Milestones – Vanilla-Orange Chocolate cake

I almost missed it. By pure luck, I checked and realised it was today.

Coriander and Garlic is one year old today! 

OMG! OMG! OMG! I’m still here? I’m still here!! To be fair, I did go MIA for a bit in the middle of it but hey, I’m still here.  This is the bit where I get a little emotional.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this thing here I call a blog. Kowtows to you lovely folks who subscribe to me. And a big giant wet smooch for my blogger friend Bonnie, for being SO supportive. I can always count on you to have my (blogging) back. Guys, seriously, check out her page, Mad skills she has, this woman.

How else could I possibly celebrate this milestone but to bake a cake, right? It’s just been sweet sweet sweet around here lately. My pantry’s running low on sugar as a result. But this is necessary! We only turn one once!


It’s not just our birthday though. It’s also one of my best friends’ birthday today and she’s hitting a milestone too! I can’t tell you her exact age, she most definitely would cut me.

ShuenShuen Darling, happy happy birthday! I hope you get spoilt rotten today and everyday after that! Stay beautiful and I love you so much!! Muacks!! 

I decided to make a chocolate layer cake with a vanilla orange frosting. Sounds a little over the top, doesn’t it? It totally works though. There is really only a hint of orange in the frosting which lends a light and fresh note to it, making it seem not as heavy.

This cake is my go-to chocolate cake. It’s light and moist and chocolatey and it just melts you from the inside out. Thank you Ms Lawson.  I’ve made this so many times now; as a whole cake, as cupcakes and as cake pops. It never disappoints. The original recipe just dumps everything into a food processor and blends. How easy is that?! I, however, don’t own a food processor, thus I went the old fashion way. So look here if you want to go the Lawson way, otherwise read on for my version.


Chocolate cake


In my last post, I whined mentioned how overly sweet I find the typical buttercream recipes are. Bonnie reminded me about cornstarch buttercream, which was what led me to her blog in the first place. I didn’t use her recipe this time because it would involve too many changes and I didn’t want to screw this up. It’s still on my to-do list though. I found a plain vanilla version at melskitchencafe and added just a hint of orange flavour to it. I have to say, I’m never going back to the powdered sugar version! The sweetness is perfect! I just love knowing that there isn’t three cups of sugar in it. Barely a cup even! This is like a cross between whipped cream and white chocolate ganache. It even kind of behaves like ganache as well. It stiffens up as it cools and if you chill it, its texture is exactly like ganache.  So why not just use ganache? I could and I did. I topped the cake with a dark chocolate ganache, which was a little too thick for what I was trying to go for. So instead of the elegant trickles of ganache, I got Lego man head. Doesn’t it look like the head of a Lego man??  I’m not including a recipe for the ganache because I eyeballed everything, which is probably why I didn’t get my smooth trickles……Still delicious though!

Thanks again for a wonderful year and here’s to many more to come! We hope.


Chocolate cake

Nigella Lawson’s Old fashioned Chocolate Cake

Makes 1 double layer 8′ cake


  • 200 g plain flour
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 40 g best-quality cocoa
  • 175 g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 180g creme fraiche  ( originally 150ml sour cream)



  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and grease/flour/line two 8′ cake tins.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs, one at a time, an beat on low until incoporated.
  4. Beat in vanilla and creme fraiche until incorporated.
  5. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder. Sift mixture into butter mixture and fold it in.
  6. Beat the batter again for 5 seconds. Divide the batter into the two tins.
  7. Bake for 30 – 35 mins or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cake tins from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for 10 mins before turning them out.
  9. Leave cakes to cool completely before frosting.


Vanilla-Orange cornstarch Frosting

makes 2 cups


  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1½ Tbs cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp orange flavour
  • 170g (1½ sticks) butter, cut into small pieces and softened at room temperature


  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth.  Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens up to the consistency of condensed milk (the sweet kind). Careful not to burn yourself, it sputters and splatters quite a bit.
  2. Transfer mixture into your stand mixer’s mixing bowl and submerge the bowl into an ice bath. Gently fold the mixture over itself to cool it down. Keep doing this until the mixture comes to room temperature.
  3. Once the frosting is completely cooled to room temperature, beat the mixture with the vanilla and orange flavour on low speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter has been incorporated fully, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat the frosting for five minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff, about 1 hour.
  5. Now it’s ready to use.



  • The directions given are how I made the cake and frosting. Mel has a lot of tips on her blog to make this buttercream work, so if you’re going to try it for the first time, please go and read what she has to say. Links are in the recipe titles.
  • I absolutely love my new Ikea cake stand!!

Chocolate cake

8 thoughts on “Milestones – Vanilla-Orange Chocolate cake

  1. OMG thank you sooo much girl…I’ve never received a virtual smooch before…xo back! You know what is totally weird? Sept 19 is actually my birthday! You can see from my post on Birthday Tea from yesterday that I’m totally not lying either.

    Congratulations on your 1 year blogiversary…I’m so happy to have ran across your blog for what seems like so long ago now. You cake looks so elegant…love the orange and chocolate combination, and of course the cornstarch addition! Thanks again dear…to be quite honest, I had a really horrendous week this week, but your kinds words have really lifted my spirits. 🙂


  2. Congrats! Sorry for the delay, I’ve unfortunately been out of action due to an injury.

    Looking forward to many many more years of corianderandgarlic!!!

    Keep it up


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