Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheesy Strawberry Cake

With Mother's Day approaching, it's time to bring your mum for celebration. I believe most people will bring their mum for a meal and/or buy her a gift or cake. If you could prepare a meal and/or bake a cake for her as a surprise/ present, I believe your mum will enjoy and be very pleased, this will make her day more memorable.

I found this cheesecake recipe from UW magazine, it's quite similar from one of the dessert I made before. This is a non-bake cheesecake, I believe even you have never baked before, you will succeed as it's very quite straight forward.

I picked up two packages of strawberry from a fruit stall when I came back from lunch, it only cost $4 all and all. That's very cheap, right? It may cost at least 1.5 times if I get it from supermarket. Initially, I was thinking to bake a Strawberry Shortcake to share with my colleagues, I need a catch up with them as I had not been in office for a couple of weeks. At second thought, I decided to change to a non-bake cheesecake as the Strawberry Shortcake needs more works, I can't effort to bake in a weekday evening. I therefore choosed this UW Mother's Day recipe since it's just fit in.

I forgot that although this recipe is simple, non-bake cheesecake needs time to chill in order to solidify, I started making it at 8pm but when I finished everything it was about midnight. I was quite tired and sleepy by then... zzz

I brought the whole cake to the office and was hopping not to disappoint them as I had not tested this recipe. Fortunately, the cake turned out very yummy, it's very refreshing and light. My colleagues like it.


Since this is an easy cake and Mother's Day is approaching, you should consider to make this for your mum.  I believe she will appreciate. 

Here you go.. Cheesy Strawberry Cake recipe.

Ingredient A:
- 200g Oreo biscuits (crushed or grinded)
- 100g butter (melted) - mircowave 20 mins

Ingredient B:
-250g Cream cheese
- 60g icing sugar (original recipe calls for 75g)

Ingredients C:
- 25g lemon juice
- 100g plain yogurt

Ingredient D (mix well)
- 10g gelatine powder
- 40g boiling water

Ingredient E
- 200g whipping cream (whipped)

Ingredient F
- 10 pcs strawberries (halved)

Ingredient G
-   1 pkts strawberry flavored Tortally
-   150ml boiling water and 150ml cool water

Method
  1. Crush biscuits fron Ingredient A with a rolling pin, stir in melted butter and mix well. Pour crumbs into 20cm spring form tin and chill (in freezer) for 30 mins. 
  2. Dissolve Jelly powder from Ingredient E in boling water. Add cold water and stir well.  Put aside and let it cool down completely.
  3. Place gelatine from Ingredient D in a bowl, pour in boiling water and stir until gelatine dissolved (about 10 mins). If not dissolved completely, double boil it. Let it cool down.
  4. Cream cheese and sugar (about 2-2.5 mins) from Ingredient B, add in lemon juice and yogurt and mx well.  Add melted gelatine solution from step 3 gradually and mix well.
  5. In another bowl, beat whipping cream from Ingredient E till stiff (about 2 - 2.5 mins). Fold whipped cream into cheese mixture (step 4).
  6. Bring out the biscuit base from the fridge (step 1) and pour in cheese mixture (step 5). Chill for 15 mins.
  7. Remove from fridge, arrange strawberries on top and return to chill for 1 hour until surface hardens.
  8. Pour in jelly from step 2 as topping and return it to freezer for another 2-3 hrs till set. Best to chill overnight.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nearly Flourless Chocolate Cake

I wanted to bar baking this Sunday as I had already baked the Oreo cake and Muffins for 2 days consecutively, I should take a break and spend my time with other thing else. I wasn't sure why I ended up hiding in the "kitchen" playing the flour and sugar again... :( 

I had no idea what to bake but I knew definitely not a plain cake since plain cake is more for breakfast. I wanted something more challenging,  I was toggling between a cheese and chocolate cake and finally decided a chocolate cake because  I was attracted by Terri's post of this Nearly Flourless Chocolate Cake. It's looks so deliciously mouth-watering ..

This cake was quite difficult to handle as it's very moist and soft but wasn't spongy (but not dense) as it's almost flourless. You could eat it when it is warm or you could chill it. This cake is really delicious and wonderful. It literally melts in your mouth and will be perfect if you go with a scoope of ice-cream.   I'm not a chocolate fan and can't take rich chocolate cake especially the flourless type but somehow, I enjoy this with just have to cautious about the amount intake..

With the amount of stuff I bake, if I don't give away, I guess my whole family will have to join the fatty club..  This cake may make you feel very sinful but I'm sure  it'll make your day :)


The following recipe is adopted from Terri - A Daily Obsession.  You could omit the ganache if you want a lighter cake.

Ingredients
- 125 g butter
- 200 g good quality dark chocolate
- 150 g caster sugar
- 2 Tbsp plain flour
- 6 eggs, separated
- 120ml whipping cream } chocolate ganache
- 120g dark chocolate }

Method:
1. Set oven at 190 C, put water into the oven tray up to a level of 1 cm. Grease and line bottom of a 22 cm springform pan.
2. Melt butter & choc in oven at low heat or over a basin of boiling water. Add sugar and mix well. Cool.
3. Transfer choc to a mixing bowl, add egg yolks one at a time till combined and then fold in flour.
4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks and fold in the choc mixture until blended.
5. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake water bath for 30 minutes. Leave it cool.
6. Spread a layer of chocolate ganache (bring whipping cream to boil and fold in the chocolate, mix well and chill for 8-10mins) and chill in fridge for at least 5 hours before serving.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Banana Walnut Buttermilk Muffins (II)

With some replan of project schedule, my next travel has been pushed out to a month later, therefore, you will see me updating my blog more often during this period since I could spend time in kitchen as long as I'm at home. Life is full of uncertainty, it's difficult to tell what will happen tomorrow or the next moment... initially, I was a bit worried about the frequent travel as I really do not wish to be away too often from home. The delay of project plan helps to space out the travel but it has significantly reduced the job challenge in the short term. Is this a good sign? I asked myself .. guess it depends on which angle I am looking at ..

It's always difficult to please my two daughters with same kind of food, my younger likes Oreo cake but my elder doesn't. Two of them have quite distinct preference, it's always my headache each time when I bake. I can only satisfy one of them each time. Having said that after I baked the Oreo buttermilk cake for my younger daughter, I decided to bake this banana muffins for my elder since this is one of her favourite. With 20 mins of preparation, half an hour of resting and another 20 mins of baking time, the muffins are now freshly out from oven .. yummy!

This is not a new recipe, I have bake this a couple of time. As I mentioned previously, this recipe is a keeper. If you would like a muffin for breakfast, here you go.. I've repasted the recipe below.. Enjoy!!

Preparation
  • Preheat oven at 200*C for 15 mins (top and bottom heat). Baking Time: 20-23 mins
  • Each recipe makes approx. 12 standard muffins.

Ingredients:
  • 250g self raising flour  (** can substitute with 250g plain flour & 2.5 tsp baking powder)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 150g sugar (**can cut down 10% of sugar if the banana is very ripe)
  • 2 eggs (65g each)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence  
  • 80ml buttermilk  (** can substitute with 80ml milk with 1tsp vinegar or lemon juice and stand for 5 mins)
  • 120g melted butter (microwave 20 sec)
  • 240g banana (sliced)
  • 80g walnuts (lightly toasted), chunky pieces

Method
  1. Sift self-raising flour and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar till well mixed.
  2.  In another bowl, whisk eggs with vanilla essence and beat well. Pour in butter milk and whisk till combined. Add in melted butter and continue to stir till well combined.
  3.  Make a well in the centre of dry ingredient (flours in step 1) and pour in beaten liquid ingredient (step 2). Fold in walnut and stir well with a balloon whisk till even and smooth (don’t over mix).
  4.  Place a spoonful of batter into each muffin cup, scatter with banana, place another spoonful over. Repeat the same step until all the batter and ingredients have been used up.
  5. Rest unbaked muffins for 30 mins before placing in the oven to bake for 20-23 mins.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oreo Buttermilk Cake

Oreo biscuit is most kids' favourite, my younger daughter likes it as well. Her "beloved" is Oreo Cheesecake but when I told her about baking an Oreo buttermilk cake, she gave me a dubious look as she wasn't convinced the cake would turn out delicious.

I found this recipe from Happy Home Baking's post but it was created by the baker of My Kitchen: My Laboratory .  Many of of bakers had tried it and all gave very good comment.  This had pushed me to give this recipe a shot.

The original recipe called for plain yogurt but I used buttermilk instead as this was what I had in the fridge. All the bakers feedback that this cake was moist,  fluffy and buttery.  However, I think it's a lighter cake as it's not as buttery as I expected.

Overall, it still tastes well.  My daughter likes it very much.  As for me, if I'll to bake again, I think I will increase the butter to 100g as I believe it'll tast better.   Pls follow this link for recipe.  Cheer!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Meryl !!


Happy Birthday, Meryl! Time flies.. can't image my little girl has grown up and she is a big girl now. I intended to bake her a cake but her birthday fell on a weekday, I didn't have enough time to bake something that was fanciful and therefore decided to buy one. Meryl is very fussy with food, she only eats certain type of food.  She doesn't like sour fruits, eg. strawberry, mango; doesn't like spices; doesn't like durian, yam, etc. Therefore, the choices that left with are probably chocolate and oreo cheesecake.

I was worried if I rushed to bake something, I might flop as my experience tells me , therefore, I bought her this chocolate ice-cream cake. Since we had bought her birthday meal last weekend, today is just a small cake celebration.  I could feel she was happy when we took out the cake and sang her a birthday song ...:)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Walnut Butter Cake (II)

Just back from Beijing! I managed to bring forward my flight a day ahead as the meeting ended earlier than expected. I "hopped" onto the past midnight flight and arrived Singapore on Friday morning. To be back earlier in Singapore is precious to me as my hubby was flying off to US on Saturday morning, if I would to follow the original flight schedule, I would have very little time with him before his trip. 

Beijing's weather was still cold when I was there, although the weather forecast reported that it would get warmer each day, the temperature remained around 3 -10*C. To board onto 0045 morning's flight, I arrived at the Beijing T3 at 9:45pm. I was a bit "kaisu" because I didn't want to be late. I didn't expect the coldness at the boarding hall, although I wore 2 layers with a winter jacket outside, I still found it hard to endure as it's really freezing. Time seemed to pass very slowly... Finally, I heard the boarding call and quickly dashed into the plane.  Bye to Beijing!  

 
The Iceland volcanic eruption has caused a lot of disruption and inconvenience for those who are travelling into/ out of Europe but since my hubby was going to US, he shouldn't be affected. On Sat morning, he and his colleagues were about to board the plane but a last minute call had stopped them from going. Their conference meeting had been postponed as the Europe teams couldn't travel because the airport was closed. It is fortunate that they hadn't boarded the plane else they would have to do a BIG "U" turn. The only inconvenience was to retrieve the luggage as it had been loaded .. :(
Although I still feel tired after back from Beijing, the weekend is great as it allows me to regain my energy and recharge myself. I was looking for recipes for experiment in the kitchen, I "short-listed" two, one was peanut butter layered cream cake, the other was walnut butter cake. I decided a simple cake as I reckoned it can be served as breakfast for tomorrow. I will "KIV" the peanut butter layered cream cake for next time..

 
This is a new recipe, I chose this because by judging at the ingredients, I expected this butter cake to be fluffy, soft and fragrant as it has milk powder, evaporated milk and egg white added which is different from what I baked before. I believe the cake will turn out as delicious as my previous attempt.
                           
Is this recipe a keeper? I would say the cake turned out quite tasty and fluffy but not moist enough. If I compare this with my previous recipe, I will prefer the formal as it's not so milky and more moist. However, if you don't like too buttery (which my previous recipe will be) and want a lighter version of butter cake, I believe you will like this recipe.  If you find the too milky, cut down the milk powder.  Overall, this recipe is a keeper.  My family like it.

                            
Here is the recipe for reference, and for anybody who wants it. Enjoy baking!

Ingredients:
- 200g butter
- 50g margarine
- 200g caster sugar (I cut down to 180g)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 tbsp evaporated milk
- 200g plain flour }
- 4 tbsp (40g) milk powder } sift together
- 1/2 tsp baking powder }
- 100g walnuts (chopped)
- 3 egg whites

Method:
  1. Grease and line 20cm (8") baking tin. Preheat oven to 175*C
  2. Beat butter, margarine and sugar until light and fluffy (about 4-5 mins)
  3. Add in whole eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  4. Add in vanilla essence and milk. Fold in sifted flour, milk powder and baking powder gently (don't over mix). Then fold in walnuts.
  5. Whisk eggs whites until soft peaks form. Fold into flour mixture gently (don't over mix). Spread batter into prepared tine. Garnish with walnuts. Bake at 175*C for 50 mins or until cooked.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hershey's Black Magic Cake

I have to leave tomorrow for another business trip.  Luckily, it's just a week.  I'm glad that Beijing is getting warmer now, I don't need to bring so many thick clothing. 
This cake enticed me because the recipe is simple.  I didn't expect it to be a big hit since the ingredients are so basic but it was. Everyone who tried it liked it.  The ganche work didn't turn out well as I was rushing,  after the first coating of chocolate frosting, I supposed to spread another layer but omitted.  Nevertheless, this cake is only for consumption, not for occassion.  If I will to bake for occassion, I will take care the details and definitely will put in extra effort to make this cake looks presentable and appetizing. 
If you are the chocolate fan, I believe you will love it.  It's not so rich, it's just nice as after meal dessert.  If you could top with a vanilla ice-cream, I believe it'll be perfect!
Since this recipe is so easy to make, why wait? Once you start eating, I believe you can't stop ..Here you go the original recipe from Hershey - Black Magic Cake recipe

If you don't have a measuring cup, I have converted the measurement into grams for easy reference.  Below is the method I used to bake this cake.  Cheer!!

Ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs                   }beat fill fluffy
  •  270g caster sugar       }
  • 2tsp powdered instant coffee mixed in 1 cup boiling water, cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  •  1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (200 ml) buttermilk (prefer) or sour milk*
  • 210g all-purpose flour (or cake flour) } sift together
  • 65g HERSHEY'S cocoa powder       }
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda                         }
  • 1 tsp baking powder                           }
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or use melted butter, or half butter half oil)
To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Preparation:
- Grease and line Two 9” round cake tins for making a layered cake or 12” x12” low tins for sheet cake with baking paper.
- Preheat oven at 175-180*C

Method:
1. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder together. Put aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar till fluffy (abt 3 mins at medium speed), add in premix coffee, vanilla essence and salt. Mix well.
3. Alternate flour mixture (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder) and sour cream with spatula.
4. Fold in oil and mix well (don’t overmix).
5. Pour into the prepared tray/tins and bake 30-35 minutes for the round tins and 40-45 minutes for the tray.
6. Cool and top/ ice with choc ganache.

Choc Ganache
- Bring 200g of whipping cream to boil, remove from stove, stir in 250g chocolate till smooth and let it cool. Freeze for 5-8 mins till thicken and spread over the cake.
** if you just want to spread a layer of ganache on top, you can reduce amount by half.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

I was trying to find a recipe to get rid the sour cream that left over from the French Country Cheesecake, I was enticed by the recipe of Coffee Yoghurt Cashew Nuts Cake posted by Happy Home Baking as the cake looks so appetizing and tempting in picture.

After going through the recipe, I reckoned it called out the similar ingredients as my previous Walnut Crumble Coffee Cake but what I like about this is the recipe calls for lesser sugar which was what I intended to do if I would to bake again.

I make slight modification to this original recipe, I used sour cream instead of yoghurt,  added 2 tsp of coffee powder (premixed with water) and 1 tsp of cinnamon powder to the cake batter before adding into the batter as my elder daughter loves the spice and prefer stronger coffee fragrant.

The cake turned out really good and yummy.  It's moist and soft but if I will to bake again, I will use flour for crumble instead of digestive biscuits and  add more walnuts (another 50g) as I prefer the more nutty crunch effect.  Other than that, it's prefect!

I am very satisified with this set of photo as it looks so nice.  What do you think?


 For recipe, pls refer to Happy Home Baking site. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

French Country Cheesecake

Another cheesecake again!?  I could not help it as the cottage cheese which bought two weeks ago was expiring soon... Initially, I bought this for New York Cheesecake but woman is always very flicker minded, what had been decided may change when mood swings. Nothing surprising. I decided to try a new recipe! I guess I always believe life is full of adventure to be lived...

I was contemplating between Cottage Cheesecake and French Country Cheesecake, both recipes call for similar ingredients except the latter asks for extra source cream, the step is similar as well. I finally decided to go with French Country for only one reason - I had to clear stock as the sour cream was expiring soon as well !!

I was eager to know how the cake turned out because my previous New York Cheesecake received quite a high score from my colleagues, I would expect this recipe not to disappoint me since both used cottage cheese.   However, I was wrong..I am unsure whether it lies with my skill or this recipe.
The cake texture is between New York Cheesecake and Japanese Soft Cheesecake, in terms of taste wise, I still prefer the New York Cheesecake as I just find something missing from this.  I asked my hubby to bring some to his office to share with his colleagues and generally, they gave good comment.   Might be I banged too high hope on this recipe .. 

Anyway, it's a good try.  Here you go ...the recipe.

Cake Base Ingredients:
- 70g digestive biscuit base     - 35g butter (melted)
Cake Ingredients:
(A)
- 50g sugar      
- 30g butter
(B)
- 250g cottage cheese (sieved)   
- 30g cornflour (sieved)    
- 1/2 lemon zest, grated
(C)
- 4 eggs (60-65g each)
(D)
- 40g sour cream  (loosen up) 
- 40g whipping cream
(E)
- 2 egg whites       
- 50g sugar               
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Method:
  1. Crush digestive biscuit into crumbs with rolling pin, add in melted butter and mix till well combined. Pour into 6" springform tin and press till even and level. Chilled for later use.
  2. Cream (A) until smooth (abt 2-3 mins).  Add (B) and cream until well blended (abt 1-2 mins)
  3. Add (C) one at a time and cream until well combined.  Add (D) and cream until smooth.
  4. In another bowl. whip the egg whites in (E) until foamy (abt 30 sec) then add the remaining (E) ingredients.  Whip until stiff (for another 2 -2.5 mins).  Add it to the cheese mixture from step (3).  Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Pour the cheese filling onto the prepare biscuit base.
  6. Bake in water bath at 160*C for 70 -80 mins or until golden brown and the centre is set.  Remove it from the oven and set aside to cool.  Chill for 5 hours or overnight before serving.

P.S.  For (D), you could use all sour cream or whipping cream.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Strawberry Sponge Cheesecake

 
It's great to have a public holiday on either Friday or Monday. Thanks god for Good Friday holiday this week as I've a long weekend again. So siok! :) In the normal weekend, I always find time not enough as normally, I will have the routine to do, eg. visit parents and go grocery shopping. Any extra day is always a bonus to me and my family as we could spend more time together doing something in common.

 
It isn't my intention to have an eventful long weekend, what I want is just to relax and slow down. Take time to enjoy every second and moment for thing that I do or enjoy, that's enough as life is full of uncertainty, we'll never know what will happen in next moment.

To clear the remaining whipping cream that left over from the last bake, I figured out to make a cheesecake. Since strawberry was on sales lately, I decided a strawberry flavoured cake this round. I wanted to try something new but worried to get another regret, therefore decided a old recipe.

This is a coldset cheesecake sandwiched with sponge cake. To save time, I decided not to use the separated egg method for sponge cake but I realized I couldn't handle the mixing part when the flour mixed with batter, as a result, it didn't turn out that well. As this is a coldset cheesecake, the sponginess of the cake texture is secondary, I didn't rebake the cake. I'm glad that the cheesecake after overnight chilled turn out very well and it didn't disappoint me.

To improve the picture quality, this round I used a detachable flash light for the shooting as I realized the lighting in my living room is dim and not even. I am very satisfied with this set of picture as it looks more professional.

Here you go... Strawberry Sponge Cheesecake Recipe!

Filling Ingredients
- 350g cream cheese
- 110g caster sugar (can cut down 10%)
- 120g strawberry (crushed or cut into quarter)
- 1 tbsp gelatine powder
- 3 tbsp water
- 350g whipped cream
- 1 tbsp rum

And 2 slice sponge cake (8"x8"x 2" height) - you can use any method.

Method
1.  To make filling, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth (2-3mins), stir in crushed strawberry.
2.  Melt gelatine powder with water over simmering water or mix gelatine powder into hot water till dissolved.  Stir into cheese mixture, then fold in whipped cream and rum.
3.  Place a slice of sponge cake into 8-inches baking tray.  Spread in half of the cheese mixture.  Cover with sponge cake.  Top with remaining of cheese mixture.
4.  Frozen/ chilled in fridge for over night.
5. Remove cake and slice, decorate as desired.

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