough is made in house and tastes so fresh. Sourdough how sourdough should taste. The BBQ sauce was tangy and the amount of bacon was generous.

Next, were two orders of Soft Eggs on House Sourdough with Heritage Breed PIG ($16). Not sure why pig is in capitals on the menu but maybe it just wants to shout. As one of the diners is gluten-intolerant, the chefs kindly put the bread for that dish on to a separate plate for me, as I was dying to try this amazing bread. The butter is obviously churned in house as well and there is nothing better than good bread and butter. I was like a PIG in mud.
Gauge Cassie Cakes Review
Look at those eggs! Don't you just wanna break them open?!
The eggs on the dish were the chubbiest soft eggs, begging to be broken open. The bacon was generous again, personally I like my bacon done a touch more though. The dish looked so inviting and for that, I credit those eggs.
Gauge Cassie Cakes Review
I was pretty tempted by the Cucumber Kimchi, House Seeded Bread, Soft Egg, Cured Pork Cheek, Skyr & Confit Heirloom Tomatoes for $18 and right now, typing that out, I can't believe I didn't get it. But I didn't lose out either. I ordered the Sourdough Waffle, Almond, Artichoke Custard, Bee Pollen & Freeze Dried Honey ($16). What was placed in front of me was a fine dining breakfast. It was a piece of art. It was like a landscape. And it tasted amazing. The almonds were candied and the waffle was crisp and sweet. The pairing of the custard and waffle was bliss. I really would have liked more of that custard. The freeze dried honey was not my thing and I found it inedible. With the rest of the meal being so wonderful, it was very forgivable.

Gauge Cassie Cakes Review
Some delightful pastries in the morning sun.
At the moment, Gauge is open for breakfast and lunch (7am - 3pm). Given my experience at breakfast, I can't wait to try their lunch items and I'll be one of the first one in line when they open for dinner in the coming months.

Food: 4/5
Service: 4.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Atmosphere: 4.5/5

Gauge on Urbanspoon
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