Saturday, February 28, 2009

Birthday cupcakes

Baked these lovely cupcakes for a colleague's birthday. Cupcakes were chosen because they are less time consuming to bake and decorate, yet the results were so lovely.

These are cherry cupcakes with low fat chocolate ganache, topped with a simple fondant cutout.

Recipe for low fat Chocolate Ganache

180g dark chocolate
1 tub of light sour cream (200ml)

1. Take sour cream out from fridge, let it warm up to room temp. This is important, else chocolate will seize when cold sour cream is poured on it.
2. Melt dark chocolate.
3. Mix the two together until well blended. No need to use mixer, just a spoon will do.
4. Use immediately.

If you refrigerate the ganache, let it warm to room temperature before spreading on cake. On the same principle, it tastes better at room temp.

Daring Baker February challenge - Chocolate Valentino cake

I love February. Its a month of celebrations. Chinese New Year, Valentine's day and my birthday.

So when the daring bakers chose a flourless chocolate cake as the challenge, I had to go for it. I had baked chocolate cakes before, but never the flourless variety, so its going to be interesting. The other big plus is that it will work beautuifully for Valentine's day and my birthday celebrations.

Extracted from daring bakers' site:

"The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge."

The challenge also requires ice cream, which was no problem at all. My hubby bought me the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker recently and he had been churning out lots of ice cream which was still in the freezer.

The cake was easy enough. I baked mine in two ramekins (for Me and Hubby on Valentine's day) and a 6 inch cake pan.

I love the rustic look of these little babies!
Topped with vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce, makes the perfect dessert.

The cake is moist and totally chocolate! Paired with smooth, cold ice cream and a slightly tangy sauce.. YUM!

For the 6 inch cake, I dusted it lightly (or not so-lightly) with icing sugar, stick in a "Happy Birthday" pick and candles. My family was over for dinner. My brother shares the same birth-date and my nephew's just a couple of days away - so a candle for each of us.

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Do check out other daring bakers' take on the Chocolate Valentino cake. I tell you.. these people are really talented!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A birthday cake for a mom and grandmother

This is probably my fifth cake order. A colleague and friend ordered this cake for her mommy. I learnt that her mommy adores her two grandchildren and her favourite past time is shopping. So I created this custom cake for her.

A teeny tiny teddy for the girl .. probably the size of a 10 cents coin.

And a last minute addition .. the little boy's favourite doraemon. A feeble attempt, really. But my hubby thinks it looks cute in a funny way, so I decided to add that in anyway.

I had loads of fun creating this cake ... but spent way too much time that I felt like a lousy mommy myself.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Rejected Birthday Cake

Chinese New Year second day was my mother-in-law's birthday. Baked her her favourite mango cake. Mango is not in season now, so its much more expensive than usual and rather hard to find. But I managed to get some really fragrant Australian ones.

Due to some mis-understanding, the cake was not presented to birthday girl.

However, I am glad that the unhappy episode had since blown over.