Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pandan Layer Cake with (i) Red Bean and (ii) Cheese

One of my hubby's colleagues was asked to go (retrenchment) due to company down sizing.  She is already in her 60 and obviously, the company was trying to let the eldest employees to go if possible.  As she has a peculiar taste, she cannot tolerate butter and cheese and therefore, most of the time, those cakes that my hubby brought to the office, she could hardly eat them as butter and cheese were the common ingredient in most of my bakes. 

She hinted to my hubby that she might not have chance to try any of my cake.  I felt bad about her leaving and therefore, decided to bake her a special one.  Since she doesn't take butter and cheese, I think Pandan cake would fit the bill.  I used the same Pandan Red Bean Swiss Roll recipe but instead of swiss roll, I bake into a round layer cake.  My hubby told me that she was so touched and she liked this cake so much!  I am happy to hear about it and hope she enjoys her retirement gracefully.

For this bake, I used 6 eggs instead of 4 and therefore, it yield two 7" round cake.  Since I used one of them for the above mentioned Pandan Red Bean Layer Cake, for the remaining, I wanted to try some new flavor.  I browsed online and found this recipe - Pandan Chiffon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  I had never tried this combination before but this looks similar to the Bengawan Sols's Pandan Cheese Swiss Roll, it gives a savory taste.  Frankly speaking, it's unique, you either you like it or not.  For me, I don't really appreciate such unique taste but some of my friends like it. 

For the 7" of sponge cake (same recipe as the Pandan swiss roll), I used the following amount of cheese filling.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

-          125 g Cream cheese

-          75 g Butter, soften

-          2 tsp icing sugar, sifted

-          120 g Processed cheddar cheese, grated

Chocolate Cream Layer Cake

I think I had exhausted lately,  I felt so tired, guess I don't have enough and good sleep ..  盲. 忙. 盲 is best described how I am now!  Sometimes, I don't know why I was so busy ...

I was out for business trip to Beijing this week and met up with some of my oversea colleagues.  All of them told me that  I looked so burnt out this time..  I guess so .. prior to this trip, during the weekend, I was very busy to church out the two birthday cakes for my daughters' friend and another one for my hubby's friend, and thereafter, I had to rush for the business travel.  Life is so hectic !

I know I can't continue with such hectic life style for too long as I will not be able to sustain for long ... may be I should slow down or give up baking and blogging as that will allow me to have more time for myself to rest during the weekend ..but on another hand, if I slow down/give up, life can be very meaningless and miserable without a hobby ..

I need to rethink on how to manage my worklife and not to over exhaust myself.  Definitely, now, I know I need a break .. I just want to let loose and hang around without doing anything ...

These two cakes were baked last week for my daughters' friend birthday.  I didn't know how it turned out  but both birthday girls loved it.  

Recipe:
Method:
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy (about 1-2 mins)
  2. Add praline into few portions and then follow by icing sugar.  Mix till incorporated.
  3. Slice the sponge cake into 3 layers.  Spread the cheese mixture over all the layers and side, and then cover with chocolate rasps.  Decor as desired.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ricotta Cheesecake

One of my colleagues loved the New York Cheesecake that I baked and had asked me to bake for her family's birthday previously.  Unfortunately, the timing wasn't right that time as I had an oversea trip to make. 

Lately, she craved for the New York Cheesecake and asked me whether I would bake again.  Since I had to go into office to meet up some of other colleagues for lunch,  I committed to bake her one the next day given that it didn't take long to prepare for this bake.

However, I realized that my version of New York Cheesecake called for Cottage Cheese which I normally don't keep any stock at home.  Since NTUC is just near my house, I decided to make a trip to get.  Too bad, it's not my day, I had no luck as the stock ran out that day. 

On the following weekend,  when I did my routine grocery shopping in NTUC, I was so excited when I saw a tub of similar Cottage Cheese, I grasped it without hesitation.  After returning home, I realized I made a big blunder,  what I bought was Ricotta Cheese.  Aiyo! What a stupid mistake!

Since the Ricotta Cheese had been bought, I had to find a recipe to use it up  sooner as its life span was short.  As usual, I browsed through the recipes online and finally tracked down one which was from Joy of Baking.com.  This is the first time I used Ricotta Cheese for baking, therefore, I had no idea how it would turn out.   As a matter of fact, Ricotta Cheesecake tends to be much lighter as compare to Cream Cheese's, this could be the reason most of the recipes I saw online go with fruit topping.  I was too lazy to prepare any topping so I just left it plain.  Personally, I don't like the texture, it's fluffy, less dense, less creamier, I felt like I was eating custard.  Based on what I had gathered, it's supposed to be a healthier dessert but it's not to my liking, I don't enjoy.  

Despite some disapointment, I think it's a good try and well ... most importantly, I have finally get rid of the tub of Ricotta Cheesecake !! :P

For those who like lighter cheesecake, I believe this might suit you.   For recipe, here you go ..

P.S.  I cut half of the recipe since I only had a small tub of Ricotta Cheese.   Enjoy Baking!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pandan Red Bean Swiss Roll

 I made this swiss roll because I need to get rid of the whipping cream.  Sigh!  I bought the 1 liter size because my younger daughter requested me to bake a cake for her friend's birthday. However, she mixed up the date as she thought it was last weekend Despite I used it for Mango and Chocolate Swiss rolls, it still left a lot.   Given that whipping cream can't last more than a week after open, I had to make some more stuffs, else I had to dump into the dust bin.  Such a waste!

One of colleague told me that Bangawan Solo had very nice Pandan Cheese Roll, I purposely bought a piece to compare with this recipe.  I asked my family to be the judges and give me their preference, all pointed to this except my younger daughter as she preferred cheese filling.  I think this sponge cake is very tasty, if this goes with cream cheese filling, it'll be superb!

 
Here you go .. Recipe adopted from Alex Goh with some modifications.

Ingredients:
  • 4 egg yolks   
  • 60g oil                             }microwave for 30 sec
  • 60g coconut milk           }
  • 1/2 tsp Pandan essence
  • 1/2 tsp Pandan juice
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 60g cake flour                  } sift together
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder      }
  • pinch of salt
  • 4egg whites
  • 70g sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Preparation:
- Line a baking tray (12" x 12") with parchment paper and greased it again. Preheat oven to 175*C.
 
Method:
  1. Microwave oil and coconut milk for 30 sec.   Set aside.
  2. Beat the egg yolks till pale and fluffy (about 3 mins).
  3. Pour step 1 (oil and coconut milk) in and mixed well. 
  4. Add in pandan essence, pandan juice and corn syrup.  Mix till combined.
  5. Add in flour, baking powder and salt a few separate portions and stir till combined.  Set aside.
  6. In another mixing bowl, beat the egg white and add sugar and cream of tartar  gradually till mixture is stiff peaks (about 3 mins).  
  7. Take 1/3 egg whites, add into yolk mixture (step 5), fold gently till incorporated.  Repeat the same till remaining egg white finishes.
  8. Pour the batter into the baking tray (12" x 12") .  Bake at 175*C for 18-20 mins.   
  9. Remove the parchment paper and leave it cool.
   
Filling Ingredient
- 250g whipped cream 
-  1 canned of Japanese red bean (rinse if too sweet and drain away water)

To Assemble:
  1. Spread the whipped cream onto the sponge cake, sprinkle red bean over and gently roll into row. 
  2. Chill in the fridge to allow the swiss roll to set. 

Mango Cheese Swiss Roll

This is another swiss roll I made.  I brought it to office, some of my colleagues loved it, some commented not sweet enough.  I do have the same view.  I'll add a bit more sugar in my next attempt.




Chocolate Crunchy Peal Swiss Roll

I had baked a few different types of swiss rolls last week but somehow, I couldn't find a time to post it.  Since I can't spend too much time on blog lately, I'll let the pictures to do the talking.

 
My initial intention was to bake a simple chocolate swiss roll with crunchy pearl but somehow the taste wasn't strong enough and not to my expectation, I therefore spread with a layer of chocolate garnish.  I was glad I made a right choice!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Valcanoes Cupcakes

Why this cake calls Volcanoes?  Sound interesting?  In fact, this is just moist chocolate cupcake with creamy creamcheese in the center.  The creamy cheesecake in the center is like the lava in the volcano that erupts during the process of baking. 

This recipe is taken from a Cheesecake cookbook from Mac Woo and June Lee.  They are both very young patissiers but already own a few cafes/outlets in Singapore.  Although they graduated from Architecture discipline , their forgo their building professional career and go forward to pursue their passion in cheesecake business , they are the founders of Obolo (www.obolo.com.sg) now.

I admired their determination and wonder whether I will give up my career to pursue baking career one day ?? Still thinking hard about this ... 

There are many cheesecakes and cheese desserts shown in this book, all look very interesting and appealing.  Frankly speaking, I bought this book for more than 9 months and had not tried any recipe until this one. 

As I have left over creamcheese from the Devil's cheesecake, to get rid all the remaining, I modified this recipe a bit.  For the cream cheese filling, I increased the portion to 1.7 times but cut down 10% of the sugar.  For the butter chocolate cake, I only increased it to 1.3 times (also cut down 10% of the sugar).   I believe this combination will give the cupcake richer and creamier.   This recipe can yield 12 medium cups.

Verdict:  This cake is similar to the chocolate swirl cheesecake that I baked before but it's lighter and less greasy.  I personally prefer this.  Yummy!!

I wanted to share this recipe to you guys but there is copyright reserved and not to be reproduced.  If you are interested in trying this recipe, you can get this cookbook from any bookstore.  Cheer!

Devil's Cheesecake

I am so envious of my China colleges as everyone is having a week of golden week holiday this week.  Such super long break!!  China has at least two long breaks a year, beside this, the other one is Chinese New Year.  How nice if this happens in Singapore!!

Actually, I should be blessed as I have also benefited from this holiday.  All the China calls have been cancelled and what this mean is I just need to deal with the US and Europe this week, the activity during the day has significantly cut down and that gives me the opportunity to slow down and enjoy a more relaxing working week.  Such a bliss!

I always find a hassle when I buy a bigger box (1000ml) of whipping cream as it's difficult to use up unless I do a few cream or chocolate cakes in a row.  However, if I don't buy the bigger box, it will cost more to get a few of the smaller boxes.   To get rid of this left over whipping cream that bought to make my mum's birthday cake, I found this recipe - Devil's Cheesecake.  Since it's named as"devil", I expected this to be something special or unique.  However, it's disappointing as nothing really special, it's just a lighter version of chocolate cheesecake with chocolate frosting.  I don't really like the texture, it's neither here nor there,  not cotton-like or dense.  Although it's not up to my expectation, generally, my family do like it.

If you don't like creamy and rich cheesecake, this recipe may suit you.. Here you go.

Ingredients:
(Recipe adopted from Alex Goh - Fantastic Cheesecake)

Cake Base (8" spring form tin):
  • 100g digestive biscuits
  • 3/4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 50g melted butter (microwave for 20 sec)
MethodCrush biscuits with a rolling pin, add in cocoa powder and brown sugar,  and then stir in melted butter.  Mix well.  Press the biscuits onto the tin till firm. Put aside.

Filling:
  •  30g milk                             } (A)
  • 100g dark chocolate      }
  • 250g creamcheese
  • 40g brown sugar
  • 20g flour
  • 2.5 egg yolks
  • 100 whipping cream
  • 2.5 egg whites                     } (B)
  • 50g sugar                            }
  • pinch of cream of tartar }
Method:
  1. Preheat oven at 160*C for min 15 mins.
  2. Place milk into a heavy duty pot and bring to boil.  Off fire and throw in chocolate.  Rest for a min and then stir chocolate till smooth. Put aside - (A).
  3. Beat creamcheese and brown sugar until light.  
  4. Add in flour and cream till well blended.
  5. Add egg yolk one at a time and mix till well combined. 
  6. Add in whipping cream and cream until smooth. 
  7. Add in melted dark chocolate (A) and mix till well combined.  Put aside.
  8. Whip egg whites till bubbly, and crea of tartar and sugar into a few portions.  Whip until stiff and then add into cheese mixture from step 7.  Mix until well incorporated.
  9. Pour the cheese filling into the prepared base, bake at water bath at 160*C for 80-90 mins or until firm.  
  10. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.  Chill for 5 hours.
  11. Remove the cake from the tin.  Cover the cake with ganache (pls refer to following instruction) and decor as desired.


Ganache

  • 75g whipping cream
  • 125g dark chocolate

Method:  Bring cream to boil and off fire.  Add in chocolate and rest for a min.  Stir till smooth and set aside to cool and then chill in fridge for 2 hours or until set.  Remove it from the fridge and whip it until light and fluffy.  (P.S.  I didn't chill the ganache in fridge and  whip till light and fluffy, I just let it set and frost onto the cake).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Easy Pizza - Hawaiian and Ham with Mushroom

Am I crazy ? This is my second pizza bake within less than 10 days.  I guess I must be too excited about how easy the pizza can be done without the hassle of making the dough !!

This time round, I bake two new flavors :- Hawaiian and Ham with Mushroom.  I used 4 wraps for 2 flavors but as my family is small eater except my hubby,  I kept 3 for our own consumption and  the remaining gave to my neighbor. Somehow, Ham with Mushroom pizza is still our preference.  Anyway, they are all good. 

What I used to bake these pizzas?  Here you go ...

Hawaiian Ingredients:  Gardenia WrapsItalian pasta sauce,  Ham, canned pineapple (cut into small pieces), Onion (fried till fragrant), mozzarella cheese, grated cheese (sprinkle on top)

Ham with MushroomGardenia WrapsItalian pasta sauce, Ham, Mushroom (saute), Onion (fried till fragrant), mozzarella cheese, grated cheese (sprinkle on top)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy 75th Birthday!!

My mum was celebrating her 75th birthday last weekend and I again volunteered to bake her a cake .  Since I just returned from a holiday, I wanted something less elaborate and not take up too much of my time.  

I had baked her Mango, Durian and Yam creamcakes before, I think this time round, I should bake a Strawberry Shortcake.  I preferred to buy strawberry that imported from Korea as it's much sweeter but it seems  not a season now. The strawberry that I used were imported from USA, it was quite sour and therefore, the cake didn't turn out as nice as the previous one. 

My mum's birthday celebration is usually simple, basically, we just went for a big meal and had a cake cutting ceremony after that.  Although it's simple, I think it's meaningful as it's the time to meet up with every family members.  

We had a wonderful dinner together and I love you, mum!! 
Happy Birthday and 长命百岁! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Easy BBQ Chicken Pizza

Although I have returned from vacation coming for a week, it seems I am still in the catch up mode.  Time seems no enough.  The trip to "Dong Bei" China was pretty hectic as we traveled 3 provinces within 7 days.   I was quite disappointed with some of the spots but overall, I think the trip is still considered as "ok".   I will share the photos with you guys when I have time.

Now, I just want to share an easy pizza recipe.   I saw this Gardenia Wraps from FairPrice lately and it indicated that it's ideal for use as wraps, pizza base or served with dips.  Since making the pizza dough takes time, I decided to try this up.

 
I used the same BBQ Chicken topping recipe as I did before as it's our family favorite.   After spreading the BBQ Chicken topping and cheese over the wrap, in 8 mins time, you can enjoy a delicious pizza.  I find the wrap tastes better than normal pizza crust because it's very thin.  Since it's not expensive and so convenience to get in any suprmart, I can make pizza more often than before.   Hooray !!!

If you find BBQ Chicken more work, you can try any other topping like ham, bacon, etc.   Easy right?

How to do?

BBQ Chicken Topping Ingredient (for 3 wraps portion) 
- 40g Butter }
- 1 onion - cut into cubes or slices } Pre-cook together
- 500g chicken breast - diced }
- 4 tbsp BBQ sauce }
- 4 tbsp Italian pasta sauce
- 200g button mushroom - sliced and saute
- 1/4 green pepper - cut into cubes
- pinch of black pepper

Method
1. In a frying plan, heat up butter and stir fry onion till fragrant before adding chicken.
2. Add in BBQ sauce to cook with chicken. Let it dry out or till sauce thicken.
3. Scoop up the BBQ chicken and set aside.
4. Scoop 1-1.5 tbsp of pasta sauce and spread over onto each wrap evenly.
5. Sprinkle with the cheese, top with BBQ chicken, mushroom and green pepper. Sprinkle some black pepper and then drizzle with a bit of BBQ sauce. Last, sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
6. Bake at 20*C (with fan) for 8 mins or till cheese turns golden.

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