Sunday, June 27, 2010

Japanese Green Tea (Matcha) Cheese Chiffon Cake

 I am not into green tea because it has a "grass-like" taste,  I'm fine with it as drink but not to the dessert.  The only green tea dessert that I will eat is ice cream.  In fact, I only got to appreciate it few years back during a business trip in Taiwan.  I couldn't recall what push me to try it out and after that I started to like it but only take selected brands, eg. Meiji as it's very creamy and the green tea taste is very subtle.    

I had never thought of making any green tea cake since I know it isn't that popular at home.  However, after trying out the green tea cheesecake at Ichiban Sushi, I changed my mind as it tasted unexpectedly yummy, the green tea flavor wasn't overpowering, the texture was moist and creamy.  

Since then, I decided to give the "green tea cake" a chance and started to look around for recipe.  There were many recipes online but I wasn't sure which one was good.  I finally found this Green Tea Cheese Chiffon Cake recipe from Y3K blog and believed it should fit the bill since I was looking for something similar to Ichiban's green tea cheesecake.  However, I didn't follow the recipe exactly because I needed to clear some of the old stock in the fridge.  I replaced the cream cheese with cottage cheese and milk with whipping cream respectively.  I also cut down 1/3 of the green tea powder amount as I knew I cannot stand the strong flavor.  

 
Even with the cut down of green tea powder, I still find the it overpowering but my maid thinks otherwise.  I guess it's up to individual.  If I will to bake again, I will further reduce the green tea amount to 1/2 instead.  Certainly, this can't compete with the Ichiban's but overall, it's still taste good.

Interested? Here you go .. Green Tea Cheese Chiffon Cake recipe.
 P.S.  I only baked half of the amount called in this that recipe and used tube pan instead.

Get Together!

 
I get to know a lot of new colleagues and  make new friends after taking up this new role but among all the new friends I knew, only a few of them are based in Singapore.  Given that the nature of our job doesn't need us to be in office, majority of us are working from home, therefore, we normally connect each other via phone or chat online, the chances of meeting each other in the office is so rare. If we want to meet up with each other, someone will have to organize and book a time and place.  This is the working environment I am in today ... which is very different from the traditional office.  Sound very virtual and distance!?  Well, I have got used to this kind of working lifestyle and I enjoyed ...
 One of my friend suggested a get together since we didn't have a chance to meet up with each other  after returning from Beijing.  Beside meeting up, someone requested to try out my bake.  What a great idea!  It's my honor as well.  What I supposed to bake?  I had been puzzling for a while .. cheese, chocolate, mousse, chiffon, butter, cream, mango, banana, coffee cake, etc.   I flipped through the list of recipes I have but still had no clue .. I really worried what if .. the cake didn't turn out as expected ... anyway, since I had committed, I would have to bite the bullet and to deliver.  After knowing that some of them are cheesecake lovers, I decided to go along this line...
 Only cheesecake?   Didn't it too plain and dull for the get together session? Should I bake another durian cream cake since I had some durian puree left over from the father's day bake?  However, after second thought, I worried I would get a"warning letter" as the durian odor might pollute the office environment.  Yes! I finally made up my mind.  I would bake a New York Cheesecake plus a Japanese Strawberry Shortcake - this had finally stop my "struggle" ...
 Given that it's not a big group, I decided to bake a smaller cake.  My friends couldn't believe I brought 3 cakes to the office, ie.  New York Cheesecake, Strawberry Shortcake and Japanese Marble Light Cheesecake (I kept 1/3 portion from the previous bake).  They were amazed how I could manage it.  Well.. not all the cakes were baked on the same day, I spread it out within few days. Some of them I baked during the weekend and kept in the fridge, I only baked the New York Cheesecake and iced the strawberry shortcake on that day.
 Beside the colleagues we met for get together, I also shared the cakes with my other old colleagues.  Phew! Most of them enjoyed and liked them very much.  Among the three, Strawberry Shortcake and New York Cheesecake were very highly rated.  One of my colleague who doesn't like cheesecake also said "good".  This really made my day :)
 Couple of my colleagues were interested in trying out the cakes and asked me for the recipes,  I advised them to start with cheesecake since the preparation time only takes 30-40 mins, moreover, it's easy to bake, they should have no problem to manage.  I provided them some of the tips and hope my lesson learnt will help them to achieve a success  in one way or another... If you would like to try out, pls refer to following link for recipes.  Enjoy Baking and Cheer!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Japanese Marble Light Cheesecake

  
My eldest daughter went for camping and my younger will be going to stay with her granny together with her twin cousins tonight. The house will become very quiet and empty without the two kids at home. I have a strange feeling of it ....

 
To make the kids happy staying with their granny, I bake this Japanese Marble Light Cheesecake for them.  Hope they will like it and enjoy the stay.  
  I adopted this recipe from the Kitchen Corner blog but with a slight of modification. I didn't make the sponge cake base as I was too lazy to do it.  Her cake picture looks tempting, it makes me drool ..

 
I am very pleased with the outcome.  The texture of cheesecake likes cotton, it melts in your mouth and makes you want to eat more.   The cheese and mocha give a perfect combination and make the cake so tasty and yummy! My hubby and my maid like it so much! 

 

Here is the recipe that modified from Kitchen Corner. 

Ingredients:
-    250g cream cheese
-    75 caster sugar
-    6 egg yolks (60-65g each)
-    1.5 tsp vanilla essence
-    105ml milk                      } microwave
-    75ml whipping cream       } 20 sec
-    90ml butter (melted)/oil           
-    45g cake flour                       } sifted
-    1.5 tbsp (15g) corn flour        } together
-    6 egg whites
-    75g caster sugar
-    ¼ tsp cream of tartar
-    1½   tbsp coca powder      } mixed with
-    ½  tsp instant coffee         }  1 tbsp
-    1 tbsp condense milk        }   hot water


Preparation
-    Preheat oven  at 150*C without fans.  Baking Time: 1 hr 15mins (+/-20mins).  
-    One 9" round baking pan:  Pan wrapped with foil and base lined with baking paper.   (Don’t grease the side)

Method
1.    Cream cheese (10 sec) using mixer and than add sugar until light (30 sec – 1 min).
2.    Add in egg yolks and vanilla, one at a time and mix well after each addition.
3.    Preheat Oven with boiling water for water bath.
4.    Melt butter in microwave for 20 sec.  Heat milk and whipping cream for 20 sec (if 2 recipes =>30 sec).  Immediately add both in the cheese mixture (step 2), mix well with balloon whisk.  
5.    Stir in sifted flour and mix well.  Put aside.
6.    Whisk egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks until soft peak formed, whisk in sugar and cream of tartar and whisk until stiff.
7.    Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cheese mixture (step 5) and mix well.  Repeat remaining 2/3 one at a time till combine. (don’t overmix).  Put aside.
8.    Mix coca powder, instant coffee and condense milk with hot water till dissolved.  Stir in 2-3  tbsp of cheese mixture and mix till well combined.
9.    Pour vanilla cheese mixture into cake tin. Drizzle some cocoa cheese mixture (step 8) over the surface and draw marble pattern with skewer. Place the baking pan in a large tray.
10.    Bake in water bath in a preheated oven at 150* for 1 hr 15 mins or until the centre is set and golden brown.
11.    Leave the cake in oven with door ajar for 30 mins or outside to cool down before removing the pan.  Chill in fridge for at least 3-4 hours before serving (best chill overnight).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day !!

Wishing all the fathers a very Happy Father's Day!!!
 

I baked this cake for my father's in-law as durian is my in-law family's best favourite.  Therefore, it's the best choice for Father's Day present.

Yum Yum!!! - feedback I received :)

Interested ?  Pls refer to this recipe.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dear!!

I teased my hubby last week that he would become another "old uncle" after his birthday as this year is a big year for him, he would be crossing another milestone.  Times flies.. when I knew him, he was in his mid 20 and I was just out from school.  We met each other in a workplace and later became a couple. 


Then we got married and gave birth to two lovely and loving daughters.  Now, our eldest is already a big girl and going to U this year.  With the children growing up, I start to feel the loneliness.  Luckily, with my hubby around to support and accompany me, the discomfort has greatly reduced.


I didn't buy any expensive gift, what I did for that day was to bake his favorite durian cake and book a restaurant for a family dinner since my hubby and I don't like to be elaborate.  Family gathering is the best option for such kind of occasion for us.   A simple dinner and a small birthday cake, that was what he received for his birthday ... And of course with all our loves ... 

Happy Birthday, Dear !!
Thanks for the caring you've given me all these years, I can't imagine living without you at my side.

Black and Orange Chocolate Cheesecake

 
 "Oh my god! How could I make such a silly mistake ? " I screamed after realizing the flour and a portion of the sugar were still left on the table.  You know why?  I had forgotten to add in these two ingredients but it was already too late because the cake had already been in the oven baking... 

What's a disaster!  I couldn't believe why I could miss this step.  I should have noticed it because when I was trying to fold in the egg white, it was very runny. This was the result of rushing.  In fact, I have many lessons of this before, I should have learned through these painful experience but somehow, I fell again.   What I supposed to do now?  How the cake would turn up?  There were so many questions spinning around my head but what I could do at that point was to wait till the cake cooked and find a solution to remedy.  
 
This was supposed an Orange Cotton Cheesecake, should taste like Japanese Cheesecake except in Orange flavor.  However, without the flour and a portion of the sugar, the cake became extremely soft and tasteless.  To remedy this, I baked a chocolate sponge cake with extra sweetness, my plan was to transform it to a layered cake.  I sliced the sponge cake into two, spread a layer of chocolate fudge onto one of the slice before laying the cheesecake.  Next, I spread another layer of chocolate fudge onto the cheesecake before covering with the 2nd slice of sponge cake.  Last, I covered the top with the remaining chocolate fudge.
 Phew!  The result turned out pretty good.  When the rich chocolate fudge blended with the cheesecake, it complemented each others and brought up the overall taste.  I think this cake will scored 7 points.  To consume this,  I gave 1/3 to my neighbor, the other 2/3 to my hubby's colleagues.   I didn't keep a share for my family since both my daughters don't like orange flavor cake.

I don't intend to share the recipe since it is just a fix to my boo-boo :(

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bali, here I come!!

I was overseas for two weeks since end May.  In the first week, I was away for a short break to Bali with my family and then followed by a business trip to Beijing. That explains why my blog was empty for a while.

Bali was a destination which wasn't on my "to-visit" list as since Singapore is so hot, any tropical island didn't attract me. I prefer to spend my holiday in a place where I can enjoy the cool weather. Why I chose Bali this time?  Well, my business travel plan couldn't be settled down till mid May and jeopardized all my plans, due to the last minute, those popular places had been booked up and that gave me very limited choice for places to visit. Since I haven't been to Bali before, I guessed it's fine to explore and experience this country.

 
There wasn't much happenings on the first day since we flew off in the afternoon, by then we arrived, it was already late in the evening.   The tour guide brought us to a sunset dinner, nothing fanatic with the food as it was all the BBQ stuffs but it was so relaxing to watch  the sunset and the atmosphere becoming very romantic when the night arrived and the candles light up.

 
The second day started with a visit to Balinese sacred dance performance "Barong and Kris dance".  I couldn't say I enjoyed since I didn't really understand what they were performing but it was an eye opener for me.

 








Next we proceed to Kintamani where it's the best place to enjoy the magnificent view of Batur volcano and lake while having buffer lunch at a local restaurant. 
 
Understand that Batur is the most active volcano in Bali and one of Indonesia's more active ones.  During the past centuries, Batur had a number of small eruptions every few years. 

We wanted a relaxing holiday that have more time for ourselves, we therefore forgo the afternoon tour.  Our second day ended with visiting Tampak Siring Temple where we could see a lot of locals going to the water with sarung to clean their body and soul using holy spring water and then praying to the temple.  Since we watched this from some documentary programs, nothing seemed marvelous  to us but we respect their belives. 

Before leaving the Tampak Siring temple, we did some shopping. There were many local stores selling local goods.    We managed to bargain with the locals and slashed more than 50% off the price. It was a very good buy. 
 It's very enjoyable at Kuta beach during the evening when we could watch the sun setting.  When the sun started to lower, the orange light shone in.  The orange sky and the sea made the horizon really beautiful and wonderful.  That scene was etched into my memory.  
 
 A lot of people hanging out at the beach, some indulged in jogging, others just relaxing walking along the beach with family.  The orange sky and dark background of the people formed a very glorious sunset silhouette composition and beauty panorama.

  
After a night of good rest, we set off at 9am for our third day itinerary.   Our first stop was to visit Tanah Lot - Bali temple on the rock. Understand that this temple is one of the famour tourist destinations in Bali with spectacular view of sunset.  However, we went in the morning and therefore, had no opportunity to witness it.  Nevertheless, the Tanah Lots standing on a rocky island had painted a very magnificent views from far.

 
We continued our trip to Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest.  It's a small forest where we could see hundreds of monkeys in their natural habitat.  The monkeys there were free and peaceful, most of them were hanging up on the big trees or playing with each others.  Some monkeys were very naughty, my daughter and I got a shock when they climbed onto our head but it's an amazing experience ... my daughter wanted to carry the bats and that only cost us less than S$2 which is unbelievable!  You could see her enjoying so much!!

 
 We spent our lunch at a local restaurant in Pacung highland. The beautiful valley and hills with spectacular landscape and rice fields made it seem so relaxing and enjoyable.  It was breathtaking!

Again, we forgo the afternoon tour as we wanted to do some last minute shopping.  There are many shopping malls and shops along Kuta beach but we didn't really pick up many stuffs since  we weren't  into local products and the branded goods were not really competitive.

Our vacation in Bali had come to the end after our last minute shopping since the next morning, we had to catch up an early flight back to Singapore.  

Goodbye Bali! We might come again.

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