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.