happy birthday to me

It’s my birthday month! Been wanting to bake a cake for myself this year but had no special cravings for any cake flavor. On a side note, (that may not be of any importance but just trivial fact) I’ve been playing too much with my best friend lately. Number 1, it made me so so so broke. Number 2, I’m need to catch-up with my school work! So perhaps, a break this week onwards would be good? ;)

And I really had to get my hands flour-ed and butter-ed before I get back to work.

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Been scrolling desperately through food gallery sites and ta-dah! Decided to make black sesame cake with cream cheese frosting. And I’ve always wanted flowers on my cake. So yeah!

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Till then.
Jeul

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Classic Cheesecake

I can’t remember if this is new york cheesecake or just a classic cheesecake. No matter what, it is a very dense cheesecake. Thankful to all the friends around me who gave me more reasons (or excuses) to bake in the school term.

Made this 8-inch cheesecake for my friend’s girlfriend. Rare that someone would get a cheesecake for a birthday!

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Classic Cheesecake
makes 8-inch cake

Ingredients
Crust

  • 100g graham cookies (or digestives)
  • 20g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Filling

  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml sour cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Method
Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C.
  2. Finely ground biscuit, pour warm butter over biscuit.
  3. Toss well to coat biscuit with butter.
  4. Press firmly into even layer and bake for 10 minutes.

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 165°C.
  2. Beat cream cheese on medium low speed.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add sugar until combined.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated.
  5. Continue to add sour cream and vanilla extract. (Do not over-mix!)
  6. Pour filling into pan and bake for 70 minutes.
  7. When done, leave oven door ajar and cool for 20 minutes in the oven then transfer to rack and cool for 5 minutes. The edge of the cake is set and center will be slightly wobbly.

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Here’s some tips to baking cheesecake!

  • Scrape the sides of your mixing bowl often. If you don’t, it is fine too, just make sure that you do not scrape the bowl when you pour the filling into the pan.
  • Use hot water bath to bake the cheesecake. (Though it’s not mention in the recipe that I used, I still baked it in hot water bath.)
  • Unlock the springfoam pan while cooling on the rack, then use small knife to go around the sides of the cake. Then loosen the springfoam pan. This helps you to get a smooth surface along the sides of the cake!
  • Cheesecake always taste best when left overnight. So baked it one day before you need it!

Enjoy.
Jeul

Ombre Rose Cake

Hehe! Received a request from my friend to bake a birthday cake and she asked for ombre rose design that the birthday girl always wanted for her birthday. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult to make this cake, all you need is some patience and faith!

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I’m not sure who would trust me enough to bake a birthday cake like this for anyone! But she did. SO THANK YOU AMANDA!

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I really really do hope that the cake turns out well! *fingers crossed* I would have inserted an image of my current expression while waiting for her to text me about the outcome of the cake, but okay, I’m not. You know? The thing about layered cake is that you will start worrying if the cake will hold its shape and not topple when cut. That’s like the scariest part! Can you imagine, the moment when you cut your cake and the layers starts to swagger its way out in the “un-coolest” manner ever? gosh. please do well cakey….

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I probably contradict with myself as I started this post with saying stuffs like have faith and patience. Probably because mine is running out slowly. That is how worried I am! I don’t never wanted to ruin anyone’s birthday!

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Anyway, here are the different recipes that I’ve used to piece the cakes!

Cake Batter: http://sweetapolita.com/2011/07/fluffy-vanilla-cake-with-whipped-vanilla-bean-frosting/
Strawberry Frosting (between the cake layers): http://sweetapolita.com/2011/08/strawberry-layer-cake-with-whipped-strawberry-frosting/
Vanilla Frosting (rosette frosting): http://sweetapolita.com/2012/02/funfetti-layer-cake-with-whipped-vanilla-frosting/

Taro Cheesecake

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Now that I’m back on track, lots of bakings have been going on. My friends were questioning how did I find time to bake amidst this busy school period. Perhaps that’s what happens when you have the will to do something.

I was telling my brother how much I craved for cheesecakes and he have always been the cheesecake baker in my home. Being a sweetie pie, he told me he could bake it on the coming friday and the next moment was him searching for recipes online. (Alright, there could be possibilities that he kinda want to do some bakings since he haven’t baked for a long time, but I’ll stick to the idea that he wants to bake for his sister.) I was helping him with the search and suggested to baking taro cheesecake. It’s something really rare and unique that is not exactly out in the market, probably only in one of the cafes (Maison Ikkoku) in Singapore.  Other than that, I’ve never tasted or seen that before.

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If you are a fan of yam paste and cheesecake, this cake will be your next favorite cake.  ‘Cos it’s practically eating yam paste and cheesecake; both goodness at the same time.

We adapted the recipe from a Singapore blogger (here) who won an award for this extraordinary cheesecake.

Unfortunately, we are a fan of graham crackers crust so we ditched the oreo crust from the original recipe and replaced it.

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Taro Cheesecake
makes 8-inch cake

Ingredients
Crust

  • 140g graham cookies (or digestives)
  • 70g unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 120g castor sugar
  • 2½ eggs
  • 150ml whipping cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1¾ cup steamed and mashed yam (about 250g)
  • few drops of purple food coloring (optional)

Topping

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1½ tbsp coconut milk

Method
Crust

  1. Finely ground biscuit, pour warm butter over biscuit.
  2. Toss well to coat biscuit with butter.
  3. Press firmly into even layer and freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.

Filling

  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated.
  3. Gradually add cream and alternate with the mashed yam. Add salt. (Do not over-mix!)
  4. Bake at 150° C for 60 – 75 minutes. Cool on rack for 5 minutes. The edge of the cake is set and center will be slightly wobbly.

Topping

  1. Using hand, gently whisk sour cream, sugar and coconut milk in a bowl.
  2. Spread on top of cheesecake and bake for another 5 minutes at 150° C.
  3. Cool cheesecake for 1 – 2 hours. Then cover and chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours.

The thing about cheesecake is that, always remember to keep them overnight. They always always always taste best after a night. :)

Enjoy.
Jeul

Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleines

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My brother have been saccharine sweet these days, I’m unsure if that’s his attempt to cheer up a broken hearted sister or that’s just him all grown up and gentlemen. One day after his return from his military exercise, he got me a really cute huggable size “plushie” and gave it to me when I picked him at the airport. That was enough to make my day! Then the first morning when I got back from my exchange trip, he got me the local breakfast (chinese fried carrot cake) that I’ve been craving for. Knowing that I couldn’t decide between the sweet or savoury carrot cake, he bought both of them so that I could have both of the best world! How sweet, isn’t it? And and and one night, after a long day in school, I came home to a surprise on my desk. Few weeks back, we were shopping on ASOS.COM, and casually showed him that this really cute Ted Baker handphone pouch but have zero intention of getting it or anything of that sort. Guess what? That was the surprise I saw on my desk :’) There’s soooo many occasions that I would have listed them down all here but being someone who is really bad with words, I just can’t find the right words to put my feelings through.

Never have I felt so blessed, loved and thankful.

I remembered my brother telling me that madeleine was one of his favorite, so I decided to make some for him. And I adapted the recipe from here.

But I’m still going to write it down here because I noticed that some steps were missing from the recipe. And I made the modification based on my own experience.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleines
yield 30 madeleines

Ingredients

  • 150g all-purpose flour
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 110g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 20g light, floral honey
  • 5g dried active yeast
  • 10g poppy seeds
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • extra butter for greasing

Method

  1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine eggs, sugar and honey; mix until pale, light and doubled in volume.
  3. Sift flour and salt, add to the egg mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, poppy seeds and yeast and mix again until just combined.
  5. Drizzle melted & cooled butter and mix until the dough is smooth. Cover the batter with cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours (or more, that’s fine too)
  6. Preheat oven to 225° C.
  7. Grease the madeleine pans and dust with flour. Tap out excess flour and fill the mould to 3/4 full.
  8. Bake at 200° C for about 3 – 4 minutes. Reduce heat to 180° C and bake for another 4 – 5 minutes till it turns golden brown.

There you go!

If you are worried that you might not have the time to wait for the batter to chill, you could even leave it to refrigerate overnight and bake it the next day. The reason behind chilling the batter is to help you attain the traditional madeleine bump. So… the colder the batter, the better the bump! I’ve read other baking blogs that mentioned the significance difference with chilled and “un-chilled” batter. If you are rushing for time and is perfectly fine without the bump, you could omit the step or reduce the chilling time.

Storing madeleine is a little tricky, it is always best served when they are freshly out of the oven to keep the crisp. Nonetheless, you could keep them in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Hope the little tips help! :)

Enjoy.
Jeul

Matcha Cupcake

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Hello! I’m back from a very long hiatus, and a wonderful exchange trip at South Korea, Seoul.
I shall quit being cliche to repeat what many would have say about their exchange trips – things like exciting / crazy / fun, etc. Because it is true and if i’m to repeat it all over again, it’s going to be boring.

It’s soooo hard to get a decent green tea / matcha powder in Singapore that when I landed foot steps in Japan, I promise to bring home authentic decent green tea powder. and of course, I did. *beams*

20130718-203248.jpgOn the flipside, I’m pretty much struggling to adapt to my life back in Singapore. And the embarrassing fact that I’m still digging out clothes from my luggage. Oops!

20130718-203325.jpgAnother part of me couldn’t wait to bake for the awesome friends that I’ve made while I was overseas. Those nights that we watch one another got into our drunkest state and all. How could they enter my life and not have a little something from me? And guess what? It’s also my best friend’s commencement day and green is her favorite color! I have no reasons not to bake despite the mess in my room right now that seemingly look like the aftermath of a passing hurricane.

As a green tea lover myself, I personally feel that I could have added more matcha powder to this recipe. (That greed inside me, it does taste fine but you know…… good things are never enough. Bahahaha)

Enough said.

Matcha Cupcakes
yield 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcake

  • 350g all-purpose flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 350ml vegetable oil
  • 290ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp matcha powder

Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 250g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Method
Cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C. Prepare muffin pans and line them with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, matcha powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Whisk until the dry ingredients are combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. Fill up liners to ⅔ full and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat butter  and cream cheese until well combined.
  2. At low speed, mix in powdered sugar and matcha powder.  Then add vanilla extract and mix.
  3. Keep the frosting in the refrigerator to allow it to set for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Frosting
I used Wilton 1M Piping tip to make the rossette.

Hope you like them as much as my friends!

Enjoy.
Jeul

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

Finally! My girlfriends and I have a common slot to bake together ever since donkey years ago. We tried to arrange one and couldnt have a date with full attendance. Despite the rainy weather, we had a great time baking. This recipe is so awesome! The chocolate mocha cupcake base is da bomb! It’s soft and moist and best part is it’s chocolaty rich with a hint of espresso. LOVE IT.

It’s my first time making caramel and I need to get a saucepan with higher depth to get a better caramel sauce! so if you’re attempting this recipe, please please get a saucepan with depth, the caramel get lots of bubble and may overflow if you use a shallow saucepan. Do not worry when you see the massive amount of bubbles, continue cooking your caramel over the heat till you get it right.

This recipe is adapted from here.

There’s three parts to this recipe, the cupcake base, the caramel sauce and the frosting. Don’t be overwhelmed by it! And I’ve tuned this recipe slightly to suit Singaporean bakers since we hardly measure by butter by cups or sticks!

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes
yield 24 ~ 30 cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcake

  • 1¾  cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾  cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1½  cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 113g chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Salted caramel buttercream

  • 340g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup salted caramel sauce, cooled

Method
Cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C. Prepare muffin pans and line them with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Whisk until the dry ingredients are combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. With mixer still on low speed, slowly add the brewed coffee and mix to just combined. Note: Batter will be very thin.
  5. Fill up liners to ⅔ full and bake for about 18 – 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Place cream in small bowl, add vanilla. Set aside.
  2. Stir sugar, corn syrup and water in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush. Mix will thicken and turn to a deeper color.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and gradually add vanilla cream while continuously whisking. Mixture will bubble vigorously.
  4. Put saucepan back onto the stove over medium heat, whisk until smooth and thick.
  5. Finally, remove saucepan from heat and whisk in butter and salt. Strain into heatproof bowl and place in refrigerator to cool completely.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  1. Beat butter until creamy. At low speed, beat in powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Then beat in cream and vanilla. Gradually add in cooled salted caramel sauce and beat till light.

Frosting
I used Wilton 1M Piping tip to make the swirls. Swirls are then topped with the remaining salted caramel sauce and sprinkled with some salt.

If you are not serving them immediately, keep them in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Remove them from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving.

Enjoy!
Jeul