Archive

Archive for July, 2010

Of sweating chocolate, hot weather, and bad chinese handwriting

From the title above, you can see that this post will not be a very happy one. Lots of hiccups went along the making of this cake. Lots.

Let me gripe, bear with me or just skip the next couple of paragraphs.

Hiccup #1 – After successfully separating 6 eggs, i broke ONE egg yolk over my pool of egg whites and contaminated the whole batch.. Great. Now i gotta re-crack another 6 eggs. No biggie right? Except i dont have 6 extra eggs on hands.

Hiccup #2- After all the egg white drama and a short trip to the grocery store, i finally have my pristine batch of egg whites in my mixing bowl.

Next step, add a tsp of Cream of Tartar. Okays, easy enuff, i thought dumping the white stuff into my egg whites.

Except it wasn’t cream of tartar in my hands. It was baking powder. I suppose i could have fished the baking powder out while still salvaging my egg whites, but i knew for a fact that egg whites have to be squeaky clean and uncontaminated when it is to be beaten to peaks.

And i wasn’t in the mood to experiment the effect of baking powder on the beating of egg whites. at least not today

BACK TO square ONE. I re- cracked my eggs again for the third time, feeling super frustrated at the amount of eggs i wasted. Damn, this cake better be worth all these effort!

Hiccup #3- fast forward to the point where i was popping the cake batter into the oven. By this time, I was so glad that all active part in the making of the cake was done. Now it’s up to the oven to do its thing while i take my deserved break.
I was so eager to leave my sweltering kitchen. Too eager in fact that i forgot to set the little timer. And it turns out, i am not so hot in judging whether a cake is done or not. I guess i might have removed the cake from the oven a tad too early, resulting in a soggy cake with a sticky top.

At this stage, i am SO not gonna go back to stage one and re-crack my eggs again all over again! Onwards i proceeded with my less than perfect cake with the frosting stage. No crazy mishaps thankfully. The baking fairy must have finally taken sympathy at my sorry state..
or at the remaining eggs that are at the mercy of being cracked into unfunctional states. Just like their predecessors.

I frosted like a madwoman, chocolate fudge in my hands, arms, hands and face. I held my breath and steadied my fingers as i attempted to write the chinese wordings on it. The wordings didnt turn out perfect. But at least they were the right words and they were legible. Now that was over with, came the less nervewrecking stage of decorating the top of the cake with strawberries and oranges.

Now now, The cake was not set to be delivered till the next day. Which means, it gets to stay overnight. The question is where?? In a hot and humid room? or in a cool, temperature controlled refrigerator?

Hot and humid room doesnt sound like such a good idea for my soggy, slightly underbaked spongecake. In fact, it sounds like a perfect bacterial playground.

Yet, a cool refrigerator will definitely cause a sweaty chocolate finish after it has been removed from its controlled cool climate.

I chose the second option. For i care about the well beings of the people who eat this cake more than its presentation.

Spritz Butter Cookies go Fancy

July 30, 2010 1 comment

Just ur average spritz butter cookies dipped in melted white chocolate and coloured sprinkles.

The white chocolate dip for these cookies provide a pleasant burst of sweetness against the subtly sweet cookies. Not to mention, it does make them pretty too.

50 gr butter
50 gr shortening
60 gr icing sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
160 gr plain flour
30 gr milk powder
10 gr custard powder

method:
1. Combine butter, shortening, icing sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffly. Add in the egg and the vanilla and mix till well combined. Fold in the flour, milk powder and custard powder to make a dough.

2. Spoon the dough into a pipping bag fitted with a nozzle. Pipe rounds on a pre-greased/ line baking sheet, spaced out to make room for spreading.

3. Bake at 170 degree Celcius ( not fahrenheit! ) for about 15- 20 mins until firm

4. Dip baked cookies in pre-melted white chocolate, and scatter colourful sprinkles before the white chocolate sets.

Categories: Cookies

Honey Lemon Madeleines


Honey Lemon Madeleines

Originally uploaded by CruStABakes

Honey Lemon Madeleines

These madeleines got its signature humpback from beating egg whites separately from the yolks instead of letting the batter chill in the fridge. As a result, these madelenies are spongy soft with very fine crumbs.

I am also loving the lemony fragrance from these bite sized treats, completely masking the usual “eggy” smell from sponge cakes

Recipe:
50 gr butter, melted
20 gr honey
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
4 egg yolks
25 gr castor sugar
80 gr cake flour
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
50 gr castor sugar

1. Heat butter till it melts, add honey, lemon zest and juice. Mix well till combined
2. Beat egg yolks with the 25 gr of castor sugar till it thickens
3. Add butter mixture into the egg yolks mixture
4.Sift in flour and fold into the mixture. Set aside
5. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, till it forms soft peaks. Add the 50 gr of castor sugar gradually. Beat till it forms stiff peaks.
6. Fold in the egg whites mixture to the egg yolks mixture
7. Spoon onto a pre greased and floured madeleine mold and bake at 180 degree celcius for 17 minutes or till it is fully baked.

Love it or hate it. Durian cake

Love it or hate it. Durian cake

Many of you will probably cringe from the smell of the fruit that made up this cake. Yes, i am talking about none other than the king of fruits, durian.

The people i know usually belong to either end of the spectrum when it comes to liking durians. They either like it, or hate it. As for me, i think like it. 🙂

I was inspired to bake this cake after tasting a very delish durian cake baked by my baker aunt.The cake was made up of a soft sponge that was layered with soft durian custard. It was a winner that had me thinking about it for days after,

and the urge to replicate.

I came across a recipe a few days later from a local baker. I attempted, and failed miserably. Instead of a nice firm custard, i was faced with a pool of durian goo that refused to firm up. There was so much waste that it was almost heartbreaking. Durians are not exactly the cheapest fruits around.

But, on the bright side, i did salvage enough of the remaining fruit that wasnt used for the durian goo, to make a nice decent butter cake! Aromatic (at least to me), soft, moist and deeeelish. Not the winner i set out to do, but definitely a winner in its own way!

Recipe from : http://auntyyochana.blogspot.com/2007/07/durian-butter-cake.html

Ingredients:

250 gm. Butter

220 gm. sugar

5 eggs

120 gm. Durian flesh

60 ml. milk

40 gm. cake flour

200 gm. cake flour

50 gm. custard powder

1/2 tsp. Baking powder

1/4 tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda

1/4 tsp. salt

Method:

(1) Blend durian flesh with milk and mix in the 40 gm. of flour. Leave aside.

(2) Sieve flour with baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

(3) Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.

(4) Add in eggs one at a time till well combined before the next addition.

(5) Add in durian and milk mixture and mix well.

(6) Fold in flour mixture and custard powder and mix till well blended.

(7) Pour into tube pan and bake at 175C for about 50 mins.

(8) Remove from cake pan and leave on cooling pan till cool before slicing.

Shortbread Cookies with Pastel icing


Shortbread Cookies with Pastel icing

These are the cookies i grew up with. Someone in the family would buy these cookies and just leave it around the house. I used to bite off the icing off the cookies and throw the base back into the cookie box. Just because the cookie was dry and flavourless.

This is definitely not a problem for my homemade version.. With these cookies, old habits are reversed. I bite off the cookie and spit out the icing.

Recipe from Aalan Ooi “Cookies”
A:
100 gr butter
50 gr caster sugar
B:
1/2 tsp vanilla
C:
130 gr plain flour
11/2 TBS green pea flour
1/4 tsp baking soda

For the Decoration:
1 egg white
1/2 tsp lemon juice
200-250 gr icing sugar
dash of pink, yellow, green colouring

Methods:
1. Cream ingredient A in a big mixing bowl until fluffy. Add in ingredient B, mix well. Fold in ingredient C to form a dough

2. Place ( 1 ) in between two sheets of plastic. Roll out to a thickness of 5 mm. Stamp out circles with cutter. Arrange on lined baking trays. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degree Celcius for 12 mins or until baked through.

3. Place egg white for decoration in a big bowl. Beat with a balloon whisk until firm. Add in icing sugar and lemon juice. Whisk well and divide into three even parts. Colour the parts as desired.

4. Fit a nozzle into a pipping bag. Spoon in one part of decoration onto the baked cookies. Leave the cookies to set before storage.

Categories: Cookies

Garlic Bread Baguette


I didnt take the shortcut making these. I learnt my lesson and went about making these breads the old, traditional way.

I got home late in the evening, and painstakingly took out my kitchen weighing scale, bread flour, and instant yeast (i am a morning baker. i am not a big fan of being in the kitchen in the evenings). I then proceeded to make my scalded and sponge dough, recipe below.

Thereafter, i let the whole party of ingredients in the refrigerator and wait for the instant yeasts to do their thang. I like yeast. They kind of remind me of the little elves who helped the shoemaker at night.

This A.M, i took out the said sponge dough from the refrigerator. I mixed, kneaded, proofed, baked as according to instructions. And i must say, the end results are a far cry from the previous baguette i made without the sponge.

I guess when the bakers gave instructions to make a sponge, they weren’t actually just trying to make life difficult for others. These garlic bread are way more flavourful than the previous baguette. They are also chewy and moist within. Double points!

Recipe: From Alex Goh’s Magic Bread

Ingredients I:

60 gr Bread Flour

45 gr Boiling water

Ingredients II:

240 gr Bread Flour

6 gr Sugar

6 gr Salt

4 gr Instant Yeast

Ingredients III:

135 gr Cold Water

75 gr Overnight Sponge *

Ingredients IV:

15 gr Butter

Method:

1. Add the boiling water from I into the flour, mix until well blended to form dough. Cover and set aside to cool. Refrigerate for 12 hours before using.

2. Mix II until well blended. Add in III. Knead to form rough dough. Add in I. Knead until well blended.

3. Add in IV to form elastic dough. Let proof for 45 minutes.

4. Divide the dough into 85 gr. Mold it round. Let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Flatten the dough and roll into oblong shapes. Let proof for 45 minutes

6. Egg wash the surface and cut the centre with a sharp knife. Place some garlic butter** onto it.

7. Bake at 220 degree celcius for 18 minutes

* Overnight sponge

100 gr Bread flour

60 gr water at room temp.

1/4 tsp instant yeast

Mix water and yeast until well blended. Add flour, mix to form dough. Proof for 30 mins, wrap and refrigerate overnight.

** Garlic butter

10 cloves garlic

100 gr butter

Parsley

Salt (not in recipe, but i added it anyways)

Categories: Yeasted Breads

Sliced Garlic Bread

Sliced Garlic Bread

Remember the bleaarrgh baguette i made? The one that didn’t call for a sponge? Well, rather than leaving it around in the hope of someone will eat it, i decided to jazz it up by slicing it into pieces and slathering it butter that has been preseasoned with chopped garlic and salt.

Reheat these babies at 220 degree celcius with the buttered sides up for about 7-8 mins. Transform drab to Deelish!

Categories: Yeasted Breads

Caramel Coffee Meringue Cookies

These are actually leftover 7 minute meringue frosting that i made to go along with the chocolate cupcakes i made earlier. They are coffee flavoured, with a hint of caramel from the brown sugar that is used in place of the white.

They are a tad too sweet on its own without the cake to balance the sweetness. But they do possess the typical meringue cookies qualities – Crisp on the outside and wonderfully chewy and moist inside.

Recipe from Maida Heatter’s “Book of Great Desserts”
4 egg whites
11/2 C Brown Sugar
1 TBS coffee + 1/4 + 1 TBS hot water
1 TSP Cream of Tartar
1/8 TSP salt
11/2 TSP vanilla extract

1. Mix everything except vanilla. On top of a double boiler, place over moderate heat, over hot water.

2. Beat with electric mixer for 5 minutes, until the mixture stands in peaks when withdrawn.

3. Immediately in order to stop cooking, transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla. Beat at high speed until the mixture is smooth and stiff.

Categories: Cookies

Mud Hen Bars

I know i was sold on making these bars when i came across the recipe off the internet and visualized the final product.

Chewy cookie base, and gooey brown sugar meringue sandwiching chocolate.

It just sounds like a blissful union to me!

It was only after further reading, and a few clicks linking me from site to site that i discovered its name- The Mud Hen Bars.

WHAAAaaat? u ask..

Yeah. Go figure.

Recipe here:

The cake that looks like a giant Donut

July 21, 2010 1 comment

U can’t see the insides of this cake. But it’s marbled, and i was too lazy to take another shot of the interior of the cake.

This recipe came from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s latest book, Heavenly Cakes, titled "Marble Velvet Cake" .

This cake did deliver what the book promises, a velvety, rich and moist butter cake that is part chocolate and part vanilla.

To top all that goodness, i drizzled a generous coating of the optional, but super yumm-eh, chocolate ganache over it.

This chocolate ganache totally won me over. Its glossy appearance turns matte when the chocolate has cooled and dried up. (YES! this chocolate ganache actually dries up in the tropical and humid climate i am in!)

Cool and dry chocolate ganache are a dream come true for me. Cakes with cool and dry chocolate ganache are travel friendly can be delivered messy- free to unsuspecting recipients, which in turn, gives me more room to bake. ^^

Recipe:

85 gr dark chocolate

112 gr egg yolks ( about 6)

242 gr sour cream (1 cup)

2 tsp vanilla extract

300 gr cake flour

300 gr superfine sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

255 gr unsalted butter

1. Double boil or using the microwave, melt the dark chocolate

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, 1/4 c of the sour cream, and vanilla till just combined

3. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low for 30 secs. Add butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low until ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1.5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Starting on medium low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in three parts. Beat on medium for 20 seconds after each additions to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Remove 1/3 of the batter (354 gr) to a bowl and stir in melted chocolate until uniform in colour. Scoop 1/3 of remaining batter onto prepared pan. Top with dollops of half the chocolate batter. Spread gently, but evenly. Top with another 1/3 of the plain batter, then dollops of the remaining chocolate batter. Spread evenly and top with remaining 1/3 of the plain batter, spreading it evenly over the top. Use a regular spoon to marbelize the batter lightly. Dip the tablespoon without touching the bottom or sides and lift up and over in a folding motion, 6 to 8 times, going all around the pan. Smooth the surface evenly.

6. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, or  until a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean, and the cake lightly springs back when lightly touched. The cake should start to shrink from the pan after removal from oven. During baking, it will rise above the centre tube, but on cooling, it will level from center tube.

7. Let cool in wire rack for 10 minutes before unmoulding.

Cat’s Tongue Cookies

The Cat’s Tongue Cookies probably got its name from its shape.

As a kid, i remember savouring each of these cookies one by one. I didnt chew on them, instead, i just let them slowly dissolve in my mouth.

Yupp, these are one of those buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, crisp, and subtly sweet cookies. I made two versions  – Chocolate and Plain. Both are good, but if i were to choose one, i take the plain.

A word of advise: Keep these cookies in airtight container for  storage. They soften pretty easily if left uncovered.

And, the recipe!

100gr margarine

100 gr salted butter

150 gr cake flour

20gr milk powder

5 egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

75 gr icing sugar

1/4 tsp chocolate paste

1. Beat butter and margarine till soft and fluffy. Sift  in flour and milk powder. Mix to combine

2. Beat egg whites and salt till soft peaks. Add icing sugar gradually. Beat till stiff peaks. Fold in egg whites to butter mixture.

3. Divide batter into two. Add chocolate paste to one, while allowing the other to remain white.

4. Fill batter into pipping bags. Pipe onto greased baking sheet

5. Bake at 150 degree Celcius for 15 minutes

Categories: Cookies Tags: , , ,

Montana Mountain Cupcakes

July 19, 2010 2 comments

Here are three components that made up this cupcake

Coffee, Caramel and Chocolate.

Did i convince u to make them yet?

The frosting was definitely a winner here. It was beaten to a pretty, glossy and stiff consistency and was able to form perfect little mounds when scooped onto the cupcakes. The coffee in the icing was very prominent. It imparted an aromatic and a slight bitter taste to the traditionally way-too-sweet plain 7 meringue icing.

Yes 7 minute meringue icing, it is fat free, cause its all egg whites! Okay, let’s just ignore about the sugar content in meringue icing. For now.

Brown sugar was used  for the caramel flavour for this frosting. But i guess the coffee was too strong to let the caramel flavor shine. No one is complaining though. The coffee keeps our tastebuds and sense of smell busy enough.

As for the cake, nah.. definitely not in my top 10 list for the best chocolate cake. The chocolate flavour was pretty weak, and the texture was kinda chewy.. too chewy. The texture reminds me of those steamed chinese cakes. Or one of those eggless cakes with irregular holes and which rely on baking soda to rise.

Will i be making this again? hmm.. maybe not the cake. But the frosting. oh YEAH!

Recipe is from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Dessert

Frosting recipe can be found HERE

Soft, Fluffy Pull-Aparts

These pull aparts are so wonderfully soft and fluffy. They surprisingly stayed moist despite being pulled at and left uncovered for hours.

These fluffers go well with good ole plain salted butter. I eat mine with butter and chocolate sprinkles  because i just happen to have it around.

On second thoughts, I always have chocolate sprinkles around.It is pretty much  a staple at my home. It’s  probably the only thing my family members reach for to go with their white sandwich bread, besides Nutella.

Too bad we ran out of Nutella, and i had to settle for second best.

Blahs.

For those of u without choc sprinkles, here are some other ideas:

Peanut butter,

Strawberry jam,

or a slice of cheddar

Or Nutella…. (well, the list is pretty much endless..)

Recipe is from an Indonesian Baking Book titled : 100 Resep kue & Roti by Lanny Soecha

Ingredients I:

500 gr bread flour

50gr sugar

50 gr milk powder

7.5 gr instant yeast

3 gr bread improver

Ingredients II:

3 egg yolks

250 ml iced water

Ingredients III:

75 gr margarine

1 tsp salt

Ingredients IV ( beat together):

250 gr butter

125 gr icing sugar

50 ml sweetened condensed milk

Ingredient V:

evaporated milk ( For glazing)

1. Mix Ingredients I & II till well combined. Add Ingredients III and knead till the dough is no longer sticky and is elastic.

2. Add a little oil into the dough and shape it round. Let proof for 20 minutes.

3. Deflate the dough, divide it into little rounds, each weighing 30 grams. Shape the mini doughs into elongated rolls. Brush each roll with Ingredients IV.  Assemble the rolls into a 20cm x 20 cm square tin that has been lightly greased.

4. Let proof for a second time for 1 hour. Brush the surface of each roll with Ingredients V

5. Bake at 175 degree Celcius for 25 minutes, or till the surface is golden brown. Remove tin from oven. Remove bread from tin to cool

6. Serve each roll with Ingredients IV or whatever u fancy.

Okay, above are my feeble attempts at translating, i apologize. Please do bear with me.