Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

I baked these a couple of months back, when blueberries were in season. A really versatile buttermilk cake, with a light tender crumb & subtle tang from the buttermilk. It is perfect on its own (moist and flavourful, without the need for any glaze/frosting) & very, very addictive!
In the heat of the oven, the cakes rose perfectly & became a gorgeous golden hue. With pockets of blueberries releasing their juices & leaving deep-purple trails behind that tasted alot like slow-cooked blueberry jam. Mmm...Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
adapted from Gourmet Magazine's Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

150g organic cake flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t sea salt
60g unsalted french butter
100g organic demerara sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
130ml buttermilk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 180C. Sift dry ingredients together. On medium speed, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well to combine. On low speed, add in dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in blueberries. Pour the batter into cake pans & bake. My mini-loaf pans took about 20 min to bake.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Granola Bars

Home-made granola bars has been on my list for ages and now I'm finally onto it! This combination was absolutely yuumm. These granola bars are packed with natural & organic ingredients, with an unmistakable hint of rich caramel. Very very moreish.
Once baked and cooled, they were sliced into bars and wrapped in waxed paper. The granola bars were not hard/crunchy like the nature valley ones, but rather toothsome & chewy. (like an oatmeal cookie) I'm going to make another batch soon, but this time with a nice chocolate glaze (: (:

Home-made Granola Bars

Mix together:
2 C Nuts, lightly toasted (I used a mix of Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Pecans)
1/3 C each of Pepitas, Sunflower kernels, Black sesames and Golden flax
2 C rolled oats
1/2 C quick cooking oats
1/4 C wheat germ
1 C of dried fruits (Cranberries, Raisins, Dates)
Sea saltHeat until melted and smooth:
1/3 C each of olive oil, unrefined molasses sugar, fresh milk, honey
3 T Tahini
whisk in:
1 egg white

Combine both and mix well. Press into a 13x9 inch pan and bake at 170C for 20 min.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Banana Walnut Tea Cake

I made this a while back, but never got the time to post. A really simple and homely banana & walnut cake. We had slices of cake for tea, with a little cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries.
Banana & Walnut Tea Cake
3 large bananas, mashed
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 egg
90g brown sugar
180g whole wheat + cake flour
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
3/4 C toasted walnuts, chopped

Combine mashed bananas, egg, butter, vanilla and sugar. Sift dry ingredients. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in walnuts and bake at 375F for 35 min.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mocha Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I love cupcakes. Their really a cinch to make, fun to decorate and really easy to give away (especially to a certain group of greedy monkeys) . So I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes but this time added some freshly brewed espresso and a nice shot of kahlua into the batter. They (the greedy monkeys at the park) absolutely loved it. Topped with a swirl of Swiss Meringue buttercream, it was a dream.
Mocha Cupcakes
replace milk/water in the recipe with freshly brewed espresso. Add a shot (or two) of kahlua (coffee liqueur)

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
90g sugar
2 large egg whites
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 t vanilla
90g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa

Whisk the egg whites with sugar over a bain marie until warm. Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in volume. Add the vanilla. Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip. When amalgamated and smooth, whisk in the melted dark chocolate.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chocolate Valentino

I seriously can't believe that its the end of February. School has been really hectic and I couldn't find any time for myself, let alone time to bake. :/

Anyway, I finally completed it since this Daring Bakers' Challenge was pretty straight forward and simple. A flourless chocolate cake, served with home-made ice-cream. I paired the warm chocolate cake with a salted-caramel & almond ice cream. Overall, it was a really good combination and we really liked it alot. However, the cake had a rather weak structure and wasn't very easy to slice at all. But the flavour of the cake was intense! I used 72% cocoa chocolate and boy did it taste divine. It was moist, chocolaty and really really fudgy. (: (: (:

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. They have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Chocolate Valentino
adapted from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick plus 2 T unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated

Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water and melt, stirring often. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed.With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F
Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cream Puffs

I'm a sucker for cream puffs and nothing here in sg can beat the ones I've tasted in japan. Two of my favourites were the Matcha Cream Puffs and the ones from Hokkaido. They were absolutely delicious, from the indulgent fillings to the ultra-light choux pastry.This was going to be my first attempt at making cream puffs, & I was prepared for any impending kitchen disaster. I started off by making creme patisserie. When the vanilla bean was thorougly infused into the rich custard and I added a shot of brandy for some kick. I could say the Pâte à choux came through without a hitch and I was busy piping away. They baked up perfectly with the signature hollow interiors and crisp shells.
For dessert that night, the cream puffs were a winner. (Even if they would never ever match up to with those from japan) To speak the truth, these aren't your everyday 'healthy desserts', but I guess they are very very worth the extra calories. (:

Pâte à choux

Recipe adapted from Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot

155ml water
125ml whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter
2 T sweetened condensed milk
1/2 t salt
152 g all purpose flour
4 large eggs

Place the first 5 ingredients and bring to a boil. Add the flour all at once. Stir with a heatproof spatula until a smooth mass forms. Keep cooking over moderate heat, about 4-5 min.Transfer dough to mixing bowl. With the paddle attachment, beat at medium speed to release steam. At low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated between additions. The dough should look smooth and glossy. When you lift up some of the dough with a spatula it should take 5-7 seconds to fall back into the bowl. Transfer the batter into a piping bag and pipe onto a non-stick baking sheet. Sprinkle roughly chopped almonds on top. Bake in a pre-heated 400F oven for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 350F to continue baking for about 20 minutes more.

Creme Patisserie

275ml whole milk
100g vanilla sugar/caster sugar
2 egg yolks
half a vanilla bean, split & scraped
20g cornstarch
30g unsalted french butter
30ml brandy (optional)

Bring the milk, vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. (Let the mixture stand to infuse) Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale & thickened. Whisk in cornstarch and blend well. Temper the egg yolks with the hot milk and return to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture thickens, remove from heat. When cooled, whisk in butter and brandy. Strain the mixture before placing in the fridge.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Baked Nian Gao

Every Lunar New Year, my mother would slice the block of nian gao (sticky glutinuous rice cake) and fry them with sweet potatoes or yam. Freshly out of the deep-fryer, the golden brown nuggets were a delicious combination of sticky, sweet and crispy. The warm gooey nian gao would ooze out and fill your mouth with its caramelised goodness. Yumm.
This year, I decided to give our favourite party finger food a twist. Instead of coating it in batter and deep frying it, I opted to sandwich the niangao between 2 pre-baked japanese sweet potato slices and rolling them in panko. (japanese breadcrumbs)
After it has been baked to a light golden colour, these 'balls' are absolutely delicious. The coating in panko gives it a delicate crunch. Definitely,not as oily and heavy as the traditional deep fried version.

Baked Nian Gao
Nian Gao, divided into golf-ball sized rounds
Japanese Sweet Potatoes, sliced
1 cup of Panko
1 egg, lightly beaten
Olive Oil, as needed

Using lighty-oil hands, divide the niangao into rounds. If your niangao is firm, cut them into thick pieces. Place the sweet potato slices on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Toss to coat. Bake in a oven preheated to 350F for 15 mins, until cooked & tender.

Sandwich a piece of niangao between 2 sweet potato slices and press firmly. Dip into the egg and then coat with panko. Repeat by dipping into the egg and then dredging in panko. Place the panko-coated niangao on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 15 min or more until golden.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lemon-Lime Curd

I've never ever made curd/jam/preserves of any kind before, so this was something new. Taking a cue from the many lemon limes lying around, I went about juicing & zesting them. The end result was a luscious & tangy concoction, perfect for spreading on toasted brioche. I'm just thinking of the many ways I use this curd in: swirled into cheesecake, spooned into tart shells, as a cupcake filling or slathered and rolled into a roulade.
Lemon-Lime Curd
adapted from Pierre Hermé's recipe for Lemon Cream.

100ml fresh lime juice
1 egg
5 T caster sugar or vanilla sugar
lime zest
2 T french unsalted butter

Place sugar and lime zest in a non-reactive saucepan. Rub the lime zest and sugar until the fragrance is thoroughly imbued & sugar crystals become moist. Pour in lime juice and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Whisk the egg and gradually pour in hot syrup to temper. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook until mixture reaches 180F. Cool and strain into a large bowl. Once the curd reaches 30C ( or room temperature) , whisk in the butter. Whisk vigorously until the curd is smooth.
Thank goodness for my infra-red thermometer! No need to clean/wash and best of all, it registers the temperature in a matter of seconds. Just point and viola!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Warm Mocha Tart

I had a post-it on this recipe for a really long time, so I thought I would bake this today. It was really really easy-made in less than 30 min? Taste-wise, the tart was rich & chocolaty with a very luxurious mouthfeel. The filling was silky smooth and absolutely delicious.
Warm Mocha Tart
Recipe adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich. The tart dough was a pâte sucré made some time back and kept in the freezer. You will need a 9 inch fluted tart pan.

3 T unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 t instant espresso powder
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten

Place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and cream in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is blended and smooth and begins to simmer around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the espresso powder and vanilla. Just before the crust is ready, whisk the egg thoroughly into the hot chocolate mixture. Pour the filling into the hot crust and turn off the oven. Leave the tart in the oven until it quivers like tender Jell-O in the center when the pan is nudged, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Triple-Layer Carrot Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

I was set on making a carrot cake after trying one that was plain nasty. It was stodgy & dry, and the frosting practically jumped of the cake in layers. Since I'm on a self-imposed ban on chocolaty & calorific stuff, I figured that if carrot cake contain a vegetable, they must be quite healthy for you right? This cake is also for this month's theme challenge (layer cakes) at bakebakebake.
So I whipped out my new mixer and prepared my mise en place. As usual, I fiddled around with my last carrot cake recipe to make things, well, more low-fat.
Triple-Layer Carrot Cake
A lighter/less fattening version of the perennial favourite carrot cake.

360g unbleached flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground cloves or allspice
1/2 t sea salt
250g brown sugar
3 eggs
3 T honey
125 ml olive oil
450g grated carrots
1 C walnuts, rum-soaked raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together dry ingredients. On medium speed, beat eggs and sugar until thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually pour in the olive oil and beat until thoroughly emulsified. Add the honey and mix well. Toss the grated carrots, raisins and nuts into the dry ingredients to coat the carrots with flour. Using a large spatula, fold that into egg mixture. Divide the batter into cake pans and bake for 35 min until golden.

Cinnamon-Rum Syrup
Combine 1 t ground cinnamon and 3 T sugar and 3 T water. Cook until dissolved & syrupy.

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
350g cream cheese
70g unsalted butter
200g confectioner's sugar
60 ml lime juice
vanilla extract to taste

Beat everything together until smooth. Chill for 1/2 hour.

To assemble:
Slice cakes horizontally into layers. Brush the layers with cinnamon-rum syrup. Fill & frost the cake with cream cheese frosting. Chill 1 hour until cake is set. I also sliced some fresh nectarines to decorate the top.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dog Treats

After our vacation when we got Milo back, I realised he sort of shrank. Well, he is already a miniature jrt, weighing in at only a mere 3.5kg. Furthermore, while we were away, he accidentally got his right paw caught between the elevator door. So, I made some oatmeal treats as little 'pick-me-ups'.
Milo was a mild allergy to wheat, so I whizzed some organic rolled oats in a foodmill to make oat flour. I usually have potatoes on hand, but you can use carrots instead.

Dog Treats
1 C organic rolled oats
1 medium potato
1/2 to 3/4 C milk or water
2 T olive oil

Whizz the rolled oats until finely ground to make oat flour. Boil the potato in water (no salt!) until tender. Cool briefy before peeling and mashing. Add the mashed potato to the oat flour and knead until a crumbly dough forms. Add oilve oil and enough milk/water until a pilable to work. (the amount of milk needed will vary). Let the dough rest for 10 mins. Roll the dough out to desired thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out as many cookies possible. Use flaxseeds to make eyes/nose. Brush the treats with additional milk and bake in a oven, preheated to 350F. Bake it until dry and crunchy, about 20 min.

These keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Or you could share them like we did!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes

These Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes were made some time back when my sister asked me to bake cupcakes for a friend's birthday. These cupcakes always come out perfect & the buttermilk gives it a delicious tang. I mixed up some chocolate ganache frosting & added some colourful sprinkles on top.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
this is my no-fail recipe for vanilla cupcakes. moist, buttery & golden cupcakes everytime!

245g (1 3/4 cups) cake flour
1/2 t salt ( I used Pink Himalayan Salt)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter
110g (1 cup) sugar
2 large eggs
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (alternatively, use half sour cream & half milk)

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together cake flour, salt, baking soda & baking powder. Set aside. Beat softened butter until creamy, then add sugar. With the mixer on medium speed, cream the mixture until light & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. On low speed, add 1/3 of the dry mixture followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat, ending with adding in the last 1/3 of dry mixture. Beat just to incorporate.
Portion batter into 12 cupcake liners and bake for 20 min, until golden. A tester inserted should come out clean. Cool for 5 min before turning out onto a wire rack.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting
a really simple ganache. rich, dark & delicious.

220g good-quality dark chocolate (I used one with 72% cocoa)
1 C heavy cream
1-3 T sugar (add according to preference)
1 T unsalted butter
optional: 1 T liqueur (rum, brandy, bailey's, kalua)

Chop the chocolate into evenly sized small pieces. Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate. Let it sit for about 3 min before whisking until smooth. Add butter and liqueur (if using) and sugar to taste. Allow the ganache to cool, it will thicken up.

Once cooled, frost the cupcakes with a generous dollop of ganache.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

C is for Cookie

Made these chocolate chunk & almond oatmeal cookies again today for those lazybums coming over to watch recorded episodes of thelittlenyonya. Crispy at the edges and almost chewy in the middle, these delectable cookies are chockful of dark chocolate chunk and chopped almonds.

Stella baked Devil's Food Cupcakes for us to take to the airport. Thank goodness for those, if not I wouldn't have survived the flight. (gross airplane food) They were really good!

Chocolate Chunk & Almond Oatmeal Cookies
250g rolled oats
100g plain flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
170g unsalted butter
180g Demarara sugar
1 egg
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
120g almonds, toasted & chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.Mix together oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix in chocolate chunks and almonds, toss gently to coat. In a seperate bowl, cream butter & sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Add egg and vanilla, beating to combine. Fold in dry ingredients by hand until incorporated. (Using a mixer here, might cause over-mixing)
Portion batter using an ice-cream scoop/teaspoon onto a baking sheet. Flatten the cookies slightly. Bake the cookies for about 10-15 min, depending on the size, until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.