Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

Mad about Fusion Cupcakes

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

              Chocolate Cupcakes with Adzuki Bean Paste Centre and Green Tea Frosting

I’d be the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of cupcakes. Given the choice between a cupcake and a slice of cake, I’d invariably go with the slice.

I think it has something to do with the frosting-to-cake ratio and the fact that the few times I’ve made cupcakes, the cake tended to shrink away from the waxy cups, leaving an unsightly gap between cake and cup.

              Fusion Cupcakes

So why did I bake these cupcakes? There were two reasons. One being that it’s the Lunar New Year and the first year ever that my family didn’t make pineapple tarts (dad and mum are away on vacation in Beijing), I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing if I didn’t bake anything for the festive season. The second was a cupcake-related email and blog post by Ivan.

The recipe I chose comes from Cheryl’s The Cupcake Bake Shop. I decided on this particular cupcake because of the Asian elements of green tea and adzuki beans (something in line with the festive season theme) and because of the very pretty photograph of the cupcake’s cross-section in her blog post.

              Cupcake Cross-section

The sis was very skeptical about the flavour combination, especially when I told her about the red bean paste component, but she actually liked the cupcakes when she had them! :D

I personally liked the taste and texture of the cupcake. The cupcakes did shrink somewhat, especially the ones that I kept at room temperature and the frosting was slightly grainy, but I felt that the cupcakes turned out great overall. Thanks for generously sharing your very inspiring cupcake recipes, Cheryl!

Note: If you do intend to try the recipe out for yourself, be forewarned the adzuki bean paste is indeed very time-consuming to make as Cheryl already states in her recipe.

Mad about Chocolate

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

              Shaved Valrhona Chocolate

When KJ suggested a potluck get-together for us ex-RJC classmates at JY’s place, I was excited for two reasons. The first being the prospect of having tea with old friends at JY’s swanky apartment, the second being an excuse to bake something before I run completely out of energy.

I was certain that my contribution would be some sort of dessert. Macarons would be too much work and muffins, cupcakes or brownies would be too boring, so I settled on a chocolate cake recipe that I’d already tried out on several occasions.

              Valrhona 55% Equatorial Blocks

The devil’s food cake was easily baked in the evening before. I was pretty sure that making the chocolate ganache would be a breeze to and I left it to the morning before the tea party. That was until I weighed the chocolate on my trusty digital kitchen scales and realised just how much 24 oz of chocolate was.

Chopping chocolate to a degree fine enough for ganache has never been an activity that I look forward to and 24 oz of chocolate was daunting. After the 2nd block of chocolate, I threw in the towel and decided to just cut the chocolate into smaller blocks, melt the blocks in a bain-marie and add the hot cream.

              Devil's Food Cake with Valrhona 55% Whipped Chocolate Ganache

The ganache turned out fine and I’ll probably be using this method for larger quantities of chocolate in the future. I was slightly concerned that the whipped ganache would be difficult to use given the really hot weather on that day, but everything went well.

Most importantly, my friends enjoyed the cake (at least I hope they weren’t just being polite :) ) and we had a great time catching up.

The recipe for this cake, courtesy of MarthaStewart.com, can be found here. Note: I only covered the cake with the whipped ganache and left out the last layer of ganache glaze. 2/3 of the ganache recipe is more than sufficient for the entire cake, including the ganache glaze.

Mad about Raspberry Rose Vanilla Cream Cake

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

              Raspberry Rose Vanilla Cream Cake

I’ve been neglecting this blog for way longer than I’d have liked, but without the energy nor any pressing desire to bake the last few months, there’s really been nothing much to write about.

That was until last week when I decided to visit Tartelette, one of my favourite pastry/food blogs, and became completely inspired by Helen’s recent creations.

I was particularly taken by the idea of the raspberry rose vanilla cream cake. Just the thought of the delicate flavours of rose and vanilla, combined with a slightly tart raspberry jelly was enough to get me running through the larder in search of the necessary ingredients. The hubby, on the other hand, was sold alone on the bavarian cream.

              Raspberry Rose Vanilla Cream Cake

I’d long run out of almonds, given that it’s been 3 months since my last batch of macarons. As luck would have it, I still had a bag of hazelnuts. Frozen raspberries were certainly not a problem since the hubby loves his occasional rote grütze. And there was still a decent stash of vanilla pods in the fridge. I also substituted gelatin powder with gelatin sheets since I don’t quite care for the smell of the gelatin powder I’d bought previously.

The 3 main components - hazelnut rose dacquoise, raspberry jelly and vanilla bavarian cream were easily made and assembled in less than a day, although the next time I make this, I’d happily take on Helen’s suggestion to make the dacquoise and raspberry jelly the evening before.

              Raspberry Rose Vanilla Cream Cake

The raspberry jelly posed the greatest challenge, turning from frozen jelly to mushy jelly in the space of 10 minutes in our horribly hot climate. I had to work relatively fast to get the entire layer into the tin before it turned into an unmanageable layer of mush in my warm fingers. I was also initially concerned that the bavarian cream would not set since it seemed pretty fluid when I poured it into the tin, but in the end, everything turned out beautifully.

I was especially delighted by the pretty layers that revealed themselves when I cut the cake into individual servings.

Many thanks to the wonderfully talented Helen for sharing such a lovely recipe!