Rosemary Yoghurt Cake. A scent I will never get tired of.

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 29th Dec 2013

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Pacing around the house and getting a bit restless. As I pace, the brain is racing like the Porsche 911 on a F1 race track. I should be reading about the currency market but its year end, I decide to be ‘nice’ to myself and focus on the bakes instead. And so I begin….

Fresh organic rosemary – the scent is so beautiful. After chopping it up, I can still sniff it on my hands. This pair of hand is weathered. It is a pair of hardworking hands. Weathered from the constant washing of my bakeware. I figured no amount of moisturizer will help. I sarcifice. Yes, indeed I did. 🙂 okie, sorry for disgressing.

What I did in advance before doing up the batter was to chop up the rosemary and pounding it with the required amount of sugar in this recipe. I let the natural oil from the rosemary permeated the sugar.

Ingredients:

150g Unsalted Butter ( softened )
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tsp Lemon zest
2 Tsp Pure Vanilla extract
1/2 Cup Plain Yoghurt
3 eggs
1 n 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 n 1/2 Cup Cake Flour
1 n 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp salt
2 Tbsp Chopped Rosemary

Directions:

To do in advance: Pound or grind the rosemary with sugar and set aside for a few hours.

Cream butter and the prepared sugar together until fluffy. Add in the lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract and mix well. Follow by the yoghurt. After which, slowly add in the egg one at a time. It might look curdled. But fret not.

Mix flour, salt and baking powder together. Then scoop one tablespoon at a time into the batter. Do not overmix.

Preheat oven at 175 degree.

This amount of batter is enough for six 10 cm diameter mini cake pans.

Greased cake pans well and scoop the batter into it.

Baked for 30 mins and let cool in pan before taking it out.

Lemon syrup for garnishing

3/4 Cup of powdered Sugar
4 and 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Directions:

Mix the ingredients well and scoop it on top of the cakes.

I love this cake. Its soft and fragrant. Perfect with a cup of tea.

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I actually did up a tart dough to present this cake. Basically, you can use any of my biscuit or tart recipe. After shaping it into a disc, I use whole hazelnuts and position it onto the dough to create the letter S.

The concept of this is basically to create the stand for me to position the cake onto it. I want to create a space in between the tart and cake with the hazelnuts.

Enjoy.

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Rugelach with home made cranberries jam

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 28th Dec 2013

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This little snack was unforgetable. I first had it in a local fresh food restaurant cedele. The flavors were intriguing. Rugelach is a traditional jewish pastry. This cream cheese dough version is an american innovation since rugelach are traditional made with yeasted or sour cream dough.

This desire to bake rugelach came at a right time when I bought too much cream cheese and cranberries during the christmas baking week. It is also perfect as a finger food for the party later on.

2 parts to this bake
1) Homemade Cranberries Jam
2) Cream Cheese Dough

Cream Cheese Dough

Ingredients
220g Low Fat Cream Cheese
220g Softened Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup Powdered sugar
1/2 Tsp Lemon Extract
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 Cup Freeeze Dried Strawberries
1/2 Tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Tsp Lemon Zest
2 Cup All Purpose Flour

Directions

Cream both butter and cheese in a mixer bowl. Once mixed, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Thereafter, add in the extracts, zest and juice. While mixing, grind the freeze dried strawberries into powder and mix it with the all purpose flour.

Slowly add the strawberries powder and flour mixture into the creamed batter until well mixed.

Divide into 4 doughs and wrapped individually. Let these rest in the fridge for 2 hours.

While waiting, make the cranberries jam.

I have never made jam before so I am just basing on gut instinct to put this off. 1/2 cup of sugar is too sweet for plain eating. However, it is just nice to be spread over the dough and bake in. The tartness of cranberries plus the aged balsamic vinegar balanced out the sugar.

Cranberries Jam (Home made)

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cup Fresh Cranberries
1/2 cup Granulated Brown Sugar
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Gd quality Balsamic vinegar
1/2 and 1/4 cup Orange Juice

Directions

Cook all ingredients over low heat in a small non-stick pot. It took me about 35 minutes. Once cranberries turned soft and the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and cool down. Look at gorgeous red.

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Preheat the oven to 175 degree.

Get ready some cinnamon sugar and almond flakes that has been roughly crushed.

Take out the dough and let rest in room temperature for 5 minutes. This make it easier to roll.

Ensure that the work station is well floured. Roll the dough into a round shape with a thickness of around 3mm. Spread the cranberries jam onto the dough. Sprinkled the cinnamon sugar and crushed almond flakes onto the dough. Use s pizza cutter and cut it like a pizza into 12 triangles. Roll each up like a croissant.

Placed this ‘horns’ onto a tray with parchment paper. Baked it for 25 minutes and let cool.

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Had enough of Xmas post? Back to Basic – Totoro Bread!

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 17th November 2013

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Having Xmas bakes overdose? Actually, I think I might just have one more to go since there is another party this coming weekend. But we see. I am having some “overdoing it” syndromes. So I decide to rest my feet from all the standing for the past 2 days. 😉

Let me share one of the bread bakes which I have done in the not so distance past. Although I am having some difficulties with the biscuits dough initially, I did a work around so all ended up decently alright. After this bake is done, I suspect that most people will get the character wrong but I am surprise that it turned out that most guessed the character correctly. Did u?

Ingredients:

Bread Dough
20g Unsalted Butter
20g Sugar
10g Milk Powder
A pinch of Salt
140g Milk
200g Bread Flour
2g Instant Yeast

Cookie Dough
15g Unsalted butter
10g Sugar
45g Cake Four
4 Tbsp Eggs

Directions:

I made the cookie dough first so that it has time to firm up in the fridge.
Cream the butter and sugar together before adding in the sifted flour. Mix well. Add the eggs one tablespoon at a time. If its still rather dry after the 3rd tbsp, you can add one more tbsp.

Roll it up into a flat sheet of about 2mm thickness. Cover with clingwrap and let it firm up and rest in the fridge.

Next, work on the dough. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and milk powder in a bowl. Moistened the flour mixture with the milk and knead till gluten is form. Add in the softened butter slowly and knead it into the dough until all are well combine. Lightly greased a bowl and put the dough into it. Cover with a cloth and let it proof for an hour.

Once that is done, punched it down and then divide the dough into 30g each. Shape each 30g dough into a round shape and place them on a floured parchment paper. Flatten it with your palm. I made 10 of it and use the remaining to shape the ears. If you desire, you can actually wrap a small amount of fillings of your choice (it can be red bean paste or tuna mayo etc).

Let the shaped dough rest for another 30 minutes. Towards the 20 minutes, take the cookie dough out and cut it into 5 cm diameter circles. Position the cookie dough onto the shaped bread dough to make the “stomach”. Since the cookie dough is really soft by the time I finished with the stomach. I just gather up a small quantity and round it up like a small ball and position it onto the dough to make the “eyes”.  I have to say that it is not the easiest cookie dough to work with.

Once done, baked these in a 180 degree preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes.

After the bread are cool down, you can either use melted chocolate to draw the rest of the details or use food colouring pen.

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A gift to a friend – This bake really took the toil out of me.

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 24th Dec 2013

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This is a 2 days project. Due to the numerous components involve, I have to start early to ensure that I can hand this to a dear friend’s Christmas Eve party on time. I know some of the decorations look awfully familiar since they appeared in my log cake bake as well. I must said, I have baked the decoration pieces for this project instead. Anyway, here goes.

Breakdown:

1) Pate Sucree
2) Pistachio Fillings
3) Biscuits dough
4) Almond Mascarpone Cream
5) Pound cake

Actually all these components have been made in my previous bake. The reasons why I kept using it is because its tested, its reliable and its taste good in my opinion.

I started off the process making the biscuit dough. I usually like to make a big batch and freeze it up. If you wrapped it up well and store in an airtight container, you can freeze it for up to 2 months.

For this, I made a fresh batch.

Biscuits.

Ingredients:

225g Butter
200g Granulated sugar
1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1 Egg
375g Plain Flour
A pinch of Salt
1.5 Tsp of Baking Powder

Directions:

Cream the butter with the sugar using an electric mixer until pale in colour. Mix in the vanilla extract and then slowly incorporate the egg into the butter mixture. I split into 3 parts.

After which, mix the flour with the salt and baking powder.

Add this powder mixture into the butter mixture in 3 parts ensuring all are incorporated properly.

I usually made this one day in advance and chill it. If you are in a hurry, you can chill it for 1 hr before use.

For the Xmas tree decorations, I used different sizes of the star shaped cookie cutters. probably use 6 sizes. Cut 2 stars of each size except for the smallest which you only need one.If the dough has softened, refrigerate it to hardenbefore cutting again.

The snowman and the reindeer are basically mold with hand to the desired shape.

Preheat oven to 180 degree and bake them for about 10 minutes or until the edges started to brown. Let it cooled before storing it in an airtight container while you work on the rest.

Next, I made the pate sucre and the pistachio Fillings.

Pate Sucree and Pistachio filling

Pate Sucree: A square pan of 18cm * 18cm. Lightly Greased.

Ingredients:
A dash of Pure Vanilla Extract
15g Almond Powder
10g Pistache Powder
45g Icing Sugar
25g Egg
75g Unsalted Butter (softened – Room Temperature)
0.5g Baking Powder
125g Cake Flour

Directions

Cream butter with sifted icing sugar. Add the vanilla before slowly adding egg. Ensure all incorporated before adding more egg.

Mix almond n Pistachio power, baking power and cake flour together.

Add this mixture into the butter mix. Lightly knead with hand till the dough is smooth. I roll it up into a rectangular shape of about 18cm*26cm and placed it in the freezer.

After which, slice up the dough into a square shape of about 18*18cm and strips of 18cm*2cm. Work it onto the tart pan. Use pie weights and blind bake for 10 mins at a 180 degree oven. Remember to preheat the oven for 15 mins prior to baking.

Next, work on the Pistachio filling. I usually mix this while waiting for the tart to be blind baked.

Ingredients:
1 egg
50g Butter
55g Icing Sugar
30g Pistachio powder
25g Almond powder
A dash of rum
5g cake flour.

Directions:

Mix the almond, pistachio powder and cake flour together. Cream butter and icing sugar together until light in colour before adding in the rum and mix. Incorporate the beatened egg in part and make sure its incorporate fully. Then fold in the powder mix.

Once done, the tart should have been baked. It is not fully cooked yet but its alright. Take it out. Scoop the fillings into the tart. Fill it till 1/2 full.

Bake at 180 degree for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.

The next day, I worked on the pound cake and the cream.

Pound Cake

Ingredients:
2 eggs
85g Sugar
60g Cake Flour
20g Corn Flour
90g Butter

Directions:

Melt the butter and let it cool down for 30 minutes.

Sift the Cake and Corn Flour together.

Cream the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale in colour. It is best to use an electric mixer for this. I used a hand whisk and its really tough.

After which, fold to combine the sifted flours before pouring the cooled melted butter into the batter. Fold to combine.

Preheat the oven to 180 degree. For this project, I just a square molds. Each of the size of 6.5cm * 6.5cm. This batter is enough for 5 square molds. Scoop the batter into the molds and bake for 18 minutes.

Once done, de-pan and let it cool down completely.

While waiting, I made the cream.

Almond Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients:
225g Mascarpone Cheese
112g Shortening
112g Unsalted Butter
A dash of salt
210g Powdered Sugar
50g Almond Meal

Directions:

Cream butter, shortening and salt together in a mixer. Add in the cheese and combine well. Sift powdered sugar and Almond meal together before adding spoonful by spoonful into the creamed items. Mix well.

Leave it in the fridge before use. Get ready piping bags with Wilton 1M Swirl tip.

Assembly:

1) Pipe the Almond Mascarpone Cream onto the Tart. As per picture below, I piped a rose and star pattern using the 1M Swirl Tip. You can simply scoop and level it onto the tart if you like since most of the pattern will likely be covered by the cake subsequently. I decide to pipe it into a rose shape largely because I am trying to practice my piping skill.

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2) Layer a thin amount of cream on the sides of the square pound cakes and covered it with fine chocolate shavings. I did not shave the white chocolate since I do not have a shaver. I sliced it up instead.

3) Position 4 square pound cakes onto the tart as per photograph with a small space in between each.

4) After which, I piped stars onto the top of each square pound cake.

5) Next, stacked the star shaped biscuits. Pipe a small amount of cream onto each before positioning the next star until it stacked up into a Christmas tree. Start with the biggest ones and work you way up.

6) The rest of the decorations is only limited by your imagination.

Viola! There you have it! I just hope this dear friend loves it.

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Alright. I finally made a log cake.

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 23rd Dec 2013

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Log cake log cake. To be honest, I have never made a log cake in my entire life. Since the day I started baking 1 yr 8 months ago, I have never desire to bake one. This festive season, I resisted it even more since I know everyone is baking the same thing. I SAW log cakes every where. I meant EVERYWHERE. I even had night mare over it. And not to mention my mom was nagging at me to bake one. I heard her chanting log cake in my ears daily for the past one week.

Have u ever seen puss in the boots? When he turned soft and mushy, widening those eyes big and round and pleading for a favor? That is what my mom did. She wanted a log cake for the Christmas Eve party. I was reluctant cos this very day, I am on a really tight schedule baking for another party. I was on my feet from 2 pm to 10 pm and I am not finished!

She called again. My phone ringing with a familar “It is the Dowager” tone. I picked it up and said,”ALRIGHT!!!!!”

My version – a very last minute attempt. The decorations on the cake have been done earlier because I was baking for a friend (next post). I will include the recipe for the biscuits in a later post. I am truly spent after the log cake.

I love a white christmas and so it will not be chocolate. I really cannot please all.

Ingredients:

Grease and lined a 30×35 cm rectangular pan.

4 Large Eggs ( separated )
65g Sugar
45g Cake flour ( Sifted )

Directions:

Beat egg yolks and half the quantity of sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the cake flour all at once and combined well.

Whip up the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff peaks.

Whisk 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolks batter until combined. Then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Preheat the oven to 180 degree.

Pour the batter and level it before baking it for 10 minutes.

Once done, quickly flip the cake onto a lightly moistened towel. Tear off the parchment paper and roll the cake up and let it cool off.

Cream Cheese Cream:

Ingredients

225g Shortening
225g Cream cheese ( softened )
225g powdered sugar
1 Tbsp good quality lemon extract
45g Almond powder

Directions:

Cream the shortening, cream cheese together before adding the powdered sugar and almond powder. Lastly, add in the lemon extract.

Leave it in the fridge to firm up.

Assembly

Spread a good amount of cream cheese onto the cake. Add fruits of your choice. I used the marinated dried fruits which was the leftover from the Panettone bake.

Roll it up tight using a parchment paper. Slice a part off at an angle and position it as per photograph.

Instead of spreading the cream on top of the cake and then using a fork to create the log pattern, I piped it onto the cake instead.

Decorate in ways your little heart desires.