Friday, November 27, 2015

Caramel frankenstein cake ^^

I made this messy, frankenstein-ish cake for Baby pig who turned 14 yesterday ^^

His eyes were exceptionally bright and sparkling when he saw the caramel overload, haha! And when I heard his tell-tale soft humming after he had a slice of cake, I knew he was extremely happy! la-da-da-da... ^^ ^^ ^^

In case you fail to recognise the cake due to the mess, it's actually a decadently indulgent treat made up of tish boyle's deep chocolate sour cream pound cake, smothered with peanut butter buttercream frosting, layered with sliced bananas and drowned in oodles of salted caramel sauce ^^ oooooohhh, so so yums!!!

Tish Boyle's Deep chocolate sour cream pound cake (recipe from rima@bisouatoi)
90g all purpose flour
29g cake flour
21g dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
170g unsalted butter
200-210g granulated sugar
2 large eggs (I used the egg separation method, for a bouncier cake) 
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g sour cream

This is 1/2 the original recipe, which I baked in a 7" round cake tin at 170C for 60-65 minutes. For the step by step to making this cake, please head on to bisouatoi.. hehe, am too lazy to write it out, 'cos it's the usual way of cake making ie. butter cakes ^^
* I sliced the cake into 2 layers, and piled on the frosting, bananas and caramel sauce to make this birthday treat!
* I also tried the DIY wet cloth/towel wrapped around the cake tin method for even baking and to prevent a cracked domed top.. and it WORKS!!! No cracks at all, and the top was nicely flat and evenly baked ^^
* note to self: cake was soft and had a nice texture on day it was baked, but turned a touch dense after being refrigerated.. maybe a chocolate sponge cake would've been better as a cake base? 
* question to self: wonder if using a dutch-processed cocoa powder makes a difference? 'cos used usual organic cocoa powder............ 

Peanut butter buttercream 
100g creamy peanut butter
30g unsalted butter, softened
80-100g icing sugar, sifted
30g-60g heavy or whipping cream, add to own desired consistency
* make more if planning to ice the whole cake

Beat peanut butter and butter together till soft and fluffy. Add sifted icing sugar and beat till well combined. Slowly mix in the whipping cream to your desired consistency. Do not make frosting overly runny/soft like I did (I even did it on purpose because I wanted a soft, runny frosting.. bad idea! this is what happens to amateurs who don't know much about frosting, haha!), or you'll end up with a frankenstein-y mess! ^^||

Bananas, sliced

Salted caramel sauce (recipe from sallysbakingaddiction or check here)
200g granulated sugar
6 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted is fine)
1/2 cup / 120ml heavy or whipping cream
1 tsp sea salt, or add to taste
* keep leftovers in the fridge, drizzle over ice cream etc.. yums yums! ^^
For best step by step to making caramel, see my favorite guy, david lebovitz's post. That's where I learned how to make caramel.. no thermometer needed!

An epic, frankenstein-caramelly-good birthday cake for an epic, caramel-toothed boy! Love you caramel-loads, Baby pig ^^

taken with phone under slightly better lighting ^^

** p.s I've actually played around with this combo of flavors before.. it was last year (see here), and it was for the same caramel-toothed person. But I didn't manage to make it then. 'Cos last year, we made an amateur Dr Who Bow Ties Are Cool cake, which almost ended up on Cake Wrecks, haha!   

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happiness is..

Chubby pig was here for a sleepover recently. And spent the ENTIRE time playing BFME and goodness-knows-what-other comp games with Baby pig!

Now what has that to do with me? Well, it just means I got to bake.. LOTS ^^. And finally the chance to use my new enamel pie plate, a gift from one of my favorite people.. you know who you are! ^^

My babies were well fed. I'm happy ^^ ^^ ^^

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Almond-crisped peaches

Big's leaving tonight. He's off to spend a semester in Athens, Greece. And then back to college in the states. I will miss him oh-so much.

This time it'll be a long time before he comes back home. He's thinking of interning during the next summer break. So we are not sure when his next trip home will be. Perhaps I should brave the long flight and visit him in the states.. well, only if the exchange rate is favorable. ^^

Almond-crisped peaches (recipe adapted/from smittenkitchen)
10 peach halves (I used canned peaches)
100g almond meal
scant 1/2 tsp baking powder
60g sugar
6 tbsps rolled oats
90g cold butter, diced

1. Wash the syrup off the canned peaches, and dab dry with paper towels.

2. In a clean bowl, mix almond meal, baking powder, sugar and rolled oats together till well blended.

3. Whizz or cut the butter through the dry ingredients till it resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Place peach halves into a greased baking tray, and top with crumble mix.

5. Bake in a preheated oven of 200C for 30 minutes, or till tops turn golden brown. 

I just had to bake a peach-something for Big before he leaves. He loves peach desserts and I didn't manage to bake him any throughout the 3.5 months he was home. So on the excuse of his grandparents visit, I made a quick dessert just before I left for the all-important yellow rally.

And speaking of yesterday, I'm really happy to report it was a most peaceful rally of yellow. I'm seriously an unfit person. But I managed to brave and survived a crazy long walk under the hot sun and scorching heat (we parked crazy far away thinking the lrts were not going to work!). And what do I get? A whole night of migraine, dead legs, a knee in bandage.. and a clear heart.. and dare I say, perhaps hope for the future? ^^ I'll be honest, I'm sceptical that rallies will bring about changes overnight, if at all any. But yet I was there because I'm hopeful. This is home.

Anyways, back to this recipe, whether you call this a crisp or a crumble, they pretty much spell the same thing.. delicious! I know 'cos I left them at noon and came back to none ^^

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Super moist carrot cake with bailey's cream cheese frosting

My piggies especially Big, loves carrot cake. And Baby, he just can't get enough of bailey's cream cheese frosting!

So I decided to combine both. ^^

Super moist carrot cake (recipe from sallysbakingaddiction with modifications)
~ makes a 9x9 inch square cake
100g brown sugar
3/4 cup / 180ml neutral tasting oil
1/4 cup / 60g sour cream (original recipe calls for yogurt)
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups / 250-280g cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder (a pinch is good enough for me)
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 carrots /300g finely grated carrots
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3/4 cup raisins
4 egg whites
65 - 80g brown sugar

1. In a bowl, whisk 100g brown sugar and oil together. Mix in sour cream. Add egg yolks one at a time to the batter till well combined. Fold in vanilla extract.

2. In another bowl, sift cake flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together.

3. Place the dry ingredients, grated carrots, walnuts and raisins into the wet batter, and fold till just combined. Do not overmix.

4. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites till frothy, and slowly add in the 65-80g brown sugar. Beat till medium stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.

5. Take 1/3 meringue and mix into the wet batter. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue till just combined. Do not overmix.

6. Bake in a preheated oven of 175-180C for about 35-38 minutes till cake is golden brown, or till skewer comes out clean.

Bailey's cream cheese frosting
125g cream cheese
2 tbsps / 30g butter
3/4 cup / 150g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsps bailey's irish cream

Beat cream cheese, butter and icing sugar till light and fluffy. Fold in bailey's irish cream till well combined.

You know, I've always been wary of using vegetable oil in my bakes. I'm butter-girl! But I've to admit, this is one AWESOME cake! And I think I've figured it out ~ it's SOUR CREAM!!! ^^

If I didn't make this myself, I wouldn't even know this cake is made with vegetable oil! I'd think it was made with butter, using creaming and egg separation method. The texture and bite is exactly my kind of perfect cake! It's oh-so moist and springy plump "boing-boing". Gosh, you must think me mad for saying this.. well, it's almost succulent (as you would describe good ribs!), in a way. None of the flat, wet, sticky after taste texture you get from some veggie oil based cakes. PERFECT.

I've come to realize my post intros are getting shorter and shorter.. and there will probably come a time when I'll probably zip right to the recipe. After all, this blog is mainly to document recipes I've tried and liked.. and not ^^ But the post mortem and (over-)analyzing of my bakes is here to stay. Helps me to remember how I liked it and all ^^.

So for the record, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this carrot cake. A perfect carrot cake ~ just the way I like it. For once, it doesn't matter what piggies think (I didn't bother checking), "I" just think this is the best carrot cake I've made and had.. yet. ^^ A keeper!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Millionaire's shortbread

What could possibly go wrong when there's chocolate, caramel and sweet crust? ^^

You never know......

Millionaire's shortbread (recipe from deliciousmagazine)
~ use a 20x30cm / 9x13inch baking tray
175 g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar (50g is good enough for me)
250g plain flour

100g unsalted butter
50g muscovado sugar (used raw sugar instead)
50g golden syrup
2x397g condensed milk

200g bittersweet chocolate
50-80ml heavy/whipping cream, own preference 

* Get the instructions at deliciousmagazine.

So, what went wrong...

1. I did not check out other recipes, and just followed this recipe on blind faith because it looks so easy and doable. Mistake.

2. I had decided to just make half the caramel recipe. Wise decision. 'Cos I later messed up the caramel.. twice! Note: KEEP STIRRING THE CARAMEL AT ALL TIMES!!! This is not mentioned in the original instructions. Lucky for me, I had some leftover caramel from a previous bake, so I used that. I recommend using your own favorite caramel recipe, lest you waste 2 good cans of condensed milk like I did ^^||

3. Melting the chocolate.. The minute I put the chocolate over the pot of simmering water. I realize it was not going to work. How do you spread such a thick paste? So I recommend adding some heavy/whipping cream for a more spreadable ganache. It's also a whole lot yummier when the chocolate is a bit ooey-gooey (even after it's set from chilling).

4. BTW, don't be a duh like me. "Leave to set" means chilling in the fridge, unless you live in the artic.

Ok, the shortbread did make it to the Sultan, in time for supper last night. And it's delicious, even with all the modifications! Phew! ^^

Ya, ya, how could one not love chocolate, caramel and sweet crust? Well, when you mess up big time, there is that moment when you don't!

p.s. Here's a shout out to you, mel (@melspantrykitchen)! Thank you! Spot one of your "thoughtfulness" in this post ^^

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An end just means new beginnings

This has been one of the longest, yet also the shortest month ever. Finally, a long series of heartbreaking events has come to an end. Even though the damage's done, I'm still grateful. For better or worse, I'm looking forward to new beginnings for all the people I care deeply about.. and for myself too. Time is a great healer, and we grow wiser from mistakes. And having the chance to make things right is the best thing one could ever have.

My dearest titi pig, I hope you'll forever remember this past year and more. In time, I hope you'll prove yourself worthy again of the trust we place in you. We may be skeptical right now, but we haven't given up on you, so you too don't ever give up on us. We are all worth your every effort and time to win over again. There's nothing more important than family in this world. And the best thing is, you have the opportunity to make things right. So do right.

To my ah chek, I will always remember you for being the uncle who took us to all the fast food restaurants that ever opened on our shore! Thanks for being the most encouraging uncle to us kids. I have and will always remember and treasure the good memories. And know, I loved you too.. even though it's minute compared to the love you have for us when we were kids. I hope you are at peace. Praying you are in a better place and is well loved wherever you are.

Yesterday, while going through uncle's things, I found some old pictures of great grandma's funeral. And I found some pictures of me at probably 3 or 4 years of age, and I'm suddenly reminded of how I was once a precious daughter too. I guess I have kinda forgotten I was ever this small. But it sure felt great to be reminded.. hey, I am/was somebody(-ies)'s "precious" too! ^^ Mum even called me her diamond! Haha!

uncle, dad and precious

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nutella swirl cheesecake with oreo crust

Happy birthday, Chubby! My Chubby pig turned 13 today! ^^

I had planned on a chocolate cake with bailey's cream cheese frosting, but over the weekend, Chubby declared he wanted a cheesecake.

So here goes...

Nutella swirl cheesecake with oreo crust (recipe adapted from donal skehananncoo journal, bakericious and here)
~ fits a 9-inch square tin
160g oreos, crushed
80g unsalted butter, melted

500g cream cheese
60g sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml sour cream
3 egg whites
60g sugar
25g corn flour, sifted
6-7 tbsps nutella, add to taste (+ 1 tbsp cream, optional)

Nutella fudge sauce, optional
3-4 tbsps nutella, add to taste
3-4 tbsps milk or cream

1. Mix crushed oreos and melted butter together. Press crushed cookies evenly into a lined baking tin, till nice and firm. Bake in a preheated oven of 160C for 10-15 minutes. Remove and leave to cool. If lazy, omit the baking part and just stuff the crust into the fridge and chill for a bit..

2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese till light and fluffy. Then add sugar till well blended.

3. Gently mix in the egg yolks one at a time till well mixed. Next add the vanilla extract.

4. Fold in the sour cream into the cheese batter.

5. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites till foamy, and add the sugar bit by bit. Beat till soft peaks form (no need to beat till stiff unlike for chiffon cake). Gently fold in sifted corn flour.

6. Mix 1/3 egg whites mixture into cheese batter till well combined. Fold the rest in gently.

7. Remove 1/3 cake batter and mix with nutella (+ a tbsp milk/cream) till well blended.

8. To prepare cake, place some plain batter into the baking tin, followed by placing dollops of nutella batter all over. Next dollop on some plain batter, followed by the rest of the nutella batter. Top/end with dollops of plain batter.

9. Using a chopstick/skewer, make zig-zag motions across the batter. Turn the baking tin 90degrees, and do the same again.

10. Bake in a preheated oven of 160C (or 150C if oven is too hot) for 50-55 minutes (the center should still be a wee bit jiggly ^^). Leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar for about 1 hour. Chill in the fridge overnight before serving.

11. If planning to serve with nutella fudge sauce, place nutella and cream/milk in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk nutella gently till melted, and drizzle over cake before serving.

As piggies always want "more! more! more!", I had "very generously" drizzled nutella fudge sauce all over, making it look quite a sight! Chubby actually said it looks awful, haha.. but he also said it'll most certainly taste good ! ^^ I think it's such a waste to hide the pretty swirls.. but with kids, you know you have to have sauce to make the cake sublime! ^^ ^^ ^^

As this is a big recipe, I sliced off a 6x6-inch cake for Chubby (that's Chubby's cake in the pic above, prior to it being smothered in sauce! ^^), and shared the rest.. And that's how I can tell you, this cheesecake's heavenly! ^^