Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yeah! My 100th Post... Happy B-day Dad!

I've had my share of baking blunders... but I think that this one was the worst of all. I was planning on preparing a chocolate-coffee mousse cake for my dad's birthday and it didn't turn out so... how shall I put it... "moussey" :P For the cake's base I used the chocolate sponge recipe from yochana's blog and cut it into 2 layers. I then decided to use the iced coffee mousse recipe from

Day 1: Make the sponge cake and cake decorations. These decorations included- chocolate covered coffee beans, and chocolate writings etc.
Doesn't look so bad eh? I thought it was a very cute chocolate cake.

Day 2: Make the mousse and finish assembling the cake.

I thought the cake was turning out well, at least until I realized that the mousse wasn't setting for some odd reason. I think it may have been the fact that I didn't use enough gelatin... or that the gelatin hadn't fully dissolved in the water before I added the milk. Oh man! Having little experience with gelatin previous to this attempt, I was kind of expecting something like this to happen. So I basically ended up with a coffee iced chocolate cake for my pop's birthday. He didn't mind so much; like they say, it's the thought that counts. And he really liked the coffee icing. Well, at least the cake tasted good and my efforts didn't go to a total waste.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Kasutera (Japanese Honey Sponge Cake)

Although I'm not Japanese, I do enjoy baking many different international goodies. Sift though my blog and you'll get what I mean :P Today I decided to make the delicate Japanese Honey Cake, aka Castella, aka Kasutera... aka yummers in a pan ~ hehehe.

I've always been fascinated with the cake whenever I walk into T&T (still the world's best supermarket!) and my daddy has bought it to treat the family now-and-then. What intrigued me was the beautiful brown "crust" on the top of the cake. It seems as though the honey rises and becomes concentrated at the top of the cake. Oh! So good. If you have never tried this cake you don't know what your missing. It's light, sweet and oh so delicious. I searched the whole internet to find the recipe that suited me and I settled on Diana's. For my first time making this cake the recipe was really simple and the results were excellent. I contemplated whether to make my Kasutera flavoured, with matcha or cocoa, as I thought they might add a little umph to the cake. But I decided against it, as it would probably cover up the slight honey taste of the cake and I just could not have that!

P.S. I was super nervous when it came to slicing the cake. I usually make beautiful goodies only to ruin them by cutting them unevenly... I basically mutilate my cooking :( So for this cake, I took extra caution in slicing it. I used a super long serrated knife and spent at least 30 seconds (no joke) cutting each slice. I was extremely excited to have sliced the Kasutera like a pro. Maybe I should invest in a bread slicer... but knowing me, it would probably squish my masterpieces into unrecognizable, but tastey, blobs of mush.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Scary Movie Night: Round 2

Well, it's been a long time coming (not that long actually... but still) and we've finally had our real Scary Movie Night. Last time didn't turn out as well as planned... being that only 2 people showed up :( I know... sad eh? You can read about the first attempt, if you care to here. So anyways back to round #2... all the people who planned to be there showed up; I was excited! We met at a friend's house and decorated her basement. She's the one with the big screen and surround sound. Truly, this is the only way to watch scary movies. We got there pretty early, so we spent some time baking a cake. Alright, we didn't so much bake it as "open the box, add ingredients and stick it in the oven" but we did decorate it very nicely. And it tasted awesome. This Scary Movie Night was also more-or-less a celebration of us finishing our 1st year of Nursing! We were ready to chow down on some "nutritious" foods like: samosas, our beautiful cake, 5 different kinds of ice cream, chips, cupcakes and a plethora of other goodies. Sometimes you just have to chillax with some of your gal pals and enjoy some spine-tingling thrillers.
So we (at least, me and rachel) didn't get freaked out of our minds by the movies. Kirsten and Julie we're quite entertained by the films. We decided to ease into the scariness progressively, starting with Panic Room, Identity and then Kiss the Girls. I know these movies aren't that scary, but I guess we just didn't want have fear impede our much needed beauty sleep (what's the fun in that?). Sadly I had to leave early and didn't watch any movies after Kiss the Girls, but hopefully the gals had fun watching the more freaky movies. I had brought over 28 days later (my favorite spooky movie of all times) and left it for them to watch after I left... let's be honest, no one should be deprived of watching Cillian Murphy at his best :)
Just to have this entry include a recipe, here's the one for the french vanilla whipped topping of the cake.
French Vanilla Whipped Cream
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp instant French Vanilla Coffee, finely ground
- 2 tbsp sugar
1. Pour whipping cream into a chilled bowl (metal or glass works best) and whip on medium speed for 5 minutes.
2. Add the sugar and continue whipping, on high speed, for 5 minutes (or until the whipping cream becomes fluffy and forms stiff peaks)
3. Add in the coffee and use a spoon to gently incorporate it into cream mixture, forming a uniform color.
NOTE: Do not whip the coffee into the cream as this may form a flat and "dead" looking topping.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Oatmeal Yogurt Butterscotch Cookies

My third yogurt recipe... Hooray! I've actually discovered that yogurt makes a lot of ordinary foods taste amazing. You have to try this easy cookie recipe. The cookies turned out so moist and chewy, it was heavenly.

Oatmeal Yogurt Butterscotch Cookies

-1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (used 2 yogurt packs! Yay!)
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
-1/4 cup canola oil
-1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup butterscotch chips (could use chocolate chips if you want)

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, yogurt, butter and oil until well blended.
3. Add flour, baking soda, oats, and salt. Blend until smooth. Stir in chips.
4. Drop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Use a little over 1 teaspoon of dough per cookie.
5. Bake for approximately 9 minutes or until cookies are just turning golden brown.
6. Let cool for one minute before removing them from the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack.

Okay, I don't think that I'll be able to finish using all my yogurt packs before they go bad :( I know... what a shame. I guess I have no choice but to freeze the 11 yogurts that are left. Well, it was worth a shot.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Yogurt Recipe #2

Well, this morning I woke up and remembered all about that challenge I had made myself. To finish all those yogurt packs before they expire. Not sure how that's gonna turn out, but I decided to use 1 pack of strawberry yogurt for my breakfast today.
Strawberry + Banana Yogurty Pancrépes
- Pancake mix
- water
- 1 pack of strawberry yogurt
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- Stawberry syrup (optional)

1. Take your pancake mix and add in water, a little (1/8 cup) at a time, until you achieve a batter with a crépe-like consistency. (Notice, I'm very leche in the morning and just want to get some food in my tummy)
2. Heat a frying pan to low/medium heat. Pour in batter and swirl around until it becomes thin and crépe-like. (Honestly, if you've made crépes before... and even if you haven't, just cook it so it looks right)
3. Fill each pancrépe with a dollop of yogurt and roll them up.
4. Place them on a plate and decorate plate with sliced bananas and syrup.
5. Enjoy your yogurt using success!

I still have 13 more packs of yogurt to use up; I'm gonna go insane! Well, at least finals are over and I can focus on my cooking. Oh, I just had a great idea... not about my yogurt problem but about my pancrépes since the recipe is so quick to qhip up, why not use it for Mother's Day?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yogurt Scones! Yummers

If you don't know the whole story about my soon to be "craze over yogurt" check out how it all began... read it here! If, like me, you don't care how it all started and just want to get down to the awesomeness of baking then don't read it.
Here it is, my first yogurt encompassing recipe...

Yogurt Scones

-2 cups flour
-2 tbsp sugar
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-4 tbsp butter, cold, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
-3/4 cup yogurt (I used 2 of the Silhouette by Danone 100g containers of yogurt, 1 vanilla + 1 wildberry flavor)

-2 tbsp milk
-confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius
2. Stir together dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough yogurt to be able to form dough into a ball (up to 3/4 cup).
3. Turn dough onto floured surface and with floured hands, knead a few times. Press dough into a rectangle, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Fold rectangle into thirds, like a letter. Press dough into 9-inch round. Cut into 8 equal triangles.
4. Place scones into scone pan or on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove to rack to cool.
5. Whisk confectioner's sugar into milk, adding more sugar until desired consistency is reached. Frost scones while warm.

NOTE: When kneading the dough, handle it as little as possible. This ensures that the texture of the scone is light and fluffy, instead of hard and tough.

Makes 8 scones.
I know I always say this, but my family loved these. They taste exactly like (if not better than the ones at Starbuck's). My 12 year old sis exclaimed, "They are the best scones ever... Oh, My Goodness!" So go ahead and try them... 2 packs of yogurt down, 12 more to go. What shall I do next?

AHH! What a dilemma

Well, this is much like the hotdog bun incident of last year... except this one is involving yogurt. My mom loves buying things in bulk, so when she saw that a 24 pack of yogurt was on sale she just jumped at the opportunity to make the purchase. After tasting the yogurt, she wasn't too impressed; she said it was too sour and had a weird after-taste. My sister ate one and liked it (at first), but then after eating a couple more she got sick of them. I don't mind them... I stuck a popsicle stick in a couple of them and ate them as frozen yogurt.

Now, the problem is that my mom says I'm responsible to finish all of the yogurt packs. This wouldn't be a problem except that the expiry date is 1 day away and I still have 14 yogurts to eat. "What should I do?" I asked myself; and then I got an idea... BAKE with yogurt! Why hadn't I thought of it before? It's so simple... and so the bake-fest begins :)
My first recipe = Yogurt Scones

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

So Simple Fa Gao

Since finals are approaching (and me being the kind of person who can't go 1 week without baking something)... I decided to make a really simple recipe FA GAO! I just love this light and fluffy cake. This was an excellent decision.

Simple Fa Gao
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (the good quality thick stuff)
- water
1. Sieve flour and brown sugar together, this helps remove sugar clumps and gives the cake an nice fluffy texture.
2. Mix in coconut milk.
3. Add enough water to make batter ribbon-like in consistency.
4. Pour into prepared muffin tin and steam on high for 13 minutes. (NOTE: Do not open the lid of the steamer for the first 10 minutes... this helps ensure that the cake "smiles" nicely)
5. Allow to cool in pan and then remove... eat fresh, with a mixture of brown sugar and dessicated coconut. Enjoy!

Recipe Yields: 6 servings

Since the weather here's been pretty gloomy and wet, my parents really enjoyed eating this cake and remembering the sunny and warm atmosphere of Malaysia. My sister, who loves coconut and brown sugar was so excited that I was making this recipe... when your family enjoys your baking, it just makes it that much more special :P

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Man, what an awesome Easter this is turning out to be. I woke up this morning, and happened upon the Ford World Curling Championship finals on CBC. Curling is one of my favorite sports to watch, probably because Canada rocks at it... more so than at hockey (sad to say). My mom, who doesn't usually watch curling, she says it's too slow, actually sat through the majority of the game and started getting really into it. It was so much fun watching the game with someone else... usually it's just me cheering at the TV. Eventually my dad decided he'd join the curling fanclub and he watched the final 2 ends. We were so extatic that Canada won 8-3! (Especially since we were against Germany). Also, Glenn Howard's is one of my favorite players... Go Canada!

With Easter rolling around and all those chocolate goodies stocking the supermarket aisles I decided to use some of them to make a cute little Easter cake.

Rich Chocolate Cake

- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup baking cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour one 10 cup bundt pan (or two 9-inch-round cake pans)
2. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add milk, water, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract; blend until moistened. Beat for 2 minutes (batter will be thin).
3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes (25 to 30 minutes if using cake pans) or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack and cool completely.

I decorated the cake with green icing for "grass", chocolate eggs and sugar cookies in the shapes of bunnies and flowers.

The cookies were made with the same recipe I had used for my Stained Glass Christmas Cookies and cut into bunnies with one of my home-made cookie cutters. After baking the cookies and letting them cool, I warmed up a bit of honey, lightly glazed each cookie and covered them in colored sprinkles.
The icing was pre-made (I know... for shame, but I was in a hurry and to tell you the truth I kinda like the taste of tube-icing) by Wilton; I stuck on an icing tip and pumped out all the green goodness. I then attached the cookies and strategically placed each chocolate egg into their respective positions.

I brought this cake to bible-study and the younger kids just jumped all over it. One of them even asked his mom where she bought it! I had a laugh, kids are so adorable. Those who tried the cake said it was a very moist and delicious cake. The kids didn't have to say anything... just the fact that they were going back for seconds told me everything I needed to know.

Well, have a HAPPY EASTER everyone! Hope you enjoy the break... and get lots of sun :P

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Roasted Pepper Sauce

Tired of the regular same-old tomato sauce for your pasta? Well, so was I when I decided to whip up a batch of Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce.

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce (single serving)

- 1 roasted pepper (red or yellow), chopped
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 tsp cayenne

1. Core the pepper and roast it over an open flame (ie. stove top), until slightly blackened.
2. Quickly place pepper in a paper bag and cover with a towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Peel off the skin, and chop the pepper into chunks.
4. Place pepper and remaining ingredients in a blender and pulse until uniform in consistency.
5. Pour onto your favorite cooked pasta and enjoy!