Saturday, November 28, 2009

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

I was so excited when I saw the stack of Korean Strawberries sitting at the FairPrice outlet as it's very hard to get. Althoug it's much costly than those imported from US or ANZ, I think it's worth the price as it tastes much nicer and sweeter.

This Strawberry Shortcake is one of my "to-bake list", since this is a fresh fruit dessert, it's important to get sweet and fresh strawberry. I didn't rush into baking this previously because I reckon that the US or ANZ one will not able to bring out the taste. I've been waiting for the Korean strawberries.. finally, I get to bake today:)

I used the same sponge cake recipe as I baked for Mango Cream Cake since this is my most satisfied recipe. It's very spongy. I didn't cut down the sugar level this time round thinking that the strawberry doesn't taste as sweet as other type of fruits, the sweetness of the cake will blend well with it.

I like the shape of these strawberries, they are equally big in size. Unlike the US' or ANZ's, I normally have to buy extra in order to choose the size that I need. Since I wasn't baking this for someone's birthday and there is no occasion, I didn't ice the whole cake, I only decor the top and left the sides empty.

With some decoration of strawberries on top, the cake turned out very beautiful and tempting. As expected, the cake texture is very spongy and light, with the combination of whipped cream and strawberry, it's very refreshing. This is surely a delicious dessert.  Good try!

To bake the spongy cake, please follow this link.
For the topping and filling, pls follow the instruction below.

Ingredients:
- ½ tsp Gelatin dissolved in 1 ½ tbsp boiling water
- 200 ml Whipping (dairy) cream ( use 300ml if ice whole cake)
- 2 ½ tbsp Sugar (can cut down if u want less sweet)
- 1 tsp kirsch/rum (can replace with vanilla essence)
- 1 Sponge Cake
- 300g -400g Strawberries (1/2 cut into pieces, 1/2 cut into half)

Method 
1. Dissolved gelatin by adding boiling water or double boil.
2. Whip cream (under ice water) and sugar for 1-2 mins or till soft peak form.
3. Add in kirsch/rum and dissolved gelatin and mix well.
4. Slice cake horizontally into 2 and spread 1/3 of the cream on the bottom half.
5. Line with strawberries and spread another 1/3 of the cream over.
6. Cover with the top half of the cake and spread the remaining cream over
7. Decorate with strawberries and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs before serving.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Streusel Cake

Christmas is arriving, my initial plan was to bake some Christmas delights since I took up some Christmas baking lessons lately, I wanted to try it out before the big day. However, given that there was still a cup of sour cream not opened but expiring, I would have to re-prioritise my plan:(

I browsed through some of my favourite blogs and found this recipe, Chocolate Chips Streusel Pound Cake, from My Kitchen Snippets. This baker, Wan, seems like to use sour cream as part of the ingredients for her cakes/ desserts. After taking a look at the recipe, I realized it is similar to one of the recipe I have, i.e. Coffee Cake with Walnut Crumble. Since I am very satisfied with my Coffee cake's, I decided to make a minor tweak and therefore created another flavour - Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Streusel Cake.
I saw some of the cakes Wan baked using the bundt pan, it makes the cakes shaped so beautifully. Since I've one but never used before, I decided to give it a try.
I realized that using bundt pan, beside the cake looks like a professionally baked gourmet cake, the cake is easily removed from the pan and the clean-up of the pan is so easy. This cake is generally good, it's moist and buttery, and just chocolaty enough with crackling cinnamon walnut crumbles on top but it's too sweet and not to my taste bud.

I cut the cake into a few portions and gave them to my neighbours and mum-in-law as I would like to share this treat with them. Hope they will like this cake. 
Preparation:- Preheat oven at 170*C for 15 mins.

Streusel Ingredients:- 50g plain flour } sifted
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder }
- 50gm cold butter (cut into cubes)
- 70g brown sugar
- 80g chopped walnuts

Method 
1. Rub butter into flour and cinnamon powder till crumb.
2. Mix in brown sugar and chopped walnut. Mix well. Chill in fridge.

Cake Ingredients:
- 150g butter
- 230g caster sugar (can cut down to 220g)
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 260g plain flour }
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder } sifted
- ½ tsp baking soda } together
- 250g sour cream mixed with 1 tbsp milk
- 1 cup (abt 130g) chocolate chip

 
Method 
3. Beat butter and add in sugar and salt till light and creamy.
4. Beat eggs in one at a time to butter mixture till smooth.
5. Add in vanilla essence. Mix well.
6. Fold in a portion of flour, baking powder and baking soda with a spatula (at low speed if use mixer), alternate with a portion of sour cream (and milk). Repeat the same step till complete all the ingredients (Don’t Over Mix). Fold in chocolate chips and mix well.
7. Sprinkle half of the streusel into the bundt pan and pour the batter. Top with the remaining half of the streusel.

8. Bake at 170*C for 45-50 mins.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chocolate Fudge Cake

My maid was packing up, ready to go home. I baked this cake for the intention of asking her to bring some back for her kids since chocolate is what most kids prefer. I believe her kids will love it.

This is the 3rd time I have baked this cake. The first attempt wasn't too successful as the cake turned out very dry and not spongy. I believe I could have overmixed the batter and over baked the cake. The second attempt was a blessing, I was quite pleased with it. This time round, I'm very satisfied with the outcome as it's really scrumptious !!

I'm not a chocolate lover but this chocolate fudge cake is very spongy, moist, chocolaty and fudgy(and not too sweet), extremely hard to resist ....
Both of my daughters gave me a thump up. I offered some to their friends and they like it so much and were eager to know how to bake it. I was delighted to share with them my baking tips.
Preparation
- Preheat oven at 160*C for 15 mins. Baking Time: 50-55mins .
- 8" Baking pan lined with baking paper (Don’t grease the side)


Ingredients - Chocolate Sponge Cake
- 4 egg yolks (medium size)    } Whisk together
- 20g caster sugar                   }


- 40g cocoa powder (sifted)   } Shift together
- ¼ tsp salt                                }
- 120 caster sugar                    }


- ½ cup boiling water             }  Premix together
- ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda   }


- 2 tbsp milk                } microwave 20sec
- ¼ cup oil                  }


- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 80g cake/ low protein flour (sifted)
- 1 tsp baking power (sifted)


- 4 eggs whites (medium size)
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 20g caster sugar


Method
1. Whisk 4 egg yolks and 20g sugar until light (abut 5 mins at high speed). Put aside for step 4.
2. Add cocoa power and salt into a heatproof bowl and stir in caster sugar.
3. Add boiling water into the bicarbonate of soda.   Stir this solution into the cocoa mixture (step 2).
4. Heat milk and oil together in the microwave for 20 sec. Stir this into the egg yolk mixture (step 1)
5. Stir corn syrup and vanilla essence into the egg yolk mixture (step 4) followed by cocoa mixture (step 2) and sifted flour.
6. Whisk egg whites until foamy (abut 30 sec at medium speed), add in sugar and cream of tartar and whisk until stiff (another 2-2.5 mins at high speed).
7. Fold half of the egg white into the cocoa egg yolk mixture (step 5) till combined. Fold remaining half of egg white and mix till combined.
8. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven at 160*C for 50-55 mins.


Ingredients - Chocolate Fudge
- 3 sheets of gelatin leaf
- 200ml whipping cream
- 190g dark chocolate broken into small piece (Cadbury cocoa 40%)
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp rum (amount depending on individual preference)


Method
1. Soak sheets of gelatin leaf in iced water for 5-10 mins.
2. Heat cream in a saucepan (till just boiling), stir in dark chocolate and cook over low heat until all the chocolate has melted.
3. Stir in softened sheets of gelatin leaf (till glossy) followed by corn syrup. Stir and cook for about 5 mins.
4. Remove from heat and add in rum. Stir over a bowl of iced water until thickened (a bit runny) before icing.


Assemble Together
1. Slice the sponge cake into two half.
2. Spread the chocolate fudge over the 1st layer of cake.
3. Stir the fudge over the iced water again to increase the fudge thickness (much thicker than before but not over too thick).
4. Stack the 2nd layer of sponge cake over and pour the thicken fudge over top level. Level the fudge and spread over to the sides. Ensure all slides are evenly spread.
5. Ice with chocolate rasp over the 4 slides.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blueberry Chocolate Cheesecake

I am not very looking forward to this weekend as my maid is going back for home leave next Monday. That means I'll have no one to cook, to wash and to clean the house for almost a month, I probably be the "maid" during that period and might not have spare time for baking and other stuffs that I would like to do.

I don't like to be bogged down by house chores. As I've not been doing this for more than 10 years, I'm not sure whether I will be able to cope again. After discussed with my hubby, we decided not to cook, this will help to reduce some of the washing part so that we have more time for ourselves. Will keep my fingers crossed, everything should go well ...

This is the dessert I made yesterday. Blueberry again?! Oh ya.. I still have half can of blueberry pie filling left over from my last Blueberry Sponge Cheesecake and since I've been wanting to try this Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake recipe for sometime, this just fits in. This recipe is taken from one of the cookbook I bought sometime back, it's a cold set cheesecake and therefore, no baking is needed. There is no hassle to make this dessert, what you need is patience as a lot of waiting time will be required.

Since this is my first attempt, I decided to halve the recipe. I added 1 tbsp of lemon juice hoping that it will cut down the sweetness of the blueberry pie filling. To my surprise, the combination of white chocolate, cream cheese and blueberry blend so perfectly, the sweetness is just right, the cake turned out extremely creamy, yummy and tasty. For those who are health/ weight conscious, this will be a very sinful dessert since cheese and chocolate both contain high level of calories and fat. You probably have to halve the amount of your intake.

Here is the recipe for sharing. 
Cheesecake Base:
-50g digestive biscuit crumbs combines with 50g Oreo biscuit crumbs
-50g melted butter

Method:
1. Mix all the above ingredients and press into a 6" prepared pan lined with foil. Chill in fridge for at least 30 mins.

Cheese Filling:
A. 250g cream cheese, 5g vanilla essence, 1 tbsp lemon juice
B. 25g milk, 95g white chocolate coins, 50g sugar
C. 11g gelatin, dissolve with 2 tbsp hot water or double boil
D. 200g whipping cream (whipped)
E. 110g blueberry pie filling

Method:
1. Whip cream cheese and then add in vanilla essence and lemon juice. Beat till smooth (abt 3-5 mins)
2. Double boil milk, white chocolate and sugar. Still and boil till chocolate melts over low heat.
3. Add dissolved gelatine into above chocolate mixture, stir till combine.
4. Pour above chocolate mixture slowly into cream cheese mixture in step 1, beat on slow speed till well combined. Pour whipped cream into the above mixture and mix well.
5. Divide the above mixture into 1/3 and 2/3 portions. Add blueberry pie filing into 1/3 mixture, stir till combine.
6. Pour half of the 2/3 plain mixture into the prepared pan and let it set in the fridge (about 15 mins in freezer)
7. Pour the blueberry mixture on top of the plain mixture and let it set in the fridge (about 15 mins in freezer)
8. Pour the remaining plain mixture on top and let it chill the fridge for at least 3 hours till it completely sets.
9. Decorate with extra blueberry filling if desired.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blueberry Chocolate Yoghurt Muffins

You might noticed that whenever I baked something, eg. blueberry or banana cake, you will continue to see the similar cakes/ desserts over and over again for at least one to two weeks. It's always difficult to keep leftover ingredients for too long and therefore, the only way is to bake something using the same ingredients till consumed.

I baked this muffins last night for this morning breakfast. I don't really like to use fresh blueberry because it can be sour if not enough sugar is added. However, since this pack of blueberry was bought last week from an offer, I would rather use it up .

I adopted the recipe from Do What I like blog as it is highly regarded and recommended. Given that I had bad experience with blueberry muffins previously, I decided to add extra white chocolate (30g) so that sour taste is not overpowered.

I'm glad that I make the right choice as the white chocolate blends very well with the blueberry. It's so tasty! The texture of the muffins is moist and soft. It's certainly worth trying.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blueberry Sponge Cheesecake

I am always amazed by one of the trainer's baking skill and speed as he could complete 5 cheesecakes (3 variations) within 3 hours. As for me, to bake and ice a cake, it'll take me at least take 3 hours. Moreover, the washing part is done by my helper. It's such a great difference and ashamed :<
I could only console myself by telling myself that he has been in this industrial for more than 30 years and it's his profession. I don't think I will be able to gear up to that level of competency unless I quit my job and go for full time which for the time being, it isn't my plan. To me, baking is only a hobby, I might delve into it further however, provided it doesn't affect my work. I still have to put work as first priority but I would like to maintain a balanced work life ..
To "dress up" the cake, since I am still not skillful enough, I used some mini Oreo biscuits to cover some of "imperfections". The cake looks pretty good in photo :P
If you don't like rich cheesecakes, I believe you will like this sponge cheesecake as the texture is light, moist and springy. With the sandwich of blueberry cheese mixture in between, it tastes yummy and refreshing!. This recipe is surely a keeper, I will definitely make again for friends. 

Below is the receipe for making a 8" Blueberry Sponge Cheesecake:

Ingredients:
- 4 eggs (60g each) } Whisk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence } together
- 90g sugar } first
- 1 tsp SP (emulisfer)
- 90g top flour
- 15g butter (melted) or oil
- 250g cream cheese
- 100g sugar (cut down to 80g if too sweet)
- 10g gelatine+50ml water double boil under simmering water
- ½ tin (300g) blueberry pie filling
- 200g whipping cream (whipped)

Preparation:- Preheat oven at 180*C. Baking Time: 20 -25 mins.
- Base greased and lined with baking paper. Bake on the lowest rack.

Method:
Sponge Cake1. Whisk eggs, vanilla and sugar at high speed till thick (abt 5 mins)
2. Add in SP (emulsifier) and continue to whisk till double in bulk (another 3-5 mins)
3. Fold in flour and gently add in butter (abt 5 strokes)
4. Pour the mixture into a baking pan and baked at 180*C for 20 -25 mins.
5. Remove and rest to cool for later use.

Blueberry Filling6. Cream cheese and sugar till smooth (abt 2-3 mins)
7. Double boil getatine with water under simmering water till resolved and then pour into cheese mixture in step 6.
8. Add in blueberry pie filling and mix till combined.

Assemble Together
9. Cut the sponge cake into 2 layers. Lay a piece of sponge cake into a torten right and pour half of the filling in. Cover with the remaining sponge cake.
10. Pour the remaining filling on top and chill in fridge till set (abt 30 – 60 mins)
11. Ice the sides with whipped whipping cream and decor with blueberries or others as desired.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Food could help to relieve stress. This works for me and therefore, I think I should bake something for my elder daughter since she is under tremendously stress coping with her "A" level examination lately.
I bought a pack of blueberry last weekend plus I still have some leftover of cottage cheese from last bake, I decided to bake a blueberry cheesecake since it's my daughter's best favourite. I come across this blueberry cheesecake bars recipe from My Kitchen Snippets blog, it looks appetizing and delicious, and therefore I decided to adopt this.
According to this website, cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium and foods with high protein content that aren't loaded with sugar won't cause a spike in blood sugar and will keep us satiated for a longer time. Blueberry is very rich in antioxidants and it offers a high-fiber, low-calorie fruit option that is also rich in stress-fighting. The combination of cottage cheese with blueberry will definitely strengthen its level to fight stress.

The cake turned out very refreshing and my daughter likes it. It tastes much better after an overnight chilled. For me, I find it a bit less moist and too sour, the dryness could be due to direct bake. If I've to bake again, I will use water bath method and top up the sugar to 100g to. I rate this recipe a 6.0
I converted some of the measurement to gram since it's more commonly used here.

Ingredients :
  • 200g digestive biscuit
  • 120g melted butter
  • 100g cottage cheese
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 80g sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (one piece of lemon)
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 100g fresh blueberries
For the method, please follow My Kitchen Snippets blog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Banana Walnut Buttermilk Muffins

I baked this batch of muffins for friends and used the same recipe as the Banana Walnut Muffins except replacing the whipping cream and lemon juice with the buttermilk.

Buttermilk is a low fat product, it is also the perfect ingredient for moist. The moist in texture couples with banana sweetness has made the muffins extremely delicious.

This is still my best favourite muffin and the recipe is surely a keeper!.


Rocky Road Chcolate Muffins

Before I baked this muffin, I had no idea what rocky road is about and why it's called Rocky Road Chocolate Muffins. The name sounded funny but after researching, I come to realize it's a type of popular dessert made up of milk chocolate and marshmallow.

I never like marshmallow by its own as it's just sweetness. Kids seems to like it a lot, probably it's because of the sweet, soft and chewy texture especially they like to roast it over a campfire or BBQ it. The caramelized outer with a molten layer underneath will make the kids delighted.

This recipe comes from a cookbook named "the muffin collection". Due to the fact that the bookcover features this muffin and it looks so appettizing, it lead me to give this a try.
How's the muffin turned out? Some portions of the marshmallow had melted after bake, the caramel seeped into it and blended well with white chocolate chips. If you have a sweet tooth, I believe you will savour it and wanting more.
Here's the recipe for the Rocky Road Chocolate Muffins I made. I rate this recipe a 7.

Ingredients
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 55g cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • 40g white marshmallows cut in quarter
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 250 ml milk
  • 6 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Preparation
    • Preheat the over to 200*C. Line 12 paper cup cases on muffin tin.
    Method:
    1. Sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt together into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, chocolate chips and marshmallows.
    2. Lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl, beat in the milk and oil. Stir well. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the beaten liquid . Stir gently until just combined (about 5 stroke); do not over mix.
    3. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cup cases. Bake at 200*C for about 20 mins or until firm to touch.
    4. Leave the muffins in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New York Cheesecake

I remembered the first time I tried the cheesecake in a cafe, I fell in love in it. That was New York Cheesecake, it was so delicious and yummy. Thereafter, I become a cheesecake fan. Many a times when I brought my daughters to cafe for desserts, we surely ordered 3 types of cheesecake -i.e. the Blueberry, Oreo and New York . My younger daughter loves Oreo, My elder loves blueberry.. for me.. i like all the three.

However, cheesecake contains high level of fat and carbs, it's very fattening and not advisable to eat often. Else it will risk your waist line badly. This New York Cheesecake I would like to share here is less sinful as it consists of cottage cheese which is lower in fat and carbs and very high in protein.

The cake is easy to make, the combination of creamcheese, cottage cheese and lemon zest really blends so well. This is definitely a perfect dessert for guest. I rate this recipe a 9.5.

Ingredients
- 130g digestive biscuit
- 75g butter (melted)
- 500g cream cheese
- 160 caster sugar
- 1 no. lemon zest (not too much)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 110g cottage cheese
- 4 no. eggs (abt 60g)

Preparation 
- Preheat oven at 150*C.  Baking Time: 1 hr 15 mins-1 hr 30 mins.
- Baking pan: 8" spring form. Outer wrapped with foil and base greased and lined with baking paper.
- Prepare boiling water for water bath baking method.

Method - Biscuit Base

1. Crush digestive biscuit into crumbs with rolling pin, add in melted butter and mix till well combined. Pour into baking pan and press till even and level. Chilled for later use.

 
Method - Cheesecake
2. Beat cream cheese, caster sugar, lemon zest and vanilla essence at medium speed till smooth (abt 5 mins).
3. Add cottage cheese and continue to beat till smooth. (abt 2-3 mins)
4. Add in eggs, one at a time at low speed and mix well after each addition (abt 1 mins).
5. Remove prepared pan from fridge and pour batter onto biscuit base in step 1. Remove bubble if any.
6. Bake in water bath at 150*C for 75 mins or until the centre is set. Leave in oven for an hour with door slightly open or leave it outside.
7. Run a small knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake. Cover the cake with cling and chill for at least an hours before removing from pan.
8. Chill in fridge for another 5 hours before serving.

Buttermilk Muffins with Banana Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

Lately, I managed to reconnect some of my old friends via facebook. It's glad to be in touch with them again. Hope this momentum will stay and friendship will continue and last ... 

I always have a "to-do" list for the weekend and wanted to explore some new items but since I bought a package of buttermilk last week and haven't used up, I will have to clear it, else it becomes another spoilage. I bake another batch of muffins but this round, I created a new flavour, I added some chocolate chips into it. With the buttermilk, the muffins turned out very soft and light in texture, the addition of chocolate chips has givan an enhanced flavour to the muffins, I believe it will entice the kids or the chocolate lovers as the chocolate blends very well with banana and nuts. It's really tasty.

Below are the ingredients for making 12 cups of the buttermilk muffins with banana walnuts and chocolate chips:
  • 250g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 eggs (65g each)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 80ml buttermilk
  • 120g melted butter (microwave 20 sec)
  • 180g banana (sliced)
  • 60g chocolate chips
  • 80g walnuts (lightly toasted), chunky pieces

For the method, pls follow the Banana Walnut Muffins recipe.

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