My Top 3 cakes of 2014

So uh… happy new year?

I can’t believe how fast the year was gone. I intended to blog more, but seems this is going to be an annual occurrence!

But I’m still baking when I can, and for special occasions.

First up, and I still can’t believe I did that was this:

YingWedCake2 Yup, it was a humungous cake… for Sugamama’s garden wedding. It was a chocolate cake with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream icing, decorated with some of the flowers that were for displays at the wedding table hahaha!

YingWedCakeHere’s the piece on the final display. Sugamama’s husband just took up a chainsaw and cut a piece of log to go with the rustic back garden wedding look!

Thanks to a bunch of people who lent a help in making this cake in less than 24 hours (yeah last minute decision to make a wedding cake), especially Serena who stayed up till 3am with me to make this cake. I’d say a pretty crazy but good job given that we didn’t have much tools to use and we started at about 4 pm eve of the wedding.

The wedding was awesome. On a lovely Canada summer’s day… but bad for the cake as it started to melt a little by the time it was served hehe.

Second cake I loved was this birthday cake I made for Papa Salvatore:
PaCakeA red wine chocolate cake with mascarpone cream and greek yoghurt icing, topped with sour cherries… almost a (boozy) take of a black forest, someone said.

I love the taste and I think Papa Salvatore does too.

Third cake that really made my 2014:

ShaCakeA birthday cake for a very close friend. This was my first chocolate and orange (and heck a lot of grand marnier) cake. I used cadbury’s chocolate fingers as part of the deco too and upped the chocolate dose haha! Icing a a lovely orange swiss meringue buttercream.

That’s all for now. Hope 2015 I’ll have more cakes to come. For now, I’m all caked out especially after that 3 tier wedding cake.

-M

A Belated Holiday Greeting

Hi!

A little late, but December 2013 was a busy month!

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We celebrated two birthdays… I made this cake for the two lovely ladies, Pinkydoodles and S.

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Then it was Winter Solstice Festival. We made tang yuan for with K and her family. I think her 3 year old had a good time making this 🙂

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Then it was Christmas! Our tree this time includes chocolates, candy canes and home made gingerbread men.

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Saw Borobudur for the first time on Boxing Day in Indonesia…

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Cream puffs for New Year’s Celebration by EggTart. Recipe soon!

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All and all, a good year for us! We hope this year will be better and full of fun with our love ones!

A happy new year to all!

-M.

Recipe: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

When life gives you lemons… make lemon curd and then use that to make lemon meringue pie. Or cupcakes.

It has been a while that I wanted to try making this cupcake, since I saw Eric Lanlard on TV baking these.

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It was rather easy. Just a standard cupcake batter. Nothing fancy.

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Add a dollop of lemon curd. Then cover with a bit more batter.

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Baked!

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Pipe lovely meringue on top. Eric Lanlard’s recipe used Italian meringue. My candy thermometer is broken, so I made Swiss meringue. It is less of a hassle for me too.

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The tricky bit is to then brown the meringue nicely. I used a grill, then decided to blowtorch it… oops.

Here’s the recipe.

Lemon meringue cupcakes (from Eric Lanlard’s recipe)

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out using a sharp knife (or you can just use a bit of vanilla extract)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the meringue:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 75g caster sugar

For the lemon curd and how to make it click on the link here.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. For the cupcakes, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds together in a large mixing bowl until pale, fluffy and well combined. Crack in the eggs, one at a time, and beat until both are fully incorporated into the mixture.
  3. Place a couple of teaspoons of batter in the bottom of each case, add a teaspoonful of lemon curd then cover with a little more mixture.
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown and spring back when pressed lightly in the centre.
  5. For the meringue topping, whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a clean bowl over gently heated water until sugar has dissolved and mixture is foamy. Check that the egg mixture is warm to the touch and take the bowl off the heated water. Whisk vigorously until the meringue mixture is thick and glossy and has cooled down.
  6. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag and pipe some meringue on the top of each cake. Using a blowtorch, lightly brown the top of each cake to toast the meringue. If you have a crappy blowtorch like mine, just use the oven grill.

Happy weekend.

-M.

Recipe: Orange and Carrot Cupcakes

I always buy carrots in half kilos ready-packaged in the supermarket. Sometimes, we couldn’t finish the pack. This time, to use up all the carrots, I baked this lovely orange and carrot cupcake with yoghurt icing. So good, and best of all, something we can have for breakfast (Well, “we” here may just refer to us Teambudu… but if you can have a muffin for breakfast, why not this cupcake, right?

Looking good fresh out of the oven!

Lovely fluffy orange yoghurt icing on top with a fondant carrot. I’m not good at using fondants, but gimme some credit for effort here, okay?

The cake was moist with a lovely crumb. I’m happy with the outcome.

Now, for the recipe!

 

For the cake:

2 eggs

75g white sugar/ vanilla sugar

75g brown sugar (my brown sugar was very dark, that is why I mixed with white sugar to make it lighter)

100g cake flour

100g all purpose flour

150g carrots, grated

1 – 1 1/2 orange zest

3 tbsp orange juice

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 baking soda

150ml vegetable oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 celcius. Beat the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.

2. Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder together.

3. Add the flour mix into the egg mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the vegetable oil. Mix well after each addition (but don’t beat the heck out of it).

4. add the cinnamon, carrot, orange zest and juice. Mix with a spatula to combine.

5. Divide the batter into 12 cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Test to doneness by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake. It is done with the skewer comes out clean.

 

For the orange yoghurt icing:

100 ml of greek strained yoghurt

100 g of unsalted butter, slightly soften

100 g of icing sugar

Zest of half or 1 orange

method:

Beat unsalted butter with the icing sugar until smooth. Add in the yoghurt in three batches, blending the yoghurt into the mixture well each time. Blend in the orange zest. Chill slightly to firm up the icing and there you have it.

Enjoy!

– M.

A chocolate cake for Papa Salvatore

Sunday was our dad’s birthday. The parents flew down to KL on Monday and we gave him this cake for his belated birthday celebration with us.

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I got the recipe from Sweetapolita’s blog here. She makes gorgeous cakes. I didn’t use the buttercream icing recipe though, I used her chocolate meringue icing recipe instead. It is lighter, which is perfect for our after dinner binge. Dusted the top of the cake with cocoa powder and added some chopped walnuts around the side. Oh, and a little sugar heart to finish the look.

Here’s with the candles on and blown:Image

Happy birthday, Papa Salvatore!

– M (with Pinkydoodles, Sugamama and EggTart).

Cupcake fever for Christmas

Since I only have Dinosaur-ovenTM to use in our KL apartment, my friend K, offered to let me use her oven in her apartment. Luckily she only lives up the road.

Thus started our baking December project for Christmas. It was fun having someone to bake together, although half her time was chasing after her little daughter (super cute!).

So here are the cupcakes we baked.

First was the red velvet , using beetroot and also the food colour version. We used Hummingbird bakery’s recipe, and then modified it for the beetroot version. The taste of both cupcakes were good. Honestly, we couldn’t tell the difference in the cupcakes except for the colour. As you can see, the one using beetroot is not brownish-red, as the baking process discolours the pigment of the beetroot.

Whereas the one with lots of red food colour is bright red.

Cutting up beetroot is a bit of a pain though, but not having to use so much artificial red food colouring may be a better choice for some.

Here’s the recipe for the beetroot version of the red velvet cupcake (makes about 12-15 small cupcakes):

60 g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

1 egg

10g cocoa powder

3 tbsp beetroot puree

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

100ml buttermilk

150g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

Method:

1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, slowly add the egg and mix until well incorporated.

2. In a separate bowl, mix beetroot puree, vanilla extract and cocoa powder together until smooth. Add this into the butter mixture and mix throughly.

3. slowly combine the buttermilk and flour into the mixture alternatively in 3 parts.

4. Add salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and beat until well mixed. Let th mixture stand for 10 minutes before spooning into paper cases.

5. Bake the cupcakes at 170 degrees C for about 20 minutes. Cakes are done when the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed. You can also test by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean it is done. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the tray then cool completely on a wire rack. Ice it with some cream cheese frosting (see that Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe for the icing).

The second cupcake is from Sweetapolita’s dark chocolate cupcakes. I then used some strawberry swiss meringue buttercream icing to make them poinsettia-like. The little balls are marzipan delicately rolled by K. The green icing is matcha flavoured swiss buttercream icing (see below for recipe).

It was kinda tough piping out the icing because I FORGOT that the strawberry seeds in the icing could block the nozzle of the leaf tip. Bleh.

The final cupcake we made then was the Xmas tree cupcake.

It is basically lemon-vanilla cupcake with matcha icing. The star is made of marzipan which I painstakingly shaped and K painted on some gold lustre dust.

Recipe for Xmas Tree Cupcake (makes about 24 small cupcakes):

For the cake

110 g unsalted butter

100g granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp of lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

50 ml milk

For the Matcha icing

3 large egg whites

120g granulated sugar

250 g unsalted butter, cubed

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

10 g matcha powder

green food colour (optional)

1. In a clean steel bowl, whisk egg whites and sugar over simmering water. When all the sugar is dissolved by the warmed egg whites, remove from stove and beat with an electric mixer until you get smooth glossy meringue.

2. When the meringue is cooled and you get stiff meringue peaks, add in butter a cube at a time and beat until icing becomes smooth.

3. add vanilla extract, salt and matcha powder and beat until smooth. Add some green food colouring to get the desired green shade for your trees.

4. to decorate, use a star tip nozzle and ice cake in a spiral motion. Sprinkle some coloured sugar balls and add a gold marzipan star on top. done.

OK, that’s all for today. It is Christmas eve now and there are lots to do for our Christmas party yet. Happy holidays everybody!

-M.

Pinkydoodles’ Birthday Cake

It was the birthday of Pinkydoodles couple days ago and so I made a cake for her. The first try using our Dinosaur-OvenTM in KL was a disaster as I haven’t used this oven for baking this new recipe.

So, second try gave me super-domed cakes to which Sugamama, witnessing the making over Skype, asked if I really was baking a cake or did I use a muffin recipe. No, I think it is all thanks to the oven.

So after some cake hacking craftiness, I’ve managed to have 3 layers of good chocolately moist cake. Iced it with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate glaze. It looked all set… until Egg-tart came back from work and commented “where’s the cherry on top? you need a cherry!” I knew something looked amiss, thanks Egg-tart on the cherry consultation.

So here it is, Pinkydoodles’ birthday cake.

Here’s the cake in a box for transportation. The candles were bought from Tesco’s some time ago in the UK but never got around to use them… so I brought them back to Malaysia.

We went to The Bee Cafe in Publika, Solaris Dutamas, KL for the birthday celebrations. Good place for good music and drinks. I can’t say that their fuss-free food was really fuss-free. Review of this place in another post, someday.

Pinkydoodles opened the cake box and tadah. She said it was like those cake you see in storybooks when you were little…

Here’s a short video of how it looked with all the candles.

Or here after the candles were blown out.

Thank goodness I managed to hack the cake into 3 almost equal layers.

So here’s the link to the cake recipe by Sweetapolita (but she made it look so much prettier). The only thing I changed in the recipe is the amount of sugar… I reduced the sugar in the icing by half and about 50 g less in the cake.

Hope you enjoyed looking at this cake. It’s the best tasting cake I’ve ever made to be honest. So thanks Sweetapolita for this recipe.

-M.

Recipe: Merdeka cake

Merdeka day is coming (tomorrow). So to commemorate this independence day, I thought I’d make a ‘merdeka cake’ to see if I can play with the colours and experimental icing. So here it is: A vanilla cake with yogurt buttercream and lemon curd.

The cake was easy to make, nice and moist.  It is more on the dense side like a cheesecake because when I creamed the butter and sugar together for the cake, it was by hand and so not so light. I also baked the cake at a lower temperature. However, it was just as I wanted. I wasn’t too thrilled about putting so much red gel food colour to make it striking enough though. I wanted to use some natural colour, but alas could not find the right substitute. Any suggestions? The rest of the cake colour is pretty much naturally derived though. The blue colour came from blue butterfly pea flower that I extracted. More on that in a later post. The lemon curd really made the cake much better. Maybe I should have made it a lemon cake instead of vanilla in hind sight.

Hey! doesn't this look like pacman?

So for those interested, here’s the recipe:

White vanilla cake (adapted from Sweetapolia’s recipe, with modifications)

– 115g unsalted butter

– 300g caster sugar

– 390g cake flour

– 1 tsp salt

– 3 tsp baking powder

– 340g ice water (that’s 1 and half cup)

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 4 egg whites

– (for the red layer) 2 tsp of cocoa powder and red gel colouring

Method:

– Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.

– In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 

– sift in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

– Beat egg whites until you get stiff peaks (i.e. when you flip the bowl upside down, the egg white foam stays put in the bowl).

– add the vanilla extract and slowly add in the ice water in three to four aliquots, beating well after each additions.

– fold in the egg whites gently.

– Divide batter into three. Pour two portions into greased 9 inch pans and bake for about 20 minutes.

– For the third portion of batter, sift in cocoa powder and mix in the gel colouring. Make sure batter is uniformly coloured. Pour into another greased tin and bake for 20 minutes as well. Cake is done when you press the middle of the cake lightly and the surface springs back up.

– Cling film the cakes and refridgerate.

For the Yogurt Icing (this is an estimate, I actually eyeballed the amount of ingredients):

– 115g butter soften

– 50g greek strained yogurt

– 120g icing sugar (you may need more if your icing is too runny)

method:

– Cream the butter with the icing sugar.

– Add greek strained yogurt and blend again.

– If your icing is too soft, chill it. If it is still too runny or soft, add a bit more icing.

To assemble, place one white layer on your cake board/plate. Spread some yogurt buttercream on it and add the red layer. Spread more buttercream and add the second white layer. Crumb coat the cake with more buttercream. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and coat rest of the cake with the buttercream. Brush blue colouring into edge of cake. Top the cake with some lemon curd inside the blue circle. I made my own curd… more on that in another post as well.

So Happy Merdeka! And to those who are celebrating Eid today, have a good one as well!

– M.

Tail of the Spongeee Cake

I’m a novice when it comes to making pastries, actually less a novice. Let’s just say that the little cutie poodle in “Cooking with Dog” most likely knows more than I do.

I’m going to try and bake my first cake: a “spongeee” cake with icing. I’m thinking of doing a five or six layer cake so that it’s nice and tall. There’s something very appealing about a tall piece of cake, the taller the better. Mmmm.. layers upon layers of moist cake precariously stacked on top of one another, held on by thin slivers of rich cream mortar.

I’ve compiled a list of instructions and ingredients based on the youtube video “Cooking with Dog: X-mas cake”. I’m not going to use the recipe for the icing, just the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 100g sugar
  • 90g pastry/cake flour
  • 15g butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 220F
  2. Line bottom and sides of cake pan with wax paper
  3. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat at low speed with a handheld mixer.
  4. Add sugar and continue beating for about 30 seconds.
  5. Place bowl in a hot water bath and continue mixing at high speed for a couple minutes. Remove bowl from hot water when mixture is warm.
  6. Place butter in a small cup and let sit in the hot water bath just until it’s mostly melted.
  7. While waiting for the butter to melt, add flour to the batter and gently mix with a spatula. The technique is to gently fold the mixture until the flour is nicely incorporated. Add the melted butter and gently mix. The dog says to repeat the folding for about fifty times.
  8. Pour mixture into cake pan at once. Knock the bottom of the pan against the table a couple of times to remove any air pockets in the batter.
  9. Pop the pan in the oven and bake for about 23 minutes.
  10. When that’s done, take the pan out and pierce the center of the cake with a bamboo stick. Make sure the center isn’t still wet.
  11. Flip cake pan onto cooling rack and leave it alone until the pan is cool to the touch. Only then should the cake be separated from its mold by the gently lifting the pan, leaving a nice golden cake on the rack. Flip the cake to get the top side up.
  12. I think the trickiest part is create the uniform layers. With a long knife, cut the cake horizontally. Make sure to plan the incisions carefully so you can get the desired number of layers. Each layer should consist of equal height, otherwise the resulting cake will just look odd.

I haven’t decided what kind of icing I should use. I found this recipe online:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Mix shortening, water, vanilla, almond extract, and half of the powdered sugar with a mixer for 5-10 minutes. (it’s very important to mix this long)
  2. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat just enough to mix in.
  3. Add additional water for desired consistency.
It sounds pretty good but I’m not sure. I’m all for replacing the shortening with butter. Any comments?
I need a turntable (which I don’t have) to properly apply the icing but I figured out a spiffy way to forgo dishing out more bucks. The microwave! Yes, I’m going to use the microwave’s turntable instead. Good thing it’s removable.
Now that I’ve talked the talk, I need to walk the walk. Off to the Bake-mobile! Will update on the outcome in a few days. I foresee a cake-wreck…
-Sugamama.