Monday, May 17, 2010

Lemon Cheesecake

Scale of difficulty ★★★ (ok, not really difficult but with the multiple layers it is quite time consuming)
Yummy-ness ★★★★

I was quite busy on Sunday so my lovely sister has decided to bake the lemon cheesecake for me, so this week's guest baker is my baby sister, Miss HP!

The sponge cake was relatively easy to make, have to fluff up the eggs and add the tiny bit of flour into the batter, of course the end result is a great sponge cake.

Majorly fluffed up egg white and yolks

Then it was the cheesecake layer, not too difficult either, creamcheese, sourcream and egg yolk. Just thinking, is it even possible to make a bad cheesecake? I don't think I've ever had a problem with that at all....


 Unlike some cheesecake recipes, this one only wants the cheesecake batter to be 'jiggly' when it comes out of the oven.

Then lemon curd!!! Little Miss HP loves lemon curd, maybe that's why she has decided that she wants to bake this one? I was informed that the curd was not too hard to make but it was lacking a bit in colour, so my sister decided to put in some yellow colouring. I have no idea why it wasn't too yellow because last time we made lemon curd it was bright yellow!

Anyways, without further adieu, here is the end result. Sorry we didn't take piccies of a cut out slice :( let me assure you, it was beautiful to look at :)

How did it taste?

Usually for a baked cheesecake, you would expect it to be a dense and sturdy cake. This cake however, was wonderfully creamy, it was so unexpected so it was a really pleasant surprise when we cut open the cheesecake and find a perfectly creamy cream cheese layer. It is great that this cheesecake have a spongecake bottom layer rather than a normal graham cracker layer, because I think a biscuit layer will interrupt the oh so soft and creamy texture of this cake.

If I were to be picky I will have to say that this was a bit too sour for my taste, but my mum, my dad, my sister and my colleagues at work all loved it! Mark at work even told me to make sure I tell my sister she makes a great cheesecake!

:) This is a great cake, especially if your sister makes it for you!! Thanks HP!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Coffee Chiffonlets

Scale of difficulty ★★
Yummy-ness ★★★★

I looooove coffee :) I love almost anything coffee flavoured so how can I possibly not make these chiffonlets? The cake batter was relatively easy to make. I had a bit of mishap with the meringue tho :( I accidentally dropped a bit of yolk in my egg white but managed to scoop it out. The cake was very soft and fluffy, very much like an angel food cake actually, but of course it is coffee flavoured. Since I didn't have a mini bundt pan, I just used the ordinary cupcake molds.

I made the syrup and ended up only using maybe 1/3, in hindsight I probably shouldn't have used it at all because the syrup made the cake all gooey and stinky :( I ended up throwing all the cupcakes into the oven for another 10 minutes to try and dry out the syrup.

I didn't use the dulce de leche whipped cream because I wanted to bring these to work as we'll be having a birthday morning tea on Tuesday. I thought the dulce de leche whipped cream might not survive the bus ride to work. So I decided to go with a mocha whipped ganache because the addition of chocolate is meant to make cream a lot more stable. I have no idea what is the problem with me, chocolate, cream and ganache! But I've made ganache probably 5 times and 3 out of 5 times my chocolate/cream have split!! I was very gutted this time that I think either my ganache has split or I've overwhipped it. Not quite sure what went wrong :( However I ended up adding a bit of gelatine in it and it turned out a bit like chocolate mousse, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Hopefully my chocolate 'mousse' will survive the bus journey to work tomorrow! Fingers crossed :)

PS: does anyone have tips on how to make chocolate ganache?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie

Scale of difficulty ★★★ 
Yummy-ness ★★★

I haven't baked anything from Rose's book for a few weeks after a few baking disasters :( This week's recipe is something that's been on my 'to-bake' list for a while so I've decided to pick up my oven mitts again and start baking!

The 'pie' part of the recipe is quite easy really, doesn't involve any special technique, just whisk together the wet ingredients, add dry ingredients and buttermilk and scoop onto baking tray. I didn't have buttermilk at home and turned to google (when in doubt, google, lol). Google says if you wanna make buttermilk you can add 1 tb lemon/ vinegar into milk and it will magically transforms into buttermilk! So I added 0.5 tablespoon of lemon juice into mine.

            Does this pic kinda remind you of dog *something unmentionable on a food blog*

                                                   A lot bigger when they come out!!!!!!!!

After mixing in all the ingredients, I realised the batter was a bit too runny and if I put it on the baking sheet it would most definitely turn into a chocolate puddle, so I decided to add in a bit of flour (30g perhaps?). My other problem is I don't have a press release ice cream scoop and in hindsight it would probably be easier if we piped the batter rather than scooped it from the ice cream scoop. I don't know how many ounces my ice cream scoop is but our 'pies' ended up being MASSIVE!!! I didn't expect it to spread and rise that much! They ended up being bigger than my hand!! The 'pies' on their own are moist, slightly tangy but intensely chocolatey, and very very soft, I could just eat them on their own :) However I was very intrigued by the marshmallow cream and resisted the urge to eat all of them :)

I've never made buttercream before... besides that time when my sister made buttercream for home economics and it turned out like butter vomit..... ew............ I was a bit hesitant when I add the butter into the meringue, everything became runny. So I panicked and put it in the fridge and whipped it for a good few minutes....

                                                          Meringue and whipped butter
                                                                  Finished buttercream :)

You've probably noticed that my buttercream has a beige colour, its because I used golden syrup rather than corn syrup (didn't have any!). The end result is a buttercream that is smooth and oh-so-silky with a toffee- like flavour.

How did it taste?
The pie and the buttercream are both excellent,  however when you put two elements together it just became too much for me. The pie was incredibly rich (not to mention bloody massive!) and I skipped lunch after eating half of it. I brought most of them into the office but I don't think anyone is a big fan of it. I think I'll make the buttercream again, probably with a sponge cake and I'll probably make the pie again but in a cupcake form.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bread Making

Scale of difficulty ★ (it is quite time consuming though....)
Yummy-ness ★★★★★

Making bread just always seemed like a very difficult thing to me... I was always terrified that my bread will not rise and I'll end up with a tough and flat dough.... till..... my mum's friend introduced her to making bread with the tangzhong (湯種) method. To view the original recipe, see  Since you can see the recipe and steps involved on Christine's site I'm not gonna repeat it, just gonna share with you some process shots and our end results!

Bread dough coming together after 30 minutes of mixing in the bread machine.

After an hour of letting the dough rest :)

Cutting the dough and let it rest for another 10 minutes
After putting in the filling and let it rest for 1 hour

End results!!

Ta da!

We love it so much that I think mum has made it 2 times in a week.... I think we'll get sick of it soon :P But honestly this is a great recipe and the bread tastes just like the ones you buy from the Asian bakery!

We've tried many other variations including green tea, nutella, pork floss, BBQ pork (cha siu), red bean, cheerios and bacon and cheese. Yep, I think our family is addicted so I just had to share it here :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate Apricot Roll

Scale of difficulty ★★★ There are quite a few steps involved but none too challenging
Yummy-ness ★★ I think I just lack the skills in making a nice sponge :(

This cake has so many components that it's not funny it is like an ultra complicated swiss roll! Firstly you have the biscuit layer (bis-KWEE if you decided to be French), layered with lekvar (apricot jam-like layer), smeared with chocolate ganache and topped with a chocolate glaze. What? You've never heard of half of these things? Well... neither have I until this cake! lol

Anyways, here is my bis-kwee, all rolled up in its baking paper, or parchment paper as the yankies would call it. I was expecting this to be nice and fluffy because the batter involves egg white beaten to a soft peak stage folded into a fluffed up egg batter with minimal flour. However I ended up with a pancake like biscuit :( Maybe because I halved the recipe? I have no idea what happened *sobs*

Then... Lekvar!! Wikipedia says lekvar is a jam or fruit butter... After my super painful orange marmalade making experience, I decided to go with apricot jam because you can never go wrong with putting jam on a cake right? My lovely sister decided to throw in some chopped dried apricot pieces as well to go with the apricot theme. Then it was time to make the glorious chocolate ganache. Last time I made ganache I heated it too much and it separated, resulting in a crappy looking cake :( This time it turned out alright, my sister loved it and decided to put some in a tub and use a teaspoon and eat it like truffles :) and she's still skinny!! How is that fair?? Before I go on about how unfair life is, lets go back to the cake of the week.....

Here is my nearly finished chocolate apricot roll.

and ROLL!!!! ta- da!!!

Ok I'll admit I'm a slacker and didn't bother with the chocolate glaze, instead I just drizzled some leftover chocolate ganache on the roll (see the cookies in the background? I'll blog that next week).

How did it taste?
My mum told me I make great cookies but totally suck at making cakes and this is a fine example for her statement :( Yes.. .my own mother said it.... But to be honest it was not too bad, it tastes like a big pancake with chocolate syrup and apricot bits. The addition of apricot bits makes this roll soooo much better :) However no on in my family seems to be interested in eating this :( so I guess I'm gonna have to finish it all...... another sad week in my baking diary :(

Sunday, February 28, 2010

In search of the perfect butter cookie... Milan Cookies (NQN)

Back in the days when I used to live in Hong Kong, our local bakery made the best butter cookie. It was very thin and crispy yet crumbly, ooooh so rich and buttery and they just melt in your month. Now that I'm in Brisbane I just can't find any butter cookies nearly as good as that! So I'm on a mission to find the perfect butter cookie from my childhood....

The first recipe I tried was Not Quite Nigella's Milan Cookie.

I reduced the amount of sugar and it was still quite sweet. So here's my slightly tweaked version, from Not Quite Nigella.

Milan Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Scale of difficulty ★★
Yummy-ness ★★★ 

12 tablespoons (170g/ 6oz) softened unsalted butter
1.5 cup caster sugar
7/8 cup egg whites (about 6-7 eggs, depends on the size)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
0.5 teaspoon lemon juice

1)  Cream together the sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy
2)  Add egg whites gradually (one at a time) and mix in the vanilla, lemon juice and zest
3)  Add (sieved) flour and mix till completely combined

How the batter should look. Nice and pale :)

4)  Put the batter in a piping bag and use a small (1/4 inch) tip, pipe the batter onto baking paper and make sure there is plenty of space in between, because they will melt into puddles and spread like crazy.
lol please excuse me in my PJs
See??? Batter melted into puddles!!!

5)  Bake in a preheated 160C/ 350 F oven for approximately 10 minutes until the cookies are nice and golden brown around the edges.
6)  Place cookies on cooling rack and enjoy :)

Ta da!! Finished product!!

How did it taste?
These cookies look exactly like my beloved butter cookies from my childhood. However the texture and the taste are completely different. To be honest the cookies are quite nice,they have a nice buttery flavour and the lemon goes great with it, the egg white flavour is quite prominent as well. The texture is crisp but I find it a bit on the crunchy rather than the crumbly side. It was nice, and the guys at work liked it, however it is not what I'm looking for. So I guess the quest continues!

To people who actually read my blog and especially those who took the time to leave a comment, THANK YOU! Do you have a favorite butter cookie recipe that you'd like to share?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Carrot Cake :)

This week is a free choice week and you get to pick any cake from Rose's cookbook. I had to start work early today so I didn't get time to write in my blog till now... I'm thinking Tuesday Arvo here in Australia equals to Monday night in the US.. Don't know if its true or not tho. Anyways! back to cake!! I chose the carrot cake this week because my health freak sister loooooooooves carrots :) and cinnamon, so carrot cake it is. Didn't take too many pictures this time... I forgot!! I'm still new at this blogging thing....

Scale of difficulty ★★☆ (well... not actually HARD, more like time consuming as you have to grate half a kilo carrots... took foreeeeever)

Yummy-ness ★★★ I liked it, but I probably won't make it again anytime soon.

Firstly, you have to grate your carrots

Yes... heaps of carrots.....

From then on it was pretty simple, just your sugar, flour, oil and spices mixed together and put your carrots in, then into the oven it goes!

After the cake is out of the oven, it was time for icing, I didn't exactly follow the recipe... I melted some white chocolate and then whipped it with the cream cheese and omitted the butter and sour cream, because honestly I'm not going to buy a tub of sour cream so that I can put a tablespoon in the icing. The icing was great on its own, I mean, it is just white chocolate and cream cheese, so how can that not be awesome?? However it just lacks a bit of tangyness when paired with the carrot cake. I guess I probably should've put in a teaspoon of lemon juice to replace the missing sour cream... my bad :P

How did it taste?
It was a nice cake, no one in my family said anything about it really.. I guess its because it was nothing special, not one of the best cakes I've made but not bad either. I actually made a carrot cake for Christmas last year using the Planet Cake cake decorating book's recipe and I thought it was better than Rose's.... I didn't think the cake was cinnamon-y enough and the icing is not tangy enough.