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.