Blueberry Cotton Cake

Long weekend is almost over in a couple of hours. I had so many baking plan to make before the weekend had even started, but it just flew by so quickly. In fact, today, I don't have any plan at all. You would think this is the perfect time to do some baking right?

Not wanting this long weekend to end without any baking at all, I started to think what can I make that's simple, quick, and straight forward. So, I finally decided to make this Blueberry Cotton Cake. I saw this cake when I was blog surfing. From the name of the cake, it's sounded very good. Besides, I'm all about light textured cake, so it qould be perfect to try out this recipe.

As usual, I made some adjustment to the recipe. The end result, I can barely taste the blueberry
flavor, even though I increased the amount of the blueberry preserves to about five times to what the recipe calls for. It would be great if I have some blueberry essence or paste to add into the cake batter.

There's a pattern I notice from my baking experience. If I bake something just for the sake of baking (i.e. I have some spare time so I have to use it for baking since spare time is not easy at all to get for me), the cake wouldn't turn out the way I wanted it to be. It's still completely edible of course, it's just not "perfect" and it always bothers me. But in the other hand, even though I had about 1-2 hours of free time each day, and I would have to do the cake components separately, as long as the cake was planned, it would turn out great. I don't know what the difference is. I'm doing the exact same thing. I guess baking has a lot to do with our emotion (:P). Even if we have all the time in the world but we don't feel like baking, it would affect the cake itself. Call me crazy or anything, but at least it's true for me :)

Here's the recipe:

Blueberry Cotton Cake

50 ml milk
75 g unsalted butter
50 g cake flour
110 g egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
50 g blueberry preserves or jam
a couple drops of violet food coloring
170 g egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
175 g sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line two regular loaf pans/one 9-in springform pan or equivalent with parchment paper. I use three mini loaf pans and muffin pan.
  • Combine the milk and butter in a heat-proof bowl and heat on top of double-boiler to melt the butter.
  • While the milk solution is still hot, add the flour all at once and whisk.
  • Add the egg yolks, vanilla, blueberry preserve, and the food coloring. Stir until well-blended. Set aside.
  • Whisk the egg white until frothy, then add the cream of tartar.
  • Add the sugar a little at a time and keep whisking until it forms soft peak.
  • Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture in addition.
  • pour the batter into the parchment-lined baking pan and bake in waterbath for about 40 minutes (may vary depending on the size of the pan and the oven).

Valentine's Cake

So, it was Valentine's day morning. While I was sipping my coffee and web surfing, I got this idea of making a valentine's day cake. I don't have any major plan for that day, so I thought, hey what not make a cake!

I didn't have any idea what kind of cake I would make. I really would like to make a heart-shaped cake, but I don't have a heart pan nor heart cake ring. So, I decided to make use of my mini stand-up bear pan that I bought a couple months ago just so that it has valentine's theme.

I didn't even know what filling I would put into the cake. All I know is that the base cake should be chocolate, so I made chocolate sponge cake for the base. Since it wasn't planned, I had limited options for filling. I can only use whatever I had in the fridge and in the pantry. I knew that I wanted to use fondant to cover the whole cake because I had about two pounds of leftover white fondant that I need to use. Since I'm using fondant, the fillings should be something that can stand in room temperature. All I could think of is buttercream, but I don't want it to be just a regular buttercream, so I made blueberry buttercream using the leftover blueberry preserves. I always love deep purple color in a cake. The second choice for the filling is bittersweet dark chocolate ganache. As I mentioned before in the previous posts, I'm not a fan of chocolate at all. But this is valentine's day and I guess I could make an exception. I didn't have any cream to make the ganache, so I used milk instead.

So there you go, two layers of chocolate sponge cake, simple syrup flavored with raspberry liqueur, blueberry buttercream, and bittersweet chocolate ganache, covered in white fondant. The bear is chocolate cake covered in chocolate buttercream. It takes a really long time for me to cover the whole bear (there were some minor problems :) ). I also made little fondant flowers using five-petal flower fondant cutter and daisy cutter. I was thinking to stick a rose (or any kind of flowers) with a long stem in the bear's hand so that it would look like he's holding it, but the gardener cut all the roses in the front yard a week ago :(

The result? I think it looks more like a girl's baby shower cake rather than a valentine's cake :). It got me thinking of buying a heart cake ring just for this special occasion :P.

So, what did I do with the cake? I brought it to my friend's house (remember the guys who would eat anything including failed cakes?) and save the bear for my nephew and niece.

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day everyone!

Lapis Legit/Traditional Kue Lapis

I've always wanted to make this traditional Indonesian cake for a long time. What keeps me from doing it? Like most people would say, it is VERY time consuming. You have to literally sit or stand in front of your oven for hours to monitor the cake, to add another layer, etc.. Not to mention the amount of egg yolks and butter involved in here. It's beyond your imagination!

Last Thursday is Chinese New Year, and I just found out that this cake is one of the traditional cakes during this Chinese celebration. So, I thought I would give this cake a try. I browsed through some Asian food blogs (I think only Asian people know/make this cake, considering the amount of fat and the cholesterol). There are some recipes using less amount of egg yolks (only 10), but I believe the real traditional Kue Lapis, in Indonesia at least, using at least 20 egg yolks for a standard loaf pan.

So I settled on one recipe that's using 20 egg yolks for half of the recipe. I made some adjustments based on my liking, but nothing major though. I used the best quality ingredients for this cake, although I hesitated a little since this is the first time I try making this cake. But then I thought if I want to go through all the process of making it, might as well give it a best shot. I can always learn something if something goes wrong.

So after hours patiently waiting and adding layers, it's finally done. I couldn't wait to cut through the cake to see if I did it right and if the layers really show. Well, as expected (not wanted), it was not perfect, especially the first couple of layers (as you can see in the picture). I might have burnt one or two layers and I think for the last layer, I baked it for too long since the texture is a little dryer than what I expected it to be.

Also, it's not easy baking this cake in the US standard oven. In Asia (most of them), we can set the fire/the heat of the oven, whether we want it to be from the bottom or from the top of the oven and we can also set the temperature just like normal baking. In the US, bottom heat is called bake and top heat is called broil. we can't really set the temperature in broil since it is not normally used for baking. Luckily, my oven has two temperature settings for broil, high and low. I used low broil so that the cake won't burnt after 5 minutes.

All in all, it was a great experience making it and I am so looking forward making it again with the lesson learned and modifications :). Now, I just have to figure out what I'm going to do with all those leftover egg whites.

Here's the recipe that I used:

Classic Lapis Legit

20 egg yolks
150 g confectioners sugar
350 g butter, at room temperature
2 Tbs. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp. bumbu Spekoek (All Spice powder)
1/2 tsp vanila powder
35 g all purpose flour
10 g powdered milk
  • Beat the butter and the sweetened condensed milk until white and fluffy using paddle attachment, set aside.
  • Meanwhile, sift together all the dry ingredients (flour, bumbu Spekoek, vanili powder, and powdered milk) and set aside.
  • Beat the egg yolks and the sugar using the balloon whisk attachment until very thick.
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients and continue whisking until well incorporated.
  • Add the beaten butter to the egg mixture and mix well using the paddle attachment or fold gently using spatula. Make sure that there's no streak of butter left, or else you will have a rubber like layer in the bottom of your cake. The batter would be very thick with spreadable consistency.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Grease and lined a standard loaf pan with a parchment paper.
  • Spread about 2-3 tablespoons of batter into the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly using the back of a spoon. Bake for about 10 minutes until the top is golden brown. The time will vary depending on different oven and how much batter you put in the pan.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and change the oven setting to low broil (if you're in the US). Press the top of the cake using anything that's flat (I even use the back of a spoon). Then, add another couple of tablespoons of batter and spread it evenly. the heat from the pan will help soften the butter to make it easier to even out.
  • Put the pan back in the oven and cook for about 6-10 minutes until the top is brown (not burnt!).
  • Repeat this step until all of the batter is used up.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then unmold.
  • Cut the four sides of the cake to make it neat and so that all of the layers are shown.

Mango Mousse and Strawberry Mousse Cake

I got these cakes from an upscale grocery store in a city nearby (I forgot the name of the grocery store). They are mango mousse cake and strawberry mousse cake, although if you go there, it will say cassis mousse cake rather than strawberry mousse cake. My French is as good as my mandarin (which I really don't understand), but I know enough that Cassis is black currant, so I think they give this cake a totally inappropriate name. Fraise is the French name for strawberry if they want something French-y.

Anyways, back to the cake. The cake itself is good, although not mind-blowing. They're definitely better compared to some other patisseries that I've tried, but I think the mousse is a little too stiff. In my opinion and taste, mousse should be creamy yet light in the palate. But most of patisseries or bakeries tend to put too much gelatin in it to hold it's shape. Appearance is important but taste and texture should as important too. Giving the mousse too much gelatin would definitely help the cake holding its shape, but it would make the texture rubbery. Besides, gelatin takes away flavor. Other than that, the joconde (the thing with stripes and heart that's wrapped around the cake) is too dry. I think it has been in the store for a couple of days already.
I'm not being picky or anything, this is just my personal opinion. I've never said that the cake is bad at a;;. It is very good, it's just not amazingly good.

Stacked JCC (Japenese Cheesecake)

This is actually a failed JCC :(. I had a block of cream cheese in the fridge that I needed to use up, so I decided to make JCC in different sizes of pans for experiment and so that I can give it to a couple of different people. I made JCC so often that I felt that I didn't need to look at my recipe anymore.

Everything went well until after about 20 minutes of baking time, the top of the cake in the small size pans (3 in) started to crack. Usually cheesecake or any type of cake will crack if the temperature is too hot. I thought this is still ok because the pan size is smaller. Then I checked my recipe file and apparently, I bake them in higher temperature than what it's supposed to be. The result is fine though, completely and perfectly edible and normal. It's just wasn't the way I like it to be. As expected, the texture is dryer than what I have normally. Usually, it just melts in your mouth, but this time you have to use your teeth to chew it a little.

I really hate it if something doesn't turn out as I wanted to be (who doesn't?), I really do. So, I was ready to threw it all away, but I didn't. I stacked, glazed, and decorate the cake with the frozen berries that I keep in my freezer, mandarin oranges and a red cherry for color. The red one is red currant, which I rarely find in the US. I packed it in a box (that appeared to be a lot shorter than the cake itself) and brought it to my friends' apartment. They're big guys and are willing to eat anything :).

It certainly looks like a mini wedding cake though.

Mini Black Forest Cake

I've been posting the same old things lately. Oh well, my apologies, but I just can't let the leftover creams, cakes, and the other good stuff go to waste.

This one is a quick and dirty version of Black Forest cake using the leftover rum whipped cream, chocolate whipped cream, and black cherry from the previous BF cake. Fortunately, I also have some leftover chocolate shardsto decorate with, then I dusted some cocoa powder on top. Usually, BF cake is decorated using red maraschino cherries, but I feel like I have been using red cherries as decoration a little too often (don't you think?). Not that I can't decorate with something else or anything, it's just that most of the cakes I made lately required red cherry as a traditional decoration. Besides, it's red, it's pretty and it's quick!! It doesn't look like leftover anymore, does it?

Thank You Cakes

I made these cakes a week ago as a thank you cake for my friends. It was nothing fancy. Inside the little boxes is a mini classic cheesecake, and the other one is Black Forest cake, with slightly improved recipe from the last one. The mini cheesecake was 3-in in diameter, while the BF is 6-in. I hope this little something can show them how thankful I am to have friends like them :)