Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Earl Grey Tea Cake

Keiko Ishida's Okashi : Earl Grey Tea Cake

YUMMY! This cake is seriously addictive! One bite of it and you will be craving for more. It's light & moist, the earl grey tea paired with the lemon zest really brings out the fragrant & flavor of the cake.  This cake is not sweet (the sweetness is just nice imo).  If you like really sweet cakes, add more icing sugar.  

Keiko Ishida's Okashi : Earl Grey Tea Cake (Pound Cake)

150g cake flour
1/8 tsp baking powder (i added 1/4 tsp more)
150g softened butter unsalted
150g icing sugar
15g glucose
3 eggs (abt 150g)
1/8 tsp salt
5g earl grey tea dust (from tea bags) (i added 2g of tea dust & 3g of earl grey tea powder)
15g ground almond
1 lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh milk
100g sugar syrup (50g sugar to 100g water)
2 tbsp lemon juice

1.  Preheat oven to 170C. Line a 19 x 9 x 8 cm pan.  Sift flour and baking powder twice.
2.  Mix syrup with lemon juice. Set aside.
3.  Beat butter, icing sugar and glucose together until light and very fluffy. Gradually add eggs and beat well, then add salt, tea dust, ground almonds and lemon zest and milk. Mix well.
4.  Add flour mixture and fold through completely using a spatula. Surface of batter should be glossy and smooth.
5.  Pour batter into prepared cake pan and make a lengthwise dent in the middle with a spatula. Bake for about 50 mins (baking time may vary according to your oven).
6.  When cake is done, remove from pan & peel off parchment. Place cake on wire rack and brush with sugar and lemon syrup while still warm.  Cool completely before serving. If storing, wrap with cling wrap.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Ingots vs Green Tea Financiers

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Page 317:  Peanut Butter Ingots

I thought it would be a great idea to bake 2 different types of financiers and since i've been wanting to try out Keiko Ishida's Okashi (she's Japanese, went to pastry school in Paris but now relocated to Singapore and teaches here) green tea financiers. Afterall both recipes have more or less similar ingredients...so it was easy to bake them together without more work. :)

Toasted the blanched almond slices & grind into powder

After heating the butter - left over brown milk solids on pan & filter paper.

Beurre Noisette - clarified & brown butter.

HCB's Peanut Butter Ingots

Green Tea Powder

Okashi's Green Tea Financiers

Opps, as you can see my financiers were a bit burnt on the top because i was watching the scary movie "Stepfather" and didn't realised that the financiers were done before the 20mins. :p... Only the top was a bit burnt but the inside was still moist and soft. 

Verdict: Rose's Heavenly Cake's Peanut butter ingots taste great and nutty.  Okashi's green tea financiers has a lighter texture and is less sweet.  I like Okashi's green tea financiers better because green tea is my all time favourite, it is not as sweet, lighter in texture plus the recipe is very easy, ie, less hassle and very straight forward.   Nonetheless, both the peanut butter & green tea versions tasted great.  My daughter who's not a green tea fan actually liked the green tea financiers better because it has more flavor. My husband said both are equally good.  

Green Tea Financiers

Pastry Flour          50g
Corn Flour             5g
Baking Powder     1/2 tsp
Egg Whites            130g
Castor sugar           130g
Ground Almonds    50g
Salt                          a pinch
Unsalted Butter       130g
Green Tea powder  10g

1. Preheat oven to 220c. Lightly grease the cake moulds with a little softened butter and place them on a baking sheet. Sift flour, cornflour, green tea powder and baking powder together twice.  

2. Place egg whites into a clean bowl and beat lightly with a hand-whisk. Add sugar, ground almonds, flour mixture and salt each at a time and mix well without over mixing. Set aside.

3. Brown butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, whisking frequently until fragrant and golden brown in color.  Pour butter into a mixing bowl. Place the bowl with browned butter into a larger bowl half filled with ice water to stop it from cooking further and burning. (Beurre Noisette)

4. Add brown butter to flour and almond mixture and mix well.  Spoon batter into the prepared moulds. 

5. Bake financiers for 10-15 mins until they are light golden in color. Remove from moulds and cool on wire racks. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oatmeal-Raisin Crisps

Recipe from the book "Cookies, Brownies & Bars" by Elinor Klivans.  This is a very easy & quick recipe and the cookies are amazingly yummy. I like the chewiness of it. I guess it is because of the oatmeal that gives this cookie a chewy texture. This is my new found favorite cookie besides the cornflake cookies.  The recipe below gives very sweet cookies (as with all American recipes i find), so if you do not like too sweet cookies, dont pack the brown sugar firmly and reduce accordingly.  

Oatmeal Raisin Crisps
(from cookies, brownies & bars, by Elinor Klivans)
yield: 40 cookies


2 cups        apf
1 tsp           baking soda
3/4 tsp        baking powder
1-1/2 tsp     ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp        salt
1 cup          unsalted butter @ room temp
1 cup          brown sugar firmly packed  
1 cup          granulated sugar
2                 large eggs
2 tsp            vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups   old-fashion rolled oats
2 cups          raisins


1. Preheat oven to 350F/180c. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
3. Combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar. Using a mixer on medium speed beat until well blended about 1 min. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on low speed till the eggs are completely incorporated, scarping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Slowly add the flour mixture and beat on low speed just till incorporated.  Add the oats and raisins and beat until incorporated.
4. Place heaping tablespoonfuls of dough 2-1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake until the cookie tops are evenly golden, about 11-14mins.
5. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5mins then transfer then to wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sicilian Pistachio Cake

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Page 65:  Sicilian Pistachio Cake

I didn't intend to bake this cake because i was tired after baking and decorating the Alice in Wonderland Cake on Saturday.  However, after reading what great reviews by fellow HCB's Mendy, Monica, Vicki & Marie had of this cake, i just knew i had to bake it even if it means baking after work.  

So i got home after work around 8pm and got ready all my ingredients by 830pm. I had to blanched pistachios since i can't find already blanched ones.  Since i had only limited time before bedtime, i did the shortcut way, ie, i microwaved the pistachios in water for 1 min and transferred to a bowl of cold water and removed all the skin quite quickly. :)  Yup, only 1min in microwave and the water was really hot and the pistachio skin peeling off. Then i continued the recipe from there....process the blanched pistachios with sugar etc...  The batter was quite easy to make and in no time it was in the oven already.  

Next was the buttercream which requires heating of the sugar syrup. I did the shortcut way again and microwaved the sugar syrup..:p  I put all the ingredients in the measuring glass then microwave it on a spurt of 30secs x 3 (stir after 30secs so the sugar will dissolve) and then after 3rd 30secs, the sugar should be all dissolved and i microwaved it for a further 1min. And by that time the sugar is all thick and ready to be added into the egg yolks.   I like how the yolk sugar mixture thickens after it cool down. :)   I didn't have pistachio essence, so i added pistachio paste i had in the fridge.

I was a bit alarmed when i saw my cake domed quite badly in the oven and i did put on the cake strip you know. However the dome subsided a fair bit (it's still there, you can see above photo) after cooling so it wasn't that bad anymore.  I blasted a fan to cool the cake down so i can quickly frost the cake asap. :S  I have never frosted & decorated a cake so quickly before..but for this, i did it in like 5mins or less and I'm at amazed at myself too..hahaha..not my best but i think not too bad for last min job.  By the time i'm done it was still slightly before 12am..:)

Oh..and i forgot to add that the nuts on top are toasted pistachio nuts since i ran out of blanched nuts, i decided to just toast it instead of having to blanched again (er..i blanched only 1/2 packet of nuts earlier since i was only testing if blanching works in microwave..). Quite good cos it gives the crunchy effect when eaten with the cake. lol!  And i suspect that my cake domed a little in the centre because i didn't dry the blanched nuts enough while i processed it with sugar. :S 

VERDICT:  Normally i don't eat supper at all, for this post i just had to sacrifice my waistline a bit to taste it so i can write what i think about this cake right? I took a slice and oh my, it was without doubt, DELICIOUS! No wonder Marie said she couldn't stop eating the cake and took 3 slices! LOL! My daughter, my husband and even my domestic helper all took a slice (they all don't eat supper too!) and they all loved it - said the pistachio blends very well in the butter cake, paired with the buttercream it was pure heavenly! :)  I didn't regret baking it but i think i would very much have regretted if i didn't bake it...yes, it is that good!   

PS: Since i'm typing this at 1235am, half asleep already, i think what i just wrote made sense..if not, it'll be corrected the next day when i'm more awake..lol! And i'm really quite tired of my flowery plates..always using the same plate to take photo..

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alice in Wonderland Cake

It's my daughter's turn to bring a cake to Church for Youth Fellowship for the month.  I decided to make an Alice in Wonderland's cake after watching Tim Burton's 3D movie.  Don't ask me why, but i just love the story of Alice in Wonderland since young.  

Thanks to a very generous flickr-friend Taya @deliciouslydecadent for her topsy turvy cake tutorial that i finally plucked the courage to do this. However, i did a lousy job! LOL! I cut the cake the wrong way, ie, i cut it in the opposite way (instead of a pyramid, i did a cone..) and i realised my mistake a bit too late. And to salvage it, i did everything the wrong way to get it right. LOL! Then i  place the top tier a bit off the centre... er....yup..i don't know what's wrong with me..i don't see it until i get everything done and then noticed it is off the centre. But I'm quite happy with my 'un-planned' last minute design and my inspiration is from other flickr members - Genevieve @forloveofcake and Rebecca @sweetcakesbyrebecca.  Needless to say, of course their design is 1000x better than mine. :))

The problem with me is i don't know how to plan & design a cake. This cake design just came up as I went along.. I asked my daughter who is into design (she plans to study it as she enters into university this year) to help me think of something and she fell asleep while thinking - so much for counting on her!?!?  I actually had some ideas in my mind but as i was doing it, i completely forgotten and colored the top tier fondant in the wrong color. So i had to just add whatever i thought of as i went along.   Also i spelt the Happy "UN-Birthday" wrongly...and NOBODY at home noticed it.. aargghh.. until when the cake was about to be cut..someone then noticed it!  

Here's the left over cake.  Coffee cake with coffee buttercream & white chocolate coffee ganache.  A lot of caffeine in the cake. I think you don't have to drink coffee after eating a slice of this! LOL!   

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Strawberry Cheese Bread

After reading & salivating over Jane's (of Jane's Sweet & Baking Journal) post on Strawberries & Cream Muffins, i had every intention to bake her muffins on Sunday since they looked very delicious and so tempting..lol!  Check out her blog and her post (both links are given above) and you will know what i mean. :D

However, i got side-tracked after going through some books i haven't been reading for a while and saw a similar bread recipe with strawberries & cheese by Alex Goh from his book "Magic Bread" using gelatinized dough.  I made Butter Sugar Bread from his Magic Bread book before and his bread recipes never failed me, always so soft and chewy and has a longer shelf-life compared to the rest of the other bread i've baked before, ie, it stays soft and chewy the next 2 days without the use of bread addictives/improver. 

Also it would be a waste not to bake bread in this hot weather...proofing is so fast & easy..lol!  I'm glad i baked these buns! I love the strawberries & cheese filling in the bread and the streusel topping adds to the crunch. 

Strawberry Sweet Bread
from Magic Bread by Alex Goh
(Basic recipe for his dough link can be found here (or see below))

1. Divide sweet bread dough into 70g each and mould it round. Place it onto a 11cm round baking cup mould.
2. Place it in warm place and let it proof for 40mins.
3. Egg wash the surface. Pipe strawberry cheese fillings in the centre of bread, then sprinkle some streusel over it.
4. Bake at 180c for 15 mins.

Strawberry Cheese Fillings
125g cream cheese
50g  sugar
50g  whipping cream
10g  custard powder
3 pcs of fresh strawberries chopped

Cream cream cheese & sugar till light. Add in whipping cream and cream till smooth.  Add in custard powder and mix until well blended.  Add in chopped strawberries and mix till combined.

Streusel Topping
60g sugar
50g butter
100g bread flour

Mix sugar and butter by hand until crumbles. Add in flour and mix till crumbles. Keep it in fridge. Use it to sprinkle on top or coat the surface of dough.

Basic Sweet Dough Recipe
(taken from Magic Bread by Alex Goh)


A) 100g Bread Flour
70g boiling water

B) 300g bread flour
100g plain flour
80g sugar
6g salt
20g milk powder
9g yeast

c) 175g cold water
60g cold eggs

D) 60g butter

1) Add boiling water from A into flour, mix until well blended to form a dough. Cover and set aside to cool. Keep it into fridge for at least 12 hrs.
2) Mix B until well blended. Add in C and knead to form rough dough. Add in A and knead till well-blended.
3) Add in D and knead to form elastic dough
4) Let it proof for 40mins.
5) Divide the dough into required weight and mould it round. Rest it for 10mins and ready to use.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate Apricot Roll with Lacquer Glaze

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Page 163: Chocolate Apricot Roll with Lacquer Glaze

This recipe is 5-pages long...and by the time i'm on last page, i forgot the what i read on the first page..LOL! So i had to read each section on its own and make the related ingredients required on different days.  

Day 1 (Wed):  Decided that i should make the Lekvar first since i had no idea what it was but nonetheless i like apricot so figured i should just make it instead of going for the 'short-cut' suggested in the book. So, after work, i got ready the ingredients and soaked the dried apricots. Only then did i realized that i have to soak for 2 hrs which by that time will be midnight so i left the apricots to soak overnight in the fridge.  

Day 2 (Thurs): Realised that after soaking for 24 hrs, the apricots were very soft. But i still followed the instructions to boil the apricots till soft and process it.  Couldn't stand the sight and idea of not knowing what to do with my skinless lemon after zesting it, i added the lemon juice into the processed apricot. :p  Didn't do any harm i guess cos my jam still tasted great and very apricot-y.

Seriously, imo DO NOT skip making this!  Believe me..lekvar is amazing stuff!  I realised I still had plenty of time before bedtime, did more reading of the recipe and ended up making the apricot ganache filling, apricot syrup and lacquer glaze :)  

Day 3 (Sat):  Baked the Biscuit Roulade.  Pretty easy & quick.  The half-sheet pan i own was like 1/2-inch shorter on one side...can't remember which side but i guess it didn't do much harm.  Baking at 230c was kind of a torture (in my small kitchen can feel the oven heat!) since the weather here has been at around 34c-37c but thankfully it was only for about 6 mins. This is my 2nd time making swiss roll so i was a bit apprehensive of rolling the roulade but everything went on smoothly. :)  

Above pic: Spreading the syrup, lekvar & ganache. You can see at room temperature, my ganache was way too soft! I guess room temperature probably was at 31c..lol!  Rolling the roll with soft ganache was quite difficult..cos the ganache tends to ooze out from the sides and thus i couldn't roll it too tightly.  Next time i'll have to use ganache straight out of the fridge instead of leaving it to room temperature.  Pouring the lacquer glaze wasn't that bad either..maybe because of our weather, it allowed me time to smooth it with a spatular and still remained smooth & shiny.  I used Hersey's special dark cocoa powder for the lacquer glaze in case any one of you wonder why my glaze is so dark. 

VERDICT:  SIMPLY HEAVENLY!!  The lekvar blends very well with the apricot ganache and compliments the soft biscuit roulade.  The sweetness was just nice. Cake has a lightness to it and can eat a few slices and not feel sick.   I love it the hint of apricot with chocolate.  The best part of the cake is the lekvar.  I'm so glad that i took the time to make it - now i have a huge bottle of it left, i can find ways of using it. :D.   My family loved the cake and said it is very good.  Worth all the effort making it! :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

White Chocolate Cake Balls

What to do with left-over cake scraps again..lol! I used a bit of leftover buttercream to put the scraps together and rolled them into balls; coat them with white chocolate and sprinkle little chocolate-rice & hearts and there they are...yummy white-chocolate cake balls!  :) Surprisingly they tasted better than what i had expected.  I should have freeze the cake balls before dipping them into the white chocolate because i didn't, the cake mixture was seeping a bit into the white chocolate so i had difficulty handling it and hence the white chocolate coating isn't very smooth. :P

Monday, March 1, 2010

[MacTweets/ma5] Spring Fling: Yuzu RedBean Macarons

Yuzu Macarons Shells with RedBean centre & Yuzu/Lime Buttercream.

I had a hard time coming up with flavors for Spring since I live here in the tropics where it is Summer all year round and right now we are experiencing the hottest period ever!  All i can think of is ice-cream, ice-water, ice-kachang (local dessert made of ice!)..

I finally thought of Yuzu flavored macarons since i just bought a bottle of yuzu paste. It smells very much like tangerine/mandarin oranges..and i like anything orange. :)   I paired the Yuzu macaron shells with redbean centre & yuzu/lime buttercream.  

This time I wanted to try a different macaron recipe so i settled on Veron's @ Kitchenmusing.com  italian meringue recipe. You can find her recipe here.  She's a very talented lady and she uses the original recipe by Pierre Hermes having been to his macaron classes.   The recipe isn't too difficult and her instructions are pretty clear.  However, i had a hard time folding in the egg white. For this method, I find I needed a lot of strength to fold and  macaronnage which i find quite tiring!  

<Note>: I realised that the macarons from this recipe is more chewy with better texture and even though the recipe seems to have a lot more sugar, it doesn't taste any sweeter than the other macaron recipes i've tried before. Recipe definitely a keeper despite the fact that i have difficulty folding in the meringue. LOL! 

Please do check out other bloggers' macarons & flavors listed on http://mactweets.blogspot.com!


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