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This recipe is courtesy of my mom.  This pie has become one of her signature dessert this summer.  I saw when she made it, how everyone couldn’t get enough of it.  When I watched her make it, it took her no time to put it together.  But again, watching my mom cook or bake, looks effortless.  She makes everything looks so easy.  How does she do that!

My daughter and I went home (Toronto) for almost the whole summer.  It’s a way for my daughter to get to know my side of the family and to get to know more about where I was brought up.  And it’s always a great way to broaden her English speaking skills.

Getting back to our time at home.  There is no place like home. I know it sounds cliché but it’s so true.  Being back home, helps me to regroup myself and realized the things I missed and also how much I’ve changed as a person.  The person I was when I used to live there is no longer that person.

I value my time with my family and friends each time I go back home.  I like to sit in the kitchen I watch my mom cook. She is indeed the master of her kitchen.  I ask her about recipes and how to make certain dishes.  She seems to know it all when it comes to cooking and different recipes.  In her kitchen we seem to spend a lot of time, there is where we talk about all things possible while she is preparing and cooking meals.  One thing about my mom, when she cooks, she doesn’t want anyone to help her, she has to do it all herself, or else she is not satisfy with the outcome. 🙂

Her Blueberry Upside Down Pie is so delish for the summer or any occasion, served with vanilla ice-cream…yummy!!!!!


  • 2 tbsp melted Butter (room temperature)
  • 3 tbsp packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 cups Blueberries
  • 1 ½ cup Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Power
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup melted Butter (room temperature)
  • ½ packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • ½ cup 2% Milk (at room temperature)


  1. Spread 2 tbsp melted butter as listed above (in point 1) in a pie dish/pan.
  2. Sprinkle 3 tbsp brown sugar as listed above (in point 2) on top of the spreaded butter in the pie pan.
  3. Then sprinkle 1 cup blueberries on top of the brown sugar in the pie pan. And set pan aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, swift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  5. In another medium bowl, cream together ¼ melted butter, ½ cup brown sugar until smooth.
  6. Then add eggs and continue to cream together.
  7. Add vanilla and mix.
  8. Add milk and mix well until smooth.
  9. Gently fold in flour mixture by hand or with mixer.
  10. Add in the remaining 1 cup blueberries and fold in gently by hand.
  11. Spread the cream mixture into the pie pan.
  12. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 40 minutes (depending on how fast and powerful your oven is, you may want to start checking on it around 30 minutes into baking.  In my oven its take 30 minutes to bake.  My mom’s oven it takes 40 minutes.)
  13. Leave pie to cool for about 15 minutes or so. Run a knife around pie to loosen the sides. Place large platter or plate on top of the pan. Using oven mitts or potholders and using both hands, hold platter or plate and pie pan firmly together and invert; shake gently, allowing pie to settle on platter or plate. Cool at least 20 minutes.
  14. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

Chewy, Soft Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


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Cookie baking moment with my baby girl.  As a mom, I feel nothing bond a mother and a daughter like baking together.  I feel it is important to create a good, strong and trusting relationship with our kids at an early age. My daughter is now 3 ½  but even when she was a baby, I made sure that she always felt love and we always had time for her, no matter how busy and hectic my life and my husband’s life can be at times.  From taking her to the park to play “kick” (her name for soccer/football), to get gelato,  to running in the shopping centre (her version of shopping),  to baking together at least once week, bring her and I even more closer together.  I see how strong and confident she is, even at this young age.  Everyone tells me that she and I have a strong connection with each other that is very special.  I’m very proud of that connection I have with her.  It is important for me to continue to build that bond with her.

We both love cookies, especial chewy, soft cookies and I also love oatmeal. So I decide “our thing” to bake together would be cookies. Oatmeal isn’t every popular here in Italy, especially putting it in cookies, I’ve made it popular and liked in my Italian family’s life.  When we (my daughter and I) make these cookies, everyone here, loves them and can’t get enough of them.  I have to say, they do taste really good, not too sweet and stays chewy and soft for a long time.  But in my family when we make these cookies, they don’t stay around for too long. What can I say, my Italian family does love their “dolce”. 🙂


–         1 cup butter, softened

–         1 cup packed light brown sugar

–         1/2 cup white sugar

–         2 eggs

–         2 teaspoons vanilla extract

–         1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

–         1/2 teaspoon baking soda

–         1 teaspoon salt

–         2 – 3 cups quick-cooking oats

–         1 cup semisweet chocolate chips



1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C.  Line baking sheet with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth.

3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.

4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

5. Stir into the creamed butter sugar  mixture until just blended.

6. Mix in the quick oats and chocolate chips.

7. Drop by heaping spoonful onto baking sheets.

8. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven.


Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chewy Moist Cocoa Brownies


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When I make brownies, it’s always a major hit in my family especially with my husband who LOVES his chocolate and this brownie recipe gives him all the chocolate fix he can get in one or two squares.  Yes, I have to limit him with this one, if not he can go a little crazy eating them and before I know it, they can all be finish in a wink of an eye. 🙂  Ok, may not in a wink of an eye but in a couple of days they can go. This is the same for my father-in-law, he also goes crazy for chocolate and for my brownies. My mother-in-law says she also has to watch him (my father-in-law) when he eats these as he can finish them in one sitting.  Yes, the men in my family, here in Italy are a little crazy for their sweets especially anything to do with chocolate…they lose their heads for it!!!

I love to bake but I’m not a big sweet/chocolate eater but I love to bake and cook for others especially for my family as I love to see their joy and satisfaction that come from their faces from eating what I make.  As I said before in my previous blog enteries, baking and cooking gives me a sense of relaxation and distress me from the busy hectic life that at times consumes me. I find the creative process of cooking and seeing food/dishes come together is very self-satisfying and rewarding as others enjoy what I make..for me I feel good!  Like I said, I’m no fancy cook but for someone like me, who never like to cook until recently, it is something very satisfying and at times amaze me, that it actually taste fantastic! Yes, I surprise myself at times! 🙂

Now, getting back to my brownies,   I often add some dark chocolate chips (semi-sweet) to give it that extra chocolate taste, which my husband loves. Yes, I make these especially for him at the end of a work week at least once a month or so. Our motto is “you only live once, so why not indulge, but everything in moderation!!!”


1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup butter  (melted)

2 tablespoons water

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup Baking Cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped walnut nuts (optional)

3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. 2.     Grease and line 13×9-inch baking pan ( I prefer to line my baking pan for this as I find it is easier to cut the brownies and take them out when they are cool).
  3. Combine sugar, butter and water in large bowl with a mixer or by hand.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract into the sugar butter mixture.
  5. In a medium size bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  6. Stir the flour mix into sugar mixture.
  7. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
  8. Spread into prepared baking pan.
  9. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.
  10.  Cool completely in pan.
  11.  Cut into bars.

Mushroom Risotto


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Risotto is one of those dishes that we love to eat, but neither my husband and I never tried to make it until now. We always said that it would be one of those dishes that we would make when we are forced to stay at home due to a rainy day or one cold winter’s day. Lasagne is also another meal that we would like to make from scratch when we will have no plans one weekend. We have been saying that for about seven years now since we got married. We accomplished one of them a few weekends back.  Anyways, getting back to my risotto story, so that stormy rainy Sunday afternoon, we decided to stay at home and try our hands at making mushroom risotto from scratch (together). Risotto is one of those dishes that takes some time and attention to make as it takes about 25 minutes of careful stirring, and every few minutes adding a half cup of hot stock to the rice, as the rice slowly absorbs the liquid it’s in.
For the mushroom risotto, we used Champignon Mushrooms. We used fresh mushrooms for this risotto but you can also use dried ones (if you’re using dried mushrooms just put them in warm water for about half an hour or so). If you use fresh ones, simply clean them with a damp cloth (never with water) and thinly slice them and set them aside.
We used Arborio rice, since we are living close to the region where Arborio rice comes from, is cooked slowly with stock and when done, you stir in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (Hungry yet?) I actually don’t mind watching over risotto, it’s easy enough to do, and you can prepare other things while keeping the corner of your eye on the risotto. The result is so worth the effort.
You will need at least 5 cups of stock to make this much risotto, but the exact amount will vary depending on how hot your stove is, how much you stir the rice and how wide your pot is. Your best bet is to heat up a full 7 cups of stock, so you don’t run out. You can use any leftover stock to loosen up the risotto if you need to keep it on the stove before serving.

Risotto is best served immediately.


 2 Tbsp butter
– 2 cups of any flavorful mushrooms such as shiitake, chanterelle, or oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and thinly slice (as I stated we used Champignon Mushrooms for this recipe).
– 2/3 cup dry white wine
– 5-7 cups chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock for vegetarian)
– 1/3 cup white onion (finely chopped)
– 1 3/4 cups Arborio rice (or any other risotto rice of your choice)
– 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
– 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1. Bring stock to a simmer in a pan.
2. In another deep, heavy, medium sized pan melt butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes (if using chanterelles, dry sauté first for a minute or two and let the mushrooms cook in their own juices before adding the butter).
3. Pour the sauté mushrooms in a dish and set aside. Leaving a little of the liquid from the mushrooms in the pan.
4. Add rice to the same pan where you sauté the mushrooms and start to toast it and stirring frequently for about two minutes or so.
5. Add dry white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half for about 3-4 minutes.
6. Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan. Stir the rice almost constantly — stirring sloughs off the starch from the rice, making a creamy sauce you’re looking for in a risotto. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. This process will take about 25 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.
7. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Also, adding the sauté mushrooms and mix well.
8. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley (we didn’t add parsley to ours as my daughter doesn’t like green herbs in her food, so we omitted this out for her…she has a thing for not wanting green herbs in her meals.)  🙂

Penne with Pancetta, Saffron and Zucchini


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My family loves pasta, so I enjoy coming up with new ideas to make pasta, than always making the same style each time.  My daughter and I loves Pasta Carbonara but we have it frequently as my mother-in-law knows we love it, so she makes it quite often for us…and she does make an awesome Pasta Carbonara…its to die for (it will be a future blog entry) 🙂 But my husband is not a big fan of Pasta Carbonara, maybe it’s the fact that he has it quite often and maybe he’s a bit turn off my it. I don’t know and I don’t understand why he would feel that way! 🙂  Like I said, it’s to die for…his mom does make it the best!!  Anyways, getting my to how I came up with this idea of making this particular pasta.  So I thought, we love zucchini in our pasta (we at times make a delicious shrimp and zucchini pasta)…so maybe I can do something with zucchini, also knowing the daughter loves her zucchini.  If I add, pancetta and saffron can be a nice and interesting combination.  There it is! I made it and it was deliciously tasteful and everyone loved it.  My daughter said, “hmm mummy, you’re the best cooker ever!” 🙂 So I knew I did good with this one!  She says that each time I make something she likes.


(serves 4 people)

–         350g  Penne Pasta (or your choice of pasta)

–         A pack of  Cubed Pancetta  (if you can’t find cubed package Pancetta, get some in slab size at the Italian store and diced them.)

–         4 or 5 zucchini (cut into small pieces)

–         1 pack of Saffron

–         Extra virgin olive oil

–         Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano grated cheese


  1. Wash zucchini and cut into small pieces.
  2. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook them up.
  3. When the zucchinis are fully cooked, add the diced bacon and fry together for a while.
  4. Put water on to boil and cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  5. When pasta is finish, drain the water and pour it into the pan where you previously cooked zucchini and pancetta.
  6. Dissolve saffron in a little water and add to the pasta, zucchini, pancetta.
  7. Add a good handful of grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese to taste and sauté or mix together until the cheese has completely melted.

**Note: when I first made this dish I didn’t dissolve the saffron as you can see in my photo.  But the second time, I decided to dissolved in a little water, and it was easier to spread over the pasta. ***

**I found out that this recipe some use here in a variety of different way. But this is my version to fit me and my family taste**

It’s a pretty quick but still very tasty recipe!

Buon appetito!!!!!!

Easy Fast Chicken Parmesan


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I love cooking, baking chicken….any cooking style for chicken, I’m interesting in and love to try.  So when I’m not sure what to make for dinner, I came up with this fast and easy way for chicken breast….Chicken Parmesan!!! My family loves it and they can’t get enough of it when I make it.  My daughter and I love to have ours with pasta, while my husband loves his with a salad. Whatever side dish you like yours with, you can’t go wrong with Chicken Parmesan for lunch or dinner.


–         4 boneless chicken breasts ( pounded to 1/2 inch thickness)

–         1 egg

–         1/2 cup milk

–         seasoned bread crumbs ( I seasoned my bread crumbs with salt, black pepper, garlic powder and Paprika)

–         2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

–         8 slices mozzarella cheese, or more

–         1 jar tomato pasta sauce (any kind of your favourite pasta sauce)

–         Parmesan cheese


  1. Whisk together the egg and milk in a deep dish.
  2. Dip the chicken breasts in milk and egg mixture and then in bread crumbs.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Brown the chicken in the hot oil on both sides until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
  5. Spread some tomato sauce at the bottom of a baking dish, and then set the browned chicken breasts in the baking dish.
  6. Slice 8 pieces of mozzarella cheese and put two on each chicken breast.
  7. Pour the remaining jar tomato sauce on top of the chicken.
  8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a little more mozzarella.
  9. Bake at 180°C  for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

Serve with any type of your favourite pasta or garden salad.

Red Velvet Cupcakes



I’ve always love Red Velvet Cakes. I don’t know if it’s because of the red colour in the cake that attracts me to this cake but all I know it’s delicious and so moist.  I always thought it was difficult to make until I started to look it up and realized that it is not as difficult as I thought.

We had a luncheon with some family and I wanted to make a cake that was different than other Italian cakes here.  So since I’m not that great at baking a full form cake, I decided to make cupcakes and did a Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I was so happy on how they turned out.  They were moist and flavourful.  And everyone loved it.  So that was a bonus!!!  I frosted them with a cream cheese frosting and topped with strawberries.


1/2 cup butter (soften)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons red food coloring

2 heaping tablespoons cocoa

1 cup buttermilk (where I live, I couldn’t find buttermilk, so I made my put placing 1 cup of milk in measuring cup and added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, stir and leave it for about 10 minutes)

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vinegar


1. Cream butter, sugar and eggs.

2. Make a paste with the food coloring and cocoa.

3. Add the cocoa paste to the butter cream mixture.

4. Add buttermilk alternating with flour and salt.

5.  Add vanilla.

6.  Combine baking soda to vinegar, and blend into the batter.

7.  Pour into prepared cupcake pan.

8.  Bake at 180° C for about 18 to 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean at the     centre.

Cream Cheese Frosting


250 g cream cheese (room temperature)

113g  butter (cut into pieces and room temperature)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl.
  2.  Using a spatula soften cream cheese.
  3. Gradually add butter and continue beating until smooth and well blended.
  4. Sift in confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until smooth.
  5. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

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CHICKEN CURRY (Guyanese Style) mom’s recipe



Guyanese style Chicken Curry is one of my FAVOURITE West Indian dishes of all times.  Even my husband loves this dish.  Each time he goes to Canada or when my mom comes to visit us in Italy, she has to make her chicken curry and roti for him.  It’s a big hit in my family.  Mom does it the BEST and no one can come close to how she makes it…only mom can make this to our liking. Well this is my option and my husband’s option.  Her chicken curry is simply “THE BEST” in my book.   Also, she makes her roti to go with it.  DELICIOUS!!!!

The best combination for this curry dish is obviously with roti, but since I have no clue on how to make roti, I often make rice to go with it, which you can’t go wrong with on this thick and flavourful dish.  I’ve tried on several occasion to make roti, but it always came out hard and stiff, instead of soft and fluffy.  This summer when I go home, I’m hoping to master the art of roti making. HOPEFULLY!!!

Note: Most people I know have this dish for dinner or a big lunch.

Tip: If you live in a country that experiences winter and your house is locked up during those months and you’re concerned about that pungent scent that cooked curry seems to leave back (especially on your clothes), you have a few options…

1.)              burn a scented candle during and after you’ve cooked

2.)              open a window or turn on the exhaust fan above your stove

3.)              place a stick of cinnamon in some water and simmer on the stove

4.)              bake some cookies, cake or pastries right after 🙂


  1. cut chicken into pieces (I like using the tights with the bone in the middle), wash meat with lime, lemon or vinegar and water and dry the pieces
  2. chop up 1 small onion
  3. grated or crushed 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  4. 1- 2  medium potatoes (peeled and sliced into chunks)
  5. ¾ tablespoon garam-massala (is a blend of ground spices which commonly use in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines)
  6. 2 level tablespoon curry powder
  7. ½ – 3/4  teaspoon salt (to taste)
  8. 1 – 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  9. 2 cups of water (about)

How to:

–         Heat up oil in a large pot with a lid

–         Add chopped onion, garlic, garam-massala and curry powder and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.

–         Add chicken pieces with salt

–         Cover and let simmer for a few minutes. After about 8 minutes you’ll notice that the chicken will released some natural juices – turn up the heat and get rid of that.  Or if it starts to burn, add about ¼ cup of water and let simmer.  Let the massale get into the meat.

–         Add chucks of potatoes and mix around in the pot

–         Pour about 2 cups of water (just enough to cover the meat) to make a gravy and mix around.

–         Cover the pot and turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Allow this to cook for about 20 minutes or so (about 20 to 30 minutes). The goal is to have tender pieces of potato (melt and thicken the sauce) and a rich-thick sauce. If there’s still a lot of liquid left after the 20 minutes, using the back of your spoon, smash a few pieces of the potato. This will help thicken the gravy.

NOTE:  Be sure to taste for salt in case you need to add some.  Keep some hot water on hand, as you may need it to add if the water evaporated and the potatoes and chicken aren’t completed cooked.

Cream Cheese Veggie Dip


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This Cream Cheese Veggie Dip has been requested within our family and friends for the years.  My sister has made this dip become so famous, that it is one the most requested appertizer to bring whenever someone is entertaining.  When she came over to visit me in Italy last summer, she made this dip for our dinner party.  Everyone here went crazy for it.  Even my father-in-law, who by far is one of the most “pickiness” eater that I’ve ever met, loves this dip.   Since then, I am ask to make this dip often when we entertain or when someone is entertaining.  Now our family and our circle of friends here in Italy are in love with this “DIP”.

WARNING: When you start to eat it you can’t stop!!!! VERY ADDICTIVE!!

To serve with tortilla chip, breadsticks, crackers or toasted bread.


–         2 packs of Cream Cheese (200g each)

–         2 to 3 tablespoons of Sour Cream or Crème Fraîche (panna acida in Italian)

–         2 to 3 tablespoons of Mayonnaise

–         Finely chopped Red and Green Peppers, Tomatoes (deseeded), Spring Onions

–         Shredded/Grated Cheddar Cheese or Fontina Cheese (or any strong cheese of   your choice)

**** I usually put 2 tablespoons of sour cream and mayonnaise in my dip.  You will have to check the consistency of your dip and if needed add another tablespoon of sour cream and mayonnaise.  By adding more sour cream, the dip can become a little runny. So just beware of that!!!******

How to Make It:

  1. Whip together cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise.
  2. Pour the cream cheese mixture onto a large serving plate or dish (like a “hill form”). Slightly spread it out a little but keeping the form of a “hill”.
  3. Start to layer the vegetable on top of the cream cheese mixture…one layer of spring onions, second layer of red peppers, third layer of green peppers, forth layer of tomatoes.
  4. At the top sprinkle the cheese of your choice.

Place the dip in the fridge until needed.

NOTE: Do not make (put together) this dip too far in advance, as the tomatoes can make it a little soggy. It is better to make it about 1 to 2 hours in advance before you’re going to serve it.

Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes


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My husband has a passion for dark chocolates.  So for his birthday recently it was only fitting and also requested by him to have a deep dark chocolate cake after his birthday dinner.   So after searching for ideas, and not wanting to do his favourite brownies (as I always do for him), but wanting to make something special just for him on his special day.  I came across several recipes for Molten Chocolate cakes that I thought would be perfect  for an after dinner dessert. I modified it a bit to have more deep chocolate taste to suit him.

Instead of a runny liquid center, the inside of these mini cakes are more like a warm chocolate mousse that simply melts in your mouth.  And it is quite simply to make!

These mini cakes can be serve with some fresh strawberries, ice cream or whipped cream.


–        50g soft unsalted butter (plus a little for greasing)

–        350g good quality dark chocolate ((I use a dark chocolate with at least a 50% cocoa content)

–        50g granulated sugar

–        4 large eggs (beaten with a pinch of salt)

–        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

–        50g plain flour

–        6 individual pudding moulds or custard cups, buttered and line with oven paper.  I don’t have any individual moulds or cups, so I just used a larger size muffin/cupcake pan buttered and lined with oven paper.  My mini cakes came out just great and perfect.

This recipe can be prepared ahead of time and store in the fridge until needed. (I prepared my mixture a few hours earlier and stored it in the fridge until I finished preparing dinner and put it in the oven when we were half way through dinner.)


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.  Put a baking sheet in at the same time.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate over very low heat or in a double boiler. Let it cool slightly.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar.
  4. Gradually beat in eggs and salt, then vanilla.
  5. Add flour and mix until smooth.
  6. When all is smoothly combined, slowly pour the mixture into the cool chocolate mixture, blending it to a smooth batter.
  7. Divide the batter into the 6 moulds.  Take out the baking sheet out of the oven, and arrange the moulds on it and return it back in the oven.
  8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (you’ll need  the extra 2 minutes if you had the mixture in the fridge when you start.  My cakes needed 12 minutes in my oven as it was in the fridge prior.)
  9. Cool for about 2 minutes before placing  each mini cakes onto a serving plate and gently removing the baking cups.
  10. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or fresh strawberries or berries. (My husband doesn’t like nothing on these cakes, so I didn’t put any ice cream or fruits on them since it was his birthday).