Monday, November 24, 2014

A snowy treat ^^

It's snowing already where my Big pig is. I miss him.

This cake is inspired by him, and his little brother, Baby pig. Baby has just been crowned the overall winner for this year's poetry slam, woot-woot! This is my interpretation of the snow-capped mountains in Missoula, Montana, in one of his winning poems. ^^

Snowy pillowy cheese cake (inspired by vivianpangkitchendapurcomelkusecubitgaramnor67)
1 pillowy soft cake
Cream cheese frosting (use your favorite recipe)
125g cheddar cheese, grated or shredded (white chocolate is a good idea too ^^)

1. If using a whole cake, halve the cake into 2 layers. Spread cream cheese frosting over one layer of cake. Top with the other slice of cake. Again spread cream cheese frosting all over to cover the cake.

2. Sprinkle/cover the cake all over with grated/shredded cheddar cheese.

As you can see, the cake looks nowhere like it was covered in snow, haha! This is the result of taking too many short-cuts.. and using ready-grated cheese. Don't be like me. :p

Now, had you not cheated, and had your cheese or white chocolate grated, you would have a beautiful "snow" covered cake like below ^^ Makes a wonderful festive gift for family and friends!

Well, this is as snowy as it is going to get in the tropics. ^^

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lime cotton cheesecake

I really don't know if I should call this ogura cake or cotton cheesecake.

If you look at the ingredients, it's the ratios of eggs, fat, liquid and flour of the ogura cakes I've been using lately. Now compare against a cotton cheesecake recipe, you'll probably see similar ratios too, maybe with a mix-in of corn starch, and a wee bit more fat!

It tastes the same. Not kidding. Same texture too.

Lime cotton cheesecake (recipe adapted from bisouatoi and kimmycookingpleasures)
250g cream cheese
120ml milk
45g butter
6 egg yolks
zest of 1 small lime
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rum
65g cake flour, sifted
6 egg whites
120g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Place a baking tray filled with water in the lowest rack and set the oven  to 180C,

2. Put cream cheese, milk and butter in a oven-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk mixture till melted and smooth, and remove from heat. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes.

3. Add egg yolks, lime zest and juice, and rum. Mix till combined.

4. Fold in the sifted cake flour.

5. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites till foamy. Add in cream of tartar. Then mix in the sugar bit by bit. Continue beating the egg whites till thick and glossy, and stiff peaks form, around 4 minutes.

5. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the cake mixture till well mixed. Then gently fold the rest in till combined.

6. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round or 9-inch square baking tin with grease paper. No need to grease the sides. Pour cake mixture into baking tin and give it a good tap against the counter to remove air bubbles.

7. Turn down oven to 150C, place baking tin on the 2nd lowest rack and bake for about 1 hour 15 mins (75mins), till the top is nicely browned and the skewer comes out clean.

8. Remove cake tin from oven and give it a tap against the counter. Invert cake and leave to cool. Once cooled, release cake by gently pulling the cake from the sides with your hands, or with the help of a knife. It should be removed quite easily.

As you can see, I finally decided on cotton cheesecake. The use of butter skewed it in its favor. I just hope nobody comes after me for messing up their recipes. I have put link-backs if that helps. ^^

Anyway, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ^^

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Carrot fruit cake with lime cream cheese frosting

Next to the built-in oven that came with the apartment, my Kenwood electric mixer is the other item that gave me the most joy during my early baking days. ^^

It paved the way for an "upgraded" baking adventure and contributed greatly to my much needed post-Mum therapy in the following years. Well, time flies, and it's been 9 years since big brother and SIL (Chubby pig's papa and mama) bought it for me when they saw me working on a cheesecake mixture for 45 minutes, with a hand held electric mixer/beater. Hey, amateur mah.. 45 minutes is about right, since there's no mention how long one is supposed to beat the cream cheese! Don't laugh. ^^|||||

I first made this carrot fruit cake way back in 2006, and I remember clearly how much big brother enjoyed it and how he said "it's good enough to sell!"! ^^ Yes. That made me very happy. I think it's the first time, and probably one of those rare times ^^|| (haha!) I ever get to hear that! ^^

This cake is for him.

Carrot fruit cake (recipe from Umah Thevi, printed in the Women's Weekly, April 2006
250g butter
250g caster sugar (I reduced a little to 200g)
6 medium-sized eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
250g self-raising flour
150g mixed fruits
3 medium-sized carrots, grated (squeeze the juice out a little if possible)
50g hazelnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180C. 

2. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Stir in the vanilla.

4. Fold in the flour in 2-3 batches. And mix in the mixed fruits and grated carrot till well combined.

5. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch baking tin, and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or till the skewer comes out clean.

Lime cream cheese frosting (use your own favorite recipe)
250g cream cheese, softened
120-160ml whipping cream
60-80g icing sugar, sifted
some grated lime zest

1. Beat softened cream cheese for about 10 minutes till light and fluffy. Fold in icing sugar and lime zest.

2. In another bowl, beat whipping cream till light and fluffy, or stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat.

3. Mix cream cheese with whipped cream gently. Chill in the fridge before frosting.
This isn't the usual carrot cake recipe. So don't expect a carrot cake. The carrots are barely there, just a hint here and there, amongst the fruit mix. But I like it just the way it is. ^^ 

Well, I've made it exactly as per the recipe before and it's great! So you should try this too. It really is the perfect cake to share with family and friends, no need for any frosting if you ask me. Of course, you can always give it your own twist.. like I did, but I'm just too lazy to note it down. Just think rum.. lots of rum.. ^^ ^^ ^^

I like how this cake turned out as a birthday cake with the frosting and all.. a little old fashioned, but it's oh-so delish. Just the way I like it. ^^ 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

S'mores pie

I blew RM85 on a blowtorch. Crazy? Definitely.

Why would I possibly need a blowtorch? Why, to make s'mores pie, you see. Not just any s'mores pie, but one that is toasted just right with a blowtorch. Crazy? Definitely.

A week back, we had dinner at A Pie Thing, and well, Baby pig fell for their s'mores pie. Of course, I had to open my mouth and say I could do it too, oops! So you know why. By the way, the savory pies, smore's and the apple crumble pie at A Pie Thing, are really good. Their "very popular" Elvis, sadly, didn't work for me. Well, 1 "so-so" out of 6 pies we had, ain't bad at all. You might want to check the place out if you're around Damansara Utama in the evenings. ^^  

S'mores pie (inspired by what we had at A Pie Thing)
1 baked shortcrust pastry, use your favorite recipe
Chocolate ganache, use your favorite recipe
Mini marshmallows

1. Fill baked shortcrust shell with chocolate ganache till almost full.

2. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

3. Place mini marshmallows over chilled chocolate filling. Toast marshmallows with blowtorch or broil in the oven till it's well charred, or caramelizes. Serve immediately.

3 lines of instructions? That's it? Yup. It's really that simple a pie. More so if you have leftovers ie. chocolate ganache, and shortcrust pastry in the freezer! Half the work all done.

1st attempt, too shy with the blowtorch ~ not charred enough ^^||

Just so you know, kids love this stuff! Ok, adults too ^^. I made this today upon Baby's request for his sleepover party. I need to say this, don't be put off by the charred bits.. they are the best part! In fact, my 1st attempt using the blowtorch, I was too light handed in charring the marshmallows, which didn't feel as toasty melty enough. I made sure they were charred properly in my next attempt, and the caramelized crunchy bits are incredible! This pie is simply aawesome because of the charred caramelized bits, melty soft marshmallow, ooey goey luscious to-die-for chocolate, and of course, the flaky buttery crust!

And to make the blowtorch investment count, Baby says I just need to make more s'mores pie. Duh. ^^

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happiness is...

An unexpected gift from a dear friend. Thanks, friend ^^ I love it!

A bit of this, and a bit of that bread and butter pudding - made to satisfy a late night sweet craving ^^!
~ serves 2-3 
bread, preferably stale bread
some softened butter
1 egg
milk, enough to cover bread
sugar, to taste 
a handful of raisins
a pinch of cinnamon powder, or two

1. Butter bread slices.

2. In a bowl, beat egg, milk and sugar together,

3. Place bread into a greased baking mould, and slice/tear bread into smaller pieces to fit. Scatter raisins all over.

4. Pour egg/milk mixture and make sure the liquid covers the bread. Spread cinnamon powder evenly over the bread mixture, and leave bread to soak for 15 minutes. Don't bother soaking if you don't have the time.

5. Bake in a preheated oven of 180C for 25 minutes, or till the crust is nicely golden brown. Serve warm ^^

A tea towel personally chosen and paid for by my dearest 12-year old Chubby pig ~ you had me at "aunts are special".. aaawwwwww ^^ and a little something from chubby momma and papa ~ a vintage kettle in grey-tones olive green and mocha, my kinda colors

A long awaited (2 years!) recognition from the almost-thirteen Baby pig ^^ dated wrongly, to keep up with tradition 

And sweet, sweet roses and gerberas from Baby pig and his momma ^^ that brightened my day! 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world ^^

I didn't plan on decadence or indulgence.. or world peace.. but it happened.

It all started with leftovers. One lone egg. A tub of sour cream. Plus it's close to that time of the year, and I'm again researching cakes for a special someone's birthday. And I saw this recipe.. using sour cream, no butter (?!)! 

Seriously, I just wanted to make chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake (recipe by amanda rettke, found in
40g cocoa powder (I forgot to half the recipe and used 80g instead ^^||)
105g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
150g caster sugar (I used 115g)
pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup or 120ml sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coffee
1/2 cup or 100g milk chocolate, finely chopped

1. Sift cocoa powder, cake flour and baking soda in a bowl. Add sugar and salt. Mix till well blended.

2. Mix in egg, sour cream, vanilla and coffee. Mix till well combined and fold in chopped chocolates.

3. Pour into a greased 8" square tin.

4. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C for 30 minutes, or till skewer comes out clean.

I usually never taste the batter, but I did this time. Oh my, it was so very, very chocolatey and not sweet at all.. and that's when I realized I may have forgotten to halve the quantity of cocoa powder! Uh-oh..

So..... I set out to sweeten the cake.. with what else? More leftovers, of course! ^^

Let's see, a banana on the counter, salted caramel and "vintage" peanut butter in the fridge. And that's how DECADENCE HAPPENED.

Salted caramel
use your favorite, or see here and here

Peanut butter buttercream frosting
some peanut butter (100g)
some butter (50g)
some icing sugar (40g)
some cream (add to the consistency you like ^^)

Sometimes I feel really clever when I'm able to make use of leftovers, la-la-la days like this! Big pig once gave me a pack of pretty serviettes (which he "lugged" all the way from the US ^^), that he thinks totally says me.. "I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I can save the world"! 

Yes, that's him saying I'm somewhat delusional, haha! ^^ Hey, if I wasn't a little looney, we'd just be having chocolate cake! Instead, we're feasting on a lusciously indulgent chocolate cake laced with salted caramel, peanut butter buttercream frosting and bananas! 

And in case you missed it.. chocolate cake with salted caramel, peanut butter buttercream frosting and bananas could just be the answer to world peace ^^

Monday, October 13, 2014

Apricot yogurt ogura cake

glad i caught the sun before the skies opened up ^^

I've always been a laggard when it comes to what's in in the baking blogsphere.

Well, for someone who's just figured out chiffon cake not too long ago, and since it's well past ogura cake's popularity, I guess I'm on schedule ^^

Apricot yogurt ogura cake (adapted from kimmy-cookingpleasure)
5 egg yolks
20g caster sugar (I added as I used plain yogurt and my apricot jam wasn't very sweet)
1 whole egg (I omitted)
45g neutral tasting veg oil
80-100g yogurt
1 tbsp apricot jam
65g cake flour, sifted
5 egg whites
60g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar/cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven at 180C. And put a baking tray filled with water on the lowest rack.

2. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and apricot jam till well combined. Add veg oil and yogurt till well mixed.

3. Fold in sifted flour.

4. In another bowl, beat egg whites till foamy and add cream of tartar. Then mix in sugar bit by bit. Continue beating the egg whites till meringue is stiff, about 4-5 minutes.

5. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter till well combined. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the batter.

6. Line the bottom of an 8" square tin with baking paper (there's no need to line or grease the sides ^^). Pour batter into the prepared tin. Give the tin a good tap against the counter to remove air bubbles.

7. Turn oven down to 150C and place baking tin in the 2nd lowest rack and bake for 1 hour, or till top is nicely golden brown and cake looks like it's shrinking on the sides.

8. Remove from oven and give it a tap on the counter. Invert cake and leave to cool. When's cool, remove the cake by pulling the sides with hands or insert a knife to cut through.

This is a super duper easy bake. You can have your cake and eat it, in under 1.5 hours! ^^ It's just like making chiffon cake, but you bake it in a normal round or square tin.. using the steam-bake/bain-marie method.

I love tall cakes but I made the mistake of using a 9" square tin after seeing some pictures of how ill-fitting and how the cakes were "exploding" in an 8" tin. Mistake! My cake didn't rise that kind of high, and remained well behaved throughout the baking period. I guess I must've used the right oven temperature. So I'm advocating the recipe be baked in an 8" square tin. ^^

And no harm done in omitting 1 whole egg (as per original recipe) either. The cake turned out well despite the missing egg.. it's still wonderfully soft and light and fluffy!

This is a really nice treat to have for tea. ^^

** updated on 19/10/14: baked same cake again to get rid of yogurt.. this time added 40g apricot jam to 100g yogurt.. tasted even better!