Archive for May, 2012

May 27, 2012

Cupcakes; all dressed up!

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The perfect excuse for making cupcakes; was having some leftover sour cream that was just about due and I had some eggs that were sitting out in room temperature ready to be used!

And… Major reason I can bring it to church for everyone to enjoy since it is a Saturday!

Again I went back to my go to recipe from Martha Stewart for chocolate cupcakes and her Swiss meringue buttercream recipe and I just felt like practicing my swirls a little for the cupcakes! So using my 1M Wilton tip; I did a cupcake swirl and a rose swirl (like an enlarged rosette)! Note to self; I need to get more 1M tips; I had to keep washing and changing the bags to do three colors!

And how apt that Sandra and Nick brought me some new sprinkles!!! Brilliant! Looking good!

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May 27, 2012

Vanilla bean ice cream!

Having an ice cream maker is amazing! The strawberry ice cream was nice but it didn’t have that creamy texture that I love in ice creams! So I started searching for custard based recipes online and it seems that most of my fav food bloggers refer to David Lebovitz a lot for ice cream recipes! So I decided to have a basic ice cream recipe in my ice cream repertoire!

And since I bought some vanilla beans that day! What better to use them with than in ice cream! The results; extremely delicious!!! The vanilla taste was fragrant and the custard base made the ice cream really creamy! Only thing to note to self; reduce the amount of sugar the next time! A tad too sweet!

And I am not a raspberry fan; but truth be told, we had a box of raspberries that was about to go bad and I decided why not place some of them in my ice cream just for photography’s sake! Wow but it was a great complimenting taste; these raspberries with the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream! So good that I (the non berry fan) went straight back to the refrigerator and picked more to go with my ice cream! Delicious!!

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Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from David Lebovitz

About 1 quart (1l)

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop (Ten Speed Press)

For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.

1 cup (250ml) whole milk

A pinch of salt

3/4 cup (150g) sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.

2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.

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May 21, 2012

Strawberry ice cream with my Kitchenaid Ice cream maker attachment!

I have been eyeing this attachment for the longest time and just couldn’t bring myself to get it. Perhaps again skeptical about my enthusiasm for things again. Now; Jerome got me this as a surprise Mother’s day present!!! So lets get moving with the ice cream recipes!

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Here is the attachment all wrapped up!

First recipe to try – strawberry ice cream!

Followed the recipe I saw on French Food at Home! And whipped up some strawberry ice cream! Didnt taste as creamy as I thought it would be and the strawberries were the USA giant ones and not the Korean strawberries which I would think be much sweeter! Nonetheless, Jerome loved it! And I loved seeing the ice cream maker at work!

Recipe adapted from French Food @ Home

Strawberries ice cream

Ingredients:

2 cups of strawberries
1 cup of sugar
A bit of salt
A squirt of lemon

Directions:

Purée the strawberries and then strain them. Bring the 2 cups of cream to a boil and pour it into the strawberries.

Chill for several hours.

Put it into the ice cream maker for churning!

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May 19, 2012

A Macaron Attempt!

It looked simple enough; just a couple of steps as stated in the recipe. I could do it? And I had the equipment and ingredients for it!

My dear husband bought me a macarons cookbook and a macaron silicon mat. Thus, it prompted me to buy ground almonds and the food flavorings for my maiden attempt at the well known – Macarons.

Alas; little did I know the complications of the “simple” steps (pun fully intended) was to throw me into an abyss of desperation.

The first batch yield a lumpy batter! I piped it still and realized that it could crust up and I tried baking it! It turned out yummy but ugly. In fact; the husband finished all of it as a snack and I could not get a picture taken.

Tried a second one with a different recipe and this time round; I tried to fly before I could walk. Wanted to try out a chocolate macaron! Big mistake. Added the cocoa a little too early and the eggs could not whip up no matter what! A big waste of my egg whites and cocoa powder.

And finally the third attempt.. Stuck to the basics, and crossed my fingers. Everything looked promising, the batter was smooth and the colour was brilliant!

But three hours later; it still did not crust up! I have no idea why. Sigh still went ahead to bake the macarons and these were the results… No feet; I should have tapped them earlier than later..

Still went ahead to fill them with the whipped cream frosting I had left over in the fridge and some chocolate ganache. Left in the fridge and surprisingly they tasted quite good the next day! Well not too bad for a first try!

Anyhow. Pending for more hopefully successful attempts!

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May 13, 2012

Fresh fruit cream cake – The Mother’s Day Cake

Ever since my first strawberry shortcake was baked; my mum made a firm resolute that we will never need to buy cakes from bakeries anymore. And so when Mother’s Day came along; I had her request for a fresh fruit cream cake with peaches, strawberries and etc!

Researched online and didnt seem to quite like what I see so I decided to use the same recipe for the strawberry shortcake for the fruit cake!

As it turns out; it really is much nicer! I baked the cake 2 days earlier though to space out my baking time.. But that causes the sponge cake to harden in the fridge and it didn’t taste as soft and pillowy as the first one Imade!

Guess the exchange of freshly baked sponge cake for time has its costs!

So I did two batches of this cake; a single layer one during leaders meeting for Pastor Sally and for my Mum I did a two layer cake fully frosted!

I deem this The Mother’s Day cake from now! Haha!

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Since I had more time for the second cake; I decided to do a fruit glaze for the fruits to glisten! I used a peach and mango jam I have in the fridge for this and it turned out great!

Recipe adapted from joyofbaking.com

125 grams of jam
1 tablespoon of water

Directions:

1) heat the jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid (melted).
2) remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.
3) let cool until it is only slightly warm and then glaze the fruit using a pastry brush.

Note: only lightly coat the fruit with the glaze so that it does not look jelly-like when dry..

May 13, 2012

Cupcakes for the ladies

With the vanilla lemon zest cupcakes; I decorated them with what I learned from class and went for my lunch at Tatsuya with the ladies from work! Was more excited about giving them the cupcakes than my lunch itself!

Finally dessert time was here and the cupcakes were served! The best part about baking; is to see others enjoying the fruits of your labour, sincerely cannot wait for my cupcakes to be decorated with the Swiss meringue buttercream! The past week had been a baking overload for me.. So need some rest for recuperation first before my class’s final finale cake!

An exciting week of rest ahead! Am looking forward..

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May 8, 2012

Vanilla Lemon Zest Cupcake

It is not always easy to find a good recipe that comes with detailed instructions and most importantly trustable. Will be baking some cupcakes for mothers’ day and am confident of my chocolate cupcakes but not vanilla ones. My vanilla cupcakes always turn out to be brown cupcakes; or it always comes out deflated somewhat. I could never get a nice dome shape cupcake that I am proud of!

Anyhow; did some extensive reading and research and decided to go back to a trustable source – Annie’s eats. I have used some of her recipes and it always yields me great results!

So off I went in search of a vanilla cupcake! And I found this recipe of hers adapted from “joy of baking”. I tried it out and thought it would come out disastrous!

Firstly; my butter and sugar didn’t seem to beat really well. With the addition of the eggs, it became separated and non batter like. I was getting worried cos it looked really runny. I still trusted that it could turn out well and went ahead with the other steps of the addition of the flour and the milk and the batter started to come together!

The recipe stated about 12 cupcakes but I got 14 cupcakes!

I could not get why my cupcakes always became brown; so I decided to place another baking sheet above the cupcakes in the oven so as to block the top heating element from the cakes!

And it worked! The cupcakes took 15 minutes to cook and rose perfectly! The second batch was a little deflated cos I opened up the oven door half way to try to rotate the cupcake pan.. Bad idea for such an airy vanilla cake!

The lemon zest was an optional ingredient and I never ever did tried adding that before! Since I had lemon today; I decided to give it a shot!

Oh the result was amazing! The slight lemony tang to the cupcake really brought the taste to whole new level!!

Am definitely going to use this recipe quite often!

Recipe from: Annie’s Eats

Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup milk
1-1 ½ recipes easy vanilla buttercream frosting

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Set pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest, if using.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Prepare frosting. Decorate cooled cupcakes as desired.

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May 7, 2012

A fruit cake success!

Now Jerome has certain standard expectations of his fruit cake. He can’t stand it being round for one; he has to have a “loaf” of fruit cake. So after the first experience of the sinking fruits; I have decided to try the tips that I found on the Internet! Coating it lightly with some flour and to add it really at the last minute to the batter!

It worked! We had a successful fruit cake!!! And he nearly finished the entire loaf on his own!! Good grief.

I reckon this will be a very common recipe for me from now.

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May 7, 2012

A Berry Shortcake

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Late night feedings for Sarah has allowed me to catch up on some TV time and happened to catch River Cottages on The Travel & Living Channel! It just makes me want to live in such quaint and serene countrysides! They picked their own fruits and herbs for their cooking and baking right from their own garden! Isnt that amazing?

Anyhow; the chef was preparing a dessert for a party and he had a bowl full of raspberries! He whipped up some cream and had a simple cake baked! Viola! Cake dolloped with the whipping cream and filled thoroughly with raspberries and topped off lastly with icing sugar! It was like a raspberry winter wonderland!

I knew Jerome would literally be drooling over the television for that cake! And so; we decided to make a berry shortcake! He went out to the supermarket and got us some blackberries, blueberries and raspberries! We were short of having strawberries to make it a full berry party! I baked a butter cake and used the stabilized whipped cream frosting recipe for our topping and started to decorate the berry shortcake and with a final touch of some fairy dust; we created our own berry-licious winter wonderland!

Delicious was all I can say; the buttery cake with the creamy whipped cream ending with a slight burst of flavors from biting into the berries!

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May 7, 2012

Wilton Cake Decorating Class 2

Today I attended the second lesson for my cake decorating course! It was a challenge! It required a fully frosted cake!! It was sincerely a challenge to take care of a baby and frost a cake at the same time! Thank God for mothers, sisters and husbands! Everyone chipped in to help take care of Sarah and sift icing sugar and ensuring that I have the time to frost my cake all ready for today!

Decided to frost my cake pink and to do a purple base liner for my “cupcake design” the purple took us ages to get the colour right..

It was really fun at class! I piped elongated shapes and did curves and zigzag lines. Wow a repertoire on hand already! Wah hahah!

And finally my cake design! A classic looking pearly cupcake design! Love!

All that hard work is worth it.

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