Father’s Day
June 19, 2010

It’s Father’s Day weekend here in Singapore and what’s a celebration without cake. What with the lack of temporary employment, the funds are low but time is in abundance. It has been some time since I last made something chocolatey and my father does have the impression that a good cake must be a chocolate cake. So out came the Complete Book of Chocolate and 200 Chocolate Recipes.

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Opéra
April 28, 2010

April has not been a good month and I am pretty glad it is ending. One post? That’s it? What with all the thesis submitting, problem sets, tests and presentations, I’m pretty happy that I managed this one post.

So, April is my dad’s birthday month. It’s a weird family thing. Our birthdays fall in separate months, one after the other. So we’ll have birthday cakes from December to April and no cake for the rest of the year! Yeaaah… (more…)

Selamat Hari Jadi
March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday! Selamat Hari Jadi! Bonne Anniversaire!

My mom celebrates her birthday today and I made this wonderfully light almond cake for her. You might be thinking that an almond cake is not the traditional birthday cake. It’s missing the fancy, creamy goodness that birthday cakes, in general, are identified by but my mom do not like frosted cakes. She’s weird that way but it’s her day and she decided that she would like a nutty cake. We initially decided to make the traditional Eurasian Sugee cake but after looking up the recipe (and being awed by the number of eggs required), we decided on an almond cake.

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My Flat Footed Oreo Macarons
February 28, 2010

Leaning Tower of Oreos

After craving for Oreo McFlurry for the past week, I was itching to try making these Oreo macarons by tweaking the previously successful macaron recipe. So I just added two heaping tablespoons of finely crushed Oreo cookies (sieved) to the dry ingredients and crossed my fingers.

Everything was fine. The feet were developing nicely, though the macarons were a tad to close to each other. After the 5th minute, it all went downhill. The feet started to merge! After taking them out of the oven, I realised that the smooth outer shell were to soft and thin. They tasted quite good though with the dark chocolate ganache but I would really like a stronger oreo taste the next time.

I think the problem with this recipe was that the additional dry ingredients made it harder to determine when to stop folding the batter. My batter was probably over-beaten.

So, yep, the macaron mania is still going strong but I think they’ll be a cake coming along in the near future and of course, the matcha macarons. Till then..

Macarons..Attempt Deux
February 19, 2010

Today should have been a day spent revising for my midterms next week. Instead, I spent it on my second attempt. The urge to perfect this little dessert is way stronger (and way more entertaining) than the call from my lecture notes.

After conducting further research and watching several videos (in French, all I caught were poudre, amandes, oeuf), I noticed that there was a particular way to folding the macaron mixture. I think they called it Macronnage. The powdered ingredients were added in at least 5 batches and they were just folded and pressed in. I think it is best if you watched the video.

I aged my egg whites overnight (apparently, it ought to be aged for at least 48 hours) and added a pinch of salt while it was beaten. Another important thing is to know when to stop folding. According to several sources, 30-40 folds ought to do it but I lost count after a while. The mix should flow like magma and fall in ribbons.

Since I only have a small convection oven, I baked these babies in 3 batches. Before baking, I left them out on my dining table for 30, 45 and 60 minutes respectively. The surfaces should be dry to the touch. The height of the feet increases with the amount of time left out.

So, I had feet today! I was so ecstatic I was shouting and jumping in front of the oven. My mother didn’t know why I was so excited about feet. (more…)

Do Nuts for Doughnuts
February 6, 2010

How time flies? It’s already February and I’m in the second month of my last semester. Last semester! As the semester progresses, work is starting to pile up but I’m sure (and hope) my need to bake will not wane.

Was it really 10 years ago when we paid more than $2.50 for a cup of bubble tea? Wasn’t it just 2 years ago that the doughnut craze reignited in Singapore?

I was just reading up on the various food fads here in the last decade and came upon a photograph of a box of a dozen doughnuts. What should I have done then? Run out to the nearest doughnut shop and buy a dozen home? I still had two sachets of the active dry yeast so why not put them to good use? Sure, my doughnut cravings won’t be satiated till 2hrs later but a piping hot doughnut fresh from the pan and rolled in sugar tastes like no other store bought doughnuts.

Doughnuts

Makes a dozen rings plus numerous doughnut balls

Ingredients

1 packet active dry yeast

2 tbsp warm water

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk at room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 large egg yolks

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

vegetable oil

Activate yeast by adding dry yeast and 1 tsp sugar over warm water. Stir until yeast dissolves and let stand for 5 minutes. If yeast mixture does not froth, throw it out!

Mix flour, butter, milk, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon and yeast mixture at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed and continue beating for the next 3 minutes.

Scrape down dough from side of bowl into the center, then sprinkle lightly with flour to keep crust from forming.

Cover bowl with clean kitchen towel and let dough rise until doubled in bulk (1 1/2 to 2 hours)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until 1/2 inch thick. Cut out as many rounds as possible using a doughnut cutter or any round shaped cutter. Transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet.

Cover doughnuts with kitchen towel and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. Do NOT reroll scraps.

Fry in pan till golden brown and dunk immediately into powdered/caster sugar. Alternatively, prepare a chocolate glaze and cover with almond slices.

The doughnut balls seem to disappear even before the next batch is out of the pan!