Saturday, May 31, 2008

Muddy Ice-Cream Cake

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, May 31, 2008 2 comments Links to this post

Okay, let me clarify, this contains no ice-cream but it feels like ice-cream when it's melting in the mouth. I originally plan to do chocolate mud cake just like the one in Secret Recipe and I found a pretty good recipe on chocolate Banana Cake ala Secret Recipe from Pearlyn's blog.

The moment I saw her recipe, I thought to myself, hey! I can twist the recipe a little. Change the white chocolate to dark chocolate and omit the bananas, I'll have my chocolate mud cake! And then do a little simple piping like the one I did in Steamed Chocolate Cake, wouldn't it look exactly like the one from Secret Recipe!

I got so excited and all only to realize I did not have enough cream for the recipe. What a nuisance!

Anyway, I used the cake filling recipe and tweak it a little and use another chocolate mud cake recipe for the cake because I hate and I don't know how to slice a cake properly. Hence, I'll prefer to bake 2 small cakes and sandwiched them together with the filling.

I so need to improve in my decorating skills. The cake looks like a big blob of mud!

I know it's ugly but who cares. It's delicious but let me warn you, this is very filling!

Look at my layering, isn't it ugly? I need a good serratd knife ro trim the cake before layering because i used an 8 inch round pan with \_/ bottom, not |_| .I happen to found a recipe from a long lost cookbook, Fannie is the author's name if I've remembered it correctly. they specifically ask for \_/ type of pan so off I go baking away!

Here comes the recipe!

A keeper chocolate mud cake (makes 2-small 8’’ round cake with \_/ type of pan)

Ingredient A

200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa content
¾ cup canola oil
1 ½ cup strongly brewed coffee

Ingredient B
2 extra large egss
5 tbsp full cream milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredient C
1 2/3 cup white sugar + A pinch of salt
195g plain flour
38g cornflour
1 tsp baking soda

Melt together (A) over double boiler until all chocolates are melted. Cool with water bath.

Mix together (B) and pour into cooled (A) and mix briefly.

Sift together all the dry powder (plain flour, baking soda, cornflour) and combined it with the sugar.

Add all the dry ingredients into wet ingredients in 3 parts until evenly mix.

Now, STRAIN THE BATTER into 2 same sized bowl with a help of a metal spoon to get things strained quickly. (Batter is rather thin so this one didn’t took me long).

Then, LEAVE THE BATTER ON THE KITCHEN TABLE CLING WRAPPED for an hour before baking. (I think this is for the baking soda to react with some other ingredient in the cake, like making beehive cake)

Bake this two portion into 2-8 inch round pan of \_/ type , NOT |_| type!

Bake this in a greased well and parchment-lined bottom pan for 135°C (the temperature is correct) for 60mins to 75mins (I need exactly 70mins for the cake to be done).

Chill both pieces of cake in the fridge.

For the cake filling:

Melt 400g milk chocolates with 600ml thickened cream ala Bain-Marie.

Once all melted, transfer to a large mixing bowl and keep it in the fridge.


With a hand held mixer, whipped the cake filling at high speed for about five minutes until doubled up in volume.

Then, fold in 100g of shaved dark chocolates in it (give it the muddy look!)

Place one slice of cake on a serving plate and generously spread the filling all over it.

Then place another slice on it and repeat the process. Cream the sides and all until all fillings are used up.

Chill well before serving.

There you have your very muddy mud cake that taste like ice cream, yummy!!!!

I'm off to get myself a thin slice now!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lavender Tiramisu

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, May 24, 2008 2 comments Links to this post

Do You Know?

When you type in 'Lavender Tiramisu' into Google search box, my blog pop up within the first page itself! Being the very creative me, I came up with Lavender Tiramisu. Yes, you didn't hear it wrongly. I said Lavender Tiramisu.

Tiramisu means pick me up in Italy. Why am I not surprised on how it got its name because I simply adore Tiramisu. They're the best thing every invented. In fact, I love Tiramisu more than cheesecake, more than anything else. And I love the smell of lavender too. Ever since I got some lavender from my neighbour's garden (and she said it's not sprayed with any pesticide and I could feel free and pick them anytime!), I've always use them in recipes. I made lavender sugar out of them. Gonna make lavender tea cake and lavender cupcakes soon too! Wait till after exam, when I have the time, this blog will be very lavenderish, I assure you!

I don't know how I pop up with the idea of Lavender Tiramisu but the taste is simple divine. Note that the recipe I'm about to gave you can be made omitting lavender and it will taste equally good.

I made a no-bake version and I used gelatine, whipped to stiff peak thickened cream and EGGS to set it. I myself personally dislike the thoughts of eating raw eggs in my desserts. Yes, it makes the whole thing much more creamier. Thanks, but no thanks.

However, in this recipe that I proudly call my own, successful one, I used them and gently cook them. Using eggs really does make a whole lot of difference in the cake. The cake sets nicely. The luscious mascarpone filling is creamy and sinfully rich.

You could see from the picture there's definitely more filling that savoiardi base but I like mine rich. You could easily use one and another half pack to make a three layer tall Tiramisu. But then, if you were to do this, please use at least a 10'' springform pan. I used my 9'' pan with 2 layers of savoiardi biscuits and 2 layers of mascarpone filling, that one itself already come up to the top of the pan after dusting it with cacao.

I love the messiness. I love how the inner of the Tiramisu look after being slice up. I love how the faint lilac lavender tingle my tastebud. It's not very faint actually but gets more faint each passing day. The Bailey's and the coffee overpowers it the following day and the day after.... :(

It's not very heavy nor filling, for a slice of this Lavender Tiramisu is the perfect ultimatum for a after meal dessert.

I love the look of a slice of the Lavender Tiramisu. They just look so good from any angles. I especially love the creamy mascarpone layer. Don't they look beautiful. I'm in love with it!

Okay, here comes the recipe:

The savoiardi biscuit layer:
One pack of savoiardi biscuits, 250g (I used 22 ladyfingers)
1 cups strongly brewed black coffee
¼ cup Bailey’s
5 sprigs of fresh lavender

Brew coffee according to instruction on packing and add in 5 sprigs lavender while brewing.

Stir to dissolve all coffee powder and cover for 30mins to let steep while you make the filling.

Set aside.

For the luscious Mascarpone filling:
250g Mascarpone Cheese
1 ¼ cup thickened cream (300ml), whipped and leave in fridge.
1/3 cup lavender sugar (75g)
3 eggs, separated
A pinch of salt
¼ tsp of white vinegar
40ml Bailey’s
10g gelatine in 2 tbsp water (one tbsp water with 10g gelatine for blooming, then add another tbsp of water before popping into microwave on high for 15seconds.)

Beat egg yolks and lavender sugar ala bain-marie over simmering water.

Once mixture reaches ribbon stage (all sugar would have dissolved by now), remove from heat and let cool a little.

Follow-up by adding the mascarpone, mixing gently until just combined.

Stir in the Bailey’s now.

Then, stir in the gelatine mixture at this point (should be lukewarm) and stir to combine.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt on medium speed for about 2mins with electric beaters.
Add in the vinegar and beat on high speed for another 2 mins until it reaches stiff peak.

Gently fold in the whipped cream.

Finally, fold in the egg white mixture into the mascarpone mixture and fold into submission.

Assembling the cake:

Discard the lavender sprigs from the black coffee. The coffee would have been chilled by now.

Pour the Bailey's into the coffee mixture. Stir well and pour the mixture into a shallow pan.

Dip one ladyfinger into the coffee mixture and arrange it into the round springform pan. Do this repetitively until you cover the base of a 9 inch round springform pan.

Then, cover the ladyfingers layer with half the mascarpone mixture. Generously sift the surface with cocoa powder.

Repeat with the next layer. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight. Dust generously with high quality cacao and serve.

My personal note:

Please dip the savoiardi biscuits one by one into the coffee mixture. Eg. Dip one biscuit into coffee mixture and line the pan with it. Then proceed on until you fully line the base (this will form your first base layer). Reason is that you do not know how porous and absorbent your savoiardi biscuits could be. Having said that, really savoiardi biscuits vary from one brand to another. I don’t know about you all, but I’m not interested in making a tiramisu soup here.

Try using ladyfingers with no sugar coating on top of it otherwise the coffee mixture cannot be absorbed in evenly. I have that problem here. Not too big of a problem actually but I'm left with a lot of coffee mixture in the end!

I line the sides of my springform pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it to make it stick to the pan. The next day, I remove it from the fridge; unlatch the pan onto a serving plate and remove the parchment paper. This gives me beautiful sides. No need to run any thin knife along the sides. I run a thin knife for my previous cheesecake recipe using springform pan but somehow the outcome is always a little ugly (am I using the right word?). But with parchment lined sides, I have a flawless cake.

Using raw eggs in cooking to me could portray risk (risks of being infected with salmonella) hence; I whipped it over bain-marie to kill whatever germs or disease that could follow-up. However, if you fear not, go ahead and just whip the yolks and sugar in a large bowl and proceed with the rest of the steps.

Pick Me Up!

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bailey's Tim Tam Cheesecake with Tim Tam Truffles

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, May 17, 2008 0 comments Links to this post

I love cheesecakes and I love Tim Tam so I was thinking why not have both my favourite in one cake, hence the name Tim Tam Cheesecake. The Bailey's is there to enhance the flavour. I've seen a couple recipes on Tim Tam Cheesecake popping on the Internet but I find them too cheesy for my liking. For me, things like Oreo and Tim Tam, too much cheese will cause it to loose it's flavour. Only things like chocolate or durian should be loaded heavily with cheese in recipes. Hence, I sort of developed a recipe for this Tim Tam Cheesecake. Sad to say, it was nice and all, but not Tim Tam-my enough. The Bailey's flavour is too overpowering. I added a little too much, :( The next time I do this again, I'll not separate the layers like below:

The white layer is plain cheese and Bailey's and the brownish red layer is cheese and coarse Tim Tam blended together.

But it doesn't matter, it tasted really good anyway. I love the cross section of the cake. Each layer look like they've been equally divided. As soon as I tried a slice, I knew the cheesecake is lacking Tim Tam taste. Hence, I made 12 Tim Tam Truffles to down with each slice of cake to bring out the flavour a bit.

Didn't wanna put the truffles on top of the cake because I thought the cake look really picturesque with the white and dark chocolate drizzled on them. With the truffle sitting on it, it look a little odd.

All in all, overall verdict was good so I might make this again if I'm loaded with Tim Tam.

Recipe as follow:

250g digestive biscuits
150g melted butter (I used 140g because my biscuit was on the dry side)

Finely crush the biscuits with hands or using food processor and mix it with the melted butter to form crumbly mixture. Press this evenly into a 9'' springform pan and chill it whilst you make the filling.

250g cream cheese
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp gelatine powder dissolved in 3 tbsp water*
300ml thickened cream

3 tbsp Bailey's
6 Tim Tam biscuits, crushed (I used Classic Dark Chocolate Flavour)

* What I usually do is i put 2 tbsp water in a shallow small plate and sprinkle gelatine over. Once it blossomed (uusally bout 5mins, I add another tbsp of water and microwaved it on HIGH for 15sec)

1) Beat chilled thickened cream in a chilled bowl until it reaches stiff peak. Then leave it in the fridge.

2) Dissolve the gelatine and keep it warm.

3) With no sequence, beat the rest of the ingredient until it reaches a smooth texture.

4) Fold in the gelatine mixture and divide the mixture into 2 equal portion (I usually weigh my filling)

5)To one portion, add 3 tbsp of Bailey's. To another portion, add in 6 crushed Tim Tam biscuits (I like mine coarsely chopped)

6) Place Tim Tam portion into the chilled pan and chill it in the freezer for 10mins.

7) Take it out and pour the luscious Bailey's mixture over it and chill it in the fridge overnight.

Portion A
1.5 ounces white chocolate, melted

1/4 cup thickened cream

Portion B
1.5 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1/4 cup thickened cream

Melt the two portions of chocolate using microwave, stirring every 30sec to avoid burning them. Then, whisk them until all combined. Drizzle them randomly all over the chilled cheesecake. Chill them again before serving.

Tim Tam Truffles (page 186 of May New Woman magazine, with Naomi Watts on the cover)

I halved the recipe and make 12 bite-sized truffles. I rolled them in cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate because I ran out of chocolate.

6 Tim Tam biscuits
125g cream cheese

Finely grind the Tim Tam biscuits using food processor and blend it with the cheese to form a dough. Chill for 30mins. Then, form 12 balls and roll them in cocoa powder

This is very very delicious. My personal thought,USE 60% FAT FREE PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE instead of the block cheese type. The reason is that this cheese is already soft and malleable at room temperature so there's no need to softened whatsoever. It makes the texture easy to work with and taste good equally.


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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Candy Spoon

Posted by Quinn at Tuesday, May 13, 2008 0 comments Links to this post

This is simply milk pudding covered with chocolates. Take a closer look at the chocolate layer.

Yes, it's indeed not smooth. I wanted to use up my leftover 40g of Swiss Mahony Chocolates from previous baking. It's been sitting in the fridge forever. I've mentioned before that this chocolate is really similar to Toblerone, hence the coarse texture from the pieces of nuts and nougat bits.

I made this to serve two only (or probably serve one if you're a big fans of dessert!)

It's called a candy spoon because when you dug into the pudding, the layer of chocolate will follow along and take its shape because of the canola oil used. I guess I didn't used enough because my chocolate layer was a little too hard for me to dug into the milk pudding layer when it was serving time. You could add more oil but I don't like the idea of it being unhealthy.

Here you go!

1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp + 1/2 granulated sugar

Mix that two well in a pan heated over low heat.

Stir in 1 cup of cold full cream milk and stir till cornflour and sugar are dissolved. That will take about 2-3mins.

When the mixture is thick enough (you'll know when it can readily coat the back of a spoon evenly), turn the heat off and stir in 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract. Pour into two fine cups and chill well.

Microwave 40g of any chocolates with 1 tbsp of canola oil on high for 45 seconds (or more), stirring every 15 seconds interval. Pour on top of well chilled pudding and throw it back into the fridge to chill for another hour before serving.

He just dislikes milk so much and this is a very good way for me to get some calcium into his body!

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Someone's Mother-In-Law's Steamed Chocolate Cake

Posted by Quinn at Sunday, May 11, 2008 15 comments Links to this post

That one was a very traditional hand-me-down moist chocolate cake recipe that I found here. I'm gonna retype it here again with substitutions I've made. I always have this thing about hand-me-down recipe. Things with name like Grandma's apple crumble, Mum's secret mango pudding and my mother-in-law steamed chocolate cake can't go wrong. Often, they're a no-fail recipe.

I didn't have all ingredients in hand. After many substitutions and decorating while it's still hot (never ever be impatient with chocolate cake!), this look so modernized and definitely has no olden days goodness in it.Also, the top crack crack because I tried to unmould it while it's still hot. Lesson learnt the hard way. Nevertheless, it's the taste that counts. This is one rich, very fudgy chocolate cake. This yield a large amount, say 2 x 8'' round cake? It doesn't really matter and you could make this in any pan you have, even a loaf pan really.

Alright, will improve on my piping skills. Sorry people, bad decorations and the chocolate topping definitely can't cover the huge crack at the center. Too bad!

Anyway, here comes the recipe!

Portion A
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup high quality dark cocoa powder (I like mine real dark!)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1 cup canola oil
1 cup fat free milk [I don't have any evaporated milk in hand and I ran out of full cream milk :( ]
3 extra large eggs (beaten)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (Must be boiling. Whatever lumps you have will be stir to combination here)

1) Sift together Portion A and stir until well mixed.
2) Stir in the rest of the ingredient in the sequence given.
3) Make sure to stir well after addition of each ingredient. Each ingredient goes in all at one go.
4) Pour the very thin batter in a well greased and line pan.
5) Steam at medium-low heat for 45mins or until done.

For the chocolate fudge topping (I love this and will definitely use this more often in my other baking where toppings are needed!)

Portion B
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup of fat free milk (That's what I have in hand, please use full cream milk if possible!)

150g chocolates of your liking (I used Belgian Milk Chocolates*)
50g butter

6) Mix together Portion B. Don' bother sifting the cocoa powder.
7) Melt chocolate and butter ala Bain-Marie.
8) Once all butter and chocolates incorporated, fold in the mixed Portion B.
9) Mix well until smooth and glossy.
10) Chill to room temperature before pouring over cake.

Decorate as you like. Do all the ganache topping and the decorations when the cake is cooled (preferaly chilled). There is no harm in leaving the cake in the fridge overnight but lots of damage done if you try to be impatient like me, :(

Here's a slice of a super rich, moist, fudgy, real dark chocolate cake for whoever who's reading this!

* I dunno bout you guys but I think chocolate cake should not be brown and should not be light brown. Chocolate cake should be real dark, like black in colour like. I used Belgian chocolate because I prefer that to bittersweet choc. However, I still get a dark topping because there's 2 tbsp packed cocoa powder in it. You really could use any chocolates you like. Just make sure, they have at least 60% - 70% of cocoa content in them. Now, that's what I call a real chocolate cake!

Also, as many blogs already mentioned, boiling a kettle of water and waiting to refill the steamer just in case it ran out of water is a pretty useful tip. So, do it!

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Very Peachy Peach Upside Down Cake

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, May 03, 2008 0 comments Links to this post

Peaches are delicious and easy to work with. They offer the perfect combination of flavor and nutrition. This is how I used up my leftover peaches (5 of them of regular size ones). Removing the skin of a peach is a pain the ass if you don't know how to do it the right way. I included in steps on removing peach skin easily in this post. However, I personally do not see why we should remove the skin when all nutritions are from the skin itself. This has been widely proven and you could drop by here and here if you wanna know more.

For this upside down peach cake, I used up 5 peaches and the peaches are not only used on top of the cake just to add in the aesthetic. In fact, it is called a 'very peachy' cake for a reason. I used cubed peaches within the cake batter as well. Many recipes for upside down peach cake often call for cake enhanced with milk or orange juice but let's face it, in reality, all these are just plain yellow cake mix. Also, I saw many recipes for this requires cast iron skillet. In reality, there is really no such need. I baked mine in my one and only 8'' round non stick pan. They came out perfect.

I skinned the peach cubes that will be added into the cake batter (also for the tutorial purpose to show you how to blanch peaches the right way) and I leave the peach slices skin on (these will be used to line the pan so make sure you washed them properly else skin them!).

Start off by cutting the peaches along its natural divide (I tried showing you in the picture above but if you still can't seem to get it, please email me!). Insert the knife until you feel the pit, then move the peach all around the knife until you have a clean cut dividing the peach. Now, the only thing holding the peach is its pit.

Working gently, twist both halves in opposite directions (obviously!) and try loosen up the peach. This might not work for over ripe peaches because they tend to be mushy. This works alright for firm ripe peaches like mine. You will end up with 2 halves of the peach, one with pit. Working a knife along it to try dig out the pit or just remove it (some peach's pit comes off easily) and again half them. You'll end up with big peach slices like above. Some peaches gives colored center. In my opinion, though they don't look pretty, they're still edible so don't bother about them.
Next, bring a pot of water to boil. The water amount would be just enough to cover the peach slices. When boiling, reduce the heat and throw in the peach slices. Let the slices simmer for at least a minute. If peaches are slightly under-ripe, allow them to remain in the hot water a little longer to loosen the peel (Bonus : This will also improve their flavor and discolor the center a bit so you can reduce the ugliness center a little bit more!)

Next, dunk them in icy cold water. The skin should come off the peach in large peels. There you go, as simple as that.

Next, preheat oven to 175
°C and generously grease an 8'' round pan with cooking oil but do not over do it (see picture below!) and set aside.

Bring 1/2 cup scant of Demerara sugar and 4 tbsp of water to boil (not burnt) and dissolve all the sugar. Quickly pour this into the greased pan and arrange peach slices over them.

For the cake:

Portion A
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup scant white sugar

1/3 cup full cream milk (I used a ixture of full cream milk and orange juice to come up to 1/3 cup)

2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla essence

1 cup of cubed peach (this is about 1 and 1/2 peaches. The other 3 and 1/2 peaches are slices )

1) Sift Portion A and set aside.

2) Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in, one at a time.

3) Add in the vanilla extract and beat slightly.

4) Fold in Portion A alternatively with the milk-orange mixture, making sure to end the process with flour mixture.

5) Gently fold in the cubed peach.

6) Pour the prepared mixture into the ‘peached’ pan.

7) Even out the surface of the batter with a spatula to make sure it covers the whole pan uniformly and tap it a few times to release any air bubbles

8) Bake at 175° C for 35 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

The end product. Looks pretty delish eh? It was very nice! The cake was very peachy .

Sinfully rich in peach. Saw the cake layer? It's got peach cubes to bite on when eating. This taste better the next day in fact. I dunno bout you guys, people usually serve this either
warm or at room temperature, either plain or with whipped cream. I like mine served with real crème anglaise (pronounced as krèm-an-glez ) . Recipe here as below but you really could just leave it out if you don’t want to. The peach cake still does taste very yummilicious all by itself.

Crème Anglaise

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn flour

2 cups full cream milk (I used half-and-half cream)

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


1) Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.

2) Stir in milk until smooth (the colder the better, after all, corn flour dissolve really well in cold liquid rather than hot liquid).

3) Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

4) Then, reduce heat and cook-stir for another 2 minutes.

5) Remove from heat and stir 1 cup into yolks. Then, return all back to pan. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for another 2 minutes. This is called tempering and is indeed a very important step in order to not overcook the egg.

6) Finally, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool slightly and cover the surface of custard with cling wrap to avoid skin formation (like how the cream patisserie of cream puff was covered). Chill it well before serving. This could be well made before hand.

Note: If vanilla pod is to be used, it should be split open into half, scraped and all the scraped residue together with the pod should be put in along with the milk.

Serve a slice of the cake, warm with a dollop of the crème anglaise. If you think it is such a waste to cover the beautifully arranged peach cake with the custard, just place a dollop by its side.


Note : This cake produce a dense bread-dough texture so if you don't like that kinda texture, don't try this.

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