Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

Not sure about you, but whenever I bought myself a new toy, I mean new cooking toy,  I would get all excited to try out new recipes with it. And this time I bought myself quite a fun and dainty little popsicle mold from Zoku. :) Needless to say, I chose an easy recipe to test out this new toy. Plus I have fresh strawberries in the fridge, I made Strawberry Yoghurt mini pops!
These popsicles just reminds me of baby pacifiers haha! Frankly speaking they are the right size for my kids. They come back from school in the afternoon and craving for some cold treats. And what's better then homemade fruit popsicles verses sodas and store bought ice cream. :P These popsicles are so easy to make, even my 10 year old is capable of making them herself! 

The only thing that deters me from making popsicles at home last time was unmolding them. Soaking in warm water, leaving it to stand at room temperature which is such a torture when you are so craving for one. Or like me...pull and pull like no tomorrow, oops. :P Sometimes the holding stick just slides out on its own.. -_-" But NOT anymore with Zuko! Yay! These are so easy to remove, just pushing the silicon base and it pops right out~! Ok ok, I bought it from TANGS Orchard basement where all the bakeware is. I believe Vivo branch carries it too. ;) *Excited!*

Ingredients for Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles
90 g fresh strawberries
200g Greek Honey Yogurt
50g Strawberry Jam (I use New Zealand brand Anathoth Farm from Coldstorage)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

  • I had the other ice cream old from Daiso to standby incase I have more to freeze. 
  • First you wash and slice up ~90g of the berries and place in the blender container. Leave some thin slices of the strawberries for decorations later but it is optional.
  • Next add in the strawberry jam. Got this Anathonth Strawberry jam recently and love the intensive flavour and chunky fuit in it.

  • Then now add in the greek yogurt and that fresh lemon juice.
  • Blend at high speed for a minute.
  • Place the thinly sliced starberries in the cavity of the Zuko mold. Then gently pout the puree into it. If you look carefully, you will see where you should fill the puree to. The right level which the stick will be able to grip it.
  • Place the sticks over and cover all of the cavity.
  • Since these popsicles are smaller, it also means the freezing time is reduced as well. I left it for 2 hours and it was already good to go!

  • After two hours, remove from freezer. Then using your thumb, push up the silicon mold to release thepopsicales. 

  • See! Just a push and it just pops out. Easy peasy right?

Perfect treat on warm days or any day yeah? 

Hope you guys like this super easy and healthy popsicle recipe. You cab change the fruit to any kind you fancy, like mango or even orange. :9

Have fun always

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Earl Grey Lavender Cake with Lemon Vanilla ButterCream

I love baking for occasions. No matter how busy I am, I will try my best to bake a nice cake for the family. Frankly speaking, family matters most to me. No matter what you have done, or what you have not done, they still love you as much, haha! So doing little gestures like baking for them is really trivial I think. I always feel having a cake for any gatherings, puts a nice sweet ending to it. No matter how full you are, you will always have room for that slice of cake baked specially for you yes? And since I was particularly fond of the tea flavour Earl Grey Lavender from Gryphon, why not!

I was rather please with my first attempt. Used several different techniques here after reading up from books and recipes learnt from experience. I guess my only change next time is to lighten that frosting  by incorporating whipped cream into the buttercream and thus yielding a lighter texture and mouthfeel.

Tea floral mix powder:
2 tea bags amount of Earl Grey tea
5 g dried lavender (from Phoon Huat)

  • In a blender, pour both the earl grey tea leafs and the dried lavender in. Zap for a good 1 minute at high speed.

  • Sieve the blended mixture through a fine sieve. 

  • This step removes the chunkier bits and also the calyxes of the dried flower. Set aside for use later. 
Tea syrup
1 earl grey tea bag
1/4 cup boiling water
2-3 Tbsp full cream evaporated milk
3 Tbsp caster sugar
  • Place water, sugar and evaporated milk into a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from fire. Add the tea bag and let it sip for a good 30 minutes and stir it occasionally. 

  • After the tea is well soaked through and it has a good earl grey flavour, set aside to cool and for use later.
Ingredients for Earl Grey Lavender Cake
200 g unsalted butter, room temp
180 g caster sugar
4 large eggs
All of the above Tea Floral mix
200 g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line with parchment paper and grease again an 8" round  base removable cake pan.
  • In the mixing bowl, add in the room temperature butter and caster sugar. Start beating the mixture till light and fluffy which will takes about 4-5 minutes. Lastly add in the reserved Tea Flora mixture above and beat for another minute.

  • Next crack in one egg at a time and beat after each addition. Making sure the egg is completely incorporated after each addition.
  • Sift in the cake flour and baking powder in to the butter mixture. Then fold in gently, making sure it is well combined and no hidden lumps of flour.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Check out the creamy luscious batter!

  • Use a toothpick to give the batter a good swirl to remove any undesirable air pockets.
  • Then bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, rotate in between time to get even baking if necessary.
  • Once the cake tester or the toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the pan.

  • Next invert the cake on a cooling rack till it is cool to the touch. Slice the cake horizontally across so you get two equal thickness of cake discs.

Ingredients for Lemon Vanilla Buttercream
3.3 oz egg white (from three large eggs, ~95 g)
3.3 oz caster sugar (~95 g)
1/2 vanilla bean pod with the beans scraped out
300 g unsalted butter, cut into chunks and room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Place the egg white and sugar in a heat proof bowl and place over a double boiler of simmering water. Base of bowl should not touch the water.
  • Stir constantly till the sugar melted. Then place candy thermometer to check on the temperature to make sure it reaches 115C (for sanitary and prevention of semolina). 
  • Immediately beat the egg whites at high speed till it reaches soft peaks.
  • Gradually add in the chunks of butter and beat at medium speed. It may look lumpy at first, but continue to beat and it will eventually come together.
  • Lastly, add in lemon juice and zest and continue to beat till all fluffy and light.
  • Chill the butter cream in a container in the fridge till needed later.
  • On a cake board, grease 1/4 tsp of the buttercream on top. Then place half of the cake disc on top. This will prevent the cake from sliding when traveling with it.
  • Next spoon small amount of the reserved earl grey milk syrup all over the surface of the cake disc. You should use half the amount of the syrup.
  • You then frost 1/3 of the vanilla lemon buttercream over the surface.
  • Place the other cake disc over and making sure the cut side is facing up. Repeat the drizzling of the remaining of the tea syrup all over the cake surface again.

  • Do not worry, you are not gonna make your cake mushy with the syrup. I guarantee you that this step is essential to keep the cake moist and gives it that extra tea flavour. So please don't skip it.
  • Next frost up the whole cake nicely.
  • Chill the cake in the fridge for a good 30 minutes before you bring it out for decorations.
You can decorate your cake however way you want. With chocolate, with more buttercream, drizzle with ganache or topped with mixed fruits. I like mine with fresh flowers and berries this time. And my family actually loved this simplicity of it too.

Nothing is more satisfying when your bake is enjoyed and loved by the family. :') I wish I have made a better cake, but with only 4 hours at hand, I had to settle with this. 

Overall a success, but I would have made a taller cake next time. Perhaps up the egg ratio to 5 instead of 4. 

With this in my bag, I am ready to try out other flavour combinations. ;) Hopefully something nicer. Salted Caramel with Peanut butter? Or Holicks with Chocolate? We will see... ;)

Until then, have a good week ahead all!
Happy baking!