Thursday, May 14, 2015

Coffee walnut.. and raisin cake

I totally planned this.

Yeah, right?! Who am I kidding! Most of my bakes are the result of leftovers or failed ideas! Haha!

Well, this is a combination of both.. a failed attempt at making crystallized sugar coated toasted walnuts and leftover raisins drowning in rum!

Coffee walnut raisin cake (recipe inspired/adapted from espresso almond butter cake)
~ makes an 8-inch square cake
250g salted butter
180g sugar (good enough for me, as my walnut meal is laced with caramel)
4 eggs
120g toasted walnut meal
240g flour, sifted (use cake flour, preferably)
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
80-100 g raisins, mix with a bit of flour
2 tbsp coffee powder + 120ml milk (+ a dash of bailey's irish cream ^^, optional)
toasted chopped walnuts for topping, optional

1. Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.

2. Add eggs one at a time, and mix till well combined. Or use the egg separation method the way I prefer ^^.

3. Fold in 1/3 sifted flours and walnut meal into the batter. Alternate with coffee milk. (F-C-F-C-F)

4. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch baking tin, and top with toasted walnuts if you like. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C, for 45-50 minutes or till skewer comes out clean.

Coffee walnut cake (with buttercream frosting) is a pretty popular cake. With raisins.. hmmm, less so, haha. Even I was sceptical of how it would taste like.. but I have raisins to clear ^^! Well, you now have my word it works beautifully! Delish! And it's not just me, fatty hubby and friends enjoyed it too ^^

Ah,,,,,,,, a simple treat, perfect with a spot of tea.. or coffee. Just the thing for me ^^

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fabu-luscious mango float ^^

What dessert do you want, Baby pig?

Mango float.

Mango what????!!!

Go google, Kuku..

Mango Float (recipe adapted from justapinch)
~ fits an 8x13" container
200g graham crackers, crushed
300ml heavy cream
1 small can of condensed milk (add to own preferred sweetness)
1 tbsp rum, optional
some mango puree, optional
4 ripe mangoes, sliced thinly

1. Mix cream, condensed milk, rum and mango puree together.

2. Start 1st layer/base with crushed graham crackers, followed by a layer of cream mixture. Place sliced mangoes over cream mixture.

3. Repeat the steps above again. Makes 2-3 layers or more. End with a sprinkling of biscuits.

4. Chill thoroughly. Or place in the freezer, then leave to thaw in the chiller or fridge before serving.

Well, I know now, mango float or mango refrigerator cake is a popular filipino dessert. Not only is it delicious, it's super duper easy to make too! No wonder it's so popular! ^^

There's really no right or wrong ingredient measurements for this recipe, just use, add or reduce to taste. I had lots of crushed graham crackers left over as I wasn't sure how much to put per layer. but I certainly loaded on the mangoes! So so yums!

And in case you're living in a "no-graham crackers" country, use digestive biscuits. That was my plan. But while shopping yesterday at Jaya Grocer (my fav grocery shop! ^^), I found the filipino brand, M.Y San honey graham crackers (200g) at RM10.49.. sooooooo pricey, right! ^^|| Yet, I kiasu-ly bought 2 packs, sigh. Think I'll just stick to digestive biscuits next time.

Ok, in case you're wondering how it tastes like.. just think fabu-luscious, creamy, dreamy, soft mango ice cream! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......................  ^^ ^^ ^^  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Caramel date cake

Hello, it's been awhile.

I didn't mean to go AWOL, but it's just that I haven't been baking much lately, and when I do, it's always the same ol', same ol'. ^^

Well, this is just another variation of my favorite butter cake.. made with leftovers.. caramel and dates.. see, another same ol', haha.

Caramel date cake (see my favorite butter cake recipe)
250g SALTED butter 
100g caster sugar
4 egg yolks 
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 2 tbsps rum ^^)
230g self-raising flour, SIFTED (250g will not hurt too, don't worry)
6-8 tbsps fresh milk
200g chopped dates, mix with a tbsp of flour 
4 egg whites
90g caster sugar
caramel sauce (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 170 C.

2. Beat butter and 100g sugar till light and fluffy. Don't over beat, maybe around 3-4 minutes on high with my electric mixer.

3. Add egg yolks one at time and mix till well blended. Add vanilla extract.

4. Fold in self raising flour in 2 batches.

5. Add in milk and combine gently. Mix in the chopped dates.

6. In a clean bowl, beat egg WHITES till frothy and then add in the 90g sugar in batches/bit by bit. Beat till stiff and shiny. 

7. Add egg whites mixture to cake batter in 2 batches. Fold in quickly but GENTLY. 

8. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch round or square tin. Drop caramel sauce evenly on top of  the cake batter. 

9. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or till skewer comes out clean.

I like how the cake turned out with a marbled effect on the top. And it's not a sweet cake despite the addition of caramel. I didn't put a lot since there wasn't a lot of leftovers to begin with. So there were just spots here and there that's slightly sweeter as one hits the caramel bits. The chopped dates gave it a nice texture too. ^^

Well, I really love old fashioned butter cakes. No matter what twist you give it, it always turns out yums! ^^

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Irish cream chocolate cake with irish cream frosting

We're going through an irish cream phase.

I had baked an irish cream butter cake over the weekend, but the mini cake didn't make it to print, 'cos they were already demolished off before I could get hold of my camera! Yup, they were that good. ^^

So good that Baby pig suggested we make a fancier cake next.. with frosting, and more bailey's irish cream!

Irish cream chocolate cake with irish cream frosting
~ makes 2 mini loaves or 1 6-inch cake
115g unsalted butter
85g sugar
2 eggs
85g self-raising flour
2 tbsps (15g) cocoa powder (*may add extra 1 tbsp for a more chocolatey flavor)
a pinch of salt
4 tbsps (60ml) bailey's irish cream + 4 tbsps (60ml) milk

1. Beat butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and mix till well combined.

2. Sift self-raising flour and cocoa powder together. Fold in 1/2 the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the cake batter. Add irish cream + milk, and mix till well blended. Fold in the rest of the dry ingredients.

3. Pour mixture into greased cake tin/s. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C for 30-35minutes, or till skewer comes out clean.

Irish cream 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.

I'm glad to report this cake experiment's a success! It's absolutely super duper yummy! I gave a whole mini loaf to Baby pig, and he asked why am I giving him so little??!!! ^^ ^^ ^^ He devoured half the cake before I could say, "What??!!!!". Yup, it's that GOOD!

I think what makes this cake awesome was the addition of irish cream in the cream cheese frosting. And the chocolate cake was the perfect foil for the frosting. The cake itself was nicely fragrant but the frosting made it outstanding. ^^

For the record, Fatty hubby really enjoyed this cake. And between us, we finished our mini loaf in record time! Hey, it's that GOOD!

This would make a wonderful celebration cake with layers of frosting, or as frosted cupcakes ^^. I'm so making these again this week for Chubby pig.. I think he'll love it. And for Big too, when he comes back in 4 months time! ^^ ^^ ^^

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hello 2015

My first cake of the year.. a highly recommended treat by both victoria@victoria bakes and mel@melspantrykitchen.

Espresso almond butter cake (recipe from kitchen snippets)
~ makes an 8-inch square cake
227g unsalted butter
3 tbsp sour cream (nada.. so omitted)
180g sugar (perfect sweetness as recommended by victoria)
4 eggs
120g almond meal
240g flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp coffee powder + 120ml milk (+ 2 tbsp rum, optional)
toasted almond flakes for topping, optional

1. Beat butter, sour cream (if using) and sugar till light and fluffy.

2. Add eggs one at a time, and mix till well combined.

3. Fold in 1/3 sifted flours and almond meal into the batter. Alternate with coffee milk. (F-C-F-C-F)

4. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch baking tin, and top with toasted almond flakes if you like. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C, for 45-50 minutes or till skewer comes out clean.

Nothing like coffee to start the day.. and cake for the new year.. especially a yummy-licious one like this! ^^

Friday, December 5, 2014

Bow ties are cool!

My Big and Baby pig are big fans of Dr Who. And they both think bow ties are cool! ^^

Hence my first attempt at fondant.. and a Dr Who bow tie cake for Baby pig's 13th birthday party. Ok, I can hear you. Don't laugh too hard, and cut me some slack. ^^

I just want to say that the shiny, glossy, sticky, wet look in the picture above, is really all due to the fondant sweating.. because of temperature change from cold to hot, humid (even with the air-con switched on! maybe not cold enough???). And remember, covering a COLD cake with room-temp fondant is also a NO-NO! Fondants are really temperamental! No sudden temperature change, please.. or you'll have sweating, sticky fondants! I learned this the hard way. Youtube didn't quite have this information, and the post on handling fondants in humid weather doesn't sink in till you experience it for yourself! ^^||

this is the fondant cake I was trying to copy.. and if mine didn't sweat, it would have been.. close, haha ^^

You know, I was feeling pretty upbeat when I had the white shirt collar, bow tie, jacket lapels fondant cut out. I had assembled them on a piece of parchment paper and they looked so perfect ^^.. exactly how I wanted them to be.. nice, dry and neat (!!!). However, the minute I covered the cold cake (red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting) with fondant (white shirt and dark grey jacket), it started to sweat and turned wet and sticky! Holy moly, yikes! ^^|| ^^|| ^^||

Of course, I've read that the fondant sweating will dry out eventually if you leave it at room temperature. But I could't do that! My cream cheese frosting could melt! What a Catch 22 situation, right? ^^||

Well, I'm trying not to be too harsh on myself. It's a pretty decent 1st attempt for someone who has never touched/used fondants.. and depended on youtube videos, some how-to fondant posts and one write up on handling fondants in humid weather by faitmaisonblog (too bad she didn't mention about fondant on cold cakes ^^||). Maybe I shouldn't be such a cheapo and maybe attend some classes.. nawwwwwhhh, I'm not doing this again for a long, long, long time!

Despite how it looks, the kids loved the fondant (eeeks!) and the red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. No pics of the cake I'm afraid, but I'm definitely going to make this red velvet recipe again.. it uses butter ~ my kind of cake ^^

Anyways, take away the shine and gloss, it's pretty ok. ^^ More importantly, Baby pig was very happy with his surprise cake! And I got 2 big hugs from him! And that's all that really matters! ^^ ^^ ^^

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Steamed fruit cake.. a revisit ^^

The last time I made this, I swore never again will I use the steaming method!

Over time (2 years!), my burn scar is a few shades paler, and my memory faint. But you know what, deep down, there's always that niggling thought of wanting to slay this dragon! ^^

So when I saw a post in azlitamasammanis on steamed fruit cake baked in small aluminium foil tins for a much shorter time, I knew my time has come! I immediately macerated my mixed fruits, and set about thinking where to place my tiny electric steamer in my tiny apartment/kitchen without setting the house on fire.. and more importantly, where I won't get burnt!

And over the weekend, I made the cakes using azlitamasammanis' recipe, and a recipe shared by mel@melskitchenpantry (from faeez@bittersweetspicy). I now have 12 loaves in the fridge now ^^ waiting to be shared with all my favorite people. ^^ ^^ ^^

Steamed fruit cake (recipe shared by azlita@azlitamasammanis)
340g sugar
50g hot water
250g salted butter
500g mixed fruit
350g flour, sifted
2 tsp baking soda, sifted
1 tsp cream of tartar, sifted
1 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp treacle (I didn't use)

1. Make caramel by placing sugar into a heavy saucepan over medium heat. As sugar melts from the sides, fold it to the center. DO NOT STIR. When sugar is completely melted and turned dark golden brown (not burnt!), add in hot water slowly. Be careful as it mixture may sputter.

2. Add in butter and let it melt completely. Fold in mixed fruit, and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

3. Sift flour, baking soda and cream of tartar, and nutmeg or cinnamon (if using) together in a clean bowl. Fold into cooled caramel mixture till well combined.

4. Beat eggs with a whisk or electric beater till foamy, and add into cake mixture.

5. Mix in vanilla extract and treacle till well blended.

6. Pour into 3 aluminium tins (7.5x3.5 inch loaf tin), cover with a layer of aluminium foil and steam for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn off the heat, and leave the cakes in the steamer for another 15 minutes before removing.

7. Cake is best eaten after 1 day's rest. Bon apetit!

This is a pretty straightforward recipe. However, this recipe makes a lot. I split the batter over 3 tins, and it was almost full.. ok, so I added a bit more mixed fruits (600g) than suggested (oops! ^^||). So that might have made a difference. The top didn't turn out as pretty as I wished, as the cake touched the cover and absorbed moisture. Looks aside, I'm sure it's delish. I can't wait to taste it! ^^

Anyways, I'm happy to make the recipe shared by mel. I upped the mixed fruits to 500++g and called it a day. This recipe also uses less sugar and flour, just the way I like it. And if you do not have a steamer, and/or prefer to use the oven, do not despair! I've shared how one can also perfectly bake a "steamed fruit cake" in this post. Works just as well! ^^

I, dragon slayer. ^^

Updated: I've cut and tasted the cakes from the 2 different recipes and made comparisons.

Azlita's recipe: Looks and cuts beautifully. It's lusciously dark and moist. The crumbs looks tight and the texture gorgeous.. however, the chew has a wee bit of boing-boing, and feels more coarse than faeez's cake. Taste is good. Fragrance nice and unusual. Cake is nicely moist.. though it "looks" more moist (than it is) compared to the other cake.

Faeez's recipe: Doesn't cut as neatly as the cake tends to crumble. Cake is lighter in color, like golden amber. The texture is also less tight and looks crumbly when compared to azlita's. Taste is good. Fragrance is nice. I feel this cake is a whisker more moist than azlita's, despite it's crumbly look. 

Conclusion: Looking back, I think faeez's recipe did better when it was baked "bain-marie" in the oven. The texture turned out just like azlita's steamed one. Both cakes are winners in my opinion. I can't decide which I like better. Visually I like azlita's. But faeez's cake is very good too. Now you know. Your call now ^^

Comments: My SIL thinks azlita's cake looks a little kuih-like, and prefers faeez's crumbly cake, which she says is more cake-like. She also likes the color of faeez's cake better. SIL's choice: Faeez's.

My nephew, Baby pig, mentioned that azlita's cake has a unique fragrance, but he finds the rum flavor (mixed fruits used are all macerated in rum in the same bowl) not as evident compared to faeez's cake. I could tell he enjoyed both the cakes ^^. His choice: Faeez's cake.. by a few whiskers! ^^  

Fatty hubby's choice: Faeez's cake. His one comment.. "it's rich".