All pix seen here are taken from Williams Sonoma.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
All pix seen here are taken from Williams Sonoma.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This makes a good prelude for my new cupcake liner:
These 2 cupcake was made with the left over batter from last session. I played with the fondant and come up with the simple xmas design:
The leaves are simple to create with PME plunger cutter.
I do not know if it is a mistake to frost the cupcake. My fondant melt away in the frosting:
Gotta to go read up more on the fondant!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
> Don't bother to bake, I am catching a play.
> Don't worry, you can eat the cake off my blog!
D's sister is a staunch Buddhist who is a vegetarian so I tried to bake the eggless butter cake. It seemed like a sensible choice for them to be able to share the cake. Unfortunately my eggless cake failed; there's not enough structure to hold up the cake. It was too crumbly to hold. I had to eat it with a spoon! After the last crazy baking week for Sheen's birthday, I resolute to have less stress and more fun this time round. So instead of spending time troubleshooting the recipe, I just go right to the tried and tasted recipe.
When I was preparing Sheen's cake, Gina suggested Steam Moist Choc Cake which was created by a very talented baker Lady Vanilla - a Singaporean who now lives in Netherlands. This is just the right recipe for me cos I am down to 2 eggs in my fridge... not enough for a sponge or chiffon cake.
Ta-da: The overall result is not fantastic but much much much better than the mess I created at my sis' birthday
The small "Happy Birthday" disc and fondant lettering was a last minute job... I got the wilton lettering set, thinking it was make my life easier but look at it...
I had a hard time trying to remove them from the backing... and broke quite a few along the way. In the end, there's ain't enough alphabets so I need an alternative.... Ya, fondant... yep, luckily there's a box at home on standby!
I do not like the taste of fondant, but will always keep a box at home cos it is so easy to handle... it's as easy as child's playdoh!
No worries I thought to myself as I promptly took out the fondant lettering and numbering set. Finally I have a chance to use it. Fantastic!
I coloured, knead and mold the alphabets. When I am done, I tried with my might to take the letters off the mold.... No amount of coaxing or picking will get the letters out in a complete piece. I even tried to dust more cornstarch (like the "A"), and tried with crisco but nothing work. The instruction said freezing 10min will help. Forget it.
In the end, I used the trusted alphabet cookie cutter set! Not as pretty, but it works. Whoosh, that save me another disaster!
(PS: I researched for other user's experience... Conclusion - we can safely blame it on the crappy fondant tool set! If the manufacturer is responsible enough, they should have recalled the product. $36 for the plastic sheets is exorbitant!)
Steamed Chocolate Cake - Super Moist!
188gm Corn Oil
¾ cup castor sugar (I used fine sugar since it gets dissolved in step 1 anyway)
175 ml Evaporated Full Cream Milk
2 Eggs, lightly beaten with a folk
1 cup of Plain flour (I used gold medal unbleached flour 10% protein)
½ cup of Cocoa powder (I used Varlhona)
½ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Baking soda (can be omitted since varlhona is dutch-processed)
½ tsp Vanilla Extract ( I used Kahlua instead)
1 tsp choc emulco
- Combine sugar, Evaporated milk, vanilla extract or essence and oil in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved, off fire and keep warm.
- Add the beaten eggs into the slightly cold Evaporated milk mixture and stir till well mix.
- Sift the flour,cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl then pour the eggs mixture over the flour and stir till well mix (cake batter should be runny).
- Heat up the steamer (medium fire). If the fire is too high, your cake may get a dome.
- Lined and greased a baking pan. Pour the batter into prepared pan and tap the pan a few times on the tabletop to remove any trapped air. Place the pans into the steamer and cover the top of the pan loosely with a piece of aluminium foil. - do not skip this as it prevent the condensed steam from dripping onto the cake.
- Steam over medium heat for 45 mins (mine took 30 min only).
- Cool the cake in pan before turning out for further decoration.
I used the chocolate glaze, once again, a recipe taken from Kitchen Capers:
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla.
- Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.
To glaze the cake:
Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top and sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet.
- I see other bakers can get very pretty smooth glaze on their cake... unlike mine. For a start, the surface of the steam cake is quite pokey. Perhaps I will do better with thicker frosting.
- I start to jot down the type of flour I used cos I learnt from my trials that the flour can make quite a difference in the texture of the cake, due to the different percentage of the protein content.
- The cake is very choc, only reserved for chocolate-holics!
- Pretty things are good, useful things are better. (heehee, haven't get over the fondant mold set!)
Bevis, once again, come and kapoh kapoh when I was decorating the cake. He kept eating the fondant by lumps. I had to distract him by letting him roll out the fondant and make out his name! Boy, I was impressed when he can tell this "mama's playdoh" is called fondant!
All went into his stomach right after this!
Monday, November 24, 2008
I just add things that Sheen eats, fish cake, carrot, scallops and xiao bao chai. It is more like a braise method without any oil, hence I think it is healthier.
I brought this to my mum's place over weekend, and my sis said it is as tasty as those from the zichar stall!
- Fish cake, sliced
- Carrot, sliced
- Xiao Bao Chai, sectioned
- Chicken Stock (or Water) - 1 cup
- Oyster sauce
- Dark sauce
- Bring the stock (or water) to boil.
- Add all the ingredients into the stock and cover pot until boil.
- Add oyster sauce & dark sauce to taste.
- Add yee-mee into the stock, boil for 3 min, then off the fire. The noodle will absorb flavourful the stock and becomes soft and tasty.
Friday, November 21, 2008
So this is my only bake (actually no-bake) in the week: a simple cheesecake which I got from Natalie.
You can see that I am real lazy - I have omitted all the toppings, just to have more time for the games :-)))
For some strange reason, I didn't take a pix of the full view of the entire cake. May be the fatigue from last night gaming session! *tsk*
For the Crust
50g unsalted butter
25g light soft brown sugar
45ml golden corn syrup (3 tbsp)
115g or 1 cup of cornflakes
For the filling:
11g sachet powdered gelatin (I used 4 gelatin leaf)
225g soft cheese
150g greek yoghurt
150ml single (light) cream
finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
75g caster sugar
2 eggs separated (I used 100ml whipping cream)
1 packet of strawberries
1/4 packet strawberry jello
- Place butter, brown sugar and syrup in a pan and heat over a low heat stirring until mix has melted and well blended. Remove from heat and stir in cornflakes.
- Press mixture over the pas of a 30cm loose base round cake tin and chill for 30mins
- Sprinkle gelatin over 45ml water in a bowl and leave to soak for a few mins. place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until gelatin is dissolved.
- Place the cheese yoghurt, cream, lemon rind and juice, caster sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl and beat till smooth and thoroughly mixed.
- Add the hot gelatin to the cheese mixture and beat well.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks and fold into the cheese mixture.
- Pour mix over the corn flakes base and level surface. prepare strawberry jello mixture and cool slightly.
- Slice strawberries and place them in radiating order starting from outside - in.
- Pour Jello mix over strawberries just to coat strawberries with a nice glossy shine.
- Chill for 4 to 5 hours or until filling is set.
For my version, I have used the normal biscuit crust instead. These are the balance butter cookie that was sitting in my kitchen in the last 2 weeks so I am trying to salvage them. Otherwise I would have used cornflake for some little surprise.
Since this is a no-bake version, I left out the eggs for fear of salmonella! I used the whipping cream for leavening effect instead.
Monday, November 17, 2008
- I am more of a scientist than artist when it comes to baking. I always copy someone else's design. But no one ever tell me stop, cos it's such bad copy that they couldn't believe it comes from them :-)))
- Despite my blog named Happy Cup, I am never really happy. I am a born worrier, constantly worrying about what may or may not happen, and how I can pre-empt that!
- It is my wildest dream to have my own business, Just so that I can "mind my own business". But I could never garner enough courage to leave my day job. And my excuse is "the opportunity cost is too high!" Haha, lying to myself!
- I love handbags, I have amassed many IT-bag like Neverful, Suhali, Spy Bag, Multicolore Speedy but I only carry my HP backpack (comes with my notebook) and a Ferragoma Toiletery pouch (Free from SIA) to work.
- I would not hesitate to go for the botox jab when the first wrinkles appear but would not endure a facial!
- I shun sharkfins at wedding dinners but never resist feeding it to my son.
- If I had not gone on to earn my degree, I would have been a brisk operator at Times Printers. It was my first job after completing my 'O'Levels and had marvelled at the $1000+ salary for the strenuous 12-hour-a-day work. It was a large sum of money for me back then, you bet!
- Link to my blog (tagger) on your blog.
- Give seven facts about yourself.
- Tag another seven bloggers by leaving a comment on their blogs and letting them know they were tagged and listing them (and their blogs) on your blog.
I do hope you guys take this in good fun!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I know of many high flying colleagues, especially the females, who think I am putting the focus on the wrong area by taking too much time off work to bake for the little ones, or to attend to him when he's ill. Many times I was asked "why not leave the child to the maid?", or "why not just buy a cake from the confectionary to save all the hassle?". You can see they chagrined when I replied "I am the maid", or "I enjoyed the hassle."
I believe each of us has different priority in life, and just as I do not judge how good a mother they are, I do not want to be judged how good an employee I am based on the amount of time I spent with my child.
Sheen is now 4, I have about 9 more years to spend good quality time with him cos by the time he turns 15, he will have his own circle of friends whom he probably would prefers to hang out with. By comparison, I will have at least another 20 years of work life.
Sorry for the grumbles, I am so annoyed by some colleagues commenting on me taking annual leaves to bake. Perhaps in future I should not tell anyone how I spend my free time. Afterall annual leave is my entitlement, who cares what I do :-o
Apart from the birthday cake, i also baked a batch of cookie. The idea is to let the kids have some fun decorating their own "cupcake".
I have filled in the "cupcake liner", leaving the cupcake top for the kids to slap on the white icing, and add sprinkle as they wish.
These plain ones are for my sis who does not like the sweet cookies.
It is quite tiring having to roll, mold and bake these cookies but I enjoyed thoroughly! After all, my cutie is 1 year older liao!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
This is the final rehearsal in the run up to the party tomorrow!
Come, help yourself to a slice:
Just taken out from the oven. I like to smooth top... the hole that you see on the cake is made by my skewer test:
This is the bottom of the cake - "swee swee" this time round :-)
The last one was very patchy and dense on some parts of the cake. I panick and turned to the Guru. Very shortly, Gina replied to my questions:
Q: The top of my top looks perfect but when I reverse the cake out, I can see dark patches on the bottom. Is it becos I did not fold in the cocoa batter with egg white well enough?
"...you didn't mix the batters evenly, so there is more concentration on one end of the cake.
Q: Is there a time limit how soon the folding must complete?
"Time limit? more like don't over do it. Do a good 5 to 8 sweeps of the spatula when you mix the batters. As long as you don't see 2 different colours of batter, you should stop stirring or mixing."
Q: The cake has a strong egg white smell. Anyone has similar encounter? I added 1 tbsp dark rum in (A).
"Egg smell should not be evident if you have added cocoa and rum. Its only evident when you don't add any flavouring. Also, when you steam a cake, the egg smell usually is stronger. "
Got it, Gina.
This recipe is from Florence in Kitchen Capers - she baked this into a beautiful black forest cake! I followed the method upto step 9 only to get the chocolate sponge cake .
Black Forest Cake
4 egg yolks
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp rum (I used 2 tbsp dark rum)
85ml corn oil, warmed
25g cocoa powder
135ml warm water
125g cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
4 egg whites (I used 5 whites)
½ tsp cream of tartar
15 fresh cherries, pitted and halved
15 canned pitted sour cherries, halved
400ml whipping cream whipped with 2 tbsp icing sugar
80g shaved Lindt Dark Chocolate
- Mix ingredients (A) well with a hand whisk.
- Stir cocoa powder in warmed oil until dissolved and pour into yolk mixture.
- Stir (C) into yolk mixture.
- Sieve ingredient (D) and stir it into yolk mixture.
- Whip egg whites in a clean mixing bowl until big bubbles are formed. Add in the cream of tartar and whip until white in colour.
- Divide 50g sugar into 3 portions and add a portion at a time into egg white slowly while whipping the whites. Whip until stiff peaks formed.
- Pour ½ white into yolk mixture and blend well.
- Pour yolk mixture into the remaining egg white mixture and blend well.
- Pour batter into clean baking pan and bake at 175C for 45 minutes or until cooked.
- Invert cake and leave to cool. Then cut cooled cake into 2 layers.
- Whip the cream with icing sugar until stiff.
- Add pitted fresh and sour cherries into a small portion of the whipped cream.
- Sandwich the cake with (12).
- Decorate as appropriate with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
To decorate the cake:
- Do the filling then around the cake but leave the top bare.
- Shaved all the chocolates onto a large baking sheet, hold the top and bottom of cake with both hands, roll the creamed side of the cake on to the chocolate shavings, gathering as much shavings as you can
- Settle the cake onto your cake board and do the top creaming.
- Spread a layer of cream on the cake this will seal in the crumbs. If you have time, freeze again after the first layer . Else, add on more cream and spread again. This way it won't be so messy trying to stick the choc shavings onto the side of the cake.
- Freeze the cake overnight and refrigerate the whip cream the same day. The next day, assemble everything and allow about 4-6 hours to defroze in the refrigerator before eating. As soon as you take it out, you start decorating... it will probably take ½ to 1 hour before you are done. So by that time is already starting to defrost.
I used the fudge recipe given by Sophie in no place other than Kitchen Capers! :-)))
Chocolate Fudge Topping
550 ml water
1 tsp instant jelly (I used gelatine leaf)
150 g fine sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
60 g hoen kwe flour
100 g cooking chocolate (chopped)
2 tbsp chocolate emulco
Method for Chocolate Fudge
- Boil water, sugar, instant jelly, salt and chocolate emulco.
- In a separate bowl, combine hoen kwe flour and cocoa powder with a little water ( water from 550 ml). Mix well.
- When water boils, remove from heat. Pour hoen kwe mixture into water and mix well with a whisk.
- Return the whole combination to the stove ( slow fire ). Keep whisking until it’s bubbly (boiling), thick and shiny ( about 2-3 minutes).
- Remove from heat. Pour in the cooking chocolate and whisk well. Done. Use almost immediately.
- Spread a layer of chocolate fudge topping on top of one layer of cake. Cover with second layer of cake. Coat the whole cake with the topping. Let it cool before refrigerate for 2 hours.
The Taste Test:
- I have not eaten Lana cake for a long time, so I asked a colleague, a Lana regular, to comment. She said, "Lana cake is more fluffy, and the fudge is thicker. ... but this is good!". Smart girl, year end ranking coming... better say the right thing!!! :-)))
- The sponge cake receipe has the right level of sweetness for me! Already very low sugar, so there's no need to cut back anymore. I am encouraged to frost the cake, in fact!
- Initially I find the chocolate taste overpowered by the egg white, so I added 1 tsp of chocolate emulco. This greatly improves the choco-ky-ness.
- In another trial, I used 30g of melted varlhona chocolate instead of cocoa powder, good enough for me to skip the choc emulco.
- This cake will get better if left overnight first; for me, the egg white smell was gone!
- Becos I am a new hand taking a long time to fold in the egg white into batter, many bubbles pop right under my nose. To compensate for the loss, I added 1 more egg white. *heehee*.
- To ensure chances of success in whisking the whites: I clean all my utensil first with soap, then run under hot water. Finally, I rub them with white vinegar. Ya, kia-su. I cannot afford to fail after sacrificing so many eggs! Sorry hens.
As Gina (super chef from KC) correctly point out, this is quite a challenging recipe. Personally I find it tough having to balance the need to fold in the mixture very well and evenly for a perfect cake, at the same time, to ensure that we maintain as much air in the batter.
For me, it was a bold move cos I live to hear enough horror stories from my friends ranting the countless failures they had encountered. I wouldn't have made this if not for Sheen's birthday. So when push comes to shove....
Moral of the story? You smart enough to figure out lah!
Monday, November 10, 2008
After my failed attempt at Le Cafe Crispy Coffee Cookie , I text my friend to tell him of the flopped cookies.. minutes later he replied "don't worry, you will get it right someday". That was a great encouragement for a novice baker like me.
After I raved enough about the chocolate cookie recipe that Freda sent to me, I thought why not use the same recipe to make rolled cookie instead... Afterall the choc cookie IS yummy!
I used the same choc cookie recipe, and roll it up like a sausage, then coat the outside with chopped almond before slicing it and bake.
I was lazy to toast the almond so I have to leave them on the outside for some toasting during baking... The right way is to toast them at 180C for 5min first, then add the almond together with the flour.
This is not exactly the coffee cookie, cos the cocoa powder is very strong. Moreover I add choc chips to. I will surely make the coffee flavour next time round - will replace cocoa powder with fine coffee powder.
All packed up and ready to deliver to my dear pal!
Something perplexing. Few days after the baking, I opened up the container to "steal" 1 pc to satisfy my urge. Then I realised that the cookie didn't taste as good as it was. It is still crispy but less aromatic. Also, there's something missing but I can't quite figure out what that is.
Maybe I need to keep this can of cookies with me... I will have another piece, another piece, another piece, another piece, ... until I figure out what's wrong :-)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
It's November and my little's birthday is just round the corner. I have been wanting to bake him a birthday though it does seem to me a daunting task! What if the cake didn't turn out well? What if he doesn't like the design? What if I fumble in the bake? Lots of what-ifs... but seeing what fellow blogger like Rei and HHB has made for their children, I am determined to bake Bevis a birthday cake.
First thing first, the recipe must be simple. I only have a miserable small mixer, so if the cake requires lots of whisking or mixing, I am domed.
I found this recipe from here. No whisking, no whipping, no creaming. And all the ingredients are readily in my kitchen. Sure. Let's get ready for a dry run.
- Since I used a different size cake pan, I adjusted the timing accordingly. Bake for 80min at 170C.
- I have a bottle of cherry balsamic vinegar at home which I used with whole milk in place of the buttermilk.
- Instead of 1 cup strong coffee, I used 200ml coffee + 40ml kahlua. Total amount still the same though.
The Taste Test:
- There's a crust on top of the cake. Goner.
- The cake is moist but dense and very heavy. Hubby said" this is not a birthday cake". Period.
- The good thing is that this cake is very very dark as you can see from the pix.
Conclusion, this is a good and simple recipe, but will not make it for celebration.
Oh, and btw, if this is haven, I ain't going!!!
PS: I sandwiched the cake with banana, just like what HHB had done... my baby loves banana so this seemed like a sensible addition. But I still need yet to meet the objective. Next week birthday, HOW? *pulling hair*
Friday, November 7, 2008
How times has changed. We are in the era of encouraging our offspring to play. A famous local child development centre says that kids learn best while playing. And I am most happy to involve my little one in all my baking sessions despite protests from the other half that he's a boy, and cooking making him "girly". Excuse me, there're certainly many successful male chef out there, and I do not think they are a least bit macho! Think Sam Leong and Emmanuel Stroobant!
This is his colourful dinosaur and the round ones are "dinosaur's eggs", Bevis told me.
The heart, elephant and hippo cookie cutters are part of the 6-pc set which I bought from Ho Chi Minh City. It is the same thing that you can find in the baking section at Cold Storage (about $2 for a pack of 6), cost 68 cents over there. Good buy, best buy, MUST buy!
I let Bevis help to press the cookie, also to put the white chocolate chip on the cookie as their eye. This helps to develop their fine motor skills.
Some of them are abit out of place, but good enough for a 3-year-old. What's more important is that we both had FUN!
Same dough, different shape. I measured out the equal portion and let Bevis press the M&M's on top. He was caught muching the M&Ms at the same time! Haha.
Talk about playing with food, I just learnt that the game machine WII has a cooking game! Gonna get it soon!