|Posted by Trish on March 26, 2012 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
Of the years that I have known J, this would only be the 2nd time I've ever baked him a b-day cake. This year was really special as it was the first birthday we celebrated as a married couple. I'm so glad I got to bake this cake for my best friend on his b-day.
J pulled a "J" in the typical sense. A dinner outing for 10 became 20. Thus a cake became a cake plus cupcakes; and ingredients became sparse. Despite my issue with underestimating how much frosting I needed for the cake alone, I really underestimated the amount of frosting needed for the cupcakes resulting in 3 runs to the local convenient store for more ingredients.
I decided to do J's favorite flavour: chocolate. But I wanted to add a twist: salted caramel. His cake ended up being 4 layers of dark chocolate cake, with alternating chocolate and salted caramel frosting; and finished with chocolate frosting on the outside. I couldn't cut into the b-day boy's cake so you just have to take my word on the dual frosting inside. I must say, I LOVE this cake. It tastes amazing and it's moist. The issue? It's terrible for frosting because of it's loose crumbs. I fought with it so much during my crumb coating that I gave up and didn't do a crumb coating for most of the cake; and the finishing frosting was piped instead of a smooth finish as originally planned. The cake finished at 6 inches tall, 9 inches in diameter and approximately 15 lbs in weight.
The cupcakes carried the same theme, where the inner frosting was salted caramel and the outer swirls were chocolate. The cake batter makes awesome cupcakes because no crumb coating is needed and no spreading is required. At the end of the night, all 18 cupcakes and the giant cake was gone. Well kind of. People ate as much as they could and fought for take-home portions.
So my original plan was to carmelize maltzers like you do with hazelnuts to make gorgeous toppers. I froze the maltzers to prevent them from melting when I dip them. Yes, it worked. But minutes later, my maltzers started growing girths from the hot caramel causing the chocolate to blister. It was so ugly! Lesson: stop re-inventing the wheel. People use hazlenuts for a reason...not chocolate.. noted.
~~~~~Happy Birthday My Love~~~~~
|Posted by Trish on October 22, 2011 at 2:50 PM||comments (1)|
I love cheesecake, not only because it's absolutely delicious but because it is so versatile. Cheesecake can be as simple or as complex as you want and the only limitation is your imagination.
The weather is getting chilly, so I got inspired to incorporate fall flavours into my cheesecake. This is what I ended up with:
Ginger snap crust. Brown sugar cheesecake. Topped with ginger and cinnamon poached pears.
Check out my new toys!! These babies (4 inch spring form pans) were a steal. At $2.50 a piece, I'm hoping they perform just as good as all of the other products in the Wilton line. (Check out your local Wal-mart for availability).
Ginger Snap Cookies For The Crust
Ginger-Cinnamon Poached Pear
Assembled Cheesecake (Before going in the oven).
Voila! Brown Sugar Cheesecake on Ginger Snap Crust, Topped with Ginger-Cinnamon Poached Pears.
|Posted by Trish on June 21, 2011 at 10:35 AM||comments (2)|
So lacking some inspiration, I asked my friends for their favorite desserts. Here's the list they came up with:
Le Mille Feuille aka The Napolean
Carrot Cake Cheesecake
Home made Ice Cream
Baked Custard or Flan
Chocolate Mousse Pie
Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Chocolate Lava Cake
I previously mentioned how I managed to ruin 2 batches of cupcakes. Well let's add another 2 batches to that count for this recipe before I realized the culprit: my baking soda. For some reason, although the baking soda passed its leavening test (add vinegar), it made EVERYTHING taste like solid baking soda in the finished product. The amount used is average too.
So finally, batch 3 omitted the use of baking soda and subbed baking powder. Oh the heart ache bad ingredients can cause....
To maximize the coconut flavour, I used coconut milk and coconut extract in my cake base and continued my theme in my buttercream frosting. Finishing off with toasted coconut flakes.
So this brings us to an end of June's postings...see you in July~~
|Posted by Trish on December 28, 2010 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
The Winter holidays are always crazy when it comes to fellow bakers in the kitchen and I am no exception. J and I visited our family half way across the country so I spent most of my baking time at Mother Patrissherie's.
For gifts, I made kimchi (pronounced Kim-chee), a cabbage mix preserved using korean chili peppers and a few other ingredients. While I stuffed 8 litres full of kimchi, they shrunk to merely 6 litres after the mixture had fermented and was fully ready for consumption.
For Christmas, I am usually responsible for dessert at J's house. This year, I wanted to make a mango mousse cake. Despite knowing mangoes are not in season during Christmas, I risked it thinking I could still obtain good quality mangoes via import. I was very very very wrong. The mangoes I bought were rock hard despite their deceiving ripe exterior.
As substitute, I used thick mango juice instead of hunting for canned mango puree. I ended up with a very mild-tasting mousse.
Unhappy, I decided to create a layer of mango pudding on top. This is one of those times where nothing went right. Despite having made each of the components several times in the past, there were flaws with everything. The new addition of the mango pudding resulted in a soft set due to minimal use of gelatin. When all components were poured, I saw my simple syrup waiting to be brushed onto my sponge cake layer thus I was left with a dry sponge layer since it was too late to fix the omition.
After carefully creating a design out of semi-sweet chocolate, it shattered into a million pieces during the 'not-so-kind' car ride over. So, I presented my future in-laws with a mushy, gooey cake-like dessert.
|Posted by Trish on October 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM||comments (2)|
I love fall festive days since it's a great excuse to incorporate pumpkin into everything I bake.
To start off, I made Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Cupcakes. The beauty about cupcake-styled cheesecake is they can be prepared in a much shorter time than the classic 9-inch. Cupcake cheesecakes can be made just a few hours ahead of serving time. The baking time is only 15 minutes and chill time is about 2 hours depending on your fridge temperature, compared to 1 hour baking time and over night chilling of a 9-inch. This is great for last minute potluck dishes or dinner parties that catch you unprepared. Admittingly, I left most of my own recipes back on the island so I kind of had to re-create this one out of memory. So far, I've only tasted the batter and I think i'm pretty close to my original recipe.
Pumpkin is perhaps one of the only products that are better canned than fresh. Only sugar pumpkins are suitable for baking uses and the fresh product is so unpredictable. With fresh pumpkins, you cannot predict how many cups of puree a lb of pumpkin will yield, or how sweet it is. Canned pumpkin is a superior product and is always consistent. Please make note not to use pumpkin pie filling which has a very similar product design to pumpkin puree, for all baking purposes. (Unless you intend to use it as a pre-made pumpkin pie filling).
I barely made a dent out of the can of pumpkin when I made the cheesecakes so I also made Maine Pumpkin Bread. Remember to never over mix when making quick bread. Williams-Sonoma makes a similar product in quick mix form for $16 per package. I have purchased it but have not tested it yet. I'm curious to see who's pumpkin bread is better. And for $16 a package, I'm really hoping Williams-Sonoma has something to offer. (Hint product review in future post).
12 Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Cupcakes and 2 loaves of Maine Pumpkin Bread later, I still have a cup of pumpkin left.
|Posted by Trish on May 11, 2010 at 6:10 PM||comments (1)|
So I am finally settled into my new place, which means I can finally resume baking. Now 43% of you said you wanted to see a full tutorial on how to make fudge brownies. These are NOT your instant mixed brownies. The texture and flavour is completely different from instant mix thus please do not complain that it takes more work than instant mix because it is NOT instant mix.
What You Need:
1 C Butter, Melted
3 C Sugar
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 C All-purpose Flour
1 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 C Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 x13 inch baking dish. I used two 8 x 5 inch pans.
2. Combine melted butter, sugar and vanilla into a bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Stir together the flour, and cocoa powder. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until well blended.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips until well blended.
5. Pour into prepared dishes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. I needed to bake mine for 1 hour due to use of smaller pans. They are done when toothpick is clean when inserted. Cool before cutting into squares.
I topped one with confectioner's sugar and chocolate and drizzled the other one with just chocolate.
|Posted by Trish on March 23, 2010 at 10:45 AM||comments (7)|
The moment I have been waiting for! The moment that only comes once a year! Ever since we met, I have always made J's birthday cake. This year, I chose to go back to my classic sponge cake which is usually found in my mousse cakes. But I wanted to pair it with mango mascarpone whipped cream this year. Mascarpone is comparable to an Italian styled cream cheese and its one of my most favorite baking ingredients. However, at $10/lb, it's a special occasion ingredient. It's smooth, ultra rich and irreplaceable.
Lining baking pans with parchment paper reminds me of my snowflake-making days.
I use a double-meshed sieve to sift my flour. I prefer it over the actual flour sifter because i'm faster at it.
It's times like this where I really wished I had a stand mixer. I held my little hand-mixer for 15 minutes to incorporate enough air into the eggs.
These remind me of mango hedgehogs. I was tempted to add a face if I wasn't tight on time.
3 layers of light and fluffy sponge cake. I prefer baking them in separate pans rather than cutting one tall layer into 3.
The layers are brushed with mango syrup, circled with frosting and filled with fresh mango filling.
The entire cake is then covered in a frosting layer.
And then wrapped in a dark chocolate collar.
Birthday badge is made out of white chocolate and written in dark chocolate.
Layers of airy sponge cake filled with fresh mangos, wrapped in mango mascarpone whipped cream and finished off with dark chocolate collar and curls.
|Posted by Trish on March 10, 2010 at 5:20 PM||comments (2)|
One morning over breakfast at our favorite diner, J and I had the following conversation:
J: What is your next project?
Me: I want to make croquembouche, that tower of cream puffs I showed you the other day.
J with widen eyes: um, how about you make me cupcakes for Friday? I need to buy the guys donuts.
Me: What's wrong with croquembouche?
Me: I won't make the entire tower... just a mini one.. sort of....
Me: Fine, I wanted to make St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes anyways..
Which brings us to today's post! J and his fellows will be receiving 3 dozen lucky cupcakes!!! I didn't get a chance to take many pictures of the cupcake-making process since I was in a rush to complete them before I had to go into work.
I piped shamrocks out of Wilton's candy melts to top each cupcake.
J convinced me to make 3 different flavours of cupcakes.
Green Tea Cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcakes with Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting. I had to do something green, but I didn't want an artificial colouring so I decided to go with Matcha, a very concentrated ground green tea powder.
Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting. A less exciting cupcake for the non-adventurous.
Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Buttercream Frosting. Inspired by the cocktail itself with festive Irish liquor.
I truly believe only using ingredients you love to eat, in cooking and baking. I am absolutely breaking that rule by baking with Guinness. A friend once made the parallel of Guinness tasting like Chinese Herbal Tea, as I sipped my first pint. It is now forever ingrained into my brain that it taste like Chinese Herbal Tea. Why would I bake with it? It's mixed in with Chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better. Really!
This shot is to all my friends that made my university days amazing. Cheers!
The only new recipe here is the Guinness cupcakes. They were really moist with a soft crumb texture. You can't taste the Guinness with the Bailey's overpowering the cupcake.
This is also my first time handling Wilton's candy melts. After throwing a fit at my first attempt (late at night after work), I decided to give it another shot when I'm well rested in the morning. I've learned to work with it really quick because it hardens quickly, and be careful not to overheat it or you can kiss that batch good-bye. Try to work in small batches of candy melts and keep the adornments small.
1. Use room temperature butter or cream cheese for the frosting. If you must use cold butter or cream cheese from the fridge, dice it and soften it with your paddle attachment before continuing with the recipe.
2. If you bake less cupcakes than the number of moulds in the pan, fill the remaining empty moulds with water for even baking.
3. Use an ice-cream scoop to distribute batter into the cupcake moulds for even quantity and mess-free baking.
4. Baking times are 5 - 10 minutes less compared to a 9 inch cake pan, depending on the recipe.
5. To make multi-colour swirls in the frosting, simply brush a few vertical stripes in the inner lining of your piping bag with food colouring gel and carefully fill it with frosting as usual.
|Posted by Trish on February 22, 2010 at 12:55 PM||comments (2)|
What better way to start off something new, than with something old? I have decided to post some of my past creative creations as my first entry.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Four layers of chocolate cake in between layers of chocolate fudge frosting and finished with dark chocolate shavings.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread Swirled with Cinnamon Brown Sugar
Pumpkin Spiced Swiss Roll
Pumpkin spiced cake swirled with cream cheese frosting, and dusted with confectioner sugar.
Rosemary and Thyme Fougasse
A herb crusted bread with excellent chewy texture. This crowd-pleasing beauty measures about 12 inches by 12 inches, making it a great party dish but only if you can resist eating it all.
This is my significant other (J)'s favorite. Fresh farmer market blueberries baked into a deep 9 inch pie crust, with a lattice top.