Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa Claus Boston Cheesecake



It seem to be quite awhile that I have not baked anything for dear husband's colleagues. Since is festive season, I decided I should bake a cake for dear husband to celebrate advanced Christmas with his colleagues since his office will be shut down from Christmas Eve until after New Year.

I gave options for dear husband, cheesecake or american carrot cake. To my surprise, his choice is cheesecake (I guess he has fell in love with cheesecake after the cheesecake I had made for dear brother's birthday recently which I have yet to post as I need to jump queue for Christmas bakes).


I wanted to have another entry to the Christmas Giveaway hosted by Swee San of The Sweet Spot to give her more support. And at the same time, I do not want the cake to look simple and plain, so I decided that I should use whipped cream to pipe out some design on the cake to have more Christmas feel :).

Ho.Ho.Ho. Have you known my identity already?

Do you think the cake look like Santa Claus face? Dear husband and dear daughter and friends asked me why the hat is pink instead of red? SK even said I "forced" the Santa Claus to change his hat to pink cos dear daughter likes pink hahaha... Not that I want it to be pink but no matter how much red coloring I added to the whipped cream, it just turned out to be dark, darker, darkest pink, I just wouldn't get red color :(. And I was so lazy to mix another color for the face, so I just use the cake as the face. So lthis cake ook more than a sun tanned girly Santa hor? heeheehee....


The sliced cake looks very messy, cos I "dig" the cake out from the mini chiffon cake pan, just want to show you the inner look.


Dear husband took photos of the cake after sliced.

I am submitting this entry to the Christmas Giveaway hosted by Swee San of The Sweet Spot.

I am also sending this to Aspiring Bakers #2 Christmas (Dec 2010) hosted by Jane of Passionate About Baking.

Recipe adapted from 愛在廚房.

Ingredients : (for 9" but I used 8" round cake pan and a mini chiffon cake pan)
Sponge Cake Base :
2 eggs
60g castor sugar
48g (4.5 tbsp) cake flour
32g butter, melted (I burnt the melted butter so I replaced with canola oil)

Cheese Layer :
150ml milk
20g castor sugar
3 eggs
20g constarch
250g cream cheese, room temperature (I increased to 300g)
1/2 lemon zest
130ml whipping cream
2 tbsp cake flour
60g raisins (I increased to 80g)
60g sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Method :
For Sponge Cake :
1. Line and grease 9" cake pan, pre-heat oven to 180C.
2. Whisk eggs in the mixing bowl, mix sugar in a few additions.
3. Whisk till ribbon stage - when you lift up the whisk, the marks will disappear in about 3 counts or you are able to write the number "8" on the batter using the dripping batter and the "8" will only disappear in 3 counts.
4. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 20 mins or until skewer come out clean.
5. Remove the cake from the cake pan immediately and set the cake a side till cool.

For Cheese Layer :
1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C.
2. Seperate egg yolks and whites.
3. Pour 100ml milk and 20g sugar into a small pot, heat up and stir until the sugar has dissolved, turn off the fire.
4. Add in the balance 50ml milk and stir well, add in egg yolks and mix well, add in cornstarch and stir till well mixed.
5. Turn on small fire and cook till the egg & milk mixture become slightly thicken (just for a while if not the mixture will turn to custard).
6. Off the fire, sift the egg & milk mixture and set a side to cool.
7. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, pour in the egg & milk mixture in a few additions, mix well.
8. Add in the lemon zest, whipping cream and mix well.
9. Sift in the cake flour, mix well and add in raisins.

10. Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice till foamy, add 60g sugar in 3 additions and whisk till soft peak.
11. Add in 1/3 of whites to the yolk mixture and mix well.
12. Pour in the yolk mixture into the remaining whites and fold gentle till well combine.
13. Place the sponge cake on the cake pan and pour in the cheese mixture.
14. Bang the pan on a flat surface to get rid of those big bubbles trapped in the batter.
15. Bake the cake in water bath method for 2 hours.
16. Cool the cake in the wire rack and chill the cake for 1 day or at least 6 hours, unmould cake and serve.

Verdict?
The amount of cream cheese used in this recipe is more towards light cheesecake. However this cake is special, the texture is between light and heavy cheesecake. It tasted rich, creamy with light texture but not as heavy and solid as amercia cheesecake. The lemon zest and raisins have definitely make the cheesecake more flavourful. This is my review based on the cheesecake baked in mini chiffon cake pan without sponge cake base that I kept for myself. As for the comment from dear husband based on the 8" cake, he said the sponge cake layer is dried (not sure why cos this is the 1st time I used sponge cake as cheesecake base, mostly I used cookies base. And the sponge cake looked soft and moist and spongy before I sent in for baking with cheese layer), cheesecake layer has hint of cheese taste, not thick but still delicious.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Light Fruit Cake


JQ, a closed colleague of mine, likes fruit cake, he has asked me a few times whether I know how to bake a nice fruit cake. Whenever I brought my bakes to office, he will ask me when am I going to bake fruit cake. However he is the one and only one in my office likes fruit cake. However, I have in mind to bake one for just for him but as I have a long baking list, this has been pending for quite a while.


Until 1 months plus ago, I told him officially that I am going to bake him a fruit cake to return his flavour - he helped me brought back some baking books from Taiwan :P. However this has been delayed again due to our schedule, when I am available to bake for him, he was not in town. When he was in town, it was my turn to fly. This year is going to be over, I do not wanna drag it any longer so even I have tight schedule recently, I still squeeze out time to bake this fruit cake for him.


The cake looks nicer with dusting of snow sugar right?

I am submitting this entry to the Christmas Giveaway hosted by Swee San of The Sweet Spot.

I am also sending this to Aspiring Bakers #2 Christmas (Dec 2010) hosted by Jane of Passionate About Baking.

I used the recipe from Aunty Yochana that I had baked before and recieved good comments. I baked a 6" cake for him and balance in cupcakes for dear husband as fruit cake is also his favourite.

Ingredients: (for 6" round cake pan and 6 cupcakes)
400 gm currants/sultanas/Raisins/glaced cherries/mixed peel
3 Tbsp rum
230 gm Butter
190 gm sugar
finely grated rind of 1 orange
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
4 eggs
50 gm chopped almonds
50 gm ground almonds
230 gm plain flour

Method:
1. Soak currants, sultanas, raisins, cherries and mixed peel with rum. (I soaked for months)
2. Prepare an 8" round cake tin and lined the side and base with double layer of greaseproof paper.
3. Cream butter and sugar till creamy. Add in orange zest and lemon zest and continue to beat till light and fluffy.
4. Add in eggs one at a time till thoroughly mixed before adding in the next egg.
5. Mix 2 Tbsp of flour into the soaked fruits.
6. Fold in soaked fruits. Fold in sifted flour to make a soft dropping consistency.
7. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake at 160C for about 1.5 hour or until centre is firm to touch until skewer comes out clean. For cupcakes, I baked for about 25 mins.
8. Let the cake cool in the tin for 20 mins. then remove it onto a wire rack and leave it to cool completely.
9. Leave the greaseproof paper intact and remove it only when you want to serve so as to keep the cake moist while stored.
10. Drizzle some rum onto cake once a while to keep cake moist.

Wishing all my friends and readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Award and Surprises





Recently, I have received a few surprises. I truely appreciated the nice gesture of these baking friends, they have brighten my days especially I am in my down period on my work recently.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to them, in 1st come 1st serve basis :P.

Firstly, I would like to thanks Elin of Elinluv's Sweet Delights and Elinluv's Tidbits Corner for sharing this award with me, I felt so honor and happy to recieve it. I do not have time to select the blogs (gosh, this is really a very tough and headache job, definitely is a hard time for me) that I want to pass this award to so I would like to share this award with all my readers and baking friends, each and every of you deserve it.


Take a look at my new collections of cupcake casing, very pretty and cute right! I want to thank Esther of 我的厨房乐园, I was so surprised when recieved her email saying that she had posted out a parcel for me. She is such a nice and sweet lady.



Another nice and generous lady is Ann of Anncoo Journal. She gave me another surprise by sending me a packet of dried osmanthus and a pretty doggie key chain. She is making me feel so paiseh, I just gave her a can of Dulce de Leche and she is returning so much more...

Ladies, again thank you for your generous and nice gesture, I am glad that I started blogging and I am receiving so much through blogosphere. Beside knowledge and information that had helped me improved on my baking and cooking, I am able to get to know a group of hobby alike friends, this is really precious to me. I love you friends!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate Clear Water Sponge Cake



When I 1st saw this clear water sponge cake at The Little Teochew, I was immediately got hooked by the look, her cupcakes turned out to look alike of little mushrooms, so cute. Unfortunately, my cupcakes didn't turn out to be cute, the taste is far beyond better than the look :).


This recipe has been pending for quite awhile due to my super long baking list. Until recently, dear daughter requested for chocolate cupcakes and I remember I saw the chocolate version of clear water sponge cake at here. I am not sure why these cupcakes named as clear water since there is no water use in the recipe.



As I wanted to give some support to Jane of Passionate About Baking since she is the host of Aspiring Bakes # 2 for Dec 2010, Christmas theme. Thus, I made some Christmas cupcake wrappers for these cupcakes and dig out a mini Christmas tree for photo taking.


Thank you Ann for sharing with us how to DIY cupcake wrappers, if you are interested to do some yourself, pls hop over her blog for detail instructions. I had miscalculated the size so my cupcake wrappers are way to high for the cupcake cases.

I am sending this to Aspiring Bakers #2 Christmas (Dec 2010) hosted by Passionate About Baking

Recipe adapted from 爱'生活 My Life.

Ingredients : for 10 to 20 cupcakes depending on sizes
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
50g corn oil (I used canola oil)
18g chocolate (melted)
50g low protein flour (I used cake flour)

3 egg whites
40g castor sugar
1g salt

1/3 cup chocolate chips

Method :
1. Beat whole egg + egg yolks + oil with egg beater till well mixed.
2. Add in melted chocolate and mix well.
3. Sift in cake flour and mix well.
4. Whisk egg whites till frothy, add in castor sugar and salt and beat till stiff peaks.
5. Fold in the egg white mixture to egg yolk mixture in 3 additions, mix till well combined. Scoop the batter into paper cups till 80% full and drop some chocolate chips in the batter.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 170C for about 20 to 23 mins (18 mins for me)

Verdict?
The cake is moist, soft and spongy and light. Dear daughter likes the cupcake a lot, she told me she ate 6 cupcakes within a day :).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Barbie Doll Cake - My 1st attempt


This Barbie doll cake was made for dear daughter to celebrate in her school at Mid November but was delayed until now then I managed to post it up :P.

Dear daughter's birthday is at mid December but if she is celebrating her birthday in school, she has to do it in advance during November before school shut down for school holidays. Dear daughter always requesting for changing of her birth month, she doesn't want it to be December, she wants a much earlier month so that she can have a birthday celebration faster rather than wait till end of the year, she has not much patience as usual :P. She will always come to me with different birth dates, telling me she wanna change to this and that date for her birthday hahaha...



After I promised to bake a barbie doll cake for dear daughter to celebrate her birthday in school, I was regretted that why am I inviting for trouble. Looking at the barbie doll cakes that I surf from internet, I started to get panic, it seem to be quite complicated and challenging that I was fear that this is beyond my capability. But since I had promised, I have to keep my promise so die die I must come out one for her. I was thinking, the most I will get is a barbie doll cake with not so nicely frosting and decorating, and not so rounded gown. Guess dear daughter and her classmates should not be so "sharp" and "smart" to spot the flaws :P. Thus, all the self consoling thoughts making me still went ahead for this challenging project.


Well, compared to the 1st birthday cake - 2 tier Princess Castle Cake that I made for dear daughter last year, the making of barbie doll cake was actually quite smooth, it was very time consuming but not as difficult as what I think of. I baked 3 chocolate cakes in day 1, day 2 done all the slicing, layering, trimming, frosting and decorating of the cake and day 3 early morning, sent the cake to the school for the celebration.


Although there are a lot of flaws on the cake but I am very happy and contented with the end result, dear daughter was very happy so mission has accomplished. What's more, everyone who saw the cake were so impressed and seem unbelieveable that I am able to churn up this cake heeheehee...


The height of the chocolate cake was about 5.5" with 10" base, after the layering of chocolate butter cream and frosting of the whipping cream, the cake was about 7.25" tall with 11" base. I forgot to weigh the barbie doll cake but reckon should be at least 2.5kg.


Recipe adapted from Aunty Yochana's chocolate marvel cake :

Ingredients: (for 10")
Chocolate Cake :
5 egg white
5 egg yolks
150g sugar
94g cake flour
38g corn flour
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1.25 tsp baking powder
63g corn oil

Ingredients: (for one 9" round cake pan & one 8" chiffon cake pan)
Chocolate Cake :
8 egg white
8 egg yolks
300g sugar
160g cake flour
64g corn flour
4 1/4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 1/8 tsp baking powder
106g corn oil

Method:
1. Sift cake flour with cornflour, baking powder and cocoa powder.
2. Whisk egg white until soft peak forms and then add in sugar gradually and whisk till sugar dissolved and mixture is thick and glossy.
3. Drop in egg yolks, one at a time, making that it's evenly combined before the next addition.
4. Fold in 1/2 of flour mixture and mix well.
5. Pour in oil and mix well, fold in the balance flour mixture and mix till well combine.
6. Pour the mixture into round cake tin and bake in pre-heat oven at 175C for about 45 mins or till skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. Leave cake to cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Butter Cream :750g butter
130g icing sugar
300g melted cooking chocolate

Beat butter and icing sugar till light. Then pour in melted chocolate and mix till evenly mixed.

For Frosting :550g non-dairy whipping cream
some pink coloring

Beat whipping cream and pink coloring until stiff.

Assembly :
1. Slice cake into 3 and apply chocolate butter cream onto each layer.
2. Chill in the fridge for 15 mins to harden the butter cream slightly and trim the cake to your desire shape - dome shape.
3. Frost the cake with pink whipping cream and chill the cake in the fridge.
4. Frost another layer of pink whipping cream for bette coverage and insert in the barbie doll.
5. Use some pink whipping cream to cover up the waist area of the barbie doll for touching up.
6. Decorate the cake as your desire.

Verdict?
This cake is soft and moist, even chilled it didn't affect the texture. It tasted delicious with the chocolate butter cream, luckily I had reduced the sugar for the butter cream, the sweetness is just nice. Dear daughter told me she had 2nd serve of the cake and one of her classmate, ate 3 servings. She said the cake finished by her class, 29 students and 3 teachers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Korean Fried Chicken (KFC)




I was attracted by this Korean Fried Chicken at Almost Bourdain, I am a korean food lover and these drumsticks look so mouth-watering that I hardly can resist the temptation. I went to the Korean minmart to get hold of the gochujang (red pepper paste) - a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment but I didn't have chance to cook it at home since FIL can't consume food with beans. So I passed this recipe to dear sister and she was immediately drawn by it too and volunteered to cook during Saturday, my visiting day to dear mum's place :P.


Although this chicken was not cooked by me, I still decided to post it to share the delicious dish. Pls excuse for the poor lighting as this dish was ready after sunset and the lighting in my mum's dining area is quite dim.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller Magazine Sept 2010 issue through Almost Bourdain.

Gourmet Traveller - "This chicken is fried twice (or if you like, thrice) to become extra crisp. Toss it through the sauce after it's fried - thoroughly messy, but seriously good.

Ingredients :
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 kg chicken pieces (drumsticks and wings)
Thinly sliced spring onion, to serve

Batter:
115 g plain flour, sieved
2 tbsp cornflour
1 eggwhite, lightly beaten

Chilli sauce:
2 tbsp each soy sauce and rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
10 g ginger (about 2 cm) piece, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
65 gm (1/4 cup) gochujang


Method :
1. For chilli sauce, combine ingredients in a large bowl, season to taste with freshly ground pepper and set aside.
2. For batter, whisk flours, eggwhite and 170 ml cold water in bowl. Season to taste and set aside.
3. Preheat oil in a deep-sided saucepan to 180C. Dip chicken pieces in batter and deep-fry in batches, turning occasionally until light golden (5-6 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper until cooled slightly (10-15 minutes).
4. Deep-fry chicken again, in batches, until crisp and deep golden (6-8 minutes), drain on absorbent paper, then add to sauce, toss to coat and serve hot topped with spring onion.

Verdict?
These are truely finger licking good although was salty, dear sister added a pinch of salt to marinate the chicken as she afraid the chicken might taste bland but ended up, too salty hahaha.... However, none of us can stop at one, we kept going back for more as the chicken is simply unresistable good, truely a keeper.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sponge Pancake & Awards



Hi Hi I am back! Do you miss me? I guess so (hahaha...thick skin again) cos I missed all of you a lot especially my favourite blogs and the blogs that I always visit. And I would like to thank you my dear readers and friends that kindly left so many messages in my blog during my absence. For those enquiries, I promise I will try to reply ASAP.

I was back to Singapore last Thursday but my schedule was so jam packed after touched down. There are so many things to clear, works and even personal stuff. Worst of all, dear daughter has been sick since the day of departure to Japan, until back to Singapore and now, still in the midst of recovering :( . I brought her to consult paediatrician 3 times just within 2 weeks, spent S$300+, 1/2 of my kitchen aid gone *sob sob*. Then followed by me, I was unwell probably due to lack of rest, busy schedule but luckily, my recovery was fast.

To keep my promise for submitting this sponge pancake to the contest from Table for Two or More which the dateline is 2 Dec 2010, I had to jump queue (I have too many backlog to clear) for this posting. I cooked it during my medical leave (that's why the sponge pancake looks like from Africa, pls excuse a patient :P ok ok I know is a lousy excuse heeheehee... but I promised, the look doesn't affect the taste at all), set an alarm to wake up at 6am to write this post so that I can submit before the deadline :P. Wendy, are you touched by me? Although my sponge pancake is not creative at all and won't be giving you a "WOW", but my sincerity of supporting your contest is as high as sky (hahaha... ok ok I know I am too exaggerated)!

I made 2 versions.

 One is bak kwa (BBQ pork) with pork floss.



Another one is ham & cheese.


Ingredients :
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
A bit of butter for frying

Method :
1. Separate the eggs and beat egg whites until frothy and add in sugar and beat until medium stiff peaks (egg whites has a very droopy hook and doesn't slide off the bowl).
2. Put in egg yolks and mix.
3. Sift in flour (just use a coffee strainer) and fold into the eggs.
4. Heat a 9 inch pan on medium and put in 1/2 tsp butter. Swirl it around to coat and pour the excess into batter.
5. Lightly fold the batter to incorporate.
6. Turn heat to medium low (very small fire on outer ring or just use low) and pour in all the batter. Put toppings as desired.
7.Cover with lid and cook until sides look golden, and center of pancake is cooked (doesn't stick to fingers)
8. Flip into half or just flip onto plate.

Verdict?
Even I didnt use full 2 tbsp of sugar, I still felt the pancake was a bit too sweet for me, will definitely need to reduce the sugar slightly in future. Dear daughter initially said she likes the bak kwa pork floss version more, awhile later she changed her mind that she prefer ham & cheese version. For me, I love both version of the sponge pancake, both are simply delicious that I cannot decide which to be my favourite.


There is a good news waiting for me when I vet through the comments left in my blog. Zoe, thank you so much for sharing the 2 awards with me, I felt so honor and happy, and of course greatly appreciated!



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