Monday, September 17, 2012

Bread pudding

500g stale brioche, cubed
150g caster sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon orange rind
1 tablespoon rum
9 large eggs
500ml cream
100g unsalted butter, melted
100g raising or chocolate chips
demerara sugar for sprinkling

  1. Grease 10" deep oven-proof bowl.
  2. Scatter brioche cubes & raisins/chocolate chips in layers.
  3. Prepare custard base by adding all the other ingredients except demerara sugar in large bowl and whisk until well combined.
  4. Pour the custard mixture in the oven proof bowl and make sure all the brioche cubes are soaked well in custard base. Allow to soak for 1/2 - 1 hour & preheat oven to 180 C.
  5. Sprinkle demerara sugar generously on the pudding before baking.
  6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Serve warm with ice cream.

Mini vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I had two very interesting recipes to make this weekend but somehow I ended up making two different cupcakes this weekend. Probably baked them when I come back from Sydney in three weeks. Anyway, I baked these cupcakes for an orphanage. Dad wanted to give the girls something different so I volunteered myself to bake these mini cupcakes since I wanted to use the egg trays I painted. I opened my chiller and found three blocks of butter and half a block of cream cheese. Dad wanted something quick and easy. So I thought why not my fool proof butter cake with some cream cheese frosting and funfetti as decoration. It turned out perfect! fluffy moist butter mini cupcakes with pink cream cheese frosting and funfetti! I have posted the butter cake recipe before but I made some 'lazy' omission this time around.

250g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
250g self raising flour
6 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50ml milk
  1. Preheat oven at 180 C
  2. Beat butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time and mix well after each addition.
  3. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Fold in flour in three batches and by alternating it with milk.
  5. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks but not dry.
  6. Fold in the whites with the cake batter.
  7. Using a cloth piping bag or heavy duty white piping bag and a plain nozzle, pipe the cake batter in the cupcake tray lined with cupcake liners. It should be around 3/4 cup full.
  8. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Once baked remove from cupcake tray and allow to cool completely.

Cream cheese frosting
227g cream cheese, room temperature
100g icing sugar,sifted
150g butter, slightly softened and cubed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pink food colouring gel - Absolutely optional
Colourful funfetti, for decoration, absolutely optional as well
  1. Beat cream cheese until smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Add sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat until combined.
  3. Add cubed butter one at a time; making sure frosting is well combined after each addition of butter.
  4. If you want to add colouring, fold in the desired amount food colouring according to your preference of the shade of colour you want your frosting to be.
  5. Fill piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe.
  6. Sprinkle some funfetti on your frosting and you are ready to serve.
  7. If your frosting starts to melt, place in the fridge for about 10 minutes and give it a good mix before piping.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lemon meringue cupcakes

One thing I have to practice making is the lemon curd. The time I made this three weeks ago, I followed the recipe exactly and I got lemon scramble eggs instead of curd. I had to make a new batch of lemon curd and to my horror,I had only 1 lemon left in the fridge so I used orange juice to make up the remaining lemon juice I needed for the curd.I made the cupcakes again this weekend and had another unsuccessful lemon curd trial! It wasn't scrambled like before but it wasn't thickening so I cheated by mixing 2 tablespoons of corn flour with 2 tablespoons of water and adding it to the lemon curd to thicken.
Excuse the lack of creativeness of food styling and food photography.
Adapted from Isabella, Junior Masterchef Season 1's winner 
( For citrus version)

  • 1 cuppure cream
  • 1 cupcaster sugar
  • 2eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cupsself raising flour
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon (and 1 orange)
Lemon curd
  • 1/2 cuplemon juice (Juice of 1 1/2 oranges and 1 lemon)
  • 100gbutter
  • 1/2 cupcaster sugar
  • 1egg
  • 3egg yolks
  • 3egg whites
  • 1/2 cupcaster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 180'C. Place 12 patty cake liners in a 12 hole 1/2-cup capacity muffin pan. ( I got about 20 small-medium cupcakes.)
  • Place cream, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add flour and zest and continue whisking until mixture is thick and smooth.
  • Divide mixture between prepared liners and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cakes spring back to touch. Cool in muffin pan.
  • For lemon curd, heat lemon juice and orange juice in a small saucepan and let it simmer. In a different bowl whisk sugar, egg and yolks until combined. Remove citrus juice from heat and slowly add to sugar and eggs mixture while whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into saucepan and continuously mix. Continue mixing the curd and add the corn flour mixture while whisking until mixture becomes thick and glossy. Pour into a shallow oven tray to cool.
  • For meringue, beat egg whites in an electric mixer until firm peaks form, gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar has dissolved between each addition. Fold in vanilla extract. Spoon meringue mixture into a piping bag.
  • To serve, preheat grill to medium-high. Cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd. Pipe a swirl of meringue mixture on the top of each cupcake and place under heated grill for 60-90 seconds or until golden. Arrange on a serving plate with spoonfuls of lemon curd if desired.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

I never really knew what a strawberry shortcake was until I stumbled upon a strawberry shortcake recipe ( I know I sound quite ignorant) in the amazing Kak Rima's blog and I knew instantly I had to try it.Her pictures are so captivating. I begin researching more on strawberry shortcakes but found two very different recipes when I looked it up on Google. One looked like scones stuffed with cream and strawberries (The American version) another looked like layered sponge cake with cream and strawberries (Japanese version). Kak Rima's one was the Japanese version.

Before I came back to Malaysia for good, Woolworths had strawberries on special. 1 punnet for A$ 1.99,it was a steal. I brought home to Malaysia 6 packets of strawberries. Made my favourite strawberry cupcakes and made a strawberry shortcake using her recipe but something I did wrong messed the cake up. I am in NO  manner blaming her recipe cause I have made wonderful cakes and cookies using recipes found in her blog. The cake was not fluffy as it should be but the stabilised cream was wonderful.
My first attempt of strawberry shortcake
A couple of months later, I took the challenge to cake another strawberry shortcake using a different cotton sponge cake base recipe and modified Kak Rima's whipped cream recipe by omitting the gelatin solution to stabilise the cream. 

I had a little drama while making this cake. The recipe required me to bake equal amount of cake batter in two 9" square baking pan but I only had one and my oven capacity is small and in my experience, leaving sponge cake batter out too long  will make the cake dry so I had to make them at one go. So I rushed over to my cousin's place next door (advantages of having relatives as neighbours!) to bake my second sponge cake but to my horror my aunty uses a microwave to bake her cakes. I took the risk and baked it in the microwave. After 10 minutes I return, my cake has sunk,harder & begun burning. I almost cried! I kept calm and thanked God I had my first cake out and looking perfect.When I flipped it over, The middle-bottom was still wet and under-baked. Another flop! I calmly flipped the cake back into the baking tin and baked it again for another 10 minutes and removed. It baked a little more,obviously but I still kept my fingers crossed the cake will come out at least eatable.LOL. The top of the cake had a dark brown crust, darker than what was shown in the recipe so I trimmed the top off. ( Next time follow the recipe exactly and there is reason why they divided the cake batter into 2,silly girl!) I prepared the cream filling, strawberries and frosted the cake! The cream begun to melt after a while(stupid Malaysian humidity!) but I quickly frosted and kept it in the fridge to firm up a little. Stabilised cream filling is best for our weather, I reckon. The cake turned out be a definite keeper in my recipe collection. Although the cake was not as high as I expected it to be but the cake was so good and tasted like I was eating ice cream cake!! Oh my, I feel like making it again. hehe.

Cotton cake from Sedap Magazine Sept 2012 (Indonesian version) - barely adapted

130g unsalted butter
130g low-protein flour (cake flour)
160g fresh milk
200g egg yolks (10 - 11Grade AA eggs) , slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

400g egg whites (10-11 Grade AA eggs)
1/2 teaspoon salt ( I omitted)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar ( I omitted )
200g caster sugar

  1. Prepare the baking pans by greasing and lining the tins with butter and baking paper.
  2. Melt butter over low heat and turn off heat. Add flour and whisk batter until well combined. Remove from stove. 
  3. Heat milk until warm but not boiling. Pour over egg yolks and vanilla extract and keep whisking until well combined.
  4. Pour the yolks and milk mixture slowly into the butter and flour mixture while mixing until smooth. Leave it aside.
  5. Make meringue mixture. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks then gradually add the sugar until you have a smooth shiny mixture. It should be stiff peaks.
  6. Slowly add (A) into (B) and fold gently until well combined. 
  7. Pour into two 9" pans and bake using the bain marie method in a preheat oven of 160 C for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool completely before removing it from the pan.

Stabilised whipping cream ( Omit the gelatine mixture if you prefer the not stabilised version)

500g whipping cream (min 35% fat content)
1/2 cup icing sugar,sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon gelatine powder
8 teaspoon warm water
  1. Place beaters in the freezer for 1/2 hour.
  2. In a small bowl, prepare gelatine mixture by pouring the warm water into the gelatine and constantly mixing it until dissolved. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Prepare ice cold water bath to whip cream. Place the mixing bowl in a larger bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes. Pour whipping cream, vanilla extract and sifted icing sugar in the bowl and whisk until soft peaks. Then add the cooled gelatine mixture and continue to whisk until stiff peaks.
  4. Fill cream in a piping bag with a plain nozzle for easy frosting of cake.

1 pound fresh strawberries,diced
2 tablepoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch
  1. Well coat the diced strawberries in sugar and kirsch and allow to macerate for 15 minutes.

A handful of beautiful strawberries from the pound of strawberries for decoration
Kirsch for brushing

To assemble
  1. Trim the crust off the cakes, slice each cake into 2 layers (not necessary if you preference your layers thick) and brush with kirsch or syrup from the strawberries coated in sugar and kirsch.
  2. Fill the first layer with cream and level it with a spatula. Scatter strawberry filling without the syrup on the cream gently but generously. 
  3. Add the follow layer and follow the steps above for the rest of the layers. 
  4. Finally pipe the remaining cream all over the cake, level it with a spatula and decorate the cake with strawberries according to you preference. 
  5. Chill the cake for at least 2 hours before slicing it and serving the cake.

17 November 2012 - I made this cake for the third time and it was an absolute success!!It was like having  strawberries and cream, the cake was very light and cottony!! Definitely a keeper.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Almond Nestum Cookies coated in Dark Chocolate

~Makes 200 cookies
250g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4teaspoon salt
300g superfine plain flour (regular plain flour will do as well)
150g corn flour
50g nestum,crushed to very fine almost powder like (you can use crushed corn flakes as well if you don't have nestum)
1 teaspoon baking powder

750g - 1kg dark chocolate,melted
300g whole almonds
50g almond nibs,to sprinkle on top

    1. Preheat oven to 180 C
    2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
    3. Add in the egg & vanilla extract and mix thoroughly 
    4. In a different bowl mix all dry ingredients together.
    5. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture using a spoon carefully.
    6. Mix until well combined.
    7. Make a small ball dough and slightly flatten the surface. Add an almond in the centre and roll the dough making sure the almond is fully wrapped up in the dough. The dough should be oblong and carefully place the dough in a paper cup.
    8. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until completely baked.
    9. Allow the cookies to cool completely.
    10. Melt chocolate over a double boiler or microwave (in lowest setting).
    11. Slowly over cookies with chocolates using a clean spoon.
    12. Sprinkle some almond nibs on top immediately as the chocolate is being poured over the cookies.
    13. Allow to dry completely before placing it in an air-tight container.