Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ice-cream Crepe With Orange Sauce


I first made this delectable dessert during this year's Chinese New Year (CNY).  Since both my kids loved eating crepe cakes and.....since, there was some leftover ice-cream in the freezer that had been lying there for months, why not make something out of the twos.  After all, it's going to be CNY and as in every year, I would normally have to crack my head thinking of something fast, simple yet 'special' to serve my guests.

So, off I went googling around and soon realized that there were loads of recipes on crepes with ice-cream.  Almost all the ice-cream crepe recipes were accompanied with a sauce and for that I deliberately chose orange for I was sure the sauce would further spice up the new-year mood.  More so, I always believe that we can never go wrong with orange and vanilla and they will always be a good blend. So, for the ice-cream, it was undeniably vanilla. 

To be certain of this simple arrangement, my kids (as it is always the case) were called to play guinea pigs for me.  Looking at how they scrambled and bickered just to grab that one miserable piece and it ended with my four-year-old girl bawling one the floor, totally 'defeated', I was assured that this humble treat would receive a favorable thumbs up.     

True enough, friends and relatives who tried this dessert delightfully like it.  So, here I come whipping this recipe for the second time.  But this time round, it is on Father's Day!

The Recipe:

A) For The Crepe Batter (yields 6-8 pcs of crepe):
     3  tbsp butter
     1 1/2 cups fresh milk
     3/4 cup all-purpose flour
     3  eggs
     3  tbsp sugar
     pinch of salt
     vegetable oil

      Method:
      - Cook butter until hazelnut brown
      - heat milk until steaming.  Then, cool for 10 minutes
      - beat eggs, flour, sugar and salt, on medium speed
      - slowly add hot milk and browned butter into the mixture
      - refrigerate overnight

      - the following day, heat the frying pan, brushing the surface with some oil
      - once it is hot, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan, give it a nice swirl to form a
        paper thin layer of crepe
      - after about 40 sec, overturn the crepe and cook the other side for a further 40 sec

 B) For The Orange Sauce:
      1 cup orange juice
      1 tbsp butter
      1 tbsp milk
      1 tbsp plain flour
      6 tbsp sugar
      zest of 1 orange

      Method:
      - Mix the all the ingredients in a small saucepan.
      - Simmer the juice mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about
        10 minutes, until a thick, syrupy sauce is formed. 
      - set it to cool and it is now ready for drizzle



 HAPPY TRYING!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Moist Chocolate Cake

For those who crave for chocolate cakes, I strongly feel that this recipe is worth a keeper.  I found it in one of the leading food magazine in Malaysia - Flavours. Well, it was back in 2009.  I created history by giving it a shot making my first ever chocolate cake.

By some strokes of luck, surprisingly, I managed to find my way and pull it through.  There it was, a good-looking, soft, fluffy, moist, dark-colored 'thing' standing elegantly on my white ceramic dessert plate.  For days, the cake accompanied me, satisfying my taste buds when I was alone resting leisurely on my couch in front of the telly enjoying my evenings.  

Then, disaster struck when I found out that I had misplaced my magazine.  After a futile search, I caught hold of my maid and made a baseless accusation that she must have mistakenly placed it amongst the piles of old newspapers which I had just sold them for recycling.  Arrggh!

I tried to search through the net for another similar ones but in vain.  Finally, I gave up and somehow managed to come to terms with the loss.



Approximately three weeks ago, my eleven-year-old boy, Bryan came running to me breaking the news that he had found the magazine, hidden under the drawer of the coffee table. Apparently, the book slipped off the drawer and fell underneath it which was totally not visible unless we take the whole drawer out of the table.  Kudos to you, son!

Barely a week after my rekindling with the magazine, I whipped out another cake and the following week, another one.  Well,  two in a row is definitely enough and it could turn out to be a bit nauseating eating it every day.  So, I thought it is high time that I share it out here especially for those chocolate cake lovers who want to try your hands at making one yourself.  Trust me, your can't go wrong with it!

One thing I like about this recipe is that it calls for coffee powder in both its cake and icing, giving it a tinge of bitterness and making the whole cake taste flavourful.

This recipe is shared by Arlene Diego, who teaches cake baking and Filipino cuisine in Damansara Jaya.  The cake is based on the American Chocolate Cake, made popular in the Klang Valley by the La Manila Cake House in the 80s.

                                                                      Arlene Diego

The Recipe:

Chocolate cake
330ml   fresh milk or water
60g       cocoa powder
1 tsp     vanilla extract
1 tbsp   instant coffee powder
180g     butter, softened
340g     caster sugar
3           eggs, grade B
190g     superfine flour, sifted
1 tsp     bicarbonate of soda, sifted
2 tsp     baking powder, sifted

Chocolate icing
750ml   fresh milk
500ml   condensed milk
2 tbsp    instant coffee powder
2 tsp     vanilla extract
85g       cocoa powder, sifted
4 1/2 tbsp*   all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 tbsp*   cornflour, sifted
3 tbsp     cold butter

* I  increased extra 1 tbsp each as I find the whole icing a little runny.

To prepare cake:
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Line two 9" round cake pans with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and coffee.  Mix and set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine

Add sifted mixture alternately with the liquid mixture,  beginning and ending with flour.
beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Divide batter equally among the prepared pans.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan.

To prepare the chocolate icing:
In a heavy-based saucepan, place all the ingredients except the butter.
Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until smooth and thick.
Add butter, stir to combine.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

To spread icing: 

Remove the cake from the pans.
Spread a layer of the cake evenly with half the chocolate icing, top with the remaining layer of the cake.
Spread top and sides of cake with remaining chocolate icing.
Use a cake comb or fork to form a decorative pattern.




HAPPY TRYING!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Old-fashioned Marble Cake

People often say that to be a good baker or rather to start baking, firstly one needs to at least know how to bake the very basic cake - a classic butter cake.  If you fail at this, then forget about baking!  Well, I have been baking for the past two years and sadly to say I am still struggling to get the hang of it.  Nonetheless, one thing for sure, it's definitely not the time yet for me to wave the white flag.

I have attempted baking about 5-6 rounds of this cake and of course using different types of recipes, different types of mixing methods but each time they come out of the oven, disappointments just surge in - either the top of the cake is unusually domed and badly cracked, the texture is rough and hard or the whole thing turns out too dry.  Basically, what am I looking for in a butter cake? Well, a good butter cake (to me) should have :

1. a flat top
2. the texture is fine and velvety soft
3. moist but not dense
4. the outer layer is not burnt
5. the smell emanates and invades into your neighbours' house,

and most importantly,

6. friends or relatives who try the cake must come back to you begging for the recipe!

Well, after browsing through looking for THE butter cake, I finally stumbled upon this one.  What caught my eyes was the photo of the cake with its soft fine texture sturdily standing on the plate.  Another thing that set my eyes on it and put this recipe on my 'must-bake' list is the mixing method used.     

So, here I am, giving this cake another shot!

The Recipe
(adapted from  www.thelittleteochew.com)

- 8 large eggs, separated
- 9 ozs (255g) castor sugar
- 12 ozs (340g) unsalted butter, softened
- 9 ozs (255g) all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsps good quality cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven at 160°C (convection fan on) with a wire rack in the middle. Line an 8-inch round cake tin with parchment, butter and flour. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment till light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar till light. Gradually add this into the butter and beat on medium speed till just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks form. With a spatula, fold in the meringue into the egg yolk mixture in 3-4 batches*. Add in the dry ingredients gradually until just incorporated.
* The first time I added the egg whites, it was impossible to fold. What I did was just mix it up with the thick yolk batter and "loosen up" the batter. The subsequent batches were much easier. I folded the whites in 3 batches.

3. Scoop out 1/4* of the batter in a separate bowl. Sieve cocoa powder over it and fold to mix well. Pour batters into tin, alternating between the two mixtures. Start with the yellow batter and end with the cocoa mixture. Rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. With a long skewer, swirl (sparingly) around the batter to create the marble effect. Bake for 40-55 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
* This is somewhat arbitrary. A little more won't hurt, especially if you want a bit more chocolate in your cake! :)