Home Tags Posts tagged with "sweets"
Tag:

sweets

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
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

Ferrero_Rocher_Cupcake_with_Nutella_Swiss_Buttercream_Frosting

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.

Ferrero_Rocher_Cupcake_with_Nutella_Swiss_Buttercream_Frosting3IMG_0916IMG_0925

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.

Ferrero_Rocher_Cupcake_with_Nutella_Swiss_Buttercream_Frosting2

IMG_0918

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 😉

Ferrero_Rocher_Cupcake_with_Nutella_Swiss_Buttercream_Frosting7

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




5 comments
Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

Present to you my beloved recipe of coconut rum pecan banana bread – a sneaky twist on a classic banana bread. This recipe results in a super moist, delicious banana bread that’s packed with coconut flavours, enhanced with a touch of rum aroma and a nutty crunch.

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

Do you guys have a favourite thing to make? People around me asked me that many times before and I usually couldn’t provide a definite answer. Yet, I guess there’s been an answer inside my heart all along – quick bread. Quick bread is any bread that can be made in a matter of minutes without necessarily using yeast in the process. In other words, they’re my kind of comfort food; quick and easy. It might be a bit embarrassing to say – at the earliest stage of my baking life, I didn’t have any baking tools except a loaf pan in my student dorm kitchen. To satisfy my hungry soul, what I did was keep exploring and trying out as many loaf recipes found online as possible. This crazy experiment resulted in many delicious loaves coming out of my oven (and inevitably some weight gain as well, but who cares? jk lol).

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

As you may already know, the key to amouth-watering banana bread is using OVERRIPE bananas. Yeap, if you don’t have them ready at home, you have to wait until all the banana skins have almost turned black and rotten. This is when the bananas have become mushy enough and, of course, the sweetest as most of the starch content is broken down into sugar. Trust me, it is totally worth the patience. Why wait? Provide your friends and family with the best banana experience by serving big slices of this banana bread as their breakfast or afternoon snack.

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • ½  tsp cinnamon
  • ½  cup (100g) dark brown sugar
  • ½  cup (115g) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • ¼  cup (60ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) rum
  • 50g & 1 extra tbsp (for sprinkling) shredded coconut  
  • 80g pecan, roughly chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, or grease it with butter or oil; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, sift in and combine well the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 3 mins until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min.
  5. Add mashed bananas, coconut milk and rum, and continue beating until incorporated.
  6. Pour in the dry ingredients into the mixture in three batches, stirring continuously.
  7. Add in shredded coconut and pecans. Stir the batter gently with a spatula until everything is just incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle some shredded coconut on top. Tap the pan several times to break any air bubbles. Bake the cake for 50-55 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. When the cake is cool enough to handle, remove it from the pan and let it continue to cool on the wire rack before making the glaze; this will take about 30 mins.
3 comments
Mint Chocolate Cupcake

Same as every other post, this starts with a declaration of love, and today it’s about my favourite dessert flavour combo – Mint Chocolate. I believe everyone has his/her own weakness in food choice; and no matter how hard I try to resist it, mint chocolate is beyond doubt mine. This is especially true when it comes to ice-cream flavour. Why? It is equal parts cool and sweet, and the best ones are so refreshing that they’d brighten up my day and clear my mind.

IMG_0786

Despite how mouthwatering and delicate they look, cupcakes are not something I’d usually order outside. Yet, as it’s one of my goals to try out as many kinds of desserts as possible on this blog of mine, I might as well give it a go, right? 

IMG_0787

From the base to the top of each cupcake, this recipe delivers great textural fun and flavour layering that I always strive for in baking. First, there’s an oreo biscuit added at the bottom as a nice, crunchy surprise. Thanks to the melted mint chocolate and coffee, the cupcake base is moist and rich, with just enough mint hit coming through. Finally, together with the mint-flavoured buttercream as well as the finishing touch of a cheeky little Andes mint chocolate chip, what you have here is a daydream literally packed with minty goodness. Hmm, too cool to be true. (:

IMG_0806

IMG_0801

 

Ingredients (make 18 cupcakes):

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2  cup (188g) plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 18 Oreo biscuits
  • 1/2 cup (115g) butter,  softened
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil ( I used canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) coffee, room temperature (2 tsp instant coffee powder melted in 1/4 cup (60ml) of water)
  • 50g Andes chocolate mint, melted
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla

For the buttercream frosting: 

  • 2 cups (250g) icing  sugar
  • 1 1/2 stick (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30m1) whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) peppermint extract
  • green food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 18  Andes chocolate mints

Instructions:

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, 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 mint chocolate, and continue beating for 30 secs.
  5. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until just incorporated. Do NOT 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 buttercream frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in the sifted icing sugar using a tablespoon, and beat until smooth.
  3. Finally, add milk, vanilla, mint extract, food coloring, and salt, and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Refrigerate the frosting for at least 30 mins before piping.
  5. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with your favourite piping tip, and put an Andes chocolate mint on top as decoration if desired.

Yum




4 comments
Hopeless Romantic – Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting




Red Velvet Cake – always alluring by how romantic and gorgeous it looks. This is a recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction; her method of separating the eggs into yorks and whites in the process rendered the cake extra light and fluffy. Also, given that it’s my second time making it, I’m proud to say that I’ve adjusted the recipe to get the texture, flavour, and sweetness just right to my taste. My apologies, but how can I miss this chance to declare, that it’s indeed a BLOODY good cake :p?

IMG_0734

You are the one who’s in control of how red the cake should appear: rose, crimson, or even blood red. Start with a few drops of coloring and eyeball it as you go. Just be extra careful when handling with food coloring; otherwise, you may create a domestic crime scene and end up spending a day trying to clean your kitchen (which i may or may not have done it myself).

IMG_0758

In fact , I had difficulties trying to pinpoint what a red velvet cake tasted like. In the most basic terms, its sponge cake’s flavour profile contains three major components, namely vanilla, chocolate, and buttermilk, working with and complementing one another. Essentially, together with the rich cream cheese frosting, a red velvet cake is a light chocolate cake with a little citrus kick. Still a bit confused? Well, I guess the only way to find that out is to try it out yourself, and win the heart of your special someone.

IMG_0749

IMG_0778

Ingredients:

Cake

Dry ingredients:

  • 3 cups (360g) cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp (22g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature2
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 4 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2  tbsp (30ml) vanilla extract
  • liquid or gel red food coloring
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, room temperature/ or 1 cup (240ml) whole milk + 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 500g full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature5
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) whole milk
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)
  2. Line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt (i.e. everything listed under dry ingredients).
  4. In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed for 4-5 mins until pale and fluffy. Add oil and continue beating for 2 min until incorporated.
  5. Add eggs yolks, one at a time, and beat at medium speed until well combined. Meanwhile, use a hand whisk to vigorous beat egg whites until floamy and thick; set aside.
  6. Add buttermilk (or milk + lemon juice) and vanilla extract to thin out the mixture.
  7. 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.
  8. Finally, gently fold the prepared egg whites into the cake batter with a spatula.
  9. Pour the mixture evenly into the two prepared cake tins. Tap the pans several times to break any air bubbles. Bake for 45 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in their pans, then take them out and put them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.

For the cream cheese frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter (at room temperature) at medium-high speed until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in the sifted icing sugar using a tablespoon, and beat until smooth.
  3. Add milk, vanilla, and salt, and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Refrigerate the frosting for at least 1 hour to get firm so as to hold its shape while you work on it later.

Assembly:

  1. Level the cake layers by slicing the top curve of the cakes with a sharp knife to achieve a flat surface (reserve and crumble the unwanted cake parts into small pieces for decoration).
  2. Peel the parchment paper from the base of the cake layers and place one layer onto a plate or a cake board placed on a revolving cake stand (if you have it).
  3. Now we do the crumb coat first.
  4. Put a generous amount of frosting on the middle of the cake layer. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting carefully and top it with the second cake layer. Frosting the top and sides of the cakes. Get a nice, smooth coat of icing with a bench scraper or a spatula.
  5. Put the crumb-coated cake in the refrigerator for an hour to get the frosting nice and firm. Once the cake is chilled, frost your cake evenly with another layer of frosting using the same method. Get rid of all the peaks and blemishes in the process.
  6. Transfer the remaining cream cheese frosting into a pastry bag tipped with a tip that you prefer. Pipe dollops of cream onto the cake, sprinkle cake crumbles, stick thin strawberry slices to the side as garnish if desired.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Enjoy!




8 comments
Back to Basics – Bakery-Style Almond Butter Coconut Soft Chewy Cookies

It feels SUPERB to be back in my baking mood after surviving an emotionally intense week. Lots of things happened recently; probably too many. People always say baking helps elevate our mood, but I realise I can only bake well when feeling fully energised – does it make sense? Anyhow, let’s just focus on something fairly simple to make, yet truly satisfying to enjoy today, shall we?

IMG_8345

In fact, I’ve had this cookie recipe – success-guaranteed – in store for a while, but I just didn’t have the right opportunity to share it with you until now. It’s my all-time comfort recipe as it simply turns out perfect every. single. time. I used peanut butter the first time I made it (which was marvellous), and I substituted almond butter this time as I still got a whole jar of waiting to be gulped down at home.

IMG_8341

Similar to the brookies I previously shared in August, these cookies are soft, chewy, and sweet, yet their slightly crispy outer layer can now better withstand the passage of time. Yeap, we’re talking about one of those insanely tempting over-sized cookies seducing you through those timeless, nostalgic bakery windows. What’s the secret? A right amount of brown sugar and don’t overbake them. Pssss, If you want them to be extra evil (and make all your friends jealous of your little kitchen triumph), don’t hesitate to add in dark chocolate chips so that the cookies would literally melt in your mouth.

IMG_8337

Ingredients:

Make 18 largecookies 

  • 1 1/2 cup (188g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) butter
  • 1/3 cup (75g) white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 60g almond butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (100g) almond, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dessicated coconut

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)
  2. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour, baking soda, and salt. These are your dry ingredients.
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat white sugar, brown sugar, and butter on medium high speed for 4-5 mins until pale and creamy.
  4. Add egg, vanilla and almond butter to the mixture, and continue to beat at medium speed until well mixed. 
  5. Slowly add the prepared dry ingredients. Beat for another 1-2 mins until well incorporated.
  6. Finally, with a spatula, gently stir in and mix well chopped almonds and desiccated coconut.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Roll the dough into balls, 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.
  9. Bake for 12 mins (don’t overbake). Remove from the oven and let cool.
1 comment
A Taste of Heaven @Janice Wong Dessert Bar

You may or may not have noticed that I didn’t update my blog much the past three weeks. The reason being a rainy getaway in Tokyo. The next thing you might notice is that this post is deliberately poetic. It can’t be helped – I felt obligated to express my feelings here after my visit to Janice Wong Dessert Bar in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Truth be told, I miss being a university student studying English and films a bit too much at the moment.

IMG_0689

Janice Wong, my idol, so bold, so brave, so adventurous, for her my admiration is like a tidal wave – unstoppable and recurring. A renowned Singaporean pastry chef, forever changing and challenging people’s perception of food. What she offers to the world is an edible form of art; she artfully puts forward a performance full of surprises, one that simultaneously stuns and mesmerises her “audience” in the most devilish ways. That said, looking through her dessert menu was eye-opening enough, for every dessert seemed so heavenly and well-designed that I couldn’t wait to devour all of them.

IMG_0667

After some intense struggles, I decided to order Chocolate H2O (please tell me who doesn’t find chocolate irresistible). One of the main factors of the unique eating experience here is that you, as the curious customers, get to witness/engage in the dessert-making process – I could see the focus and passion in the staff’s eyes when they brought the desserts into life, attending to every single detail of the final dish. As I watched, my hungry soul was already aching to have a taste.

IMG_0666

Chocolate H2O (Bitter chocolate water mousse/Salted caramel/ Yuzu kalamansi gel/ Yuzu sorbe) definitely made its presence felt through its visual aesthetics. One thing I can’t resist about Janice Wong’s dessert is how every single element of the dish maneuvers its ways into creating some sheer magic. The bitterness of the chocolate was effectively elevated by the salted caramel, but then balanced by the slightly sour yuzu components. Such a fine combination of flavours made every bite an absolute pleasure – it instantly filled my heart with happiness, as if some sort of ecstasy flew through my blood.

IMG_0674

To end this post, I am going to put up Janice Wong’s philosophy about her approach to food as a timely reminder for myself.

“Welcome to our artistic gastronomic world of flawless imperfection and flawed perfection.

It is not to complex. Open your mind as I have and you will, too, see, taste and feel differently.

These seemingly disparate sources of inspiration and the creation that stem from them are all threaded by a commonality a pursuit for perfection in imperfection, and an appreciation of imperfection in perfection.”

Note to self:

  • Be fearless and resilient, because
  • as long as you know what you’re aiming at, the sky is the limit to how far you should go to achieve it.
1 comment
Close up of frosting on Almond Butter Carrot Cake

So yeah, I finally decided to jump on the fall bandwagon, and re-made one of my fav cakes of all time – CARROT CAKE! This cake was dearly loved by many friends of mine when I made it for the first time a while back. Why? Well, flavour aside, maybe they were all fooled by how healthy it sounds. 😉

Close up of frosting on Almond Butter Carrot Cake

I used almonds in three different ways in my version – raw almond, almond milk and most important the mighty almond butter – giving a naughty twist to the classic carrot cake recipe. This particularly nutty take gives the whole cake a richer flavour and accentuates how moist a mouth-watering carrot cake should be. In other words, this is where my nut obsession and the essential carrot cake meet. 

Almond Butter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Nevertheless, the key elements of an authentic carrot cake are still present and very potent. You get all the fresh shredded carrots making the cake unbelievably moist, not to mention that the spice blend, especially cinnamon, will warm up your palette right away. While the lower sugar take on the iconic cream cheese frosting will round everything out with just the right amount of added sweetness. As you can see, I tried to keep the frosting as light and thin as possible to create a “naked” style. 

Slice of Almond Butter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

P.S. If you want to save the fuss, feel feel to buy store-bought almond butter if they’re readily available in your country. But I think nothing beats a homemade one 🙂

Nuts and frosting on Almond Butter Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

Dry ingredients:

  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil, I used canola oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) homemade almond butter *see notes 
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) almond milk
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 ½  cups (325g) finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup (105g) almond, chopped

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 115g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 330g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 270g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)
  2. Line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly sift in and combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt (i.e. everything listed under dry ingredients).
  4. In another mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat sugar, oil, and almond butter at  medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, to the mixture, and continue to beat at medium speed until well incorporated. Add almond milk and vanilla extract to thin out the mixture. Finally, gently stir in grated carrots and almonds.
  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 two prepared cake tins. Tap the pans several times to break any air bubbles. Bake for 30-35 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in their pans, then take them out and put them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.

For the cream cheese frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter (at room temperature) at medium-high speed until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in the sifted icing sugar using a tablespoon, and beat until smooth.
  3. Add almond milk, vanilla, and salt, and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Refrigerate the frosting for at least 1 hour to get firm so as to hold its shape while you work on it later.

Assembly:

  1. Level the cake layers by slicing the top curve of the cakes with a sharp knife to achieve a flat surface.
  2. Peel the parchment paper from the base of the cake layers and place one layer onto a plate or a cake board placed on a revolving cake stand (if you have it).
  3. Now we do the crumb coat first.
  4. Put a generous amount of frosting on the middle of the cake layer. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting carefully and top it with the second cake layer. Frosting the top and sides of the cakes. Get a nice, smooth coat of icing with a bench scraper or a spatula.
  5. Put the crumb-coated cake in the refrigerator for an hour to get the frosting nice and firm. Once the cake is chilled (the frosting should be dry upon touching), frost your cake evenly with another layer of frosting using the same method. Get rid of all the peaks and blemishes in the process.
  6. Transfer the remaining cream cheese frosting into a pastry bag tipped with a simple round tip. Pipe dollops of cream onto the cake, sprinkle ground cinnamon and a few almond pieces as garnish if desired.
  7. Refrigerate to let the cake set for at least 1 hour or overnight. Enjoy!

 

Notes (Instructions for home-made almond butter):

  • 200g almond
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Roast 200g raw almond in an oven at 350F (175C) for 10 mins. Blend or process the roasted almond until completely smooth and creamy. Add honey, cinnamon and salt, and process until well combined.

 

 

15 comments
Tiramisu Crepe Cake cross section
Presenting, a romantic twist on a classic dessert –  tiramisu crepe cake. It’s a work of patience, patience, and more patience. Making this cake was a huge pleasure for me though; by flipping over layer after layer of crepes, I had lots of alone time in the kitchen to ponder on life (lol, jk, or not).  Take this as a chance to think about all the little things and perhaps your own dessert dreams. Maybe you won’t believe it, but I wasn’t always a big fan of desserts. Yet, Tiramisu gets me nostalgic in the best ways, because it was one of my fav childhood treats when dining out with family. Slice of Tiramisu Crepe CakeThis recipe is inspired by a recipe from Tatyana’s Everyday Food, but a lot of changes have been made to ensure the crepe cake fits my own baking style. Tatyana, again, is a beloved Youtuber whose desserts never fail to amaze me. I’m so thankful that she actually was the one who pushed me to try making multi-layer cake in the first place. Tiramisu Crepe Cake cross section

Instead of ladyfingers soaked in coffee in the traditional Italian Tiramisu, there are now coffee-flavoured crepes wonderfully layered with a rich, sweet mascarpone cheese cream filling. If you don’t readily have coffee liqueur at home, feel free to substitute another liquor, such as dark rum, amaretto or the most conventionally used Marsala. Honestly, whatever alcohol you use, it’s going to elevate the flavours and bring your crepe cake to another level. What can I say, it’s the two most iconically romantic western cultures working together to melt hearts. 😉

close up of Tiramisu Crepe Cake

flat lay of Tiramisu Crepe Cake

Ingredients:

For the crepes:

  • 150g (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 25g white granulated sugar
  • 480ml whole milk
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder melted in 60ml water
  • 60ml melted butter
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur
  • 1 tsp  vanilla

For the filling:

  • 400ml heavy cream, chilled
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur

Instructions:

Components

  1. Prepare the filling before creating any crepes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add mascarpone cheese and icing sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat them on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add heavy cream, salt, vanilla, and coffee liqueur. Continue mixing on medium speed until light and fluffy. Don’t overmix, otherwise the over-whipped cream will be grainy and stiff. Refrigerate for later use.
  3. In a second large mixing bowl prepare the crepe batter. Whisk eggs, sugar, and flour until smooth. Add coffee mixture (make sure it has already cooled down to room temperature), milk, butter, sugar, coffee liqueur, and vanilla. Combine well until no lumps can be seen.
  4. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Pour 1/4 cup batter into center of the pan; swirl pan to evenly coat the entire base with batter. Cook for about 1 minute or until the edge can be easily lifted with a spatula. Flip crepe; cook for another 20 seconds. Transfer to a large plate to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. The batter should be enough to make 18-20 crepes. Remember to cool the crepes completely before assembling the cake.

When both the filling and crepes are completely cooled, prepare components for assembly.

Assembly

  1. Place a crepe onto a flat surface as your crepe cake base. Drop 1/4 cup filling onto this base and spread the filling evenly to almost the edges. Continue this process with remaining crepes and filling, leaving the last crepe with no filling.
  2. Sprinkle cocoa powder on top of the cake. Cover the crepe cake with plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight to let the cake set nicely. Enjoy! 




6 comments
Charcoal Black Sesame Cake Roll side view
There are zillions (emphasis on the z) of desserts that I haven’t tried making yet. But I am proud to say I unlocked another achievement today – a soft, fluffy cake roll. And this is a special one. The old saying goes there is light without dark, this dessert embraces this very notion – with its dark outer layers contrasted by its sweet, white whipped cream centre.Charcoal Black Sesame Cake RollHow is it so black though? A blend of two intriguing Asian staples – charcoal and sesame powder. Each of them adds a level of shade to the colour, while the sesame acts as a major source of that nutty, roasted flavour. Also, as I want my cake to be delicately sweet, I simply used whipped cream as my filling. Charcoal Black Sesame Cake Roll side viewNote that a cake roll can be a bit tricky to handle for the first time; but once you got the techniques right, it’s not that hard at all to make. Anna Olson’s tutorial of Jelly Roll Cakes on Youtube was a big help for this. Although I didn’t exactly follow her instructions in preparing the cake batter, I highly recommend that you closely watch how she handles the cake roll when out of the oven, creates the cake roll memories, and then roll it back with fillings. However, please mind that instead of dusting icing sugar onto the towel, I used charcoal powder as I wanted to retain the black exterior of the cake roll. Slice of Charcoal Black Sesame Cake Roll If you want to learn all the basic techniques of baking, do check out her channel. Trust me, Anna is no doubt the best baking teacher. She clearly explains how and why she does what she does in each video. Every time I learn so much from her.Charcoal Black Sesame Cake Roll slice top view Hope you’ll have a great weekend ahead!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 40ml milk
  • 40ml vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 50g cake flour 
  • 8g charcoal powder
  • 8g sesame powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 50g icing sugar, sifted

Filling:

  • 180ml (¾ cup) heavy cream

For dusting:

  • 2-3 tbsp extra charcoal powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
  2. Line a rectangular cake tin (25cm x 30cm x 1.5cm) with parchment paper. Slight grease the parchment paper with oil to avoid sticking.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add egg yolks, milk and oil. Mix well – this is your wet ingredients.
  4. In a second mixing bowl, sift in and combine well flour, charcoal powder, sesame powder, baking powder and salt. This mix is your dry ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 3 in three stages while mixing. Combine well but don’t overmix.
  6. In a third bowl (make sure it’s oil free), add egg whites. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sifted icing sugar using a tablespoon, and beat until soft peak forms. This will take about 5 mins. Gently fold the meringue into the cake batter in 3 additions.
    (For the parts below, instructions are copied from the Food Network’s Classic Raspberry Jelly Roll recipe with some changes.) 
  7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin.
  8. Bake the cake for 11-12 minutes, until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 2 minutes on a cooling rack before loosening sides with a spatula.
  9. Sift a layer of charcoal powder over the surface of the cake and cover with a clean tea towel. Place a second cake pan over the towel and quickly invert the cake, removing the pan it was baked in. Peel off the parchment paper and dust this surface with icing sugar. Roll the cake up from the 10-inch side with the towel and let it cool completely for about 45 mins (cooling it rolled sets its “memory” so the cake won’t crack once filled). 
  10. 5 mins before the cake is completely cool, prepare the whipped cream. Pour chilled heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream on slow speed for about 2 mins, then increase the speed gradually until it reaches a soft, creamy texture.
  11. Unroll the cake carefully and spread an even layer of cream over the cake. Gently roll the cake back up again before dusting the top with charcoal powder. Refrigerate for 30 mins to let the cream set. Enjoy!
7 comments
Newer Posts