Monday, January 25, 2010

[MacTweets/ma4] Mac-A-Valentine: Ispahan Macarons

My version of Ispahan Macarons: Rose, Raspberry & Lychee (Litchi)

I was reading Paris Patisseries when i saw the recipe of the famous Pierre Herme's Ispahan Maracons.  I thought it would be a good idea to bake these since it has a tinge of rose flavor suitable for Valentine's Day.   However, his original recipe is rather time-comsuming to make so i just borrowed his idea of combining the 3 flavors: Rose, Raspberry & Lychee.

The macaron shells are flavored with rose essence and sandwich with raspberry jelly centre & lychee/ rose flavored buttercream.  I used the same italian meringue recipe from I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita since i wanted something fast.  I was also baking Chocolate Tweet Angel Food Cake at the same time so my entire kitchen was rather chaotic &! :S

Please do check out other bloggers' macarons & flavors listed on!

Rose Macaron Recipe (requested by Jamie)
Adapted from I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita


60g of almond powder
80g of icing sugar

50g of eggwhites

40g of granulated sugar
40g of water

½ tsp of rose essence
red colored powder (add to your discretion)

1 tsp of eggwhite powder (Optional)

1. Preheat oven to 150c (book mentioned at 190c - so largely dependent on  your oven! Mine is always hot!)
2. Mix [A] together and process it for 10-20 secs in food processor till fine. Sift it and set aside.
3. Mix ingredients [C] together in microwaveable glass and stir to dissolve sugar. Microwave for 20 sec – take it out and stir to dissolve the sugar. * (check step 4) * Microwave for a further 3½ - 4 mins till the sugar syrup reaches 110c or softball stage. (If you are lazy like me, just look at the syrup, it should be thick and flows like glucose – that should be it). You can also heat sugar syrup over the stove.
4. While the sugar syrup is in the microwave, with handmixer beat the eggwhites [B] till frothy and add in [E] (optional) and beat till soft peaks.
5. When the sugar syrup is ready (be careful since the glass will be very hot!), pour it into the meringue in a slow steady stream avoiding the handmixer (with handmixer still beating). Turn the mixer on low speed and beat till the meringue cools down (should be fast since it’s only very little eggwhites).
6. Pour in half [A] into the meringue & fold. Add the other half in and fold further. Add [D] and fold further. Unlike the French method, this method needs to be folded more – otherwise you’ll get peaks. Fold (Macronnage) until the mixture turns a bit shinny and flows thickly.
7. Pipe onto baking sheet on tray & Leave to dry (should be pretty quick – like 10-15mins?)
8. Place in oven and you’ll see feet rise within first 5 mins. If it doesn’t means failure. If it does, after 5 mins, open the door slightly ajar and bake for further 5mins. After turn the oven to 130c (with door still ajar) and bake for another 5 mins.  *(Note: This step largely depends on your oven is extremely this always works best for me).
9. Leave to cool and remove macarons from baking sheet.

Raspberry Jelly is made from raspberry puree and agar powder. I don’t know how much exactly cos I always estimate by ‘feel’.

Rose Lychee (Litchi) Buttercream is made by adding Lychee puree (I used canned since they are not in season now) & 1 tsp of Rose water into the buttercream. Again I did this by estimate.

Chocolate Tweed Angel Food

Rose's Heavenly Cake, Page 159: Chocolate Tweed Angel Food

To be honest, i've never eaten an angel food cake before, so when Marie said this recipe is up next in line, i was pretty excited.  I've always assumed angel food cake is like chiffon cake.  Afterall, i have plenty of eggwhites in the freezer. :)  I defrosted more eggwhites than i should..since i usually collect my eggwhites in small containers, i can't remember exactly how many eggwhites there are per each container.  Since i had excess eggwhites defrosted, i made macarons with it for the upcoming MacTweets Mac-Attack4 (that will be in the next post).

Again, this cake is pretty easy but the only thing that got me really worried is that when i beat the 16 eggwhites, the whites fluff up till it's almost the top of my KitchenAid mixer..and i can't really tell if it is medium peak or stiff peak, since it is way up the top of my mixer and when i lift up, i can't really tell!  So i just made an estimate guess on what i think is stiff peak..:p

I made a small mistake: I put rice in the empty glass bottle so that it can be weigh down when i cool the cake upside down..however, in my haste i forgot to tightened the cap and the bottle toppled over and i had rice all over my cake. Had to brush off all the rice and some got stuck (in the cracks) and not easy to remove! I suppose the uncooked rice does add to the! see half of the cake above because, i only frosted half of the cake! LOL! That's because i ran out of heavy cream and i had only half of the required amount.

Verdict:  I like it and so does everyone in my family!  It's very soft and fluffy and taste quite like chiffon cake except it has less flavor than chiffon cake, but the cream-frosting made up for the flavor.  Normally i would eat chiffon cake on it's own, but for angel food cake, it is rather bland without any whipped cream or syrup or whatever is the term for it...(my mind's blank after too much baking for the day..)?  Without the heavy-cream, it taste quite like a diet cake to! I guess it is since only egg whites and no oil and the little chocolate doesn't really help either!  So it is best to eat this cake frosted with the cream suggested in the book. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Camera (Lumix GF1) Cake

I made this cake for my boss' friend's birthday.  Initially i wanted to have the camera-cake standing up but i was worried if the 'lens' of the cake could hold up even with dowels..esp. when the chocolate cake i baked was quite soft.  After much thought, i decided to lie the cake flat...that way i don't have to worry about the lens not holding up. :)  I modeled this cake after my own camera. :)

Cake is made of Devil's Food Cake, Chocolate Buttercream & Chocolate Ganache.  I'm quite happy with this cake. Although it is not 100% perfect, at least it is what i had in mind.  My "paint-writing" needs major improvement...LOL!




Monday, January 18, 2010

Torta de las Tres Leches

Rose's Heavenly Cake, Page 211: Torta de las Tres Leches

I have difficulty pronouncing the name of this cake....also implies that i've never even heard of this cake before nor  have i tasted it. I admit i'm bias, the thought of a very wet cake all soak up in milk doesn't seem very appetizing to me.

I woke up in the morning, figured i better make the Leche mixture first. Half awake, I mixed ALL the ingredients together in a huge pot! Didn't seem right, so i read instructions again and realised that i should only mix the milk & sugar together, reduce it by half..then add the condense milk and the heavy cream.   No choice, had to throw alway all the milk and start all over again.  Can i just say that i HATE the smell of reducing milk... (even though it is not as bad as parmesan cheese which i think smells exactly like baby's vomit...*sorry*..).... made me sick.  So i cheated - got my domestic helper to watch the fire and told her when the mixture is reduced to 2.5 cups to pour in the condense milk & heavy cream.  Anyway, are we suppose to pour in the condense milk and heavy cream when the reduced milk is still hot or after it has been cooled?  Since the instruction didn't say to wait till cool..i just told my assistant (hahaha) to pour in almost immediately after transferring to a huge bowl. After, i realized that the 'fats/oil' from the heavy cream and condense milk will separate (when mix with hot milk), surface to the top and harden when it is how? No i scraped it off! I'm definitely not going to redo and smell the reducing milk all over again...

Making the sponge cake wasn't difficult. In fact my sponge cake didn't crack and looked quite good imo - since i was expecting a crack. See the photo sponge cake looked great doesn't it?

When the cake cooled, i removed a little of the bottom crust first  - (bottom crust which actually looked quite good so i didn't know if i should remove or not - but i did follow instructions and removed a little). After, I removed the top crust which came off quite easily.  Ok..i ended up somewhat with only 4 cups of milk...much lesser than the 4-2/3 cups mentioned in the book.  But in the end i didn't pour in the entire 4 cups of milk i had left. I only pour in about 3.5 cups..since the cake looked like it's quite "bloated". I didn't really want a too soggy cake either.

The sponge cake all soaked in milk - looks quite awful doesn't it?  If i had to eat that cake above, i would feel sick even before tasting it...  But it's ok because i realised after the next day, the wet left-over crust can be scraped off quite easily and you'll end up with this nice cake...(see pic below)... ah..much better isn't it? Already more appetizing, i think.

After removing the soggy left over cake is ready to be covered with whipped cream. I decided to use whipped cream instead of heavy cream because i find whipped cream more stable than heavy cream, or probably just my imagination.  I added a few drops of red coloring, frosted the cake and piped flowers around, i wanted to pipe in a large rose in the centre of the cake but ran out of whipped cream. So here it is my cake all covered & decorated..:)

The inside of the cake (in the pic above) looks spongy and dry but it's actually soaking wet with milk.  I'm actually glad that i didn't pour in all the milk, because even with 3.5 cups of milk, the cake is still very wet.

Verdict:-   This is the first time we tasted Tres Leches. My daughter said it's pretty unique and rather different but she likes it.  My husband said it's good..different from the usual cakes but it's good.  Me?  It's better than what i imagined it would be.  It's good, however, i do find it far too sweet for my liking...i can only eat a really tiny slice each time.. Tiny slice - reminds me of the movie "Confessions of Shopaholic" where this Rebecca Bloomwood's (Isla Fisher's character) mom offered Kristen Scott Thomas' character a slice of cake, she kept saying smaller smaller..and in the end cake was really really tiny..LOL!

PS: You can apparently make your own condense milk.  To make your own condense milk, check out Mary's blog at KeepLearningKeepSmiling.  Link to her recipe

Oh...and I baked Rose's Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake again but into 24 cupcakes (made double portion of batter) for Church. Again i had left over streusel, melted it with the left over sour cream and piped it over the cupcakes.. Taste great in cupcakes too! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Happy 101 Award

I received the Happy 101 Award from my two favorite bloggers, Tracy of Sugarcrafter and Sarah of Maison Cupcakes.  I'm surprised that I'm being awarded. My blog has always been a sort of personal diary where i keep an account of what i have baked - since i have the tendency to forget things quite easily.  I'm no good in writing or expressing my feelings, so most of my posts are usu. factual, and that usu. imo is quite boring..LOL! So, I'm rather flattered to receive such an award.  I have found that the best thing from creating this blog (other than refreshing my memory) is that it has led to me to 'meet' other interesting and amazing food bloggers like Tracy, Sarah and others who have all been so helpful and encouraging.

Rules of the Award:-
  • 1) Copy the award image into a post.
  • 2) List 10 things that make you happy.
  • 3) Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day.
  • 4) Put in a link to their blogs.
  • 5) Notify the award receivers.
  • 6) Recipients to link back to the sender's blog.

10 Things That Makes Me Happy
  1. My Husband - cracks silly jokes all the time and makes me laugh
  2. My Daughter - tries very hard to get good results in her studies
  3. My Son - everything he does is like a milestone for us - when he suddenly speaks a new word or suddenly talks in sentence (ie, 3 words or more!), and when he seems to understand complex issues.  I'll be delighted when he can some day tell time..since we have been teaching him for years and he doesn't seems to get it..
  4. Shopping:  buying cookbooks, bake-wares, clothings, shoes..etc..
  5. Decorating cakes & cookies
  6. Reading cookbooks & other food bloggers' blogs, 
  7. Weekends - when i spend all my time with my family & cooking/baking.
  8. Good day at work during weekdays
  9. Christmas
  10. Holiday travels
I'm passing this award on to (no particular order):-
  1. Tiffany of Food Finery
  2. Juanita of SweetThings
  3. Jacqueline of Petalsweet Cakes
  4. Brandy of Cakes-a-nonymous
  5. Purplesque
  6. Patricia of Butteryum
  7. Shari of Whisk:AFoodBlog
  8. Pei-Lin of Dodol Mochi
  9. All of the Heavenly Cake Bakers' blogs including Marie's listed on Marie's blog
  10. All the blogrolls from MacTweets 
(PS: I know i 'cheated' for 9 & 10)! ..but there's so many of them i follow all the time and it's really difficult to choose..)

I found a photo of myself (taken by my daughter) wearing a "Mr Happy" t-shirt which i thought is quite appropriate for!

Basically me in my kitchen: 5 steps to the left and 5 steps to the right  = total area of my kitchen..LOL!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Page 55: Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake

This cake is pretty straight forward so is not a difficult cake to bake. However, i don't understand why we have to bake the cake into a 6-cup bundt pan and 2 cupcakes. I would think it would be much easier to bake the batter either in all cupcakes or just 1 bundt pan right?  I have been dying to try out the mini bundt pans i bought from Melbourne April last year,  so i baked the cake into 8 mini bundt cakes. :)

I put in the chocolate streusel mixture (i did use light muscovado sugar this time - i realised i had a packet in my pantry all the time - i bought quite some time back and forgot about it! lol!) into the batter but i think i didn't put enough so there's quite a lot left. I heated up some left over sour cream, mix in the chocolate streusel mixture, a bit of butter & a bit of icing sugar and piped it over mini cakes.

Verdict: This cake is absolutely delicious! The texture/crumbs of the cake is extremely soft, delicate and very moist. Paired with the chocolate streusel it is absolutely heavenly! A MUST bake again cake! This recipe is definitely a keeper..not only is it easy to bake, it is soooo sooooo good!  Everyone in my family loves it.  I think I'm going to bake a batch of these again in cupcake form tomorrow. :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mark Bittman's Food Processor Baguettes

Recipe from Marie's blog @

I think i did something wrong with my baguettes! Somehow my bread didn't develop these nice large holes that Marie's did..hers were so very nice and fluffy. Mine was so dense...i wonder if it is because i didn't let it raise long enough?  And i realised i didn't slash mine deep enough. The crust is a bit too hard, and the inside too dense. Overall, it is still edible but not what is expected i guess. I gotta try it again... :(

My husband thinks i'm wasting my time - afterall we can always buy great Delifrance baguettes at S$1.30..and in Singapore, everything is just within the neighbourhood.

PS: I forgot to take photo of the entire loaf of bread since i was eager to eat my dinner (above) and took a quick shot..LOL!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tiny Upgrade of!

I set up a new blog ( to deviate myself from the amateur status since a few fellow bakers have suggested that i should change my 'amateur' status and having baked so many cakes, i shouldn't be calling myself amateur anymore.

However, the thought of moving the entire blog to another blog and start over again just seems like an uphill task..LOL! So, i've decided to just stay put and made minor changes to the heading of my current blog instead.  I've changed it from "the amateur baker" to "Faithy, the baker" ...but still keeping the same link.  For now, that will do i!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

[MacTweets/ma3] Fruity Macarons

Fruity Macarons:-
Mangosteen Macaron Shells with Mango Pineapple Buttercream & Blueberry Jellied center.  

For MacAttack3 challenge we are suppose to try something different that we have never done i decided to try making macarons using the italian meringue way - my first time making macarons with sugar syrup. :) I used the recipe from the Chinese publication of I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita. The proportion between the Chinese & English Publications is a little bit different.  The Chinese version uses 50g of eggwhites which is what i was looking for and seems to have less sugar too. I didn't want to make a huge batch of macarons since i was only trying out for the first time. :)   I'm glad it turned out successful on my first try!   Since Mangosteen is purple in color, i thought i would color my macaron shells violet. I added violet color but i don't know why it turned out blue-green instead!  I kept adding the powder but it just didn't turn purple! Strange!

Yup, i own both the Chinese & English publications. :)
I bought the Chinese version first before the English one was available.

This is also the first time i'm using freeze-dried fruits. I bought the mangosteen, pineapple, rambutan & durian ones. I grind the freeze-dried mangosteen into powder and added it to the meringue.  The freeze-dried pineapple i pound into tiny pieces and add it into the mango buttercream for the added flavor.  Although i have fresh pineapple in the fridge, i didn't want too use it since i think it would be too over-powering..i just wanted a bit of an added crunch.  The blueberry jellied centre is made by adding a bit of agar powder to the blueberry filling (i had a tiny bit left-over in the fridge and had no idea what to do with it..LOL! i decided to try something new..and surprisingly the texture turned out quite well!)

It's a strange combo with so many flavors but surprisingly it turned out quite good! LOL!

Please do check out other bloggers' macarons & flavors listed on!

Rum Cake Balls

What to do with left over cake scrap? Make them into delicious rum cake balls!  I had a lot of chocolate cake scraps from the R2D2 cake which i made earlier and was wondering what to do with it. Then i remembered Anna@Vox made a batch of spicy cake rums which looked absolutely delicious.  Since i already had the cake, i didn't need to bake one. Just add rum till the cake scraps becomes dough like and roll them into ball. Either coat them with sugar or chocolate or candy melts. :)  Easy & Delicious!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Whipped Cream Cake

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Page 29: Whipped Cream Cake

This recipe is rather easy. Not a lot of instructions and limited ingredients as well - so i have nothing much to!

I'm surprised that with only heavy cream the cake is extremely buttery in texture and taste. It taste quite like pound cake..or maybe it is pound cake! The only thing is i don't know why the crust of my cake is rather chewy in texture, although the inside of the cake is very moist and soft. The crust is not dry like normal pound cake but it is quite chewy..i doubt i over-baked it since i only baked it for 30mins and you can see the crust isn't very brown either.

Honestly, I am a bit disappointed with this cake, not because it doesn't taste good. It's good: soft, moist & buttery but i am quite bothered with the chewy crust. Maybe my bundt pan is more than 10cups..btw, how do i know if it is how many cups when my pan only states the dimension and not cups - pour in 10 cups of water to test? Besides the cake is quite sweet on it's own too without the need for powdered sugar..but i added it for aesthetic!

My family likes it and gave the thumbs up. My daughter, the critic, also commented about the chewy crust. See..this makes me wonder what i did wrong...LOL! But all in all, it's a very yummy cake!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Work in progress...

finally completed

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Yup, i spent new year's eve and new year baking and decorating this cake for a dear family friend's son - his 11th year old birthday and he loves Star Wars! It's a surprise cake and i didn't tell them i was going to make it till i completed the cake and delivered it to them. I hope the little boy likes it!

I don't know why the cake is much harder than i expected..hahaha..and my RTR fondant also way softer than usual..hence so many imperfection on the cake..the lines not straight enough. And this is also the first time i'm using rice crispy for the 'arms'...and the rice crispy moved down when i put it upright causing the covering fondant to crease..maybe it's our hot weather..cos it was much harder in the fridge compared to when it was out of the fridge. As usual, my husband was nagging at me to hurry up and it's really difficult to decorate anything perfect if some one is constantly at your back telling you to hurry up. I had many ideas initially, such as to cover the cake board with royal icing and dust with brown sugar but then with all the rushing..i completely forgotten! Nevermind... next time, if any...

I forgot to add that the entire cake cake is completely edible: dark chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream & rice crispy arms. :)


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