Mid-Autumn Festival

11 September, 2008 at 11:06 pm | Posted in » Recipes, » Yummy Cakes | 1 Comment
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The Mid-Autumn festival, also known as the Mooncake or Moon festival, falls on September 14th this year.

Every year on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon is at its maximum brightness for the entire year, the Chinese celebrate ‘zhong qiu jie’. Children are told the story of the moon fairy living in a crystal palace, who comes out to dance on the moon’s shadowed surface. The legend surrounding the ‘lady living in the moon’ dates back to ancient times, to a day when ten suns appeared at once in the sky. The Emperor ordered a famous archer to shoot down the nine extra suns. Once the task was accomplished, Goddess of Western Heaven rewarded the archer with a pill that would make him immortal. However, his wife found the pill, took it, and was banished to the moon as a result. Legend says that her beauty is greatest on the day of the Moon festival.

Other Moon Festival Legends
According to another legend, on this day the ‘Man in the Moon’ was spotted at an inn, carrying a writing tablet. When questioned, he said he was recording the names of all the happy couples who were fated to marry and live happily forever after. Accordingly, just as June is the traditional month for exchanging nuptials in the west, many Chinese weddings are held during the eighth lunar month, with the fifteenth day being the most popular.

Of course, the most famous legend surrounding the Moon festival concerns its possible role in Chinese history. Overrun by the Mongols in the thirteenth century, the Chinese threw off their oppressors in 1368 AD. It is said that mooncakes – which the Mongols did not eat – were the perfect vehicle for hiding and passing along plans for the rebellion. Families were instructed not to eat the mooncakes until the day of the moon festival, which is when the rebellion took place.

How to Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival
Today, Chinese people celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival with dances, feasting and moon gazing. Not to mention mooncakes. While baked goods are a common feature at most Chinese celebrations, mooncakes are inextricably linked with the Moon festival. One type of traditional mooncake is filled with lotus seed paste. Roughly the size of a human palm, these mooncakes are quite filling, meant to be cut diagonally in quarters and passed around. The salty yolk in the middle, representing the full moon, is an acquired taste.

More elaborate versions of mooncakes contain four egg yolks, which representing the four phases of the moon. Besides lotus seed paste, other traditional fillings include red bean paste and black bean paste.

While in the past mooncakes took up to four weeks to make, automation has speed up the process considerably. Today, mooncakes may be filled with everything from dates, nuts, and fruit to Chinese sausages. More exotic creations include green tea mooncakes, and ping pei or snowskin mooncakes, a Southeast Asian variation made with cooked glutinous rice flour. There is even a line of ice cream mooncakes.

This year is my 1st attempt to make both the traditional and snow skin mooncake.

Traditional Mooncake

Ingredients:
Make about 23 mini Mooncakes

Mooncake Pastry
350 grams – 400 grams Hong Kong Flour
230 grams sugar syrup
110 ml oil
1 Tablespoon alkaline water

Mooncake Filling
500 – 600 grams ready made white lotus paste (or any other flavour paste)
some melon seeds
some salted egg yolks, cooked and halved

Galze
1 egg, beaten

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the sugar syrup, oil and alkaline water. Leave aside for at least 1 hour.
2. Add in the flour and mix well until the mixture is not sticky. Add in more flour if the mixture is running.
3. Mix together the ready made paste and melon. Divide into 45 grams each.
4. Wrap a egg yolk in the center of each paste and roll into a ball.
5. Divide the pastry skin into 30 grams each. Wrap the paste ball into the pastry skin. Press into mould.
6. Line a baking tray with baking paper and bake with top grill for about 5 mins.
7. Adjust the oven to top and bottom heat at 375 deg F. Brush the mooncake surface with egg wash. Bake for another 15-20 mins until golden brown.
8. Cool at room temperature.

Note: Traditional Mooncakes are best eaten 1-2 days after making. Mooncakes can be stored in air-tight containers up to 3 days after making, after that put in the fridge.

Snow Skin Mooncake

Ingredients:
Make about 18 Mini Mooncakes

Snow Skin Pastry
1 package (500 grams) snow skin premix
100 grams shortening
230 grams water
a few drops of flavored food color (I divide into 3 portion, 1 for green tea flavour, 1 for yam flavour, 1 for pandan flavour)

Mooncake Filling
500 grams ready made white lotus paste (or any other flavour paste)
some melon seeds
some salted egg yolks,
cooked and halved

Method:

1. Mix the water and the premix together.
2. Add in shortening and food color.
3. Leave aside for about 15 mins – 1 hour.
4. Mix together the ready made paste and the melon seeds. Divide into 45 grams each.
5. Wrap a egg yolk in the center of each paste and roll into a ball.
6. Divide the snow skin pastry into 35 grams each. Wrap the paste ball into the snow skin. Press into mould.
7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

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8th Daring Bakers Challenge – Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

30 July, 2008 at 12:10 am | Posted in » Daring Bakers, » Recipes, » Yummy Cakes | 5 Comments
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This month challenge is Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream, adopted from Great Cakes by Carol Walter and hosted by Chris of Mele Cotte.

The recipe asked for a round cake, but I made mine into a few mini round cakes for easy distribution to friends & family.

I did not make any changes to the recipe this time as I find that this combination of flavors is very very rich and best of all… alot of RUM is being used, which brings out the flavors of the hazelnuts!! I could have done better decorations if not for the time constraints.

Take a look at other beautiful cakes done by other DBers here.

Ingredients:

1 Filbert Genoise
1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 recipe Apricot Glaze
1 recipe Ganache Glaze, prepared just before using
3 tablespoons filberts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Filbert Genoise:
Because of the amount of nuts in the recipe, this preparation is different from a classic genoise.

1-1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted/skinned
2/3 cup cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
7 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, divided ¼ & ¾ cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
5 large egg whites
1/4 cup warm, clarified butter (100 – 110 degrees)

Method:

1.   Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10” X 2” inch round cake pan.

2.   Using a food processor, process nuts, cake flour, and cornstarch for about 30 seconds. Then, pulse the mixture about 10 times to get a fine, powdery mixture. You’ll know the nuts are ready when they begin to gather together around the sides of the bowl. While you want to make sure there aren’t any large pieces, don’t over-process. Set aside.

3.   Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, and beat until thick and light in color, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add 3/4 cup of sugar. It is best to do so by adding a tablespoon at a time, taking about 3 minutes for this step. When finished, the mixture should be ribbony. Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind. Remove and set aside.

4.   Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed, until soft peaks. Increase to med-high speed and slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so. Continue to beat for another 1/2 minute. Add the yolk mixture to the whites and whisk for 1 minute.

5.   Pour the warm butter in a liquid measure cup (or a spouted container). * It must be a deep bottom bowl and work must be fast.* Put the nut meal in a mesh strainer (or use your hand – working quickly) and sprinkle it in about 2 tablespoons at a time – folding it carefully for about 40 folds. Be sure to exclude any large chunks/pieces of nuts. Again, work quickly and carefully as to not deflate the mixture. When all but about 2 Tbsp. of nut meal remain, quickly and steadily pour the warm butter over the batter. Then, with the remaining nut meal, fold the batter to incorporate, about 13 or so folds.

6.   With a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula or back of a spoon. **If collected butter remains at the bottom of the bowl, do not add it to the batter! It will impede the cake rising while baking.

7.   Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when it is springy to the touch and it separates itself from the side of the pan. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan. Cool the cake completely.

    *If not using the cake right away, wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap in foil, then the bag and use within 2-3 months.

    Sugar Syrup:
    Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers

    1 cup water
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 Tbsp. dark rum or orange flavored liqueur

    Method:

    In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the liqueur. Cool slightly before using on the cake. *Can be made in advance.

    Praline Buttercream:
    1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
    1/3 cup praline paste
    1-1/2 – 2 Tbsp. Jamaican rum (optional)

    Method:

    Blend 1/2 cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream. Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine. Blend in rum.

    Swiss Buttercream:
    4 large egg whites
    3/4 cup sugar
    1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
    1-1/2 -2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Method:

    1.   Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.

    2.   Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. *Do not overbeat*. Set aside.

    3.   Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*

    4.   On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute. Add the liqueur and vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.

    5.   Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

      Wait! My buttercream won’t come together! Reheat the buttercream briefly over simmering water for about 5 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon. Be careful and do not overbeat. The mixture will look broken with some liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Return the bowl to the mixer and whip on medium speed just until the cream comes back together.

      Wait! My buttercream is too soft! Chill the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and rewhip. If that doesn’t work, cream an additional 2-4 Tbsp. of butter in a small bowl– making sure the butter is not as soft as the original amount, so make sure is cool and smooth. On low speed, quickly add the creamed butter to the buttercream, 1 Tbsp. at a time.

      Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If freezing, store in 2 16-oz. plastic containers and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

      Praline Paste:
      1 cup (4-1/2 oz.) Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless
      2/3 cup Sugar
      Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter.

      Method:

      Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet. Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals. If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor. Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place. Do not refrigerate.

      Apricot Glaze:
      Good for one 10-inch cake

      2/3 cup thick apricot preserves
      1 Tbsp. water

      Method:

      1.   In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and preserves to a slow boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add water as needed.

      2.   Remove from heat and, using a strainer, press the mixture through the mesh and discard any remnants. With a pastry brush, apply the glaze onto the cake while the cake is still warm. If the glaze is too thick, thin to a preferred consistency with drops of water.

        Ganache Glaze:
        Makes about 1 cup, enough to cover the top and sides of a 9 or 10 inch layer or tube cake

        **Ganache can take on many forms. While warm – great fudge sauce. While cool or lukewarm – semisweet glaze. Slightly chilled – can be whipped into a filling/frosting. Cold & solid – the base of candied chocolate truffles.

        6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
        6 oz. (3/4 cup heavy cream)
        1 tbsp. light corn syrup
        1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, Cointreay, or dark Jamaican rum (optional)
        3/4 tsp. vanilla
        1/2 – 1 tsp. hot water, if needed

        Method:

        1.   Blend vanilla and liqueur/rum together and set aside.

        2.   Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

        3.   Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil. Once to the gently boil, immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate. Leave it alone for one minute, then slowly stir and mix the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Carefully blend in vanilla mixture. If the surface seems oily, add 1/2 – 1 tsp hot water. The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold!

          Assembling Cake:

          1.   Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake. Divide the cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbsp. of warm sugar syrup. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.

          2.   Spread the bottom layer with a 1/4-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream. Cover with 1/2 of the whipped cream, leaving 1/4-inch border around the edge of the cake. Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.

          3.   Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake. Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.

          4.   Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp night with an 8-ich blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing the cut areas completely. Chill while you prepare the ganache.

          5.   Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings. Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10 inches above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center. Move the spatula over the top of the ganache about 4 times to get a smooth and mirror-like appearance. The ganache should cover the top and run down the sides of the cake. When the ganache has been poured and is coating the cake, lift one side of the rack and bang it once on the counter to help spread the ganache evenly and break any air bubbles. (Work fast before setting starts.) Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do not touch the top after the “bang”. Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.

          6.   To garnish the cake, fit a 12 – 14-inch pastry bag with a #114 large leaf tip. Fill the bag with the reserved praline cream. Stating 1/2 inch from the outer edge of the cake, position the pastry tube at a 90 degree angle with the top almost touching the top of the cake. Apply pressure to the pastry bag, moving it slightly toward the center of the cake. As the buttercream flows on the cake, reverse the movement backward toward the edge of the cake and finish by pulling the bag again to the center. Stop applying pressure and press the bag downward, then quickly pull the tip up to break the flow of frosting. Repeat, making 12 leaves evenly spaced around the surface of the cake.

          7.   Make a second row of leaves on the top of the first row, moving the pastry bag about 3/4 inch closer to the center. The leaves should overlap. Make a 3rd row, moving closer and closer to the center. Add a 4th row if you have the room. But, leave a 2-inch space in the center for a chopped filbert garnish. Refrigerate uncovered for 3-4 hours to allow the cake to set. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving.

          8.   Leftover cake can be covered with foil and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

            6th Daring Baker’s Challenge – Opéra Cake

            28 May, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Posted in » Daring Bakers, » Recipes, » Yummy Cakes | 6 Comments
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            This month DB Challenge is an extremely elegant and polished French dessert that is believed to have been created around the beginning of the 1900s. Many people credit a gentleman by the name of Louis Clichy with inventing the cake and that’s why it’s sometimes referred to as Clichy Cake.

            This cake is made up of five components namely: a joconde (cake layer), syrup, buttercream, ganache or mousse and a final glaze.

            Traditionally, this cake is flavoured with darker flavours such as chocolate or coffee. But our hostesses of this month, Lis of La Mia Cucina, Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie and Shea of Whiskful,  decided to have this cake light in both color and flavour.

            We are allow to add any flavours to the cake as long as it stays light in color and flavour. I have added Rum to the syrup and some lemon extract to the buttercream… And I really love the combination of these flavours!

            Here are the pix… cant really see the buttercream layer, it was quite a challenge to spread it… 

            You can view the rest of the Daring Bakers’ Opéra Cakes here.

            For the joconde
            (Note:  The joconde can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept wrapped at room temperate)

            What you’ll need:
            –    2  12-1/2 x 15-1/2-inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans (Note:  If you do not have jelly-roll pans this size, do not fear! You can use different-sized jelly-roll pans like 10 x 15-inches.)
            –    a few tablespoons of melted butter (in addition to what’s called for in the ingredients’ list) and a brush (to grease the pans)
            –    parchment paper
            –    a whisk and a paddle attachment for a stand mixer or for a handheld mixer
            –    two mixing bowls (you can make do with one but it’s preferable to have two)

            Ingredients:

            6 large egg whites, at room temperature
            2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar
            2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds
            2 cups icing sugar, sifted
            6 large eggs
            1/2 cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour
            3 tbsp. (1-1/2 ounces; 45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

            Method:

            1.    Divide the oven into thirds by positioning a rack in the upper third of the oven and the lower third of the oven.
            2.    Preheat the oven to 425◦F. (220◦C). 
            3.    Line two 12-1/2 x 15-1/2- inch (31 x 39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter.
            4.   In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.
            5.   If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.
            6.    Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).
            7.    Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
            8.    Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven.
            9.    Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
            10.   Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

            For the syrup
            (Note:  The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.)

            Ingredients:

            1/2 cup (125 grams) water
            1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
            1 to 2 tbsp. of the flavouring of your choice (i.e., vanilla extract, almond extract, cognac, limoncello, coconut cream, honey etc.)

            Method:

            1.    Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.
            2.    Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

            For the buttercream
            (Note:  The buttercream can be made up to 1 month in advance and packed in an airtight container. If made way in advance, you can freeze the buttercream. Alternatively you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days after making it. To use the buttercream simply bring it to room temperature and then beat it briefly to restore its consistency.)

            Ingredients:

            1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
            1/4 cup (60 grams) water
            seeds of one vanilla bean (split a vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds) or 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract (Note:  If you are flavouring your buttercream and do not want to use the vanilla, you do not have to. Vanilla will often enhance other flavours but if you want an intense, one-flavoured buttercream, then by all means leave it out!)
            1 large egg
            1 large egg yolk
            1-3/4 cups (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
            flavouring of your choice (a tablespoon of an extract, a few tablespoons of melted white chocolate, citrus zest, etc.)

            Method:

            1.    Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
            2.    Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F (124◦C) on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
            3.    While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
            4.    When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
            5.    Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
            6.    While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.
            7.    With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
            8.    At this point add in your flavouring and beat for an additional minute or so.
            9.    Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).

            For the white chocolate ganache/mousse
            (Note:  The mousse can be made ahead and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.)

            Ingredients:

            7 ounces white chocolate
            1 cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream (35% cream)
            1 tbsp. liquer of your choice (Bailey’s, Amaretto, etc.)

            Method:

            1.    Melt the white chocolate and the 3 tbsp. of heavy cream in a small saucepan.
            2.    Stir to ensure that it’s smooth and that the chocolate is melted. Add the tablespoon of liqueur to the chocolate and stir. Set aside to cool completely.
            3.    In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form.
            4.    Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate to form a mousse.
            5.    If it’s too thin, refrigerate it for a bit until it’s spreadable.
            6.    If you’re not going to use it right away, refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

            For the glaze
            (Note:  It’s best to make the glaze right when you’re ready to finish the cake.)

            Ingredients:

            14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
            1/2 cup heavy cream (35% cream)

            Method:

            1.    Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
            2.    Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake.  Using a long metal cake spatula, smooth out into an even layer.
            3.    Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

            Assembling the Opéra Cake
            (Note:  The finished cake should be served slightly chilled. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 day).

            1.    Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
            2.    Working with one sheet of cake at a time, cut and trim each sheet so that you have two pieces (from each cake so you’ll have four pieces in total):  one 10-inch (25-cm) square and one 10 x 5-inch (25 x 12-1/2-cm) rectangle.
            3.    Step A (if using buttercream only and not making the ganache/mousse):
            4.    Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.
            5.    Spread about one-third of the buttercream over this layer.
            6.    Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.
            7.    Spread another third of the buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde. Spread the remaining buttercream on top of the final layer of joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).
            8.    Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.
            9.    Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.
            10.   Step B (if making the ganache/mousse):
            11.    Place one square of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.
            12.   Spread about three-quarters of the buttercream over this layer.
            13.   Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.
            14.   Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake and then top with the third square of joconde. Use the remaining syrup to wet the joconde and then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).
            15.   Prepare the ganache/mousse (if you haven’t already) and then spread it on the top of the last layer of the joconde. Refrigerate for at least two to three hours to give the ganache/mousse the opportunity to firm up.
            16.   Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.
            17.   Serve the cake slightly chilled. This recipe will yield approximately 20 servings.

            Banana Bread

            7 April, 2008 at 11:22 am | Posted in » Recipes, » Yummy Cakes | 5 Comments
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            Made a Banana bread yesterday… finally. It has been ages since I made one… I have added some mixed spice and chopped almonds to the recipe and I like the combination of the flavours. The mixed spice goes very well with the banana.

            The interior of the bread…

            Ingredients:

            100 grams chopped almonds (optional)

            245 grams all-purpose flour

            150 grams granulated white sugar

            1 teaspoons baking powder

            1/4 teaspoon baking soda

            1/4 teaspoon salt

            1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

            2 large eggs, lightly beaten

            113 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled

            450 grams ripe large bananas, mashed well
            1 teaspoon pure vanilla

             

            Method:

             

            1.    Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

            2.    Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

            3.    In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

            4.    In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.)

            5.    Scrape batter into prepared pan and place the slices of banana on top of the batter for garnish.

            6.    Bake until bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes.

            7.    Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

            Orange Angel Food Cake

            17 February, 2008 at 11:23 am | Posted in » Recipes, » Yummy Cakes | 3 Comments
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            orange_angel_cake_0004.jpg 

            Having left with alot of egg whites from the Double Berries Cheese Lapis (see below post)… I have been searching for recipes that make use of egg whites and I found the Angel Food Cake recipe, just the recipe that I need!

            I have added some orange juice to the original recipe… but I did not put enuff orange juice to have the orangery taste and fragrant as I afraid that it will be too sour if added too much.

            Nevertheless, the cake still taste nice… it’s already about half eaten after it’s just cooled down! It’s like Chiffon Cake but lighter, more spongy texture… more holey…

            Ingredients:

            250 grams egg whites
            1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
            110 grams castor sugar
            100 grams Cake Flour
            2 tablespoon orange juice

            Method:

            1.    Preheat oven at 175 deg C.
            2.   
            Whisk egg white with cream of tartar until foamy, add in sugar gradually and whisk until peaks formed.
            3.    Fold in orange juice and flour and mix well.
            4.    Pour into a 20 cm chiffon pan and bake in preheated oven for 40 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

            Double Berries Cheese Lapis

            12 February, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Posted in » Yummy Cakes | 1 Comment
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            berries_lapis_0003.jpg

            Some time back I bought an interesting recipe book on all layered cakes. I decided to try to make one for CNY, and I have choose the double berries cheese lapis cos of its color for CNY…

            The cake does look nice…. but the recipe of this cake is not nice…. it’s so tasteless…. so bland… dunno if the rest of the cakes in the book are as bland as this… maybe I’ll try another one next time. If it turned out to be as bland then I dun think I’m going to use any of it’s recipes for cakes but the techniques of the layering… even if I’m going to use is again, most likely I’ll add more sugar…

            X’mas Cream-Cheese Fruit Cake

            26 December, 2007 at 3:21 pm | Posted in » Recipes, » Yummy Cakes | 2 Comments
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            creamcheese_fruitcake_0014.jpg 

            I went back to my mummy’s place to spent my Xmas day and I have made a fruit cake to bring back with me. I have add cream cheese to this fruit cake, the taste is very nice… but a little too sweet though.. need to reduce the amount of sugar more the next time…

            Ingredients:

            145 gram Butter
            145 gram cream cheese
            200 gram castor sugar
            3-1/2 eggs (size B)
            230 gram Cake flour sifted together
            1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
            175 gram Mixed fruits – soaked overnight with 2-1/4 Tbsp. Rum/brandy/Kirsch
            58 grams Chopped walnuts (I use macadamia nuts)
            6 green Cherries – diced (I ommit this as the mixed fruits I bough comes with it)

            Method:

            1.        Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar together till creamy.

            2.       Add in eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition to prevent curdling.

            3.       Mix 2-1/4 Tbsp. of the sifted flour with the mixed fruits to prevent the fruits from sinking.

            4.       Fold in sifted flour and then add in the mixed fruits, green cherries and walnuts.

            5.       Pour mixture into a 8″ square tin and bake in preheated oven at 175C for about 45 mins. or until cooked.

            6.       Remove from oven and leave to cool on the wire rack.

            Traditional Keh Lapis

            4 December, 2007 at 12:09 pm | Posted in » Recipes, » Yummy Cakes | 2 Comments
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            lapis_0001.jpg

            Since my hubby went on reservist starting from yesterday till next fri, I have alot of free time to myself. I make an attemp to make this Keh Lapis last nite.

            It’s was not the first time I made this, but it’s the first time I made it all by myself. Previous ones was made together with my mummy, she can make very nice great lapis. But consider it was the first time I’m making this all by myself, I’m great it turns out quite well. Except that the actual layers are not that high, I cheated abit on the photo by cutting the lapis into half and stack on top of each other as the cake tin I use was too big  Too Funny  Maybe next time I try again using a loaf tin, I think it should be better… heehee

            Ingredients:
            Makes 1 (7-inch) cake

            7 egg yolks
            150gm castor sugar (superfine or granulated sugar)
            1 tsp. vanilla essence or extract
            150gm butter, softened at room temperature
            1 tbsp. brandy
            90gm plain flour (all-purpose flour)
            1 tsp. mixed spice
            7 egg whites

            Method: 

            1.        Grease the base and sides of a 17cm (7-inch) square cake tin and line base with greased greaseproof paper. 

            2.       Whisk egg yolks with sugar and vanilla essence until creamy. Beat in butter and brandy and stir in flour and mixed spice.  

            3.       Whisk egg whites until just stiff. Pour egg yolk mixture into egg whites and fold gently.  

            4.       Heat grill (or broiler in top part of oven) to moderate and place the prepared tin under grill (broiler in top part of oven) for 1 minute.

            5.       Remove the tin from grill (broiler) and put in a ladleful of batter.  

            6.       Spread batter evenly by tilting tin, and grill (brown under broiler) for 5 minutes, or until lightly brown.  

            7.       Repeat until batter is used up.

            8.       Turn out and cool on a wire rack. Cut the cake only when it is completely cooled.

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