Monthly Archives: August 2011

Chocolate Eclairs

Do you ever feel that sometimes people want you to be afraid. They wish fear upon you and although they say otherwise, they mostly don’t ever mean for you to feel better. And fear seems to be a while lot easier to learn than un-learn. Bravery are for those who stand up and say “You know what? Just go away.”

Then will we be left alone? Without these someones around. Suddenly you feel that maybe fear’s okay, better than being alone. But what would the brave ones say?

Don’t know; I don’t have the answer yet. All I can do is make an attempt at doing something difficult, to raise my bravery status. I tried to make baked vegan doughnuts but that was a flop. Chocolate eclairs are a lot cooperative. They even keep creamy secrets. And the dunking of chocolate is therapeutic; so’s the eating too.

Pate a Choux (adapted from Joanna Chang’s Flour Bakery Cookbook)

1 cup GF flour blend
2 tbsp corn flour
1/4 tsp xantham gum
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup warm water
4 eggs

1) Preheat oven to 200°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper or Silpat.

2) In a medium bowl, mix the flours and xantham gum together

3) In a medium saucepan, mix the butter, water and sugar together. Set over a medium flame and heat until butter is melted. Do not bring to a boil as the water will evaporate.

4) Immediately pour the flour mix into the butter mixture and stir to combine (I use a wooden spoon for this). It will come together in a ball and keep ‘roasting’ it by pushing the ball around the pan. Once you see an even film of coating over the bottom of the pan, remove the pot from heat and tip the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, beat the dough for 2 minutes to cool it down.

5) Beat the eggs in one at a time. It will look like it’ll never come together and be smooth but it will after the addition of the last egg. Keep beating until you get a smooth custardy looking batter. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 12mm round tip and pipe 5cm logs on your baking paper. Bake for 15minutes before reducing the temperature to 160°C and bake for 25-30 minutes until it’s golden brown. This ensures the insides dry out properly.

6) Remove from tray and allow to cool completely before filling and dipping the tops into chocolate ganache.

Custard Cream Filling

1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk
2 tbsp GF flour blend
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp rum

3/4 cup whipping cream

1) Heat the milk in a medium sauce over a medium flame.

2) In another bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolk, flour and sugar together.

3) When the milk is almost at a boil, pour it slowly into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Strain the mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan. Heat over a small-medium flame, whisking constantly until it starts to thicken (3-4 minutes). Once it resembles a watery custard, remove from heat, pour into a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the custard and allow to chill for 2-3 hours.

4) Once it’s completely chilled, whip the cream until firm peaks form. Fold it into the custard. Use it to fill the eclairs.

Chocolate Ganache

150g couverture chocolate, 55%
120ml heavy cream

1) Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until almost boiling. Pour the cream into the chocolate in 2 additions, stirring gently between each once. Allow to cool to room temperature, until ganache is slightly firm but still liquid enough to coat the eclairs evenly.

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Filed under Chocolate, Custard, Pastry, Recipes

Hummingbird Cupcakes

I like Katy Perry and all the electric bubblegum pop magic she does. She makes me want to boogie.

Okay, she probably won’t say the word boogie. Maybe something a little more down like…party. Yes, that’s it. She makes me wish every night was Friday night.

I like Ke$ha too. Or as the principal in Glee says…. “K dollar sign HA”. Love.

Fred has basically lumped my song choices into the category of trashy pop. He’s just jealous I get to admit I’m the biggest Top 40 freak, grooving to Britney and Christina. Once, I even made a tee that said I heart Britney and Christina. Trust me, when you grow up having to pick a side, it was a big deal to blatantly say hot damn, I love ’em both.

I’m applying this to cream cheese frosting. You need to pick sides; sweet or sour. But do we really need to argue about this? Can’t we all just get along? I’m in Camp Sweet when it comes to my red velvets (no vanilla buttercream for me!) and then hop over to Camp Sour for carrot cake. Then, I’m definitely in Camp Sweet & Sour for banana cake and hummingbird cake. Are you as dead-set on this as I am?

So, two days ago, I was craving cream cheese frosting. And I needed a cake to go along with it. So I made Hummingbird Cupcakes. Only thing is that I think I should’ve added more pineapple because it’s more like a banana cupcake with pineapple. Hummingbird cake is essentially that but, the ratio was a little off. Bottomline: add more pineapple if you’re wanting more hummingbird than banana.

Hummingbird Cupcakes (adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

2 cups GF flour blend
1/2 cup GF oat flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 cup caster sugar
270g banana, mashed
100g pineapple rings, chopped into small chunks (add more if desired)
3 eggs
300ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 18 muffin holes with paper liners.

2) In a bowl, mix the flours and baking soda together.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium-high until it’s thick and tripled in volume. Slowly add in the oil and vanilla extract, beat until emulsified.

4) Change the whisk attachment to a paddle attachment and beat in the flour in 3 additions. Add in the mashed banana and mix well. Add in the pineapple chunks, mix to combine.

5) Divide the batter between the muffin holes and bake for 20-23 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

250g cream cheese, softened slightly
80g butter, softened slightly
2-3 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2 cups icing sugar together until creamy. Add in the cream cheese and lemon juice. Beat well. Keep adding in the icing sugar if the frosting is too soft. Frost cupcakes!

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Filed under Breakfast, Cupcakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes

Citrus Loaf with Mascarpone & Yoghurt

Women love men who make them laugh. Apparently men don’t find that as important in a female. Is that how I rationalise my love for Steve Carrell?

Sorry, random thought. DJs over the radio were talking about that.

Wait.

So, what’s the equivalent of funny for women? Knowing the perfect time to laugh? Killer dress sense? Or… being able to cook. But hang on… I find men who like to cook attractive too. So basically, men are easier to appear attractive in comparison to women? It’s true though. Who says we’re a difficult bunch?

Thank god I already have Fred. I don’t think I’ve got enough balls to handle this dating game.

I much prefer eating cake and applying bubblegum pink lip gloss. Doesn’t necessarily have to be in that order.

(That’s my massively cute and annoying little sister who’s got her hands on my cake!)

But I suppose everyone’s got their own ‘deal-maker’. You know, like a dude who loves dogs, or irons all his shirts, prefers Vodka over Bourbon or… knows how to dance? Then there are also the ‘deal-breakers’ which usually fall within the scope of him being a murderer, thinking socks and sandals counts as covered footwear or… refusing to share his dessert.

It’s ok. Here’s a recipe that makes one loaf, enough to make 6 slices, and you don’t have to share. Plus it keeps well, in case you’re spending any nights over at someone else’s home. Or waiting until everyone’s out of the house.

Citrus Loaf

1 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 egg yolks
1.5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon oil
grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup sliced almond

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 8 x 4inch loaf tin with parchment.

2) In a bowl, mix the flours and baking powder together.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.

4) Add in the egg yolks and eggs into the creamed mixture in 3 additions, beating well after each time. Mix in the vanilla, lemon oil, lemon zest and orange zest.

5) Add in the flour and heavy cream alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well until batter is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and scatter the sliced almonds over the cake. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

6) Remove from oven and brush the soaking syrup over the cake.

Orange Soaking Syrup

Juice of 1 large orange
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over a moderate flame, stirring. Reduce the heat and let it reduce until you get a slightly sticky syrup, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Mascarpone & Yoghurt Topping

1/4 cup Mascarpone
1/2 cup Greek Style Yoghurt
2 tbsp icing sugar

1) Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Pink Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Last evening we celebrated our 46th National Day, Singapore’s birthday. For those who are unfamiliar, Singapore’s a little island city located past the tip of Malaysia. We’re not in China and we certainly don’t live in trees (someone asked me this!). I could tell you all the glorious things about Singapore but words aren’t enough to describe it all. Instead, here’s what I like to say…I wish I could HUG Singapore. Give it a big, tight bear hug. I even baked her a cake! It’s (almost) in our national colours; red and white. Plus it’s four layers tall, so grow Singapore, GROW!

National day is a big deal around here. There’s a spectacular parade which ends in a colourful bursting of fireworks. Everyone comes over because you can catch it from our window. It’s a thing we do. And we wear red and white too. It’s very festive and probably the only time I don’t mind wearing the same outfit as the next person. If you reaaalllyy wanted to join in, here’s my favourite National Day song. We have a new one every year, this was from awhile back but it still makes me tear. Watch it here.

Notice the much nicer photos for today’s post? Thanks to my cousin C who’s so handy with his camera, I get an extra pretty blog post today! Such are the perks of having multi-talented individuals as family.

And without further ado, here’s the stunner of a pink cake. The strawberry flavour is all natural, and I’m so pleased the frozen berries managed to impart such a true, true flavour permeating through the fuschia layers. Frozen berries are reliable for being tasty at any time of the year so I’m sticking to them.

Pink Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream
1) Pink strawberry butter cake
2) Vanilla bean buttercream
3) Strawberry puree

Pink Strawberry Butter Cake (adapted from Sky High by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)
*I made a half recipe

1 3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/2 cup oat flour
1 cup sugar
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp strawberry puree (recipe below)
4 egg whites
1/3 cup milk

1) Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line two 6-inch round baking tins with parchment.

2) In the bowl of a standmixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Meanwhile, mix the flours and baking powder in a medium bowl.

3) In another bowl, mix the egg whites and milk together.

4) Add the flour mix and strawberry puree into the creamed butter and mix well (it will look like strawberry icecream!). Add in the egg and milk mixture in 3 additions, mixing well before adding the next. Turn mixer up to medium high and beat for 30 seconds.

5) Divide mixture evenly into the prepared tins and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from baking tin. Let cool completely.

6) To assemble, slice each cake into 2 even layers. Place one layer on the bottom of the plate andspread a layer of strawberry puree on it. Freeze for 10 minutes to allow the puree to set before spreading a layer of vanilla bean buttercream on it. Top with the next layer but this time, spread the vanilla bean buttercream directly on it, no need for strawberry puree. Repeat with the next layer, spreading strawberry puree, freezing and then vanilla buttercream. Top with the final layer and spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake.

Strawberry Puree

3/4 pound frozen strawberries, thawed

1) Blend the berries and it’s juices until you reach a smooth puree. If it’s still semi cold, microwave it in bursts of 15 seconds until it reaches room temperature. Use 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp for the cake.

2) Place the remaining in a small saucepan and reduce over a medium flame, stirring constantly, until get a thickened puree. Remove from heat and let cool.This is for the cake layers.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, softened
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

1) Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a standmixer or heat proof bowl set over a bain marie. Heat the mixture, whilst whisking gently, until you reach 55°C. Remove from heat immediately and whisk on high until you get a thick glossy meringue. (It’ll take about 5-8 minutes by machine and probably 10 by a hand held electric whisk).

2) Beat in the butter using a paddle attachment (I guess you’d continue with the hand held whisk if you’re taking that route) until buttercream comes together into a light but firm consistency. If it looks goopy, just keep whisking! Whisk in vanilla bean seeds. Set aside until ready to frost cake.

 

 

 

 

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Honeycomb and Chocolate Cupcakes

It looks like it’s snowing in tropical Singapore apart from the splashing sound the rain is making against my window. I love it!

Except for the fact that I’m heading out for lunch and I really hate having soggy feet. Platform heels would be a good way of avoiding puddles, until you slip and fall on your bum, and your skirts up in the air. I think I’ll stick to soggy feet for now or maybe invest in wellies. Oooh, I like wellies.

I also like cotton candy. I’m not entirely sure what it is. Pulled sugar? And I love honeycomb. Which also baffles me. Can’t forget about those bubbly Aero bars…how do they do it!? I think we need a Food: Demystified show or something along those lines. Don’t you ever wonder what half the things we find in supermarket are made of? Apart from an ingredient list of modified things I’m pretty sure would gross me out.

Well, for one, honeycomb can be made the all natural way. And I did it! It’s not quite as perfect looking as the commercial stuff (like in Violet Crumble) but it sure is tasty and you still get the signature c-c-crunch. I’ve used smaller shards to decorate and top a batch of vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream. The honeycomb recipe can be found HERE, in my guest post for one of my alltime blog crushes, Cake Spy. The blog is so cute it makes my sweet tooth hurt.

Chocolate Buttercream

80g unsalted chocolate

250g icing sugar, sifted

50g  55% chocolate,melted and cooled

2-3 tbsp milk, room temperature

1) In the bowl of a standmixer, beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth.

2) Add in the cooled chocolate and beat until combined. Add in 2 tablespoons of milk. Beat until smooth. Add in the last tablespoon of milk if icing is too stiff. Frost cupcakes :)

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{100th Post} Melting Nutella Cake

I was thinking of doing a “100 things about me” entry for the 100th entry.

But you would probably be asleep before you’re done with number 20. So let’s just shrink it down to a “10 things about me” post. And if you’re feeling generous and gossipy, you should pull up a chair and join in. Tell me a thing or two about yourself. I hope someone out there reads this. It’ll be a pretty sad one person sharing party. Just sayin’

Okay, in no particular order, here are 10 random things about me.

1) I am petrified of birds. All kinds, even stuffed animals. Even the scary evil goose from Kung Fu Panda 2.

2) My favourite flavour of gelato is pistachio

3) In elementary school, I went through a whole spelling test spelling ‘Simon’ as ‘Simone’.

4) I really, really like milk chocolate.

5) I grew up as a Barbie type of girl. I still am.

6) I don’t like wearing skirts. Denim shorts are my weakness.

7) I find it weird when people I don’t know call me Vic and not by my full name.

8) When I start to get body concious, I remind myself to be thankful that I have all my body parts intact.

9) I can’t lie upside down for too long, or stare at the ceiling for that matter. I get a whirly headache.

10) My boyfriend can’t touch his toes.

Okay, so I cheated. The last one isn’t about me. I couldn’t think of anything else.

But the important thing to note here is that I come with cake. The sort that people like because it’s gooey, creamy and contains chocolate and Nutella. Plus it’s easy to whip up and presents itself as a fairly forgiving dessert even if you get it wrong and say…got distracted by this recipe and left it in the oven 2 minutes too long.

You can even bake this in the morning for breakfast and then warm it up at night while watching re-runs of CSI.

Melting Nutella Cake (adapted from Willie’s Chocolate Bible by Willie Harcourt-Cooze, a birthday gift from some of my loveliest friends)

20g almond meal
2 eggs
90g sugar
90g chocolate, 100% bitterness
75 butter, unsalted
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/3 cup Nutella mixed with 1 tbsp Bailey’s (optional Bailey’s)

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease 6 1/3cup capacity ramekins (or use a jumbo cupcake tin).

2) Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Stir gently until you get a smooth, shiny mixture. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs, vanilla and sugar until the ribbon stage.

4) Fold in the chocolate/butter mixture until almost homogenised. Add in the almond meal and fold until just combined. Spoon 2 tbsp of the mixture into each ramekin. Drop 1 heaping teaspoon of nutella into each cavity and cover with another tablespoon with chocolate mixture. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately with chocolate sauce and icecream!

Chocolate Sauce

60g dark couverture chocolate chips, 55% at least
80g whipping cream

1)Place the chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl.

2) In a small saucepan, heat the cream over a gentle flame until small bubbles start to form. Remove from heat immediately and pour half over the chocolate. Stir gently before adding in the rest of the cream. Stir slowly until chocolate is completely melted and a smooth sauce forms. Use immediately or store in the fridge and warm up in the microwave when needed.

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Cereal Milk and Cookies

Day 1 of being 23 and it’s going well. I woke up, had leftover birthday cake for breakfast, continued on the job hunt, went to the grocery store, baked. I think it’s my newly painted and redecorated room that giving me this productivity surge. Now if it would only motivate me to get dressed and go get my hair cut. The only thing stopping me from canceling is the fact that I’ve already canceled once. And I have dry hay for hair.

I blame the sun in Bali for this though it’s more plausible that my flat iron’s the real culprit. But everyone in Bali has frizzy hair and they don’t care. They’re there for the sun, the waves and a sense of adventure. I went hoping to engage in full on relaxation but instead my itinerary was jammed with outdoor activity. Jet skiing, white water rafting, swimming… yeah, you got that right. Me in the outdoors. A friend of mine even asked me quite tactfully…”are you going through a quarter life crisis?”

No idea, but whatever New York has done, the effects are still here. I suddenly feel like I don’t want to miss out. Too many things to do, way too little time. Since I’m missing the cereal and marshmallow cookies from Momofuku and I missed out on their famous cereal milk, I decided I’m going get down to making it at home.

….fine, I’ll go for my haircut too.

Momofuku Cereal Milk, dairy-free (adapted from here. Great step-by-step photos too!)

7 cups rice milk
6 cups cornflakes (I used Kelloggs)
1/4 cup brown sugar

1) Get a large bowl and fill with the milk. Add in the cornflakes and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes.

2) Strain the milk, discarding all the solids.

3) Take 1/2 cup of the milk and heat it with the sugar until it completely dissolves. Mix it back into the cold milk and refrigerate until cold again.

*The original recipe calls for a pinch of salt but Kelloggs cornflakes are already ‘seasoned’ so I skipped that step. The original recipe also calls for roasting the cornflakes but Kelloggs makes theirs very toasted so I skipped this too!

Momofuku Cereal and Marshmallow Cookies (adapted from here. Delicious photos!)

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose GF flour blend
¼ cup soghum flour (or buckwheat)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 1/4 cup lightly crushed cornflakes (= about 1 1/2 cup cornflakes before crushing)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
about 3/4 cup mini marshmallows

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line two baking trays with parchment.

2) In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until light in colour.

3) In a separate bowl, mix the flours and oatmeal together.

4) Add the eggs into the creamed butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the flour and oat mixture. Beat until combined.

5) Add in the chocolate and marshmallows. Mix to combine. Add in the cornflakes last, folding it in by hand. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared tray. Flatten slightly and bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown and cookies don’t feel soft when you poke it. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing onto a wire rack.

 

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Filed under Chocolate, Cookies, Recipes