Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vanilla Cupcakes

I received this book Favourite Cupcakes and Cheesecakes from my friends as my birthday gift 2 months back. The cupcakes look appetizing and i tried baking the vanilla cupcakes. For my previous attempt, most of my cupcakes were underbaked and it took nearly 35 minutes before they were done.

This time round, the cupcakes turned out ok. The first batch was baked at 160 degrees for 35mins. I then increased the temperature to 180 degrees and it took only 20minutes for the 2nd batch to be ready. The results were cupcakes that are soft, moist and buttery.

Next time round, i will bake them longer till the top is crisp and dry. Maybe i should cut down on the butter and milk on the next bake.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

This was my first attempt at making brownies. According to diana desserts, there are 3 kinds of brownies - cake-like, fudgey and chewy. Out of the three i would prefer the latter two. To me cake like brownies are just like dense chocolate cakes.

The recipe i tried was quite simple. Instead of the usual rectangular shape brownie, the recipe suggests rolling the dough into balls. In my opinion, i think the texture and taste of the brownie is ok. Will be trying out other chocolate fudge brownie recipes in future.

Melting Moments

Came across these mouthwatering cookies called melting moments when i was reading biscuit, cookies and brownies by Periplus. The great thing about this recipe is that few basic ingredients are required and the steps are really simple. I followed the instructions and my 1st bake turned out pretty good.

The crust was cripsy and the inside simple melted when popped into the mouth. I guess that is the reason why it is called melting moments. After reading the melting moments entry on cadenz's blog -, i decided to sandwich 2 cookies with chocolate buttercream. yummy!~ Shall sandwich melting moment cookies with jam and melted chocolate to create a variety next time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Basic Macarons

I attempted to bake macarons for the 2nd time last week. On my 1st bake, i took the opportunity to polish my piping skills. At first i made quite a mess with the batter while piping. However, i soon got the hang of it after some practice.

Making macarons certainly was no easy task. I read that macarons have a high failure rate especially when using the french meringue method. In both my 1st and 2nd attempts, I managed to get the right consistency of the batter - shiny flowing lava. The tough part was the oven temperature and baking time.

During the 1st 8 mins on my 2nd attempt, my macarons developed 'foot'. I sure was excited about that. However, I had difficulty in getting the base of the macaron to be cooked. I baked the macarons for nearly 25mins before the base was nearly dry when the recipe stated only 10 -11 of baking time. Due to the long baking time, my macaron browned when they were supposed to look shiny.

Even though the macarons on my 2nd attempt were like 80% successful, the taste was quite ok. it tasted chewy on the 1st 2 days. After a few days in the fridge, they tasted better without the chewiness.

I shall attempt baking macarons another time. Its nice to see the macarons you bake turn out crispy, moist and colourful. The best thing about learning to bake macaron is that you get to save a lot if you are good at it. Macarons are quite pricey and one macaron sells for $1.60 at Bakerzin.

Here are some sites which i referred to when baking the macarons:
1) how to make macarons
2) basic technique and simple macaron recipe
3) coffee macarons

For those who are interested, refer to link 3 for the baking timing and temperature control. Read links 1 and 2 for basics on macaron making. Good luck!

Banana Chiffon Cake

The last time i baked a chiffon cake was like 2-3 months back. After reading Rei's blog, it gave me motivation to bake a chiffon cake again. This time round i decided to try her banana chiffon cake.

Rei definitely is a master homebaker of chiffon. Her spirit of baking chiffon cakes is admirable. Read her 2 posts on chiffon troubleshooting and you will know why. She definitely gives you all the A-Z of chiffon baking. Anyone who wants to attempt a chiffon cake MUST read her blog. If i had come across her blog earlier, maybe i would not have failed 4 times.

In my mind, i was thinking whether i had lost my mojo after a few consecutive successful attempts. The weather wasnt too kind. It was wet, cold and drizzling outside. This could affect the beaten egg whites as they will draw moisture from the air.

The cake turned out successful. But it wasnt the most perfect attempt i made. The top of the chiffon cake was dome shaped instead of being flat.

I had substituted corn oil with peanut oil and was praying the strong peanut aroma would not interfere with the fragrance of the bananas. Luckily, it didnt. The cake turned out fluffy, slightly moist and carries a light banana taste. yummy! Cant wait to attempt new chiffon cake flavours!

Banana Chiffon Cake recipe can be found from Rei's blog:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oreo Cheesecake

Ok here goes my first post on this brand new blog =]. I am still learning and exploring the art of baking. It all first started when i chanced upon this blog. Her blog gave me inspiration and from then on i started to bake using recipes from the net and from cookbooks. Hopefully, i will become as good as her in time to come. Wish me luck!!

Cheesecakes are yummy and are rather easy to prepare. This cake was supposed to be a New York Cheesecake. The texture is creamy and it has a tangy vanilla taste. Personally, i feel that the recipe is simple and the taste is good for a home-bake cheesecake.

For a change i thought it would be fun to give the recipe a tweak and do some experimenting. I added oreo and it turned out quite decent, deviating from the usual cookie and cream cheesecake which calls for milk. Comparing the two, I would prefer the original new york cheesecake recipe.

Oreo Cheesecake
Serving size: 8-10 slices
Equipment and materials:
1) Stand electric beater/ handheld electric beater
2) Measuring spoon set
3) Spatula
4) Mixing bowls
5) Wire rack
6) 18cm (7 inch) springform tin
7) Baking tray larger than springform tin
8) Aluminium foil

Biscuit base:
110g oreo cookies, filling removed
50g melted butter

Cheesecake filling:
250g block cream cheese (at room temperature)
20g butter softened
70g sugar
200ml sour cream (bulla light sour cream or premium sour cream)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 oreo sandwich cookies, with or without cream filling as desired
1 egg

2 oreo sandwich cookies, filling removed, crushed into powder

1) Prepare biscuit base as mentioned in Preparing a Cheesecake Tin using a 18cm (7 inch) springform tin.
2) Preheat oven to 160 degrees C
3) Beat cream cheese and butter untill creamy on medium speed. Add sugar and beat until combined.
4) Add sour cream and vanilla extract to cream cheese mixture on medium low speed. Beat until smooth and incorporated.
5) Lastly, add the eggs and beat until combined on low speed. Use a spatula to run through the filling in a zig zag manner to eliminate air bubbles.
6) Fold in the coarsely chopped cookie bits.
7) Pour filling onto biscuit base.
8) Wrap top and sides of spring form tin with aluminium foil as mentioned in Preparing a Cheesecake Tin. Bake at 160 degrees C for 45 minutes in a water bath.
9) When baked, allow cheesecake to cool in the oven with oven door ajar for 30 minutes.
10) Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
11) Place cooled cheesecake tin in the refrigerator and chill for 4-6 hours. Dislodge cheesecake from cheesecake tin. Scatter oreo topping over cheesecake. Serve cheesecakes chilled.

1) To slice cheesecake nicely, wipe the knife after each slice with kitchen towel/s.
2) To smooth the sides of the cheesecake, dip a knife in hot water. Wipe the knife dry and run it around the perimeter of the cheesecake. Repeat the step if necessary.
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