Monday, February 27, 2012

Black Forest Cake

Happy Birthday Baby!!!!=)

Adapted from Sky High Cakes

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon cake flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
7 medium eggs
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
450g morello cherries soaked in syrup & kirsch**
chilled chocolate curls, but I used cadbury flakes for decoration

** the morello cherries I bought only came with syrup so I reduced the syrup by half and added kirsch to fill the jar and let it soak for 4 days.
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line the bottoms of 3- 8inch round cake pans with rounds of baking paper but do not grease the pans.
  2. Sift together the cake flour and cocoa powder. Set these aside.
  3. Whisk eggs to blend in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and whisk on medium high speed until a slowly dissolving ribbon forms when the whisk attachment is lifted.
  4. Sift a third of the dry ingredients over the egg mixture. With a rubber spatula,gently fold in.Repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients in two portions.
  5. Then fold the batter until the ingredients are well mixed without deflating the batter. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared tins.
  6. Bake the layers for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle,comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cakes from oven and let them cool in their pans completely,at least an hour. To unmold run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan and invert; peel off the paper.
  8. In a large chilled bowl and chilled beaters, beat the cream until it mounds lightly. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla and whip until the cream is fairly stiff.
  9. To assemble the cake, place the layer,flat side up,on a cake stand or serving plate and brush generously with syrup & alcohol liquid from the jar. Then frost the layer with a layer of whipped cream and place the cherries on top carefully. Top the cherries with a little more cream before placing the second later of cake on top and repeat with the remaining cream and cherries. Place the final layer of cake on top and frost generously with whipped cream carefully.
  10. Decorate the cake with chocolate curls and cherries. Place cake in the refrigerator until you are to serve the cake.

Lychee cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

February is the month of love & celebrations for me. From anniversary to valentines day to back to back of birthdays. This cupcakes were made for an old good friend of mine whose birthday was yesterday.

The cake was adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Lemon or Orange cake 1 in her book Paris Sweets.

200 g cake flour,sifted
1/2 teaspoon double action baking powder
a pinch of salt, if you are using unsalted butter.If not, omit the saltNumbered List
75g sugar
3 small eggs, at room temperature
80g whipping cream
3 tablespoon lychee liquid from the canned lychee's tin
55g cooled melted butter
half a can of lychees, sliced into two or three pieces depending on the size of your paper cups

Cream cheese frosting, enough to frost to the cupcakes
  1. Sift the dry ingredients together ( cake flour & double action baking powder ).
  2. Whisk eggs with sugar until pale and foamy,then add whipping cream & lychee liquid.
  3. Gentle fold into dry ingredients in three or four additions-the batter should be thick and smooth.
  4. Finally fold in melted butter in two or three additions.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake papers about 2/3 full then add a piece of lychee in the middle then add more batter until cup is 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or when the cake tester is inserted it comes out clean in a preheated oven of 180C.
  7. Leave it to cool before frosting it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Love is in the air!!

I made this for my boyfriend for our post valentine's day celebration.

Red Velvet Cake recipe was adapted from :

250g sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt *
15g cocoa powder
115 g butter, at room temperature
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, ( because I used homemade vanilla extract, I used 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, you could just use 1 teaspoon store bought vanilla extract )
240ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon red food colouring paste
1 tablespoon liquid red food colouring
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

* Omit the salt if you are using salted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 175 C and place rack in the center of oven. Line two - 9 inch round sandwich pans with butter and bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift cocoa powder, salt and cake flour. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter until soft (about 2minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy ( about 3minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time,beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring.With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions,beginning and ending with the flour.
  5. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
  6. Working quickly,divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

  7. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight).

Home made extract after a year of maturing.

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cube the butter
4 cups icing sugar,sifted
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
  1. In a bowl, beat butter until light and pale. Add the sugar,one cup at a time and continue to beat until smooth and somewhat fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and then the cream cheese mixing until well combined and no cheese lumps.
  2. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Measure out 5 cups of frosting, to be used in assembling the cake, and set aside. The remaining 2 cups of frosting can be kept for up to 3 days in air tight container in the refrigerator but must be brought to room temperature before using. I used the remaining cream cheese to frost my lychee cupcakes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coffee cake with vanilla buttercream

Next week this time, it would time for me to leave for Sydney again for my final semester.Finally! I love my cakes very much.I realised I don't really fancy desserts and pastries as much as a simple home baked cakes with anything but cheap gross margarine that most bakeries use in Malaysia.It's quite sad. This cake was adapted from Alex Goh's Creative Making of Cakes. I find his recipes work really well.

Coffee Sponge cake

160g sugar
15g cake emulsifier

5 eggs
125g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

40ml water

75g melted butter
  1. Line baking tin with butter and place a round baking parchment at the bottom of the baking pan.
  2. Pour (A) into the mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Add (B) and whip till thick.
  4. Stir in (C) with the batter.
  5. Whip the batter till light and fluffy
  6. Mix (D) will well incorporated. Pour into 2-8" round baking moulds. Bake in a preheated oven of 180C for 30 minutes.Once baked,remove cakes immediately from the moulds.
Vanilla buttercream

250g unsalted butter
90g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Using a whisk attachment on stand mixer, whisk butter until light and pale.
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar & vanilla.
  3. Continue to whisk for another 2 minutes until cream is light and fluffy.
To assemble cake:
  1. With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally.
  2. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto a serving platter.
  3. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers.

Stove top belgian waffle maker - Liege waffles

I was gonna post the recipe for the liege waffles but the waffles turned out to be a flop..a major major flop so I decided to post a review on my newly purchased stove top Belgian waffle maker which I purchased from I have have been hunting for a Belgian waffle to make these special waffles because I, particularly love the liege waffles I have eaten in Max Brenner in Sydney. A Belgian waffle maker is not very easy to find in Malaysia because we eat more of the normal waffles rather than the deep pocketed waffles. After a lot of research I found this stove top Belgian waffle maker to be rather practical for me because I have too many electrical kitchen appliances and it would be difficult to get things fixed if the waffle maker fails on me. This Belgian waffle maker is from Nordic Ware and it makes beautiful waffles over low heat. You just have to brush the waffle maker with butter or non stick spray and you are ready to make your waffles.But I have to warn that you might have to keep an eye on in the beginning at first use to get to know the right temperature as the waffle might browned too fast or even burn. And you have to turn the waffle maker to make sure even cooking of waffles.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plum clafoutis

A clafoutis is a baked French pudding traditionally made with cherries and easily adaptable to other stone fruit. ~Donna Hay Magazine

A very simple & fast dessert and it would have been a fantastic dessert if the pudding was less eggy.I found the pudding a little eggy despite using vanilla sugar & vanilla bean paste instead of ordinary sugar alone. Maybe 2 large eggs would be sufficient enough.Just an opinion.

Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Feb/Mar 2012

Butter, for greasing
100g vanilla sugar, plus extra sugar for dusting
400g plums
7 punnets of strawberries
50g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup whipping cream
3 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease an 2 casserole dish with butter and dust with sugar.
  2. Place plums and strawberries, cut side up, in the dish.
  3. Place flour,sugar,vanilla paste and cream in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.Pour mixture carefully over the fruits and bake for 35-40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm with ice cream,if desired. Serves 6.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ispahan macarons

One of Pierre Herme originality,the Lychee, Rose & Raspberry macaron but I added a twist because I didn't have enough raspberries, I used fresh strawberries as well with the frozen raspberries I had left over.I would be frank about this beautiful french sweet,I had a crazy time doing this. Firstly, not knowing the right temperature to bake these macarons was a trial & error thing for me, then came the lychee and rose ganache.The ganache was a disaster,I wasted so much because the ganache went wrong. I was my fault for using normal eating chocolate instead of the usual couverture chocolate used. I made my own lychee and rose filling in the end because the ganache did not set. Even the raspberry & strawberry jelly did not set.But the taste was pretty alright and it did come out good for a first timer.

excuse the slight crack,I was testing the perfect temperature for the macarons.
Adapted from Pierre Herme: Macarons ( I only made half the recipe) & Poh's Kitchen
For the raspberry and strawberry jelly:
210g raspberries + strawberries
40g caster sugar
2 leaves of gelatine weighing 2g each

For the macaron shells:
150g sifted ground almonds*
150g sifted icing sugar
55g 'liquefied' egg whites**
red food colouring paste
150g caster sugar
75g water
55g 'liquefied' egg whites

For the lychee & rose buttercream
150g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
7 lychees (from a tin),squeeze excess syrup out from the lychees
2 drops oil based rose essence

* make sure you have 150g of sifted almond meal, the coarser grains from the almond meal can be used in other recipes.

** liquefied egg whites are aged egg whites meaning that egg whites kept in the fridge for several days, egg whites will lose their elasticity.I used frozen egg whites. I normally keep extra egg whites in the freezer until needed.

1 egg white = 30g

For decorations:
edible dust
sugar sprinkles
  1. Start by preparing the raspberry jelly.Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften. Using a hand blender,blend the raspberries, strawberries and sugar to a puree. Strain the puree to remove the pips. Heat a quarter of the puree to 45 C. Drain and dry the gelatine and add to the hot puree. Stir and add the rest of the raspberry puree.
  2. Pour it into a gratin dish lined with clingflim to a depth of 4mm. Allow to cool for an hour at room temperature then put the dish into the freeze for 2 hours. Turn out the jelly and cut into 1.5cm squares. Return the jelly squares to the freezer.
  3. To make the macarons shells: Sift together the sifted almond meal and icing sugar together.Add egg whites & red colouring to the almond meal and icing sugar.Mix vigorously.
  4. Bring water and sugar to boil at 118 C. When the syrup reaches 115 C,simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks. When the syrup reaches 118 C, pour it over the egg whites. Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50 C, then fold it into the almond & icing sugar mixture. Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  5. Pipe rounds of batter with a template as a guideline underneath the parchment paper or silpat or alternatively pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter spacing them 2 cm apart onto baking trays lined parchment paper or silpat. Slightly drop baking trays on a hard surface to get an even looking shell. Sprinkle with decorations of your preferences and leave shells to stand for at least 30 minutes or until they form a skin.
  6. Preheat oven at 150C for conventional ovens and 180C for fan forced ovens then put trays in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.Leave oven door slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.
  7. Remove from oven and slide the shells on to a work surface.
  8. To make lychee & rose buttercream, squeeze excess water out from the lychee. Blend lychee to a puree.Cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy, add the puree into the cream and continue to the mixture. Add your desired amount of rose essence.Start off by adding few drops at a time as the flavour of rose can be overpowering if too much essence is added.
  9. To pipe the macaron shells:Spoon buttercream into a pipping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe a mound of buttercream on to half the shells. Lightly press a square of the frozen jelly into the centre and finish with a dot of buttercream.(I found this very difficult to do and my frozen jelly was melting into the heat of Malaysia.) Top with the remaining shells.
  10. Store the macarons for 24 hours in the fridge and bring them out at point of serving.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cake pops

Never did I ever imagine myself having so much patience to make two desserts I have never made before.Ispahan(Rose,lychee & raspberry) macarons and also cake pops! I had too many panic attacks as I was making them.Since I had too much chocolate in the refrigerator, and I just learnt storing chocolate in the refrigerator is a wrong thing to do because it will change the texture of the chocolate,I needed to finish them all before buying more chocolates so I decided to make cake pops. Cake pops has not gained its fame here in Malaysia, just yet. I used a dense cake so that I didn't have to use a lot of frosting,in fact I didn't want to use any frosting in the beginning but the crumbs didn't stick so I made a little frosting just enough to make the cake balls.

For some reason,every time I try to melt my milk chocolate,it seized.I had no idea and I was getting frustrated because I had a train to catch at 4pm and I was still trying to do them at 1pm. I forgo the decoration part because I had no time. Juggling my time between my injured dog and making wasn't easy.( I definitely did sanitize my hand before making my cake pops,I promise!=P)

One recipe of mud cake from here

Chocolate buttercream frosting:
125g butter
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Chocolate for coating the cake balls approx ~ 500g chocolate

  1. In a bowl, sift together icing sugar and cocoa powder.
  2. Cream butter and then slowly add cocoa mixture.
  3. Continue to cream the mixture until light and fluffy.
To make the cake pops:
  1. Crumble the cake into fine crumbs, and mix the chocolate butter cream with the fine crumbs until well combined. You don't really need all the butter cream, just enough for you to be able to make small cake balls.If you have accidentally added too much butter cream, leave it to stand until the mixture is not sticky.
  2. Roll the mixture into small balls and place them on a pan.Freezer the cake balls for half an hour.
  3. Dip the cake pop sticks into some chocolate and pierce through the cake balls and stick it onto a piece of Styrofoam. Once finish, place then into the freezer again for an hour.
  4. Melt the remaining chocolate for coating and coat cake balls then place them back on the styrofoam for another hour of freezing.
NOTE: If you like to decorate your cake pops with nuts or sprinkles, roll the cake pops on some chopped nuts or sprinkles and then place them back in the freeze to set. Otherwise,if you would like to draw on your cake pops,it's best to draw them after the chocolate coating has set.Serve
I would post more on cake pops when I make them again in the future.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spicy Noodles

Ever since studying in Sydney and living my mother who is half Chinese,I have learnt how to make good stir fry noodles.I would have probably learnt making simple Chinese meals and noodles from the years living with her in Sydney. Her busy lifestyle only allowing her to whip up simple and quick meals like stir fry noodles,fried rice and soups. Well she does cook other pork dishes during the weekend but it would be a rare occasion and plus she hates cooking.

Anyway this recipe is no where near what her noodles taste like because I used fried chili paste to add the spiciness to the noodles but dad said it was good and my noodles are getting better.Something to thank mum,I suppose.

600g yellow noodles
6-8 cloves garlic,chopped
150g sawi,any green leafy vegetable,
3 large prawns,cut into two
5 large fish balls, sliced
3 medium size squids,sliced
1 medium deboned chicken thigh
2 fried bean curd, sliced into 6 (each bean curd)
2 handfuls of taugeh (bean sprouts)
5tablespoons fried chili paste, I used homemade (dry chilies,salt & bird's eye chilies)

150ml chicken stock, I used homemade (chicken + prawns)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • To make the fried chili paste, heat a little bit of oil in a wok, then place chili paste in the wok and fry for about 5-10minutes until cooked.Remove from wok.
  • With the same oil,fry gralic until fragrant. Place stems of the leafy vege, chicken, fish ball slices & squid slices in the wok.Cook until chicken,fish ball and squid are half cooked.Pour seasoning and give the ingredients a good stir before adding the chili paste & prawns.
  • Gently place the noodles, carefully stir everything.Place the remaining ingredients like bean curd,bean sprouts & the remaining green leafy vegs into the wok and again carefully stir.
  • Cover the noodles for about 5 minutes over low heat.Give the noodles a good stir to incorporate the remaining ingredients and making sure the prawns are cooked.
  • Dish the noodles out and serve.

Rich butter cake

I always love simple cakes with no frosting what so ever and I particularly love butter cakes.Butter cakes are perfect for tea time or as a snack.

250g butter
250g caster sugar
250g self rising flour
6 large eggs,separated
1 teaspoon baking powder
50ml (35% fat) cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 180 C and line baking tin with butter and then baking paper.
  • Cream butter then gradually add 150g of sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg yolks one at a time,making sure all eggs are fully incorporated before adding the vanilla paste and extract & cream.
  • Gently fold flour and baking powder into batter.
  • In a different bowl whisk egg whites until soft peaks,gradually add the remaining sugar and continue whisk until you get something similar to a meringue,not too dry.
  • Fold the meringue like base into the cake batter until just incorporated.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.