Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Sweet Birthday For Joey

A 2.5kg chocolate cake

Mini fruit tarts with kiwi

Mini fruit tarts with grapes

Mini fruit tarts with dragon fruits

Mini fruit tarts with mango

Mini banana cupcakes

Mini chocolate cupcakes

I have been asked to bake a cake for Joey's 16th birthday today. Beside this, her mum has also asked me to make desserts for her party of 50 guests tonight. Everything was made into mini-size, a total of 300 pcs. There's a total of 100 pcs of mini fruit tarts, filled with home-made pastry cream & topped with fresh fruits. There's also honey sponge cakes & mini durian puffs. Besides durian, I've filled some of the puffs with chocolate ganache too. There's a mixture of mini chocolate & banana cupcakes too.

All these desserts will be for Joey's party tonight. Hope she'll have a really sweet birthday celebration.

Black Sesame Sponge Cakes

A new spongecake flavour. I've made some changes to my honey sponge cakes & turned them into black sesame sponge cakes. I've used roasted ground black sesame for these sponge cakes. They're so aromatic, it was a hit with hubby & the girls ! These goodies are going to be in my list of pastries.........

A chocolate cake made yesterday for 13 year-old Randall. His mum wanted a jersey with his name & age on it.

Chocolate Cupcakes

I've survived 2 weeks without Tina !

I have to admit it was tough but I went through it.
After my curry puffs post, I didn't have time to sit down in front of my computer. Beginning of the week was spent on ironing the whole pile of clothes that I've accumulated from the previous week. Preparation work was also done for my order of desserts & cakes for today.

These cupcakes were baked for Lucas' 8th birthday on Friday. They were chocolate cupcakes frosted with chocolate ganache & top with a "8" shape cookie that was decorated with royal icing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Curry Puffs

I finally did it ! D, if you're reading this, this is my improved version, even though some cracked because I was trying to over-stuff my curry puffs !

I've always wanted to make curry puffs but I know I can never make pretty pleats like the professionals & to make those light crisp rough puff pastry. I will not bring myself to use pastry margarine & don't even talk about lard, so the idea has been put off for some time.

Recently, I've been thinking about curry puffs again. So I searched & searched the net for the perfect baked puffs, with very little oil in the pastry due to once again health consciousness. Most of the recipes that I found are deep fried version. I didn't give up, finally found a pastry with only 3 Tbsp of oil, so I tried this recipe many weeks ago. Sad to say, the pastry was horrible. The pastry was chewy & not at all flaky. The whole batch of puffs were just smelling like baking soda ! Since most recipes require using pastry margarine or lard for the crispiness, I turn to my pie pastry which uses butter. Hubby wanted something lighter, so I googled again until I found SeaDragon's blog ! He has a post on baked short crust version curry puff which looks yummy. I went through the pastry & the oil content seems alright for the amount of flour. I've used only butter in making the pastry. It was alright, not very greasy & I think the addition of cornflour yields a slight melt-in-your-mouth pastry.
As for the filling, I was too greedy, added 4 potatoes & 6 onions. I've used 2 Tbsp of meat curry powder & omitted the coconut milk. Since my girls are also having the curry puffs, I didn't add any pepper or chilli powder.
As for shaping, I cheated by using a curry puff mould that I got from Giant. I've never been good in shaping pastries of any kind. From the portion of pastry I made, I got 18 balls of 30g each, just roll each ball into a round disc, pop it onto the mould, add some filling & closed the mould, press hard & a curry puff is done. Oh I've added some hard boiled eggs too.
I ended up with only 15 puffs because the other 3 went into the rubbish bin, I over-stuffed them that they were beyond saving ! I still have more than half of the filling left, will make another batch to share with friends (will remember you, D !)

I've brushed the puffs with egg yolks, baked them at 190C for 30mins. These were our lunch this afternoon.

Happy Birthday Ayshea !

Oh, I think this should be a teenager cake, not children cake anymore ! The pretty Ayshea turns 13 today. Mum wanted a Rxxx logo on the cake for her girl. The logo was pipped onto the cake with melted dark chocolate, hope she likes it.

This is a 2.5kg vanilla cake, the same cake that Ayshea's little brother, Austin had last week, for his 4th birthday.

My New Piping Tip

D ordered this yam cake for her colleague's birthday yesterday. I've wanted to try piping with my new basket weave tip that has been lying in my pool of tips for quite a while. Since it was a square cake, I thought it might be a good idea to try using the tip.

I find that coordination is very important in piping basket weave. One wrong step, the whole process get muddled up. I will definitely try this, to perfect the piping skills one day, I hope.

Brandied Shrimp With Pasta

This post had been a few days late. I didn't have time to post it up. Tina is on leave so I'm all alone, besides baking & cooking, I also have to deal with washing up, ironing , cleaning the house ! I enjoy cooking but how I hate the washing up after that, hubby & the kids are so used to home-cooked meals, I've no choice but to tolerate it for a whole month, Tina has been gone for just 6 days, poor me..........

This pasta is wonderfully flavoured with brandy & white wine. Here's the link to the original recipe.
I've made a few changes to the above recipe because I find that there's too much butter in it & I've omitted the Parmesan cheese because I've never liked it.

This is my version of it :
Serves 4

Vermicelli pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
20 Large shrimps, peeled & deveined
2 Stalks leek, thinly sliced
4 Cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup brandy
1/2 Cup White wine
30g Butter
2 Tsp dried basil
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook vermicelli in a pot of salted boiling water, cook for 7 mins or until al dente, drain.

Heat olive oil in a large pan, saute shrimp until pink, remove from heat. Add leek & garlic, cook until lightly brown, add brandy, ignite it with the gas flame. Cook for about 2 mins, add chopped tomatoes, wine & butter. Season with basil, salt & pepper, cook for a few more mins until is slightly thickened, add the shrimps & toss with pasta until evenly coated.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Banana Yeast Bread

I've been searching for a yeast bread recipe with bananas for a long time but couldn't find one. The banana bread recipes we get on the net are all buttery banana cake.

Finally, after some time, I found a banana yeast bread recipe from a China web page. I usually copied a recipe that I found on the net, try it out & will only print it our if it's good. I did the same thing for this recipe but couldn't find it again after trying it. It was really good, so chewy & full of banana flavour. One thing I don't quite understand is I think banana may hinder in the rising of the dough because the dough don't rise as much as other bread dough without bananas, maybe that's why I couldn't find any banana yeast bread recipes !

The recipe as follows :

This is a water-roux paste method (汤种)

Water-roux paste
Ingredients :

45g Milk
30g Water
18g High protein flour

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan, cool over low heat until a thich paste forms. remove from heat & let cool.

Ingredients :

600g High protein flour
85g Sugar
9g Salt
18g Milk powder
60g Milk
78g Cold Water
180g Mashed banana
72g Water-roux paste
9g Instant yeast
60g Butter

Combine all ingredients, except butter in a mixer bowl, fitted with a dough hook, until well blended. Add butter & continue mixing until dough is smooth & elastic. Let rise in a warm place for an hr. Punch the dough down & divide into 55g portions, let rise again until dough is double in size. bake at preheated oven of 180C for 14 mins.

* The original recipe calls for 1kg of flour, which I think is too much for us. Since I only have 4 over-ripe banana with me which weighs 180g, so I scaled the recipe according to the weight of the bananas. This portion yields 20 buns & I've used salted butter today so I left out the salt.
By the time I'm typing this, half of the buns are gone, they are so doughy & chewy ! I know hubby likes these buns, will make it a point to make them once a week !

Castle Cake

I did my first fondant cake yesterday, after 2 years of drooling at fantastic fondant cake that other bakers produced. I've always wanted to try but lack of confidence, not even for my girls' cake !

Finally, the opportunity came. A friend wanted a castle cake for her king who turns 6 today. Initially I was still hesitating but after looking at those wonderful cake that Soni made & her encouragement, I decided to give it a try.

This castle cake is of mocha flavour. I've tried baking one smaller cake to try last Sunday & just finished up the last slice 10 mins ago, it was still moist, the cake is sure a keeper !
I started working on this cake Monday evening, baked the 2 cakes & let them cool overnight before my 'designer' can start working on the castle. We've done our homework, going through my cake decoration books, the internet for all the important points we have to take note in fondant cake.

We've used ready to roll fondant as we're not very confident in making our own, imagine kneading so many kilos of icing sugar in a go !! Well, the ready made one is so pliable & easy to work with, we dyed the fondant with some blue colouring until we got the desired colour, it was fun, like playing with play-dough. The leftover blue fondant didn't go to waste, few drops of lemon yelow colouring was added to it & we get a bright green for the door & windows. I also whipped up a batch of royal icing for gluing the door & windows, some royal icing was also coloured yellow & green for piping around the cones & small cupcakes that hold the cones.
The sides of the castle was adorned with gummies & the board wrapped with a piece of blue aluminum craft paper to make it resemble water.

It was a good timing yesterday since it was a PH. After breakfast & gym session, we started with the castle at 12.30 pm, rolling, covering & decorating the cake. We spent 4 hrs working on it, it was tiring but definitely worth the effort. I couldn't believe my eyes when the castle cake was done, it was so beautiful, my 'designer' did a great job ! The castle weighed a whopping 4.2kg. To show my appreciation, dinner was on me last night............

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fresh Mix Fruit Cream Cake

This is a 1.5kg cake for a 72 year old granpa. As usual 3 layers of sponge with 2 layers of filling. E has requested for fresh fruit filling. I've used a mixture of mango, kiwi & strawberry. They are sandwiched between layers of whipped dairy cream.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rocket Cake

Little Austin turns 4 today !
He wanted a rocket cake for his party this afternoon. I went through my pile of decorating books, found a similar cake of a space shuttle. This cake is a vanilla sponge filled & frosted with whipped vanilla cream, with a hint of cream cheese in it. The top of the cake is adorned with smarties.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wedding Cupcakes

While I was uploading the pictures of the cupcakes, I realized that this is my 100th post !!

I have the pleasure of baking a total of 470 cupcakes for Jeri, who got married on September 11. This is a memorable day, my Dad's birthday falls on the same day too.

After a weekend of baking cream cakes, I spent another day with my helper, Tina, weighing & sifting flour & icing sugar in preparation of baking the cupcakes. After weighing & sifting, we packed few batches of cupcake portion into a bag & put it aside. I find sifting icing sugar tough, so I've used Nigella's method, whiz it with a food processor, it was indeed very fast & convenient, you get lump-free icing sugar in seconds ! My girls were amazed by the number of eggs I have in the kitchen too.......

I spent 2 days baking & frosting the cupcakes. I think it's all about organizing your time. Hubby had been very kind, sending & fetching the girls to & fro from school that 2 days I was baking. I didn't cook, just packed lunch for the girls in the morning. Hubby bought lunch for me both days & dinner we just ate out after the girls went to bed on the 1st night, . I was so busy baking that I didn't have time to prepare the girls' dinner, so I have to feed them with cereal one night !!

It was indeed tiring but a challenge for me too, I'm now in my Ganache's world record !! hahaha
It was DOM that kept me going, not Dom Perignon, but the DOM that we used to take during confinement ! Until these days, I still take it occasionally, it really keeps me going.

Oh, the cupcakes are vanilla cupcakes piped with buttercream & sprinkled with tiny silver cachous.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Kitchen Aid & Its Lookalike !

My Precious KA

It's China made counterpart

Look at the size difference !

I've always dream of a Kitchen Aid mixer since I started baking for fun few years ago ! Each time I watch Nigella on TV using her KA, I'll be thinking when am I going to have my own ??
Hubby must have know that I'm desperate for one, he got me my KA 2 years ago. We got it from Singapore & brought it all the way back to KK, a 15kg gadget ! I got myself a food grinder attachment too, have only used once to mince meat. It was fun but was a hassle clearing up so I gave up, it's now hiding somewhere in my cabinet.

Ever since I started my little bakery, I found that it was too much of a strain for my KA so I started looking around for an alternative. Some time last year at a trade fair, I saw this company, Sin Yuan Machinery, diplaying their Orimas brand of mixers but they are all too heavy to be on a countertop. Coincidently, they are bringing in another batch of mixers which are more suitable for home use. After a month of anticipating, I got a call from them that the mixers have arrived !

Hubby & I went to their shop at Kolombong. The moment we saw the mixer, we were looking at each other thinking OMG, this is a KA imitation ! Well, for a 8L capacity mixer with 2 bowls, it's really a good buy, so we bought it without second thoughts ! I would say you pay for what you get, the bowls are very rough made & I've got cut by the sharp edges several time, the one downside is that the warranty period is only 3 months, thats China made quality ! Right after the warranty period is over, the mixer refused to move, I got to bring it back to the shop for greasing but I refused to pay for it & got away with it !
I would say this mixer is useful for my daily baking but the performance is not that good. I've been using it for almost a year, sometimes it will stop by itself, give it a twist & turn, it'll work again. Nevertheless, this mixer has helped me cope with many cake orders. Oh something good about it, the capacity enables me to knead bread dough up to 1kg of flour whereas my KA only allows 400g as the capacity is only 5 Quart !

I think this mixer is working more than my KA now. Frankly, I don't know how long this mixer is going to last so I better make full use of it. So the pretty KA just sits at a corner in my kitchen, whipping cream & occasionally whipping up a batch of cupcake batter......

Cream Cakes

Vanilla Cake

Mango Cake

Yam Cake

I have been into a baking frenzy since last Friday. Besides these cream cakes, I was also making swissrolls & lots of cheese & cranberry buns. I had a call from E last Friday night for an order of a 2kg vanilla cake. So I paired my vanilla sponge with layers of vanilla flavoured whipped cream. It was a perfect combination, so spongy & light ! All thanks to E, I had a few new orders for the same cake.

The mango cake was made for a 1 year old girl, it's a 1.5kg. Her mum requested for the cake to be filled with just 1 layer of mango & whipped cream so I made it bigger for her, a 10" cake.

The yam cake was also ordered by E, it's a 2kg cake. I was lucky this time, the yam that I got from the market was so moist & yummy , they must have been just harvested !

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Green Tea Cake

I'm a great fan of green tea, I fancy most goodies made with green tea, especially ice-cream & cakes but not mousse though. I've never fancy mousse because it's usually whipped separated raw eggs with some sugar.
I find that green tea cake is not that popular here in KK, usually only the ladies fancy it, maybe due to the slight bitter aftertaste that it leaves. Green tea cake has been in my list of cakes more than a year ago, I do have a group of green tea fans.
The sponge is flavoured with just green tea powder, no colouring has been used. As usual it's filled with 2 layers of whipped dairy cream, it's also studded with sweetened adzuki red beans & the top layer of whipped cream has a dash of green tea powder added to it.
This cake is for 1kg but oops, I've made the sponge too high today, It's a +/-1.3kg !
Maggie just collected the cake an hour ago, it's a surprise for her colleague tomorrow, how sweet.....

Ham, Pineapple & Cheese Pizza Scrolls

This is a great lunch box idea, adapted from Australia'a Good Taste magazine. I like to look for new recipes in magazines & cookbooks so the girls will get more food choices for their lunch box.
Found this recipe while browsing through & it seemed easy to
prepare so I tried it.
The girls had these scrolls for lunch yesterday & they loved it. I asked JF if she liked it, she told me " Mummy, they were disgusting. " OMG, I got a big shock, actually she wanted to say " Mummy, they were delicious " but just a slip of tongue !!!

The ham, pineapple & cheese pizza scrolls recipe can also be found at this website which carries thousands of recipes. I find many great recipes here. As some items are not readily available here in KK, I'll usually look at the ingredients first when browsing through recipes, the next thing will be the rating given by viewers, of course 5 stars will top my list !

I followed the recipe & made 12 scrolls. I've used the Primo brand of very thinly sliced honey cured ham that i got from Tong Hing. I found this healthier, lower in fat & less salty. Hubby tried 1 & I gave some to a friend for her boy to try, the girls requested for these scrolls again for tomorrow's lunch, of course I obliged, just pop them into the oven to warm up before packing into their lunch box. Well, at least this week's lunch has been well taken care off......


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