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Archive for May, 2008

Introducing Munky

YL’s bday was in April.. however as it was lazy april for me i didn’t get a chance to work on her bday present till a couple of weeks back. It’s the month of firsts for me – first opera cake… and now first softie! 🙂 

Since YL is blurmonkey, i made her a Munky from Aranzi Aronzo’s Cute Dolls.

all over one night… but i had fun! 🙂 Happy belated Bday YL! 🙂 

Munky!

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Cheesecake

M’s bday was some time earlier this month and since i took some time off work, i had time to bake! 🙂 so i decided to do a favourite of his – oreo cheese cake and topped it with another favourite – strawberries! the supermarket had really big and nice ones on sale so it was perfect! I glazed it with ice wine jam but it didn’t set properly…. it was yummy nonetheless! 

cheesecake with strawberries

Here’s a step-by-step of how his bday cake was made. 🙂 i had a very curious helper that afternoon too! 🙂 

step by step cheesecake

separate cookies from cream :: crush till crumbs :: get some help! 😉 :: filling :: line the pans with base :: fill pans and put it in a ban marie :: cool after baking :: top with strawberries and let it set in the fridge :: 

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Opera Cake Recipe

finally. the week has ended and i do have some time on my hands to put things in order. 🙂 first up! it’s recipe time for the Opera cake I did for Daring Bakers. 

The first time I found out it was an Opera cake without chocolate or anything brown i had to stop and think for a while. I started becoming ambitious and wanted to put in a whole lot more (more fruits… flavoured buttercream etc..) however i never dared to start the challenge. it was honestly daunting as it was my first try at a layered cake. i’ve only done cheesecakes which is just mix, pour, bake, wait and chill. but this is mix bake, move on to next layer, then another layer then assemble, chill and lastly, glaze. so before i know it, it was just a day before posting day and i had no time to over complicate the cake so i just went for something simple. just follow the recipe and let’s see where that takes us. 

luckily for me, my house is like a well stocked up pantry. i had canned fruits, an unlimited supply of alcohol (mainly liqueurs as my mum likes to add a bit of punch to her brownies and cakes) so that helped. i wanted some kick in the cake so it was between grand marnier and cointreau (easy decision as the cointreau was already open) and i like lychees. 😛 

As i wasn’t confident of how it would turn out… i cut the recipe by 2/3. So here it is, the actual recipe and what i actually used in red. 🙂 

This recipe is based on Opéra Cake recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets and Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty’s Chocolate Passion.

Joconde:

6 large egg whites, at room temperature 2 eggs

2 tbsp. (30 grams) granulated sugar 10 grams

2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds 75grams

2 cups icing sugar, sifted 75 grams

6 large eggs 2 eggs

½ cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour about 25 grams

3 tbsp. (1½ ounces; 45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 15 grams 

  1. Preheat the oven to 220◦C
  2. Line two 6 inch round pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter. (didn’t have parchment paper so I just brushed it with melted butter)
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the meringue into another bowl and set aside.
  4. If you only have one bowl, wash it after removing the egg whites or if you have a second bowl, use that one. Attach the paddle attachment to the stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer again) and beat the almonds, icing sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the flour is just combined (be very careful not to overmix here!!!).
  6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
  7. Bake the cake layers until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes depending on your oven. Place one jelly-roll pan in the middle of the oven and the second jelly-roll pan in the bottom third of the oven. 
  8. Put the pans on a heatproof counter and run a sharp knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the pans over, and unmold.
  9.  Carefully peel away the parchment, then turn the parchment over and use it to cover the cakes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.

                    Syrup (I didn’t reduce this as I didn’t think boiling 42 grams of water was going to work well….)

                    ½ cup (125 grams) water

                    ⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar

                    1 to 2 tbsp. of cointreau

                     

                    1.    Stir all the syrup ingredients together in the saucepan and bring to a boil.

                    2.    Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

                     

                    For the buttercream and filling (didn’t reduce this as well as I was not going to make the mousse/ganache…)

                    1 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

                    ¼ cup (60 grams) water

                    1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

                    1 large egg

                    1 large egg yolk

                    1¾ sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

                    flavouring – I used a couple of tablespoons of the syrup from the canned lychees and a couple of tablespoons on cointreau…:P)

                     Filling – 1 can of lychees cut into small pieces 

                    1. Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean seeds or extract in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves.
                    2. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 225◦F (107◦C) on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches that temperature, remove the syrup from the heat.
                    3. While the syrup is heating, begin whisking the egg and egg yolk at high speed in the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment. Whisk them until they are pale and foamy.
                    4. When the sugar syrup reaches the correct temperature and you remove it from the heat, reduce the mixer speed to low speed and begin slowly (very slowly) pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl being very careful not to splatter the syrup into the path of the whisk attachment. Some of the syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl but don’t worry about this and don’t try to stir it into the mixture as it will harden!
                    5. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the eggs are thick and satiny and the mixture is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes or so).
                    6. While the egg mixture is beating, place the softened butter in a bowl and mash it with a spatula until you have a soft creamy mass.
                    7. With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding in two-tablespoon chunks. When all the butter has been incorporated, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thick and shiny.
                    8. At this point add in your flavouring and beat for an additional minute or so.
                    9. Refrigerate the buttercream, stirring it often, until it’s set enough (firm enough) to spread when topped with a layer of cake (about 20 minutes).

                     

                    For the glaze (Note:  It’s best to make the glaze right when you’re ready to finish the cake.)

                     14 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped 7 ounces ( I used Cadbury Dream…) 

                    ½ cup heavy cream (35% cream) ¼ cup

                    Orange paste for colouring 

                    1. Melt the white chocolate with the heavy cream. Whisk the mixture gently until smooth.
                    2. Let cool for 10 minutes and then pour over the chilled cake. Leave some to colour and drop a few drops of coloured glaze. Use a fork to marble the top.
                    3. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

                     

                    Assembling the Opéra Cake

                     1. Cut and trim each sheet of cake until you have 4 layers of cake.

                     2. Place one sheet of cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with the flavoured syrup.

                     3. Spread about one-third of the buttercream over this layer.

                     4. Top with another piece of cake. Moisten these pieces with the flavoured syrup.

                     5. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cake and place the lychees all around the cake. Cover the lychees with another thin layer of butter cream.

                     6. Top with the third piece of joconde and moisten it with syrup.

                     7. Spread another layer of buttercream on top of the final layer of joconde and if you want, place more lychees on the buttercream.

                     8. Top the last layer of cake and cover it with the buttercream.

                     9. Then refrigerate until very firm (at least half an hour).

                     10. Make the glaze and after it has cooled, pour/spread it over the top of the chilled cake. Refrigerate the cake again to set the glaze.

                     Serve the cake slightly chilled. 

                    🙂 

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                    L’Opéra!

                    my very first daring baker’s challenge and i’ve completed it. To be honest I wanted to chicken out the moment i knew what the challenge was. an opera cake. 1 – i’ve never had an opera cake and now i have to make one. 2- i have to use ingredients which were not brown in colour… so it’s not the traditional chocolate opera cake… and i’m so used to making things with chocolate as the main ingredient. anyhoooo i’m proud to say that it’s done! (even though it was so last minute but it’s done!) my lychee and cointreau opera cake! 🙂 

                    layers     orange swirls

                    🙂 my very first layer cake! 🙂 

                    alright! that’s all for now. i’ll post up the recipe another time… 

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