Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Barbie Birthday Cake

Do you remember your favorite toy? Is it a cuddly teddy bear or a nice barbie doll that you can play dress up with? When I was a child, I vaguely remember that some of my favorite toys were a simple set of wooden blocks, paper dolls, cheap plastic tea set and a plastic baby doll that closes her eye lids when you lay her down. Although all these toys are not really fantastic or branded, they left me such fond memories of my childhood. I remember how much I envy my friends having barbie dolls at that time. However, I knew my parents doesn't have that kind of money to buy one for me. Somehow I still manage to have loads of fun with those toys I own. ;) 

Nowadays, owning a barbie doll seems like such a norm. Even my girls, already owning up to 6 barbie dolls, princess version, ballerina version etc., which they collected through the years from birthday / xmas gifts. My girls love them to bits, and yet they ask for more every time they pass by the displays at the mall. So I took this opportunity on my daughter's birthday, killing two birds with one stone....baking her a barbie birthday cake! She gets a cake and a barbie for her birthday, haha!
Do you like it? Personally I love the design! I got this fabulous idea of the dress from a dear friend of mine, EP,  whom is a pro cake baker in KL. Her work is top notch and never fail to impress me. Funny that we started "playing" fondant together and I'm still stuck here while her work is in such demand! Lol!
I actually bought the most basic barbie I can find at the store. Because I didn't need all that fancy accessories, hairdo or dress on her. I was gonna recreate the dress with fondant alone. ;)) As for the cake, I decided to go with the all raved Mrs Ng SK's butter cake from Wendy's blog. I made some  changes to it since I didn't have self rising flour and salted butter. Plus I reduced the sugar since mine will be served with strawberry compote buttercream. Here is the version I baked:

Ingredients for Butter cake (Makes X1.5 recipe, which was needed for the barbie dress)
345g unsalted butter, room temperature
6 large eggs, separated
75g + 210g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
300g cake flour, sifted
1.5 tsp baking powder
90ml milk
1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 170C. Prepare a 18cm, a 12cm tube pan and a 6 cm muffin tin (yes, chiffon cake tube pan), grease and set aside.
  • Separate the eggs, and place the whites into another large mixing bowl.
  • Cream the soft butter with 210g of sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and beat till mixed in. Then add in the egg yolks one at a time and mix to incorporate each one after addition.
  • Sift in half of the cake flour and baking powder to the yolk batter. Stir well and add in the milk all at once. Stir again till all mixed in and then sift in the rest of the cake flour and mix. Set aside.
  • Beat the egg white and salt till foamy, then gradually add in the 75gm sugar until stiff. 
  • Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the yolk batter. Then continue to fold in the rest in 2 separate portions till all is folded in.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tube pan and place in the oven to bake for 14mins (muffin tin),  25 minutes (12 cm) and 45mins (18cm). I covered the top of the cake with aluminum foil when I notice the cake was turning a little dark.
  • Remove from oven when baked and cool completely in the pan before removing. In the meantime, prepare the strawberry compote buttercream. Click link for recipe.
  • Remove the cloths of the barbie and wrap her lower body with plastic wrap. 
  • Slice the 2 tube cakes side ways to obtain 2 discs each. Placing the largest disc at bottom, spread a layer of strawberry buttercream, then stack the next largest disc over it. Spread more butter cream and layer with cake until all is stacked.
  • Insert the doll into the cavity of the cake and shave off the extra cake to shape the dress out. Then spread a thin layer of strawberry buttercream all around the cake.
  • Decorate your cake as you desired. :)) Just remember to have loads of fun!!
Although I made several changes to the butter cake recipe, it still turned out really nice. Everyone whom tasted it all raved about it. ;)) Soft fine crumbs, light & buttery! Definitely a keeper, thanks Wendy! I was really glad it paired off nicely with the strawberry daughter polish off a big slice within minutes!
I was really happy I managed to complete this cake in a day. In fact this cake was so much simpler to handle compared to her last year birthday cake! And after my young one saw this barbie cake, she immediately booked the same cake for her birthday this Oct....OK my dear. Hmmm....not sure is it the cake she wants or that new barbie? Go figure! :))

Hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I have made this cake. ;) 
Take care all and have a great day!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Mango & Strawberry Mousse with Oreo Crumbs

The weather is getting pretty warm lately. Needless to say, Summer has already arrived and besides trying to enjoy the nice weather, one has to stay cool as well...literally. I have already brewed water chestnut and chrysanthemum tea a couple times now for the family this month, a delicious drink to "lower the heat"(降火气) in your body. I am sure many of you out there has special cooling teas to beat the heat. And since I didn't want to turn on my oven on such hot weathers, I opted for a cooler desert to serve my family, Mango and Strawberry Mousse with Oreo Crumbs.
I just made this and was really eager to share with everyone since this is such an easy and delicious desert, anyone can do it! If you prefer some other fruits other then Mango or strawberries, by all means, change to what you like. :)

Ingredients for Mango and Strawberry Mousse with Oreo Crumb (makes 4 cups)
140g fresh mango puree
140g strawberry reduction (See note)
2 tbsp gelatine powder (separate 1 tbsp for each flavor)
300ml fresh heavy whipping cream (separate 150ml for each flavor)
8 round discs of vanilla sponge cake (diameter of the sponge depends your cup size)
5 pieces of Oreo cookies, blend into crumbs

Note: Strawberry reduction : Using 250g fresh, diced strawberries and 100-120g caster sugar and cook in a heat proof sauce pot at low heat till the mixture becomes thick like jam consistency. About 10-15mins. You can do the same for the mango if you want but I was happy with the consistency.
  • In two heat proof bowls, microwave the gelatine powder with 1 tbsp of water. Once the gelatine powder has melted in, quickly add in the fruit purees, mango puree in one and strawberry reduction in another. Stir well and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream till stiff peaks. Then divide into 2 equal portions and mix in the fruit gelatine mixtures in to one portion each.
  • Assemble: Scoop some mango mousse into the cup to about almost half way. Then place a piece of sponge on top. Then scoop the strawberry mousse over the sponge cake to 90% full. Then top it with another sponge cake.
  • Cover the cups with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • After chilling, top each cup with the Oreo crumbs till full. You can opt to top it with more fresh fruits if you prefer. Serve cold!
I was really happy once I tasted it. It's so yummy! Everything just comes together nicely. Since I did not add any extra sugar, the desert was really light and easy to eat. It literally melts in the mouth, so heavenly. ;) I'm now planning to make it into a larger version into cakes for special occasions. ;) Do try it out this summer, you will be pleasantly surprised!

Okay, have a great weekend folks!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Soft Green Tea Loaf (超软录茶土 司)

With my kids away to camp this week has really given me ample time to catch up on my to-do list. Besides the usual chores, I was happily soaking myself in some cookbooks, I manage to browse many food websites which I haven't done for awhile. :P Although I still didn't have the leisure to bake up a storm in the kitchen, but at least I still can do simple bakes like the bread I'm posting today. This recipe was actually from a Taiwan website and it uses both Tang Zhong(汤种) and pre-fermentation method, much like the wheat bread loaf I posted last month. But this recipe requires a much longer fermentation time in the fridge which will result is the most springy and delicious soft bread ever. So try to plan ahead when you want to bake this bread, makes it a whole lot easier.
I had planned to bake this bread for my parents. Firstly they are big fans of the breads I baked and secondly they made some meat dumplings (my favorite) for me! I know...bread for dumplings, pretty good deal right, lol! Plus, this is such a delicious recipe, I have actually baked this twice already! Just prep the starter dough and you can bake it anytime within the 2-3 days. ;)

If you prefer to have plain milk loaf, just omit the green tea powder. I made slight modifications to the original recipe. Here is my version:

Ingredients for Green Tea Loaf (makes 2 of 9X5X4 loaves)
Set A:(Tang Zhong) 湯種麵團: (note that you can double this and freeze half to bake next time)
1 tbsp green tea powder
35ml fresh milk
15g unsalted butter
2g sugar
1/8tsp salt
35g bread flour
  • Mix everything together in a mixing bowl and then place in air tight container. Chill in the fridge for 16 hours. (if you freeze this, remember to defrost it room temp before use)
Set B : (Pre-fermentation dough)
350g bread flour
All of the pre dough from Set A
2g instant dry active yeast
215ml fresh milk
10g caster sugar
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in everything in and mix well till it comes together to form a dough. Place in an air tight zip lock bag and leave it at room temperature for an hour.
  • After the hour, chill this pre dough in the fridge for 36 hours. (I actually let it to chill for 48 hours)
Set C:
150g bread flour
1.5 tbsp green tea powder
All of Set B pre dough, torn into smaller pieces
5g salt
4g instant active dry yeast
60g caster sugar
90ml fresh milk
70g whole beaten egg

Set D:
50g unsalted butter

  • In a large clean mixing bowl, tear up the pre dough and add in the rest of the ingredients in Set D.
  • Knead till the dough doesn't stick to the bottom of the mixing bowl. Add in the butter and continue to knead till elastic stage. In other words it reaches the window stage and when you pull a portion of the dough, it doesn't tear so easily.
  • At this point, cover and let dough proof for at least 1.5hours or until it's double in size.
  • Then punch out the air and divide the dough into 2 equal portions. My yield about 550g per portion.
  • Pre heat the oven 175C.
  • Shape and place in your loaf tins and let proof until it fills up to 80% of the tin. Note that you can add in sweetened red beads if you like the matcha and red beans combo. Just place some on the rolled out dough and roll it up like a swiss roll and place in the tin to proof.
  • Bake in the oven for 28-30 minutes. Cover the bread top with aluminum foil if it is browning too fast.
  • Once baked, remove from oven and let cool in tin for 5 minutes before removing it. Cool the loaves completely before slicing. You can freeze the bread after the 3rd day and steam it when you want to consume. It'll be just as soft and springy! Yummy!
All the waiting and baking to find excellent bread recipes did pay off for me. Now my girls prefer to eat home baked breads versus those sweet boxed cereals or even off the shelf breads. So I do make it a point to bake bread for them at least once a week. ;)
The faint green tea scent actually accentuates when I ate it plain with butter, very nice. ;) If you like Matcha flavor, do add it in. I have chose not to add too much fearing that my girls doesn't like the tea scent. But feel free to up it to 2 -3 tbsp in Set D if you want a stronger Matcha flavor.
I am very happy with this recipe and planning to try out with other flavors like passion fruit and Earl grey. ;) If you want to try this out, prep the dough 2 days ahead. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I find that pre fermented dough that has been chilled up to at least 1 day reaches window stage much easily rather then those direct or Tang Zhong method. ;) I guess I just have to bake more to find out!

okay all, have a great day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheesy Waffle Bites (一口松饼)

Hope everyone out there is getting their well deserved break during this school holiday. ;) I just got back from a short trip and was really glad to meet up with two of my dear friends whom I haven't seen for 1/2 year. Although it's just for a few days, we still manage to catch up and had fun at the same time. Not to mention our kids played their hearts out and didn't turn in until the wee hours every night. Hopefully we will get to do this again real soon. *fingers crossed*

Just before I left for this trip, I met up with my sisters at my mum's. Have been wanting to bake something nice for them but just didn't get the chance. So I grabbed this opportunity to try out a new recipe and gave them a small treat. ;) A nice recipe adapted from Carol 自在生活, Cheesy Waffle Bites (一口松饼).
Please pardon the uneven coloring of the waffles...should really get a good waffle maker, *sigh*. (-_-") Also, I think I have made mine a little bigger then the original recipe, haha! Regardless of that, the taste of this mini bites was not compromised. ;) It was deli-sh and addictive! My first reaction after tasting the first one was "Why didn't I make more?!" To think that I already doubled the original recipe! Anyway, here it is:

Ingredients for Cheesy Waffle Bites (一口松饼): (makes about 24-26)
200g cake flour, sifted
80g powdered sugar
100g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
20g grated Parmesan cheese
20g milk powder
50g whole beaten egg

  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, powered sugar, milk powder and cheese in. Stir in to mix well.
  • Then add in the chilled cubed butter and rub it in with your fingers. When the mixture resembles bread crumbs, you can then add in the beaten egg.
  • Stir well to form a soft pitiable dough. At this point you can either chill or work with it right away. Divide the dough into small ball portions of about 1.5cm diameter. (I didn't measure exactly, so it turned out bigger. :P)
  • Preheat your waffle maker and grease the surface if needed.
  • Then place each "joint" of the waffle maker a dough portion and close the cover.
  • Cook for about 4-5 minutes and open the cover. Remove and let cool on rack. Repeat till all the dough portions are cooked.
These cheesy waffle bites really live up to it's name, it literally melt in the mouth! 真的入口就松!My kids love these, snacking on it one after another. ;) I love them too, but vow to add more cheese the next round, perhaps double it to make it extra cheesy, heehee! In fact these taste like cookies more then the usual fluffy waffles we know. ;)
All packed and ready to be given away and share with my sisters. How about you try it out yourself? I am sure it's a nice treat for yourself too, a yummy afternoon tea snack. :)

Okay, got to run! Have a great day everyone!