Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chocolate Mousse Cake

My latest creation last weekend using various recipes in the recipe book 'Crave'. This is made up of various layers. Base a chocolate base with chocolate and feuilletine, followed by a chocolate sponge, topped with chocolate mousse. Chocolate sponge and chocolate mousse repeat another layer each and topped with a chocolate gananche.

A very delicious combination and was all consumed quickly. My sister-in-law and son requested for 2 of these each.

I am quite happy with my creation but would like to improve it further. Next time, I will make it into a square ring and then cut them into slices. Maybe not to make it that sweet as well. :)

White Chocolate Almond Cake

I recently bought a book called 'Crave - A passion for Chocolate' by Maureen McKeon. For some reason, I love this book. The recipes are easy to follow and not that difficult to make. And the cakes tastes good. This was the first recipe from this book. White chocolate Almond Cake with a white chocolate glaze.

I was doing stock taking on my ingredients to realise that I had 1/2 a kg of compound white chocolate bought months earlier meant to be used for cake decorations, but the problem with these white chocolate was that they do not melt properly and it was impossible to do any cake decoration with it. Instead of wasting ingredients, I decided to melt the chocolate and use it for this cake. Half of it went to the cake, half of it went to making a glaze for it.

The cake turned out pretty well and was quite well liked by some of my colleagues. I personally do not fancy the cake as the white chocolated tasted a bit like condensed milk to me.

White chocolate is very sensitive to temperature. Too high a temperature, it gets burnt. After you have opened a bag of white compound chocolate, it cannot be kept too long even though you try to keep it in an air tight and cool place. Judy, my baking teacher thought it could be due to some evaporation of the moisture in the white chocolate resulting in it not being able to melt properly. Thus conclusion would be to buy good quality compound chocolates in small quantities and try to finish using them ASAP.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cake Making Stage 2 - L4

This was the fourth and last lesson of Cake Making Stage 2. I am glad that the course has ended as I was feeling rather tired from all these lesson. The last lesson was slightly disappointing as we were only taught one type of cake, which was the Green Tea Mousse Cake. Judy prepared broiled red beans for us to put in the cake, but my partner and I weren't a great fan of red beans, thus we decided to exclude them.

The other two items taught were the chequed cookies which I have to admit is a very time consuming cookie to make. As the dough is very soft due to the high butter content, it had to be returned to the fridge after every few steps to be hardened again before we can continue. I am quite sure I won't make these cookies.

The scones were quite nice. Tasted a bit like cake and also like bread. It uses bread flour for the recipe. I am thinking of trying them out with normal plain flour to see the difference. I felt that bread flour gave it a very dense texture and wonder if using plain flour would result in a lighter texture for the scone. Will let you know when I try it out in future.

Christmas is fast approaching and I have been busy baking biscottis to freeze up so that I can slice and rebake them again closer to christmas for my sister who has requested 15 boxes and 20 mini packs to give away to her colleague.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cake Making Class 2 - L3

Cake Making Class Stage 2 - Lesson 3 taught us more detail knowledge on buttercreams and the different types of butter cream. We were taught how to make the Pistachio Gateau, which is made of a light and fragrant sponge cake with chopped pistachio, finished with a delicious pistachio butter cream. This cream has pistachio paste added in to give it a fragrant. I thought the pistachio paste tasted more like almond than pistachio.

The second cake we made was the Nana Choco cake, made of a moist chocolate cake made of real chocolate. It has bananas sandwich between the layers of chocolate ganache and sponge. Mini bunches of bananas made of marzipan is used to decorate the cake.

We were taught how to make mini decorations and also chocolate decorations for the top and side of the cake.

Blueberry Cupcakes

Made these blueberry cupcakes with the two boxes of fresh blueberries that I bought 2 weeks ago on impulse. Two weeks back, I attempted to search through my recipe books to find the ideal blueberry related recipe and for some reason, I was not able to find anything despite having a whole bookshelf of cookbooks! I realise that this always happens to me. Whenever I intentionally try to find a recipe, I can never find it in my recipe books. But if I am just browsing though my books, I would find recipes that I tried searching for previously. How frustrating!!!

The fastest and easiest way to this problem would be to do a google search online on the internet and it will provide the solution! Despite the fact that may recipes can be found online free, I still enjoy buying cookbooks. It is a hobby of mine and I have to admit that I haven't even tried cooking 10% of all the recipes I have. And this boils down to the next questions that my mom always asks - Why are you buying recipe books if you aren't cooking anything from them?"

And my answer to that - 'They are for browsing through and looking at those delicious pictures prior to bedtime! " (*wink*wink*)

Christmas Biscottis

Fragrant crunchy biscottis for sale for this christmas season. Packed in pretty square boxes or 10 pieces in a pack as give aways. Healhty and fat free, makes it an ideal gift for this christmas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cake Making Stage 2 - Lesson 2

Lesson 2 of Cake Making Stage 2 involves the teaching of making fruit mousses and how mousse is used as filling for cakes. Two popular cakes were taught in Lesson 2. The first being Mango Mousse Cake and the second Strawberry Chalotte Cake.

We were taught the differences of an Italian and a Swiss meringue and also the techniques in making the mousse. We got to make sponge fingers for the Strawberry Chalotte Cake as well. After this lesson, I am more confident is trying to make the Italian meringue which involves adding of boiling glucose to add into the beaten egg whites which I used to fear making in the past as it seems not only troublesome and also difficult in my view point.
Looking forward to Lesson 3 this coming weekend!

Peach and Strawberry Cake

This weekend we celerbated my Brother-IL and Mother-IL's birthday at this seafood restuarant at Defu Lane. It was recommended by a blog site and the food was quite good. I am surprised that a resturant that is located in some industrial estate can be so fully packed.

This cake that I made for my Brother-IL and Mother-IL is made of a vanilla sponge cake, sandwiched with a layer of chopped peaches and a layer of strawberry cream and chopped strawberries, complete with strawberry and peaches decorated on the top with pretty heart shape white chocolate round it.

The kids were the happiest singing birthday song for grandma and uncle and of course to get to eat the cake after that. Both of them kept the white chocolate last and bite it slowly so that they get to enjoy every bit of the white chocolate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Transformer Cream Cake

Made this cake yesterday for an order for a 10yr old boy's birthday. I realise it is not easy to add colours onto the face due to the many lines that I created for the face. Just 'painting' the picture took me 2hrs. That is not including doing the outline and creaming of the cake.

This is made of a vanilla sponge, sandwich with strawberry bits, fresh cream and some expensive strawberry jam which I bought from my school. I was surprised that the boy wanted a strawberry filling cake as I thought children loves chocolate. Then I realise it was because his dad didn't allow him to eat chocolate in case he falls ill.

I would say it is much easier and less time consuming to make a fresh fruit cake rather than doing 'painting' like the above. And now I regretted not having air condition installed in the dining area. I think it helps to keep the room cool creaming cakes. At least the cream don't melt so fast.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cake Making Stage 2 - Lesson 1

It has been about two months since I last attending class at Creative Culinare. I was quite excited about Stage 2 baking lessons started yesterday.
We were taught 2 butter cake recipes and some time was allocated on teaching of cake decorations, ganache, etc. Stage 2 lessons assumes that you have a foundation on making the various types of cake such as sponge cake, chiffon cake, and butter cake. The first cake taught was the German Pecan Chocolate Cake. This cake is made of a chocolate butter cake, filled with a pecan coconut filling and topped with ganache and decordated with chocolate flowers. The cake was soft and the best part was, it need not be refridgerated as it is butter base. Initially I felt the coconut filling rather strong when I tasted the filling on its own. But when eaten with the cake, it blended very well.

The second cake that we made was the European Pecan Apple Cake. This is a butter cake, with chopped pecan nuts mixed and topped with fresh apple slices.
To minimise washing, instead of working in pairs, our table of 4 girls decided to work in fours. That means one side to beat the butter batter while the other mixer to beat the egg whites. Thus cutting down on washing. Lazy huh, but I think more important is what we learn and not really how much work and washing that we do.

After Lesson 1 yesterday, I am familiar with Ganache, something that I was unsure previously despite trying to read up from the internet and books. Yesterday's lesson was quite slow pace and relaxing as well. Judy our instructor mentioned that the subsequent lessons would be of a quicker pace and I look forward to that.

l am so surprised that the class was about 2/3 full compared to the Stage 1 class which was pack to the brim.

Dates Almond Cake

More orders for chicken pies over the weekends. Made another 12 and managed to make this Dates cake with a packet of dates that was in the fridge since a few months ago. Should have roasted my almonds which I forgot, thus the almonds were a bit 'soft' and not fragrant enough. But the dates gave the cake a distinctive frangrant which I thought was quite nice. I have reduced the brown sugar by 50g as I felt that the dates would make the cake sweet. This easy to make cake can be found in Alex Goh's Fruity Cake recipe book.

If you noticed, there are some black spots on the top of the cake. Well, I have kind of overbaked the cake slightly while busy doing something else and didn't realised that the cake was turning black! I do not like the cake as I am not a fan of dates myself.

Christmas is fast approaching, but I have not come up with a list of nice bakes for christmas. Not that I am lazy, but I am just too busy at work and too little time over the weekends to think of what can be good Christmas bakes with constant orders from friends to keep me busy. On top of that, I am going for another 4 lessons of cake baking at Creative Culinare with the first lesson last Sunday.

I am suppose to make a strawberry cake with a Transformer design for a birthday boy this coming Thursday and also make some cookies for goodie bags for a little girl's school's birthday party at her childcare in early December.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More Books to Think of

Really tempted to buy these 2 books from Amazon. Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone by Francois Payard is a recently published book. The review from Amazon makes it sound like a really nice book to buy. I wanted to wait till the book is available for loan from the National Library to have a look before deciding if it was worthwhile buying but just how long do I have to wait? And the other tempting reason for buying online is the thrill of looking forward to the arrival of the books at your doorstep.

I am also contemplating about getting a pastry mat to roll my cookie dough, bread dough and puff pastry dough on. As there is limited work area in my kitchen, I usually had to prepare my bakes at the dining table. Having a pastry mat would be good for rolling doughs but a silicon pastry mat cost $36. I am just not sure, or should I just stick with buying bigger pieces of greaseproof paper to work on.

Steamed Moist Chocolate Cake

This was my masterpiece for Sunday. Steamed Chocolate Cake with a nice chocolate fudge topping. This cake is not only easy to make, meaning you don't have to beat butter or eggs and you don't even need an oven to bake it. This cake is cooked through steaming it over simmer water for 45mins. The cake is quite soft and the chocolate fudge complements the cake totally.

For those interested, do try it. The recipe can be found here.

Sandwich Loaf

Did this on Saturday, made 3 quantities of sandwich loaf recipe which I was quite pleased with. I was not happy with the result of the bread that I baked 2 weekends agao. I tried preparing the dough the night before and kept it in the fridge. However, I have forgotten to reduce the quantity of yeast for the recipe. As a result the bread had a yeasty smell and turned yellowish after it was baked. Overferment I guess. This round, the bread turned out good, and tasted very nice when it just came out of the oven. However, due to the lack of preservatives or bread improver, the bread only stayed fresh for 2 days. After that, it turned quite dry and stale.

Initially I bought an additional bread loaf tin from KL thinking that it would be nice to be able to bake 3 loafs of bread at one go. But after last Saturday, I really got to admit that I am not a bread person. I hate the hours of long wait just to be able to bake the bread. The bread goes into 2 rounds of fermentation and it takes like 3hrs before the bread can be baked. To me, this 3hrs is like forever as I constantly peer at the dough to see how big it has grown. After some thoughts, I decided to sell my third bread tin away to a bread making lover.

I will still continue to bake bread once in a while, but I don't think I will be baking them as often as I would bake cakes and cookies. The long wait kills ...............

Apple Crumble

This is a 10" square Apple crumble requested by a friend the weekend before Deepavali. Baked this the night before I departed to KL for a 3 day short trip with my family. My friend asked if it needed to be heated up before consumption and I told her that I personally like it cold.

The following week when I met her, she told me that her daughter agreed and said that I was right that the apple crumble tasted better when it is cold. The part that I cannot help laughing was that the daughter only ate the apple crumble cold so how did she know that it was true that it tasted better cold and not at other temperatures. Well as they always say - 'Kids say the darnest things!'

White Chocolate Balls

Yummy Chocolate Balls made from some left over brownies that I kept frozen for a while. Mixed it with granche and coated with white chocolate. When I first took a bite into this, I felt that it was very sweet, but when I tried one more another day, it tasted ok. The white chocolate hardened giving it a nice crunch when you bite into it.

As for the left over egg whites from the baking of the Kuey Lapis, they disappeared from the fridge and I realised my mother-in-law used it to make steam pork with salted egg. Oh well, there goes the biscottis.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kuey Lapis

One master piece that I was proud of over this weekend was to successfully make this Kuey Lapis. The recipe was obtained from Mad Baker - one of the blog sites that I visit frequently. Slightly more tedious than making a whole cake as every layer has to be baked slowly. To make this, I think you will need at least 1.5-2hrs in general to complete the whole cake.

This cake turned out to be less moist as compared to those from some renowned bakery shops. But I felt that it was better, as it was not as oily as compared to some that I have eaten before. This cake is not be eaten in large quantities considering the fact that it uses 20 egg yolks and 500g of butter to make an 8" square cake!

What happens to the egg whites from these 20 egg yolks? Well, I am already planning what to do with the egg whites. Biscottis of course! Unless along the next few days I find something different to do.

Almond Snaps

Found some slices of almonds at the fruit compartment of the fridge. Roasted it last week to make almond snaps but only managed to do it this weekend. This, similar to almond biscottis are made of almonds, egg white, and sugar, and a small quantity of melted butter. But instead of baking two times, this only require one time baking. Pretty simple to make, but got to keep a watchful eye as it will burnt quite quickly.

Compare this to Almond Biscottis, I still prefer the latter.

Chicken Rice

It has been a while since I posted dishes online. Not that I have not been cooking, but more of I was getting lazy to think how to arrange the dish nicely for photo taking. This plate of chicken rice was arranged by Hub.

This was our family's Saturday dinner - Hainanese Chicken Rice. My first time making this and after consulting a few books on the cooking time of the chicken, I decided on 1/2 hr boiling time for the chicken before soaking it in cold water to cool it down.
Besides chicken rice, I made oyster sauce veggie and also vegetable soup. The chicken was slightly still on the raw side for some of the thicker parts of the chicken such as the thigh. Next time I shall boil the chicken maybe 40mins to make sure it is cooked.
Though I can use some of the chicken soup to cook the rice, I used a Hainanese Chicken Mix which I bought from NTUC. The result was a very flavourful and frangrant rice.

I am not sure, but lately I have been turning to using ready mix for cooking chilli crabs, curry chicken etc. I was questioning myself if I was turning lazy or what but then, some of these ready mixes really tasted pretty good. So why even bother to go to the extend of grinding chilli, onions, garlic, ginger etc, just to cook something. It not only need less effort and results in quite nice dishes as well. Well, with all the extra time I have, I will use it for my baking. I still think I prefer baking to cooking.

QQ Balls

These QQ Balls were made out of a Korean Bread Mix which I have asked a colleague to purchase for me while she was at Marine Parade. A flour mix which you only need to add egg and milk according to the instructions behind the box. Unfortunately, the instructions were in Korean but I was lucky enough to have a Korean colleague whom I asked to help me translate the instructions to English.

These little balls tasted fantasic fresh from the oven. They are a bit crispy on the outside and a chewy texture inside which we call it as QQ in chinese. Slightly sweet and frangrant from the black seasame seeds that came with the flour mixture. My dad ate it with some butter and jam and he felt that it tasted better that way.

The disappointing part about these QQ balls was that they became quite tough to chew on after it has cooled down completely. Tough to the extend that my mother-in-law decided to catagorise them as rubber bands.

On the whole, good to eat while freshly baked, but not that good to leave it too long. I don't think I will buy the mix again to do this.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Puff Pastry Class - Lesson 2

During our second lesson for Puff Pastry, we were taught how to make Apple strudel and Curry Puffs. The lesson, the puff pastry was made of butter instead of magarine that we learnt in the first lesson. As butter melts faster than magarine, it makes it more tricky to make the puff pastry. The texture is lighter and quality of the puff pastry is definitely better than the ones made of magarine.

Judy taught us how to make the cream for the apple strudel which was amazingly delicious. Hub loved the apple strudel and has requested me to make some over this weekend.

These were the curry puffs that we made with the puff pastry. The curry chicken filling was delicious but to compare this with apple strudel, I still prefer the apple strudel especially when it is chilled. Yummy!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Petit Bakes for a Wedding

A friend had asked if I could make some pastries to compliment her lunch buffet on her wedding day. After thinking hard for the past week, I have decided to make these 3 items as samples for her. The extreme left side-brownie, centre - mini cheesecake and the extreme right - Apple Crumble.

As this was the first time i baked the brownies, I baked it according to the recipe time which was 40 mins, resulting in a drier brownie version. I think i can shorten the baking time to maybe 30mins so that the brownie would be more fudgy.

The mini cheesecake baked quite fast in small cupcakes. Instead of a 1.5hrs of baking time, it was done within 20mins.

The apple crumble consist of 3 layers. The first layer consist of a sweet crust pastry that had to be prebaked first and after that, topped with cooked apple filling and covered with a crumble to be baked again till the crumble turns brown.

I personally liked the apple crumble and the mini cheesecake.

Longan Atap Seed Cake

Baked this on Saturday for Hub. His request for Longan Atap Seed Cake which is a vanilla sponge cake sandwiched with chopped longans and atap seeds and topped with longan and atap seed. The children loved the heart shaped chocolate that surrounded the cake. These were individually made using the chocolate mould that I bought from Starnet Pte Ltd. Our niece who is quite selective with food also liked it and requested to pack some back.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chicken Puffs

I attended Puff Pastry Lesson yesterday. This is a 2 lesson course on making Puff Pastry. The first lesson yesterday, we were taught to make the simple puff pastry using pastry margarine. We used this pastry that we made to make chicken pies and also sasuage rolls. The puff pastry was fragrant and very delicious. The only problem was that we all went home smelling like a walking chicken pie as well.

This weekend will be a busy week for me as a friend ordered a Pandan Kaya Cake from me. Besides that, I had to make a cream cake for Hub who is celebrating his birthday a week ahead as my sister-in-law is flying off to taiwan for a short holiday the following weekend. Other than that, I am suppose to come out with 3 types of pastry for sampling for a friend who wants to order some petite cakes/pastries for her wedding next month. These bakes are to be served with the buffet lunch that she is having at her place on the wedding day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocoate cupcakes...I have been planning to bake these since a few weeks ago. This weekend, I finally got to do it. I visited Starnet Pte Ltd at IMM on Saturday. I found that they sell all sorts of baking items such as cupcake casing, bread casing, muffin casing, dessert containers etc. The place was awesome as I went round looking at all the items and feeling fasinated. Call it cheap thrill but I love looking that anything that is related to baking, be it bakewares, baking ingredients, recipe books etc etc.

I baked the cupcakes on Sunday night. I had to bake them, else I will be thinking of them even in my sleep. On Monday evening, my son and I decorated them, not with fanciful butter cream but a healthier and less messy option - white compound chocolate. After doing my cupcakes into sunflowers at class in Lesson 1, I concluded that pretty cupcakes are pretty to look at may not be that delicious in taste. And in order to maintain its pretty look, you've got to be careful in handling it after you dress it up all pretty.

My cupcakes, after the compound chocolate set, it is not only easier to handle, and on top of that, absolutely not messy at all. You can then use normal boxes to transport it, without fear of having the decoration all messed up.

My son loved the cupcakes, well, so long it is chocolate, he likes it. This version has less butter content and high fluid content to make the cupcake retain its softness even after 3-4 days. My colleague feedback though that it is a bit dry. Well, if you want a moist cake that slide down the throat smoothly, perhaps a higher butter content? I am not too sure though.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cake Baking Class 1 - L4

This was from the fourth lesson of Cake Making Stage 1. We made 3 cakes including decoration for the cakes. The 3 cakes were the Black Forest Cake, the Pandan Kaya Cake, and the Sweet Corn Fudge Cake. I creamed the Sweet Corn Fudge Cake while my partner creamed the Black Forest Cake. As this course is more on Cake Making, cake decoration was not taught in detail but I was glad that I took the Basic Cake Decoration earlier on and was able to apply what I learnt here during class too. I was quite proud with the cake I creamed, though it was not very smooth, but I think I can give myself a pass.

Judy taught us how to do cheque design for the Pandan Kaya Cake. By doing so, the cake was very heavy with kaya and I found it rather sweet. I think just layering the cake and sandwiching the kaya between layers would be good enough but I have to admit that the design was attractive.

My partner mentioned that she was not successful at home while making the chiffon cake, so for this last lesson, I suggested that she will be in charge of whipping up the Meringue for all the cakes. The cakes we baked turned out ok, so she should be able to do the same at home. Maybe a few more practices and she should be all right.

I look forward to attending Cake Making Class Stage 2 where we get to learn more advance types of cakes.


After many months of procrastination, I have finally gotten down to do the macrons that everyone seems to be raving about. Looking through many versions of the recipes that can be found in recipe books and on the many websites, I have decided to use the one found in Tartelette . I used the recipe without the red colouring as I just wanted to try out if it was really that difficult to make macrons.

My initial plan was to make 3 quantities of these little things. One batch of plain, one batch with chocolate and maybe another batch plain with some colouring. There was quite a lot of macrons from just one batch and after tasting them, I decided to abandon the Macron Project after round 1. The simplest reason that made me stop was that these little things do not taste as good as they look. They were way too sweet for my liking and none of my family members liked them. I think I would be better off just making cookies with the left over grounded almonds that I've got.

These macrons are not that difficult to make. The critical area that determines if your macrons will be successful is the way your make your meringue. If you didn't do this part right, the macrons will most probably fail. The same theory for making chiffon cakes where the meringue determines the success of your cake.

Oh well, with this, it ends my adventures with the macrons.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Books - Amy Beh's Series

I have a soft spot for collecting recipe books and magazines. My collection should be at least a 100 books now though I have never seriously counted them. They consist of books/magazines related to cooking as well as baking. Due to work I have to admit that I have so far spent more time just staring at the colourful pictures in all these recipe books rather than having hands on to actually cook/bake.

I thought I'll introduce these 3 books by the author Amy Beh, the lady behind the recipes that are found on The Kuali website. There are a whole lot of recipes ranging from cooking to baking and as this is a Malaysian website, many recipes are quite localised.

The Star also has a bi-monthly magazine called Flavours which is also one of my favourite magazines. I have started collecting them since end of 2005. It not only has many recipes in each issue but also rich in information related to dining, travelling and what are the new kitchen gagets that in currently in the market. I can't help but feel that these magazines that are published in Malaysia seems to be richer in content as compared to the local food magazines that Singapore has.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Almond Walnut Biscotti

I collected a total of 8 eggs while meeting my mooncake orders. It would be a waste to be throwing them away which I used to do previously as I had no idea what to use it for other than making Angel Cakes. However, recently, I've got enlightenment from Judy my baking instructor when she mentioned about how extra egg whites can be put into good use instead of discarding it away.

I had a pack of almonds bought some months back, stored in the fridge, just right for making these Almond Biscotti. I made these for my son's teachers as it is Teacher's Day today, Hub tasted them and had requested 3 packs, I think maybe to give his colleagues. The rest was distributed out to my siblings and I brought a pack home for my mother-in-law.

These biscotti are healthy as they are fat free. That means no butter, or oil used in the process of baking. Definitely healthier than eating butter cookies, or chocolate chip. If you are health conscious, you can consider eating small amount of these besides the boring fruits and carrot sticks.

Pandan Kaya Cake

A colleague of mine requested me to make this Pandan Kaya Cake for him over the weekends. After looking through various recipes, I made this. As I use commerically packed coconut milk, I was not sure if I should dilute with water. As it was my first time making this, I used 70% coconut milk and 30% water. The end result was a very rich and frangrant pandan kaya cake. But I think it might be better to use maybe 50% coconut milk and 50% water so that the cake would not the that rich. Overall, I was quite satisfied with the outcome.

My colleague feedback that it was very nice, but complained that a 9" cake was kind of too much for his consumption, (as he is staying alone) especially when it was rich in coconut. He suggested perhaps a smaller cake next time. I cannot help to agree with him that it would be better not to eat too much cake though I have already tried reducing the sugar level a bit for health purpose.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Petite Four Class - Lesson 3

This is from the third and last lesson of my Petite Four Class. This lesson, we were taught to make mainly Petite Fours Sec. What you see in the picture starting from the top:
  1. Expresso Cheesecake - Little expresso cheesecakes baked and chilled. Dust with some cocoa powder and snow sugar and decorated with white chocolate and a coffee bean made of marzipan.
  2. Hazelnut Focus - A crunchy little cake made of hazelnut powder and meringue, decoarated with ganache and roasted hazelnut.
  3. Cranberry Almond Florentines - Made of sliced almonds and cranberry cooked in glucose which hardens when cooled.
  4. Orange Kisses - The base is made of Pâte Sucrée, topped with a chocolate orange chantilly and decorated with a slice of oranage and chocolate slice.

My personal preference are the Expresso Cheesecake which has a very strong coffe flavour and the Cranberry Almond Florentines which you cannot stop munching on once you start.

We were awarded with a certificate of accomplishment at the end of the course.

Cake Baking Lesson Stage 1 - Lesson 3

This is what we made for Cake Baking Stage 1 - Lesson 3. The one on the left is the Rainbow Roll, this recipe can be used to make the Rainbow Roll or the Feather Roll. This swiss roll was then filled with whipped cream and a nice strawberry jam. Very light and refershing.

The other swiss roll that we made was the Tiger Roll. The outer skin had to be seperately and after that, roll together with the inner chocolate roll. The reason why the outer skin wrinkles is due to the heat reacting with the flour in the batter. As it is a thin roll, it is also important to try to even out the batter throughout the tray so that the outer skin would bake evenly. As this is a thin roll, we need to be careful not to overbake it as it will result in it turning into a biscuit instead of a cake. Some skill is need to be able to make the skin successfully and beautifully. A ganache mixed with whipping cream was used for this swiss roll.

I like the Tiger Roll better as compared to the Rainbow Roll.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cakes - Tiramisu and Longan Peach

Last weekend was a super busy weekend, initially having to make 1 cake as requested by my hub's cousin - A for her 21st birthday, but ended up having to make two cakes as A called Wednesday night asking if I could make a small cake for her friend who was turning 21 also. We only have one 21st birthday a lifetime, so I agreed. Not knowing how many people will be turning up for her birthday party, I decided to make a 10" square fruit cake with fresh cream for A. which was the plan initially. With the additional request, I started to think hard again to decide if I should make the same flavour for the smaller cake that A requested for her friend as it would make my job easier. But then I thought that it would look boring if both cakes looked the same during the party.

After some thoughts and some inventory taking to see what other ingredients I had at home, I decided to make a 7" Tiramisu for A's friend.

I started all the baking and making on Friday night as I had some Mooncake orders to fulfil and Cake Baking Class on Saturday afternoon . I used my brand new Spa mixer to whisk up the cake batter for the Longan and Peach cake. This mixer definitely had power and the cake turned out light and fluffy compared to if I were to use a hand held mixer to whip up the batter.

I managed to finish both cakes by 11pm that night. A great sense of satisfaction and happiness to see the two cakes turning out well though I felt that the fruit decoration for the Longan and Peach Cake could be better. The other happy part was to see guests happily finishing up the cakes.