Friday, July 31, 2009

Triple layered cheesecake

After baking for 1 year plus of birthday cakes, i'm not the least tired of doing it over and over again. However, sometimes it make me wonder whether the audiences are tired? Definitely my cakes are not comparable to the bakeries, and they are not of consistent standard, sometimes they are good and sometimes just edible. One thing for sure, the ingredients are fresh and no unnecessary addictives.

Naked cake without decoration (yet)

Whenever there is a birthday approaching, I like to think "what design would the birthday boy/girl like?", "what type or flavour is suitable and to their liking?", etc. I would go through these questions many times in my head, until i decided on the best suitable one for the birthday boy/gal.

Whilst preparing the birthday cake for T, he asked me the same question as he asked same time last year "Do u bake the birthday cake to satisfy your own (baking) desire or to bake the cake specially for my birthday?" The answer is both. I won't be baking if either of the reason are not present, right?

Anyway back to the birthday cake i made for T, the recipe was taken from Y3K Delicious Cakes with some modifications done. So coincident that the cake i did last year was triple chocolate, and this year is also a triple, but a cheesecake. The original recipe is for a 9' cake tin, but i only have a 7' cake tin. I only realised after preparing all the filling ingredients. So now i'm left with 1/4 portion of the cheese filling in the fridge, waiting to be bake into something else.

Ingredients/ Method:

8 pieces of digestive biscuits (about 110g)
60g butter, softened

750g cream cheese, at room temperature
90g caster sugar
30g cornflour, sieved
300ml whipping cream
4 eggs, lightly beaten

A: 100g chocolate, melted
2 tbsp cocoa powder, sieved

B: zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence

C: 1 3/4 tbsp instant coffee powder, dissolve in 3/4 tbsp hot water

1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
1 tbsp cocoa powder
assorted fresh fruits

1. For base, crush the biscuits and mixed well with the butter. Press onto 7' loose base tin. Put into fridge until ready to use. Wrap outer tin with aluminium foil.
2. Preheat oven at 140 deg C.
3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and cornflour until smooth and creamy. Add in whipping cream. Lastly, add in eggs. Divide mixtue into 3 portions.
4. Stir ingredient (A) into one portion of cream cheese. Pour onto base and steam bake for 30 mins.
5. Stir ingredient (B) into one portion of cream cheese. Pour onto chocolate layer which has baked through. Steam bake for another 30 mins.
6. Stir ingredient (C) into one portion of cream cheese. Pour onto lemon layer which has baked through. Steam bake for another 30 mins.
7. Turn off oven and leave cake in oven with door closed for 30 mins.
8. Remove cake from oven and leave to cool completely. Cover cake and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.
9. Remove cake from tin. Decorate as desired.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Home-made Ribena

During our desaru trip, one of the attractions is the desaru fruit farm. It's educational if you follow the guide throughout the farm tour as they will tell you many interesting facts and uses of the plants and fruits. Otherwise, you will find the farm a bit disappointing cos there isn't that much of fruits available in the plantation as well as very limited fruits available for sale; maybe not the season??

However, we were lucky on the day of our trip as we witnessed the birth of the kid (baby goat) and the mummy goat was licking the kid, with her supposedly placenta (??) still hanging loose.

Anyone heard of Malaysia Ribena? Not that the ribena syrup is manufactured in Malaysia, but the drink that uses one of the flowers - roselle - to concort the drink which is similar in taste to ribena as told by the guide. Initially thought that roselle is only available in Malaysia, not until i went to the supermart this morning and saw that fresh roselle fruit is available in S'pore too. Then i realised that actually i had seen dried roselle sold at many medical halls and some provision shops here, why it didn't ring a bell then? I like it when i saw the packaging that shouted "Singapore Farm Organic Farming", "No fungicide", "No pesticide", "No bleaching", "No preservatives", and it's reasonably priced - $2.60 for 200gm.

It is even more comforting to know from Kin Yan Agrotech's website that the health benefits of roselle fruit are unlimited:- Prevents inflammation of the urinary tract and kidneys- Roselle juice helps in the digestion process- The petals can decrease blood density- Helps those who lack vitamin C- Acts as toxic filter in the body.

Making the roselle fruit drink is very easy. Just boil 3 litres of water and put 200g roselle fruit into the pot and continue to boil for 30mins. Add 100g rock sugar and continue to boil for a further 2-3 mins, and a healthy home-made ribena drink is ready to be served.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mandalay wild honey

Have been away for 2 short get-aways this month which explains my MIA. There's no time to do any baking although I've been following up with other bloggers' interesting posts all these while. In this post, there's still no baking as i just returned from desaru last evening. However, i want to put up something which had been in my archive since April. You see, my father-in-law last went for a holiday trip and brought back so many bottles of wild honey from Mandalay, Myanmar. Actually he went together with the domestic helper, who returned to visit her family and hometown in Myanmar, and she has been a great help to my in-laws. It was a good trip as they covered places and could buy things, only known to the locals, and at 'local' price. Imagine them lugging their own luggages and many many bottles of honey and other food stuff.

My fil is someone quite amazing; he had suffered a stroke about 4 years ago and until today he still walk with restricted movements. Despite all these, he has been travelling very frequently and independently, very disciplined in his daily exercise regime, and had no problem doing 99% of things any healthy person can do. If i'm not wrong, he exercises twice a day, either running/jogging, cycling, swimming, or climbing up & down the staircase. He does some gardening as well, and he 'owns' a very small plot of land up in the hill next to where he stays. He used to be such a stern person that i hardly hear him talk, but this change after his health episode. I read that person who suffered stroke usually changes their temperaments, characters and behaviours, but alas my fil has changed for the better, at least.

Anway, the wild honey tasted and looked really 'raw' unlike the commercially store-bought honey. These bottles of honey smell a little acidic and there's a tinge of pineapple-like taste, overall it seems just so unique on its own. It's really good just plain, or squeeze some (green) lime juice to boost up the vitamin C, which is what i just did yesterday, for little zak & daddy & mummy (me)! Refreshing & tasty ;-)

Of course, i will eventually use this honey for my baking since there are still 2 more bottles sitting in my fridge!

From wikipedia, honey is said to contain carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber, 0% fat, protein, water, riboflavin (vit B2), niacin (vit B3), vit B6, folate, vit C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Twelve months & a durian cake

Time flies and it was 12 months ago that i baked a durian cake. Last year this time, my aunt ivy requested for a durian cake, and this year she requested the same birthday cake. T was asking why the same cake, and my aunt gave a very good answer "... cos this is the durian season, and we don't get durians during other birthday month(s)"!

Basic Spongecake

Ingredients/ Method:
4 eggs
80g sugar
140g cake flour
1 tsp ovalette
30g olive oil
30g fresh milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Sift flour and set aside.
2. Whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and ovalette at high speed until light and fluffy (ribbon stage). When ready, whisk another 1 to 2 mins at low speed to stabilise the air bubbles.
3. Gently fold in sifted flour in 3 batches.
4. In a separate bowl, stir oil and milk with a few spoons of flour batter until well mixed. Thereafter pour oil/milk mixture into remaining flour batter until well mixed.
5. Pour batter into lined 7" baking tin and give it a few bangs to release any bubbles in the batter.
6. Bake at pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 30 mins or until skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.
7. Remove the cake immediately from baking tin, and allow it to cool down.

Durian Filling
(Recipe adapted fromY3K Delicious Cakes)

Ingredients/ Method:
350ml whipping cream
150g durian flesh, pureed
1/2 tsp gelatine, dissolved in 50ml hot water
250g durian flesh, pureed

1. Whisk whipping cream on medium speed until soft peak.
2. Stir in 150g durian flesh and gelatine, until welll mixed.

Durian Topping

Ingredients/ Method:
60ml fresh milk
1/4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp custard powder
1 tsp gelatine, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
70g durian flesh, pureed

1. Combine milk, sugar and custard powder in saucepan. Stir over heat until mixture boils and thickened.
2. Add in gelatine mixture followed by durian flesh.

To Assemble:
1. Slice spongecake into 3 layers.
2. Spread durian fillings on the 1st layer and followed by half of durian flesh. Repeat the same for 2nd layer.
3. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining cream. Put the cake in the fridge for 1/2 hour to set.
4. Remove from fridge and pipe durian topping over the top of cake.
5. Chill well before serving.

Overall, this D24 durian cake is very well-received, and i think my sponge cake has improved abit ;-)

Hand-made with love

Continuing from my earlier post where i set myself to cook at least a meal on Saturday for little zak, I'm happy that i've at least did it for the last few weeks. For yesterday, we had home-made breakfast, lunch and tea-time.

Actually wanted to bake a loaf of bread on Friday for our next day breakfast, but was too tired to do anything by the time i reached home. Before getting to bed, i just browse through some recipes from my to-do list for something suitable for breakfast, and decided on Happy Flour's red bean paste pancake. Simple enough and absolutely yummy yummy! My boy like it so much that he asked for another helping, his eating portion is anytime bigger than mine!


Ingredients/ Method:

2 eggs
50g sugar
70g cake flour
1/2tp baking powder
30g milk
30g butter, melted

1. Shift cake flour and baking powder, and set aside.
2. Use cake mixer to whik egg and sugar till light and fluffy. (Ribbon stage)
3. Gently fold in flour, and followed by milk.
4. Lastly fold in melted butter until well combined.
5. Cover and rest in fridge for 30mins.
6. Heat up non-stick pan and do not grease.
7. Pour some batter and cook until there are bubbles on the surface and brown underneath.
8. Spread your favourite jam or put a slice of cheese on the dorakayi.

Next for our lunch was not just home-made, but also hand-made - noodles. Whilst preparing, my boy got 'sticky' to me again, and i've no choice but to think of ways to keep him entertained. I thought why not let him play with the dough, by rolling and cutting fun shapes. Of course, the usual half an hour affair turns to an hour of 'entertainment'. Although fun, it's a torture to stay so long in the hot kitchen in this kind of extreme hot weather. I was busying preparing the stock, perspiring & sweating, rolling and cutting the dough, and making sure little zak doesn't mess up my kitchen top or fall down from the chair he was standing on.

Despite the efforts and the cute noodles, little zak does not seem to like my hand-made noodles, he only ate the mushroom and minced meat that i've added in. So sad ;-( Got to think of what to prepare for his next Saturday meal.

Our tea-time was using the same dorayaki but spread with nutella, and decorated like a smiling face ;-) Needless to say, I think i would use this recipe often.