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Banana Salted Caramel Mascarpone Parfait




This banana salted caramel mascarpone parfait is everything you’re looking for as a party dessert or romantic dessert for two – it has its own visual impact while pleasing your palate to the last bit. It is intricately layered with light mascarpone cream, banana slices, biscuit crumbs, salted caramel, and topped with salted caramel cream and cocoa powder.




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The idea of making this parfait came up more than a month ago, but I was hesitant to make it because I didn’t have (and didn’t want to spend extra money to buy) the glasses that I thought were the best fit for the parfait. Students’ problems. However, for some reasons, I gave in as the urge of making this dessert became irresistbably strong when I was making tiramisu at work. As you can see, the plastic containers that I decided to use surprisingly looked good in the end!

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This mascarpone cream is essentially the cream used for tiramisu – it’s light and airy using just the simplest ingredients for baking. The recipe for the mascarpone cream is not sweet at all so it’s preferable to use riped bananas and, of course, you can go a little bit crazy with the salted caramel drizzles! To me, the key to a heart-winning parfait is having different layers and textures that well complement each other. For this reason, I added biscuit crumbs in the middle layer as the needed crunch among the smooth. Also, just to accentuate the flavours of salted caramel, I mixed it with the remaining mascarpone cream and pipe little cute blobs dusted with cocoa powder on top as the finishing touch. A small reminder: as the cocoa powder absorbs moisture very quickly after dusting, you should only dust it right before serving.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 50g  salted caramel* (to mix with cream)
  • 80g salted caramel (to drizzle)
  • 2 bananas, thinly sliced
  • cocoa powder for dusting
  • 70g biscuit, crushed
    * I used the Homemade Salted Caramel recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction for this parfait.

Mascarpone cream

  • 350 mascarpone cheese
  • 250g pure cream (semi-whipped)
  • Sabayon:
    • 2 whole eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 100g caster sugar  
  • Meringue:
    • 2 egg white
    • 35g caster sugar

 

Instructions:

  1. Semi-whip cream and keep it in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Make meringue by whipping egg white and caster sugar until stiff peak. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. While the meringue is whipping. Put and whisk well egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar in bowl. Heat the mixture over bain marie while stirring occasionally to 65C. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer on high speed to make sabayon (it’s also called the ribbon stage when the egg mixture becomes pale yellow and thick).
  4. Turn to low speed, add mascarpone cheese to sabayon and mix until incorporated.
  5. Using a spatula, gently fold in the meringue in 2 times until just incorporated. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream just until the mixture becomes homogeneous.
  6. Reserve 200g of cream in the mixing bowl, transfer the remaining mixture to a piping bag topped with a round nozzle.
  7. Add 50g salted caramel to the mixing bowl, mix with the reserved cream on medium cream until well mixed. Set aside.  

Assemble:

  1. Pipe a layer of mascarpone cream into each mould.
  2. Sprinkle biscuit crumbs.
  3. Arrange a layer of banana slices.
  4. Generously drizzle salted caramel.
  5. Pipe another layer of mascarpone cream until it fllls up the mould.
  6. Smoothen the surface with a palette knife.
  7. Squeeze out any remaining cream from the piping bag, and transfer the salted caramel mascarpone cream into the same piping bag. Pipe cream on top.  
  8. Dust with cocoa powder.

Yum




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Boozy Bite – Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies



Guinness Double Chocolate BrowniesGuinness Double Chocolate Brownies

Another chocolate dessert for you all! These Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies are luxuriously rich and moist, carrying a hint of roasted malt taste from Guinness that intensifies the chocolate flavour of these brownies. If you haven’t noticed, I really like adding alcohol to my desserts for some boozy, delicious treats, and this time I choose to use Guinness – an Irish dry stout that has a distinctive burnt, malty flavour from roasted barley. If you’re interested in alcohol infused desserts, feel free to check out my other posts:

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse with Baileys Ladyfingers (topped with chocolate soil)

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

White Wine Poached Pear Almond Tart

Coffee Liqueur Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Muffin

Lemon Curd Limoncello Meringue Éclair

Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies

Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies

As I planned to use this brownie as the base for my Salted Caramel Stuffed Brownie Truffle (recipe coming soon!), I purposely toned down the sweetness of these brownies through using smaller amount of sugar, as well as using chopped dark chocolate that oozes out from the brownies when baked. With the addition of the Guinness, these brownies have a strong malt,  and bittersweet chocolaty finish which I personally love. However, if you have a serious sweet tooth, free feel to adjust the sweetness by adding an extra 50g white sugar to the batter. Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll have fun making these delicious brownies for a special occasion! (or anytime really- I mean, who needs a reason to eat brownies?)

Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 200g white sugar
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature  
  • 180ml guinness
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 180g all-purpose flour
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 100g chopped dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a square or rectangular baking tray and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sieve and add flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, vegetable oil, white sugar, brown sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape the mixing bowl in between if needed. This is will about 5 mins.
  4. Reduce speed to medium, add eggs ( one at a time) and beat until well combined.
  5. Add guinness and vanilla, mix until well combined.
  6. Add the prepared flour and cocoa powder, mix until just incorporated.
  7. Fold in the chopped dark chocolate.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray. Bake for 25 mins or until until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Do not overbake. Set aside to cool. Enjoy!

 
Yum




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Earthy Soul – Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse with Baileys Ladyfingers (topped with chocolate soil)




If you’re hosting a party soon and looking for a fancy-looking dessert recipe to impress your hungry guests, you’ve found the right place. This Hazelnut Bailey Chocolate Mousse Cup is made of the same rich & smooth hazelnut dark chocolate mousse used for the chocolate semi-sphere I shared before, with devilicious baileys-soaked lady fingers layered between. You think it cannot get any better? How about if I tell you it’s finished off with some crunchy hazelnut chocolate soil on top? Conventionally, people would put mint leaves onto the “soil” but I didn’t have any mint that day so I skipped it. Dig into these layers with a spoon and I promise you it’s one of the most satisfying feelings ever.



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I came up with this idea when I was asked to prepare party food for a bunch of young adults. I got so pumped and I thought about what would make the best dessert to get the party going? Alcohol. Duh. Rum, Cointreau, limoncello and Coffee Liqueur are the to-go alcohol that I would use for desserts, but it’s about time I tried THE renowned Baileys, a creamy and smooth Irish whisky-and-cream-based liqueur that is usually served cold (with ice-cream, yum!). As you can all imagine, Baileys is delicious just as it is, but it goes extremely well with chocolate too. I didn’t hold myself back when I was dipping my ladyfingers into Baileys (I mean, why I should I?), so there could be 2 shots of baileys in each cup and everyone loved it. But you’re wary of getting your friends drunk, do try to limit yourself with it.

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I made my own ladyfingers this time using the recipe by Anna Olson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezR5UUqiOJc), as I always preferred making things from scratch if possible. But if you’re running out of time or feeling a little bit lazy, feel free to get them in supermarket. For those who don’t know what a ladyfinger is, it is essentially a simple sponge biscuit that resembles the shape of a large finger. It’s commonly used in layered dessert such as Tiramisu, and all sorts of parfaits; or it can be dipped in chocolate and enjoyed as it is. I love it for its subtleness and versatility. Make this boozy mousse cup and get indulged in all the creamy chocolatey goodness!

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Ingredients (make 10 mousse cup):

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 35 caster sugar
  • 25g nutella

Ladyfingers (modified from http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/chocolate-dipped-lady-fingers/12698/)

  • ½ cup (64g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp (63g) cornstarch
  • 3 eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 9 tbsp (113g) sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar

Hazelnut Chocolate soil

  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 50g  hazelnut, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions:

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate on low heat until melted. Let it cool slightly. Stir in butter and nutella. Set aside.
  2. Using a whisk, lightly beat egg yolks until pale and creamy. Add to the chocolate mixture, mix well.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg white until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat egg white to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently stir in the chocolate-egg yolk mixture (in three additions) into the egg whites, mix until no obvious egg white is visible.  
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ladyfingers (extracted from http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/chocolate-dipped-lady-fingers/12698/)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and set aside. Whip the egg yolks with 3 Tbsp of the sugar until thick and pale and they hold a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy, then slowly add the remaining 6 Tbsp of sugar and continue whipping until the whites hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted.
  3. Fold the whites into the yolk mixtures using a whisk, then fold in the flour until just incorporated. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe lady fingers onto the prepared trays that are 4-inches long and an inch apart (they will spread a little once piped). Bake for about 8 minutes, until the fingers are an even golden brown. Allow the fingers to cool completely before removing them from the trays.

Hazelnut Chocolate soil

  1. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt butter and allow it to cool to room temperature.
    While the butter is cooling, put sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  Mix well with a whisk and set aside.
  2. While whisking, slowly add the melted butter into the sugar cocoa mixture. Continue to mix until the mixture resembles dark soil.
  3. Add the chopped hazelnut and mix to provide the soil texture. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble

  1. Put the hazelnut chocolate mousse in a piping bag with a plain round nozzle, pipe the mousse into the bottom of the cup. Then, break the ladyfingers into pieces (I broke one ladyfinger into 3 parts) and soak them generously in Baileys, and put them on top of the mousse.
  2. Repeat step one to create alternating layers of hazelnut chocolate mousse and Baileys-soaked ladyfingers, with the hazelnut chocolate mousse as the top layer in the end (Save half an inch of space for the chocolate soil).
  3. Cover the top hazelnut chocolate mousse with chocolate soil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 
Yum




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Zuger Kirschtorte with a raspberry twist (with review of the 1st week of final practical assessment @LCB)



Hello again, I’m quite excited about this post because I just had my first practical assessment week and I could do a little review (YAYY!!). One major part of this week’s assessment is making French puff pastry, which was needed to make vol-au-vent, bouchee, and palmier. Learning to make puff pastry myself was quite a journey; yes, it is a long and technical process but hey, it’s actually very fun and rewarding when you see the result. Although I still panicked everytime I used the dough sheeter ( the chance of dropping the pastry on the ground is so high, well at least for me, if you don’t pay enough attention), I successfully produced puff pastry products that rose beautifully and were flaky and buttery :). Sorry that I didn’t take any pictures of them as I was too preoccupied that day.

Other assessment items for the week include linzer torte, baklava, coffee eclairs and fruit flan. I didn’t get to practise on linzer torte because I got sick last week; luckily, it was a rather straightforward dessert with an elegant look. Also, we had to make baklava, a rich buttery dessert made of layers of filo pastry filled with grinded nuts soaked with syrup. I wasn’t a big fan of baklava as I found it too heavy when I first tasted it a few weeks back then, but I realised that it tasted so much better when served cool/cold.

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Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 3

Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 6

Coffee eclairs and fruit flan were the last assessment items for this week. As we did a lot of mise en place the day before (i.e. pastry cream and sweet pastry dough), it was the most relaxing day among all. When I made my eclairs yesterday, my choux pastry got too liquidy as I added too much egg. So I had to quickly make another choux pastry without falling behind my schedule too much. Luckily I got back on track and got to finish and present my items on time. What a relief!

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At this point, you may wonder what we will be mainly making for our final assessment next monday. It’s Zuger Kirschtorte. Zuger Kirschtorte is a traditional layer cake from Switzerland with layered with japonaise (almond-meringue),  kirschwasser flavoured génoise  sponge, and buttercream. Normally, the outer layer of the cake is coated with flaked almond as well. I absolutely love this cake because of its intricate complexity – it is layered with various elements working together to create beautiful textures and flavour combinations.

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For the recipe I am sharing here*, it holds the essence of the cake with a raspberry twist. I decided to incorporate raspberry to the cake for three reasons. Firstly, the buttercream has to be pink for the final assessment, maybe for aesthetic reasons (?), so I reckon raspberry would be a good choice to fit the color. Secondly, the tangy and sweet flavours of raspberry would complement the richness of buttercream perfectly. Thirdly, they look so damn good as decoration no? This cake is perfect for celebration, especially when it’s in this ridiculously adorable pink color haha. Finger crossed that I can successfully finish making this cake next monday! Enjoy the weekend 🙂

*Recipe and Instructions given are adapted from those provided by Le Cordon Bleu.Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 2

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Génoise  sponge

Ingredients:

 

  • 100g whole eggs, room temperature
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 65g plain flour
  • 20g melted butter

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Preheat oven at 190C.
  2. Grease and line a 6 inch pan.
  3. Using an electric mixter, mix eggs, vanilla, and sugar on medium speed until thick and pale (or ribbon stage is reached).
  4. Fold in sifted flour and melted butter alternatively. Gently mix until no flour is visible.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan.
  6. Bake at 190C for 15-18 mins until golden brown, or when a skewer inserted into the cake’s centre comes out clean. Let cool and unmold the cake. Cut a slice of the cake (around 2 cm thick) with a serrated knife; set aside.

 

Japonaise

Ingredients:

 

  • 95g egg whites
  • 60g caster sugar
  • pinch of cream of tar tar
  • 20g corn flour, sifted
  • 95g ground almond
  • 70g caster sugar

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Preheat oven at 170C.
  2. Using an electric mixer (make sure the whisk and bowl are oil-free), beat egg whites and cream of tar tar on high speed until stiff. Gradually add in sugar and mix for another 2 mins.
  3. Mix corn flour, ground almond, and caster sugar in a bowl. These are your dry ingredients; set aside.
  4. Fold in half of the egg white mix to the dry ingredients. Mix gently.
  5. Add the remaining egg white mix and gently blend until just incorporated. Important: be as gentle as you can in this step. Don’t overmix to avoid the mixture from becoming too thin.Put the batter into a piping bag with a plain round nozzle. Pipe two 6 inch discs onto silicone paper.
  6. Bake at 170C for 20-25 mins until golden brown.

 

Kirsch syrup

Ingredients:

 

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g water
  • 30ml kirsch

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Bring the sugar and water to the boil.
  2. When cooled, add the Kirsch.

 

Raspberry vanilla italian buttercream

Ingredients:

 

  • 160g caster sugar
  • 40ml water
  • 100g egg white
  • 250g unsalted butter, room temperature and chopped to small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • few drops of red food coloring

 

Instructions:

 

  • In a medium pot, boil sugar and water.
  • When syrup reaches 110 C, start whisking egg whites with an electic mixer on high speed.
  • When syrup reaches 118C, add syrup in a fast stream (be careful with the hot syrup!) to the egg whites. Continue whisking until the mixture is light and cooled to room temperature.
  • Add butter to the italian meringue piece by piece. Add raspberry jam. Continue mixing until no butter cubes are visible, and the buttercream is smooth and creamy.
  • Set aside for frosting.

 

Homemade raspberry jam (can substitute store-bought jam):

Ingredients:

 

  • 125g fresh raspberry
  • 125g sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

 

Instructions:

 

  • Bring sugar and raspberries in a saucepan on high heat for around 2 mins until all sugar has dissolved. Mash raspberries with a fork as you go.
  • Turn to medium heat, continue to cook the jam until it’s thickened enough to your liking.
  • Turn off heat. Add lemon juice and mix well.
  • Transfer the jam into airtight jar for later use.

 

Assembly

  • Assemble gateau using two discs of japonaise sandwiched with raspberry jam, buttercream and Genoise sponge soaked with kirsch syrup.

In other words,

 

  1. Firstly put a disc of japonaise as the cake base.
  2. Then, pipe 1 cm thick of italian buttercream. Spread raspberry jam on top of italian buttercream.
  3. Add the sponge cake. Generously brush the kirsch syrup onto the sponge cake until it’s well soaked.
  4. Repeat step 2.
  5. Put the 2nd disc of japonaise on top of the sponge cake.
  6. Frost the cake with italian buttercream and decorate it with garnishes to your liking.

 

Choice of garnish

 

  • Flaked almond
  • Fresh raspberry
  • Chopped roasted pistachios

 

 Yum




6 comments
Drunk in Style – White Wine Poached Pear Almond Tart




It’s been a while, everyone. I am really glad that I’m finally sharing a recipe I learnt from school with you all. This week, our teacher demonstrated how to make this French-style white wine poached pear almond tart (Pear Bourdaloue); I absolutely loved it and I knew I had to recreate it for myself.

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Making tarts hasn’t been my strong suit, because up until now I haven’t fully grasped the techniques of handling and rolling pastry. Thanks to school, I had to squarely deal with all my weaknesses and practice. Cope with the huge difference between last year’s baking experience and that of this year isn’t easy either. In LCB, I am constantly introduced all sorts of pastry items that never existed in my world due to my limited exposure to the culinary world. Honestly, the feelings of inadequacy could be overpowering at times, but so is the sense of excitement burning in my heart that I know I just have to keep learning and getting better. For those who are curious about what I’ve made at school for the past few weeks, I’ve attached couple photos at the end of this post as promised. 

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About the tart itself, I know in many sense it matches with autumn theme more, but when you want to eat tarts who cares about the time? Sweet and soft pears shall be the star of this tart – they are beautifully spiced by cinnamon and cloves, with the addition of tangy, sweet flavour thanks to the white wine, as well as lemon and orange peel. Poaching pears requires correct time, temperature and patience. You want soft, sweet, flavoured pears that are not cooked to become mushy in the end. Having the pears together wIth the nutty almond cream at the bottom is simply delicious. I like having this tart when freshly baked (preferably with vanilla ice-cream on top, yummmm), but it’s purely my own preferences. I hope you will enjoy this recipe! 

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White Wine Poached Pear (Can be made the night before)

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh pears
  • 500ml water
  • 500ml white wine
  • 250g sugar
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or  1 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • 1 clove (or ⅛ tsp ground cloves)

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients (except the pears) in a pan.
  2. Peel and core pears, gently poach (NOT boil) pears in syrup.
  3. Cook the pears for about 1 hour until they are soft. Use a stick to test every once in a while to see if the pears are done.
  4. When done, take out the pears from the pan to stop the cooking process. Reserve the liquid. When both the pears and liquid have cooled, let the pears continue soaking in the liquid. Keep in fridge until ready to use.

Sweet Pastry Dough (this recipe makes two tart shells):

Ingredients:

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 142g sugar
  • 90g eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 375g bakers flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 45g almond meal

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar by hand or with a mixer until well combined.
  2. Adds eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. Mix.
  3. Mix in sifted flour and almond meal to form a dough.
  4. Wrap it with plastic and keep in refrigerator to set and rest for at least 30 mins. (the gluten in the dough needs to rest or the pastry will shrink when baked)
  5. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  6. Lightly flour your working surface. Roll out the pastry to 2.5-3mm thickness. Line a 8 inch tart pan with sweet pastry. Poke littles holes with a folk on the pastry’s base to avoid air bubbles from forming when the pastry is baked. Refrigerate to rest the pastry for 20 mins.
  7. Bake the pastry for 12-15 mins until golden brown.
  8. Let cool and set aside.

Almond cream

Ingredients:

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 20g baker flour
  • 120g almond meal
  • 20ml rum (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar by hand of a mixer until well combined.
  2. Add vanilla, and eggs (one at a time). Mix well.
  3. Add flour, almond meal, and rum (if used). Mix well to form a paste.
  4. Set aside until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Fill the tart with the almond cream generously.
  3. Put the poached pears on top according to the design you want.
  4. Bake for approximately 25-35 mins until golden brown.
  5. Sprinkled toasted almond on top if desired.

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Yum




5 comments
Golden Haze – Ferrero Rocher Cupcake with Nutella Swiss Buttercream Frosting

Today let’s forget about going on (or thinking of going on – got you) diet, and just indulge ourselves in these golden goodness. These ferrero hazelnut cupcakes are simply perfect for celebratory occasions, because they’re

  • visually appealing
  • Sophisticated
  • indulgent

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There’s a story behind this creation – my mum’s colleague tried my baked goods at work and asked me to prepare cupcakes for her wedding. As nervous as I usually am, I low-key panicked a little (okay actually A LOT) and have been wracking my brain to think about what I should make in order not to disappoint. Red Velvet? Carrot Cake? Oreo & Cream? As I started to get frustrated this idea suddenly popped up in my mind – thank God – and I decided to go along with it.

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Instead of conventional American buttercream, I opted for Swiss Buttercream for the cupcake frosting. Basically, making swiss buttercream requires an extra step of heating up egg whites and sugar in a double boiler, before you turn the egg white mixture into fluffy, glossy meringue. This method is highly sought-after, because 

1) it in general yields a more delicate & refined texture and taste
2) it does seem that the butter ratio in the frosting is significantly lowered

I followed the instructions given by Tessa on https://www.handletheheat.com/how-to-make-perfect-swiss-meringue-buttercream/with some minor adjustment. If you happen to encounter problems while making your swiss buttercream (it happens), do check this link out http://www.thebrewerandthebaker.com/archives/7640. It was a great help for me.

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For the cupcakes themselves, I tried to incorporate some hazelnut elements into the cake batter, namely hazelnut meals and roasted hazelnut chocolate. And I’d be condemned if I dared to miss using the mighty hazelnut spread, Nutella, for my swiss buttercream, right? To complement the rich nutty flavours and to yield a refreshing and balanced final taste, I added a little bit tangy orange zest as well. I have to say, they brought so much more character and vibrancy to the cupcakes! Psss, If your greedy self wants to bring the cupcake’s luxuriousness to whole new level, edible gold paint is the way to go. Spread joy and love with these beautiful treats, people 😉

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Ingredients:

(make 15-16 cupcakes)

Cupcake: 

  • 1 ½  cup (188g) all purpose flour
  • 100g hazelnut meal
  • ¼  cup (25g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (115g) butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil ( I used canola oil)
  • ½ cup (113g) caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60ml) coffee, room temperature (2 tsp instant coffee powder melted in 1/4 cup (60ml) of water)
  • ½ cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla
  • 50g roasted hazelnut chocolate, melted (or you can use dark chocolate instead)
  • 1/2 orange, zest of

Nutella swiss buttercream:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 280g chopped unsalted butter, soft
  • 50g Nutella
  • pinch of salt

Topping:

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Ferrero
  • toasted hazelnut, chopped

Instructions:

For the cupcake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, hazelnut meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt. Set aside.  
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and sugar 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 coffee, milk and melted chocolate, vanilla, and cointreau. 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 Nutella Swiss 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 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 Nutella and salt, and beat until well combined.
  4. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with your favourite piping tip, and put a Ferrero Rocher, some chopped hazelnuts, and sprinkle sifted cocoa powder on top as decoration if desired.

Yum




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Hojicha Chiffon Cake with Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Whiskey Ganache
I’m not gonna lie; a fluffy chiffon cake had been on my to-make list for ages, so I’m so thrilled that I finally made it happen! I think some of you might be able to relate – when you’re truly into something, you simply want to do it however you feel that day. Take myself as an example, I think about food almost every waking moment and would use baking as an excuse for EVERYTHING. Like today, feeling beaten up physically after a rough night, I decided to bake off some of the tiredness with this superb recipe👌🏻. Side view of Hojicha Chiffon Cake with Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Whiskey GanacheSo, for this chiffon cake, I went against the normally lighter approach to chiffon cake, and used a combination of Hojicha (aka roasted green tea), dark chocolate and whiskey. They’re three flavours that are equally bitter and complex, instantly invoking a feeling of maturity. What’s more, I only realised later that they’re all elements deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. From the cold tip of Hokkaido down to the summery bays of Okinawa, the core of such tastes is tied to the purity of nature. Doesn’t that sound amazing? 😉

Hojicha Chiffon Cake with Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Whiskey Ganache

As this is my first attempt of making a chiffon cake, I adapted the recipe of Green Tea Chiffon Cake by Just One CookBook. I am a big fan of the author, as she explains everything slowly and clearly, and I LOVE authentic home-style Japanese food. Feel free to pair the cake with fresh cream or fruits; but I wouldn’t mind having it on its own. Make this delicious treat for yourself and let me know how it goes!!

Close detail of Hojicha Chiffon Cake with Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Whiskey Ganache

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp (40ml) canola oil
  • 4 tbsp (60ml) milk
  • 75 g (⅔ cup) cake flour
  • 1 tbsp (10g) hojicha powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the meringue:

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 60g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt

For the ganache:

  • 100g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g heavy cream
  • 20g butter
  • 2 tbsp whiskey

For the toppings:

  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Instructions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 340F (170C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and caster sugar (30g) until light and pale. Add canola oil, milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.
  3. Sift in cake flour, hojicha powder, and baking powder to the egg yolk mixture. Mix until totally incorporated.
  4. In another bowl (make sure it’s oil free), add egg whites and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at high speed until foamy. Gradually add the caster sugar (60g) using a tablespoon, and beat until all sugar dissolves and soft peak forms. This will take about 5 mins. Gently fold the meringue into the cake mixture in 3 additions.
  5. Pour the mixture into the ungreased 17cm chiffon cake pan (please do NOT grease your pan or otherwise your chiffon cake won’t stick to the pan and therefore collapse while baking). Tap the pan a few times to release air bubbles.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. The cake must be cooled upside down; balance the chiffon pan on a tall heavy bottle using the pan indent. Leave until the cake is completely cool before removing it.
  8. To remove cleanly, keeping the pan upside down and use a thin sharp knife or thin offset spatula, running it gently around the cake.
  9. Place the serving plate on top of the cake (which will now become the base of the cake) and flip over. The cake should pop out easily.

For the ganache:

  1. Add the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, add cream, butter, and salt. Bring it just to boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour the cream mixture over chocolate. Let stand for 10 mins and don’t stir to prevent it from going grainy.
  4. Stir the mixture with a whisk until smooth and shiny. Add whiskey and mix well.
  5. Pour over the chiffon cake and top it with chopped hazelnuts.
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Four Lemon Curd Limoncello Meringue Éclairs
This post is my salute to the éclair  – the stunning, wicked treats found in most French pastry shops which by their very nature capture everyone’s steal hearts. By definition, an éclair is a finger-shaped pastry made with choux dough, filled with cream or custard and topped with icing. It’s no exaggeration to say that they look like art and taste like heaven – something achieved with patience, precision and care.Four Lemon Curd Limoncello Meringue Éclairs

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Vibrant lemon curd

Lemon curd is one of the greatest inventions on Earth. I love it because it’s refreshingly sweet & tart at the same time. Making it yourself may sound intimidating enough that you’d opt for store-bought ones in the supermarket. But let me get this straight – making lemon curd yourself only sounds sophisticated – it’s actually SO very easy. In fact, you might start thinking about giving away jars and jars of lemon curd to your friends, family or even your neighbours whenever the occasion calls for it LOL.

Full jar of Lemon Curd
This delicious and simple recipe is by Cupcake Jemma. I first came across her when I was searching for cupcake videos on YouTube. The cupcakes she made in her videos looked so good that I finally overcame my irrational fear of making them, and made my first round as soon as I could (but let’s leave that for next time). I absolutely admire her, for her unquestionable talent in baking, self-confidence, beauty, and tattoos. She has simplified the making process so much that I couldn’t wait to give it a go. And you know what? She didn’t lie; it’s just that simple.
Spoon of Lemon Curd
Once you have made a whole jar of lemon curd (applause!), there are limitless things you can do with it.  Stay tuned, as for the next few blog posts, I am going to share some of my fav lemon curd dessert recipes with you all!

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • 110 ml lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 60g cold chopped butter

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a double boiler. To do so, fill a saucepan with 1-1.5 inches high of water and bring it to simmer. Find a heatproof bowl that fits in the saucepan without directly touching the water.
  2. Put all ingredients except the butter into the heatproof bowl. Using a whisk, stir the mixture continuously but gently to slowly cook the eggs. The lemon curd is ready when it starts to thicken up. This process will take about 5-7 mins. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.
  3. Stir in the cold chopped butter into the mixture. Mix until the butter completely melts.
  4. Put the lemon curd into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

*You may sieve the lemon curd if you want a creamier texture, just remember that you only add the lemon zest in the end. 

 

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Stack of Macadamia Nut Butter Avocado Brownies
In case you still don’t know, I LOVE avocado. The worldwide avocado obsession possibly started with the ridiculously endless yet highly addictive avocado toast pictures that flooded Instagram in recent years. But let’s not get too cynical about its fame and take the time to acknowledge the fact that avo is amazing (and nutritious, creamy, delicious, cute, natural). Three Macadamia Nut Butter Avocado BrowniesAs for the recipe, a friend of mine tried this brownie and she said it was a total bomb. Well, it is indeed. You might be worried about the end result when there’s no butter or any liquid oil added to the recipe; relax. The smoothness of macadamia nut butter blended with the creaminess of avocado keeps the final treat moist and gooey – just as how brownies should be.Tray of Macadamia Nut Butter Avocado Brownies

I also wanted this brownie to feel a little bit more “mature”, so I used coffee and good quality dark chocolate to provide a contrast to the sweetness of the white sugar. In the end, there’re so many different textures in every last little mouthful – creaminess from macadamia nut butter and avocado; crunchiness from chopped macadamia; and gooeyness thanks to half-melted dark chocolate. So, even IFFFF you don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, you’re gonna declare this brownie your new bae.

Ingredients:

  • 95g all purpose flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 avocado
  • 60g homemade macadamia nut butter *See Note
  • 120g white sugar
  • 2 eggs  
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder melted in 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 50g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g macadamia, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line a square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, sift in and combine well flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, mash the avocado until smooth with a fork or masher. Add macadamia nut butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, coffee mixture, almond milk. Mix well.
  4. Pour the dry flour mixture into the wet ingredients in three batches. Stir the batter gently with a spatula until everything is just incorporated.
  5. Stir in the chopped dark chocolate and macadamia.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared square tin.
  7. Bake the brownie for 18 minutes (don’t overcook brownies!). Take the brownie out from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before any handling.

*Note for macadamia nut butter

Macadamia nut butter is very easy to make as long as you have a blender or preferably food processor.

Instructions:

  • Roast 200g raw macadamia in an oven at 350F (175C) for 8 mins. Blend or process the roasted macadamia until completely smooth and creamy. Store the excess in an airtight jar and put in the fridge.
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