On this New Year’s Eve day three years ago, I started this food blog. It was a quiet morning and I wanted to do something a little different. I have been following several food blogs out there and was toying with the idea of starting my own. I did take a few pictures of our dinner with my Nikon point-and-shoot camera the night before. We had chicken curry, roti canai (paratha), turmeric basmati rice, and pickles. I sat down and created my first blog post with those pictures and named my blog Roti n Rice which describes the fusion of my Malaysian culinary heritage which is largely based on rice and my life in the West with its bread culture. Roti means bread in Malay, Hindi, and other South Asian languages.
Hard to believe Roti n Rice is three today. Time flies when you are having fun and even when you are not, you can always count on readers’ expectations to keep you going. What started out as a past time has turned into so much more. As I survey my kitchen a.k.a. the crucible of recipes, my shelf of camera equipment and the tripods gracing my makeshift studio, I come to the realization that this hobby is definitely more than just a past time. It is almost like a day job but it is one where I am doing something I really enjoy and am passionate about.
I am grateful to my dear hubby, Ro-Ri San and two boys, Ro-Taro and Ro-Jiro for putting up with this blogging thing. Believe me when I tell you that a food blogging family is one that is long suffering. Pictures always come first before any of the tantalizing food may be tasted. No matter how tasty a dish is, it is seldom ever repeated because the show must go on and fresh recipes developed. I am sure many of my fellow bloggers and their families can attest to that. Still, it is not a bad life as there are always new and hopefully exciting dishes to tease the taste buds.
Through all this time, I have learnt many things which never crossed my mind when I first started. A major one is photography. Up until then, photography was in Ro-Ri San’s domain. While content is said to be king, a picture paints a thousand words. The need to improve on my photography skills became a priority. After three months, Ro-Ri San bought me an intermediate camera, Panasonic Lumix FZ35 as I was not confident in handling a full DSLR. I was over the moon when my post using that camera was accepted by the major food gallery sites. After several more months, I realized I needed a camera that would allow me more manipulation because of the ever changing natural light quality of the seasons. That was when Ro-Ri San offered me his Canon DSLR. I was miserable the first week and waited for him to come home each day to take those pictures. It soon grew old. I had to teach myself to use that camera or stop posting.
Out of desperation I took out the manual and started reading it. Slowly I began to figure out the technicalities enough for me to take some decent shots. I spent hours on a photo session and took many, many pictures in the hope that I can get a decent one for the post. It was so time consuming and very frustrating. Thankfully, it got better and I acquired some skills in the process. Here are some of them.
1. Cooking with the left hand and taking pictures with the right hand.
2. Knowing the season and time of day for the best natural lighting.
3. Using a tripod and not wasting time trying to steady those shaky hands.
4. Making sure to have a fully charged backup battery on hand at all times.
Finally with my three years’ worth of statistics, I now know for a fact that while everyone dutifully pays respect to a salad, there is a stampede for the desserts. Here are the Top 10 posts of 2012.
Enough of my ramblings. Let’s take a look at today’s recipe. I have always wanted to make this cake but never summoned enough courage to take on the challenge. This past fall, Ro-Ri San came home from Austria bearing gifts and a Sacher Torte in a wooden case. I knew then the time has come for me to attempt baking this renown chocolatey apricot dessert.
I will no longer need to quickly turn the first page of my Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes & Slices Cookbook so that I can get past it. Their gorgeous Sacher Torte is on the first page of the cookbook. I adapted the recipe and also referred to Wolfgang Puck’s Recipe on Food Network for a larger and taller cake.
- 6 oz (170g) bittersweet chocolate
- 1½ sticks ¾ cup/170g) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup (165g) + additional 2 tbsp sugar
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1¼ cup (190g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- ¾ cup (225g) apricot jam
- Whipped cream for serving
- 5½ oz (150g) bittersweet chocolate
- 3 tbsp (52g) unsalted butter
Grease a deep 9-inch (23cm) round cake pan. Line with parchment paper.
Melt bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or bowl in hot water and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time until combined.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in melted chocolate and sifted flour.
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add additional sugar I tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until soft peak forms, about 4 minutes. Do not over beat.
Fold lightly into batter. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in pan before turning onto a wire rack. Leave cake to cool upside down. Split cake in half and place on serving dish.
Heat apricot jam with ¼ cup (60ml) water.
Spread jam over half of the cake. Top with remaining half of cake and spread cake all over with remaining jam. Stand cake at room temperature for an hour to allow jam to set.
Melt bittersweet chocolate and butter in a double boiler or bowl in hot water.
Let melted chocolate cool slightly before spreading all over cake. Use remaining glaze to pipe rosettes onto cake if desired.
Slice and serve with whipped cream.
♥ THANK YOU all for your kind and continued support! ♥
Let’s party and have lots of cakes! I invite you to link up your best and tallest cake at the linky below which will remain open until January 7th, 2013.