Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mini Blueberry Swiss Roll



I've been wanting to make this Indonesian-type of swiss roll with blueberry filling, after a friend of mine gave me one, imported from Indonesia a couple of months ago. Yes, I liked it that much that I wanted to replicate it. The only thing that held me back was the fragrant blueberry filling they use. I couldn't find it here, so I brought some from Indonesia when I was visiting two months ago, and it has become one of my favorite ingredients :).



I'm usually all for light and spongy cake, but Indonesian swiss roll is anything but light. It's made with sponge-cake method, but uses a lot more egg yolks compared to the amount of egg whites, relatively very little flour and a good amount of melted butter. The egg yolks make the texture dense, but very soft just like most of other Indonesian delicacy and the butter makes it really moist. If sponge cake usually is just used for a base, concentrating more on the flavor of the filling, for Indonesian-type of cakes such as this swiss roll, "Lapis Surabaya", thousands of layers cake (a.k.a lapis legit), the cake itself is the highlight. People want to taste the strong butter flavor, and the softness of the texture. That is why this kind of cake usually doesn't have a lot variation on the filling. The traditional filling would be a very thin layer of jam, or a thin layer of buttercream and sometimes a thin layer of ganache.

For cheese filling swiss roll, I prefer the lighter version of the cake. It's not as light as those you would get in a Chinese bakery, but definitely lighter than this one. It's more like Indonesian sponge cake, very soft but a little lighter. The buttercream and cheese filling would be way too heavy for this dense yet soft cake.



So, here is the mini version, made in a 10x10 in square pan. I was really satisfied with the result. It has anything that Indonesian swiss roll is supposed to be. Not to mention the very fragrant blueberry filling inside, yumm....
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French Macaron



Not to be confused with macaroon, macaron is a French-type of pastry made with egg whites, almond powder, powdered sugar and granulated sugar. It is then sandwiched together with ganache, buttercream, or cream-like filling in between. While macaroon is a type of cookie made with shredded coconut.

There are two ways to made this macaron, the italian meringue method, which involved cooked sugar or the regular meringue method, the simpler one. According to what I read, macarons made using italian meringue method, will yield a more stable batter and different texture. Either way, the texture of a macaron is supposed to be crispy on the outside, a little chewy on the inside.


The way you can tell that your macaron is a success is by the "feet" it formed while it's baked. When it's baking, you batter will rise slightly and formed what we called "feet" around the bottom of the batter. I made an attempt to macaron once last year. After a week or two of research, I settled on one recipe that seems reliable from a French blog I read. But it failed successfully. It was just like a round meringue with a taste of almond (which is wonderful), although they are SUPER sweet. I was traumatized since then and afraid to make another attempt, especially since almond powder is really expensive. I thought I would rather make joconde for opera cake or other cakes than wasting it on another macaron experiment :).



After looking at yossi's successful macaron, I felt the urge of making another try. Besides, I have a bag of fine almond powder I bought online specially for macaron, that has been sitting in my pantry for a while now. So I gather all my strength and hope and tadaaaa.......It has feet!!!! I was so excited and couldn't stop smiling when I checked the oven window after about 8 minutes of baking time. It's not as pretty as others', but hey, it's a start.

I've been wanting to make lots of colorful macarons filled with different things, just like what you would have seen in French patisserie window. It looks like a little jewel packed in a pretty box. I was a little skeptical when I about to try it, because I know it would be REALLY sweet that it would hurt my teeth. But I was pleasantly surprised that it actually wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be. It is still really sweet but not as sweet as the first one I made last year. It would be perfect if it's filled with bittersweet ganache or some sort of cream cheese filling to cut down the sweetness a little. The almond provides a really nice taste and texture to it. I wasn't planning on sandwiching this macaron as I was too lazy to make special filling just for a few macaron, so I froze it of course! Been wanting to make decoration on a cake using this little beauty. I just wish that the color is stronger. I'll try to fill them with ganache or something if I have leftover filling and I'll update you on that :)



There are a couple of them that were broken. I think part of it, it's because it was baked on a lower rack and therefore it has less heat distribution. Another reason is because I was so impatient that I try to remove them carelessly :(. But that's a reason so that I can munch of them whenever the sweet craving starts to hit (which is often) ;)
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tiered Fondant Birthday Cake



This cake was for a friend's birthday last Saturday, requested by the wife. She tasted the wedding cake I made a couple of months back and she loved it. So, she asked if i could make the same thing for her husband's 35th surprise birthday party.

It's been a while I haven't worked with fondant. The word "fondant" makes me itchy, nervous, etc. I seem to be intimidated by it. Personally, I really don't like the taste of fondant. It's one of those love it or hate it thing. But I agree that it makes an elegant look, compared to what buttercream can offer. The slogan "the more the better" doesn't really apply for fondant. The more stuff or decoration you put on it, the less elegant it is. It's simplicity at its best.

From my previous fondant cake experience, I've never been satisfied with them. I could never create a smooth and flawless finish. There are always cracks, unevenness, you name it. So, when she asked for fondant, my head was immediately spinning. She wasn't particular with the design though, she left it up to me. All she knows for sure that it has to be the same cake as the wedding cake I made :O, but two-tiered instead of four :).


I came up with lots of design on my head. I was going to do a musical-themed cake, because the husband is awesome with music. But as the day is closer, it's very hard to find the time to make every little detail. I won't have time to pipe little musical notes with royal icing, let it dry overnight, and all the works. So, I changed gear and decided to make something simpler. This design came up in the morning of the birthday :P.

It took me a couple of days to make this cake. I woke up early in the morning and do a little before going to work and the same thing after work. I think it took about four days from start to finish. I really wish that I can come up with better design, as I think this might be too simple. But this is all I can do with the time crunch I had. I think it would be better if the bottom tier has chocolate-colored fondant base instead of ivory. At least it would not be too boring.


The surprising thing when I was making this cake is that they're smooth!!! I can't even believe what I did. It felt easy and not as intimidating as it was, when I covered the cakes with fondant. There are a couple of "nail" mark though, but it wasn't a major thing (I have long nails and yes I know it's bad when you're working with fondant). But it made me smile after everything was done.



By the way, there was supposed a "Happy Birthday" ribbon I made from fondant and melted chocolate. I let it dry on the counter so that I can put it on the top tier, but I forgot!!! I was such in a hurry at that time and I was trying to put everything in my car. I assembled the cake in my friends house so that at least somebody can hold it on the way to the place. I don't want the cake to collapse if I assembled it from home. I felt sooo bad that I forgot to bring the happy birthday sign. But the wife is really kind and not make a big deal out of it.

I hope she and everybody else like the cake. It's terrifying for me when I have to see other people eating my cake in front of me. I always scared and nervous everytime. I would prefer going to the back of the room and just face the wall, but of course people would think I'm crazy.
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Cheese Swiss Roll (Indonesian Version)


It's been a while I haven't made this cake. I used to make this all the time, but got tired of it for a while :). Besides, there are so many cakes I want to experiment with, so this cake was forgotten for some time :).

Made this cake today for a dear friend. Hope he'll enjoy it as much as he did. Indonesian swiss roll is heavier than what we normally call swiss roll here. It's still sponge-based, but uses a lot more egg yolks, compared to the egg whites, and it also uses a little amount of flour compared to the rest of the ingredients. It makes a dense, yet a very soft and moist cake (due to the amount of yolks and butter), combined with simple buttercream and shredded cheese (not any kind of cheese though), it's a pleasure on its own :). Red maraschino cherry and buttercream swirl are the staple decoration for this kind of cake.


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Cat's Tongue



It's only I think less than a month ago that I made this cookie, but it was gone so fast. My niece especially, loved it so much that she can munch on it the whole day if nobody's looking :).

I don't have any particular plan today, except doing some errands at home. So, I thought I'll make this since the family has been requesting it for a while now. Not much different from the last time, except that I substituted some amount of flour with powdered milk. This is one of the ingredients that are "must have" in my pantry. I just love this thing so much. I also added more vanilla powder to the batter.



The only thing that makes me raise my eyebrow is the cookies have a little salty taste. And yes, I used imported salted butter (the kind that comes in a can with a strong and wonderful butter smell). Maybe it's because I use different composition and brand from the last time. It doesn't hurt the taste though, it's just something I noticed.
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pandan Chiffon Cakes Parade

There's a time when I don't make chiffon cakes at all for the whole month or two (not sure about two), but there's a time when I make them really often in a week. This week is the later kind of week. I have to make 7 pandan chiffon cakes this week, plus 3 chiffon cakes last Sunday. One of them is for a friend of my friend's mom. The other six are for Church's snack this morning.

It was pretty time consuming as I only have 2 regular size pans. I made two cakes in one batch and each batch has to cooled down completely before I can take the cake out of the pan. It can take 3-4 hours each time. So, do the math. Then today, I found out that my friend has another pan and also my other friend. Grrrrrrrrrr..............I wish I knew that sooner so that I didn't waste a lot of time waiting for the cake to cooled down.



Not much to say about this as I make this so often. I hope that everybody who enjoyed it really liked it.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cream Puffs





Made this cream puffs last night and filled it this morning for a friend's order to be served for a prayer meeting. It's only about 21 pieces I guess, not that many. I think I baked a little too high in temperature. The color is more brown that what I expected. But other than that, I hope they're all like it The filling is custard that has been flavored with rum.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rainbow Chilled Cheesecake



Trying out a new recipe last weekend for chilled cheesecake, also to use up the leftover cream cheese that had been sitting in the fridge for a couple of months :). This cheesecake has three layers, which are strawberry, lemon, and blueberry.

I was a little skeptical at first when I read the recipe. It uses jam to flavor each layer, except the lemon, and it doesn't even specify the amount of the jam needed. I wasn't sure that jam alone is enough to flavor the cheesecake and besides, jam is very sweet. I was going to use fruit puree instead, but the thought of puree-ing each fruit and the clean-up afterwards, made me change my mind. Since this is just a first try out, I didn't even bother to get the layer perfectly straight.I should have used piping tips to put each layer, but it was such a hassle. So, I used spoon instead :P. You can tell how lazy I was that day (and busy too with other cakes :D). All I wanted to know is how the texture would be. Is it firm enough yet still smooth and silky, or is it too stiff, is it too soft. I didn't think that going through all the hassle of puree-ing and cleaning up the blender (which I hate) were worth it for a first try out.



I tried the cheesecake yesterday and to my surprise, it actually tastes good. It's a little too sweet for my taste, which I kind of thought it would be. The flavor of each layer is not too pronounced though.
I can't wait to try the second try. It's not gonna be soon though. I'll definitely use fruit puree this time and make the layer straight. Also, since I'm a big fan of raspberry, I'll use raspberry, mango, and blueberry for my next try. Can't wait to see how it'd turn out.

Again, I don't bother decorating it. Saw some leftover cream and pipe it on top, add red cherry and I'm done. It tastes better than how it looks though :). I brought it to my work and everybody seemed to raved about it. They can't wait for me to bring my second experiment :)


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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ispahan Cake



Another Ispahan cake I made this weekend for a dear friend's birthday (it's her ultimate favorite cake so far :)) along with pandan chiffon cake. It's only 6" round, only for her and her hubby.

In case you forgot what inside of this cake is, the cake has two layers of soft sponge cake, chopped lychee, raspberries, and rose-flavored mascarpone mousse.



I wanted to try new chocolate decorating, so here it is. Not too bad I think for variation ;). Although working with chocolate has never been my favorite thing to do, this one is surprisingly quick to do.



What's up with the different roses, you wonder? Well, I wanted to put one rose on the edge of the cake. Not wanting to spend $5 on a single rose, only to be thrown away the day after, I found that the rose plant in the garden has a white rose blooming, not too big. I figured I can always trimmed the outer petals to make it smaller. So, I waited until early Sunday morning. When I put it on the cake, the rose looked awkwardly big for such a small cake. So, 3 minutes before I was going to pack everything in the car, I changed my mind. I ran outside in the front backyard to cut one mini rose. I was actually looking for the soft pink one, but none of them were good in shape. So, I just had to make do with the red one. Not sure if I made the right decision to change the rose. I always like white or soft/pale pink roses rather than red roses.



As usual, I didn't have much time (actually, I didn't have time at all) to decorate it further. I thought it could have been better with something else, like a writing or something. The red rose looks a little lonely up there :(. But oh well, I hope they're happy with it.
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Pandan Chiffon Cakes

I've been making this cake a couple of times for the past two weeks for friends. This weekend, made two different chiffons, the plain and the cheese version. The plain is for a friend for his breakfast everyday for a week. He's been making it very clear all this time that this is one of his most favorite cakes :)

The cheese version however, was a last-minute request. While I was enjoying my dinner while watching TV on Saturday night, my brother called to see if I had time to make a cheese-covered pandan chiffon cake for another person's birthday cake on Sunday morning! As much as I hate last-minute thing, I just couldn't say no. How can I? Besides, there was nobody at home at that time, so I can just whip up a chiffon cake quickly. 25 minutes later, the cake was already in the oven :). The longest part it cooling it upside down on the neck of a bottle. So, I let it sit overnight and decorate it early in the morning.



As always, this cake is always a crowd-pleaser. How can it not be with all those cheese? I'm just glad to see they devoured the cake really quickly with a face that you can definitely tell that it was yummy :)
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Raspberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake





This is a birthday cake for my dearest two friends last night. One of the birthday boy actually requested this cake specifically. I tried to change his mind to pick something different, since I just made it two weeks ago for a wedding thing-y with black raspberry. But what can I say, he persisted :). I guess I should be happy that he likes it that much, huh?



On the black raspberry cake, I put the remaining black raspberry jelly on top of the second layer cake, then the white choc. cream cheese, then a clear glaze. This time, I put the white choc. cream on top of the second layer cake and mix the remaining raspberry jelly with some clear glaze for the red topping. And This time, I trimmed the cake, so that it'll show the nice pattern for the filling. It looks even better when it's cut, but I don't have the picture :(.

There was an accident in the making of this cake. I tried to take the cake out of the box to decorate it, but it was hard to open the side of the box without it touching the sides of the cake. So, I put a little pressure and before I knew it, my hand landed on the side of the cake. I immediately scream (not that loud though), and I couldn't realize what just happened. The cake had already set in the fridge overnight. I tried to fix it, but it's still noticeable, arrgghh..... You can probably tell which part from the picture :(

But I can smile afterwards because the cake was a huge hit at the birthday gathering. A lot of people had seconds last night. There's nothing more rewarding than knowing that people like what you made :)


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