Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lavender Macarons with Mango curd buttercream

There was a family gathering over at my sister's place last weekend. My mum and sis prepared lots of delicious food for everyone. To thank the generous host and hostess, I decided to bake something nice for everyone to enjoy. Since both my sister and her husband loves cheesecakes, I decided to make a simple no-bake light mango cheesecake that day. Since the cheesecake looks kind of plain on it's own, the idea of decorating it with some macarons came to mind. (Plus its AB macaron theme this month, hehe) As I didn't want to bake the usual flavors, I went with something slightly more "exotic"...Lavender Macarons! I bet some of you are going..."Ewww....potpourri flavor?! I know I know, it does sound a little unconventional, but since I did make lavender butter cookies before and they turned out wonderful, so I thought...why not?
To match the flavor with the cheesecake, I filled the macarons with mango curd buttercream. Eh...why not just mango curd, why with buttercream? Well, long story short, the curd was a little runny and it just didn't hold well in the macs. Why? Don't really know...even after I cooked it much longer then suggested. :P However the mango curd's taste was fabulous, a great recipe I got from Smitten Kitchen. Check out her link if you are interested to make the curd.
For the no-bake cheesecake recipe, please kindly refer to my previous post. As for the mac recipe, here it is:

Ingredients for Lavender Macaron Shells: (makes about 20 cookies)

100g almond meal (I ground mine from whole blanched and toasted almonds)
100g icing sugar
1 heaping tbsp lavender (I chopped mine into even finer bits)
38g fresh egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
pinch of salt
some violet food coloring (optional-I used Wilton's violet food coloring gel, a little goes a long way)

80g caster sugar
20ml water

38g aged egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
  • In a blender, finely ground the almond powder and confectioner's sugar together till powdery like. Then pour it into a bowl and add in the lavender bits . Then mix in the egg white and salt. Stir and mix well. Mixture will be thick.

  • In a saucepan placed over medium fire, heat up the sugar and water. Once the sugar has all melted, place your candy thermometer in and monitor it till it reaches ~108C. Once it reaches 108C, beat the egg white at high speed till it reaches soft peaks, which by then the temperature should be close to 118C.

  • Slowly drizzle the sugar syrup into the egg white while the mixer is still at medium speed. Once all the syrup is in, continue to beat till the meringue is glossy.

  • Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the almond meal mixture. Since the almond mixture is thick, you'll need to stir harder to incorporate it well. Repeat the other 2 portions and fold in gently.

  • Scoop the batter into a piping bag with an 10mm nozzle. Pipe out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment paper. Let rest for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 150C with fan off.

  • After 10 minutes, bake the cookies in the oven for 14mins.

  • After baking, remove from oven and let cool completely before peeling off.

Note: You can dry the mac shells a little by using your oven if that day happens to be a humid/rainy day. Preheat oven to 80C, off oven and place piped mac shells in. When the shells are no longer sticky to your finger's touch, they are good to bake. Else wait for another 5 minutes to let it dry up a little further.

I was really happy my family loved this cake...and the macs. ;) Although most of them have no clue what flavor the mac was, they just happily chomp it down (before I can tell them), lol! I guess the mango flavoring might have been a little overpowering over the lavender, since I did only add 1 tbsp. I have reduce the sugar for this recipe and thank goodness it still turned out fine. *phew!!*  So the macs were not overly sweet, just to my liking. ;) However, the violet color didn't quite show...should add a wee but more coloring next time. :P

  

To my surprise, I actually like the faint flowery scent in the mac. No, not potpourri feel at all...just a sweet scent at the background to compliment the nutty flavor of the almond. :) If I would have filled it with plain vanilla buttercream, it's flowery scent would have stand out even more. But overall, I was really happy I tried something new! Being a little adventurous never hurts ya?


I am happy to submit my post to this month's Aspiring Bakers #17: March Macaron Madness! (Mar 2012) hosted by Alan of Travellingfoodies.

Thanks Alan for hosting!


Okay, will end this post here. Thanks for staying with me!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Maple Syrup Loaf and Red Wine Yeast Bao (枫糖土司 & 红鞠包子)

Here I am again with another bread loaf recipe. Since I bake bread every week without fail, so inevitably I will post up a new recipe...I just hope I don't bore you guys out, lol! In fact I still have 3 more backlogs on breads which hopefully I will get the chance to post up soon. (^_^) Boring perhaps to some...but never to me! I'm always excited and haven't found an ounce of boredom in baking bread till now! (^o^) Anyway, uh-hum(clearing my throat)....today's bread, Maple Syrup Bread Loaf(枫糖土司) is again using pre-fermented dough technique, which to me is one of the more trusted method to yielding a good loaf.
That bottle of maple syrup was purchased while I was in States last year. It is really thick and has a fine woody scent which I think is the real stuff! The bread it has mild maple scent to it. ;) But no worries if you can't get really good maple syrup from where you stay, the bread loaf will still be equally good. :) And who says maple syrup is only good for topping over pancakes/waffles?
Ingredients for Maple Syrup Bread Loaf (Makes one 9x5x4 loaf)
270g bread flour
30g cake flour
70g pre-fermented dough (refer to here for recipe)
3g salt
12g milk powder
15g brown sugar
40g maple syrup
6g active dry yeast
80g beaten whole egg
8-ml fresh milk
35g unsalted butter
  • Knead all ingredients of the main dough together, except the butter. Add pre-ferment dough piece by piece. Knead after each addition until soft and smooth. Add butter. Knead until stretchable and pass the window panel consistency.
  • Put the dough into a big bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it prove for 30minutes till double.
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Flatten each portion with your hands to drive the air out. Roll it into square shape, cover and let rest for 20 minutes before shaping.
  • Flatten the dough to drive the air out. Roll each out into a rectangular sheet with a rolling pin. Fold about 2cm from both sides towards the center and roll it out again. Roll the dough up like swiss roll (the width should be the same as the tin) and out them into the mould. Repeat for the rest of the dough portions. Cover with cling wrap.
  • Let it prove for about 45 minutes or until the dough has risen to 80 to 90% of the depth of the loaf tin. You can either cover the lid or bake it open top. I omitted the egg wash to make it pure vegetarian version. Bake in 175C for 30 to 35minutes.
The texture of the loaf did turn out pretty good...soft and bouncy and even stays so the next day. :) Day after? Probably, but the bread was all gone by then. (^o^)
Just to show you the nice texture of the bread...to convince you a little bit more, heehee. (^_^) If you have maple syrup sitting at the furthest corner of your fridge....you know what you should do with it now. :)

Another recipe I want to share today is 红鞠包子. I have actually come to know about this 红鞠(red wine yeast) pretty long ago through a Taiwanese cooking show. The chef was using it to stew a piece of roast pork and it looked so goooood! Since I didn't know how to get my hands on the red wine yeast..it just got forgotten. Until recently......I saw Sonia using it for her chiffon! I was so excited and found out it was Lena whom got it for her. And guess what? Sweet Lena sent me a bottle! Thanks Lena! I wanted to try it on something simple and found a decent recipe from Carol's cookbook: 红鞠馒头. But since I'm not too fond of plain buns, I went ahead and modified the recipe to baos with fillings, heehee. :D
The baos turned out with a light salmon color, quite pretty and festive in color. ;) Although I did worry that the strong wine aroma might be evident in the bao....so I reduce the amount of red wine yeast used...but in the end I can't smell or even taste it in the baos. :P
Here is the recipe I came up with:

Ingredients for Red Wine Yeast Baos(红鞠包子) (makes about 8)
20g brown sugar
110ml warm water
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
50g starter dough (see here for recipe)
370g plain flour
50g cake flour
80ml red wine yeast (I used 60g only and added 1 tbsp more water to compensate)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp shortening
  1. Place everything in a large mixing bowl except the butter and knead till it comes together. Once it forms into a dough, add in the shortening and continue to knead for a good 5 to 7 minutes on the mixer or 10 minutes by hand till it is elastic and smooth.
  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl and let proof till double in size. Punch out the air and divide the dough into 40g each.
  3. Take a dough portion and flatten it into a disc, making sure the center is thicker then the edges. place about 2 tbsp's worth of red bean / black sesame paste filling in the center. Seal up and roll round. Place on a greased proof paper and put the bun into the steamer (already prep with water) to further proof for about 40 minutes. Repeat.
  4. Once proved, start the steamer and steam at medium high for 10 to 15 minutes. Note that do open the lid completely after steamed, open partially with a small gap for 15 minutes to let the buns cool slowly to prevent them to deflate.
I am actually quite excited about trying more recipes, even savory dishes with the red wine yeast. Hopefully will post them up soon. Thanks again dear Lena for taking the trouble to send it to me!
Showing off the fluffy texture of the bao, heehee! :D If you are lucky enough to access to red wine yeast, do try this recipe out...you'll not only be eating healthy, you'll enjoy it very much too! ;) If you are interested to read more about the medicinal values of 红鞠, please visit this link....but it's in Mandarin. :P

Hope this post had inspired you to bake some bread and steam some healthy buns! The weekend is just around the corner...make use of it and make something yummy! Hope you all have a great one!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hazelnut Opera Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons

The past week went by so fast and I hardly had any time to bake or blog. As busy as I were, I had to reserve some time to bake for my FIL's birthday on Saturday. And since my niece's birthday was relatively close, it would only be nice that I bake her something as well...something she loves....chocolate macarons. (^_^) And so the idea of cake + macaron combination was born. After much deliberation, I went with Hazelnut Opera Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons! I'm sure many of you have seen those big bakeries selling fancy cakes with gorgeous macarons as decorations...so here is my own version:
I was pretty please with the outcome of the cake and the macarons, since both are my first attempt. Okay, the macs perhaps not exactly first time but it's my first time using ground hazelnut in place of almond. Outcome....just like Nutella! Lol! If you love Nutella, you should definitely try using hazelnut instead of almond next time. :)
Pardon my poor filling skill, I was rushing these macs out for my niece that evening on her birthday. Luckily I still manage to finish all my chores, bake & fill them before 9pm..phew! Check out the recipe:

Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons (makes about 20 cookies)
100g Hazelnut meal (I ground mine from whole blanched and toasted hazelnuts)
100g icing sugar
1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder (I used Valrohna)
38g fresh egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
pinch of salt

100g caster sugar
24ml water

38g aged egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
  • In a blender, finely ground the hazelnut powder and confectioner's sugar together till powdery like. Then pour it into a bowl and add in the Cocoa powder. Then mix in the egg white and salt. Stir and mix well. Mixture will be thick.

  • In a saucepan placed over medium fire, heat up the sugar and water. Once the sugar has all melted, place your candy thermometer in and monitor it till it reaches ~108C. Once it reaches 108C, beat the egg white at high speed till it reaches soft peaks, which by then the temperature should be close to 118C.

  • Slowly drizzle the sugar syrup into the egg white while the mixer is still at medium speed. Once all the syrup is in, continue to beat till the meringue is glossy.

  • Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the hazelnut meal mixture. Since the hazelnut mixture is thick, you'll need to stir harder to incorporate it well. Repeat the other 2 portions and fold in gently.

  • Scoop the batter into a piping bag with an 10mm nozzle. Pipe out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment paper. Let rest for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 150C with fan off.

  • After 10 minutes, bake the cookies in the oven for 14mins.

  • After baking, remove from oven and let cool completely before peeling off.

Note: That day was raining whole day, so it was exceptionally humid. Obviously 10 minutes of waiting for the shells to dry will not be suffice. Not wanting to wait too long for the shells to dry up before baking...I decided to use the oven to dry my shells a little. I preheated the oven to 100C for a couple minutes, off it and place my piped batter in for 5 to 8 minutes. To check if you shells are ready for baking...gently tab the shells. If its still sticky, repeat the drying process in the oven again. If it's not sticky and no batter is on your finger, it's ready for baking. However, DO NOT over dry them...you might end up having cracked or deflated macs in the end. Just enough to have the shells not stick to your fingers will be perfect.
This Opera Cake recipe is actually from I was really impress with her nice layering, plus I've not tried baking an opera cake before. And since original recipe uses almond meal, I changed it to hazelnut meal to match with my macs. :)) Here is my version of the cake:

Hazelnut Opera Cake: (makes an 10" square)
Cake Batter : Set (A)
5 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
130g confectioner's sugar
160g Hazelnut meal (Mine are ground from whole, blanched, tasted hazelnuts)\
40g cocoa powder ( I used Valrohna)
60g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
40ml vegetable oil

Set (B):
3 egg whites
30g confectioner's sugar
1 tsp cornflour
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together. Sift and set aside for use later.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, egg yolk and sugar in. Beat the mixture till it triple in volume and leaves a significant ribbon. Takes about 7 to 8 minutes. Be sure to reduce the beater's speed to low and let it run for an additional minute to reduce the large bubbles present in the batter.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients to the egg mixture in 3 separate portions and gently fold in till no visible lumps.
  • Add in the vegetable oil and again fold in gently till all is well combined.
  • Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease and line a 10" removable base square cake pan with parchment.
  • In a separate mixer bowl, add in the egg whites and beat till foamy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat till soft peaks. Now add in the cornflour and continue to beat till it is well combined and still peaks.
  • Fold the whites into the main batter in 2 separate portions till nicely incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into a greased and parchment lined cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes till the tester comes out clean.
  • Cool completely on rack before slicing. When cooled, slice the cake in 4 equal thickness slices.
Chocolate garnache:
300g dark chocolate, chopped small
150ml fresh heavy cream
10g unsalted butter
1/2 pack of instant coffee mixed in 3 tbsp of boiling water

In a heat proof pan, heat the cream till almost bubbly. Pour the liquid over the chopped chocolate and butter. Leave the mixture without stirring for 5 minutes. After 5mins, stir the mixture till all the chocolate chunks are melted and its smooth and thick. Add in the coffee mixture, mix well. Let cool at room temperature (no chilling) for use later.


Chocolate-coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

75g chopped dark chocolate

300g Swiss Meringue Buttercream


1/2 pack of instant coffee mixed in 3 tbsp of boiling water



Melt the chocolate in the microwave and let cool for a minute before mixing into the room temperature buttercream. Then add in the coffee mixture, and mix everything well.

Assembly:
  • Start with one layer one cake at the base. Then spread 1/2 of the buttercream over it evenly.
  • Next place another layer of cake over the cream.
  • Then spread 1/4 of the chocolate garnache evenly over the cake.
  • Then lay the next cake layer over. And again spread evenly the other half of the buttercream over the cake.
  • Lay the last layer of cake over and then spread 2/3 of the remaining the garnache all over cake. Chill for 30 minutes, remove from fridge and spread more neatly with the last of the garnache.
  • Decorate at will. :)
Seems like so much work isn't it?! Lol! Yes it is! But I guess it's all worth it if it is well enjoyed by all your family and loved ones ya?
Notice the layers are all squished, hahaha! But taste wise was still very good. :) The cake has a nice hazelnut taste plus a hint of coffee to it. With chocolate blend to it, it's perfect.

I am happy to submit this to Aspiring Bakers #17: March Macaron Madness! (Mar 2012) hosted by Alan of Travellingfoodies. Have you bake your mac yet? There's still plenty of time...attempt it and conquer it! Happy baking!

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Teddy Chocolate Swiss Roll & Curry Chicken Pie

The one week school break is finally here. But even though there's no school, life seems a little more hectic for me. I tend to get less things done when my kids are at home....no surprise there. But at least there's less stress during this period of time which I always welcome. (^_^) I made a simple treat for my kids yesterday, a Teddy Bear Swiss Roll with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
My kids love Swiss roll cakes and it never fail to amuse them when I "dress it up" with some cute designs on the sponge cake. Although the teddies are not as nicely done as I hoped, it was still decent enough for me to blog about it, lol! My young one even asked me if the design are brown cats....o well. (-_-)"
This is the usual vanilla sponge recipe which I used previously using the egg separation method (分蛋式海绵蛋). Since I have already posted it several time, please just refer to here for details.
Instead of using brown food coloring, I used melted chocolate to color the bears. As for the eyes and cheeks I used edible maker pens to draw it. Personally, I feel the rosy cheeks on the teddies makes them a little more cheerful, hee. :D
The cake is as usual, soft and spongy which was still tender when straight out of the fridge. Excellent recipe from 孟老师的美味蛋糕卷 cookbook. Hope you enjoy this post as much as I had fun baking it up plus posting it to share. ;)

Another recipe that I'm posting today is kinda of an experimental one since I only saw it once on a Chinese recipe book and roughly copied it down months ago. It ain't chicken pie nor curry puff but Curry Chicken pie, lol! The moment I read about it, I knew it was gonna be delicious! Especially if you like both the earlier mentioned dishes, this is a sure win for you. ;)
Just imagine: flaky, buttery pie crust encasing creamy curry chicken filling with soft potatoes and tender carrots....how good does that sound to you?! I was really happy it turned out great as my family loved it very much, even my kids whom are not too fond of spicy food, both had 2 servings each! Interested? Check out my recipe:

Ingredients for Curry chicken pie: (makes an 10" pie)
Pie Crust:
180g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4g salt
1 egg yolk
30ml ice water
  • In a mixing bowl, sift the salt and flour in. Add the cubed butter and knead in using your finger tips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add in the egg yolk and water and knead till it just comes together into a soft pliable dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Egg Cream Mixture:
100ml fresh heavy cream
80ml fresh milk
2 whole eggs
30g curry paste (adjust as per personal preference, some curry paste tends to be more spicy)

Curry filling:
150g cooked roast chicken
80g green peas
100g boiled, peeled and cubed carrots
100g boiled, peeled and cubed potatoes
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and slice into wedges
  • Remove the pie dough from fridge and roll out to about the circumference of your greased pie dish. Then gently place the rolled out dough into the pie dish and press in to even out the layer.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients for the egg cream mixture. Make sure the curry paste is mixed in properly with no lumps.
  • Preheat the oven to 190C.
  • Place all the curry filling ingredients evenly distributed at the base of the pie dish over the pie dough.
  • Then pour the cream mixture over the curry filling, making sure the filling doesn't over flow.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the filling is set and golden brown. Let pie cool for15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Note that the curry paste used is up to personal preference, if you like it more spicy, adjust as needed. I used a Japanese curry paste which my kids love. This "east meets west" recipe surely can be easily accepted and enjoy by many, so why not give it a try? Have fun baking and eating it!

Okay all, have a great week ahead!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Black Sesame Bread Loaf (营养黑芝麻土司)

Using black sesame (paste / powder) to bake a loaf of bread has been a much awaited item on my bake list. I can already imagine how fragrant the nutty sesame aroma the bread will be. However, I just didn't get to it for the longest time. Its either I forgotten to prepare the pre-fermented dough or I have some root vegetables to use up first. But being the bread craze me, I knew I just can't put off any longer...and finally yesterday I got to bake it. Behold, my Black Sesame Bread loaf! And its vegetarian too since no eggs needed, nice!

Baking bread is such a therapeutic thing for me. I totally love the whole process of preparing the dough, shaping and baking it. And after baking so many different loaves of bread, some how I learn to detect whether the dough will yield a good texture....wonder if you have experience that. Some dough can be so elastic and yet it doesn't stick to your hand...you know this is gonna be an excellent texture. And this Black Sesame Loaf is exactly that. It was able to reach a very elastic stage reaching a very thin window panel without tearing.
The bread emit a nice nutty scent after its out from the oven. I opted to use black sesame paste as to black sesame powder but it still turn out great. Best of all, the texture is really good...one of the best that I have come across apart from the 17hr pre-ferment technique. It is so soft and literally melt in the mouth...really.
It's probably quite hard to convince you all with just shades of gray. (-_-)" But hope you can see the nice texture it formed. I am actually looking forward to baking this bread again even though I just did yesterday, lol! I have modified the recipe to suit just my family, a loaf plus a few buns. Feel free to change it proportionally to your own needs.

Pre-fermented dough
250g bread flour
160ml water
3g instant dry yeast
1g salt
  • Knead everything together till it forms a soft pliable dough. No need to be smooth. Divde dough into 50g or100g portions depending on your needs and let chill in fridge up to 12 hours. Alternatively store in freezer up to 3 months.
Ingredients for Black Sesame Bread Loaf (makes one 9x4x5" plus 3 to 4 buns)
100g pre-fermented dough
365g bread flour
35g black sesame paste
210ml water
65ml milk
6g instant active dry yeast
4g salt
12g milk powder
50g caster sugar
32g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Knead all ingredients of the main dough together, except the butter. Add pre-ferment dough piece by piece. Knead after each addition until soft and smooth. Add butter. Knead until stretchable and pass the window panel consistency.
  • Put the dough into a big bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it prove for 30minutes till double.
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Flatten each portion with your hands to drive the air out. Roll it into square shape, cover and let rest for 20 minutes before shaping.
  • Flatten the dough to drive the air out. Roll each out into a rectangular sheet with a rolling pin. Fold about 2cm from both sides towards the center and roll it out again. Roll the dough up like swiss roll (the width should be the same as the tin) and out them into the mould. Repeat for the rest of the dough portions. Cover with cling wrap.
  • Let it prove for about 45 minutes or until the dough has risen to 80 to 90% of the depth of the loaf tin. You can either cover the lid or bake it open top. I omitted the egg wash to make it pure vegetarian version. Bake in 175C for 30 to 35minutes.
Be sure to find a day which allows you to have ample time to work on this bread. Also try to prepare the pre-fermented dough at least a day before. If you choose to use black sesame powder instead, remember to reduce the bread flour to about 330g (see as per needed). Also note that this dough is quite wet and sticky, it does require a slightly longer time to knead. Be patient, knead well and you will be rewarded.
I made some dried cranberry & cream cheese filled buns and my kids loved them. Much like those sold at you know where...

Hope this healthy and delicious bread will be on your bake list. Let me know how yours turn out. (^o^) Okay, that's all I have for you all today. Thanks again for staying with me. Have a great day! Cheers!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mango yoghurt pound cake & Honey Lemon Madeleins

Lately, there were plenty of honey mangoes going on sale in the groceries. Somehow mango is the one fruit that I can never resist on buying...especially when it is on sale! After finishing up a couple mangoes 2 weeks back, we got some again last week...and seeing how fast it is ripening worries me a little. I decided to bake something with these aromatic mango fruit to enjoy it in a whole new way. :) So I baked a Mango Yoghurt Pound cake, a recipe which is adapted from my Passion Fruit Pound Cake. Result? Delish!
I realized that I haven't post any loaf or pound cake recipe for a relatively long time...a year? I guess sometimes we tend to forget the simplest cake recipes, which perhaps is something that we enjoy very much without much fuss. In fact I made this cake in an hour, including the baking time...neat right?
Ingredients for Mango Yoghurt Pound Cake:
110g unsalted butter, room temperature
140g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
160g Cake flour, sieved
75g of plain yogurt
100g fresh mango fruit, peeled and pureed

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and butter it again. (I used a 7" by 3.5" loaf tin )
  • In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time till well mixed in.
  • Add in yogurt and stir till incorporated. Then add in the mango puree and mix well.
  • Add in cake flour, baking powder and salt and stir till just blend in.
  • Pour the cake batter into the loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or till the cake tester comes out clean.
The cake is tender, moist with fine crumbs with the right amount of sweetness, plus a hint of mango in each bite. My perfect afternoon tea treat. :)

Another simple cake/cookie which I want to share with everyone is Honey Lemon Madeleines which I made quite a while back. It's such a nice recipe that I figured it'll be such a waste if I don't post it up. These tender French classic confection has a whole new character when honey and lemon are introduced to it. Be sure to use a quality honey like wildflower or Lavender honey that has a more assertive scent so these little cakes can have a more outstanding flavor.

The lemon zest in these cakes brightens up the flavor and counteracts the buttery taste which makes it not at all too heavy to down even when you reach the fifth one, hohoho...dangerous! (^o^)

Ingredients for Honey Lemon Madeleines (makes about 12) (adapted from "The Last Course")
85g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp wildflower honey
62g all purpose flour
28g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
zest of a lemon
  • In a heat proof saucepan, place the butter in and heat over medium low fire. Continue to cook the butter until some white milk solids fall to the bottom of the skillet and turn into a rich haxelnut brown, about 5 minutes. Strain the browned butter through a fine sieve into a small bowl.
  • In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs, both sugasr and phoney until very pale in color and triple in volume.
  • Sift in both flours, salt,aking powder over the egg micture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold in.
  • Lastly fold in the brown butter. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. Liberally butter the madeleine molds. Spoon or pipr the batter evenly into the molds. Bake for 5 to 7 mins, until golden brown. Transfer the pans to wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then unmold the cakes and let them cool completely on the rack.
I notice not all of my madeleines has that distinctive "bump"....and those that has it was because I scooped more batter into that mold. Seriously, I'm not sure why some are particular about that "bump"....does it shows how the texture of the cake is? Anyway, I think as long as your batter is at the right consistency, it will yield a good texture.
Hope these 2 wonderful cake treats will motivate you to bake them for your love ones soon. Seize the day, bake a cake, lol!

Okay all, have a great week ahead!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Earl Gray Macarons with Passion Fruit Buttercream

It was my sister's birthday a couple weeks back and we only managed to meet up recently to have a dinner together. Since we are all busy with our own life, it's always nice to be able to just come out, and have some quality time and catch up a little. And since our last gathering, we had this really delicious dark chocolate macaron tower compliments from my sister as a Christmas gift which she bought from a well known bakery here. We enjoyed it so much and at some point, I told my sisters that I will make some for them as well. And so I did. (^_^)
Since I wanted to try a new recipe as from what I did earlier. I went ahead to try out the recipe from Swee San plus a different filling. Passion fruit buttercream to be specific, since my sisters love passion fruit flavor very much.
I have to say this time round the shells did turn out better then the previous time. I guess whenever you try out recipes this delicate, its best you follow to the DOT. It's pretty devastating if it turns out cracking or no "feet"...been there, done that. And you bet if I did preparation work, aging the egg whites in the fridge, reading up the recipes, making the filling ahead...just to be sure I don't mess up. :P
Super thrilled when I see this going on the oven...happiness! I guess no matter how many times you had baked macarons, you will still have that anxious feeling whether it will turn out well.
I will post up the recipe here for easier reference in future. Thanks so much to Swee San for the great recipe. :)

Ingredients for Earl Gray Macarons (makes about 25 cookies)
100g Almond meal (I ground mine from whole blanched almonds)
100g icing sugar
2 sachets earl grey tea
38g fresh egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
pinch of salt

100g caster sugar
24ml water

38g aged egg whites (about 2 egg whites)
  • In a blender, finely ground the almond powder and confectioner's sugar together till powdery like. Then pour it into a bowl and add in the Earl Gray tea leaves. Then mix in the egg white and salt. Stir and mix well. Mixture will be thick.

  • In a saucepan placed over medium fire, heat up the sugar and water. Once the sugar has all melted, place your candy thermometer in and monitor it till it reaches ~108C. Once it reaches 108C, beat the egg white at high speed till it reaches soft peaks, which by then the temperature should be close to 118C.

  • Slowly drizzle the sugar syrup into the egg white while the mixer is still at medium speed. Once all the syrup is in, continue to beat till the meringue is glossy.

  • Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the almond meal mixture. Since the almond mixture is thick, you'll need to stir harder to incorporate it well. Repeat the other 2 portions and fold in gently.

  • Scoop the batter into a piping bag with an 10mm nozzle. Pipe out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment paper. Let rest for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 150C with fan off.

  • After 10 minutes, bake the cookies in the oven for 14mins.

  • After baking, remove from oven and let cool completely before peeling off. 


Passion Fruit Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Juice from 2 passion fruits, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup

100g Swiss Meringue Buttercream



 


Simply mix both ingredients together till smooth and creamy. Chill in fridge until needed.

The only down side for me is the cookies are a little sweeter then the chocolate version. I guess the cocoa powder does tone down the sweetness. I went ahead to pair it with passion fruit buttercream and it was still a little sweet to me, lol! Anyway, it's suppose to be sweet isn't it?! Live a little and enjoy that sweetness. ;)
Overall a satisfactory result. I am already looking forward to attempting my next macaron venture! Perhaps a hazelnut flavor instead of almond? We'll see. ;)


I'm happy to submit this post to this month's Aspiring Bakers #17: March Macaron Madness! (Mar 2012) hosted by Alan of Travellingfoodies. Thanks for hosting this month Alan!


Thanks for staying on with me. Hope you have a nice and wonderful day!