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Chili Chocolate Tart

If you’re a chocolate lover, you would always crave a perfect chocolate tart that reminds you of why you ARE CRAZYYY about chocolate in the first place – This Chili Chocolate Tart is IT. It is simple, decadent, and rich in chocolate flavours with a slight kick of chilli. It has a tender chocolate sweet pastry filled with chili chocolate custard filling, finishing off with a shiny cocoa gaze and chocolate shards. The taste of chili is very subtle in this recipe as I personally can’t take spicy very well. However, If you aren’t a big fan of chili, simply substitute it with dark chocolate and it will work just fine!

Chili Chocolate Tart

Chili Chocolate Tart

Chilli Chocolate Tart3.jpg

Chilli Chocolate Tart

I don’t know about you but I have a thing for tarts. As simple as they look, there’s actually so much knowledge, hard work and effort behind to achieve a satisfying result. This is why the sense of accomplishment of finishing a gorgeous tart can be overwhelming (for me).

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Chilli Chocolate Tart2

In this post, I am going to tell you the tips of making the best chocolate tart in the simplest way!

    1. Use a food processor (no mess) 
      I was taught various ways of making sweet pastry i.e. cutting method, creamy method etc, but here I want to show you the easier way without getting your hand dirty – using a food processor. All you have to do is to process COLD butter cubes with dry ingredients until fine crumbs, then add in the egg and process until a smooth dough is formed. There’s minimum handling of the dough and you can avoid developing too much gluten in the dough, hence avoid pastry shrinkage when baked.

 

    1. Rest the sweet pastry dough (no shrinkage)
      One thing that you must have heard when it comes to tarts making is REST THE DOUGH. The reason is that when you need to give time for the gluten that was formed during the dough making process to relax. When making this tart, you will be resting the pastry twice – first, to rest it in a rectangular flat form wrapped by plastic in refrigerator for at least 30 mins before rolling the pastry out for lining; second, to rest the pastry lined in tart rings in refrigerator for another 30 mins to relax the gluten formed during the rolling process. Relaxed gluten won’t shrink as badly (sometimes doesn’t shrink at all) during baking, and you will have a more tender and consistent sweet pastry.
    2. Use a non-stick perforated baking mat when blind baking (no baking beans needed!)
      Have you ever experienced the frustration that even if you have poked thousands of holes in the sweet pastry and even putting baking beans on, your pastry still annoyingly puff up a lot in the oven? Here is the solution for you – use a non-stick perforated baking mat. These perforated mats are amazing that they allow air to escape underneath the pastry and provide optimal destruction of heat. They give a much more consistent baking result and that’s why people are using it for baking a lot of items such as tarts, short bread cookies, macarons etc.
    3. Bake the custard filling at low temperature 
      I know we all love ganache, I mean who doesn’t? But sometimes pure ganache filling can be too heavy as a filling. For my chocolate tart, I used a chocolate custard filling recipe that is slightly different from ganache due to the addition of eggs and milk. The eggs and milk sort of “lighten up” the ganache and make it custard-like. However if you want a smooth finish of the custard filling, you have to bake it at low temperature (120C). I baked my filling at 120C for 10mins and there were no cracks on the surface at all as the filling was cooked slowly and evenly.

 

Chilli Chocolate Tart5.jpg

Ingredients:

Chocolate Sweet Pastry

  • 240g all purpose flour
  • 95g icing sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder (I used Callebautchocolate ‘s cocoa powder)
  • pinch of salt
  • 120g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 50g whole eggs (around 1 egg)

Chilli Chocolate Custard Filling 

  • 180g pure cream
  • 180g Lindt’s chili chocolate (break into small pieces)
  • 15g butter
  • 40g eggs
  • 40g cold milk

Cocoa glaze

  • 70g water
  • 65g sugar
  • 20g neutral glaze
  • 8g glucose
  • 30g cream
  • 15g cocoa powder (I used Callebautchocolate ‘s cocoa powder)
  • 1.5 gelatine sheet (titanium)
  • 40ml water

Instructions:

Make the Chocolate Sweet Pastry , put all purpose flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder, salt and cold butter cubes into a food processor (handle with care and never put your hand near the blade when the machine is on), process on medium speed until fine crumbs. Add in the egg and process on medium speed until a smooth dough is formed. Put the dough on your working surface dusted with flour, flatten it with your hand and shape into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins.

After the resting time, flour your working surface and roll out your dough into 3mm. During the rolling process, you have to move the pastry around constantly and dust flour underneath the dough to ensure that the dough is not sticking to the bench. Poke holes into the pastries evenly with a fork and use a circular cutter to cut out circles that are around 3 cm bigger than the base of your tart rings. Fit the pastry into your tart ring and ensure to check if nice edges are formed at the base. Use a knife to cut off the excess pastry hanging out of the tart rings. Put the tart rings onto a perforated baking mat and rest in the refrigerator for 30 mins. Preheat your oven to 180C.

After the second resting time, bake the tart shells for 10mins. Take out from the oven, let cool slightly, and remove the tart rings carefully.  Brings the oven temperature down to 120C.

Make the Chilli Chocolate Custard Fillingput chocolate pieces into a mixing bowl and set aside. Meanwhile. bring cream to a boil in a sauce pan, immediately pour hot cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for one min, then stir with a whisk until completely melted. Stir in the butter butter and and stir until melted. Add in cold milk , then egg into the ganache. Mix with a whisk until just incorporated. Fill the tart shells with the custard filling until it’s just 4mm away from the tart shell top edge. Bake at 120C for 10mins. Let cool in room temperature for 10 mins then put in refrigerator while you prepare the cocoa glaze.

Make the Cocoa glazebloom gelatine sheet with 40ml water, set aside. Bring all the other ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, off heat, stir in the bloomed gelatine and whisk until completely dissolved (try to avoid making any bubbles). Cool in room temperature for 15 mins. Take out the cooled tarts from the refrigerator, pour the glaze carefully on the set custard filling until it’s just full. Refrigerate the tart for at least 1 hour to set completely. Decorate with chocolate shards and gold leaves if desired. These tarts are best to consume within three days.

 

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Baked Baileys Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

This Baked Baileys Cheesecake is literally the BEST cheesecake that I’ve ever tasted! It has the smoothest and creamiest Baileys mascarpone and cream cheese filling with an Oreo Crust. The buttery Oreo cookies base complement perfectly with velvety taste of Baileys. And the best thing is – this baked cheesecake doesn’t require a water bath and is super easy to make!

Baked Bailyes Cheesecake with Oreo Base

Baked Bailyes Cheesecake with Oreo Base

Baked Bailyes Cheesecake with Oreo Base6

Baked Bailyes Cheesecake with Oreo Base



I am always, ALWAYS, keen to add alcohol into my desserts to make them a little bit naughty and sexy to eat. Click on the links below to check them out:

– Guinness Double Chocolate Brownie 
– Milk Chocolate Banana Mousse Cake with Rum 
– Lemon Curd Limoncelle Eclair 
– Coffee liqueur Double Chocolate Hazelnut Muffin 
– Tiramisu Mille Crepe Cake

Baileys is one of my favourite liqueur (to kill my sweet cravings at night) and it goes perfectly with a cheesecake. You might want to check out my Baileys Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse Cup for a party dessert idea.

Baked Bailyes Cheesecake with Oreo Base2

Baked Bailyes Cheesecake with Oreo Base7

Baked Bailyes Cheesecake with Oreo Base

Tips of making the perfect baked cheesecake!

To perfect a baked cheesecake, there’re a couple things to take note of:

  1. Bake at LOWER temperature for a LONGER period of time – baking cheesecake at a low temperature is crucial to cooking the filling steadily and evenly, which achieves the creamy and smooth texture. Last thing that we want is to overcook the filling or to burn the top.  I baked my cheesecake at 140C for 90 mins  and I think it is a good setting that cooks the cheesecake nicely and still achieve that golden colour top crust.
  2. Cream the cheese and sugar well. To make your cheesecake smooth and creamy, you don’t want to have cream cheese lumps or undissolved sugar in the batter. Therefore, do take the time to beat the cheese and sugar on medium high speed (while scraping the side of the mixing bowl once in a while) to attain a pale, fluffy cheese sugar mixture before adding the eggs.
  3. Do NOT over-aerate the eggs when mixing. One big difference between a chilled cheesecake  and a baked cheesecake, is that while gelatine usually is the setting agent, there’re eggs in a baked cheesecake to set. But make sure that you only gently fold in the eggs in the cheesecake with a spatula (not a whisk), because you don’t want to over-aerate the eggs or the cheesecake will expand too much during baking.
  4. Cool the baked cheesecake slowly after baked. When it comes to baked cheesecake, we are all so scared that the cheesecake is going to crack during the cool down process. But don’t worry! To avoid the cheesecake from cracking, you simply have to avoid sudden temperature change and cool the cake gradually. I usually would turn off the oven and leave the cake inside the oven to cool down for 30 mins, before taking it out to room temperature for another 30 mins, before putting it in the fridge.

Baked Bailyes Cheesecake with Oreo Base4



Ingredients:

For the cheesecake

  • 500g cream cheese
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp baileys
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 360ml sour cream

Oreo Cookie Base

  • 250g crushed Oreo (after filling removed)
  • 100g melted unsalted butter

Instructions :

  1. Put a parchment paper on a baking tray. Put a 8inch cake ring on the baking tray and set aside to use.
  2. Take out the fillings from the Oreo cookies with a butter knife (you can keep the filling for other uses), and process the cookies in a food process into fine crumbs.
  3. Melt butter in the microwave (carefully, butter explores very quickly if left unattended).
  4. Mix the butter and the Oreo crumbs well. Press it inside the cake ring as the cake base with the back of a spoon until even and flat. Put in the fridge to set.
  5. Preheat Oven to 140C
  6. Using an electrical mixer, beat cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, salt, and sugar with a paddle attachment on medium high speed (while scraping the side of the bowl occasionally) for around 5-8 mins until smooth and fluffy.
  7. Add in baileys and vanilla bean paste and beat for 30 seconds.
  8. Put the eggs and egg yolk in a bowl, use a whisk to lightly break them down. Then pour it over the cheese mixture, fold the eggs in with a spatula until incorporated.
  9. Fold in the sour cream with a spatula until incorporated.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared cake ring and bake at 140C for approximately 90mins. Time may vary depending on your oven and other factors. A baked cheesecake is ready when the side is puffed up and turned golden brown, while the centre would slightly jiggle when you shake the baking tray. When it is ready, turn off the oven, open the oven door for 15 seconds, then close the door and leave the cake inside the oven for 30 mins. Take it out from the oven and let cool in room temperature for another 30 mins. Keep it in the fridge for at least 3 hour s for it to fully set. Enjoy!
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Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Rum

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all the mothers in the world get the love that they deserve and feel extra special today. I cannot be physically be there with my family so this banana milk chocolate mousse cake is dedicated to my mum who has been loving, caring and supportive to her children.

Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Rum

Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake

This Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake is what I call a classic beauty – it has a soft & fluffy chocolate sponge soaked in rum syrup, layered between is a smooth milk chocolate mousse filled with fresh banana pieces and chocolate crumbs. For decorations, I used ladyfingers dipped in Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Beans Chantilly and Pistachio Praline Sprinkles (recipe can be found here). A bite into this cake, you get so many layers of taste and texture. There’s nothing too complicated about it but everything just works well together. Even if you’re just a amateur in baking, I am sure you can nail this cake (if you read the instructions well, haha).

Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Rum
Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Rum

I created this recipe based on the Banana Chocolate Cake recipe by the Cooking Tree with some personal twists put on it. I have been a big fans of her desserts for a while now, as she has such a clean and simple approach to cakes that I absolutely admire. If you observe closely, there’s a lot to learn even though there isn’t one single spoken instruction in the videos. Her recipes give me a lot of inspirations and I can’t thank enough for her youtube tutorials.

Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Rum

One thing that I want to say is that making the sponge and mousse might seem easy, but they have to treated very carefully and gently. Be sure that you don’t over-mix the cake batter or over-whip the mousse, or they can turn into disaster. I hope you enjoy this Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake and again Happy Mother’s Day!

Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Rum
Banana Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Rum

Ingredients:

Chocolate Sponge:
– 150g whole eggs
– 85g sugar
– 20g honey
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 75g cake flour
– 10g cocoa powder
– 25g melted butter
– 40g milk

Milk Chocolate Mousse:
– 200g pure cream
– 100g milk chocolate, melted
– 1 tbsp dark rum
– 2 bananans

Chocolate Crumbs:
– 100g caster sugar
– 100g all purpose flour
– 60g cocoa powder
– 5g corn starch
– 1 tsp salt
– 85g unsalted butter, melted

Rum Syrup:
– 50g water
– 25g sugar
– 1 tbsp rum

Vanilla Beans Chantilly Cream:
– 200g pure cream
– 20g caster sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla beans paste

Decorations:
– LadyFingers dipped in Milk Chocolate
– Pistachio Praline
– Banana Pieces

Instructions:

Chocolate Sponge:
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Grease and line a 8inch cake pan and set aside.
2. Put eggs, sugar, honey, vanilla, extract in a mixing bowl and heat while whisking continuously on a Bain Marie (double boiler), until the mixture reaches 40C. With an electric mixer, whip the heated egg mixture with a whisk attachment on high speed until pale and fluffy to make sabayon (i.e. ribbon stage).
3. While the egg is whipping, sift cake flour, cocoa powder into a mixing bowl, and set aside.
4. Fold in the flour mixture into whipped egg mixture GENTLY with a spatula, until most four is not visible.
5. Put 2 tbsp of the cake batter into the melted butter, and mix until fully incorporated (this step is to let the butter attain a similar consistency with the cake batter, to ensure better incorporation). Then pour the butter mixture and the milk into the whole cake batter. Fold in gently until incorporated (do not over-mix to avoid knocking out all the air).
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake at 170C for 20-25 mins, until the cake spins back when you press on it gently.

Chocolate Crumbs (recipe by Christina Tosi):
1. Preheat oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Put sugar, flour, cocoa powder, corn starch and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for 3 mins.
3. Pour melted butter into it until buttery crumbs are just formed. Do not over-mix or it will turn into a paste.
4. Spread the crumbs evenly onto the prepared baking tray. Bake at 150C for 20-15 mins. Set aside until ready to use.

Milk Chocolate Mousse:
1. Melt chocolate on bain marie or by microwave. Let cool for 5 mins.
2. Put pure cream and melted chocolate in a mixing bowl, whisk by hand until soft peak. Set aside in fridge.

Rum Syrup:
1. Put water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring it to boil. Off heat and and add in the rum. Set aside until ready to use.

Vanilla beans Chantilly:
1. Put pure cream, caster sugar and vanilla bean paste into a mixing bowl, and whisk until medium peak. This step can be done after the cake has been refrigerated for at least 2 hours.

Assembly:
1. Cut the sponge evenly into two layers with a serrated knife. Use a 6-inch metal cake ring to cut off the edge of the cake and get two 6-inch cake sponge sheets.
2. Put one layer of cake sheet into 6-inch metal cake ring as the base. Brush some rum syrup onto the cake to make it moist.
3. Cut bananas to get 5-7 pieces of the same size (you should determine the length of the banana pieces by putting it onto the cake sheet, the top of the banana piece should be 1cm below the top of the cake ring). Place the bananas, while allowing gaps to insert the chocolate mousse, onto the cake sheet,
4. Fill up the gaps with the milk chocolate mousse and use a off-set spatula to smoothen the top. Sprinkles Chocolate crumbs onto the mousse evenly.
5. Place the second cake sheet on, press slightly to let it stick, and brush rum syrup on.
6. Wrap the cake with plastic and put in refrigerator to set for 2-3 hours.
7. When the cake is set, carefully lift up the meal cake ring. Dip Lady Fingers in melted chocolate and immediately stick on the side of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 10 mins for the chocolate to set. Pipe chantilly cream and put on banana and pistachio praline to decorate. Enjoy!

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Yuen Yeung – Hong Kong Style Milk Tea & Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake and Feuilletine

This stunning Hong Kong-inspired Milk Tea and Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake is a winner – smooth and creamy in every bite as it harmoniously combines the flavours of coffee and milk tea!   

Yuen Yeung - Milk Tea Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake3

 

The inspiration of this dessert comes from the famous, humble Yuen Yeung well beloved by all Hong Kongers. Yuen Yeung (in Cantonese pronunciation), commonly known as Kopi Cham in Malaysia, is a popular beverage in Hong Kong’s cha chaan teng. Mixing strong coffee and Hong Kong style milk tea in the right ratio, you get a sweet and creamy drink that’s perfect served either hot or cold.

I transformed the concept into a two-layer panna cotta with the addition of flourless chocolate cake and some golden feuilletine. I always like the idea of making panna cotta in a wine glass, well, maybe because to me the shine of the glass automatically elevates the look of the final result.  Am I right? 

Yuen Yeung - Milk Tea Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake

Just a little update of my recent life – I’ve been working hard for my placement and my body apparently wasn’t used to the high physical demand from work and it crashed… So here I am, snuggling up in blanket resting, while writing this post after much delay.

 

Yuen Yeung - Milk Tea Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake2

My friend mentioned the word “adulting” when we chatted a few days ago, and the word just hits me. I guess “adulting” is something that can only be understood when experienced yourself. After I got my full time job, my life has been so preoccupied that my days seem to be set on repeat. Workplace is so much different from school – at school, when you screw up, it is all expected and there’ll be teachers to correct you and show you the right ways to do things; but in workplace, you got more responsibility on your shoulders and when you screw up, you screw up. It makes me feel the need to pay more attention to details while multitasking in the kitchen. Well.. at the end of the day, one thing that doesn’t change is that pastry fuels me.

P.S And you might have noticed that the styling of this series of pictures is different from the rest. It is all thanks to my newly bought “photography box” with its own LED lights. It is an immense help to me with my busy schedule, in the sense that I no longer have to solely rely on the sunlight as my light source for my photoshoot! But obviously I still need to learn more about how to use it properly. I hope you will enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients:

Milk Tea Jelly

  • 20g caster sugar
  • 250g water
  • 5 black tea bags
  • 250g evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp gelatin
  • 50g cold water

Coffee Panna Cotta

  • 50g brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 300g cream
  • 100g full-cream milk
  • 2 tsp gelatin
  • 50 g cold water

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 80g egg yolks
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 120g egg white
  • 140g almond meal

Notes:

  1. I created the layer effect by positioning the glass on a circular cutter in a way that the glass tilts. Therefore, before you start doing anything, make sure you have the right glass and a cutter that serves the purpose.
  2. The bottom layer has to set completely (which takes about 4 hours) before the second layer is poured in. So you need to plan ahead.

Directions:

Milk Tea Jelly

  1. Bloom the gelatin with cold water.
  2. Put caster sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to a light boil. Turn the heat off. Put in the bloomed gelatin and mix with a whisk until completely dissolved.
  3. Put the tea bag into the water-gelatin mixture, and let the tea infuse for 20-30 mins. After the infusion, squeeze out all the liquid inside the tea bag before throwing them away.
  4. Add evaporated milk and mix gently.
  5. Pour the mixture into the glasses, and put the glass onto a circular cutter, and tilt it to an angle that you want. Keep in fridge to set for around 4 hours. (you can prepare the flourless chocolate cake meanwhile)

Coffee Panna Cotta

  1. Bloom the gelatin with cold water
  2. Put brown sugar, coffee powder, cream in a saucepan and bring it to a light boil. Turn the heat off. Put in the bloomed gelatin and mix with a whisk until completely dissolved.
  3. Add in the milk and mix gently. 
  4. When the milk tea jelly is set. Remove the cutter and pour the mixture into the glass. Keep in fridge to set for another 4 hours.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Note: as we are just using pieces of this chocolate cake as the topping, you can use whatever cake mould you want to suit your purposes. I used a 23cm square cake tin.

  1. Grease and line your cake tin. Set aisde. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt butter. Add dark chocolate and whisk until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Add in brown sugar and egg yolks. Whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
  4. Make meringue (soft peak) with egg whites and caster sugar.
  5. Fold ⅓ of the meringue into the chocolate mixture and combine well.
  6. Fold in the almond meal.
  7. Fold in the remaining ⅔ meringue into the mixture and combine well.
  8. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Bake at 160C for 45-50mins, or until a skewered inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Assembly:

  1. Take out some pieces from the flourless chocolate cakes with your hand and carefully put on top of the panna cotta. If desired, put some Feuilletine coated with gold lustre powder like I did.
  2. Enjoy the dessert cold.

 

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Golden Cube – Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating

This indulgent Golden Cube is a dream come true (edible tho)- it has a nutty pistachio bavarois mousse, tangy sweet passionfruit jelly, and fluffy sponge, all covered with a layer of smooth milk chocolate coating dusted with gold powder. 

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating3

After my school has officially finished, I recently went back home to relax and recharge myself before the commencement of my industry placement. I didn’t really bake much back home due to limited resources so I was so ready to storm the kitchen as soon as I am back in Sydney! In case you’re wondering, I will be working full-time for six months at Baked by Keiran, an Artisan Bakery/Patisserie in Dulwich Hill, Sydney. I have been working there part time for over a month now and I simply enjoy every moment of it despite the early hours. I guess getting up earlier than everyone else is just an inevitable part of being a pastry chef, right? Anyway, working there substantially equips me with knowledge about French patisserie as they make almost everything from scratch, which I absolutely respect. 

 

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating2

Back to the dessert itself, pistachio is my second favourite flavour (right behind mint chocolate) because of its unique exotic, nutty, sweet taste. To be honest, I don’t even know how to describe the taste of pistachio to do it justice. I personally think that the combination of pistachio and milk chocolate works well, because the creamy and milky note of milk chocolate complements the delicate flavour of pistachio. And the acidity of passionfruit jelly insert perfectly balances out the sweetness of other elements.

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating4

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating5

Making this kind of dessert, like many other instances in the pastry world indeed, requires a lot of patience because it requires a lot of chilling time for things to set properly in the freezer. Sometimes you simply can’t rush things to go quicker because you will risk ruining everything. Make sure you plan everything ahead so that you will have enough time to finish the product. When I made this, I also tried to multitask by making another dessert at once so I don’t get bored with the waiting time. Hope you enjoy the recipe. Cheers! 

The specific tools that I used for this recipe include:

  1. 15cm cake ring 
  2. 4cm circular cutter 
  3. 4cm half sphere silicone mould
  4. 5cm cube silicone mould 
  5. Toothpick 

Ingredients:

Sponge
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 45ml full-cream milk
  • 40g melted butter 
  • 4 egg white
  • 100g sugar 
  • 110g cake flour, sifted 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
Passionfruit Jelly
  • 170g passionfruit pulp
  • 100ml warm water 
  • 4 tsp gelatine powder 
  • 100ml cold water (for blooming the gelatine powder)
Pistachio Bavarois
  • 100g egg yolk
  • 80g caster sugar 
  • 240ml milk
  • 240ml cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g pistachio paste 
  • 2 tsp gelatine powder 
  • 50ml cold water (for blooming the gelatine powder)
  • 400 pure cream, semi-whipped 
Milk Chocolate Pistachio Coating 
  • 400g milk chocolate
  • 80g vegetable oil (I used canola oil) 
  • 80g shelled pistachio, coarsely chopped 

Instructions:

Sponge
  1. Grease and line a 15-cm cake ring and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 175C.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, milk and melted butter with a whisk.
  4. Prepare sifted cake flour and baking powder in another bowl and set aside.
  5. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk egg white on medium speed until foamy, then turn to high speed while slowly adding sugar. Continue whisking until the meringue reaches stiff peak.
  6. With a spatula, gently fold in the prepared cake flour and baking powder into the meringue. Try to retain as much air as you can while folding.
  7. Take out a little bit of meringue mixture and mix it with the egg yolk-butter mixture that you prepared earlier. Then fold it back to the whole meringue mixture. Gently mix with a spatula until everything is combined.
  8. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake mould. Bake at 175C for 35-40 mins, or until stick inserted into centre comes out clean.
  9. Leave it in room temperature for 10 mins before handling. Take the cake from the cake mould and let cool completely. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into 1-cm slices and put in freezer for 15 mins to firm up. You will need to use the slices from the middle part because they are softer and don’t have the skin.
  10. Using a 4-cm circular cutter, cut out 10 sponge circles from the cake slices for assembly.
Passionfruit Jelly
  1. Prepare a 4cm half-sphere silicone mould and set aside.
  2. Bloom gelatine powder with water and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, bring passionfruit pulp and warm water to boil. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 mins.
  4. Stir in the bloomed gelatine and stir with a whisk until fully melted.
  5. Pour the jelly mixture to the silicone mould carefully.
  6. Put in freezer for 2-3 hours until completely set before unmoulding.
Pistachio Bavarois
  1. Bloom gelatine powder with water and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring milk and cream to boil.
  3. While the milk and cream are heating up, whisk together egg yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  4. As soon as the milk and cream are boiling, slowly pour them over the egg-sugar mixture while whisking it continuously.
  5. Pour the whole mixture to the saucepan and cook it like an anglaise on low heat while continuously stirring with a spatula (remember to scrap the bottom of the pan to prevent any sticking & burning).
  6. Once the mixture reaches 85C, remove from heat and strain it to another bowl to prevent further cooking.
  7. Stir in pistachio paste and vanilla with a whisk until fully incorporated.
  8. While the mixture is still hot, stir in the bloomed gelatine and mix until fully melted. Let cool.
  9. While the mixture is cooling, semi-whip the cream.
  10. Gently fold in the semi-whipped cream when the mixture is cooled to 40C.
Milk Chocolate Coating
  1. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt the milk chocolate. (If you’re using a microwave, please check every 15 secs and stir to avoid burning the chocolate)
  2. Whisk in vegetable oil until fully emulsified. You can use a stick blender for better emulsion.
  3. Add the chopped pistachio and mix.
  4. Transfer it to a rather narrow container that is deep enough to dip the bavarois in later on. Cover with cling wrap and set aside in room temperature until ready to use.
Assembly

Note: Mind that because I used a cube silicone mould, I could do it in the normal order instead of the upside down way because it wouldn’t affect the result. However, if you desire to use a different silicone mould, you may have to do it the upside down way. 

  1. Put the sponge circle in the centre of the silicone mould. 
  2. Then, put the passionfruit jelly on top of the sponge. Carefully pour in the pistachio bavarois into the mould until full. Remove any excess mousse with a small palette knife. Keep in the freezer for 6-8 hours or preferably overnight before unmoulding. 
  3. After all bavarois is unmoulded, place two toothpicks at either end of the bavarois and dip it in the milk chocolate coating until evenly coated. Gently place the bavarois to a cooling rack to allow the excess coating to drip off. Remove the toothpicks very carefully by twisting them. Store in fridge for 10-15 mins until the chocolate coating is set. Before serving, garnish with gold lustre powder. 
3 comments
Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patissiere

It’s been a while everyone! I’ve spent some time to come up with this recipe with choux pastry,  because I want to make a cream puff, aka profiterole, that is out of the ordinary and surprise the person who eats it. This charcoal dark chocolate cream puff with black sesame cream chantilly and tofu creme patissiere is the one to impress your guests – it has a monochrome exterior with a multitude of flavours and textures layered between.

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie4

Black sesame is one of my favourite asian flavours to use on desserts. It is used extensively in Asian sweets and sometimes savoury, as apparently its nutty and rich taste is quite addictive. Check out my Charcoal Black Sesame Cake Roll if you are also a fan of black sesame like me!

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie5

 

To pair with the black sesame chantilly, I decided to use silken tofu for my creme patissiere that has a smooth texture and a subtle soybean note. If you don’t have immediate access to silken tofu, you may consider using soy milk instead. Also, I sneakily incorporated chocolate elements in my choux and craquelin (the “cracked skin” on top of the choux) because it is chocolate, period. And I may or may not have added some oreo biscuit at the bottom for some extra crunch as well.

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie7

Making choux essentially involves two steps:

  1. Cook while constantly stirring flour, butter, water/milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan to form a panade.
  2. Add BEATEN eggs gradually until the right consistency is reached

If you aren’t experienced in making choux pastry, it can be a little bit tricky to pull off. You need to have enough practice to know how much eggs you should add to the panade to reach the desired consistency of choux pastry. When I first learnt how to make choux for eclair, I was told to incorporate the eggs by hand as I could have more control. However, I would say adding the eggs by hands is only suitable for a small recipe as it can be really exhausting. That said,if you are confident enough, feel free to use the machine right away! Just be mindful that a tiny extra amount of egg can make the choux too wet to pipe properly, and you might have to start all over again.

In short, your ideal choux pastry should have:

  1. A pipeable consistency, not too stiff or runny
  2. Proper sheen due to the additions of eggs  

If you are looking for a detailed explanation of how to make a perfect choux pastry, I recommend The Favour Blender’s How to Make Perfect Choux Pastry .

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie2

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie3

Another key to making choux is proper baking method. You need to be careful with temperature and time in order to get the signature “puff”.  The reason why cream puff got a hollow structure is that the liquid in the choux paste evaporates and the steam causes the choux to expand and puff up. To attain this result, I find it the best way is to bake at high temperature (180C) for around 25-30 mins to let it puff up, then lower the temperature (160C) for 10-15 mins to dry the cream puff. If the cream puff aren’t dry enough, they will absorb the moisture from the inside and become soggy after a while, which is obviously not ideal.

For me, a perfectly baked choux pastry should be:

  1. Deep golden brown in colour
  2. Crispy, light shell on the outside
  3. Soft and custard-like inside

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie6

 

One more thing I should mention is the craquelin, i.e. the famous crunchy topping of choux pastry. A well made craquelin has a few purposes:

  1. it give additional texture to the choux pastry
  2. It is a way to introduce other colours and flavours
  3. It acts as a cover to control how the choux pastry expands in the oven upon heat, thus helping the choux to maintain the desired round shape  

You should remember that craquelin is always the first thing you should prepare, because it needs time to chill and firm up so it can be easily to handle and manipulate afterwards.

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie

If you love making choux pastry please give this recipe a go! Otherwise, it is always a good thing to practise as practice makes perfect. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Ingredients: (make around 15 medium size cream puffs)

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Craquelin

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 145g brown sugar
  • 145g all purpose flour
  • 25g almond meal
  • 25g melted chocolate
  • 1 tsp charcoal powder

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Choux Pastry

  • 125ml water
  • 125ml full cream milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
  • 75g all purpose flour
  • 75g baker flour
  • 30g dark chocolate, melted
  • 250g eggs (+/- 10%, variable)
  • 2 tsp charcoal powder

Black Sesame Chantilly (black sesame whipped cream)

  • 250ml pure cream
  • 40g black sesame paste
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp charcoal powder

Tofu Creme Patissiere (tofu pastry cream)

  • 300g silken tofu
  • 100ml milk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 25g corn flour
  • 1 egg (50g)
  • 20g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp charcoal powder

Instructions:

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Craquelin

  1. Mix all ingredients together to make a short crust pastry.
  2. Flatten it into a rectangle. Cool in refrigerate for 15 mins.
  3. Roll out at 2mm thick and cut circles using a round cutter*
  4. The size of the cutter depends on how big you pipe your choux. Ideally, when placed on the uncooked choux puff, the craquelin should cover the whole choux to form a “hat”.
  5. Keep in refrigerator to firm up until ready to use.

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Choux Pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare a baking tray sprayed with cooking oil. Remove excess oil with a tissue paper. Set aside.
  2. Boil water, milk, salt, butter and sugar in a saucepan.
  3. Add all purpose flour, baker flour.
  4. Over low heat, keep cooking while vigorously stirring with a big spoon for around 3-4 mins. It is ready when it forms a shiny, smooth dough that pulls away from the sides of the saucepan. You should see a skin forming at the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add melted chocolate and charcoal powder. Mix well with a whisk until incorporated.
  6. Let cool in a mixing bowl for around 5 mins. Meanwhile, fully beat the eggs in a measuring cup and set aside.
  7. Using an electric mixer with a beater attachment, beat the dough on medium-high speed and slowly add the eggs (only add around ¼ of the egg mixture each time). When the mixture is well combined and the eggs have been incorporated, add gradually another batch of the eggs mixture and continue beating. Repeat the process until the mixture is thick, shiny and it falls nicely when you lift it up with a scraper. (The amount of egg that you add will vary, depending on the weather or how much the flour absorbs moisture. You might have to add extra egg, or you might have some eggs to hold back.)
  8. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag topped with a round nozzle. Massage the bag with your hand to remove any air bubbles. Hold the bag and nozzle perpendicularly tover the prepared tray, and pipe circles of the desired size. Leave at least 4 cm in between each choux to allow space for expansion.
  9. Take out the prepared cut craquelin and place gently onto the choux.
  10. Bake at 180C for 30-35 mins until risen up and golden. Lower the temperature to 160C, and open the oven door to release the steam for 15 seconds. Close the oven door and continue baking for 10-15 mins until the choux feels firm and dry.
  11. Place the choux in another tray to cool for 10 mins.
  12. Cut the top of the choux with a serrated knife, as the “cap” of the cream puff. Do this step once your choux is cooled and firm enough to cut as it helps the moisture trapped inside to escape and prevent the choux from becoming soggy.
  13. Leave them at room temperature until ready to assemble.

Black Sesame Chantilly Cream (black sesame whipped cream)

  1. If your black sesame is refrigerated and too stiff, microwave it for 10-15 seconds to make it soft. Otherwise, go straight to step 2.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the pure cream and sugar to soft peak.
  3. Fold in black sesame paste and charcoal powder until well mixed.
  4. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Tofu Creme Patissiere (tofu pastry cream)

  1. Drain water from silken tofu. Blend the tofu until completely smooth. Mix in milk, set aside.
  2. Beat caster sugar, egg, and corn flour with a whisk in a mixing bowl, until pale.
  3. Heat the tofu-milk mixture in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
  4. Gradually add the tofu-milk mixture while whisking into the egg mixture until incorporated. This step is to temper the egg.
  5. Pour the whole mixture back to the saucepan to continue cooking. Add charcoal powder. Stirring with a whisk all the time until the mixture starts to thick and form bubbles. Heat off, whisk in butter. 
  6. Let the pastry cream cool in a mixing bowl. Use a plastic wrap to cover the surface of the pastry cream to avoid skin from forming.

Assembly:

  1. Whisk the tofu creme patissiere until smooth and transfer it to a piping bag topped with a round nozzle. Pipe into the cream puff until full. Smoothen the surface with a small palette knife.
  2. Transfer the black sesame chantilly cream to a piping bag topped with a star nozzle. Pipe on top of the cream puff.
  3. Cover with the craquelin “cap” that you previously cut. Do it gently so not to squash the chantilly crema underneath.
  4. Optional: chocolate decoration with black lustre powder.  

 

3 comments
Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb

These honey lemon cupcakes with yuzu swiss meringue buttercream are heavenly –  light, refreshing and full of citrus flavour – and the additional homemade honeycomb on top gives you a perfect sweet crunch when you bite into it.

Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb2

Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb3

 

 

I’ve always wanted to try to make desserts with yuzu because i just find it has a floral, citrus aroma that makes it so special among all the citrus. It might still not be a popular item in western countries, but it has always been part of asian culinary culture, especially in Korea and Japan. Yuzu fruits are not readily available in Australia, and I had been on the search of yuzu puree/juice for a while. That said, feeling exhilarated is probably an understatement the moment i saw it on an asian store’s shelf a couple of weeks ago. In this recipe, the subtle incorporation of lemon and honey is just to complement, if not enhance, the yuzu flavour, which is the hero of these cupcakes.

Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb1

Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb5

So I guess I should do a little update of my school life here.

TIME DOES FLY. I am now in the superior level – the third and final stage of my certificate III of Patisserie @ Le Cordon Bleu Sydney. During this term, we are focusing more on marzipan, mousse-based cake and entremets (basically, entremet refers to multi-layer mousse cake of various flavour combination and textures). I used to feel terrified of making entremets as the timing was so tight to complete an entremet within a 3.5-hour practical class and my cakes were usually not frozen solid enough for the final glazing. However, as I got to practise more, I’ve learnt to organise better and work faster in the kitchen and I start to feel more in control of things. The cakes that I share below are two of my favourite entremets made at school. The first one is passionfruit and white chocolate entremet that taste luxurious from top to bottom, and the second one is gianduja entremet bursting with tropical flavours.

passonfruit and white chocolate entremet

passionfruit and white chocolate entremet

gianduja entremet1

gianduja entremet

Next week, we are going to have a trial of making our own entremet for our final assessment. It’s the time for all students to show what they’ve learnt in the past nine months and I can’t wait to test my ideas and bring my design into life! Enjoy your weekend!

Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb4

Ingredients:

For the cupcake

  • 190g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 130g butter, softened
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 30g honey
  • 2 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lemon, zest of

For the yuzu swiss meringue buttercream

  • 150g egg whites (around 5 eggs’ worth)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 280g butter, softened and chopped into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp yuzu juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For honey comb

  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 150g honey
  • 80ml water
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking soda

Instructions:

For the honey lemon cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. These are your dry ingredients. Set aside.  
  3. In another mixing bowl, using a hand-held mixer or an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter, honey, sugar, and lemon zest on medium high speed until creamy and smooth. This will take around 4-5 mins.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min. Add milk and vanilla. Continue beating for 30 secs.
  5. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners to nearly full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake’s centre comes out clean.

For the yuzu Swiss meringue buttercream

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool (this is very important, otherwise the butter you’re about to add it will melt). This will take about 7-10 mins.
  3. Turn to medium-low speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add yuzu juice and salt, and beat until well combined. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the honeycomb

  1. Line a flat, big tray with parchment paper. Set aside until ready to use. And you will need a sugar thermometer.
  2. Put sugar, honey, water, and golden syrup in a large saucepan with enough depth. Cook, while stirring continuously with a spatula, on low heat until all sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 154C on the thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and let the bubbles subside.
  4. Add the baking soda and mix thoroughly to let the reaction occur. Many bubbles will form and the mixture will rise so please be careful. Pour the mixture onto the prepared tray and set aside to cool completely.
  5. Break the honeycomb to pieces to your preferences.

Assemble

  1. Pipe the buttercream on top of each cupcake with your favourite nozzle, and top with honey comb pieces.

 

8 comments
Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache

This ginger lemon naked cake with lemon swiss meringue buttercream frosting, ginger molasses cookies, and caramelised white chocolate ganache is scrumptiously packed with the delightful aroma of ginger and lemon. It’s a treat that shall be enjoyed around the year! 

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache2Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache6

I made this cake to celebrate my friend’s and my 23rd birthday together. Yes, however reluctant I want to deny it, I just turned 23 and I don’t want time to pass so quickly just yet. Anyway, I had one mission for myself and that is the fact that this cake’s flavour profile had to revolve around her duo favourites: ginger and lemon.  Of course, it would be a crime not to add some soft, chewy ginger molasses cookies to the party. Given the cake’s Christmas vibe, It seems a bit early to make this post but hey, don’t forget there’s “Christmas in July” in Australia so I might as well jump on the bandwagon. That said, my friend, who is always my creative muse, did the cookie antlers and they look absolutely amazing. 

I don’t post pictures of myself here often but I guess birthday is a pretty good excuse huh? 

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache10

The cake itself is addictively delicious – it is buttery, moist and rich with a hint of freshness. To be honest, it’s hard for this flavour combination to go wrong. Let’s talk about a classic ginger cake with tangy lemon icing that you wouldn’t miss at Christmas time. 

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache9

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache4

To make the cake a little bit more interesting, I decided to caramelised white chocolate ganache as the dripping. Why caramelised? I find white chocolate itself too sweet, but caramelising the chocolate makes it taste deeper and toasty. You may want to use a good quality white chocolate with a high cocoa butter percentage for this job. In case you’re wondering, I simply flipped the cake over when the ganache has set on the cake, and you can have this cool reverse drip effect. I hope you all enjoy the cake if you make it! 

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache5

Ginger Lemon Naked Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Ginger Molasses Cookies and Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache8

Ingredients:

Ginger Lemon Cake

  • 380g all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp ground ginger 
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 400g unsalted butter, softened 
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 250g molasses
  • 4 eggs, room temperature 
  • 180ml milk
  • 120ml sour cream
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of

Ginger Molasses Cookie

  • 270g all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g brown sugar 
  • 80g molasses 
  • 1 egg, room temperature 

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream 

  • 150g egg white
  • 225g caster sugar 
  • Pinch of cream of tar tar 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 Lemon, zest of 
  • 350g unsalted butter, room temperature

Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache 

  • 100g good quality white chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 150g pure cream 
  • 15g soften unsalted butter 

Instructions:

For the ginger lemon cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)
  2. Line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour,   ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. This is your dry ingredients.
  4. In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat butter, brown sugar and molasses at a medium-high speed until well combined and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, to the mixture, and continue to beat until well incorporated. Scrap the bowl when necessary. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sour cream and milk and mix until incorporated. 
  5. Add the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture in three batches. Stir gently with a spatula to combine everything until no flour can be seen. Avoid over-mixing.
  6. Pour the mixture evenly into the three prepared cake tins. Tap the pans several times to break any air bubbles. Bake for around 35 -40  mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cake for 15 minutes in their pans, then take them out and put them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. When the cakes are cooled completely, use a serrated knife to trim the top of each cake until they are all of the same height (around 2-2.5cm), and the top is levelled and smooth. Set aside until ready to use. 
For the Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Add egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 60C (140F).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Add cream of tar tar to it and whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool. This will take about 7-10 mins.
  3. Turn to medium-high speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrap the bowl when necessary.The buttercream may split at first but panic, just continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add lemon juice and zest, and beat until well combined. 
  4. Put the buttercream in a piping bag with a round nozzle until ready to use. 
Ginger Molasses Cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
  2. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. These are your dry ingredients. 
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses on medium high speed for 4-5 mins until pale and creamy. 
  4. Add egg  to the mixture, and continue to beat at medium speed until well mixed. 
  5. Add the prepared dry ingredients. Beat for another 1-2 mins until well incorporated. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 mins until it firms up a bit for easy rolling later. 
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. After refrigeration, roll the chilled dough into balls, 40g each, and space each one about 2-inches apart on the sheet to allow space for spreading. Flatten the dough a bit with a spoon or your palm. Feel free to reserve some dough to make the butlers or any other shapes to your liking. 
  8. Bake for 8-10 mins (depending on thickness and shape, don’t overbake). The cookies will feel soft when out of the oven but it will account for the chewiness when they cool down. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache
  1. Preheat your oven to 120C (250F). 
  2. Break your white chocolate Into small pieces and place them in a baking tray. Bake for 10 mins. Remove from oven and use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer. 
  3. Continue to bake and stir every 10 mins, for around 30-40 mins until the chocolate has turned caramelised and golden brown. 
  4. Transfer the caramelised white chocolate into a mixing bowl. 
  5. Heat cream in a saucepan and bring it to almost boil. Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 mins, and whisk until the chocolate emulsifies and becomes completely smooth. 
  6. When the ganache has cooled down to 40C. Whisk in the soften butter until fully incorporated. 
  7. Set aside in room temperature until ready to use.
    *Put the ganache into a squeeze bottle if you have one for easier control 
Assemble
  1. Pipe a dollop of buttercream on the centre of the cake stand and place one cake layer on it to secure it. 
  2. Using your piping bag filled with buttercream, pipe a swirl of buttercream on the cake. Using an off set spatula, spread the buttercream carefully to level it out and top it with the second cake layer. 
  3. Repeat Step 2, and top it with the third cake layer. 
  4. Spread the remaining frosting on top and all around the sides using an offset spatular. Use a large bench scraper to smooth out the frosting on the sides of the cake to create the “naked” effect. *Reserve some for frosting the top after you flip the cake and reserve some more to stick the cookies on the cake* 
  5. Refrigerate the cake for 20-30 mins to set.
  6. When the buttercream is set, it’s time to do the dripping. 
  7. If you have prepared the squeeze bottle, apply appropriate pressure to squeeze out ganache on the edge of the cake and let it drop naturally. Alternatively, you can carefully use a spoon for the job. *please check the consistency of ganache at this step – if it’s too firm, microwave for 10 seconds each time until it reaches the right consistency. If it’s too runny, refrigerate until ready to use. *
  8. When the ganache is set on the cake, carefully flip the cake over and use the remaining buttercream to frost the top.
  9. Break the ginger cookies in pieces and stick it on the side of the cake with the reserved buttercream.
  10. Decorate the cake as you like. I painted my ganache drip with gold paint and I used sprinkles, shredded coconut, and shaved chocolate as the toppings. Enjoy! 
2 comments
Chocolate Mud Cake with Chocolate Shards, Honey Comb and Salted Caramel Popcorn

Chocolate Mud Cake

This chocolate mud cake with mint chocolate ganache is a GAME CHANGER. It is essentially your familiar mud cake taken to the next level. The cake is incredibly moist and intensely rich in chocolate flavours, and the mint chocolate ganache rounds it off with a hint of freshness.

Chocolate Mud Cake2

I tailor-made this birthday cake for a client whose son is a huge mint chocolate fans like me. *high five* There were two main requests: mud cake, and mint chocolate. Well, I was thrilled about the order as I could let my imagination run free. As you can see the cake has that mysterious, galaxy vibe thanks to the dark theme and gold sprinkles. With the chocolate shards, honey combs and salted caramel popcorn as the extra elements, this cake cake looks luxurious and captivating, unlike an ordinary mud cake. (Secret: I’ve decided to put it on my menu when I have my own patisserie in the future, and I am gonna name it Mud, lol) 

 

Chocolate Mud Cake4

For the cake base, I used the recipe from Cake Paper Party that yields a rich, moist dark chocolate mud cake. If you are interested, I recommend you to take a look at the recipe as explains how she came up with the best mud cake recipe which makes perfect sense. I poured pure cream and baileys onto my left over chocolate cake and it’s sooo good. 

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Chocolate Mud Cake3

I considered using Lindt Intense Mint Chocolate for the  ganache, but I didn’t because I found it so much sweeter than the normal 70% dark chocolate. Therefore, I decided to introduce the mint flavour by adding mint extract, which went extremely well. That said, however, feel free to leave out the mint extract if you prefer to stick with the original dark chocolate taste. I used to have problems making ganache as it would split once I mixed the hot cream and chocolate together. But now I realise the key to making ganache is to let the cream-chocolate mixture sit for around 3 mins before you gently stir it. Also, try to stir as gently as possible as you don’t want to incorporate too many air bubbles into the ganache. 

IMG_8708

Thank you for reading and have a good weekend as always! 

Ingredients :

Dark Chocolate Cake (the cake batter is enough to pour into two 8 inch cake pans, each cut into two layers) 

  • 220g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, broke into small pieces 
  • 350g caster sugar 
  • 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 300ml hot water 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 eggs, room temperature 
  • 280g all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Mint Chocolate Ganache 

  • 2 tbsp mint extract 
  • 400g dark chocolate 
  • 500ml pure cream 
  • 50g soften unsalted butter 

Chocolate shards with gold sprinkles

  • 200g dark chocolate (I tempered my chocolate using XX)
  • Gold sprinkles 

Honey comb

  • 300g granulated sugar 
  • 150g honey 
  • 80ml water 
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking soda 

Salted Caramel Popcorn 

  • 100g salted caramel (find the recipe here) 
  • Popcorn *I used the plain microwave-popcorn and mixed it with homemade salted caramel, or you can directly buy salted caramel popcorn if that’s what you prefer

Instructions:

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175C). Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with melted butter. Line the pan bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter and whisk until completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can use the microwave, but check every 30 seconds.
  3. Mix the instant coffee powder and hot water. Set aside to let cool a bit until ready to use.
  4. Whisk in sugar and then cocoa powder into chocolate-butter mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Slowly add hot coffee in 3 additions while whisking constantly until fully incorporate.
  6. Add vanilla and then the eggs( one at a time).
  7. Now, prepare the dry ingredients by sifting flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another mixing bowl with a beater attachment. Beat in low speed for 30 seconds to combine.
  8. While the mixer is still on low speed, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture.
  9. Change to medium high speed, beat for 1 min. Scrap the bottom and continue beating for 30 seconds until smooth.
  10. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake for about 35 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in pans for 10 mins before you take the cake out to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  12. Cut each cake into two 1.5-cm thick layers with a cake cutter or serrated knife. Set aside until ready to use.

Mint Chocolate Ganache

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a sauce pan, boil cream and pour onto the chocolate.
  3. Let sit for 3 mints before gently stirring it until incorporated.
  4. When the mixture is cooled to around 35C. Stir in the butter and whisk until fully mixed.
  5. Cool the mixture using an ice bath until the ganache reaches a pipable consistency.
  6. Put the ganache into a pipe bag with a 6mm round nozzle.

Honey Comb

  1. Line a flat, big tray with parchment paper. Set aside until ready to use. And you will need a sugar thermometer.
  2. Put sugar, honey, water, and golden syrup in a large saucepan with enough depth. Cook, while stirring continuously with a spatula, on low heat until all sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 154C on the thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and let the bubbles subside.
  4. Add the baking soda and mix thoroughly to let the reaction occur. Many bubbles will form and the mixture will rise so please be careful. Pour the mixture onto the prepared tray and set aside to cool completely.
  5. Break the honeycomb to pieces to your preferences.

Salted Caramel Popcorn

  1. Mix the salted caramel and popcorns together until the popcorns are evenly coated with salted caramel. 

*if your salted caramel is a bit firm, microwave for 20-30 seconds so that they can evenly coat the popcorn. 

Tempered Chocolate shards

  1. temper the chocolate and spread it thinly on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  2. Put some gold sprinkles on top of the chocolate before they’re completely set. 
  3. Break them into pieces to your liking.

Assemble

  1. Place one layer of cake onto a cake turntable and top it by piping ganache in a swirling motion. Smoothen the ganache with palette knife. Repeat with the second and third cake layer, and then last layer of cake. Frost the cake with remaining frosting.
  2. Decorate with chocolate shards, honey combs and salted caramel popcorn. Enjoy!

 

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Zen – Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle

This matcha almond tart with swiss meringue and sesame brittle wonderfully plays with the popular Japanese dessert flavours – Matcha and Sesame. The earthy taste of the matcha almond filling pairs perfectly with the caramel, nutty taste of the sesame brittle that’s on top of the dreamy toasted Swiss meringue.  

Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame BrittleMatcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle7

This tart came as a total surprise for me, because I originally made the matcha almond filling for Mont Blanc, a classic French dessert that’s made with chestnut puree and meringue. Unfortunately, there were lots of issues in the making and the mont blanc didn’t turn out as well as I expected so I decided to use the filling for something else. I promise you all that I will perfect my mont blanc recipe and share with you when the time comes around!

Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle3

Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle6

And I do want to talk a bit more about the sweet pastry here. I recently bought some new tart rings that I had been craving for so long due to its more sophisticated finish. There’re quite a few methods out there to line pastry into these circular rings. After testing out on all the methods, I do find that the method of cutting out a larger circle of pastry and directly fit that in to the ring is the easiest and the most guaranteed. If you wanna watch how to do it in a video, I’d recommend Cupcake Jemma’s tutorial video  Alternatively, you can also cut out circles of pastry that are almost the same size as the base of your tart ring, as well as strips of pastry to fit as the sides. And you are gonna push the edge of the base to stick with the strips. Personally, I do find this a bit more tricky as sometimes as the pastry is too dry, the strips won’t stick too well with the base and they’ll separate when baked.

Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle4

As you’d all notice, I am recently super obsessed with meringue (the feeling of blow-torching meringue is just incomparably satisfying), so I decided to incorporate it into this tart to add another layer of texture. From top to bottom, you get the crispiness of the sesame brittle, the softness of the swiss meringue, the creaminess of the matcha almond filling, and the crunch of the sweet pastry. I chose to use Swiss meringue this time because I wanted it to be firmer and finer to top the tart with. And I adjusted the sweetness of the meringue recipe so it won’t be overwhelmingly sweet. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Matcha Almond Tart with Swiss Meringue and Sesame Brittle2

 

Ingredients (make 6 small tart):

Sweet Tart Crust

  • 125g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes 
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 55g whole egg, beaten

Matcha Almond Filling

  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 tbsp milk

Swiss Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 150g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt

Sesame Brittle:

  • 60g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 30g water
  • 1/4 salt  

Instructions:

Sweet Tart Crust

  1. Rub together cold butter, sugar and flour to a fine crumb.
  2. Add egg and mix to a dough.
  3. Wrap dough with plastic and rest in the refrigerator to firm up until needed.
  4. While your dough is resting, preheat your oven to 180C.
  5. Dust your work surface with flour to avoid sticking. Roll pastry to 3mm thick and line into 6 small tart rings.
  6. Poke holes on the pastry with a fork and put it back into the fridge to rest for 30 mins.
  7. Blind bake for around 10 mins until slightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack. *Don’t bake until golden brown at this stage as the tart will continue to bake when you bake the filling*

Matcha Almond Filling

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until pale and fluffy. It will take around 5 minutes.
  2. Add egg and beat until incorporated.
  3. Add almond meal and matcha powder into the sugar-butter-egg mixture. Mix with a spatula until it forms a paste.
  4. Add milk and mix until incorporated.
  5. If your tart shells are ready by now, fill them with the matcha almond filling (only to 85% full as they expand when baked) and bake for 10 mins. Let cool completely.

Swiss meringue

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool. This will take about 7-10 mins.

Sesame Brittle

  1. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, water, and salt and cook over medium-high heat, continue stirring until the mixture reaches 260°F (127C). Add the sesame seeds and continue cooking while stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 350°F (177C). Stop cooking if you see the mixture turns into a golden brown color.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately pour the mixture into the prepared parchment paper, spreading it with a palette knife into an even, thin layer. Set aside to cool until firm.
  4. Once the brittle is cooled, break it into pieces of your desired size.

Assemble:

  1. Spoon or pipe the swiss meringue on the tarts and create some “peaks’ with a spoon.
  2. Insert the sesame brittles into the meringue.
  3. Toast the meringue with a blowtorch.
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