Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pineapple Butter Cake

I would not think of using pineapple as an ingredient for cake until I came across from Jess's Bakericious blog,  it was very tempting and very beautifully baked.   Since it was highly commented by her, I decided to bake it for my mum-in-law

I cut down the portion by 20% to fit the 9" round pan, use butter as fat only,  and added 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp of vanilla essence to the original recipe, the rest of the recipe remained no change.   Probably, it wasn't my day, I had a disaster with this bake.  Despite an extra 10 mins of baking time (55 mins at 175-180*C), the cake was not totally cooked, the center part was still wet.  Nothing I could salvage this situation since I only came to realize it when the cake was sliced .  About 25% of the area was removed since those were wet and not cooked.
How this cake scores?  Overall, the cake is moist and soft which is in-sync with Jess' comment but I think something is lacking/ missing there.  It's a bit flat and not as tasty as expected.  I think the brand of the canned pineapple that I used could be the culprit.  If I will to bake again, I think I can increase the sugar level.  In addition, I have to bake it longer, probably another 10 mins.    

Since I wasn't very satisfied with this bake, I will not post the recipe.  If you would like to try out,  please refer to  the recipe from  Jess's Bakericious blog.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tiramisu Cheesecake

I had been wanting to bake a Tiramisu cake for a long time and today, I have finally got there! Hooray :P
I remembered last year, after the baking lesson, I was so eager and excited to try this out and therefore, went straight to get the ingredients ready for the bake. However,  at that point, I was still a newbie, I doubted my ability and had no confident to achieve because the recipe appeared some level of complexity and difficulty.  It's such a shame that as a result of the procrastination, I had to dump away the ingredients as there is always an expiry date for these.  What a waste!

Since then, the desire of baking Tiramisu cake had dipped to the bottom and it just skipped off my mind for a while until a couple weeks ago, something prompted and spurred me to take this challenge again.   I didn't use the recipe from the baking lesson, instead I adopted Alex Goh's with some tweaks.  I had also cut down the level of liqueur, sugar and coffee powder. 
My initial plan was to make this cake last Saturday but with my elder daughter only returned home from hostel during weekend, I tended to allocate more time to her and tried to accommodate her time schedule, as a result,  I could only manage to bake the sponge cakes (two 6").  Since I was not unable to ice the cakes last weekend, I stored the them in the freezer for later usage. 

As the decor could only begin after the cake is chilled,  I split up the mixing/icing and decoration works into two nights. Given that the method of mixing/icing was pretty similar to other cheesecakes and I had quite a few hands-on practices lately, it was a blessing to manage through without much hassle.

Overall, this is indeed a yummy dessert, the cake layer is spongy and fluffy, the cheese filling is creamy and rich with a combination of chocolate and coffee flavoring.  However, the imperfection is it's overly moist and soft once it's out of chiller, I think it'll taste better after freezing for 2 hours so as to allow texture to be set firmly.  If I will to bake again, I will choose to either skip the step of moistening/damping the cake or just brush a very thin layer.   

Want to join me?  Here you go ...  
Tiramisu Cheesecake Recipe

-    Prepare one 8” or two 6” round  chocolate sponge cake/s, slice into 3 layers.

Coffee Syrup Ingredients
-    70g sugar                                   }
-    2 tbsp instant coffee powder      } premix
-    2 tbsp cocoa powder                  }
-    150g boiling water

Cheese Mixture Ingredients
-    1 tbsp kahlua (coffee liqueur)
-    1 ¼ tbsp gelatine powder
-    40ml boiling water
-    3 small egg Yolks
-    1 egg white
-    45g sugar
-    250g mascarpone cheese
-    1 tsp kahlua (coffee liqueur)
-    200g whipping cream

1.    Premix sugar, coffee powder and cocoa powder together.  Add boiling water and mix till well blended.  Set to cool before mixing in kahlua.   Set aside.
2.    Add gelatine powder into boiling water and mix till resolved.  Set aside.
3.    Whip egg yolks, egg white and sugar over simmering water until thicken (about 15 mins) and then add in gelatine mixture.  Mix well.
4.    Beat cheese till smooth, add in kahlua, egg yolk mixture (step 3) and 1 tbsp coffee syrup (step 1).
5.    Whisk whipping cream under ice water (abt 2 mins) till soft peak, pour in above cheese mixture and mix till blended (abt 10-15 sec).
6.    Place 1st layer of sponge cake in a cake ring, moist with coffee syrup, pour 1/3 (abt 200g) of cheese filling on top and level it.
7.    Repeat the same for middle and top layers and chill till firm (at least 5 hours or overnight)
8.    Remove the cake ring and dust with coca powder.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

I wasn't feeling well yesterday as I had a bad sore throat. I guess my daughters must have passed the bug to me as both of them were sick last week.  The situation got worst after lunch as I totally lost my voice and I could feel the pain cutting my throat.   The doctor said my throat was swollen and most likely was inflected.  He prescribed the medicine and asked me to rest more, talk less. I had no choice to ask for the remaining conference calls in the afternoon to be postponed to next week.

After consulting the doctor, I headed to Koong Woh Tong (恭和堂) for a bowl of herbal jelly (Guilingao) as I believe it's very effective for sore throat.   Not sure whether the herbal jelly worked or the medicine, by the evening, I could feel the pain reducing and my voice started to return.  Thank god! :)   
I supposed to rest today since on medical leave but I couldn't stop myself reading work mails and surfing the net on and off.  I chanced upon this Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake recipe from Bakericious' blog,  it's higher rated by the baker, Jess and she has baked many times for her family, friends and colleagues.  I was induced by her recommendation and since I still have some cream cheese in the fridge, without hesitation, I decided to give it a try.

I modified Jess' recipe as I prefer the butter cake to be moister, therefore, I increase the milk to 2.5 tbsp (I think I can add a bit more, i.e 3 tbsp).  I added 1 tsp (I think I can add 2 tsp) of lemon juice to the cream cheese to enhance its taste with zesty effect.  I baked it at 170*C instead 180*C and therefore, it took 55 mins.
Gosh! This cake is awesome.  I can't believe a simple cake can taste so nice.   As the chocolate layer is a butter cake, to me, it's a chocolaty, dense, moist but not hard;  the center layer of the cheese is soft, rich and creamy, this combination of each unique flavor and texture creates such scrumptious dainty.  My daughter loved it so much, same to my maid and my hubby, I could see their enjoyable expression ..hehe.. 
To cut short my story, I agreed with Jess that this recipe is a keeper and I am sure I'll bake again for my colleagues, friends and family soon.

Here you go ..  Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake Recipe

Cheese Mixture
-    300g cream cheese      } beat
-    50g castor sugar          } together
-    1 egg
-    1 tsp lemon juice

Butter Batter
-    250g butter, softened
-    160g sugar
-    4 eggs
-    4 tbsp cocoa powder            }
-    160g self-raising flour           }sifted
-    ¾  tsp baking powder           } together
-    ½  tsp baking soda               }
-    2.5 tbsp milk

** If you don't have self-raising flour,  each 100g of plain flour, please add 1tsp baking powder. 

-    Preheat oven at  170-175*C for 15 mins.  Baking Time:  50-55  mins
-    Prepare one 8” squre baking plan or two 8” x 3.5 loaf plan, lined with baking paper.
-    Sift coca powder, flour,  baking power and baking soda together.  Mix till even.

1. Beat cream cheese with sugar until light and fluffy (abt 3mins).   Add in egg and mix till well incorporated. Set aside.
2. In another mixing blow, beat butter and sugar at medium speed till light and fluffy (about 5 mins).
3. Add in eggs, one at a time  and mix at low speed till well incorporated.
4. Fold in flour mixture (coca powder, flour, baking powder and baking soda) with a spatula, alternate with milk into egg mixture (from step 3) gentlely till finish.
5.  Pour half portion (abt 400g) of butter batter (from step 4) into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Top with cheese mixture (from step 1)and level it. 
6.  Pipe in remaining butter batter over the cheese mixture and spread evenly.
7.  Bake in preheat oven at 170C for 55 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

** If you are using this recipe to bake as cupcake, pls remember only to fill the cup up to 70% max else you will encounter overflow.  For cupcake, the baking time will reduce to 20 -25 mins.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Japanese Green Tea (Matcha) Cheesecake (II)

Again, I had to find time and a recipe because I had to finish up the left over whipping cream as it's expiring soon.  I really hate to do this as baking is supposed a pleasure, not pressure!  Given that it's a weekday,  I didn't have the extra time and energy to bake anything that was complicated, therefore, I chose cheesecake since it's easy to prepare (30-40 mins) and most importantly, it could use up most of the left over cream.  I decided green tea flavored as the last bake was great, and  my colleagues had not tried it before .. it just fit the bill.

For this bake, I only used 200g of cream cheese, therefore, I had to cut down the recipe amount by 20%.  Instead of making a 9" round cake, I split into two 6" and one 4" as it's easier for me to give away.  I added a bit more of green tea for this round but I think I still prefer less after the turnout - I will stick with previous recipe if I will to bake again.   

I bought two 6" cakes to the office leaving the smallest one at home for own consumption.  This group of colleagues are my usual supporters, they tasted many of my creations before.  I was glad to see many satisfied faces and smiles after the cake was eaten.  What was their comment?   "Gooooood!" At this point, I guess the pressure has turned into pleasure :)

This recipe is surely a keeper!  If you are green tea lover, you should consider to give it a try.  The following link will direct you to the recipe.

Japanese Green Tea (Matcha) Cheesecake. 

Cheer!  Have fun!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

French Opera House Cake

What's Opera Cake?  According to  Wikipedia, Opera Cake is a type of French cake. It is made with layers of almond sponge cake (known as Joconde in French) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffee buttercream, and covered in a chocolate glaze.

Both of my daughters enjoy eating this cake, therefore, it was one of my to-do list for a long time but somehow, I always ended up baking other stuff.  The reason preventing me from baking this is it's quite complicated and time consuming because of many layers.
I've many variation of recipes on this since this is quite a popular cake, I chose this recipe as I was fascinated by the picture from one of the cookbook I have, it looks so appealing and tempting.  However, this recipe doesn't call for almond sponge cake, it's only asked for a normal chocolate sponge cake.   I guess overtime, the traditional recipe has been modified to suit individual taste and preference, as a result,  there are many different variations of the Opera Cake created in the market now. 
In view of the tedious process,  I baked the sponge cake a day before so that I could spread out the load.  For this sponge cake, I didn't follow the original recipe, instead I used the one for Chocolate Fudge Cake.   Overall, the cake turned out very delicious and yummy.  It's rich and complex, with each layer contributing  it's unique flavor and texture.  Coffee and chocolate always blend well and it'll not go wrong for dessert. My family likes this cake a lot and definitely, it's worth the effort!

Thinking of giving yourself a challenge?  Here you go..

French Opera House Cake Recipe

-    Prepare one 8" square chocolate sponge cake.  For method, pls refer to Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe.

Soft Chocolate Centre Ingredients and Method
-    160g whipping cream
-    40g fresh milk
-    200g dark chocolate (50-65%)
-    60g butter (softened)
-    1 tbsp corn syrup (optional)
-    20g rum
1.    Bring whipping cream and fresh milk in a saucepan to just boiling,   stir in dark chocolate and cook over low heat until all the chocolate has melted. 
2.    Remove from heat and stir in soften butter followed by brandy/rum. Stir over a bowl of iced water until thickened before icing)

Coffee Mousse Ingredients and Method
-    8g instant coffee powder      ]
-    10g  powder gelatine            ] boil together
-    90g water                            ]
-    360g whipping cream           }whipped together
-    10-25g caster sugar              }
-    20g rum (optional)
1.    Combine coffee powder, gelatine and water and double boil till dissolve.  Leave to cool.
2.    Beat whipping cream and sugar till soft peak (abt 2.5), stir in rum.
3.    Pour in coffee mixture (step 1)  and mix well to form coffee mousse.

To Assemble
1.    Slice the sponge cake into 5 layers.  Placae 1 piece of sponge cake into cake mould.
2.    Spread 1/3 (abt 150g) of coffee mousse, add a piece of chocolate sponge cake.  Freeze in fridge  for 5-10 mins till set if the mousse is too liquid  before next layer.
3.    Spread 2/5 (abt 180g)  soft chocolate centre.  Add another piece of chocolate sponge cake.  Repeat the above steps once more.
4.    Spread last layer of coffee mousse on the cake surface.  Chill in fridge for 10-15 mins or until set. 
5.    Pour remaining chocolate centre on top and chill for 4-5 hours before serving or décor.   

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blueberry Yogurt Butter Cake

It's a long weekend last week because of Singapore National Day, I should be very excited but somehow, even with some programs lined up, I didn't feel like I was enlivened. What's wrong with me ?? I could be tired with the routine work or lifestyle and to recharge myself, I think I must inject new inspiration, probably, I should change a new lifestyle, hunt for a new hobby or go for a long holiday or break, etc .. 

What did I do last weekend?  Oh yes! I went for a Chinese musical, December Rains (雨季) on Saturday afternoon, it was the Mother's day present from my elder daughter.   She bought a pair of tickets for me and my hubby.  We almost forgot this, fortunately, my hubby managed to remember last minute and we managed to reach there on time.   This was our first time watching the musical in Esplanade Theatre, the storyline wasn't very interesting, in fact, it's quite flat and boring.  Luckily, Kit Chan's singing was so superb, her voice was so solid and refine. The other two leading male artists also sang very well on stage.  With the excellent music and stage effect, we did enjoy the performance ..
Wanted to go JB for shop and eat but my eldest daughter wasn't able to make it.  Without her joining, it seemed like something incomplete or missing, the urge had no longer strong and exist.  Since canceling the trip,  I thought of baking something but at the end,  I was lying at home laze around doing nothing.. Somehow, my energy level had dropped to bottom  .. zzzzzzzz

It was Singapore National Day yesterday, my mood had slightly brighten up, I guessed the weather played a part as it was bright and sunny.  I wasn't much into joining the crowd to watch the National Day parade and firework, instead I went for cycling with my hubby and younger daughter in the evening.  I had not been cycling for more than 6 months, it was a nice ride to Punggol park through the park connector, the wind was breezy and cooling.  I guess the exercise did help me to destress and recharge.  I was more cheer up as compare to last two days and more energized.  I therefore restarted "my battery" and  baked for a Blueberry Yogurt Butter cake ..
This recipe is adopted from Cook.Bake.Love blog but with some modification, I used a 7" square baking plan instead since I don't have any pan with 9"x5".  The cake is delicious, it's moist, soft and light, not so buttery and oily.  It'll be perfect to go with a cup of tea or coffee. 

If you're interested in baking one, you could try the following modified recipe or follow the original's..

Blueberry Yogurt Butter Cake recipe

-     Preheat oven at 175*C top bottom heat.  Line baking paper on 7" square baking pan.  Baking Time: 50-60 mins  
-   Sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  Mixed yogurt and lemon juice together and set aside.

-    150g butter
-    180g caster sugar
-    4 eggs (65g each)
-    250g cake flour                   }
-    1.5 tsp baking powder        } sifted
-    ¾ tsp baking soda              }
-    1/3  tsp salt                         }
-    150g yogurt                        ] mixed
-    1 tbsp lemon juice              ]
-    1 ½ cup fresh blueberries

1) Beat butter and sugar till creamy and fluffy (abt 3 mins).
2) Add egg, one at a time, mix well before each addition.
3) Fold in flour, baking powder and salt, alternate with yogurt and lemon juice in 3 to 4 additions, mix till just incorporated. Do not over mix.
4) Pour the batter into the baking pan.  Arrange blueberries on top.
5) Bake in preheated oven at 175C for 50 mins or until a skewer inserted and comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

It was extremely hot and stuffy when I was in Beijing last week, the sky was also very hazy and smoggy.  The air was so polluted that I believe it's affecting everybody's health.   I don't think I could bear with such weather and air condition any longer there.  

Although it was a short trip, it seemed more things happening than other previous trips.  The Beijing traffic is very terrible especially during the peak hour, for a 5 mins trip, you might need half an hour. The trip from one place to another was never pleasant as there was always traffic jam.  The worst experience I had is the trip to Silk Market.  There wasn't any taxi wanted to pick me back to hotel because of the bad traffic condition.   It's glad that a taxi driver willing to take me but he demanded for a premium.  For a RMB16 journey, he charged me for RMB80, it likes a daylight robbery!   Since I was alone and not familiar with the place, I had no choice to agree :( 

Singapore is supposed to be hot during this season but it has been raining since the past few weeks.  However, last Saturday morning when I was back, I was so glad to see a clear and blue sky.  The weather was so good and the air was so fresh.  I guess I missed my home!

Back to baking .. I wanted to bake something to bring to office for my colleagues, I chose this recipe because it's a simple cake and should be delicious.  The last time I baked this cake was a year ago and my neighbor praised about it.  I hope my colleagues will like it as well.

Here you go.. Japanese Cotton Cheesecake recipe ..

 -    125g cream cheese
-    100 caster sugar
-    4 egg yolks (60g each)
-    ¼ cup (65ml) milk     } microwave
-    ¼ cup (55ml) oil        } 20 sec
-    1 ½ tsp of lemon juice (or ½ lemon)
-    zest of 1 lemon
-    30g cake flour                     } sifted
-    1 tbsp (10g) corn flour        } together
-    4 egg whites
-    40g caster sugar
-    ¼ tsp cream of tartar

-    Preheat oven  at 150*C. .  Baking Time: 1 hr 20 mins (+/-20mins).
-    Baking pan:  Pan wrapped with foil and base lined with baking paper.  Bake on the lowest rack in a water bath.  (Don’t grease the side)

1.    Cream cheese (10 sec) using mixer and than add sugar until light (30 sec – 1 min)
2.    Add in egg yolks, one at a time and mix well after each addition.
3.    Preheat Oven with boiling water for water bath.
4.    Heat  milk and oil in microwave for 20 sec, immediately stir with balloon whisk and add into the cheese mixture (step 2).
5.    Mix the juice and lemon zest in,  then followed by sifted flour with balloon whisk.  Put aside.
6.    Whisk egg whites at medium speed until soft peak formed, add in sugar and cream of tartar and whisk until stiff.
7.    Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cheese mixture (step 5), gentlely mix well.  Repeat the same for remaining the egg whites.
8.    Pour into the prepared pan and bake in water bath in a preheated oven at 150* for 1 hr 20 mins or until the centre is set and golden brown.
9.    Leave the cake to cool.  Remove the cake from pan and chill in fridge for 4-5 hours before serving.  

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sheryl !!

Just returned from Beijing yesterday morning, although I still felt tired after the past midnight flight, I couldn't stop myself to bake this Strawberry Shortcake for my dearest eldest daughter as it's her birthday today - Aug 1st!! 
Happy Birthday, Sheryl.  I love you!
I realized that the strawberry I bought this time round was quite sour, I should have top up some sugar to enhance its sweetness as it didn't turn out as delicious as the previous bakes.  Apart from this, the cake was great as the sponge cake continued to keep up its standard!  
As usual, we kept this type of celebration small, we went to Lemon Grass restaurant for lunch and then followed by birthday cake celebration at home.  With the school opening, my daughter had to head to her hostel after that.  Although I felt a bit depressing as I could only see her at weekend, hope that she grows wiser and becomes more independent after staying outside. 
 Feel sooo good to be back at home especially when my family is around.  The recent travels really makes me tired, sick and phobia, perhaps it's too frequent or may be I've aged and no longer looking forward to this ...  however, when the job calls for, I have no choice to accept it...I guess this is life!

If you like this birthday cake, please follow this link to retrieve the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake recipe . Hope you enjoy.  Cheer!


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